Dark riders can do it better !!! supplement on page 2
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Author:  Killerk [ Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Dark riders can do it better !!! supplement on page 2

I've been hearing "there is nothing that Dr can do that, harpies and shades cant do for less point's".

For along time I agreed. until a few month's ago, I seen some fast cav flee, rally, then move and shoot. Hmmmmmm Well this is something nether harpies nor shades can do. In result I added an DR unit to my ETC list. After a few games I decided to add another.

I was left with 2 unit's of harpies, 2 unit's of DR, and a single unit of shades.

I have also noticed that shades and DR work up a few synergies.
1. I can use shades to secure a good Vanguard move for my DR.
2. A Vanguard move can help to protect my shades form being charged by enemy chaff.

Why are DR better?
They are not Skirmishers, so you don't change unit length when being charged.


This is important for a few reasons,
1. the amount of unit's you can tie down, Hold the line tactic,
2. a lot of times, if your opponent charges your skirmishers, you have to stack them up, it can mean that your opponent will have enough room to move past the skirmishers.

Looking at the diagram, the DR have a length of 10", harpies 6", for blocking movement purposes the DR have 10" length, while harpies and shades have 4" do to formation change.
Also if we incorporate the 1" rule in to this, it means that the DR, prolong flee moves by 12" and harpies only 8". This has an immense meaning for the trick's in this post.

The thing that DR can do and nothing else in the army can, block, Flee, rally, move to block, and over, and over :). In practice you can use the double flee, rally and set it up again, as long as you have enough table to flee.

A few Tactic's the DR are better then competition, as shown below;

to understand some of these trick's it nice to remember the probability of rolling 2d6
2 - 2.78%
3 - 8,34 %
4 - 16,67%
5 - 27,78%
6 - 41,67%
7 - 58,34%
8 - 41,67%
9 - 27,78%
10 - 16,67%
11 - 8,34%
12 - 2.78%

Author:  Killerk [ Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:16 pm ]
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1. Dubble flee

I've found it's most useful if opponent plays a refused flank, deathstar, or has deployed a big unit with little or no support.

the set up

You opponent can stand there, or charge. If he Charges (red), you flee. Since your enemy cannot reach the fleeing DR he automatically fails his charge. Now you opponent has a possibility to riderect his charge, if he passes his LD. If he passes he can only charge the second unit of DR (green), as soon as he does you flee again.


and the end game looks like this.

Since your opponent's unit no longer counts as charging the first unit of DR he cannot come in to contact with them. Further more your opponent's unti cannot reach the second DR, so your opponent unit fails it's charge.
The nice part is, when you rally your dark rides (LD 9 if you have a music), you can do it over again :twisted:

2. Hold the Line

This is one of the most useful way's to delay your opponent, If he charges, you hold, he charges with rest, you continue to hold. It will mess up your opponent's battle line if he overruns, or stop his advance if he doesn't, ether way you win.


this is extremely annoying, because it means you opponent moves 1" with charge, to keep his battle line intact, or risk's overruns and destroy his formation.

Why it is annoying you can see in an more expanded version.

3. Hold the Line counter charge

this is why it's so dangerous, you can move you heavy hitters close to the enemy position, with out risk of a lucky long charge, ruing your day.


This exact set up is used to it's maximal potential if the hydras and dragon charge blue unit, since the dragon is in the flank.

another expansion of hold the line is

4. Box cars

All 3 enemy unit's are on the flank of your DR.
The last DR unit, while staying out of enemy line of sight, it uses the 1" rule to box in the enemy unit(white on the right).
In result the enemy's entire line cannot move past your DR, without breaking formation.


4. Box cars 2

you can also mess up enemy unit's facing.
By getting one Dr unit on the enemy flank, using the 1" rule to keep it locked in place. While the other DR unit keeps the left mentioned unit on it's flank, and the last Right unit in the front arc. Making a coherent overrun impossible. In result enemy advance is stopped.


5. Flee to safety using LOS

You use the enemy blind spot to catapult you unit to safety.
It is done by placing one unit of DR, out of the enemy's line of sight.
The other unit should be directly between, your DR (out of LOS) and your enemy unit.
Remember you flee center to center, so your unit's must be placed in a manner to allow a flee path to catapult your unit away to safety.
While the enemy unit is left with no unit's to riderect to, it will fail it's charge.


Enemy charges your DR, and they flee (pivot center to center).

move flee distance, once your over your unit you catapult behind them.

Notice your fleeing DR are over 17" from the charging unit, so not even elven infantry can catch you.

If for some reason you cant stay out of enemy LOS, say do to other unit's, you can always get a more risky tactic.

5. Risky flee to safety

It is best, to minimise risk, there for you measurement's have to be correct,
You should set up a unit of DR over 13" from infantry of M4, and further for enemy with a higher move.

Then the other unit of DR (best it be in 2 rank's) to limit the space between unit's, and decreeing the chance of not rolling enough to reach safety.

Instead of DR you can catapult any unit/hero out of harms way using this tactic. It is extremely useful to get characters especially sorceress to safety.

To ensure success you need to;
1. To minimalies the distance the enemy can move (so he doesn't just move around)
2. To maximalise the flee distance you move. To avoid your enemy catching you.
3. To minimalise the risk of not fleeing enough, and being caught by you enemy.

in this set up, the initial DR flee, if I roll over 3 on 3d6 your safe.
your opponent opponent has to redirect (Ld 9 test, 16,67 to fail), if he passes, he then must roll 10+ on 2d6 (16,67%), to reach the second unit. So the odds are greatly in you favor.

let's say are facing the enfeeble empire, you would best set up, your fleeing DR unit just above 3" from the enemy. and your catapulting long unit, over 13" from the empire unit. and that places you 3" from your "fleeing" DR.


your opponent charges, you declare a flee, pivot your unit center to center, next you need to roll more then 3 on 3d6 to get to safety.

If your opponent redirects he needs a roll of 10+ to reach your lines (16,67% to succeed)

Now my favorite, to force a unit to flee off the table :twisted:. If pulled off gives extreme reward, and the aw in the face of you opponent when he looks at you, priceless :D.

5. Extreme flee off of the table

Work's best with lore of Death and the Doom and Darkness spell.

It can be engineered by making some preparations ;
1. tracing the flee path of an enemy unit,
2. move your Dr in any gap to ensure you catapult enemy unit off the edge. Usually it will be between the table edge and enemy battle line.
3. Move another unit of DR, in such a fashion to ensure a proper flee path of target enemy unit.
4. Use the rule for failed panic check's, there are 2, so each situation may vary a little,
a. for causing 25% casualties, a unit flees away from the source.
b. for any other purposes panicked unit's, flee directly away from the closest enemy unit.

So the execution of this plan can be done in a matter of way's.

1. By far the best way.
Is to brake a unit in CC with in 6" of target or use magic and shooting to annihilate a unit with in 6" of target, both of these will cause a panic test, and a failed result will mean the unit flees from the nearest enemy being your DR :twisted:, directly through his entire army and off of the table edge. This is harder to do, but it secures the desired flee path.

2. the other option is to use magic and shooting, to cause panic in target unit. But be careful, for the flee path in this case will be form the unit that dealt the casualty. You must make sure it's at a correct angle. If your unit's are placed correctly you can cause a panic test in the Magic phase, and another in the shooting phase, if you have Rxb's on you DR then you can use them to cause a panic test.

The set up looks something like this :twisted:, very few people realize the trap until it's to late.


Author:  Killerk [ Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:17 pm ]
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Many might say that all of the above can be done with shades and harpies, and it can be accomplished, except many times you lack a few inches here and there to do it. And with DR it's so much easier to accomplish it.

the big question is does this justify the price of DR, and to be honest, I'm cant say, but it gives us more options.

If any one has any other tricky, sneeky and uncommon way's to use your Dr then this is the place to put them ;).

Hope you liked the read.

Author:  Lord tsunami [ Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:39 pm ]
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brilliant idea, and you have put great effort in to the pictures, and that is rare for this types of posts. however, i think this article will go fromm "good" to "outstandingly awesome" if you beefed out the explainations a bit. even with the pictures it is sometimes hard to understand what you mean.
still, awesome job!

Author:  Killerk [ Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:47 pm ]
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I'm still working on it, hence WIP in Title ;).
Glad you like it :)

Author:  Calisson [ Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:54 pm ]
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Outstanding! Thanks for the effort.
An instant D.R.A.I.C.H., of course.


About skirmishers narrowing their width when charged, this can be a drawback, as you mentioned, but it could be a blessing too:
imagine a skirmisher unit which last member is in front of the edge of the opponent's über unit.
The über cannot move (1" distance to maintain) unless it charges.
If it charges, the skirmishers shrink and cannot anymore be reached by moving forwards + 90° max wheel + moving forwards,
=> failed charge, => move 1D forwards.
Then the skirmishers resume skirmishing position (adjust to remain at 1" of über).
No need to rally, cause they did not flee. Better, if they were Shades, they could have shot.
That's how to slow down a über with a single skirmisher unit.


Comments on the meta game:
DR were great in late 7th ed.
They lost some attractiveness in early 8th edition, because
- steadfast ruined one of their uses
- they suffered a lot from shooting and especially magic missiles.

Since the early days of 8th ed, the meta game has changed.
More über units, less small units.
As a consequence of having less small units, there is usually much less BS shooting and some less MM.

With less shooting & MM, DR highest cost per wound is no longer a strong liability.
This may be why they are becoming more viable again.

Author:  Killerk [ Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:37 pm ]
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well that "skirmish" maneuver is outlawed where I play ;).

Plus people forgot to appreciate fast cav, and forget to shoot them, or just choose other target's.

If any part is difficult to understand, give me a shout, and I'll try to explain it better.

For the glory of Naggaroth !!!

Author:  Calisson [ Fri Aug 10, 2012 5:13 pm ]
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Clearly, the "skirmishing maneuvre" is rule abuse at its worst. I would not advise to use that rule.
Still, that's rules as written. So I would advise to know that rule.
That's a rule one can (ab)use once in a while, in a WAACky environment, or against a ruthless opponent, or just for fun (once).
Also, if an opponent plays this way in a tournament, there's nothing you can do so better be prepared beforehand.

Author:  Tyrannus deathbringer [ Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:12 pm ]
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Golden article, KillerK.

I'm looking to experiment with more DR units, so this breakdown comes at extremely useful time for me.

Many thanks :D

Author:  Brad [ Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:15 pm ]
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I really enjoyed the graphic of the Hydra that looked like a terminal case of athlete's foot :D :D :D

Author:  Holtkmoq [ Sat Aug 11, 2012 3:15 am ]
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This is great! I am looking at giving my DRs a reason to be included and some of these just may be the way.

A combined hold the line-double flee could be a good one. Probably a bit obvious to the opponent but could be worth a try in some occasions.

Author:  Killerk [ Sat Aug 11, 2012 7:51 am ]
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@devils reject I think you need to rethink that, if you flee from a charge in hold the line, you need to pivot on spot and move. In the case of such a long unit, you will be caught/flee off table, generally a disaster waiting to happen. Plus the tactic will not serve it's purpose.

Author:  A.andersson [ Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:36 pm ]
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Great article! might give my own a go! are you actually in an etc team? or just playing with the comp?

Author:  Killerk [ Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:02 pm ]
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Team Canada cap.

Author:  Heartsbane [ Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:25 pm ]
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Thanks KillerK for a well written and well thought out article, and especially thanks for taking the time to add the illustrations, they really help visualise the tactics!

As the army I'm planning is designed to emphasize the differences from my dwarfs, and cavalry are one of those differences, I'm glad to hear of the usefulness of dark riders!

Author:  Holtkmoq [ Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:46 am ]
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@devils reject I think you need to rethink that, if you flee from a charge in hold the line, you need to pivot on spot and move. In the case of such a long unit, you will be caught/flee off table, generally a disaster waiting to happen. Plus the tactic will not serve it's purpose.

This is true, you would have to take that into account when lining the DRs up to start with. The hold the line tactic is one I think I will find myself using. Not many people would expect me to throw away a unit of them when they cost so much but if it means I can easily break up their line and pick the units apart at will then I am all for it.

Author:  Killerk [ Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:11 pm ]
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Happy you guy's like it, might brain storm another article.

For the "diagram's" I used universalbattle.com, so it's not a big sweat, and really shortens the descriptions ;). Cutting the work in half.

Author:  Lorddrittz [ Fri Sep 21, 2012 3:39 pm ]
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Love the article and I will definitely use DR's when I try an MSU style DE list.

Author:  Rkhatzar [ Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dark rides can do it better !!!

It's not possible now to circle warmashine with Harpies, right?

Author:  Calisson [ Thu Sep 27, 2012 5:10 am ]
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In present edition, skirmishers must take a regular formation, just adding intervals between models when not charging/charged/in melee.
As a side result, they now have 90° LOS.

Author:  xFallenx [ Thu Sep 27, 2012 6:13 pm ]
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Can you explain how # 4 works? If I was the General of the opposing army, ie controlled the three units, I would charge with the unit pinned between the two unit of DR. If you held, or chose to flee, I would just move the remaining two normally once you stack your DR to take the charge. I absolutely don’t see how the southernmost unit of DR is going to affect much more that the march movement of the center unit as the charged unit is rubberbanded into combat with the westernmost unit. If you flee, then both of the units would be able to march normally. What am I missing, please use BRB pg numbers for reference on which rules come into play here.

Author:  Killerk [ Fri Sep 28, 2012 7:44 am ]
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If you charge with the center unit, or any other unit, the DR hold.
You cant move the left unit do to 1" rule.
DR don't stack, only skirmishers do, and the enemy unit has to align to the DR. Plus shooting, magic and Combat is done after the Movement so there is no possibility for Dr to drop and leave room for a possible march.
The only movement you can do is reform with the right most unit, if you have the space, but you change the direction of your facing, if you don't want to change the direction, the you will have to swift reform move and wheel to keep your facing, thus only gaining an inch or two in movement, and not the regular 10".

Author:  Omnichron [ Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:46 am ]
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KillerK wrote:
You cant move the left unit do to 1" rule.

I think Fallen means "What if I charge with the left unit", which is what I would do.

If I only charged with that one, I can't align as much as I should due to the DRs to the left (I'd turn until I touched the base and then slam into the DRs in front). This means that the charged DRs has to close the door, which leaves the rightmost unit more room to move about while the middle unit can just move up to 1" from the close combat that turn.

Of course, you halt the two of the units slightly, but don't block them all entirely.

Author:  Killerk [ Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:10 pm ]
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Omnichron wrote:
If I only charged with that one, I can't align as much as I should due to the DRs to the left (I'd turn until I touched the base and then slam into the DRs in front). This means that the charged DRs has to close the door, which leaves the rightmost unit more room to move about while the middle unit can just move up to 1" from the close combat that turn.

I would have to disagree that DR have to close the door.
The charge is possible, and it doesn't matter if you would like to get more models in to btb contact, you get what you can, if it is only 1 model, well it's only 1 model :twisted:, align what is possible, end of story.
Remember when charging the 1" rule does not apply, and you would use the the "virtual pivot FAQ" in this situation. If using the previous mentioned rules, still lead to a situation where closing the door is still not possible, only then would the DR have to close the door to the infantry.

Author:  xFallenx [ Fri Sep 28, 2012 7:01 pm ]
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Reading your reply, you've completely miss-understood my entire post, Omnichron got what I was saying. And again I have to ask for what page's/faq's you're using to stand on your point of the DR's not having to 'close the door'. If this 'trick' is to be used, some sort of rule would have to be pointed to defend it. I'm not in any way saying you're wrong, as the theory is interesting, but I can already hear the counter arguments if I were to use this.

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