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I’ve been checking out the forums, talking with people, and most importantly of all, goofing off at work. In between shuffling papers around on my desk and pretending to talk on the phone, I’ve found that almost all successful Warhammer Fantasy armies have eight things in common:
1. Don’t panic!
No, for the 42nd time, I’m not making a Douglas Adams reference. I’m saying the easiest way to lose the game is for your valuable units to panic and run out of position. To prevent this, use a general with a solid leadership score and keep a battle standard bearer nearby. Even if your army is fearless, a BSB is usually a good idea.
2. Two Wizards. No more, no less.
It’s important to have both a main powerful spellcaster and a smaller backup wizard. Anything less and you’re pressing your luck, and any more is a waste. Don’t forget the dispel scroll, either.
3. Equip characters to balance weaknesses
What type of units are your characters in? That, more than anything else, should determine what type of equipment they have. If their unit is only good at fighting lightly armored infantry, than give them a great weapon, or something similar. Not enough attacks? Build the character for anti-horde. If the unit has a low model count (like cavalry), then armor your character up, so they can absorb a lot of the damage that comes the unit’s way.
4. Basics first, extras later
Before adding special characters, monstrous mounts, or rare choices and such, make sure your army has at least three good units of close combat focused infantry. Their optimum size depends on how vulnerable they are, but it’s usually 30+ for normal infantry, 25 or so for more resilient units, and 15-20 for only the toughest infantry units.
5. Either dominate the shooting phase, or ignore it.
Interestingly enough, I’ve found that many armies can be quite successful with little to no shooting at all. Don’t get me wrong, war machines always help, and many armies can win games through shooting alone (Empire, Skaven, and Wood Elves to name a few), but having one or two small shooty units doesn’t seem to help as much as they used to.
6. Use at least two fast units: one powerful and one expendable
Although it’s been toned down a little, the new focus on warmachines and blocks of infantry make fast units (like cavalry) as important as ever. It seems to pay to take one or more expendable quick units for fighting war machines and assisting with flank charges, and one powerful unit of heavy cavalry, with at least one character attached, for tipping tough fights in your favor.
7. If there’s a really powerful and cheesy unit in your army book…use it.
Using Steam Tanks, Blood Crushers, Hydras, Teclis, Marauders, and Doom Wheels won’t win you any friends, but if you want to be competitive, you should really use at least one unit of them in every army. You’ll always be stronger with them than without them.
8. Fully painted armies win more battles.
Perhaps the owners of painted and based armies are simply more mature, and put more effort into the game …or perhaps the dice gods just prefer painted models. ^_^
Last edited by mynameisgrax; October 8th, 2010 at 19:14.
"Any job worth doing, is worth doing with a powerklaw."
Rep for you for taking the time to pass on these gems. I totally agree with most, but do find #5 a little too absolute. Personally, I always feel much better with myself when I have SOMETHING to do in the shooting phase - even if they don't contribute much. For some armies it is just a few points that can be a thorn in the enemy's side and they will expend effort to get rid of them.
Maybe rephrase to: If you can't dominate the shooting phase, don't waste points on shooting that may be spent better elsewhere.
This way I still get that small group of skirmishing bowmen I am so fond of... just don't go nuts with the points, since they may not kill much!