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D.R.A.I.C.H. – The style of a druchii army 
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Some new generals often ask what kind of army can be made with the Dark Elves? Well, pretty much anything.
How come? Because we have access to some of the best ingredients which, together, make all kind of army.
In the presentation below, I will have in mind a typical 2,250 pts army, but the style can describe larger or smaller sizes, just adapt the sizes accordingly.


1. Army components.

When building an army, the general must consider not only the best tuning for each individual unit, but more importantly how all units will combine together for the army to perform as a whole as wished.

I will consider here three main roles that a DE general can assign to his units:
Melee, Agility and Influence.

Melee troops are made to survive and overcome the opponent. Melee has two components:
- mass melee units,
- melee characters, used principally to enhance mass melee units.

Agility is used to control space & time, and to provide a smaller amount of strength where needed.
The three sorts of mobile melee units are:
- Quick Monsters & characters (or handlers),
- Fast and agile troops,
- Cheap small melee units.

Influence works at distance on the opponent, without needing to touch it. There are two components:
- shooters, used to kill at distance,
- magic characters & magic defence, a complex phase mostly working at distance, too.


2. Balanced or specialised.

An army is a blend of the components mentioned above. The varied proportions characterise the style of the army.
A balanced army has an average proportion of all these components.
A specialised army puts a stronger emphasis on some of the components and accepts drawbacks on the other components.
An ultra-specialised army concentrates on a single component and renounces the other components.

When an ultra-specialised army encounters another ultra-specialised army, it tends to be a rock/paper /scissors game, there’s not much you can do if you meet the wrong opponent. To caricature, you could consider that rock = Melee, paper = Agility, scissors = Influence.
When a balanced army meets another balanced army, it’s the best tactician who wins.
When a balanced army meets a specialised army, the specialist just plays his natural strength, while the balanced tactician has to make the best use of his more numerous but less pronounced assets in order to get in the winning rock/paper /scissors combination. It might be difficult for the balanced army with many mild assets meeting an ultra-specialized army.
Specialised armies are therefore easier to master, but balanced armies in the hands of an adaptable general are the only ones able to face any situation.

Army components, body components:
I like to compare the army components to body components.
If the army was a body, struggling against an opponent to take him down (think about rugby, American football, sumo…), then:
- Mass melee units would be the body itself, with most of the weight, the stamina, the resilience;
- Characters would be the head, able to control the body and make a better use of it,
- Agile units would be the legs, controlling time and space (either powerful legs, or fast legs, or many legs),
- Shooters & magic would be the left arm and the right arm, used to cut the opponent off balance at distance.
An athlete should develop the aspects which suits him best, not necessarily all of them. A specialist will overcome a generalist in his field… and loose if brought to another field.

Or, if you take a cooking comparison, different proportions will result in different pastries.
Not all mixes make good recipes, try and taste.
Some cooks are better at some recipes and worst at others, keep doing what fits you best!
You may like to change, try different recipes!
Not everyone likes cookies, select what you like best! :P


Last edited by Calisson on Sun Dec 13, 2009 7:48 pm, edited 8 times in total.



Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:20 pm
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3. Mass melee.

ACR (Active Combat Resolution, brought by killing foes), SCR (Static Combat Resolution, i.e. rank bonuses, banners...), resilience (surviving thanks to many wound, or toughness, or armour saves or ward saves): these are the three qualities of a successful melee unit.
ACR can be furthermore divided between numerous soft ACR against horde units, and hard ACR against heavily armoured foes.

:twisted: DE: The most reliable in melee!

The most striking characteristic of DE is the hatred. This makes our first round of melee much more reliable than the lesser races. When other races may hope for a good ACR, our superior abilities allow us to count on a good ACR. Furthermore, we have a reasonable access to SCR like our opponents with rank bonuses, numeric superiority and banners. It’s just against unbreakable foes such as DoC or VC that it does not matter enough. Dark Elves suffer badly in any sort of battle of attrition.

:!: However, hatred is a double-edged sword: you always HAVE to pursue the enemy (should him survive, of course), which may leave you in a troublesome position. Fortunately, it does not happen that often to be a nuisance.

Another aspect of resilience is the ability to endure losses. Here, being stubborn is important as it increases the unit’s reliability. We have three different units with this ability, which reinforces the reliability of our army. However, these stubborn units are still T3, so don’t stay too long in melee: get the rescue as soon as next turn.

:!: Also, the low resistance of our units is a liability. Our fighters are too expensive to come in countless numbers and are vulnerable to the opponent’s retaliation or pre-emptive aggression. We should therefore not postpone combat nor engage in a prolonged attrition war, and we should consider expandable units to screen our most precious ones which are very vulnerable to shooting or magic.

The units to use for mass melee are:
Core: Spears, with cheap SCR; corsairs, with less SCR, more soft ACR and good resilience.
Specials: WE for soft ACR, Execs for hard ACR, BG for mixed ACR and stubbornness, and COK for ACR and a strong resilience made of armour, rather than wounds.
Typically, the size of a mass melee unit tends to be between US 14 and US 20, with FC.
All these units can take magic banners and should do so, as it enhances a lot their SCR, ACR or resilience.

Oh, should I mention? I said that DE first turn of melee is reliable. With COK, it remains true, however what is less reliable is the prediction about when this melee will happen…

:arrow: Three or more such units would characterise a melee army, which counts mostly on a reliable melee to win an can sustain losses in doing so.
Two such units in a 2K army indicates just a complementary role.
On the lower end of the scale, a competitive army can do well with none although it’s lack of resistance will be a difficult factor to overcome.


4. A complement to mass melee: Melee characters.

The main role for melee characters is to improve mass melee units, by providing more ACR, more SCR or more resilience.
Gathering many characters inside a single unit creates a über-unit, very resilient and very dangerous in melee.

:twisted: DE characters: variety and quantity! And one is un-killable!

Note that I consider here the footed or CO-mounted fighting characters only. More mobile characters can act on their own and I include them among the mobile melee units.
With assassins, DE armies have the unique ability to bring many more characters than anyone else, furthermore since we can afford to do well without a scroll caddy. In addition, BG and COK champions take over partly the role of a character, too. This potential quantity of characters is unparalleled in other armies.

Not only DE armies are unique with the sheer quantity of characters they can gather, but also their variety and their individual prowess can rightfully inspire jealousy in the hearts of the less favoured races.

A Lord increases tremendously the reliability with his Ld10, while Masters and DH increase it significantly.
Lords an Masters main role is to bear magic objects in order to provide more resilience to their unit (possibly by taking challenges which will discharge the frail unit, especially easy with the PoK). As a secondary role, they can provide some ACR with the appropriate weapon, and are the only anti-ethereal specialists. One of their drawback is to be unable to enhance Khainite troops (Execs, WE).
DH’s and assassins’ main role is to provide both soft ACR (many attacks) and hard ACR with KB or manbane; these Khainite characters don’t provide much resilience except with DH’s witchbrew and sass’ ASF.
A COB directly transforms the blessed unit for more soft/hard ACR, or makes it more resistant.
A BSB (Master of DH) provides SCR and more resilience, especially to stubborn units. The banner provides a second magical property in addition to the unit’s own magic banner, for more ACR, SCR or resilience.

:!: But beware that our characters are expensive for what they do. They must have a task or they better stay home. This is why a high number of melee characters should go along with a high number of mass melee units, and you should determine first your melee units and how you wish them to behave, and later the characters needed for them.

:idea: Apart their main role as enhancing mass melee units, characters can sometimes be used to improve small units as well, so they could complement some agile troops too. Usually it is a task for assassins or a COB.

:arrow: Three melee characters is to be considered character-heavy; if all of them go inside a single unit, this indicates a über-unit, which characterises the whole army.
Two or a single melee character is balanced in a 2k army.
Melee characters are not really necessary, and the army can still be competitive with none, especially if the army has no mass melee unit either.


Last edited by Calisson on Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:21 pm, edited 8 times in total.



Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:22 pm
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5. Agility.

The mobility is used to control space (put the threat where it matters most) and time (delay the opponent), making the best of tactical skills.

:twisted: DE: One of the best army to control time and space!

An agile unit is characterised by little SCR if any, and some ACR which it may apply in a very well chosen place, thanks to the outstanding manoeuvrability that mass melee units lack.
:!: Resilience can vary a lot according to the unit, either it is tough or it is cheap.

Putting the threat where it matters often means to side- or rear-charge, in order to get more SCR and cancel rank bonus. Sometimes it is to take away annoying fragile units such as warmachines or shooters. Or to screen more precious units from the opponent’s LOS. Or to bait frenzied troops. Or to delay enemy’s progression.
In addition, terror-inspiring monsters are used to disrupt the enemy’s lines.
However, there is a drawback in excessive confidence in manœuvre: when you flee, you’re never certain to rally. Do it only if it is worth!

Three sub-categories of mobile melee units exist: monsters, fast core units, cheap small units. According to which unit you take, it indicates your playing style. Fundamentally, their role is the same, but they achieve it each in a different way.

:arrow: Many DE armies have 4 to 8 of these mobile melee units, including 3 to 4 agile DR & harpies.
More of such units renders the army elusive. Less makes it more cumbersome, even static.

Let’s review each category of agile units.


6. Monsters.

The most feared agile units are the Monsters, combined with their Rider. The mount provides the mobility. Depending on the monster, the ACR & resilience is provided either by the monster, or the rider, or both.

:twisted: DE monsters: under priced hydra, hero-ridden Manti!

DE monsters are extremely mobile, several of them inspire terror, and most of them are very sturdy.
:!: These Monsters/Riders units have just two drawbacks: their price and the use of a precious hero or rare slot.
Oh, yes, in addition, you'll hear screams about "cheese", but is it a drawback?

The Big Three: Hydra & Handlers, Dragon & Lord, Manticore & Master.
At 2k you can take up to 4 of them! The Manti and one hydra are simultaneously accessible below 2k.
OK, watch out for the hydra, it is not as fast as the others, and has to take a Ld test when a handler is killed. Still a big piece of stinky cheese!

Master & Pegasus, Master & Chariot cannot go inside units, so they work on their own like mini-monsters, but here, the rider is as dangerous or even more dangerous than the mount. A chariot is slow but sturdy and efficiently controls the space around.

To the same category belongs the Master & Dark Steed, with a high mobility like the others, but for which the resilience is better gained from a babysitting unit serving as a launch pad. He is able to act as a melee character as well.

:arrow: The choice to take at 2k two monsters or three mini-monster or a mix, or more, influences heavily the army to the point of characterising it as monster-heavy. Same for 1 monster at 1k. Yes, it happens!


7. Mobile troops.

One of the greatest blessings of the DE are the core and extremely mobile DR and harpies.

:twisted: DE: fliers and fast cav as core!

They are less potent than the Monsters/Riders, but much cheaper and therefore expandable. And, being core, you’re not limited in their numbers!
:!: However, they are very fragile and not that threatening.
With these, you put one of your units exactly where it annoys the most your opponent.

:arrow: DE 2k armies routinely take 4 of such units, unless having also monsters or cheap units, in which case 3 are enough. Less of them makes the army static.
A strong emphasis on DR and harpies characterises a guerrilla style or an elusive army.


8. Cheap troops.

Finally, cheap small units also belong to the agile category, strangely enough.
Sure, they are not fast nor sturdy, but they are nimble, and, with many of these small units, the whole army is able to control space and time, just in a different way than the other mobile melee units. It requires good tactical skills.

:twisted: DE: formerly renown as MSU masters (Many Small Units).

With no command but possibly the musician, you’ll find core units of 10 spears (cheapest bumper) or corsairs (RHB or, preferably AHW which control better the space around); special units of 5 to 8 WE, Execs, BG, shades; or 5 COK; or a Chariot.

:!: None of them can compete with mass units for SCR or resilience and they are normally not worth the cost of a character to be enhanced. But they are effective to put pressure where it hurts: threaten a flank charge, lay a speed bumper in the opponent’s way, screen more expensive troops, overwhelm the opponent with too many targets.

:!: Oh, about chariots: don’t forget that they are stupid, and will usually refuse to charge at the worst moment. They are better as deterrent than as main fighters.

Some selected characters can improve mobile melee units. As the COB can buff up the ACR while not hampering the mobility, it is a welcome complement to a mobile melee unit, especially for Khainite units and/or with the Banner of Nagarythe. One may also think about a hidden assassin, home-delivered by an innocuous unit. But don’t count on a Master: the unit would become too rewarding a target.

:arrow: Any number of such units can be taken, as none is necessary but all are useful.
If a majority of the army is made of cheap small units, it is a MSU army (Many Small Units). It used to be the most successful playing style of the DE but with the coming of the present Army Book, more balanced armies have pushed MSU out of fashion.
A very fluffy MSU army is Crone heading zillions of 5-WE troops buffed with a couple of COB including a BoN BSB.


Last edited by Calisson on Sun Dec 13, 2009 8:22 pm, edited 6 times in total.



Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:22 pm
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9. Shooters.

Their role is to deplete the opponent at distance. A straightforward influence indeed! They must get rid of small annoying units, and downsize to a manageable size the larger units.

:twisted: DE: a very reliable shooting!

Thanks to an excellent BS and the remarkable RXB, DE can deliver a pouring rain of bolts which are more likely to hit than the pitiful instruments of the lesser races. No access to template warmachine nor cannon means that no range needs to be guessed, but what makes RBT more reliable than most other warmachines is that they never self-blow up! Reliable indeed!
:!: However, DE don’t have anything as strong as a cannonball, so the shooting won’t hurt that much tin cans.

Core RXB, special shades, rare RBT will very likely kill more than their cost if only they can shoot 5 times. See The D.R.A.I.C.H. Boot Camp – Shooting for the justifications.
RXBmen are the most resistant. Scouting Shades can cause trouble to the opponent. RBT are the farthest reaching.

In addition, RXB DR can double-march at 18” and shoot around corners at and additional 24” for an outstanding 42” range! However, this option costs so much than only very rewarding targets such as magic-users will be able to pay back the cost of the unit… unless you manage to keep it alive, then whatever you kill is enough to justify it.

What prevents to take too many shooters is that they are likely to be engaged in melee or destroyed at distance before the 6th turn. Therefore, they need other units to complement them.

:arrow: A balanced army has 2 to 4 shooting units, which are initially used for getting rid of light opposing units threatening to prevent the best control of time and space. Later on, they are used to deplete any target of opportunity.
More than 1 shooter per 500 pts makes the army a shooty one.
No shooter at all is perfectly viable even if often not adviseable.


10. Magic.

Magic offence can either kill at distance like shooting, or enhance units like melee characters.
Magic defence is there just to prevent that.
I consider magic to be close to shooting in its influence on the game, just more random.

:twisted: DE: the most aggressive magic casters, and the most broken defensive object!

Offensive magic.
With an access to 5 Lores, DE sorceresses have a good choice, especially since Dark Lore is one of the best Lores any magic-user could dream of. As all spells of this Lore are useful, so it allows a Level 2 to get reliably an useful spell, while the other Lores can be reliably taken by a Level 4 with high chances to get useful spells.
But our sorceresses have two unique properties which are even tastier:
- Power of Darkness spell allows them to deliver more punishment against a weak magic defence.
- Druchii sorcery rule allows them to cast a single spell successfully very often despite a very strong magic defence.
Overall, DE general can count more on the magic phase than other less gifted races using similar levels of magic-users.
:!: Of course, there is always the risk of a miscast, and our sorceresses have expensive fees.

Defensive magic.
:!: 1. Our scroll caddy costs more than the equivalent for other races.
2. However, we have the incredible Ring of Hotek to ruin the opponent’s most powerful spells,
3. and we can get cheap null stones in unlimited amounts,
4. and the Seal of Ghrond, adding a DD, can be given to a non-magic user.
A good magic defence should rely on at least two of these components.

:arrow: Strong magic = Level 4 + Level 2 + Level 2 (2 lev / 500 pts). It gets through any magic defence. Taking more makes a magic tsunami!
Medium magic = Level 2 + Level 2, or single Level 4. Some magic will get through each turn.
Defensive magic = 2 out of the following: scroll caddy, RoH, null talismans, Seal.
More than two of these ingredients make a very strong magic defence.


Last edited by Calisson on Sun Dec 13, 2009 8:34 pm, edited 7 times in total.



Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:23 pm
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11. Mixing ingredients: the flavour of the army.

Melee, Agility and Influence.
As we have seen, DE have access to:
a very reliable mass melee, albeit fragile,
boosted by an exceptional variety and quantity of melee characters, albeit expensive;
to the best ability to control time and space, although either expensive or fragile;
to a reliable shooting although not that powerful,
and a very aggressive albeit risky magic offence
and a commendable magic defence.

This explains why we can select any aspect and excel in it, or mix two aspects and get outstanding results, or we can combine all aspects and still thrive in that, too. However, as someone else said, we can dominate one or more of any area of the game, but our high costs means we can't do it all.


Not all combinations are equally efficient, some are more powerful or easier to handle when the others can make a fun surprising army for a change. But overall, the fit depends on the general.

I've collected many lists showing the extreme variety that can be adopted for a DE army. They are recorded HERE.
Below in the examples are the ones for which results were reported to be achieved.
Most of the time, they are partially specialized and have a bit of everything, but I consider them still specialized enough to belong to one of the categories other than "balanced".

Image


12. Seven different mixes.

Melee mostly.
Styles: Horde of warriors with few characters. Khainite or other theme army. Mixed infantry. Heavy cavalry. Single über-unit.
Description: Infantry units complementing each other, each made for a specific goal, some useful against specific foes, with the adaptability of assassins and COBs. Or several similar units. Or a larger, main unit, with characters. Always rushing for melee.
Drawbacks: Must get quickly in melee in order to become immune to shooting and to most magic. Should be wary of side-charges by enveloping foes, which it has naturally little ways to avoid, especially if glued into a tar pit.
Example: (I know no tourney-winning example)The Suicide ElvesHorde

Agility mostly.
Styles: WAAC. Monster mash. Chariot army.
Description: Elusive army, ultra-manoeuvrable, terror/fear causing.
Drawbacks: Very, very few units. If tar pitted, will loose quickly to SCR.
-
Style: Elusive army.
Description: Catch me if you can! Kill only small vulnerable units, avoid everything else.
Drawbacks: Usually not a winning tactic.
-
Styles: MSU. Assassin army. COB heavy army. Burger Khaine.
Description: The manoeuvre aspect is predominant, whatever the foe.
Drawbacks: Overcoming large units may prove difficult. If too many characters are there, the army lacks bodies.
-
Example: My tournament winning listDragon & hydra & 2 mass units
The CoK Anvil!DR, COK & hydra with strong character back-up.
2250 Witch CultCrone WE spam.

Melee & Agility.
Style: Balanced melee army.
Description: Probably some of the most powerful armies belong to there. Little to no shooting, only defensive magic, but there is a combination of mobile units and hard hitters. For tacticians.
Drawbacks: Different speeds in the army induce successive waves. Not easy to get rid of light annoying troops at distance.
Example: Dark Elves take 2nd Overall at Lone Wolf GT in Dallas, TexasBalanced khainite
Skulls Tournament Report 2250 Comped (long)(2 Khainites masses & corsair screens)

Melee, Agility and Influence.
Style: Balanced army.
Description: The intent of magic & shooting is to get rid of the opponent's light troops so that you can dictate the manoeuvre with agile troops and hit with melee troops. The manoeuvre aspect is important here, but more important is the adaptability. Less powerful but more adaptable balanced armies without magic & shooting. The goal is to use the most astute tactics to win, rather than with share power.
Drawbacks: Although the army has many different tricks available, they are not pronounced and may all be countered. The army must adapt differently to each opponent and find it’s weak point.
Example: Dark Elves win Baltimore GT!BG /no DR
Dark Elf's win the Broadside Bash (Indy GT)COB, Exe, BGs, COK

Melee & Influence.
Styles: Defensive, or static army. The Shade Death Star also belongs to here.
Description: Prepare for melee, considering it is inevitable, taking melee units & characters and not maxing magic/shooting. Here, the magic & shooting are supposed to weaken the foe's main units, sufficiently for melee units to receive the charge and finish them. The same tactics is used for any opponent, and there is no particular emphasis on manoeuvre.
Drawbacks: The opponent might bring a stronger shooting and get the best. Or a very fast opponent will get rid of the shooting and ignore the melee part.
Example: Updated Bristol Brawl 2000pts List - 2nd Place!2L2, no cheese

Agility & Influence.
Styles: Guerrilla. Flying sorceresses (including Monster-riding).
Description: The idea is to avoid melee by running away, and kill mostly at distance whoever is vulnerable.
Drawbacks: Magic is fickle and mobile shooting is weak. Facing a strong mass, it won’t scratch it. Facing a static shooting army, it will get shot down.
Example: 2250 tourney winning list(magic, shooting & agile)
Dark Elf tournament win 2250(shooting & agile)

Influence mostly.
Styles: Magigunline. Elusive Magic. Pure gunline. Multiple shade death starlets.
Description: Maxed for magic and/or shooting. Melee is considered an accident, for which you just get an insurance (BG, for example).
Drawbacks: Quite helpless against fast armours such as most monsters and heavy cavalry. It’s a gamble. And, admittedly, it is a little bit boring for both opponents.
Example: dark elves won heat 3(shooting, some magic and 4 * assassins)


13. Conclusion.

So, at the end of that study, what is the druchii style? Mobile? Hatred? Magic & shooting?
For certain is that DE are NOT a horde army, a fast heavy cavalry army nor a warmachine army. Otherwise?
Probably, the common factor in all DE combinations is that they are reliable if they are used aggressively in what they excel. Being too shy, they get easily killed.
Druchii style is to be aggressive.

As Lakissov has mentioned once, DE are a glass cannon.
The majority of our troops are very good at dishing out, but very bad at receiving.

Other than that,… the style of a DE army is not imposed by the army itself.
The style of a DE army is the style of its general. The style YOU choose.

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Last edited by Calisson on Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:53 pm, edited 6 times in total.



Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:33 pm
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Another excellent read!
Would be interesting to see some sample lists for the diffrent styles you mentioned?

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Sat Dec 12, 2009 9:14 am
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I really don't like it at all I must say. Think it's a vast oversimplification to try and impose how many units make an army focus on this/that... I also believe you are missing several major points on what's important and thus not doing a great (although still a good) job at helping new generals.

Personally I'm not too much for picking your categories, I'd much rather divide it up in the phases of warhammer for several reasons. Mainly the fact that I've seen no army, successful, and only very few (all unsuccessful) build up around only 1 phase. E.g. You can't have a combat army if you can't force combats. Either you shoot until the enemy commits, or you use your speed, to get the combats. Shooting alone doesn't win you the game, it's the mopping up afterward by your combat units that make or break it etc...

I also think you missed a huge point on adaptability in saying that a unit is either A or B. It is the ability to adapt without losing that is essential in both playing a balanced army and becoming a great general imho. E.g Shades might as well be doing ACR with GW or add hw. Especially if the long term (until the game ends) gains are greater than their shooting ability. Warriors can provide ranks, but also work as bait. BG can work as the hammer or the anvil. You briefly touch it but not to any helpful extent (imo)

The game of warhammer isn't just rock, paper, scissors because both players can adapt, even if their army is not built for it.

This brings to an even more interesting perspective that I find lacking. The discussion on being active or reactive in forming a battle. This is the area where most battles are won (and no, I'm not arguing that being the active is the better). The endless possibilities of setting up traps, actively pressuring your opponent, whilst he reacts. And the even to me more crucial part of reacting to your opponents traps. Here lies the value of adaptable units, sort of the redundancy that Rasputin II originally suggested, but with a far more flexible approach.

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Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:50 am
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Thanks for the comment. Criticism is always welcome, as long as it can lead to improvement.
Xerasi wrote:
Think it's a vast oversimplification to try and impose how many units make an army focus on this/that...
I don't impose anything! On the contrary, I try to open as widely as possible the scope that one can consider!
The number of units I provide for a 2k army is just an indicationabout what could be considered average, or more or less than average. I always specify that you can take more or less or even none.


I also believe you are missing several major points on what's important.
True. My topic was about styles, trying to explain that there is no mandatory style so it is fair to try something different.
Telling how best to build a good army would require some other threads. Probably there should be as many threads as there are broad styles!


Personally I'm not too much for picking your categories, I'd much rather divide it up in the phases of warhammer
Sorting by phases is a classic approach. I started with that but changed progressively for the three categories, which I find more logical - with my personal logic that I fully understand not everyone shares.
I did discuss the 4 (or 5 or 6) phases in D.R.A.I.C.H. The balance of an army. A theoretical approach.
After deep thinking, I thought that the phase approach had not enough emphasis on melee (one out of 5 phases). So, in the present thread, I put a strong emphasis on melee, with one category for mass melee and one category for agile melee, the last category (magic/shooting) needing to avoid melee.


I've seen no army, successful, and only very few (all unsuccessful) build up around only 1 phase.
I'll edit the thread with examples. But what is success? To win a tourney? Merely to have fun? To try something diferent for a change? To get THE army you're confortable with?

E.g. You can't have a combat army if you can't force combats. Agree. Either you shoot until the enemy commits, or you use your speed, to get the combats. It's not the only two possibilities.
Some opponents willingly rush into combat. Some opponents are so static that even your infantry can reach them. Or you can take so broad an army that your opponent will not be able to avoid it: not everyone plays tiny armies in wide battlefields!
In some cases, I do agree, a purely mass melee army won't be able to catch the opponent. In such example, the game is simpified too much and you've fallen into the rock/paper/scissors syndrome. I don't pretend any style can win against any opponent.


Shooting alone doesn't win you the game, Agree.it's the mopping up afterward by your combat units that make or break it etc...
Yes, you need to complement shooting with something else, but not necessarily combat units. Magic is a natural complement, but, as I indicated, heavy magic & heavy shooting will have trouble winning the game alone. There is a need for combat units, as you say, or for the army to be elusive, which is a different logic than yours.
Remember, you don't have to destroy the enemy for winning. Often you just need to destroy more than he does or even you need merely to take /4 tables, it may be enough to claim a minor victory... and have fun.


I also think you missed a huge point on adaptability in saying that a unit is either A or B.
A unit can be good in several tasks indeed. If I indicate that 8 BG+muso are agile while 12 BG+FC are mass melee, you can guess that 10 BG+muso & champ are somewhere in between!
Oviously a Level 4 on a dragon belongs simultanously to the agile and the influence sphere. A large unit of shielded DR is the most agile example of mass melee unit. Examples of units belonging to several categories are many! Probably they don't excel in all these categories (see comment on shades, just below), or otherwise they cost a lot (MXB DR, for example).


It is the ability to adapt without losing that is essential in both playing a balanced army and becoming a great general imho.
Balance is one of the styles. Probably the least "point & click", therefore it requires good tactical talents.
But there are other styles, which are more accessible for less experienced generals (and probably less powerful at high level), and which are good to take sometimes, for the fun and for the sake of change.


E.g Shades might as well be doing ACR with GW or add hw. Especially if the long term (until the game ends) gains are greater than their shooting ability.
The more I use shades, the least I am convinced about their melee talents. Only good to get rid of light units, and it leaves them vulnerable in the open.
This said, I always provide them GW, that is cheap and allows to jump on an opportunity. This does not change their nature as primarily shooters.


Warriors can provide ranks, but also work as bait. BG can work as the hammer or the anvil.
Do you really bait with 25 warriors, FC? :o
Large units designed to be an anvil can work as a hammer, but doing so they expose their flanks. Better use faster, lighter units as hammer. Now, in the course of the battle, one uses what one can find.


The game of warhammer isn't just rock, paper, scissors because both players can adapt, even if their army is not built for it.
Agree. It is an image. I hope you did not imagine I would imply that WHFB is something as simple as r/p/s game :lol:

This brings to an even more interesting perspective that I find lacking. The discussion on being active or reactive in forming a battle. This is the area where most battles are won (and no, I'm not arguing that being the active is the better). The endless possibilities of setting up traps, actively pressuring your opponent, whilst he reacts. And the even to me more crucial part of reacting to your opponents traps.
Excellent ideas! Would you be so kind as to write something and expand these ideas a little bit more? I'm serious. Please, do start another thread and elaborate.

Here lies the value of adaptable units, sort of the redundancy that Rasputin II originally suggested, but with a far more flexible approach.
Could you please hyperlink to what you quote?
Not everyone (at least not me) knows what your allusion is about.
Thanks again for entering into the discussion.
Wish more to come.


Bounce wrote:
Would be interesting to see some sample lists for the diffrent styles you mentioned?
Done!

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Sat Dec 12, 2009 1:14 pm
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Thx Calisson, you took it the way it was intended...

Quote:
I don't impose anything! On the contrary, I try to open as widely as possible the scope that one can consider!
The number of units I provide for a 2k army is just an indication about what could be considered average, or more or less than average. I always specify that you can take more or less or even none.

By having a suggested target group (it seems from your opening) of new generals, I believe that providing such information may easily lead to wrongful conclusions on their behalf. I understand that you attempt to decrease their learning time, but I think this approach is perhaps not the best. I believe they would have more use of how the game is played for the different kind of armies and then possibly giving sample units. You are more or less assuming that they know ACR, SCR etc... An approach to they why's of these would in my mind be more giving.

Quote:
After deep thinking, I thought that the phase approach had not enough emphasis on melee (one out of 5 phases). So, in the present thread, I put a strong emphasis on melee, with one category for mass melee and one category for agile melee, the last category (magic/shooting) needing to avoid melee.


I agree that you should not put it into such a simple context, this is neither the way that I'd put it. I'd probably rather build it around a few central phases with a few minor as well. Say building on a dominant phase and 1 or more secondary. The balanced approach I would (imho) then either use combat or perhaps movement for, if any at all.

I also believe it is very faulty to connect magic and shooting. I do realize that most players do that because of some fear (that for me is unknown) for magic missiles. Lets face facts. Few armies win by MMs they are more of a light support (that only really works well on hard to hit targets). It is side effects or other spells that can win the game... Black horror, unseen lurker, pit of shades, invocation etc. These are amongst the most feared spells in warhammer (depending on your opponent) not because of things like shooting damage. It's the mass panic tests, flank charges moping up the line, disappearing almost unkillable (at least from shooting) monsters and so on. Magic is it's own game, and a single successful spell can alter the game more than a single successful shot. Both is usually ranged, but despite that my magic covers a very different prospect than shooting.

In regards to the success discussion it varies, true. To me success is challenge. It's an enjoyable game of Warhammer if I learn from it, and develop myself further as a hammer-gamer. Winning is not essential, and neither enjoyable for yourself or your opponent if it's based on luck, or unluck. I also tend to favor more balanced armies for the challenge it offers compared to a onesided pony

In regards to your comments on my examples of a shooting or combat armies, I give some examples, I do not limit these to only work that way. It was to provide a point of reference of what I think should be more embraced in your article.

Your response to shades sums my intents up... you are predisposed, and although it may be working for others it 'doesn't matter' as they are 'shooters'... This actually brings me to a central point. I believe that DRAICH is not an advantage for the generals. I think it moves everyone further into a 'we all think alike' point of view, instead of pushing for innovation within fields of battle (especially amongst the newer generals). It is up to us older people who are set in stone to try and think outside the box... (if you don't get what I mean Ant made a very interesting thread in 6th ed showing how D.net generals thought alike by suggesting how to make a very standard army, not caring for the original propositions. With the new book we are better at playing competitive, but I think it still holds within different aspects...)

Quote:
Examples of units belonging to several categories are many! Probably they don't excel in all these categories

This is the problem... I wanted an article to help new players include more than just looking at your own army... As Sun Tzu states: "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle." You are only approaching a knowing yourself attitude. I believe that players should be encouraged into taking a knowing your enemy attitude as well.. Shades might be good for shooting, but in situations they are better used for melee. It depends on the opportunity. Hence I think a more contingency based theory should be used.

Quote:
But there are other styles, which are more accessible for less experienced generals

I'd rather learn the less experienced generals the real game... I've actually been thinking of a lesson based guide on how to play warhammer, where armybuilds are suggested for forcing players to use their units together and not as individuals, where baiting, flank protection etc is something you will learn if you want to win with the army (success is learning how it works together ;))

Quote:
Do you really bait with 25 warriors, FC?

Of course... The least expected units are always the best to bait with. This increases the likelihood of an opponent getting caught off guards. Same goes with DRs with a STD etc etc... As long as there is a purpose you will either gain the banner back (by breaking the unit) or you'll get more points back in a different way. Quite like Rasputin IIs article on baiting: it's time to stop escaping... Simple ideas to let new (and old) generals get tactical insights... Who would expect those CoK or chariot to stand if it get's charged? Who would expect a warrior block to flee (not you at least ;)). It's all about placing your units so it looks like you are considering everything, and then realizing the "mistake"... Reversed psychology for the win ;)

Quote:
it is an image. I hope you did not imagine I would imply that WHFB is something as simple as r/p/s game

I don't, however I believe that it is still to oversimplified compared to what is needed for a new general to learn... Perhaps too much text not hitting the point is more likely (and I do the very same thing ;))

And my bad... it was not Ras II it was jeffleong on redundancy: Army Composition Topics: Redundancy
Rasputin on stopping escaping: Baiting: Its time to stop escaping

Ant's thread on advice giving: Ant's advice experiment thread - UPDATED - Analysis Time!

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Sat Dec 12, 2009 3:17 pm
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Xerasi wrote:
they would have more use of how the game is played for the different kind of armies and then possibly giving sample units.
You are more or less assuming that they know ACR, SCR etc...
This is a task for the other D.R.A.I.C.H. threads.
This one is a "no" answer to the question: "do I have to do the same as everyone else?"


I also believe it is very faulty to connect magic and shooting. Few armies win by MMs...
I know that "unseen lurker" is connected to mobility rather than shooting! Still, I consider the sorceress not to be a powerful slow melee unit nor a unit which controls by itself time and space (unless she is mounted on a dragon!). Either she influences directly the oppoennt by shooting MM at them, or she influences the movement of her own army by enhancing the movement, etc... Overall she is a unit which influences friends or foes, but does not put mele pressure itself.
Where it belongs to the same category as shooting (i.e. a category "higher" than, and not limited to killing at distance), IMO, is that
- it wants to avoid melee
- the results it achieves are usually less consistant or at least not as reliable as a good old melee.
Not sure if I'm clear, not even sure if I'm clear in my own mind... :roll:


DRAICH moves everyone further into a 'we all think alike' point of view, instead of pushing for innovation within fields of battle (especially amongst the newer generals).
:shock: It seems that I did not explain enough what D.R.A.I.C.H. is about. In the acronym, "I" stands for "Innovative".
I'm proud to show that some innovative results were actually achieved, thanks to the D.R.A.I.C.H.:
- after my "Burger Khaine" thread, I was said to be part of a Khainite revival, when the consensus was getting to conclude that they were doomed to be part of fluffy, ineffective lists;
- a thread about shielded DR that I made triggered several generals to give a try to this otherwise universally discarded unit - and for both threads, it is not what I play myself,
- RHB corsairs, an ill-understood unit, got a boost after my study, about which I received some thanks from a tourney-winning general.
I'm not alone in the search for originality,
- Furgil explained the wherebouts of Shade Death Stars variants,
- Thanatoz analyzed the Manticore and the footed dreadlord, to quote the most striking articles.

The present thread itself is a pledge to use the broader variety of styles that DE allow, rather than stick only to the "balanced" lists - interesting, yes, and I play that, but there is a room for something else.


Ant made a very interesting thread in 6th ed showing how D.net generals thought alike by suggesting how to make a very standard army, not caring for the original propositions.
Thanks for the link. Inspiring indeed. No more stickied but hopefully still in the minds of DAL mods.

I wanted an article to help new players include more than just looking at your own army... As Sun Tzu states: "If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat." You are only approaching a knowing yourself attitude. I believe that players should be encouraged into taking a knowing your enemy attitude as well.
It's part of the D.R.A.I.C.H. goal. Bounce made the HE antitactica. I made the Empire antitactica. I cannot make other antitacticas, as I play only with Empire & DE. I wish other D.netters wrote about their second army - and how to beat it. Would you do it for yours? :P

I'd rather learn the less experienced generals the real game... I've actually been thinking of a lesson based guide on how to play warhammer, where armybuilds are suggested for forcing players to use their units together and not as individuals, where baiting, flank protection etc is something you will learn if you want to win with the army (success is learning how it works together)
Great! Yes, theory is good, practice is good, theory AND practice is the best.
DA started Druchii for beginners - scratch update 3/4/9but did not achieve it. :cry: That would be great if you tok over. :P I'm looking forward to reading your article.
Thanks for the links.
All the more interesting that I was not here when they were written.

I edited the thread above after some of your interrogations. Thanks again for your valuable comments.

deathknight27, just below wrote:
Did you mean Ring of Hotek
:oops: Translation mistake, maybe?

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Last edited by Calisson on Sun Dec 13, 2009 9:29 pm, edited 3 times in total.



Sun Dec 13, 2009 6:51 pm
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Calisson,

Another excellent article that I will look forward to reading through in fuller depth soon :)

Just one tiny erratum I noticed (sorry). Did you mean Ring of Hotek in the magic defense section (quoted below)?

Quote:
we have the incredible Pendant of Kaeleth to ruin the opponent’s most powerful spells,

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Sun Dec 13, 2009 7:28 pm
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