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Im always torn between giveing my Sauras Warriors Spears or keeping the Hw/Shield.
On one hand we have the parry save.
On the other hand we have an extra rank of attacks at an extra 1 point per model.
My questions are these:
Which situations is one setup more benefitial than the other?
Does unit size affect which is better?
Would you take a unit of each to cover your bases?
In your experiences, which setup does better?
I agree with Sir K you have to take more men to make the spears work, which cost more than the just 1pt each. Also i find large blocks of 10 wide S/W to big and difficult to get round the battlefield with all this terrain etc. With hw/sh you can use a smaller block of 30 stick in a scar vet and you have a tough unit. I've had hw/sh units take Hydra's, Hell pits with an even chance of winning. Normally most opponents have to use magic to debuff the S/W to give them a chance of winning combat.
In my experience playing with both has it's advantages here and there, but ultimately if you want a solid block of core troops with good sustainability and decent offensive ability, hand weapon & shield is the way to go. Backed up by life magic you wind up with a 4+/6++ unit with T6-T8 hitting back at S4. Not many other core choices top this, aside from chaos warriors who are much more expensive.