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Ok, so with the new book firmly installed in the collective subconscious what do you all think about the size of our units?
I have been building lists designed around units seven models wide. Usually five deep so a base size of thirty-five. I figure this suits our horde nature and means that we will be able to survive missile fire and still maintain a full rank bonus and probably outnumber when we land on the enemy side of the table.
Am I wrong to think this way? What size of unit are others using?
Very good question.
I personally believe that the only reason break from the "5 wide" norm, is to get extra attacks in. And this is to maximize kills in combat and hopefully eliminate waste because usually these types of troops are expensive. Swordmasters go 7 wide in small units, Super Cav units go in 6-7 wide (flesh hounds, chaos knights, etc.)
There isn't a single unit in the Skaven book that has the combat capability to justify 6 or 7 base width in my opinion except for Plague Censor bearers and they fall under the skirmish rules anyway. So I will stay with 5 wide for sure. Except for maybe my jezzails who may go 6 wide if I field that many.
everything else is not going to do much damage in combat and should rely on resilience, maximizing static res and inflicting casulties in other ways.
This still doesn't answer the question though. I wanted to field 30 strong units but found that I couldn't fit in as many units as I liked, so instead shifted to a 25+ stance. All my block units are 5x5 to start and have at least an extra rank or so of casualties. Remember that things like screaming bells and plague carts take up 15 bases, so if you include one, they also count towards rank and numbers.
five wide for me (except for with bell or furnace) for the above reasons on anything NOT killy... so clanrats, stormvermin (yeah they're our "elite" but still) slaves, nightrunners, globes,
six wide for plague monks and giant rats that rely on their special rules to try and get more attacks in.
I never run seven wide due to the negative impact on mobility (turning radius increases pretty significantly)
as for unit sizes, slaves are usually 20 or 21 (if you're worried about having one extra model to have to die for an early panic check)
Clanrats - 30 with command
stormvermin - 25 with command (pricey still)
plague monks - 24 to 30, depending on role and point availability, six wide
giant rats - 18, six wide
I always field slaves in units of 20. Everything else goes in units of about 25, maybe more but never less. As buck said, it's definitely best keeping them 5 wide, since most units will outfight the Skaven you want to keep fewer in contact, also giving you more ranks to fall back on.
"Well... that hurt" - Vampire Jon Skellan (Mannfred's right hand man) after being beaten up, falling down an underground waterfall and being impaled by a stalactite.
Clanrats suck in combat, so I maximize their ranks and go 25-30 if anything. The real power comes from ranks, outnumber and the weapon teams. With a Bell I'd go 6 wide just so I can fit in the command group.
Stormvermin can go 6 or 7 wide to get more swings in, Monks too. 7 or 8 if I have a Bell/Furnace. They're actually capable of doing damage, so I'll maximize their swings.
GRats I typically go 5 or 6 wide, since they're just flankers but basically get spears that always work so giving them more attacks is always nice, especially if they have Death Frenzy or poisoned attacks.
Eh, a couple S3 attacks aren't going to turn the tide, unless you have lots, like from Monks or Death Frenzy or spears/Grats, and poison never hurts.
That Warpfire Thrower will.
A guy I know used to play skaven with over 400 models in 2250. That was a horde to me. Just because you have big blocks, doesn't make it a horde army. If you literally cover your deployment zone with bodies, you have a horde. Don't worry about template weapons. They can destroy any ranked up unit. That's another reason to have multiple full strength units. Keep them cheap and plentiful That's why clanrats are so cheap. You can have 4 units of them 25 strong for next to nothing. Slaves are even cheaper. I think 25-30 is appropriate. You're going to take casualties, but if you have many, similar units, the opponent won't have the ability to hit all of them. You want the ability to be hit, hold (hence all the unbreakable stuff) and then hit is flank and literally "swarm" over him.
I think I am coming around. I have been through the other army list sections on LO and have totalled up the average number of units used at 2000 points. Generally it seems to run at around 7 per army with a decent spread between 5 and 9. That includes monsters and war machines as units.
If I have understood the discussion here properly. We need to not only pack more models but more units too. I'm not sure 2:1 is going to work so I am going to aim for something more along the lines of 13 units at 2000 points. You can be pretty sure that some of those larger unit number armies pack some small fast cavalry and other fragile units that a ranked up unit of slaves could deal with.
So I am going to revise my optimum down from 35 to 25. Although this means that individual units will be far more fragile, requiring only six wounds to lose their full rank bonus as opposed to 16 the profusion of units means that there will still be other fully bonused units on hand to do the work.
I may still take a peek at taking units of 30 of course depending on how the points work out.