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Shades: Am I Missing Something? 
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Malekith's Best Friend

Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2003 11:13 pm
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Personally I've never had much use for Shades. At 16 points/model and with an armor save of our Witch Elves they just always seemed too expensive for a vulnerable unit of RxBs that was most likely my opponent's first target. Even back in 7th I tried running them with an assassin a couple of times, and despite what I read about this supposed deathstar unit, I never got them to work for me. Yet still some people swear by them, which leads me to believe I'm missing something critical about them. Any advice?

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Sat Aug 14, 2010 12:59 pm
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Trainee Warrior

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Maybe you are not combining them with other units to hunt warmachines or lone wizards. And keep them out of LoS from units which can kill it easily
Their meerly presence is enough to make your opponent think twice.
In 7th I used to hide them in woods: this makes them very hard to hit by shooting.
So basicly you are offering your opponent a difficult choice: shoot at the shades and waste a unit of shooting by reforming to face the shades and hope that the kill the shades in one turn.
Than they still need to reform next turn to face back to your main force.

So basicly the shades don't make up their points in actually killing anything necessary but rather in annoying your opponent: he can't put his wizards where he would like it, He needs to hold back troops to guard his warmachines...
And in the meantime the shades keep hiding in the woods shooting of the odd model to reduce ranks of his troop blocks. If he ignores the shades: they charge his warmachines or join in a charge from the back of a unit to give a +2 CR

Maybe this helps...

I haven't played 8th Ed yet but it looks like the GW are gone on the shades because you don't want shade to be striking last: they won't survive it. So normally you avoid CC with shades unless they can wipe their opponent or add a uselfull boost to CR (flank or rear) if they attack an opponent with low S, so they don't add more ACR for the opponent than they add themselves.


Sat Aug 14, 2010 3:34 pm
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They're definitely a finesse unit and personally I've never really liked them.

Some people use them very well: usually either for close range missile harrassment (BS5 and short range = hitting on 3s with repeating shots) or as war machine hunters (equipped with two hand weapons, don't use great weapons anymore).

But I tend to find mine get shot once, fail their leadership test (just 8 with no re-rolls due to being too far away from the BSB is paltry) and leg it off the board.

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Sat Aug 14, 2010 3:42 pm
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Shades is a nasty nasty unit.

First of all, with BS5 and repeater crossbow, shades produce one of the highest BS based ranged damage outputs in the game per point cost. They can march and shift formations as they like and still shoot.

Secondly, shades are not bad at all in close combat. 6 shades with extra hw produce 12 WS5 attacks with hatred, which is usually more than enough against light regiments and warmashines.

Thirdly, the improved rules for scouting and the increased amounts of terrain really makes shades even more a nuisance. You can place them right where you want to outside 12' of the enemys deployment.


The most important thing about shades is that their good combat ability, great shooting and fast movement makes it so that the enemy cant just neglect them. If he fails to deal with them, they usually become the matchwinners for me. They have so many uses, and with their scouting ability they can always be deployed where it matters the most.


Sat Aug 14, 2010 5:00 pm
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100 pts of Shades kills as much as RXBmen with shooting. They do it from much closer.
However, their shooting will only threaten light units.

Shades can kill outright in melee any light cavalry sent at them, especially AHW Shades.
They are warmachine killers in melee, which is probably their best use now.

Shades being skirmishers resist well light shooting, all the more that they love to be in forests.

The big drawback of Shades compared to RXBmen is that they are very vulnerable to any magic missile.

Overall, I've been deceived by Shades as well, but that was because I was taking them in too small a unit.
In 8th edition, I think that 10 is quite optimal.

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Sat Aug 14, 2010 5:23 pm
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Shades were a staple in my 7th ed lists.

I tried them a few times in the 8th and they didn't perform as well. Mind you, this could have been situational as I was not able to put them in a forest. The first time we didn't roll any forests on the terrain chart and the other one, the forest was a Wildwood so I couldn't place my shades in them.

I find that the Xbow DRs are just as effective for taking out light units and war machines. Sure, they are marginally move expensive but I find they make up for it with their added mobility.


Sun Aug 15, 2010 3:58 pm
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The change to Great Weapons, removed them from my rosters. They might be nice with xhw, but their effectiveness has gone down in my eyes, as those S5 attacks were just brutal vs a lot of units. Now, they are still good to hunt characters, war machines, and can pick away at light cavalry, and slaughter them when they get charged (after SnS ;) )

I'd rather take more rxb for more, and cheaper shooting.

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Sun Aug 15, 2010 5:42 pm
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When comparing Shades and repeater crossbowmen, I consider the marginal increase in point cost to be a small price to pay for better ballistic skill, mobility, Scouting options and offensive killing power in close combat. Shades with Rending Star Assassin are, in my opinion, one of our finer unit choices. I think they're capable of fulfilling all the tasks that two bolt throwers and a large of harpies are capable of achieving, plus additional benefits like vastly superior combat capability. When properly utilized, especially with the new Scout rules, they're a major threat to the enemy.

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Sun Aug 15, 2010 6:14 pm
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Guess on a similar note.. would i be better served running 2 units of 6 or 1 unit of 10-12....(also better served naked with just AHW or with hiding an assassin in)


Sun Aug 15, 2010 7:39 pm
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I have used them a bit, but it really comes down to your opponent. Versus Woodies and Orks they don't do much. Versus WoC with AHW and a CoB for killing blow they were quite effective for flank and rear charges on knights, and would remain so in 8th. I used a large-ish unit (10-12) as a 360 defree screen for a sorceress with LT and then wandered around the flanks with her.

They weren't worth the points though and I've retired mine with the changes from 7th to 8th.

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Sun Aug 15, 2010 8:04 pm
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In 7ed games i used to field two units of 7 Shades each with Greatweapons plus Rending Stars Assasins and they proved to be very profitable units. They won me many games and i think it's because of its versatility. They excel at taking down the enemy's support light units, -even skirmishers hiding in forests thanks to the Assasin's high BS- as well as warmachines, but they also pose a threat to a wide range of troops: cavalry, infantry, monsters, characters...

This unit comes at a cost of 263 points, which is in fact pretty expensive for a mere 9 wounds at T3, no AS. That means they are vulnerable to magic and strong shooting, that's right. The key to use this units was, IMHO, to use LoS coverage and to combine them in an army list with other units that also attract enemy shooting and magic, ie: Hydras.

Now, in 8ed, i think they are less valuable because of army lists less focused in support, guerrilla units and more based in Calissons's "mammoths". On the other hand, they can now deploy at 12' of enemy warmachines wich is very tempting.

Also, as said above, don't expect Shades' shooting to pay back it's points. Instead, they become a profitable unit when they force the opponent to take specific action against them, therefore influencing his game, something that you can take advantage of: if he ignores them, you know what happens, otherwise you can use them to lure his units. It's up to you how you exploit that.


Sun Aug 15, 2010 9:39 pm
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Rabidnid wrote:
I have used them a bit, but it really comes down to your opponent. Versus Woodies and Orks they don't do much. Versus WoC with AHW and a CoB for killing blow they were quite effective for flank and rear charges on knights, and would remain so in 8th. I used a large-ish unit (10-12) as a 360 defree screen for a sorceress with LT and then wandered around the flanks with her.

They weren't worth the points though and I've retired mine with the changes from 7th to 8th.


They do just fine vs woodies, and I would assume for orks also if they are using war machines in their army or goblins as well.


Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:32 am
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Shade

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someone mentioned about that shades get to march and still shoot. I remember reading that scouts and I think fast calv can march and still shoot if the weapon permits it to. Where does it say in the DE codex that the repeater crossbow can be fired in this manner? I only see in the rulebook that crossbows are move or fire weapons.


Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:57 am
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They are skirmishers, so yeah they can move full speed and still fire. Repeaters are are not the same as crossbows, as they do not have move or fire. Their rules can be found on page 44 DE codex.

On second though, despite the loss of S5 and the fact I'm not too keen on the new skirmisher rules(+1 for the scout rules though), I'm going to give them a whirl with xhw in my next list. On paper, they actually don't seem look too bad. I think they're good counter-harassment troops.

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Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:01 am
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DutchOven wrote:
someone mentioned about that shades get to march and still shoot. I remember reading that scouts and I think fast calv can march and still shoot if the weapon permits it to. Where does it say in the DE codex that the repeater crossbow can be fired in this manner? I only see in the rulebook that crossbows are move or fire weapons.

I'm pretty sure it doesn't matter which weapon, so long as they can move and shoot, and we don't use the rulebook crossbows, because we have *Repeater* Crossbows. Different thing.

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Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:01 am
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5 Shades + AHW = 81 pts.
6 Harpies = 66 pts.

Both are great harassment units and warmachines hunters, now lets take a look at what those 15 pts. give us:

A much better Ld.
Higher WS and Hatred for CC effectiveness.
RxBs to harass beyond neutered marchblocking.
Ability to contain assassins.
Scout

and the only thing the harpies have to show for themselves is flying.


Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:43 am
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Tethlis wrote:
When comparing Shades and repeater crossbowmen, I consider the marginal increase in point cost to be a small price to pay for better ballistic skill, mobility, Scouting options and offensive killing power in close combat.


It's a whopping 70% increase in cost: that's scarcely marginal. You can buy 5 RxBs for the price of 3 shades. Thats 10 repeating shots versus 6. I'm not saying that its not worth it, just that its not a marginal difference in cost.

Shades also lack decent armour: they can have just light armour added, whereas RxBs have that as default and can have a shield (+1 armour and the 6+ parry save in CC.

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Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:12 am
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Red... wrote:
It's a whopping 70% increase in cost: that's scarcely marginal. You can buy 5 RxBs for the price of 3 shades. Thats 10 repeating shots versus 6. I'm not saying that its not worth it, just that its not a marginal difference in cost.

Shades also lack decent armour: they can have just light armour added, whereas RxBs have that as default and can have a shield (+1 armour and the 6+ parry save in CC.


Er... How is that 70%? A shade with two hand weapons is about 35% more expensive than a crossbowmen with shield, and I consider that "marginal" for the benefits you receive.

Similarly, I wouldn't say that crossbowmen have a "decent" save either. Sure, anything is better than no armor at all, but a 5+ armor save is hardly worth writing home about. Couple this with Shades having more attacks, greater protection versus shooting and templates, and more mobility that allows them to avoid major threats, I'd consider Shades to be far more survivable in most situations.

As for the shooting effectiveness: Yes, you can buy more crossbow shots if you invest in crossbowmen rather than Shades, but those crossbowmen will be firing at long range with less ballistic skill. Shades can very reasonably be firing while stationary, at short range, with Ballistic Skill 5, which makes the quality of each individual shot very high.

I believe that both can have a useful place in a list, and I don't think this type of side-by-side comparison is useful in evaluating the worth of either Shades or crossbowmen. Even so, I still think Shades come out on top according to your logic for evaluating them.

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Mon Aug 16, 2010 6:41 pm
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Excactly Tethlis. Calculations show that shades are point-wise slightly better shooters than RxBs. And I also completely agree that they are better protected in their skirmish formation than RxBs are in their armour. However, in close combat RxBs form solid ranks with 5+ save and 6+ ward. That is the reason both units have a place in the army list.


Mon Aug 16, 2010 8:16 pm
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cost of rxb: 11 pts
cost of shade: 17 pts
difference: 6 points

4th grade maths shows that shades are 54,5% more expensive than rxb.

however, if you canlculate the number of hits scored with shooting per points its different.

a shade at close range, but that has moved will hit on 4+ and thus score 1 hit. thats a typical situation for shades.

a rxb who is at long range, but stationary will hit on 5+, thus scoring 0,67 hits. thats a typical situation for an rxb.

shades then cause 1 hit for 17 points = 0,0588 HitsPerPoint
rxb then cause 0,67 hits per 11 points = 0,0606 HPP

the difference is 0,0018 HPP which means that rxb cause 3,1% more HPP which is fairly marginal. one extra hit in 32 shots.

however, the shades strength isnt that they are shooting, but that they are mobile and can assault warmachines. the shooting is more of a bonus. they are more vulnerable (since they are fewer and have no armour) but they are "impossible" to hit by melee since they are so damn fast.

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Mon Aug 16, 2010 8:19 pm
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Lord Tsunami wrote:
cost of rxb: 11 pts
cost of shade: 17 pts


4th grade maths shows that shades are 54,5% more expensive than rxb.



That's not the cost of an RxB, unless you buy a shield. But, yes, you're right, the shade is one less than I had remembered (again, its less than you state above), so its a 60% difference. That's still not marginal: marginal suggests maybe 5 or 10 percent.

But, as you've decided to lower the tone of the thread - the 4th grade maths comment was unnecessary and quite unpleasant really - I'll point out that stating the points costs of individual models on this forum is expressly prohibited in the forum FAQ. Might be a good idea to refresh yourself of it.

(Tethlis: I've no idea where your 35% figure came from, but it may be you are using a different model to calculate your differences from me. The 60% figure (yes, revised from 70%) comes from multiplying the cost of a basic RxB by 1.6 to get the cost of a basic Shade. So a 60% increase.

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I consider that "marginal" for the benefits you receive.


That's a judgement call. I specifically indicated that I wasn't commenting on value. I doubt you'd find many people who would say that a figure of between 1 and half times and double the original value of anything is 'marginal'.

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Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:57 pm
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Lord Tsunami wrote:
however, the shades strength isnt that they are shooting, but that they are mobile and can assault warmachines. the shooting is more of a bonus. they are more vulnerable (since they are fewer and have no armour) but they are "impossible" to hit by melee since they are so damn fast.


Exactly, they serve very different roles on the field. An xbowman provides an anchor to draw your opponent to while wearing him down on his way over.

A shades purpose is to destabilise your opponents line by applying pressure, where none should be, thus forcing your opponent to react or take losses.

To make a pure point for point comparison is pointless, shades are effective at 80 points, while xbowmen will set you back a minimum of 100 for a pure missile unit and 250+ for a combined shooty CC unit.

Again I'd like to poiny out that the comparison should be with harpies if any, as their function and place in the army are more similar (disruption and non-core/special).


Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:22 am
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While I don't want to spend a whole heck of a lot of time discussing how we define "marginal", I certainly don't consider the point difference to be tremendous when we're evaluating the overall cost of a unit within the context of a 2500 point list. Comparing the models side-by-side, the point cost difference isn't "marginal". However, when looking at both units as one component within a larger pool of points, I definitely consider the difference to be marginal. When you factor in the unit size that both require in order to be effective, I feel this impression is heightened.

One component that I think would be worth introducing to this discussion is an Assassin with Manbane/Rending Stars. The cost of 20 crossbowmen with shield, standard and musician is comparable to an Assassin and 5 Shades. However, both can accomplish a variety of tasks that the other cannot.

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Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:31 pm
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I played a 40K game recently, and I have to say something re: Shades.

Shades are highly effective and flexible. They're a fairly balanced scouting unit, if you're into that sort of thing. Having a Lictor to play I realised how varied even the Scout/ hiding units are. The mobile point to point killers will take out important structures/ opponents and possibly be ready to continue, whereas some may just be effective jumping out behind a unit and attacking til they get filled full of holes in 2.5 seconds

I'll take OUR Shades over that, any day!

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Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:54 pm
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I have also no solution to offer, through I am still indifferent about the shades in 8th. In 7th I was in love with them, even prior to the new book.
With the new book I was tempted to use the assasin, but when doing so I regret to put ~300 points in that unit. With the assasin added they change from a 80 point throw away unit to somthing that must survive. For 80 points it is ok if they do some damage. But often they braught back a lot more points with warmachines and they delay of the enemy force (e.g. adding one round of shooting for the RxBs).

To come to the end, I have the feeling they will still make their points by hunting warmachines and light cav - but the march blocking is gone with the new rules, therefore they gained some sort of strike first with their I. And, for the whole calculation of points vs. RxB I think they are an addition to RxBs roaming behind the enemy lines and therefore being out of the charge arc.


Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:57 am
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