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This thread is sure to stir up the ire of most TK players.
I see the magic banner item 'Icon of Rakaph' as basically being useless - and here's why:
(note -- I am pretty sure the Icon of Rakaph is the 'free reform before the turn' banner. If I've got it mixed up, then woops, you know which one I'm talking about.)
First and foremost is its limited unit use. If it is taken, it most likely goes into a Tomb Guard unit. Skeletons can make use of its effects, but only if an Icon Bearer is taken. While I love the Icon Bearer model and like using him on occasion, most TK players can generally agree (myself included) that an Icon Bearer is better replaced with a Prince or Liche. So let's assume that the Icon goes in a TG unit.
Secondly (and this is the big one) is its actual battlefield application. It allows the unit to take a free reform before the turn starts (including charges), in effect giving the unit 360 degree LOS for charges. It doesn't sound bad at first. It seems like a way to get the all important flank charge without needing to rely on an incantation that can always be dispelled. Except what exactly are you going to charge with its use? If you can see the enemy at the start of the turn and are in range, you can charge normally, so you wouldn't need the banner, thus the enemy has to be threatening our flank or rear for the Icon to be useful.
Enemy Rank n File (RiF)
You probably don't want to charge enemy RiF head on, or you'll likely get into protracted combat, in effect making your TG an anvil unit, which I think is not their purpose. Our cheaper Skeletons serve as our anvil. TG is more of a hammer and should be used to counter punch and flank. So in order to make favorable use of the Icon, we need to flank or rear charge them. To do this, the enemy has to have his flank/rear exposed to our flank/rear and be within 8" at the start of our turn (remember, we're taking the Icon to reduce our reliance on magic, so we'll limit our charge range to the basic 8").
The enemy probably will not willingly move into this position. The turn before, he will probably wheel or reform to face the TG. So the Icon would allow us to reform and charge the enemy head on - not what we want. On the rare occasion of an overrun, stupidity, or some sort of compulsory move effect, the enemy will get itself into the position we want, but it is unlikely. Also, it's unlikely that we will get this orientation ourselves unless we overrun/pursue from a previous combat because of our low movement value. This gives the TG unit an effect of En Passant against enemy M4 RiF. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/En_passant) The enemy probably will not give you the flank on flank orientation that you want and if you try to gain that orientation yourself, you'll probably be charged in the flank as you move up to achieve it.
Another threat would be fast flanking units like cavalry/chariots and the like screaming down the flanks of our unit or army. We don't necessarily need a flank charge against cavalry because they usually don't have the weight of numbers to sway combat like a RiF unit does, but they definitely do not want to charge us head on. Unfortunately, it's very unlikely that a good player would put his m7~9 flanker 8" or less away from our unit, knowing that he can charge 14"~18" in the next turn and we can't flee. So this means that using the Icon, we could reform for free to address the enemy flanking threat and move 4" closer to it before the enemy gets impatient and charges us in the face, or the enemy flanking unit decides to dance around us (easy if they are fast cavalry) and move into our flank area again for their next turn - which we'll reform using the Icon, move toward them 4" and so on and so forth until another unit (theirs or ours) steps in to force a combat. Without the Icon, we'd simply reform to face the enemy and the same thing would happen, we'd have to wait for another unit to step in to breakup the stalemate. We might have range to charge them if influenced magically, but taking the Icon is supposed to reduce the reliance on magic to get the charge. As with enemy RiF, we might get lucky and be in range to use the special effects of the banner if the enemy somehow overruns into range.
The other common threat is flanking skirmishers. Most skirmishers though are used for march blocking (not an issue to us) and harassment (Skinks, Empire Woodsmen, Waywatchers). Beastmen and Woodelves are the only two armies that I can think of that reliably have 'fighting' skirmisher type units (Beast Herds, Dryads and Wardancers - Squig Hoppers are fighting skirmishers but are a rarity in O&G armies that I see). Harassment skirmishers are typically very weak in combat and are best dealt with using a cheap Tomb Scorpions or Carrion - not your 300+ pt tricked out Tomb Guard unit. The harassers will probably flee when you declare a charge anyway. All the fighting skirmishers I mentioned are M5, so they should be out of range of our charge, though sometimes you will catch them off guard and they'll be within 8" of your flank so you can use the banner to get into combat. If they are Beastmen, they'll probably flee (I would) and now be privy to your sneak attack for later rounds. If they're Wood Elves, being immune to psychology, they can't flee so you'll probably bag yourself an enemy unit and a good chunk of Victory Points.
So to summarize, I think the niche use of the Icon of Rakaph is widely overrated. It would best be served in a Heavy Cavalry unit, but it's not allowed. I think you're better off giving Tomb Guard the War Banner to increase combat res, followed closely by the BotU to increase longevity.
I never want to charge into the face of enemy RiF with my TG unit, and always expect to be charged by enemy cavalry and skirmishers. In these cases, I would much reform to face the threat and accept a charge head on, survive one round of combat and then heal up and win through attrition or counter flank with Chariots/Ushabti/Giants/TG and annihilate the enemy - all of this can be done without the Icon of Rakaph.
That's all. Exhaustive, isn't it? Now discuss. And Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas to you too!I do agree that the War Banner is a better investment if the unit is unsupported i.e no character in the unit etc, but i cannot concur that it is useless. The Icon of Rakaph is not great in all armies and is not a match winner in and of itself but when it is combined with other elements in our army it can come into its own.I see the magic banner item 'Icon of Rakaph' as basically being uselessIt is, as you suggest above, most often employed with TG units, which only move 4" but are very capable of moving/charging 12" a turn when incantations/MWBD are used correctly. This will clearly outdistance most enemy infantry and equals the charge range of most 40mm basers too who must be closer than that if they wish to charge you. If you reform in your movement phase this is reuced to 8" charge in the magic phase.what exactly are you going to charge with its use?
The Icon reduces the need to spend valuable incantations on an aggressive TG unit. Sure a unit CAN reform in the movement phase and charge in the magic phase but it is a more effective use of our magical resource to let the Icon provide the reform and your movement phase, the move 4"/charge and possibly then, another charge in the magic phase!
The Icon is useful predominantly to allow you to utilise all of your movement in an aggressive direct fashion rather than wasting precious inches reforming/wheeling etc. This is particularly pertinent if you opt to pursue enemy units that flee which often leaves you behind your opponents battle line, forcing you to spend your following movement phase reforming normally. The Icon removes these wasted turns of movement.Totally agree, seems like what TG were designed to kill, Wardancers and Dryads are both powerful units they are ideal targets for a TG unit with the Icon. Being Immune to Psychology they can neither flee through choice or Fear and with rank bonus, good saves and the magic weapons and highish strength TG can really hit em where it hurts and cause them to flee.If they're Wood Elves, being immune to psychology, they can't flee so you'll probably bag yourself an enemy unit and a good chunk of Victory Points.
And what if enemies do flee? They will likely to be causing panic tests and disruption in their own ranks on following turns, which in turn can be beneficial to you so long as flanks are not exposed the unit is still pretty tough to take out.I run an Icon in a TG unit with a Tomb King carrying the DoE with 2 MWBD for movement and combat in the magic phase it can essentially operate as a skirmishing unit with full ranks and a really high damage potential, enough to break enemy ranked units on the charge in the front in my experience. In this case it operates as the hammer it should be. If forced into the anvil role by charging units it can also perform well with good saves in the ranks and a character that is capable of causing multiple wounds.You probably don't want to charge enemy RiF head on, or you'll likely get into protracted combat, in effect making your TG an anvil unit, which I think is not their purpose.
The TK's may be slow but their magic makes up for this, the icon adds a little more manoeuverability (which is of course different to speed) to its unit which IMHO is more than worth the investment for heavy hitting TG units. Defensive TG units are better off with the War Banner or the BotUL I suspect.
Last edited by LOTHAR-HEX; December 21st, 2007 at 17:08.
How do you expect to defeat me when I am forever and you are just a man...
I don't really have the time or energy to discuss this in huge detail, but MobiusPrime, I get the impression from your comments that you expect the enemy to know you have the icon. Surely one of it's major uses is to threaten a much larger area than the opponent is expecting? He assumes that being out of sight of the IoR-carrying unit means he is safe, and then you suddenly reform and face one of his units that he thinks is safe.
Obviously for tournaments and opponents that you regularly face with the same army this factor is probably not really relevant, but for the majority of my games my opponent won't know that my TG have a 360deg line of sight.
My regular opponents tend to keep away from this bad boy unit which is still really useful just in a different tactical sense!Obviously for tournaments and opponents that you regularly face with the same army this factor is probably not really relevant, but for the majority of my games my opponent won't know that my TG have a 360deg line of sight.
How do you expect to defeat me when I am forever and you are just a man...
I didn't really see the point of putting it on a TG unit, but I guess it does allow you to use your movement to get maximum distance (move up next to an opponent unit) in one turn, then reform and charge in the next. It allows you to spend your movement on moving rather than reforming, and gives an incantion to someone else. Not worth 40 points though IMO.
The main use I saw for it was on a unit of 20+ bow skeletons. Then you can spread them out to give them great use as shooters, and when combat draws near you can reform them into ranks for free. That would IMO be a better use than on a TG unit, though for the use of a character slot to employ an Icon Bearer it is completely not worth it.
So to sum up, I pretty much agree that it is a useless item, though might be good if it was cheap enough for core units to take. Though I believe that TG are a pretty much useless unit as well, so it really would have no use in any of my armies.
You guys need to read up on the unit facing and change formation rules.
I rarely need to reform a unit. If the enemy is threataning my flank, I'll face left for 25% of my move (1") and then I can still wheel a little or bring more models to the front with change formation (50% of move - 2") if I have an oblong unit shape.
In the case of archers, you can still shoot doing this move - and without penalty for moving because I'm a skeleton archer.
I think the point is that if you have the banner you can charge instead of just turning to face the enemy..