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Not a rules question per-se, but more around what the optimum rank width is for certain types of units, against ther units.
Example sceanrios -
20mm bases vs 25mm bases
25mm bases vs 40mm bases
As an example, for High Elf Spearelves, against enemy cavalry, a unit that is 5 wide will be in B2B with 6 of the enemy, as will a unit that is 6 wide, so obviously the optimum width to get the max attacks and rank bonus whilst minimising the number of attacks back is 6...
Depends on the unit. My gnoblars, I will try to get 6 wide purely so I don't and up with almost 8 ranks back. My ranged troops, I'll place in a long line unless I get a hill (but even then...). My ogres, I will place no wider than 4. Everything else, 5.
Is that what you mean?
Hard question to answer really, it always depends upon the units involved and the situation.
Ok fair enough. I suppose we could start discussions for each individual units, but that belongs in teh tacticas sections of the main book. For certain troops, for exampl Sword masters, 7 seems to be the standard - it means that you can get 7 men in to attack against even a 5-width unit on frontage, which is the best way to get combat res with these boys - thats 14-15 attacks from a single unit.
Poor quality troops, such as swordsmen, halberdiers and other defensive troops which again rely on static res, I would say that the extra single attack that you are getting is less important than having a narrow formation to prevent the enemy getting so many men into the combat. Same would go for spears, as generally the additional attacks are not worth it. As stated it depends upon enemy - against a cavalry squadron 6 wide you may as well have a formation with of 6 as long as rank bonus isn't hit.
Similar rationale with Ironbreakers and Phoneix Guard - these guys are resilient against attacks beyond their ability to dish out pain, and against other elites, and cavalry especially - you want to minimise the number of attacks that hit them as S4 won't do as much damage as attack denial...vs. Cavalry or 25 mm bases, I would opt for a width of 6 (which allows as many to get base to base or corner to corner as a width of 5) as long as rank bonus was not adversely impacted
Drop that to 5 when attacked by enemies such as Ogres with 40 mm bases, as then only 4 models of the enemy can attack - if the width was 6, then you are bringing in another model...
I'm going to restrict my thoughts to infantry since rank issues rarely apply to cavalry units.
As far as models on 20mm bases go, it's a compromise between active and static combat res. Specialised troops (sucha as Swordmasters) are often too expensive to build up into a full block for static res, so it's more effecient to go for active res instead. This is where the 7-wide formation comes in. You can still get your entire frontage into combat against a 5-wide infantry block, which hopefully said elite unit will chop to pieces. Basic units which are less potent in combat are usually better served by maximising their static res, thus requiring smaller ranks of 5 (or maybe 6 if the troops are really cheap).
Models on 25mm bases can achieve the same by forming up 6-wide. Infantry on these bases (e.g. Chaos Warriors) tend to be somewhere in between the basic and specialised infantry on smaller bases. In this case, it's easier to get a balance of static and active combat res - 6 wide and 3 deep, for example.
As for 40mm bases, well, it's prohibitively expensive to build units with rank bonus so it's all about the active combat res. There's little point in ranking them up more than 3-wide. Granted, if a 4-wide unit came up against a unit ranked in 7's, you'd get an extra model into the fray but such a unit is likely to be elite and the extra troll/ogre/treekin will probably make little difference.
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