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Army Composition Topics: Redundancy 
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The Aspect of Murder
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Does this thread deserve stickydom or some other sort of preservation?

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Thu Aug 07, 2003 3:46 pm
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Only one comment - you will learn a lot faster losing to better players than beating worse ones. While it's not a bunch of laughs to lose every game, do play against better players as often as possible ...


yea, but your 1st 3 or 4 games wont help if you just get crushed by turn 3, i dont even have a full grasp of the rules yet..so i gotta get those down 1st, and they only play 6 games in their league, so thats what i was implyin, after that thou yea ill be playin all the good generals, i know quite a few from my 40k exp. or so they say...empire might be a good idea...my buddy from 40k plays em, and he loves em

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Thu Aug 07, 2003 8:23 pm
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Sorry, but everyone seems to be using this "MSU" word.. what does it mean!?


Wed Aug 13, 2003 3:02 pm
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Check the thread at thetop of the page. Essentially, it mean Many Small Units, though it is part of an army/tactic idea that has been found to be quite effective.

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I have basically sat out of this discussion, and and really quite happy with the standard of discussion, and common interest which other warhammer (or any type of forum really) seems to lack.

Onto my points...

Firstly, the redundancy arguements. I agree with this, and for Dark Elves, there really isn't a phase we can absolutely dominate, although movement is by no doubt our strongest phase (a point made). However, sometimes, redundancy can lead to a constricted list, where 2-3 units are left running around trying to achieve the same purpose, which may be rendered non-existant by the enemies list.

I feel although a unit with a specific purpose should have a duplication or substitution, an overkill can lead to the purpose of a diverse army selection being overshadowed by an army full of "counter-measures", which although capable to react indivually to a specific army, are unable to act as a whole against another well balanced list.

An example of this is Vorchild's Vanguard list. I have very high respect for Vorchild ( I have read the monthly :) ) but for my example I will use his list. This list is very manouverable, with 4 DR units, and supported by 4 reapers. According to the principles of this discussion, this core to an army would be considered to display a good amount of redundancy, as the loss of a DR unit is really not that big a deal, and any high priority threat can be met with 24 bolts per shooting phase. Assuming the Reapers are well spaced out, they are relatively hard to silence.

The problem arises when the army this army is facing specializes in shooting, or magic, or even an extreme specialization to combat. As the Dark Elves aren't the masters of these phases, a versatile army will only be proportionaly effective against the army, as the shooting elements taken (and then dupliclates/substitues for redundancy's sake) are ineffective. I am not going to go into the specifics of Vorchild's list, because I am sure the measures he takes to prevent such exploitation are credible, but generally, an army of redundancy is compromizing the versatility and general effectiveness against all armies.

After analysis, I feel for an elf army to be successful, it has to take risks. There has to be an extent of redundancy, but I feel the army has to have a specific purpose. For Chaos this is generally Combat, for Empire it is shooting, for Tzeentch magic. For Dark Elves, this purpose is generally blurred by some flaws in the list, in addition to their racially superior manouverability. Manouverability / Disruption isn't a purpose. It is a mere tool used to achieve the purpose. In light of this, a Dark Elf army must be oriented towards one of the phases, shooting, combat or magic. Personally, I believe it to be Combat, due to defficiencies in the other phases which means a list should be strong in ... close combat. :P

This means having a list capable of taking initiative, which breings about unit choices such as Lord/Manticore (I consider him a unit), CoK, Witches, Execs. With the mandatory Dark Riders and Shades/Harpies, it is obvious we have ourselves an optimum list. That is what I fear is the problem with the Dark Elves, there is an optimum list, which I believe out performs any other variation, in most circumstances.

Oh well, I am going around is circles. Basically, what I am saying is that the discussions about redundancy, MSU/E, ect are all pointing into the direction of an optimum DE army. :roll:

*wipes sweat of forehead*

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Fri Nov 14, 2003 8:38 am
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Inquisitor Black wrote:
Firstly, the redundancy arguements. I agree with this, and for Dark Elves, there really isn't a phase we can absolutely dominate, although movement is by no doubt our strongest phase (a point made). However, sometimes, redundancy can lead to a constricted list, where 2-3 units are left running around trying to achieve the same purpose, which may be rendered non-existant by the enemies list.


Redundancy is not meant to imply that you have 2-3 of every unit in your list, but rather that you have several units that can accomplish the same purpose if they are required to do so. For instance, my Dark Elf army depended on either a Chariot or a unit of Dark Riders to win combats – the Chariot would create wounds through impact hits, while the Dark Riders would create combat resolution by negating enemy rank bonus and giving me a flank bonus (a +4 swing for me). These units were “redundant” effects in my army. Similarly, my Shades and Dark Riders are redundant march blockers or wizard hunters.

Multi-purpose units are ideal to provide redundancy – a unit that can accomplish multiple missions means that it serves as a backup (or primary) for these tasks. I am coming around more and more to the idea of the War Hydra in this role (my compliment to AndyP for bringing this to my attention).

Inquisitor Black wrote:
I feel although a unit with a specific purpose should have a duplication or substitution, an overkill can lead to the purpose of a diverse army selection being overshadowed by an army full of "counter-measures", which although capable to react indivually to a specific army, are unable to act as a whole against another well balanced list.


You do not want to react in a game situation, but rather to have your opponent react to you. Again, however, I am not sure the issue is clear here – the point of having redundant capability is not to over-specialize, but rather to be capable of accepting some initial setbacks. To continue the example above, if I play an opponent who has a horde army, it will be quite difficult for me to get around his flanks with Dark Riders, so I must depend more on the chariots to break his line. Conversely, against a cannon-heavy force, the chariots are far more vulnerable, and Dark Riders will play a larger role.

A one-trick army is often far from redundant. For instance, the Empire gunline is a one-trick pony … it must shoot you to death before you close or it will die. There is no redundancy there … they either kill you or you kill them.

Inquisitor Black wrote:
An example of this is Vorchild's Vanguard list. I have very high respect for Vorchild ( I have read the monthly :) ) but for my example I will use his list. This list is very manouverable, with 4 DR units, and supported by 4 reapers. According to the principles of this discussion, this core to an army would be considered to display a good amount of redundancy, as the loss of a DR unit is really not that big a deal, and any high priority threat can be met with 24 bolts per shooting phase. Assuming the Reapers are well spaced out, they are relatively hard to silence.


Redundancy will depend very much on how you play the army. Yes, having 4 RBT gives you the capability to lose a lot of them before you go down, but you also need another way to take out the enemy. How will you deal with enemy cavalry if the board is very constricted and you only get a single shooting round?

Inquisitor Black wrote:
The problem arises when the army this army is facing specializes in shooting, or magic, or even an extreme specialization to combat. As the Dark Elves aren't the masters of these phases, a versatile army will only be proportionaly effective against the army, as the shooting elements taken (and then dupliclates/substitues for redundancy's sake) are ineffective. I am not going to go into the specifics of Vorchild's list, because I am sure the measures he takes to prevent such exploitation are credible, but generally, an army of redundancy is compromizing the versatility and general effectiveness against all armies.


I disagree. A versatile army is often more effective in this situation. If an army specializes in one phase of the game, it allows a more versatile force a greater level of control on multiple phases. For instance, an army that specializes at combat will often sacrifice shooting and maneuver to do so. These can be exploited by a canny general. If you have some capability in each phase, a de-emphasis of that phase by your opponent significantly increases your capabilities.

Inquisitor Black wrote:
After analysis, I feel for an elf army to be successful, it has to take risks. There has to be an extent of redundancy, but I feel the army has to have a specific purpose. For Chaos this is generally Combat, for Empire it is shooting, for Tzeentch magic. For Dark Elves, this purpose is generally blurred by some flaws in the list, in addition to their racially superior manouverability. Manouverability / Disruption isn't a purpose. It is a mere tool used to achieve the purpose. In light of this, a Dark Elf army must be oriented towards one of the phases, shooting, combat or magic. Personally, I believe it to be Combat, due to defficiencies in the other phases which means a list should be strong in ... close combat. :P


I still maintain that a balanced list is the most effective, especially in a tournament environment (which is how this topic got started). Dark Elves are masters of maneuver, which can substantially enhance capabilities in the shooting, magic, and close combat phases. Again, over-specialization tends to lead itself to nemesis armies – for instance, a “close combat” Dark Elf army is more often than not outmatched by a Chaos army of a similar bent. Chaos are built for Close Combat, Dark Elves are built for speed.

Inquisitor Black wrote:
This means having a list capable of taking initiative, which breings about unit choices such as Lord/Manticore (I consider him a unit), CoK, Witches, Execs. With the mandatory Dark Riders and Shades/Harpies, it is obvious we have ourselves an optimum list. That is what I fear is the problem with the Dark Elves, there is an optimum list, which I believe out performs any other variation, in most circumstances.


Taking the initiative is critical. However, list creation is more a function of personal play style than an “optimum” list. For instance, take the list that John Dale played at the WPS GT recently. I would bet that fewer than 1 in 5 players would have similar levels of success with the same list, because they don’t play that way. However, it was obviously quite effective.

Inquisitor Black wrote:
Oh well, I am going around is circles. Basically, what I am saying is that the discussions about redundancy, MSU/E, ect are all pointing into the direction of an optimum DE army.


Yes, but individually optimized … we each have our own quirks that significantly influence how our army will play.

Jeff


Fri Nov 14, 2003 4:03 pm
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jeffleong13 wrote:
Taking the initiative is critical. However, list creation is more a function of personal play style than an “optimum” list. For instance, take the list that John Dale played at the WPS GT recently. I would bet that fewer than 1 in 5 players would have similar levels of success with the same list, because they don’t play that way. However, it was obviously quite effective.


Interestingly there was a second Dark Elf list of a very similar nature in its conception and structure and was far less succesful. The reason the second list did less well was it was not optimised for a player who would normally play more of a defensive strategy than JD's list requires.

jeffleong13 wrote:
Yes, but individually optimized … we each have our own quirks that significantly influence how our army will play.
Jeff


How very true, many people post great lists just not one I personally could actually play with to its full potential.

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Fri Nov 14, 2003 4:42 pm
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Keledron wrote:
jeffleong13 wrote:
Taking the initiative is critical. However, list creation is more a function of personal play style than an “optimum” list. For instance, take the list that John Dale played at the WPS GT recently. I would bet that fewer than 1 in 5 players would have similar levels of success with the same list, because they don’t play that way. However, it was obviously quite effective.


Interestingly there was a second Dark Elf list of a very similar nature in its conception and structure and was far less succesful. The reason the second list did less well was it was not optimised for a player who would normally play more of a defensive strategy than JD's list requires.

jeffleong13 wrote:
Yes, but individually optimized … we each have our own quirks that significantly influence how our army will play.
Jeff


How very true, many people post great lists just not one I personally could actually play with to its full potential.


This is actually why I find myself continually drawn back to the Dark Elves. Although I have several other armies that I am putting together (Chaos, Lizards, Dwarfs, O&G, and soon ... Bretts), DE suit my style of play. This is actually why you see such diversity of comments on army lists ...

J


Fri Nov 14, 2003 4:49 pm
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Jeff >

I do understand your points. I am not opposing redundancy, simply trying to convey my opinion on it leading to a particular list. For a versatile Dark Elf army capable to dealing with many circumstances, there will be a natural tendency for army lists to move towards a point of composition maximizing diversity and general effectiveness, as the list changes.

Following the revision, this optimum list will change, to the extent I do not know as I haven't played a vast amount of games with the revision changes. However, the use of rpx warriors and CoC I predict will soon become a part of most effective dark elf lists, which they were not prior to the revision. Sure people still used chariots and rpx warriors, but as part of the most effective generic list they did not.

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Sat Nov 15, 2003 1:11 am
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I havn't read it all (I usually just skip the sticky threads (except for a few special ones ;)) when browsing the forum, so I have missed this thread... doh!), so this maybe has been said already.

One kind of purpose, which this applies to is war machine and mage hunting.

Harpies, Shades, Dark Riders, some characters can fulfill this role and often there are several of the beforementioned units present in an army. While usually some are specifically included for that purpose, it's good to have "backups" (usually the Dark Riders ;)) sometimes.

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Last edited by Thanee on Sat Nov 15, 2003 1:48 am, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Nov 15, 2003 1:43 am
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jeffleong13 wrote:
This is actually why I find myself continually drawn back to the Dark Elves. Although I have several other armies that I am putting together (Chaos, Lizards, Dwarfs, O&G, and soon ... Bretts), DE suit my style of play. This is actually why you see such diversity of comments on army lists ...


Yep! While there are a lot of common things among those various armies, the individual setup and details are often quite different and these "small things" do change the way an army plays as a whole quite a bit.

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Sat Nov 15, 2003 1:45 am
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And just for the record, I agree with jeff's view on balanced lists. They are in my opinion much more effective overall than specialized lists. Sure a specialized list is great if you know what you are up to, but as soon as you don't, versatility is your friend! And besides, it's more fun to play (with and against). :D

The specialized army in a tournament hopes to massacre some (most) of the opposition by purposefully accepting a disadvantage against some (few) specific army types.

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Sat Nov 15, 2003 1:51 am
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Hmm... once I think about it, I believe the advantage is more with multiple purpose units than redundancy in purpose (which might also be, how the confusion about specialized armies offering a lot of redundancy came about).

Having some units, that can fulfill multiple roles (i.e. Dark Riders, Harpies, Shades in general, but also blocks of RXB Warriors with command and such) offers a lot of versatility, which is important when it comes to tactics.

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Sat Nov 15, 2003 10:58 am
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Thanee wrote:
Hmm... once I think about it, I believe the advantage is more with multiple purpose units than redundancy in purpose (which might also be, how the confusion about specialized armies offering a lot of redundancy came about).

Having some units, that can fulfill multiple roles (i.e. Dark Riders, Harpies, Shades in general, but also blocks of RXB Warriors with command and such) offers a lot of versatility, which is important when it comes to tactics.

Bye
Thanee


The whole issue about redundancy is that you need to make sure that you have more than one unit capable of accomplishing your objective, whatever that may be. I shudder when I see folks put up armies with a unit of 10 Cold One Knights w/ Highborn and Hydra Banner BSB in the unit ... all your eggs in one basket is fine until someone breaks your basket ...

J


Sun Nov 16, 2003 1:56 pm
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IMO having more than one unit or combination of units to achieve your goal is Redundancy.

Also, IMO, having units which can fulfill multiple roles to enable you to achieve your goal is also Redundancy. Just looked at from a different angle. Too many people though view it as some kind of 'higher level of existence thinking' when it really is quite simple to come to grips with.

Start by assessing each unit, character and item of equipment in your list and ask yourself how you will win if you lose that particular item? If you can come up with a positive answer then you have redundancy. This does not necessarily mean that you need to try and field all troop types. Look at the 'Blade' list. At first glance it appears a combat based, fast attack army. It looks like a specialist, one trick wonder. But read the composition and you will see how it fulfills the needs of Redundancy more than adequately. Thus making it very flexible.


Sun Nov 16, 2003 3:12 pm
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Dark Alliance wrote:
Start by assessing each unit, character and item of equipment in your list and ask yourself how you will win if you lose that particular item? If you can come up with a positive answer then you have redundancy.


Now that was a good explanation! :D

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Mon Nov 17, 2003 8:52 am
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jeffleong13 wrote:
The whole issue about redundancy is that you need to make sure that you have more than one unit capable of accomplishing your objective, whatever that may be.


Aye! But DA's explanation is a pretty good one (altho you both mean the same thing)...

Redundancy is... not to rely on a single unit to accomplish an objective.

This does not necessarily mean to have multiple units dedicated to that purpose, but to have multiple units capable of that, and not to have a single uber unit, which will lose you the game, if taken out of the battle (by defeat or divert) early. It also means to split up your combat power among multiple (not necessarily small ;)) units and not squeeze it all in one (what you did when swapping COK for 2 COC).

MSU looks like the epitome of redundancy, altho I see it more like an overspecialization (which not necessarily is a bad thing). It is from one extreme (all eggs in one basket) to the other extreme (every egg runs around on its own ;)).

Quote:
I shudder when I see folks put up armies with a unit of 10 Cold One Knights w/ Highborn and Hydra Banner BSB in the unit ... all your eggs in one basket is fine until someone breaks your basket ...


Hehe! ;)

I tend to field 10 COK, but without character, for that very reason. I like to have several combat capable units (usually 10 Cold One Knights, 20 Corsairs + War Banner, Highborn + Manticore, 2 Chariots in 2500 pts).

It's also why I give a relatively weak unit, like the Corsairs, the War Banner and not the already mighty Cold One Knights. So I have more similarily capable units, instead of few very powerful ones. And instead of adding a third rank to my COK, I rather include a second unit of 5.

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Mon Nov 17, 2003 9:29 am
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This does not necessarily mean to have multiple units dedicated to that purpose, but to have multiple units capable of that, and not to have a single uber unit, which will lose you the game, if taken out of the battle (by defeat or divert) early. It also means to split up your combat power among multiple (not necessarily small ) units and not squeeze it all in one (what you did when swapping COK for 2 COC).


A very apt explanation ...

J


Mon Nov 17, 2003 9:33 pm
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It depends on what you intend for redundancy: I think that having two units of the same expensive troup rarely pays back. My army (not much exparience on it, but fared nicely so far) is a mix of different units but I don't have two of them similar.

I went for a mix of standard and MSU units, standard for the cheap ones and MSU for the expensive ones: CoK are good, but two units is overkill and bleeds you of too much points; I usually chose a fast section of my army and a point defence one.
CoK is a 6 knight unit with FC, while the other hard hitting unit is a CoC: in the middle of the two, on the side of the table I chosed to go offensive, there is a 6 DR unit with crossbow, and I also use a Lord on a Dark Pegasus with the mask of kaine: each one of these units is able to support the other when it's time to break through, still each one has it's own way to fight and to be used.
My standing section usually has a 15 SpearElves unit FC with shields, flanked by a 12 executioner unit with champ on one side, and a 12 + champ Corsair unit on the other side to kill ranks on the incoming unit: on the other side of the corsairs I deploy an hydra, which, with it's high T and 5+2 attacks is as good as another large SpearElves unit, with terror and flame thrower.

If the enemy comes to me I stop it with my larger units and then flank it with my smaller and mobile MSU, without the need for doubling anyone of them.

On the rear I have my high sorceress giving LD9 to the whole foot army, two RBT and a 10 RXB with shields adding firepower and protecting the other fire units in case of charge. My MSU units kept close to the Fire section can easilly add up manpower to repell enemy flyers end flank charges.

My 6 Furies are Jack of all trades, fighting marauder flying units or killing enemy warmachines with their high movement rate, but in this they can be supported by the Lord on Pegasus.

Overall, what I think the best is to have different troups supporting each others instead of reduntant ones: DE don't get enough point to fight on several fronts, like the left and the right of the table at the same time so you don't really need two CoK units, but you need somone helping up to win the fight on the side where you deployed them.

Units with different abilities and strenght can add up their plus and compensate their minus, like a faster DR unit which is best at supporting CoK on the flank: CoK deliver the mauling hit, while the DR unit is the net that will catch the enemy.
On the other side I'll have a charriot which, with it's D6 S6 hits, can't be matched by the CoK S5 and is better at crushung high T units, expecially with the aid of a Flying Terror bringing Lord.

SpearElves stop the enemy charge while the Executioners or the corsair bring the killing blow with multiple attaks and high Strengt winning you the combat phase without drawing too much attention due to their small size but large front.

What the point of having two identical units in your army if not to compensate for a bad deployment?

The magic world for me is versatility. :)

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Wed Nov 19, 2003 3:02 am
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Remember ... we are not saying you need two of everything, but rather that you need more than one unit capable of accomplishing a given mission ...

A subtle, yet important difference.

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Wed Nov 19, 2003 3:35 am
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Lets put it another way, you commonly see armies with Shades, Harpies, and DR. All these units excel at the same roles: War Machine/Lone character hunting, Harrasment, march blocking, combat support. The point this thread is about is why you see all these units in the same list, despite all excelling at the same roles. You have the ability to lose a unit (not necessary on purpose) and still accomplish all the roles you need filled on a battlefield to win.

Make more sense now?

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Wed Nov 19, 2003 3:41 am
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Yup, I see: I just wanted to point out that, IMO, DE can't simply wait for occasions to present along the battle: they need to go stright to the target, hit hard and flank charge the enemy before they get at your throat.
Since you'll be almost certainly outnumbered you need to focalize, which also means specialize your units for a target.

I mean that you need different specialized units able to support the main effort: In my strategy, CoK and CoC have to hit the same side of the table at the same time or you will, anyway, lack the weight to break through.
DR and Lord on Pegasus will bring support to their effort in the first phases of the battle to make sure you'll crush opposition, but these units are just supports, not redundancies.
I need ALL OF THEM to ensure my success, because if, for whatever reason I'll be unable to win there, I'll probably lose the battle.

As you can see it's still an all or nothing tactics, but I think it's the only way I can win with DE army (which it's a bit like putting all my eggs in a larger yet single basket).

Then, if you just want to imply that it's better to have two unit doing the same job at the same time instead of a big one, who could just fail a discipline test and get overrun, I totally agree with you . ;)

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LvP

looking at your posts your army does exhibit what is being talked about.
You have 2 frontal assault units COKs and a COC and 2 flank support units Lord and DR.
Your army is able to sustain the loss (or failure to charge) of either the COK and COK and still have a viable shock unit - this is redundancy.
Similarly you could loose either the lord or the DR and still have an effective flanking force again redundancy.
It is only if you loose both assault or flanking units that life becomes difficult.

It is not having 2 of the same thing that is important, it is having 2 of anything that can do the same job that is.

I would point out though that a pegasus mounted Lord is not the best flanking unit as it fails to eliminate rank bonus and a hero in this role might be a less of a risk.

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Wed Nov 19, 2003 2:25 pm
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I see:

Reading the whole topic It looked to me that redundacy would imply having open options: if you are unable to hit where you intended, just have another unit ready to do the same on the other side of the battlefield.
Now I understand you were just talking about Units, not strategy.

I agree the lord may be not the most hard hitting unit I could field, but unfortuantely, at 2K points I have little else Pts to spare for a manticore or silmilar.

Also, the pegasus has it's pro: it's smaller (more difficult to target with war machines), it's cheaper (55pts), which means it's less prone to attract enemy attention, hits hard (+2S for the Lord and +1S for the Pegasus on charge), has quite a bit of wounds and attacks (3), while compared to standard units, like Shades or another DR unit, it flies (can just fly over enemy screening units) and brings terror as well (for just 50 more pts) delivering more or less the same number of wounds in HtH.

The point is to present a lot of similar targets to the enemy so that he will not be sure on what to concetrate, furtermore the Manticore has not an Armour save (exactly like the pegasus) and just one more hit, and can't be ridden by a simple lord: just Highborn (high price and prevents HS in the army) or Beasmaster (which is a lot weaker).

Overall I opted for a simple Lord with Pegasus, able to deliver those 3-4 wounds which make succes in the charge likely if he's used in support of CoK or CoC and more the adequate while hunting wizards and war machine crews.

I must admit he rarely lives to see the end of the battle, but my HighSorceress (which instead I never lost) thinks he's expendable as far as he's of some use ;)

LvP


Wed Nov 19, 2003 3:04 pm
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LvP,

Sorry I missunderstood your use of the word "Lord" I had wrongly assumed you were refering to a Highborn commonly referred to as a Lord amongst British players rather than a Noble, the hero choice.

But then I'm fortunate not to be writing my posts in Italian where I'm sure I'd make far more confusing remarks. :oops:

You make some good points about the Pegasus option which can be commonly overlooked as well as the point about presenting your opponent with multiple threats simultaneously.

Happy gaming
K

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Thu Nov 20, 2003 11:15 am
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