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Trainee Warrior
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In this thread I am going to outline my general plan for my budding Dark Elf army. Your input would be greatly appreciated! I am not familiar with, for example, the staying power of a block of Dark Elf warriors, so your experience and wisdom will be most welcome. Secondly, I should point out that I am unfamiliar with the new set of rules, seeing as I have not played warhammer for over five years now. This means I could be coming up with suicidal strategies thinking they are the best thing since the phalanx - please call me up on these! :D

The plan is essentially to ape Alexander the Great (more or less - probably less! :lol: ), in that I will base the army around a few solid blocks of infantry. These units are to advance, hopefully forcing the enemy to engage. I will have smaller, hard hitting, units on the flanks, the plan being that they will charge home into the exposed flanks of the engaged enemy units, breaking them. I will have missile and magical units to support the army, and thin out the enemy ranks before battle is joined.

Obviously, for the infantry core I will need some infantry with reasonable staying power. I am thinking of using dark elf warriors armed with spears and shields for this task; the shield will give them a little more staying power and the spears allow more elves to fight back.

For the hard hitting flanking units, I am thinking that two units of around ten executioners should do the trick. Cold One Knights would be ideal if I could trust them not to go stupid, but that will never happen. I shall definately take some, but their role will be to ghost around my flanks and engage any enemy cavalry or fast units who are threatening my own flanking forces. I will try and squeeze in some crossbowmen to carry this role as well, but I have no idea how many points this is all going to cost.

I intend to take some dark riders for the annoyance value they hold; they will be useful for hitting enemy war machines, wizards and missile units, as well as drawing enemy units out of position and out of the fight, or into the path of another of my units. Some bolt throwers would be a lovely addition, mainly because I love the model but also for dealing with nasty enemy monstrous creatures and skewering ranks of infantry :twisted: . I have absolutely no idea what characters I will take - I will need to wait until I have purchased the army book for that!

So, can you please cast your expert eyes over this, and let me know where my plan fails? Thank you, and don't go easy on me! Point out the flaws! Tell me where I am wrong!!! :D

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Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:17 am
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Cold One Knight

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Just a quick post seeing as I've had a few beers!

Executioners are a lovely unit to work with but using them in units of ten as flankers brings both positive and negatives.

Firstly: the limited amounts of attacks (provided your not up against frenzied chaos warriors of Savage Orc Boy Big Un's) means that the enemy "should not" kill too many of them, allowing your strikes back to be reasonable. However, the biggest problem is they will probably kill some, so you won't be disrupting their ranks, thus you have to make sure you will be winning combat by enough to break them (based on the principal you will have more ranks than them).

Dark Elf spearmen as a phalanx formation are not too bad at all, depending what your up against. Versus most infantry forces they will hold their own but facing against anything strong (see mentioned units above) they will be lucky to hold their ground even with the benefits of COB wardsaves etc.

I wouldn't worry too much about COK's stupidity. Yes they will fail it occasionally but the sticking them close to the BSB will negate the biggest threat of this. On the thread of all things stupid - Cold One Chariots can work wonders as supporting units due to the fact they are cheap, tough, have some shooting and are considerably powerful on the charge.

The biggest problems i can forsee, and by no means am i saying this is these are hard and fast problems you will encounter is the fact that your phalanx's are going to be awfully obvious targets for the enemy.

Anything using a template is going to do LOTS of damage to your precious elves and at the points cost, they come in slighty too high to be used in huge horde formations regardless! (Unlike things like TK Spearmen or Skaven Clanrats).

Even against armies that bring no templates you could find yourself in trouble: depending on your support elements?

Big units of nasty enemy infantry will be troublesome: as skilled as us Druchii are, the weakling masses of spearmen are slightly better than mediocre in the Warhammer world, not elite.

How many RXB's do you plan to bring? Shades? COB? Etc, etc and so on and so forth.

Bolt Throwers are not generally regarded as worthwhile in 8th edition (lots of Toughness 8 monsters: Arachnarok, Necrosphinx etc). Might as well be shooting dozens of RXB's and trying to wound on 6's rather than a single bolt! Still, some die hard's still like them so you might be able to shoe horn a few in.

Other than that i can't really say much! (I could, but it would be nonsense!). if you haven't checked it out, DRAICH is a brilliant source of information for new DE players and Old Vet's alike (written by much greater General's than I, may i add). And get yourself the army book!

Looking forward to hearing some more from you. Welcome, Brother, to the Dark Side.



Kindest Regards

D

Edit: Formatting Errors.
2nd Edit: More Formatting Errors (My home brew beer is Strong!)

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Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:32 am
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Cold One Knight

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Khainite units witches and executioners are stubborn within 12" of a cauldron these along with inately stubborn Black Gaurd could form your centre.

Alternately spearmen with and Dreadlord with Crown of command and Pendant could be difficult to shift.

Spears on their own won't hold for very long unless they have far more ranks than the enemy to preserve steadfast or the enemy is using average troops.


Thu Nov 17, 2011 10:41 am
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Generalissimo
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Quote:
The plan is essentially to ape Alexander the Great


Alexander relied very heavily on units of elite cavalry (e.g. the companions) within his army, usually on the centre flanks. The closest fit for our army would be Cold One Knights, so if you really want an alexander-esque theme then you should probably take these. You can mitigate the risk of stupidity in numerous ways now, including:

- Standard of Discipline in the unit (+1 leadership).
- Put a Dreadlord as a general in or near the unit.
- Put the BSB in or near the unit.
- Banner of Cold Blood in the unit (can roll one leadership test on 3d6).
- Gleaming pendant standard (unit can re-roll first failed leadership test).

I would take cold one knights on one flank (to represent the noble companions) and possibly another squadron of CoKs on the other (to represent the Thessalian cavalry). I would then take a unit or two of dark riders to represent the army's light cavalry.

Alexander's special infantry were the hypaspistai. Generally, it's thought that they carried lighter equipment and armour than their sarissa pike wielding phalanx brothers. I'm not convinced that executioners are - big double handed weapon bearing brutes - are a good fit for these guys. Witch elves are probably a good fit here - they are lightly armoured, crack troops. The only downside is that hypaspistai means 'shieldbearers', which is a role not easily filled by any of the non-warrior infantry troops in the Dark Elf army! But in terms of impact, I think witch elves are your closest fit, followed by corsairs or blackguard.

Alexander's army was supported / preceded by javilineers, slingers and other skirmishers. You could use shades and corsairs with hand bows to represent this.

Alexander did have a few bolt throwers in his army towards the end of his campaign, so you could take one or two of these if you really wanted. But RxBs are definitely out, as he would have had nothing even slightly akin to these at his disposal. No chariots either - they were a feeble Persian contraption that failed miserably at the battle of Arbela/Gaugamela, much to the collected mirth of the watching Macedonian army. Harpies might be a stretch, although you could posit them as foray or skirmish troops. Absolutely no hydras, dragons, manticores or anything like that!

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Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:03 am
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I don't know too much about Alexander and his armies, Red seems to know his stuff better here. But Dante's assessment is more or less accurate.

Though I had the impression from the description of your plan, that you want something along these lines for your army;

This is more competitive whilst retaining the typical historical armies. Blocks of spearmen, supported by some knights, with skirmishers to the front and light cavalry to support the army.

Red's ideas sound like they represent Alexander's army more, but certainly not going to be easy to use.

Main body:
40 Spears
40 Spears
10 CoK
15 Executioners

Skirmishers:
5 Shades
5 Shades
5 DR

Flank Support
18 Corsairs
and/or 20 RxB

Heroes to fit:
Lv4
Master BSB
Dreadlord on Cold One

For character ideas, here's a link to a nice compilation of character builds druchii users have brain stormed together. Some are used even now because they're so powerful!
An extensive list of 8th Ed Character builds

Executioners should definitely be larger than 10. And you HAVE to make sure they charge the flanks. Front = death because they strike last now and must use their GW (which always strikes last)

Hope we've been helpful so far!

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Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:35 am
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Cold One Knight

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It also depends on where you are going to playing and who against?

If you are playing with friends and want an army that is very Alexander, using something like converted shadow warriors (to represent shades) would be more appropriate, due to the fact they have bows, rather than RXB's. Of course you wouldn't change the rules that are being used, just the models.

If your going to be hitting tournament's this may be problematic and forget going to games workshop lest they beat you to death with tape measures!

I would consider using Blackguard rather than Executioners as flanking infantry. They are about the same in terms of killing power (unless fighting Chaos Warriors where St6 attacks take the advantage).

Have you considered maybe bringing in the idea of some Eastern auxiliaries? I'm not an uber expert on Alexander but from what i believe his conquest made it necessary to recruit local forces/mercenaries to continue his rampage. Again, this could open up some nice conversion opportunities if your not planning to go to Games Workshop!

Food for thought!

D

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Thu Nov 17, 2011 2:50 pm
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Thanks guys, some great reading in here!

I think I was a bit unclear as to the Alexander part - I don't want to represent his army neccesarily; I just like the idea that the infantry are there to force the enemy to either engage or give up ground, giving flanking forces (in his case cavalry, in my case a cavalry/heavy infantry mix) a chance to smash the enemy. At some point in the future, I would like a Dark Elf host big enough that I could, in theory, have an almost all mounted army with which I could try out some Mongol-esque tactics, but that will be in the distant future, when funds and time allow!

Regarding the question as to who I am going to be playing, I am afraid it will almost exclusively be people at my local Games Workshop. I have just moved to Aberdeen, and so don't know anybody here who plays, but I do know that GW Aberdeen has a battle bunker in it, which I am keen to try out. But that means your suggestions, Dante Valentine, are unsuitable. Which is rubbish, because I liked the ideas!

But please, keep this coming. I have already learned so much just reading your replies that I am keen for more! :D
I did go out and buy the army book and rule book today, so over the next few days (outside writing my university essays - one of which is on Alexander's army funnily enough!) I will try and come up with a more coherent plan using all the advice in this thread.

Thanks again!

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Thu Nov 17, 2011 4:50 pm
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Trainee Warrior

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Bear in mind, that usually you will be out numbered. Maybe spamming spearmen you could get numbers, but on the whole the price of your units means you won't.
DE are also kind of... Soft. By that I mean, whilst our list has some of the best destructive output potential, we aren't so good at the stand up and grind away thing. Which is what I think you are implying from what you've said so far.

Basically in my opinion dark elves are a strike force, not a hold the line force. For what you are describing, I would say something like lizard men fit the bill more..


Thu Nov 17, 2011 5:19 pm
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Quote:
I think I was a bit unclear as to the Alexander part - I don't want to represent his army neccesarily; I just like the idea that the infantry are there to force the enemy to either engage or give up ground, giving flanking forces (in his case cavalry, in my case a cavalry/heavy infantry mix) a chance to smash the enemy.


Okay, so it's less of an Alexander theme and more of a typical warhammer army theme. Nothing too complex about this, so should be very easy to put together.

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Thu Nov 17, 2011 5:25 pm
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Infekted wrote:
Bear in mind, that usually you will be out
Basically in my opinion dark elves are a strike force, not a hold the line force. For what you are describing, I would say something like lizard men fit the bill more..


Eugh...really? I hate lizardmen :? :lol:

Red... wrote:
Okay, so it's less of an Alexander theme and more of a typical warhammer army theme. Nothing too complex about this, so should be very easy to put together.


I suppose, yes! :lol: Unfortunately I didn't think of it like this - the army I used last time I played was Chaos, and I got used to sending warriors and knights forward to just mince people. There was no real need for tactics. So very boring, to be honest. Dark Elves appeal because they need to be controlled well in order to win.

Well, it sounds like I have stumbled upon a fairlt dodgy plan as far as dark elves go. I was worried about how resilient they would be. Back to the drawing board...I still like the idea in principle, but I realise I must be more devious :twisted:

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Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:56 pm
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@Infekted. I don't this this is necessarily true. Dark Elves have some of the cheapest good quality rank and file troops in the game (just over 5 points per model for a dark elf warrior and just over 14 points for their full command is staggeringly good value). A unit of 50 warriors with full command will cost less than 320 points - and that's a steal! Field a couple of those units in ten ranks of 5 or eight ranks of 6, supported by the BSB and/or general either in the units or tactically behind them and your opponent is going to get heavily bogged down.

Similarly, the high leadership of dark elves means that they really will stay when they are steadfast, unlike many horde armies where steadfast is weakened by low army leadership (rolling under 8 to 10 on steadfast leadership roll is eminently more reliable than the 5 to 8 of many horde armies).

Our missile forces are very powerful when held in big blocks too: a unit of 42 RxBs lined up in 6 ranks of 7 is not only fiercesomely hard to break in combat, but also has some nasty whittling down firepower to harrass the enemy as he advances.

We also have a huge host of ITP and Stubborn forces available to us. Blackguard are inherently ITP and stubborn. Cold One Knights are now ITP. Witch Elves are ITP while frenzied and stubborn when within 12" of the cauldron. Executioners can be made to cause fear if you take Tullaris or the dreadbanner (neither is advisable though) and are stubborn when within 12" of the cauldron. Corsairs can be made frenzied and thus ITP from the cauldron. Any unit containing a death hag or revealed assassin that is within 12" of the Cauldron is stubborn. The Cauldron is in itself ITP while frenzied and stubborn. And of course our unkillable dreadlord's make an ideal (if boring) carrier for the crown of command - the enemy cant rout his unit because they're stubborn on leadership 10, nor can they kill the dreadlord because he's protected up to the hilt with armour and ward saves.

@Subutai: So, yes, in my opinion you can definitely do a 'hold the centre, win on the flanks' army with dark elves. In fact, that's a fairly standard strategy for us (as indicated in my last post). It's also known as a hammer and anvil strategy - your anvil(s) is/are your large, steadfast or stubborn blocks of infantry, and your hammer(s) is/are your hard, quick moving but expensive heavy cavalry and elite infantry. My main issue with it as an idea is that it's not remotely novel! Definitely go with it - it's a lot of fun and very powerful as a strategy :D

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Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:07 am
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Thanks Red... :D

Thinking about it, a couple of units of warriors 8 ranks deep and 6 wide as you suggest would look really, really impressive on the battlefield. Psychologically it puts pressure on your opponent, too: should they deal with the huge units marching towards them, or try to take out the nasty, hard hitting small units menacing the flanks? I think, after your advice, it would make a great 'starting strategy' - one that I can refine and adapt as I become more adept at commanding. Now, to go and build some warriors! :twisted:

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Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:05 am
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Warriors are best 5 wide. If you rely on steadfast more than kills, optimize steadfat, not kills. You want to be the one with more ranks, remember.

Don't bother for shields, they don't provide any ward save to spearmen; their price only compensates their benefit in most melees, and is wasted in other circumstances. Rather get more spearmen.

Actually, shields fit better crossbowmen: the relative pts increase is lesser, and this is the only unit to benefit from the 6+ WS.

Have your COB BSB just behind your anvils. It will provide its BSB benefits where appropriate, and the COB's range can help the hammers.

COK are hardly ever stupid: they can reroll stupid check if in range of the BSB. They will make a very nice hammer.

Execs, on the other hand, suffer a lot from ASL and should be taken only in large units.

Warmachines are the bane of elves. One easy answer: harpies, harpies and more harpies. Shades, DR and Peggy master will do the job, too.

Characters: the COB BSB is the most useful.
A mage or two is absolute necessity. They can make a decent general, too.


Final point: have a look at the D.R.A.I.C.H., top of tactics forum.

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Fri Nov 18, 2011 12:41 pm
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In 7th ed I have played some times with a complete Dark Elf infantry force. It might be a pain to paint for starters, but is it quite funny to use rxb-men as diverters and for feigned flight. The fact that they pour out 20 shots at 4+ to hit at short range means the enemy feels the need to charge them, after which the infantry can easily countercharge and crush the enemy. Combine this with a cauldron of blood, and your force is, although not manouvrable in terms of movement, very diverse in the way of power. You can direct your power as you wish at any moment. The list I used was around 2000 points and included the following:
Master, Ring of Hotek, Armour of Darkness, Great Weapon (~150)

CoB (aprox 200)

3 x 20 Warriors, FC (~450)

5 Harpies (aprox. 50)

3x 10 RXB (aprox. 350)

20 Execs (aprox 250)
20 BG (aprox 250)
5 WE's (aprox 50)
2x5 Shades (aprox 150)

Which is A LOT for a DE army :P Feels nice to see the opponent's look when you take out ANOTHER unit of warriors XD

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Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:22 pm
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Cold One Knight

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Calisson wrote:
Don't bother for shields, they don't provide any ward save to spearmen; their price only compensates their benefit in most melees, and is wasted in other circumstances. Rather get more spearmen.


I completely disagree. Would you rather have 50 6+ Sv. Spearmen or ~40 5+ Sv. Spearmen? I'd happily trade a spare rank or two for double my save.

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Sat Nov 19, 2011 4:33 am
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@Archon_Matt: Both have advantages. It depends a lot on who you are playing...

A unit of S5 or higher opponents will remove all armour save off both models, thus if you're possibly going to be up against heavy cavalry, chaos warriors with halberds, big uns or black orcs, great weapon bearing infantry, monsters, etc etc, it's definitely worth it to take shieldless warriors.

Against S3 or S4 opponents though, it's arguably a good idea to take shields.

Personally, I tend to do it by whim. It doesn't make a huge amount of difference - you either have a really really big clump of dudes without shields or a really big clump of dudes with shields.

@Subutai: Just one word of warning about warrior blocks that are very deep - be careful about keeping them too far back: a unit of 60 warriors deployed as 12x5 is actually only about 2-3" away from the back of the table when deployed. If your opponent does something dastardly that makes them take a panic test on turn 1 (or turn 2 if you haven't move very far forwards) and they fail it, they'll be off the board almost guaranteed. I tend to give my blocks things like 'Gleaming Penant' now, to avoid that eventuality...

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Sat Nov 19, 2011 9:43 am
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Archon_Matt wrote:
Would you rather have 50 6+ Sv. Spearmen or ~40 5+ Sv. Spearmen? I'd happily trade a spare rank or two for double my save.
It is indeed a good idea to get shields if you expect S3 or S4 attacks.
In average:
A S3 hit destroys 2.5 pts of spearmen without shield, 2.3 pts with shield.
A S4 hit destroys 4.0 pts of spearmen without shield, 3.9 pts with shield.
A S5 hit destroys 5.0 pts of spearmen without shield, 5.8 pts with shield.
The difference is low anyway.

The other difference is there:
For 312 pts, you get 10 ranks without shields.
For 313 pts, you get 7 ranks with shields + 3 spare.

If the idea is to win the steadfast race, get more ranks, don't take shields.



For modelling purposes, the best would be to get:
1 or 2 FC
25 spearmen without shields
22 spearmen with shields.
When you gather the unit, you put in the front rank the shields or no shields according to what you paid. The other ones go in the rear.

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Sat Nov 19, 2011 1:34 pm
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hi,

nice concept ;)

for the phalanx, speaking of maths, I think of 35 as an "idea"l size, giving you the opportunity to put them 7 models wide, to maximize space use, or 7 ranks deep, to favor lasting power

that gives some flexibility to your phalanx an can be achieved with two boxes of warriors (of 1 the 32 being put on a 40*40 mm base, representing 4 warriors altogether (you can just add a little scenery fitting your army theme)

while not an alexander theme based unit, hydra look like a staple in your list, along with knights on cold ones

to fill gaps between phalanx and cavalry, support each in best way (at a given time), a small unit of corsairs with h_bows might be a good deal (14 to 20 of them)

shades, harpies, light cavalry have their place to, but x_bows and ballistas seem too much static to me :badh:

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Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:41 pm
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Thanks :)
I have been giving this some thought, and I although I still like the idea, I have come to realise just how much other juicy stuff I would have to give up in order to fit the 'phalanx' units into the army. So there seems to be only one solution - amass a HUGE Dark Elves army so I can take the phalanxes in some games, and then change it up for others :D

Who do you guys think the 'phalanx' list would work best against? I have just received my copy of the rulebook through the post today, so intend to analyse the rules and think about army composition again, but am wondering if there are any armies this list would do well against.

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Thu Nov 24, 2011 9:40 pm
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Dark Elf Phalanx's are going to work best against armies that rely on numbers rather than fighting skill so stuff like Empire, Skaven, Orcs Goblins etc.

50 Spearmen can just about win 50 Orc's in a straight up fight though it is very close. So anything harder than your average Orc is going to cause you issues. I think it is important to remember that you are only striking at Str 3 and so anything with heavy armor or high strength attacks back is going to make mincemeat of you.

Empire Greatswords are a perfect example of this: though they don't look like that much of a threat on the surface, their plate armour and great weapons will chew through your poor men like a hot knife through butter.

If you are planning on taking large units of spearmen ( i take units of 50 but i play in larger battles), be careful of template weapons. A mortar or stonethrower is going to hurt, a Hellstrom rocket is going to be a massacre!

On the subject of shields i'd personally say always go with them! I know some people prefer more bodies over armor save but against S3 shooting or attacks that extra point of armor makes a huge difference to how many men are going to live.

Just my opinion anyway. And beside's, its more "phalanxy" to have shields.

D

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Thu Nov 24, 2011 10:29 pm
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@Dante: I think you are misunderstanding the purpose of big core blocks of warriors with spears. It is not to win in a face-on-face fight with other army forces, but to hold them up (through massed ranks and stalwart) until such time as the harder hitting hammer forces - cold one knights, chariots, hydras etc - can hit them where it hurts.

@Subutai: I think that big blocks work against anyone really, as long as you play them right. If you go in expecting them to win by themselves against elite melee troops though, you will be sorely disappointed. Again, their role is to delay and quagmire your enemy's forces in the middle of the field, while you roll up one or both of his flanks and eventually curl back in to destroy him. Think Cannae, not Mantinea. That said, Dante is right that you want to be very wary of armies with lots of artillery, as they can gauge your big units, and ones that have lots of very manoeuverable stuff (as you will never get into combat).

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Thu Nov 24, 2011 11:43 pm
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Cold One Knight

Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:27 pm
Posts: 229
Location: Yorkhire, The True North!
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@ Red. No I'm aware of what the point of massed units of spearmen are, but depending on what your facing there is

A) A chance your support unit's might not get into combat &
B) A chance that your massed unit of spearmen might break in a single turn, thus negating the point of being an anvil.

One of my recent games saw this happen as a doom diver took out 6 Knights in a single shot and the 40 man unit of savage Orc Big Un's flattened my unit in a single turn.

I still won the game but sometimes these things are unavoidable so its nice to know what your unit can handle on its own without support.

Regards

D

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Fri Nov 25, 2011 12:58 am
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