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Ok, after analysing a recent army list, i have decided to make this thread. It will be stickied, for quick and easy access to your posts. Basically, if you have a point which you make a lot when commenting on army lists, then make a post here and include your thoughts in it. Then, instead of explaining, being questioned and reiterating a point each time, you can just put a link to this thread (directly to your post)
Personally, i have a number of opinions to get down here:
Skeletons: Bowmen vs HW/S vs Spears / Command
Skellies are the Core to many TK armies, but what are they worth?
Personally, i always use Bowmen, in large units of atleast 20. These give me some ranged ability other than the SSC early in the game, and are good for shooting small units, skirmishers or killing the odd infantry to deny the enemy a rank bonus. Whatever their formation, they will all get to shoot at large targets or enemies on a hill, handy for putting wounds onto Giants and the likes, and holding their own in a shootout vs enemy troops. When the enemy gets closer, they reform into a combat block, ready to take enemy charges and act as a sponge or to see them off with Fear and Numbers. So, thats the Bow skellie, but wy dont i choose the option of Armour? or get some more attacks?
Well, it all comes down to personal opinion. If you swap the Bow for a HW, you lose your ranged capability, but gain a save in combat. This can help them act as a better sponge, but more often than not youll be facing S4+ enemies, so your save gets negated. And whatever you do get to roll has a low chance of being saved, whatever losses are taken can always be healed back later if need be. Without the bows or spears though, youll only ever be using this unit purely defensively, as their low number of attacks wont hurt a lot.
Then we come to Spears. This upgrade costs you an extra point per skellie, but you gain a second ranks of attacks when charged, so its a good thing for defensive units then? Well.. not exactly. The skellies take the charge, the enemy attacks first and will probably deal quite a bit of damage. Your save is even worse than with HW/S. SO by the time you get to attack back, chances are quite a few of your skellies have already fallen. The few that do get to attack back wont do much damage, if any. Any enemy with WS5 OR T4 OR a 4+ Sv or better, will easily shrug you off, and even against the average enemy youll probably only score a wound at most. So, back to bows. The best defence is a good offence, and i think removing enemy numbers before they get to you, rather than after they charge you, is always a better idea.
All of these skellies have the option of Light Armour. Dont bother with it on Bowmen, easily negated and rarely saved. On Spearmen it brings your save in combat in line with HW/S so dont bother, especially as this now makes them the most expensive choice points wise. The only unit that should have LA are the HW/S warriors, this gives them a decent save in combat. Again, it is often negated down to 5+ or worse, but if you do want HW/S Warriors to act as the best sponge available then i recommend taking it.
Now, on to Command options.
There is always a Musician in my 20+ Bow units. Many people have questioned this, but i stick with it. As TK never flee, it only ever comes in in the case of a drawn combat. If the enemy doesn't have a Musician then they will be taking a Break Test, which with a large unit of skellies against them will likely be needing an Insane Courage roll to stay put. If the enemy also has music, then its still drawn, fair enough, but if I didn't, id lose a Skellie, which costs more than the Music, so its made its points back already. Therefore, id always recommend a Musician for any Skellie unit that is atleast 20 strong (Including Characters)
Standard Bearers. Personally they are a no, just incase I ever have to throw away a skellie unit. If a banner was captured by the enemy too then it gives them 100 Victory Points, not good. If you go with Spears or HW/S however, then take a banner too, as both units need all the Cres they can get. The HW/S warriors acting as your best sponge, shouldnt be crumbling fast to many enemies. And the Spearmen need it to add to the Cres from their numbers and attacks.
Finally, a Champion. Never take one in any unit, except if you have a Prince or King in a skellie unit, and some points left over, and want something to take Challenges in their place. OR if you know before hand that you will be facing a Character mounted on a Monster, then put Champions in all your Skellie units and use them to challenge the enemy Character. If the Champ dies, just heal him back, as well as some of the skellies lost through resolution, and use the unit to pin the likely expensive and deadly enemy character in place for the rest of the game. Who knows, if youre lucky then the enemy may even have a bad turn, and the skellies will win the combat!
Hierophant protection: Cloak of the Dunes
The one guy in our army that you really cant afford to have killed, many peoples instinct reaction for protection is o throw some sort of save at him, usually in the form of the Collar or Golden Ankhra.
These 4+ Ward saves, in general, wont save you from much, and come at a cost. Take the Collar and it severely limits the movement of your Priest, hence limiting the effective range and use of his incantations. The GA (on a LP) also indirectly limits movement as he will be unable to be given the chance to fly. On a HLP you have the allowance for additional items too so he can be given this protection and the flying ability, but the protection is pretty costly and with the Cloak too, the GA shouldn't really be needed anyway so long as you're careful and clever.
If you take a Cannonball hit, there is a 50% chance the priest will survive (ish...) when given a 4+ Ward. But wouldnt you rather not take that risk of failure in the forst place? Same thing against missiles, Killing Blow, Poison, there are plenty of dangers out there to sneak up on you. All the opponant has to do is to cause 2 wounds, meaning that in general 4 wounding hits are needed from missiles (3 / 6 for a HLP). Facing 20 skinks at close range with Poison, that save suddenly became a large waste of points.
So, what to do?
Well, the standard equipment for a Hierophant is the Cloak of the Dunes. Having the ability to fly is fantastic, increasing his movement 5-fold, or more considering he can now move over other units and terrain. Using this, you can generally always make sure that your valuable Priest is safe from harm, either by keeping him behind your own units, behind terrain, or even behind enemy units! Just always make sure that no Bolters, Cannons, Missile troops or even other Mages with Magic Missiles are able to target him. It sounds like a lot of things to be avoiding, but between positioning of your own army and the opponents, then most of these will be shut off by other units anyway.
Remember also that 3/4 of the key TK incantations require no line of sight (and the Magic Missile is rarely used anyway) so you can sit behind a forest an easily support your forces from there. And if the Priest is out on the Flank assisting your Chariots, but things go wrong and the Chariots crumble, then the Priest can be quickly brought to safety by flying back towards your main army ready to help out with his incantations there.
Chariots: Unit config
Gonna keep this simple and short:
If you have a unit of 3 Chariots, keep them naked.
If you go for 4, add a Standard.
If youre adding a Character, add a Standard and Magic banner and possibly Music.
Ushabti: Unit config
If your army size is 1K or less, and you want Ushabti, then a unit of 3 is fine. However, anything above 1K deserves taking a unit of 4. In larger games, 3 Ush are just unable to take a charge from any decent opposing unit and stil be able to hit back hard. With 4, you can lose one model and still swing back with a lot of power. Ofcourse, make sure you use spells wisely to keep them surviving, and if you can magic in a charge, even better!
My words, taken from another thread, concerning...
Tomb Guard are essentially Skeleton Warriors that can actually fight. At a cost of +3 points (over HW/S/LA skellies) they have: +1WS, +1S, +1T, +1I, +5Ld, and Magical Weapons with Killing Blow. Not bad eh? To me atleast, on paper, it looks amazing.
Now im going to dig a little deeper, unearth the points that are perhaps less than obvious when simply choosing an army list from the army book.
Generally when i see an army list containing TG, it is one of two types:
- A list with a large TG unit to house the General, supported by skellie warriors (for which i suggest 2 units of 20 bowmen w/ music).
- A list with few numbers and little killing power, with just one large TG unit, supported by Light Cav, small skellie archer units, etc.
The first setup i fully support and encourage. The second is the type of list i have a "problem" with, and the reason is simple; TG are not the most effective choice for the army! Why is that?
When used in list type 1, as an anvil unit supported by numbers their increased T over normal skellies makes them a great choice, as they can act as a "sponge", taking fewer casualties and dealing a little damage in return.
When used in list type 2, the problem comes in the fact that +3pts per model quickly adds up! Compare 20 skellie bowmen for 160pts to 20TG for 240pts. Add to that the usual full Command and Magic banner, join in the usual DoE King and thats a massive 600pts of your army! All contained in a nice little 5"x5" square... with M4. If the enemy doesnt want to meet that "powerhouse" in combat then its really not that hard to avoid.
Wait... why the use of "s around powerhouse? Well, lets take out the King for a moment (He could also be granted to a similar sized skellie unit). Whats left? A 300 point unit with WS3, S4 T4 and KB.
I think the major issue is Killing Blow. Its ruling means that in most games, its vital role is played as a Character Killer, this is why our Scorps are so good. Generally youll see TG ranked 5 wide, and lets give them a champion too.
So you have 6 Attacks at WS3. Dont nearly all TK players slate the Bone Ginat for having a "poor" WS3? So TG hit as well as a BG... fantastic!
Once half of your attacks have hit (good average) then you have 3 rolls to wound. Lets say a KB, 1W and 1 fail. So thats 2 wounds youve put out. And im being generous on the maths, And thats if you strike first!
Lets face it, M4 is... poor. And I3 isnt anything special. Especially given the blanket ASF rules, Hatred + High Init, etc that were seeing now. Chances are with just a 4+Sv, youve already taken a casualty or two yourself.
So that powerhouse unit doesnt really look so strong anymore... What other options do we have? What possible replacement could there be that fills the necessary roles, but better?
As most TK players should be aware, TKs are an army where the sum is far far greater than any individual piece. Each unit has a specific role, and (generally) must be played together with each other unit for maximum effect. Your Liche Priests form the core of the army and everything works optimally off their backs.
So rather that the TG unit, lets try a unit of Skellie Warriors (with bows, for preference) and (the recommended number of) 4 Ushabti. The Skellies give you cheap numbers in combat, for static combat res and sponging. The key bit is comparing Ushanti to TG in combat. You lose KB and gain... +1WS, +2Str (S6 striking in Init order!), +1M, and +2Ld. Also the front of a standard Ushabti unit puts out 12 WS4 S6A compared to the 6 WS3 S4A from the TG. Who needs KB when you have a -3Sv mod? Against standard enemies atleast. As i said earlier, KB is best saved for assassination.
So there we go, the major downside of Ushabti is that it tries to combine two rare and key roles required in a TK army, and falls a bit short of both objectives. And when yopu can have one unit crawling into combat, or two units able to work independantly and/or come together to achieve the same objective but better, the natural choice for me atleast is to leave the TG in the case...
Last edited by Phoenix; August 4th, 2009 at 16:56.
Another that might be worth discussing:
3 or 4 Ushabti
I seem to see a lot of units of 3 Ushabti in 2k lists...
There is nothing more annoying when your Wyches with Plasma Grenades get "Always strikes First" for their combat drugs!
Good thread idea Pho, just thought i'd throw a couple of my own ideas into the mix!
1. My own thoughts on Bow Skellies...
Completely agree with everything Pho said although i think that a skellie champ is never a waste of points it will almost always suck up enemy attacks in challenges whether they be from a mere enemy champ or a Bloodthirster, they are especially useful in a unit containing a mummy (TP or TK) as their attacks are needed to thin enemy numbers for CR.
I usually give one of my 2 x 20 man skellie bow units a standard, purely so they can take advantage of the BotUL when using a TK, that extra bound is great for unit rebuilding or sucking up dispel dice, normally however the Std Bearer is a bit of a points liability.
Finally on the subject of skellie bowmen, you should rarely, if ever be charging in solo with these guys, the same is kinda true for armoured skellies. The unit will have to go through two turns of combat before any raising can be done. If they are charged you have a magic phase to heal the damage and raise your champ back before the second round of fighting. This simple tactic can be game turning and at the very least it will extend the combat life of your tarpits; this is especially useful if you have support units out of position. Bow units are better at provoking the enemy into charges because they offer greater offensive threat and seem relatively weak on defense.
2. Ushabti Unit Size
Speaking from personal experience 4 are infinitely better than 3. Against ranked up units you will get all four into base contact and you should also achieve this when flanking against 4 ranks, which is when the Ushabti really shine. They are undoubtedly one of the priority units for opponent missile fire which they are vulnerable against, so more wounds is again a plus, it gives you more time to heal the unit when it takes damage so it requires much less micromanagement. Also when you take the math into account.
12 Attacks = 6 Hits = 5 Wounds(usually unsaveable)
This will equal a fully ranked up units static res of 3 ranks, standard and outnumber. Whilst these figures are based on average rolls against WS 4 or higher troops it suggests that the Ushabti can go toe to toe with full units on their own if the option to charge head on presents itself. Also with more wounds the Ushabti can more feasibly receive a charge without being completely destroyed in one turn.
They are a large points investment in either setup but you get so much more for your points with four!
That'll do for now, i think we need something about the casket as well due to the new armies on the scene, i think one die casting of VC raising and Daemon Magicks makes it fairly necessary now.
How do you expect to defeat me when I am forever and you are just a man...
I have to disagree with Lothar about champs in skeleton units. Unless you want the champ to protect a character, or you for some reason really want that extra attack, the champ has no use.
This is because of how overkill interacts with how we take extra wounds from CR. If you use our champ to accept a challeng from another unit champ and he absorbs one wound, he did what any normal skellie could do. If he takes two, then the unit still takes the extra wound because of how overkill adds to CR which makes us lose extra wounds.
So unless your fighting against a character that could do more than 5 wounds, there is really no point in a champ unless it is protecting a character.
"I am the architect of fate!"
2 Wounds on a Champ = Dead Champ + 2 Crumble
2 Wounds on a unit = 2 Dead + 2 Crumble, you lose one more.
So in a way, a Champ is always a better option i guess, if youre willing to make the Challenge against other unit champs. However, generally points are just spent better elsewhere i think.
If you run skellie bow units you do not usually want them in combat but when they get there you usually want them to hang around as long as possible, champions can help to facilitate this.
I always challenge with him, i expect him to take the hit/s and die, thats what he is there for, he is only ineffective in his role when he takes just a single wound, any more than that (as illustrated above) and he is saving you combat losses AND improving the units staying power by safeguarding elements of your static CR, whether that be for outnumbering or for ranks which can make all the difference in a close fight, the outnumber bonus in particular is vital for us and is in effect a two point CR advantage as your opponent may lose a point whilst you gain it!
Over the course of a game you can raise this guy back too, so over several turns the saving in models/points lost can work out to be quite a sum and possibly means the unit needs less attention in the magic phase, he can also cut an opposing characters damage potential in half by absorbing wounds.
Overall for the v.low cost incurred you get another tactical option to prolong the life of your unit, and against monsters and mounted nasties he is invaluable in keeping your unit in the fray long enough so that help can arrive. Without him we lose one of the best tactical options we have for delaying the inevitable against Bloodthirsters and the like in the Combat phase.
Last edited by LOTHAR-HEX; July 19th, 2008 at 18:18.
How do you expect to defeat me when I am forever and you are just a man...
Not to argue with the experts or anything but I disagree. I can see the reasoning for using bowmen, heck, i do the same, but i always give a full command and here is why:
Champion: Takes challenges, potential to waste enemy attacks, gives you 1 more attack in the front rank in an army who's playing style is a battle of attrician (appologies for poor spelling)
Standard B.: This guy is pivotal. 10 points for +1 combat resolution every turn, he saves a skeleton every turn unless you win a combat, he is vital to any army.
Musician: I agree here with phoenix, when the time comes, he saves u 8 points for 5 points, however surely this applies to the standard who every turn saves you 8 points per turn for a one time payment of 10 points.
Also, concerning the Cloak of Dunes... i would normally use:
Liche Priest - 160
Liche Priest - 165
Cloak of D
This gives you an extremely mobile liche priest with extra chance to cast for when you have a bad roll, and then your hiero, despite your previous remarks, still has a 50% to shrug off attacks and i would then probably keep him in a big block of bowmen for range to stay away from combat or h/w for survivability (another great reason to take a champion) in this case, even if your hiero ends up in combat (very bad) average troops: 4+ hit 4+ wound 4+ he doesnt die 3 models 1 attack each, i make that 37.5% chance of a wound every combat.
But heck, I've always been one for debating, please argue with my points, I'll probably be putting up a 1000pts armylist up too (on a different thread ofc)
Thanks for the reply Its great to get a different perspective on things. Just one small thing in response:
Firstly thankyou for your speed reply, its nice to see my opinion is heard-out too.
I would like to ask you about a style of play called Anvil and Hammer. The idea is to take a 30-man block of skeletons with full command, h/w shields and banner of undying legion as an "anvil" unit. You then take a unit of chariots, a tomb scorpion, or even a unit of tomb guard with a champion and a "Hammer" unit. You charge/ get charged with the unit of skeletons who play a battle of attrician (spelling again) with enemy until in the next turn when the "Hammer" unit smashes from side or rear. This does serious damage and i want your opinion as to whether it could be a viable tactic in games as low as 1000pts, where our poor skeleton's necessity for general and hiero dominate the points. Assuming this is effective would this not easily win back the 100 points lost assuming the unit dies. Also in small battles of 1000pts i see no problem as numbers will be few and casting concentrated
P.s. being new to this, could u explain the credit system, i have 238 at the moment.