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Repeater Handbows 
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Malekith's Best Friend

Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 8:12 am
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Location: Umeå, Sweden
Hi!

With restrictions starting to pop up it seems Repeater Crossbows is one of the things being restricted (ETC draft 4 says at most 35 in an army, including characters, Chariots and Shades). Therefore, I've started thinking about Handbows and if they are useful or not.

First thing is to compile the rules for the Handbows as they're spread between the basic rules, the FAQ, and the DE rulebook. The FAQ:ed version of the armybook reads;

Quote:
Repeater Handbow
Repeater handbows do not suffer the usual to hit penalties for shooting at long range or for moving and shooting.

Maximum range: 8"; Strength: 3

Rules: Rules: 2x Multiple Shots (4x Multiple Shots if used as a pair), Quick To Fire.”


Quick to Fire rule reads:

Quote:
Quick to Fire weapons do not suffer the usual -1 To Hit penalty for moving and shooting - we asume that the wielders can aim and fire them swiftly enough to remain accurate. Furthermore, Quick to Fire weapons can always be used to Stand and Shoot againste a charging enemy, even if that enemy would normally be too close for such a charge reaction to be declared.


Multiple Shots rule reads as in previous editions (-1 To Hit if shooting multiples), but also states that all models in a unit either must fire multiple or single shots.

So we have a 8" range weapon that we can move and fire without penalties, hitting on 3+ if shooting single shots and 4+ otherwise. We may always stand and shoot when charged in the front. Not bad! In addition, Corsairs may carry magic banners which can improve the Handbows, either by granting them Armour Piercing or Flaming attacks.

I'm thinking two kind of units:

10 Corsairs, rHb, Musician (105 pts)
21 Corsairs, rHb, FC, Pair of rHb on Reaver, Sea Serpent Standard (263 pts)

I think the first one is a perfect counter to scouts and fast cav. The second unit is similar to the classical 21, xHw, SSS units but trading 7 attacks for 30 shots (or 60 shots if first shooting and then Stand and Shoot).


Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:02 pm
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Malekith's Best Friend
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I've seen the second unit used to great effect. Against anything with light armor or low toughness, you're looking at some very considerably shooting mayhem, followed by respectable close combat ability. On the defensive, the handbow really shines; cranking out all those Strength 3 shots can be lethal, providing you're matched up against the right target. The potential for using that unit in conjunction with magic is dangerous too. Shadow can slow movement, providing you with an additional turn of shooting, or creating failed charge situations but still letting you resolve the stand-and-shoot. Hexing Toughness is obviously effective too.

Enchanted Blades from Metal, or Flaming Sword from Fire, are also brilliant on handbows.

All in all, a potentially strong and effective unit. Downsides, of course, are that the shots are only Strength 3, and not Armor Piercing, making them poor versus targets like heavy cavalry. Any to-hit penalties quickly reduce the unit's effectiveness. Wide formation to maximize shooting means fewer ranks and less Steadfast in combat.

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Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:28 pm
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Executioner

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:06 am
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I would only use one unit with RHBs with lore of shadow or metal (+1 to hit and AP augment) and put the frenzy banner on the unit for the dual purpose of +1 attack and ITP since the unit will often be out front. The unit can really decimate skaven slaves and weaker horde units. The key is to get within 8" to fire one turn, fire a stand and shoot again. With the ability to shoot in two ranks, you end up with a lot more effective hits and wounds than the two hand weapon variant in most instances.


Wed Feb 02, 2011 1:38 am
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Corsair

Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2010 8:56 pm
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Setomidor wrote:
With restrictions starting to pop up it seems Repeater Crossbows is one of the things being restricted (ETC draft 4 says at most 35 in an army, including characters, Chariots and Shades).

ETC-rules wrote:
Max. 45 models with missile weapons with a range of 20”+ (not incl. war machines, characters and chariots).
Dark Elves: Max. 35 repeater Crossbows in the army.

It is not entirely clear in the current ETC-draft if characters, chariots & shades are included in the 35. I have posted and asked them to clarify this.

Setomidor wrote:
I'm thinking two kind of units:

10 Corsairs, rHb, Musician (105 pts)
21 Corsairs, rHb, FC, Pair of rHb on Reaver, Sea Serpent Standard (263 pts)

I think the first one is a perfect counter to scouts and fast cav. The second unit is similar to the classical 21, xHw, SSS units but trading 7 attacks for 30 shots (or 60 shots if first shooting and then Stand and Shoot).

The thing is, fast cav is so much worse in 8th than 7th it's very unlikely to face them from any competetive player. There are a few exceptions:

Empire outriders - 3x shots str 4 AP 24''. These guys drawback, that they can't move and fire, is somewhat nullified by vanguard movement. While fragile, they got so much firepower that we can expect to see these guys.

Very cheap fast cav - WoC hounds, O&G wolf boys or similar that are cheap redirect units for their cost will also show up.

All in all though, if the first corsair units function is to kill fast cav, I believe they won't have much to do. And, even if they eventually show up, can't your 35 rpx deal with those?

I am also skeptic to how well they handle scouts. Sure, they might if they got range on them, but it's not like that happens automatically. Fielding this unit might push back opponents scout-deployment, but I am not convinced they are good at taking them out.

I believe that the 10strong unit is most useful against T3 infantry that could be coming to your side of the table (which helps because of their short range). We are talking things like DoC core blocks and HE units. Deploy the corsair unit on a flank (not at the edge of the table, then it's probably too far away), march forward first turn and move in to shoot an infantry unit from the side to the middle on 2nd turn or later.

For me, the 21 strong handbow SSS unit, is too costly for what it can achieve. Have you considered it's function and why it would be a better core choice than 33 warriors with shld std/mus + AP banner (265p, as example reference)?

How would the rest of the armylist with the 21-unit look? Cauldron? Melee troops?


Wed Feb 02, 2011 11:00 am
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Malekith's Personal Guard

Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2010 2:50 pm
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going along w/ OlderPlayer, the Fire augment is very nice as well

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Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:58 am
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Black Guard

Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:49 pm
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MarkusSWE wrote:
The thing is, fast cav is so much worse in 8th than 7th it's very unlikely to face them from any competetive player. There are a few exceptions:

Empire outriders - 3x shots str 4 AP 24''. These guys drawback, that they can't move and fire, is somewhat nullified by vanguard movement. While fragile, they got so much firepower that we can expect to see these guys.

Very cheap fast cav - WoC hounds, O&G wolf boys or similar that are cheap redirect units for their cost will also show up.


Disagree. There are quite decent fast cav out there - dark riders for instance - and there will always be reasons for fielding fast and mobile units.

Personally, I'd field our own shades, harpies and dark riders as a counter to all things fast and wouldn't bother with the RHB corsairs :)

BTW: WoC hounds aren't fast cav ;)


Thu Feb 03, 2011 6:54 am
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i always field 2 unit of Dark Rider. They pretty much never kill their pts, but always force my opponent to change his tactic.

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Thu Feb 03, 2011 3:21 pm
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Malekith's Best Friend

Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 8:12 am
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MarkusSWE wrote:
It is not entirely clear in the current ETC-draft if characters, chariots & shades are included in the 35.


Well, the way it is currently written is clear enough, but sure, they might change it to exclude chariots and characters.

MarkusSWE wrote:
I am also skeptic to how well they handle scouts. Sure, they might if they got range on them, but it's not like that happens automatically. Fielding this unit might push back opponents scout-deployment, but I am not convinced they are good at taking them out.


Doesn't really have to take them out, forcing them back might be just as good.

MarkusSWE wrote:
For me, the 21 strong handbow SSS unit, is too costly for what it can achieve. Have you considered it's function and why it would be a better core choice than 33 warriors with shld std/mus + AP banner (265p, as example reference)?


Well, in this particular example the Corsairs actually beats your sample Warriors unit. :) Approaching the corsairs in 2x10 means 42 shots first turn (killing 7), and another 42 Stand and Shoot (killing 4 more). In combat, assuming spears are 7 wide, Corsairs kill 7 and spears 4.4. There are 16 Corsairs standing vs 15 Warriors, and neither unit is steadfast.

I think the Corsairs are better alround, and can support other units (such as BGs or Executioners) better by providing shooting capabilities aswell. They're also a wonderful unit to combine with The Withering (-D3 toughness), as the timing means the spell cannot be dispelled before the Stand and Shoot is also resolved.


Thu Feb 03, 2011 4:04 pm
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Corsair

Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2010 8:56 pm
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I find your scenario unlikely to happen considering those formations, rest of the armies etc :)

I agree that SSS Corsairs are good if you got more melee units and also a Cauldron, handbows or not.

It's just hard for me to see if the handbows will pay off with their short range (on the larger unit). Do you have any actual gaming experience to share?


Fri Feb 04, 2011 2:21 pm
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Malekith's Best Friend
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MarkusSWE wrote:
It's just hard for me to see if the handbows will pay off with their short range (on the larger unit). Do you have any actual gaming experience to share?


I fought against them recently. My 30 strong warrior unit would have died to 10x2 corsairs with handbows and Sea Serpent Standard, if I hadn't allocated a chariot to go and help them. Against infantry, they're almost guaranteed two turns of shooting (one turn as they or their enemy move into place, one more turn of stand-and-shoot as the enemy charges.) This killed quite a few of my warriors, reducing their effective static combat resolution considerably. The Cold One Chariot utterly destroyed them, showing how flimsy they can be against Strength 3. The lesson I took away from this is that they're a strong choice for killing flimsy units, but are largely ineffective against anything with high Toughness or decent armor. Since Dark Elf units in general are already pretty good at killing things that are flimsy, the handbow corsairs seem to me like one good choice among many good choices in our list for filling their role.

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Sat Feb 05, 2011 1:09 am
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Corsair

Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2010 8:56 pm
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Keep in mind that if you stay 13.5'' from the corsairs, you can stay out of range one turn from shooting since they can only reach 13'' (5move+8range).

Sure, they then will be hard to reach to charge with an infantry unit (unless the corsairs move forward). However, if it's an infantry unit that would die to the corsairs if they get to shoot twice, you probably shouldn't be advancing with it towards them anyway.


Sat Feb 05, 2011 10:46 am
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