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As this is my first post at LO it is no doubt customary to start it off with some suitably newb question.
I've been out of the WFB for almost 18mths now and magically found re-inspiration to continue my HE's. After picking up the Army list the other week and dusting off my models, much to my dismay, having to then re-coat my S-Helms back in dust and re-shelve them after seeing the rules changes for them.
I have been looking up many of the Army lists suggested by players at LO. I've come to notice a common theme of very small units sizes of troops. Eg, constantly looking at Sword masters or Phoenix Guard units of 10 in size.
So here is the newbie question..
My initial suspicions are that for instance in the case of SM that people are assuming/predicting that with Speed of the Asuryan (ASF special rule) & 2 attacks that they will kill enough models, preventing the enemy from striking back and winning combat resolution purely through strength of kills.
Traditionally I'd experienced WFB to be a game often of attrition, of big units with large rank bonuses and enough models to provide a cushion from shooting or magic attacks before melee Combat is even engaged.
Now forgive me because I said I'm out of touch with the game, rules and army lists. But what use is a squad of 10 SM if a unit of thunderers lines them up and cuts the unit to 1/2 size by the time they march across the table and engage in combat?
I traditionally use to field blocks of say 20 Spearmen for instance, or 15/16 of the more special units ie SM or PG.
Is this now a bad thing to do, and why.
Sorry I realise that's a big jumble of text and questions etc.. Just looking for a little help and guidance as I work my way back into the hobby.
That is a very good guestion. For the most part HE use big blocks of infantry for an anvil and smaller unit size for the hammer. Spearman, PG and white lions work great in big blocks. SM and even white lions work good in smaller units. I run two units of swordmasters, 7 each. Try to cover them by either use of terrain or the shield of saphery. Running knights in bigger ranks of 5 makes it diffucult to move them and get the charge off.
Now I have only been playing for 6 months and I roam the forums. This seems to be the way things is going. Where I play it is usually 2250 points but now they are starting tournments with a comp list. Special characters get really punished and this is just after I had ordered Korhil placing him in a lion chariot along with the captain of the PG. I am getting off track there. I am just glad that I did not get in with the earlier books. I do not have to re learn a bunch just have to learn a bunch.
Like you suggested, the reason for taking things like Swordmasters in small units is because they don't need the rank bonus to win combat. In most cases they will do it purely through kills. White Lions are another unit that people tend to run with only 6-7 models.
I like to run Phoenix Guard and spearmen as bigger blocks of troops, though.
You make a good point that a smaller unit of swordmasters (7 is quite common) can be easily shot to pieces, but such a unit is far fewer points that a bigger unit. You can afford to get two 7 man units for the same price as a 14 man unit, for example. The bigger unit is a little more durable and has a rank bonus of +1, however two smaller units will be more effective because they can kill more. In addition, a bigger unit will be percieved as more of a threat by your opponent, and so he is more likely to shoot them to pieces. You might often find that a small unit is more likely to survive than a big one because it doesn't appear as threatening.
Thanks for those answers guys.
1)Which leads me to follow up with then is it common to take a Full Command Group within these smaller sized squads?
2)Does it often become an issue, considering we have SOOOOO many special units to chose from getting enough of what you need into an army?
Without creating to many army lists myself, and looking at the ones posted online, I'm getting the impression that the points run out faster then the slots because people spend some big $$ on characters and magic items.
I think my head is going to explode.. This is the problem if you leave a game system for long enough.
Obviously its very opinionated as to what to take in an army list, but as a rough base for lets say 2000pts. (a side question - 3) why are games and tourneys often 2250pts now? is it to allow the use of a lord? Even though you could squeeze one in if u managed to get 2000pts exactly)
Hero (Combat based Noble)
Hero (Mage/scroll caddy)
Core (spearman block)
Spec (Small unit of SM/WL)
Spec (Small unit of SM/WL)
Spec (5 or so DrgPrinces)
Spec (Med unit of PG? maybe 12-15 models?)
Rare (G Egl)
Just more of an Odd point really, has anyone else noticed how Rare Units actually out scale the number of Special units you can have in a 5k+ Pt game? That's a bit silly really. Obviously not that rare after all
Thanks for the help.
Much appreciated so far.
For the smaller size squads of infantry it's generally not worth taking full command as the points costs for it accumulate quite quickly and you'd probably be better off putting those points towards more rank and file models (either for your small squad or in another unit).
Having said that if taking a small unit of White Lions I'd possibly consider taking a champion to up the number of attacks to decrease the chance of the enemy getting attacks back. Obviously with the number of attacks from Sword Masters if you can't elminate any chance of attacks back with 10 attacks, 1 more probably isn't going to make much difference.
With anvil units I think full command is a must to ensure you get as much CR as possible. With Phoenix Guard, particularly you're probably only going to be fielding around 15 normally. While they might not die very easily the chances are that except against light armoured or low toughness troops they won't kill many enemies. Get charged by a big block of infantry (i.e. 20+) or a large-ish cavalry block with a higher unit strength and you could potentially find yourself outscored on ranks and outnumbering, so it's important to have the standard and musician.
It's possibly a bit less important for White Lions as they're stubborn so will test on their own leadership regardless of the combat result but you'd rather be winning the combat rather than relying on Stubborn to see you through.
With spearmen again you will need full command and possibly give them the Warbanner as well. Rank them up - 20 is a bare minimum, 25 would be ideal so that any enemy would need to kill 6 to cause you to start losing rank bonus. In using spearmen since coming back to WFB I can't recall them actually killing anything yet, although that's probably because they've come up against knights all the time and can't get through the armour saves.
Personally I'm a bit unsure of Dragon Princes still - well them and Silver Helms. Yes they're impressive if you can get that flank/rear charge but what they're not going to do is allow you to roll over anything but the weakest units on a frontal charge. Unfortunately, playing as HE, I rarely seem to get a snifter of the possibility of a flank charge (and I have crappy luck rolling to see who goes first and often end up having to put my cav in a position to force a charge on them rather than staying away and getting shot to bits by cannon). I'd definitely advise taking a musician - as much for if you need to make a tactical withdrawal from an enemy charge as for losing one or two from shooting/magic.
Finding the points to have a decent prescence with units and characters can be tricky. I tend to run 3 characters - 1 prince or noble and 2 mages. Picking your magic items for them is generally the killer - trying to make sure they've got some sort of protection is generally my biggest concern.
Spearmen and Phoenix guard you want to take large amounts of. Spearmen for their 3 rank fighting, and Phoenix guard because they can potentially autobreak a unit in combat. I have ovverun many an enemy units with a solid block of 20 phoenix guard including BSB with Battle banner for the extra points to combat res. I guess you can run Swordmasters in small units. Though Myself i tend to have them chewed up in shooting before even reaching close combat, and then there are not enough of them to make a serious impact Even if they flank charge. White lions Im iffy on, depending on what shoots them.
If a Million Guardsmen die, that's a statistic. If one marine dies, that's a tragedy.
I think a lot of people like to play 2250 just because it allows them to take that extra cool unit that they really wanted but could never quite manage to fit into a 2000 point army.
Edit: Nevermind. Learned how to read and found my answer in the post.
Last edited by Regnal; March 31st, 2009 at 15:55.
depends on the size, generally large unit but in under 2 thousand small elite choices with 21 spearmen or soemthnig