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D.R.A.I.C.H. What is needed in an army. 
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Corsair
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In this thread, we will review the roles to be fulfilled in an army.
For the sake of beginners, I start with fundamentals (but at present, everyone is a beginner in the 8th edition - and anyway it is always useful, even for experienced players, to go back every now and then to fundamentals).

1. What wins battles?
Your army is chosen by you, the general, for some purpose: themed force, cool models, fielding what you just happen to have, tournament competition, prove to the world (or to your brother) that you're the best...
Here, I'll discuss only about what is required or useful for your army to win battles.
Most scenarios require you to get more victory points (VPs) than you concede to your opponent.

- Only units destroyed or fled out of the battlefield concede VPs (p.143).
=> you need to destroy to the last model of the enemy unit, or force him off the table.

- Additional VPs are brought by the general (worth 100 more VPs).
=> the general is a highly rewarding target.

- Battle Standard (BSB) concedes 100 additional VPs, and unit’s standards concede 25 VPs immediately if their unit breaks away from melee (p.94) or is slain in combat. These VPs are not obtained for other kind of destruction.
=> the BSB is a highly rewarding target.

- Finally, a champion killing a character brings out 50 more VPs for underdog challenge. Note that if the champion is killed, it brings 0 VP as only destroying the whole unit counts.
This hardly ever happens, unless you face a helpless level 2 naked sorcerer.

- In addition, scenario #4 requires the army to have some standards: one standard minimum at 1001-2000, two standards at 2001-3000…
=> just make sure you get the minimum available. It is advisable to have at least two standards above that minimum.

- In addition, scenario #6 rewards armies with infantry, or with means to dislodge infantry from a tower (flaming attacks spring to mind).
=> it is useful to have one resistant unit of infantry, or several small units, and to have the means to dislodge or destroy an opposing unit inside a building (shooting is hampered by hard cover – templates may hit only 1D6 model – only 10 infantrymen can fight – however, flaming attacks reroll failed wounds).

So, overall, you need your units to destroy some opposing unit and resist being destroyed.This is what we will examine now.


2. Destroying foes.
There are three major paths for destroying foes: magic, shooting and, the most efficient, melee. Each path can destroy small units or downsize large units so that they become small. Sometimes, large units could be directly destroyed but it hardly ever happens anymore.
There are also some complementary ways of destroying foes made fleeing by the three major paths, or depleting all troops.

2.1. Units may be destroyed at distance with magic.
Magic destroys at distance. It can destroy small units easily, and some spells can even destroy a third or half of a very large unit, no matter how large it is.

Magic is dangerous for the caster: miscasts can blow up a caster and a large part of the unit next to him. Also, some spells can take an unexpected path and hit friends and foe alike.

Magic can fail: sometimes, winds of magic are not there, sometimes the spell is not cast, or is dispelled. Sometimes there is no legitimate target. Finally, spell casters are usually poor combatants and die very easily to melee, shooting and magic (the opponent’s and their own). Also, magic is limited by the pool of dice, no matter how many wizards are there. Finally, you just may fail to roll the destructive spells you wish.

Overall, magic is very powerful and too good to discard, but very unreliable. Don’t plan to win on magic only.
The best balance must be found for getting reliably the spells you want (this can be done by taking a total of 6 levels in the same Lore), for getting additional Power Dice (easy for Druchii) and for placing the magic user, either inside a unit large enough to protect her and sustain her miscast, or away from dangers.

2.2. Units may be destroyed with shooting.
Shooting destroys at distance. Shooting is easy to access at. Most shooters are core troops, and special slot template warmachines can now be taken three same at a time (which is good for Empire or Dwarfs but very bad for us).

BS shooting can destroy small units easily. However, the amount of BS shooting required to destroy significant parts of large units is unreasonable. Also, you cannot shoot at units in melee.
BS Shooting presents no danger for the shooter. It is the only 0 risk way to destroy anything.
BS shooting is quite weak, as it often fails to hit due to diverse covers and circumstances. Lots of shots are required to compensate for that. Once it hits, it still need to wound and pass the armour save. Overall, the reliability of shooting increases just with the amount of shooting you can bring. But it is never enough to win games.

Template Warmachines can destroy big parts of large units. Fortunately, they have a tendency to self blow up. Anyway, DE don’t have access to it.

Overall, Shooting is more reliable than magic. It is useful to get rid of small opponents, especially if they are difficult to catch.

2.3. Units may be destroyed in melee by being wiped out.
Melee destroys in contact. This means that you need first to achieve contact. This is not always as obvious as said, as the opponent may refuse to get in contact, or may send the units you don’t wish to confront.

Contrary to magic and shooting, most units are able to dish out some damage in melee, so this is very easy to access.
Melee is probably the most effective way to destroy units. Indeed, melee destruction happens both in your turn and in your opponent’s turn, i.e. twice as often as magic or shooting. Also, you can get more kills with a large frontage, and there are many ways to deliver a higher or more effective amount of hits. This is why the bloodiest destructions happen in melee.

However, the most painful drawback is that both opponents suffer from melee. It is not risk-free, contrary to shooting.

There are two moments in a melee: the charging round and the successive rounds.

In the charging round, units benefit from several bonuses: chariots have impacts; flails, morning stars, lances & spears work better; hatred allows for rerolls. Often, breath weapons are used during the first turn.
This is why melee is often lethal in the first round for small units, which can be completely wiped out.
However, no matter how severe the first round is for them, large units usually survive the first round of combat.

In successive rounds, the initial push has stalled: some weapons don’t work as well, hatred has passed over, often champions have been KIA, possibly some characters are KIA as well. Maybe the depleted rear ranks don’t get as many support attacks either.
Anyhow, it is in the long run that large units are defeated, because the more they test their Ld, the more they may fail it; and in the long run, they become small units.

In order to be effective in melee, you want units which deal lots of damage, which resist taking damage and have many members in case things turned bad for the ones in contact.
Increasing the damage you deal can be done with the help of fighting characters. Dealing more damage and/or resisting damage can be done with magic.

2.4. Units may be destroyed in melee by loosing a break test and being caught (p.56).
The loosing side may try to escape from the melee with a break test.
If it does (failing the break test), it risks to be caught (>50% chances in average) and totally destroyed on the spot, which is very good for the winner.
If it manages to escape however (<50% chances in average), no VP has been gained for the fleeing unit (except 25pts for the pennant), which is very bad for the winner.

From the winner’s point of view, if the loser was an extremely large unit, it is beneficial to get a chance to destroy it on the spot rather than having to wait for many more turns of melee, during which the winner will keep loosing troops and is vulnerable to a rescue attempt.
From the looser’s point of view, if the looser was loosing heavily each round and had only few models left, it can be a relief to get a chance to escape and concede nothing (except the pennant’s 25 pts)… unless the looser was purposely sent to be sacrificed in order to get another unit to charge the winning unit, or in order to prevent that dangerous unit to threaten the rest of the army.

Overall, the steadfast rule helps a lot the looser: as long as he has more ranks than the winner, he has great chances to avoid total destruction for now; once he has lost so much that he has less ranks than the winner, he has a chance to escape. To escape becomes certain if the winner remains busy with another unit (a tar pit).

Small sacrificial units, underdog units, tar pits are helped a lot if they are stubborn (or better, unbreakable).
All units benefit from a high Ld (either from the unit or from the general’s proximity), and if you can reroll the Ld test (BSB presence at 12”).

This mere fact increases the value of the general and the BSB, besides the 100 VPs that they can concede in addition to their pts value. For that reason, the general and the BSB are probably the two most important models in your army (and in your opponent’s army as well).

It is possible to increase the chances to catch a fleeing unit: you need one (or, better, several) quick unit to participate to the combat (flyer, cavalry, chariot): they run faster.
For DE, having one Corsair unit participating to the melee helps to slow down the fleeing unit.

2.5. Fleeing units are destroyed if any opponent charges them (triggering a flee reaction) and reaches them.
A fleeing unit is very vulnerable. No matter how large it is, if there is but a single Harpy charging it and catching it, it will be destroyed.
It is therefore sound, when you fight a large melee, to put a quick light unit (Harpies, DR) in the likely path of the would-be fleeing unit, in case it managed to escape. This role is called scavenger.

2.6. Successive charges may push-push the fleeing unit off the table:
Even if someone declares a highly unlikely charge at maximum charge range (p.16), the fleeing unit must flee again and immediately make its fleeing move.
It can be done several times in a row: the fleeing unit may be charged again by another unit (p.18).
You can do it again as many times as you wish, as long as you have new units to declare a charge.
As the fleeing move has to be in the opposite direction from the charge, you can try to push-push the fleeing unit either in a position where you’ll catch it, or off the table. Anyway, it is likely not to be threatening anymore for a while, being pushed off so far from the action.
In order to be able to do that, again, it is useful to have positioned small units of Harpies or DR in strategic points.

2.7. Fleeing units may naturally fail to rally and move off the table.
To rally is easy: a Ld test, with a bonus if they have a musician. For that reason, a muso is very useful in any unit, let alone that it also allows a swift reform (p.95). Furthermore, the Ld of the general can be used, and the BSB allows to reroll that. One more reason to stress the importance of a general and a BSB.
To be noted that there is one Death spell (#3) which lowers Ld.
Besides that spell or keeping opponent’s general & BSB at distance (killing them is fine, too), there is little you can do to force the opponent to get off the table. As the fleeing direction is straight ahead, you better have tried to make them flee towards the nearest table edge.

2.8. Fleeing units suffer additional damage when fleeing through impassable terrain.
Buildings are impassable; so are opponent’s troops. Chariots, suffering D6 wounds, could be destroyed by having to pass through an opponent.
This is a job for Harpies/DR. It will probably not destroy the fleeing unit (save a chariot), but depleting it a little bit may help, in case it would rally later.

2.9. Some units, even not fleeing, suffer a few casualties when moving fast (but not with normal move) across most terrain.
- cavalry, monstrous cavalry and (moreover) chariots across anything but hills,
- flyers starting or ending in a forest,
- all troops save skirmishers across marshes,
- all troops moving across specific terrain (Hills: Scree Slope or Temple of Skulls p.118, Forests: Blood Forest or Venom Thicket or Wildwood p.119, Rivers: Boiling Flood, Necrotic Ooze, Raging Torrent and River of Light p.120, Marshes: Mist-Wreathed Swamp p.121, Monuments: Sinister Statue p.125, Buildings: Haunted Mansion p.130).
It seems not practical to build this as a strategy, because you have very little control on the terrain.
But that is one more way units get causalties.


Last edited by Calisson on Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:13 pm, edited 3 times in total.



Sun Aug 08, 2010 7:20 pm
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3. Resisting destruction.
The first way to resist destruction is to avoid it altogether:
- Dispel magic; kill the opposing wizards; stay out of range.
- Kill the opposing shooters; stay out of range.
- Delay the opposing warriors; stay out of charge range.

Another way to resist destruction is to have more models in the unit in the first place (when you select the army).
It will withstand more magic, more shooting, it will be more easily steadfast in melee, and terrain casualties will not be dramatic.
However, a large unit is the best target for mass-killing spells and for template weapons. Also, as it is cumbersome, it is difficult for it to avoid combat. Finally, even if it is tough to destroy, when it happens, the unit concedes many VPs.

Another way to resist destruction is to make the unit tougher.
Some units are more resistant than others, thanks to a better armour, better Toughness or specific rule such as being ethereal, regeneration or being raised back.
The unit can be further hardened with some magic items, giving it magic resistance, a specific antishooting property or a better behaviour in melee. These magic items must be borne by a character or, sometimes, by a hero or a pennant bearer.
Many spells can harden up a unit as well.
All these unit’s improvements exist in limited supply. This also leads to increasing the size of the units, so that a unit’s improvement benefits the largest portion of the army.

When you cumulate several improvements into a single, very large unit, you get a Death Star. A DS is very difficult to destroy to the last man by magic or in melee. Shooting is insignificant, unless in extreme amounts. Ordinary melee units have high chances to get destroyed on the spot when making contact.
Facing a Death Star, you can oppose another Death Star and hope for the best. You can also take advantage that it is dangerous only in melee, and avoid it while depleting it as much as you can with magic and shooting, until it has been downgraded to a manageable size, but this is not always feasible: it requires the ability to deal mass damage and to snipe characters who make that unit so difficult to deal with.

A more original way to resist destruction is to multiply the number of units (it is called MSU – Many Small Units). Each of the units is vulnerable and can easily be destroyed by magic, shooting or melee. However, the opponent may find it very hard to catch and destroy them all, especially if he is light on shooters, casters and fast tough hunters. Nevertheless, small units find it difficult themselves to destroy very large units. As these units cannot all benefit from the improvements brought by magic items and scrolls, they rely more on their mobility, exploiting the terrain to get a cover, or keeping at bay.
This tactics can work with several units able to deal damage at distance, a few sacrificial units used to slow down the opponent, and a few mobile tough units used to chase opponent’s mobile units & shooters.
The alternative is to have many small units effective in melee: if they charge simultaneously a large opposing unit, they will very quickly slim it to bare bones. This variant is called MSE (Many Small Elites).

You need also to mitigate destruction when it is not finalized.
As long as 1 model survives (even fleeing), the unit is not destroyed.
As long as either the character or the mount keeps 1 wound, the unit is not destroyed and neither concedes any VP.
If one of your unit happens to have been depleted to the point of not being useful anymore, its most important task becomes just to survive, in order to deny VPs. First it has to rally (once more with the help of the general and the BSB), then it needs to find a hideout somewhere and wait till the end of the game, hoping not to draw attention.
Reversely, you need scavengers to hunt down those few survivors who deny your legitimates VPs.


4. Army components.
A beginner’s way to build an army could be to select individual units, and let each of them kill as much as they can before being killed themselves. Units “paying back their cost” deserve the right to remain in the army, the other ones are shelved.

There are better ways.

As we have seen, you can find in an army many units specialized in some specific tasks:

- The General is mandatory. He has a 100VP bounty on his head. His role is to help pass Ld tests.
- General’s escort: One sturdy unit must protect the general. Alternatively, the general may be mobile enough not to need any other escort (well, the Dragon is the escort). (added by Dangerous Beans) - you can take lone wolf characters: kitted with options to survive and take on specific roles. Examples are the Druchii 'lone guard at the gate' build (see 8th Edition Character Combination thread) or a wood elf alter kindred Highborn.

- The BSB role is to help pass all Ld tests. He has also a bounty on his head and is so valuable for his rerolls that he is probably the most important target. He participates to the number of standards required in scenario #4.
- BSB’s escort: One sturdy unit must protect the BSB, all the more that he is so important. However, a mount may become this escort (Chariot, Pegasus, Manticore for experienced or daring players).

- Magic-users can be used to directly destroy foes (either large or small units). They are also used to augment our units and to hex opposing units. They are very useful to dispel opponent’s magic.
- Babysitters: Magic-users are vulnerable. They need either a resistant babysitting unit or a high mobility. As magic works at distance, the babysitter needs mostly to resist distant attacks, but also quick charger’s attacks.

- Small shooting units are useful to destroy at distance small units, like mobile magic-users, warmachine hunters, small elite troops, scavengers.
- Large shooting units and template warmachines are useful to reduce the size of large infantry units and destroy other warmachines.

- Warmachine hunters are quick light units, designed to destroy a light unit in melee. Their role is to destroy quickly warmachines. They are useful to destroy small shooting units, too. They are vulnerable so several of them are needed. They are also useful as scavengers to chase down already fleeing units, and to kill last survivors of units which have rallied and now hide away in order to deny VPs.
- Fast Heavy units are usually too expensive to constitute large units. However, they are valuable to kill a lot and receive little punishment. They are used to downsize large units in melee. They can be used to destroy warmachine hunters. They are excellent on the charge, but often, they don’t behave as well in successive rounds of melee. They are excellent to destroy warmachine hunters and light troops. Some fast heavy units require a character: ridden monsters such as dragons.

- Small Elite units are designed to kill a lot of foes, at the cost of being killed themselves. They are used to downsize quickly the opposing unit, either in successive waves or, better, in a simultaneous charge. What they lack in rank bonus is compensated by many charge bonuses, plus side charging. They are vulnerable so several of them are to be taken simultaneously.
- Tar pits are designed to pin down opponents into a prolonged melee. The opponent is neutralized in the process. Tar pits are normally sacrificial units. They can be called speed bumpers if they are easily destroyed.

- Large melee units are designed to survive a prolonged melee, and destroy lots of opponents in the process.

- Death Stars combine the fact of being large and heavy (or elite), with many improvements brought by several characters. There are at least 3 fighting and resistant characters in a death star, in order to allow supportive magic-users to remain safe in the second rank.

- Fighting characters in large units are designed to enhance a large unit, with their magic objects, by killing lots of R&F, or killing opposing characters (possibly in a challenge but not necessarily). Their usefulness lasts only as long as they survive, so either it is a quick use (such as assassinate a more precious character), or they need to be very resistant themselves. The COB belongs to this category.
- Assassins are characters who have the task to kill individuals (General, BSB, Wizards, magic-objects bearers). They could be themselves Wizards using sniping spells, or fighters selecting their target in melee, or real assassins.

- Sniper shooters have the same task. They need a shooting special rule (cannons, Empire’s Hochland) not available to DE.
- A suicide squad is a small sacrificial unit which role is to charge an opposing unit in order to kill a specific character inside it.

- A Flanker’s role is to cancel the opposing rank bonus. It requires two surviving ranks of 5. It can be either a rather large infantry unit or a sturdy medium unit of heavy cavalry. This role is not taken very often, as it does not cancel steadfast.
- Tower guard: At least one infantry unit should be able to win scenario #6.
- Some units may have other specialized role, such as corsairs to provide their slaver’s rule into a melee, sacrificial harpies to trigger fanatics, a large unit of spearmen as dagger fuel...

So, there are many units which need not to kill anything directly to make them useful.
So much for the “return on investment”.


5. Combining roles.
There is no way to have all kind of units mentioned above in an army of an usual size.
You have to make choices.
You can select to regroup roles as you can.
You can also select to skip some roles you can afford not to take.

Examples:

If the general is a Lord, he must wear the best armours he can. In that case, he could well ride a dragon and become a fast, tough unit. Or he could wear a few magic objects and help the unit he is in, to be more lethal.

The General must be protected. Wizards must be protected. If your General is a Wizard, only one protection is required.

Wizards act at distance and must be protected. One usual babysitter is a RXB unit, which acts at distance as well and can repel light fast hunters.

The unit sheltering the general may get the BSB and FC in the front rank. Having no more room in the first rank, a Wizard joining such unit will be entitled to go in the second rank and be less vulnerable to the first round of melee. This transforms the General’s escort in a Death Star.

The large fighting unit may be composed of shielded RXBmen. These are not bad fighters, after all.

Fast heavy units make outstanding warmachine hunters of their own, albeit more expensive.

Small Elite units can make good tar pits, if necessary, or suicide squads.


Last edited by Calisson on Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:19 pm, edited 3 times in total.



Sun Aug 08, 2010 7:27 pm
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6. The style of an army.
The most important thing to know is to decide how you are going to win, i.e. to kill and resist being killed.

You can kill the opponent with distant attacks (magic & shooting), with prolonged fights (mass units), with concentrated fights (Many Small Elites MSE), or with a combination of these (balanced army).

You can resist the opponent with massive units, with many targets (MSU) or with a highly evasive army. In all cases, you’ll need support units to get rid of opposing support units.

Here below are varied examples of how a DE army could be built. Not all of them are as easy to master. You’ll have to determine, with practice, which style suits best you and your usual opponents.

6.1. Magic & Shooting – evasive.
Magic is powerful but unreliable. Shooting is weaker but more reliable. Together, they can destroy whole units, provided there is sufficient time.
In order to get time, you may select to get very agile units (sorceress on DS or DP, RXB DRs, Shades). These agile units should be able to stay away of charge threats.
The danger comes mostly from opposing shooting & magic. You have the tools to dispel part of the magic.
The priority is to get rid of opponent’s shooters and opponent’s fast heavy units, with a concentration of magic and shooting. When it’s done, what remains from your army should be able to avoid what remains of your opponent’s army. Finish it up with magic.
Beware, all your units are very expensive. Even if you expect a lighter opponent’s magic & shooting, it will hurt a lot. Also, you’ll find out that it is difficult to destroy even a single large unit.
Note that you can afford not to take any BSB, as you are not supposed to make that many vital Ld tests.

6.2. Magic & Shooting – MSU.
Magic is powerful but unreliable. Shooting is weaker but more reliable. Together, they can destroy whole units, provided there is sufficient time.
In order to get more time, you may select to get sacrificial units as speed bumpers and light hunters.
While your speed bumpers slow down the enemy, your light hunters get rid of the opponent’s shooting.
It is up to your magic and your several RXBmen units and RBTs to destroy one unit after another. If you loose part of them, no big deal.
Again, easier said than done.

6.3. Magic & Shooting – masses.
Magic is powerful but unreliable. A large unit of spearmen is ideal for your dagger-happy Level 4 to make her magic much more reliable.
Shooting is weaker but more reliable. More shooting makes it stronger. A massive unit of RXBmen is able to take whole units off. With magic buffs, it can withstand a melee.
Select either one or even both.
You need some support units to help them, though, and probably some fighting character.
This looks more like a balanced list, except that your main fighting unit is not a real fighter and your general is likely to be the High Sorceress.
Beware that if the opponent manages to reach your large unit with his own, chances are that you don’t resist long (and you loose the wizard who was in that unit, if he did not manage to escape).

6.4. Melee with masses.
Here, you pick up several large units, all of them able to behave well in combat (spearmen with many ranks and more bodies, corsairs with many attacks, WE with more poisoned attacks, Execs with S5 KB attacks, BG). You buff them according to the most urgent need, with a COB and a Wizard’s augment/hex.

The general can be set inside a narrow unit of corsairs, with the BSB behind him, allowing the whole battleline to be inside the 12” umbrella.
This is probably the easiest way to proceed.

The danger here is for the wizards, if they stay inside a melee unit.
You need also some warmachine hunters and scavengers to complement your army.

6.5. Single Über-unit.
All the eggs in a single basket. But that is an armoured basket!
Front line has FC, General, BSB. Second rank has two wizards and another hero full of magic objects. Behind comes a COB.
You can make that with a unit of COK if you dare. It needs some heavy support, but it is fearsome.
If that unit is made of corsairs instead, an assassin can jump in at any time.
If it is BG, the unit is limited to 20 of them.
Beware, the unit is tough, but a single opponent’s spell or template warmachine can destroy all your plans along with most of that unit.

6.6. Melee with MSE.
This is the opposite. Many units of BG, Execs and WE (within COB’s reach) die to the last but kill many more.
In the end, you combine a charge with all survivors and the remaining large opposing unit is eaten alive.
The danger is that one after another of your unit may be killed by opponent’s magic, shooting and fast hard hitters.

6.7. Melee and Mobility.
The general rides a dragon, the BSB is on a COC. You run many mobile units and concentrate all of them on a single opponent at a time. The units are sturdy enough not to be worried about most shooting.
This is powerful.
Problem is to fill up the core slots. You could take a single large unit and put your sorceress inside, that will be one unit without mobility. Or, if you want to stick with the theme, then shielded DR can be used.

6.8. Balanced with masses.
Part of your army is made of fighters, in a couple of large units, with general and BSB.
You get also some magic users, inside RXBmen units, and a couple of fast units to charge opposing warmachines & shooters.
This is probably the most popular setting at present.
It is able to cope with many different situations. It requires a combined use of all units.

6.9. Balanced mobile.
You use magic to hurt badly the opposing masses while your fast heavy units take care of the opposing light units. You keep your mobile caster out of trouble.
In the second half of the game, all the heavy units concentrate on one depleted opposing unit.
The trouble is to destroy large units, which are steadfast and you cannot cancel it.
Better be able to magic-snipe the BSB dead.


7. Mandatory units.
There are no mandatory units in a DE army.

- All armies need a general. He needs not to be a Lord, though; a High Sorceress can do the job.

- All armies should take a BSB. The ability to reroll all Ld test is invaluable. This BSB could ideally be a Master in a unit (he requires a good armour), a mobile Master (DP, COC), or a COB. A BSB DH is much more difficult to play, as a MantiBSB. If you are not sure to be able to defend a BSB, and if you don’t plan to take that many Ld test, you can try without.

- All armies should get at least one Wizard. It is too vital to stop the opponent’s magic, and magic is too good to be discarded. Possibly, instead of a wizard, the RoH on a dragonlord could help to have a minimal magic defence.

- All armies need a few agile troops (Harpies, DR, Shades, Pegasus) as warmachine hunters and scavengers. Alternatively, fast tough units could do the job (Dragon, Manti, Hydra, COK).

- All armies benefit from some shooting, in order to get rid of opponent’s agile troops. Alternatively, fast tough units could do the job.



8. First Lessons learned.
This is an addendum after a couple of games.
7th => 8th edition
The meta-game changed a lot.
7th ed was about combining units with maneuvre, and controlling the opponent's maneuver with clever use of some mandatory rules (often frustrating for the victim).

8th ed is more about combining buffs into a unit.
Buffs come from:
- magic (unit's buff, also hexing the opponent),
- pennants,
- characters (Ld, magic objects, removing opponent's buffs along with their characters),
- supporting units (flank charges, monster stomp, COB, reducing the opponent with shooting early in the game...),
- terrain! often forgotten, but buildings change units' behaviour, rivers & forests remove steadfast, many terrain become dangerous if you charge across, not forgetting some fancy effects... There is some control over the terrain: you choose where to place half of it.
All these buffs combined can turn a rather mediocre unit into a freightening killing machine, and a medium/large elite unit to a win-me-all-my-games unit.


Army building.
As a result:
- You're incited to get 2-3 large units, which will resist longer and concentrate the buffs.
- The alternative is to get MSU, if you can concentrate the buffs on any unit of your choice. Harder but playable and more fun.
- You're incited to get some medium magic (PD are given anyway) rather than all-magic or no-magic. 8th edition magic is great fun! Powerful (win hard or loose hard).
- Characters are so important that some players go 50% characters (wrongly, because it's troops who win the game). The BSB and the General have a very high bounty on their head, often killing them = winning the game, especially with some scenarios.
- BS shooting units are much less useful, because the main units are so large and you get no VP for 1/2 units anymore.
- Template shooting/magic units are more useful, for the same reason (except against MSU).
- Light support units are less required in the main melee; they remain very useful to get rid of opponent's support units (template shooting) and to act around melee (scavenge). As they are less of them, this further reduces the importance of BS shooting.


Agressive armies.
A real attack druchii force has at least two of the following attack troops:
20+ SSS Corsairs; 20+ WE; 20+ Execs; 15+ BG; 8+ COK.
It has some enhancing support, designed to increase the efficiency of the attacking troops:
COB; BSB (often merged to COB BSB); at least 4 levels of magic.
It has hammers, to put ponctual pressure where it is useful: Dragonlord, Manti (rarely seen), Hydra, COC. strong but cannot be really buffed.
It has agile troops, designed at least to hunt warmachines: AHW Shades, Harpies, Peggymaster, DR (least cost-efficient).
It may or may not have anvil troops and shooting, according to taste. These are less aggressive, but it is often useful to get some defensive troops for balance. Spears, RXB, RHB Corsairs, RBTs. The anvils benefit most from the dreadlord's Ld, otherwise a dreadlord is not really necessary.


Scenarios
The scenarios are very important. You have to prepare your army in anticipation for any of the 6 scenarios. They reinforce or decrease the relative importance of what is said just above. As a result, balanced, adaptable armies are better than rock/paper/scissor armies.


Alliances
Very fun games.
Magic is forced down because DE cannot play strong alliances (very unlikely after turn 1).
Playing a strong alliance vs a weak alliance is very unbalanced just because of magic, so I'd recommend either playing only weak alliances on both sides, or the strong alliance agrees not to go magic-heavy.



That’s all, Mates.
I develop further some thoughts in there:
D.R.A.I.C.H. Dark Elves units under 8th edition.
D.R.A.I.C.H. The new Age of Mammoths.

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Last edited by Calisson on Sat Oct 23, 2010 9:20 am, edited 4 times in total.



Sun Aug 08, 2010 7:34 pm
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WOW! Again - a veritable wealth of knowledge and interesting points of reading: I particularly enjoy the break down of main 'archetypical' army lists! Not really considered using a mobile magic/shooting list before! Sounds like a pain for an opponent to deal with effectively!

I'd like to add the General's escort point - you can take lone wolf characters: kitted with options to survive and take on specific roles. Examples are the Druchii 'lone guard at the gate' build (see 8th Edition Character Combination thread) or a wood elf alter kindred Highborn.

Thanks Calisson - you truly are a genius mate. Be a little wary however about sometimes giving newer players a little too much of a helping hand: some parts of playing warhammer are great to discover for yourself - just a mild thought to be bear in mind occasionally ;)

- Beanz

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Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:08 am
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Calisson wrote:
The goal of your army is to win.


Is it?

I can think of many goals for an army (themed force, full of cool models, "typical/representative" force, etc) that aren't "to win".


Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:29 pm
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Bitterman wrote:
I can think of many goals for an army (themed force, full of cool models, "typical/representative" force, etc) that aren't "to win".
Sure, and I share these goals, too, but do you expect the tactics forum's Druchii Rules Analysis, Innovative Counselling & Help (D.R.A.I.C.H.) to help you in these directions? :?
May I suggest the P&M and the History of Druchii forums instead? ;)

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Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:06 pm
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Cool stuff, there Calisson. I find it interesting there does not seem to be a specific overwhelming archetype you are proposing for army selection. I think that is because, upon review of what you have written above, I have to think that Dark Elves have one of the most diverse but useful army lists around.

Need good cheap troops? Spears! Need excellent shooting? Crossbows! Need to face enemy shooting? Corsairs! Need hard hitting cav? Cold Ones? Need hot looking chick models? Witch Elves! Need creepy sorcery? Dark Elf Sorceress! Woo! Need big giant monsters? Hydra, dragons, etc.! Need cool sniper weapons? Repeating Bolt Throwers!

Do we have big giant templates? Eh, not so much. But what we do have rocks and that leads to hopefully some variable armies.

Thanks again,

~B~


Mon Aug 09, 2010 6:16 pm
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Calisson wrote:
Sure, and I share these goals, too, but do you expect the tactics forum's Druchii Rules Analysis, Innovative Counselling & Help (D.R.A.I.C.H.) to help you in these directions? :?


Well, honestly, yes. I mean, I don't "build an army to win" but I've still found DRAICH super-useful. I just felt like starting an article (of otherwise generally high caliber as per usual) with the implication that the way to build an army is to try and win with your army list instead of on the battlefield is not what I would expect. Taking that to the extreme - surely the way to build an army is to go to the "what nasty tricks are too nasty to use" thread, and try to find a way to use them all?

But, maybe I'm just not getting the point of DRAICH, in which case, my apologies for interrupting and carry on!


Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:34 pm
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@ Dangerous Beans
You're right. Self-escort option mentioned now (I believe it is best done with the help of a flying mount, though).

@ Blaznak
That's one of my leitmotives:
There is no single "right" competitive way to play DE.
There are no competitive DE lists, there are competent DE generals.
Play DE to your style, not to the style of a supposed majority of D.netters.

@ Bitterman
Good point.
Amended the first paragraphs:
- this article is not only for beginners
- your army is not meant only to win battles.

@ all :oops: Thanks for your appreciation.

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Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:19 pm
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Calisson wrote:
Your army is chosen by you, the general, for some purpose: themed force, cool models, fielding what you just happen to have, tournament competition, prove to the world (or to your brother) that you're the best...
Here, I'll discuss only about what is required or useful for your army to win battles.


Much, much better. Sorry, that's only a minor change so it probably felt like I was being petty, but it reads much better now without any negative implications. Nice one!


Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:26 pm
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Thanks for all the obvious hard work.Could I rip this to a word doc to read offline? I've noticed quite a few of your articles I would like to compile together...let me know.
Thank-You

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Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:02 pm
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You're welcome to do it.
There is no copyright on it, this is not GW! :lol:
If ever you want to start a business and sell them, go ahead, you owe me nothing. Just make sure you quote whoever participated to the writing (I'm not the only one) and Druchii.net.

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Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:43 pm
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Would definitely be a bestseller! :)

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Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:17 pm
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