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I am planning on running with 10 SW inc a Standard, would it be advised to run them in a 7 3 formation rather than the 5x2 everyone would normally line a unit this size up in?
I think I would go wide rather than deep. Nobody should let them get to combat unscathed, against big bases I would even go 8 wide, want to maximise the damage they can do.
Take a musician for swift reform to take the charge or charge, against something narrow like a chariot or Brets.
I'd try to run with atleast 18, because I know i'm going to incur some casualties on the way in, and I want those guys to hit as hard as they can when they get to their target. 6x3, so I can lose 6 and still maintain full attack ability.
Nights Justice Space Marines
Eldar Eth Kariel Craftworld
Spear of Kurnous - High Elf Expeditionary Army
For Sword Masters you want to go as wide as the unit you want to get them into plus 2 models. i.e. if your target enemy unit is 5 wide, you go 7, if they're 10 wide, you go 12 (assuming that's not going to give you difficulties manoeuvring about the battlefield).
Sword Masters' forte is dishing out damage which means getting as many models in the front rank attacking as possible as you need to maximise your active combat res.
With the standard, unless you're planning on putting a magic banner in the unit (or planning for Blood and Glory) I'd suggest not bothering and finding 3 points somewhere for an extra Sword Master.
I take 2 units of 18 with full command. I have yet to flank charge with them and not win by enough to auto break. I take metal and give them a 3+ armor and life to give them t7. If i need overkill, i shoot for +1 to hit and AP. Hitting on 2s w/ rerolls at organ gun strength. Its baaaaaaad.
Keep in mind, this is barring my opponent having dispell ability.
10 is just wayy too little. keep in mind that they are only t3 armour 5+
Rothgar13 was pointing out that most competitive gamers have been using White Lion hordes, rather than Swordmasters. I must say, it seems reasonable that you would use Lions, just because of the +2 to their save against shooting. The concept of an army that features 2 units of 50 Spearmen, and 2 units of 30 White Lions for 1800pts is somewhat depressing to me, it would be incredibly powerful, but hardly fun at all.
Swordmasters do kill more than the White Lions though. You want width over depth for them usually, so if you have 15, you'd be better off with 14 (7x2). You want to have at least 2 ranks (counting the front) because Swordmasters usually fight from the flanks, so you may as well have enough full ranks to negate the enemy rank-bonus (it won't do anything for steadfast). Also along those lines, you don't need a Standard Bearer unless you're using him to carry a magic banner, because you'll benefit from the banner in your Spear regiment. You only need a musician to give you the quick reforms, but you don't even need that if you're short on points.