The Refused Flank.
The Refused Flank is a tactic whereby your forces are weighted in the centre and on one flank while the other flank has either very few or no troops on it (the refused flank). The reason for this strategy is two fold
1) If your opponent does not realise what you are attempting during deployment he is liable to deploy troops on the refused flank which will then have no opponents to engage and potentially will be wasted. This is particularly the case if your opponent deploys infantry units on the extreme of the refused flank.
2) The second reason for the strategy is that if your opponent does realise what is happening but happens to have an army with numerous regiments he may over compensate and bunch his troops in the centre and the unrefused flank, thus not allowing himself to manoeuvre.
If you are successful in pulling off the refused flank then in the first scenario you should be able to bring the majority of your forces to bear on an inferior (points wise) force allowing you a chance to break the enemy lines and redeploy to face the forces that the enemy put on the refused flank.
Alternatively you may be able to destroy the enemy forces on the unrefused flank and centre altogether and if appropriate ignore the refused flank entirely confident that you have gained enough victory points to have won.
In the second scenario you should be able to pick the weak spot in the enemy line4s and break through causing panic tests and rolling into the enemy lines. Because the enemy has bunched his forces together in the centre he will not be able to use his advantages of numbers to flank you. Indeed depending on the level of overcompensation you may be able to flank him!
Pulling off the Refused Flank.
The Refused flank is generally all about deployment and the first turn.
The key is to keep your most valuable units until last in deployment while your enemy deploys his most important troops early on.
Depending on terrain it may be possible to delay choosing which flank is going to be refused until about midway into the deployment process. Generally speaking what you are looking to do is to have your opponent deploy his best unit on the extreme of one flank. While this is the ‘holy grail’ of the refused flank it is rare to pull off.
Be aware of unit width when deploying. Sometimes it is possible to sneak an extra unit onto the weighted flank which the enemy did not think would fit.
A refused flank will almost always require you to put down some baiting units for the enemy to think that you are planning to attack down that flank.
Which units you choose is highly dependant on your army essentially there are three types
Cheap and numerous: These are the ultimate cannon fodder, skeletons, clanrats, goblins etc. On the one hand they are cheap and to an inexperienced player a large unit may seem intimidating. On the other hand more experienced players may not take the bait.
Small elite units: Phoenix Guard, units of 5 or so Knights etc. These units are fairly resilient and can pose a moderate threat and are tempting in terms of their victory Points. The enemy are likely to take the bait. If you place two of these units on the unrefused flank then the enemy are very likely to think this is where the main thrust of the attack is coming from.
Very Fast units: Fast Cavalry, Flyers. In many ways these are the ultimate refused flank bait units. If you stack a couple of fast cavalry units and flyers on one flank first turn they can rapidly redeploy as needed leaving the slower units they were facing isolated.
Dangers of the refused flank.
The refused flank is not the ultimate tactic. It has a number of dangers. If the opponent realises what you are doing he may simply shorten his flanks (i.e not deploy directly infront of your bait units) and then proceed to envelop the unrefused flank)
Alternatively he may use the comparatively small number of troops on the refused flank as an opportunity to castle up on that flank with his artillery safe in the knowledge that the main thrust of your troops is on the other side of the board.
Refused Flank is best used when you have a small elite force which wishes to bring overwhelming force to one part of the board. It does not work so well when you have numerous cheap units that you do not want to bunch up.