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Viability of RxBs - When is too much? 
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Dark Rider
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Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2004 4:21 pm
Posts: 129
Location: Singapore
Hello,

I just had a 4 straight games with my DE list.

Here it is:

Lvl 4 Sorc on Dark Pegasus with Lifetaker, PoK, Focus Familiar
Lvl 2 Sorc with Sac Dagger, DS
Master on CO, Sword of Battle and POS

10 X RxBs Shields
10 X RxBs Shields

5 X DR with RXB, Music
20 X Spears, FC, Warbanner, Shields

5 X CoKs, FC, Standard of Slaughter
6 X Shades, GW, LA
15 X BG, SoHG, Crimson Death, FC

1 X Hydra
2 X RBT

-----------------------------------------

My opponents are all veterans at the game, knowing how to effectively use terrain to block LOS and undermine my strength, which was shooting.

I try to deploy my rxbs on hills, but with a range of 24, they do not get to shoot at the units I really want them to shoot(think obstructed firing lanes).

When I deploy them in a straight row of ten, they block up the little open lanes I have, leaving my melee troops unable to deploy effectively. I wouldn't want to put them in front of my melee troops, but in rows of tens I end up blocking myself.

Knowing this, are 2 units too much?

I thought of a possible solution:

R for RXBS
B for Black Guard

RRRRRRRRRR
BBBBB
BBBBB
BBBBB

When the enemy gets close enough, say 2 turns before contact, I could reform my Rxbs to the right, giving my BGs ample time to move into position for the imminent combat. Then, I would use my rxbs to counter charge on the flank.

Problem is this, is that I lose up to 2 turns of shooting, and we all know how good it feels lobbing 20 close range crossbow bolts at 4+ feels like.

I effectively cut my shooting prowess by half, for at 1/3 of the game.

On the added note, by using them as flankers, and shooters(for 1-2 turns), am I fully utilizing my assets to the maximum potential?

Or should this liability, if I should call it as such be scrapped and more melee units be thrown into the fray?

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Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:01 am
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Corsair
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Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2008 10:00 pm
Posts: 8726
Location: Hag Graef
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2 units are great.
You can keep your whole army close to your starting lines with your RXBmen on hills,
or you can use them as they should, i.e. softening the opponent and later, providing a hand in melee, just like you say.
Don't consider that you "loose" shooting, their role is not only shooting but also melee. When you keep them on a hill, you "loose" melee, don't you?

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Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:07 am
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Dark Rider
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Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2004 4:21 pm
Posts: 129
Location: Singapore
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Understood.

I guess I was too engrossed with the fact that these are crossbows and should be shooting and not doing anything else.

However, by putting them on hills, that would mean that they are usually further away from the action, and usually in long range territory.

All that said, I think I expect too much out of my archers. Heh.

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Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:15 am
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Malekith's Best Friend
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 3:40 am
Posts: 1004
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I think two units provides a tough but not OTT level of shooting.
With 6" of table I can usally find enough room to deploy my archers comfortably.
The trick is to consider where units will be moving during the battle and thus placing archers so that their LoS is not compromised.
Sometimes terrain can make things challenging.
Don't be afraid to put your archers further out and then spend the first turn marching to get a better position. Hitting on 6's is pretty lousy anyway

While Dark Elves are a fairly elite army and thus can easily all huddle up on one side of the board many armies like Orcs, Skaven, Empire will be forced to spread out.
I find placing a single unit of Archers or a bolt thrower on your far flank can be a good way of holding up enemy troops as they can't ignore it but don't want to send off half their army to take it down either.

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Sun Mar 21, 2010 10:01 am
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Malekith's Personal Guard
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Joined: Sun May 21, 2006 8:34 pm
Posts: 828
Location: Glade of Kings or Ghrond.
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2 units is perfectly fine, 3 units is quite alot, 4 is too much imo.

Dont forget to add the RxB's of Dark Riders and Shades (and CoC's), so even with only 2 units most DE lists can reach a quite high output of RxB shots per turn.


Sun Mar 21, 2010 11:27 am
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Executioner

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:06 am
Posts: 153
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2 units are never too much. I played an Indy GT (Lonewolf in TX) last week and the two units of RXBs with shields were one of my best units and played an essential role protecting my RBTs. In fact, I'm so disappointing with corsairs as a screen for my BG unit (which is vulnerable to shooting and magic until in combat and needs a screen) that I played this Saturday with a third unit of RXBs with shields to screen my BG unit and move and shoot in front of the unit BG.

I also found in simulation and in play-testing that the extra AS of the shields almost always more than paid for itself and, with proper deployment, my RXBs got shots off at something of value nearly every turn. Additionally, with shields, the 4+ AS with handweapons in close combat actually worked quite well in holding ground and even winning combat, especially with a stand and shoot reaction depleting the charging unit. There are a lot of fast cav and medium cav, horde units (lower T and lower As), other lower T and lower As units (even BG and WE units), and low T flying units in the current game that RXBs can take down with near impunity. Getting 2 shots per turn at BS 4, S3, -1 AS can do a lot of damage to lower T and lower AS units even with the move and shoot, long range, and multishot penalties. For example, last week, a unit of flagellants (Empire) was so shot up it never got to attack my RXB unit and a unit of 20 HE swordsmen was so depleted and then shot up on the charge that I actually had the outnumber advantage and, with the 4+ AS, got in more wounds and killed the unit with only the loss of 2 RXBs out of 10. Yesterday, I even managed to put two wounds on a bloodthirster with heavy armour with a couple of units of RXBs, which then allowed my RBTs to finish it off in two turns.

That being said, you need hard combat units (usually BG with a master and BoHG is most effective), RBTs (to hit harder), and hydras to be effective and act as additional threats to protect the RXB units. Also, harpies and dark riders (with RXBs) are essential components to march block (to slow down the advance while the RXBs get their shots in), to protect the flanks and units, and attack enemy artillery units (bolt throwers, cannons, etc.).

Frankly, I've not been impressed with shades (too lacking in T and AS for the cost), especially against opponents smart enough to deploy so as to take away the scout advantage. One of my RXB units with shields killed off a unit of shades and assassin too easily before they ever got close enough to be a threat.


Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:17 pm
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Malekith's Best Friend
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Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2007 8:31 pm
Posts: 3023
Location: The Tower of Dust
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olderplayer wrote:
2 units are never too much. I played an Indy GT (Lonewolf in TX) last week and the two units of RXBs with shields were one of my best units and played an essential role protecting my RBTs.


I don't use RBT so mine are free to run all over the table. Move 5 and shoot is very useful for running down flanks and redeploying to stop opposing loose characters and fast cav. March 10 and meat shield for the sorc while she cast's is also very effective.

olderplayer wrote:
Frankly, I've not been impressed with shades (too lacking in T and AS for the cost), especially against opponents smart enough to deploy so as to take away the scout advantage. One of my RXB units with shields killed off a unit of shades and assassin too easily before they ever got close enough to be a threat.


Yep, mine are for sale at the moment. 10 RXB with shields and a muso is my most useful small unit in the game for DE. DR are nice but will get shot off the table by RXB. I use more witches now to exploit the CoB, a unit of CoKs as a firepower sink and hydra as heavy flanker. The rest of the army is RXB in units of 10 without shields and 15+ with FC and shields, small disposable spear units and harpies.

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Wed Mar 24, 2010 6:05 am
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Malekith's Personal Guard

Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2010 2:50 pm
Posts: 890
Location: Kittenmarsh
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I was thinking that 2 units of 8 or 10 is ideal so long as you move your melee thru pinch points, and then move and turn the xb's so that they can get into position. Even if you have nothing to do, you want to move forward so that you'll be out of CHARGE, but able to set up for flanking shooting or stand and shoot. Either way, if you can set it up, they have TOUGH choices to make.

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Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:06 pm
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