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Dark Elf Warriors with or without shields 
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Cold One Knight
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I'm not sure if this has been discussed before or not. I used the search function but couldn't find anything.

Should Dark Elf warriors always/usually be give shields?

Introduction
In the army list forum whenever I post a list without shields i'm told to out them on. Personally I think shield value is very situation dependant and that there are lots of occasions where not having shields is a good way to save points. I can definitely see more reason to have shields than when I started with Dark Elves (when i converted my warriors to not carry shields), and I intend to build some more warriors with shields. I also considered that the way I play with warriors may be a factor as I might use warriors in ways that negate the value of shields. Therefore i wanted to start a discussion regarding warriors and shield in particular where one approach may be superior to the other. RXB's could also come into this discussion although I think shields on RXB have less impact on their role.

Inital thoughts
Shooting - 5+ Save is only going to benefit you against a few of the weapons available to opponents and even then it will usually only give a 6+ save which isn't great. So 20pts seems alot when you could buy 3 more guys for the points (or a third of a unit of harpies to take out a war machine/distract the shooting unit). It only really seems with it if you are facing alot of S3 shots such as High Elf armies but I would expect to see more bolt throwers than archers in these armies and would be surprised if much fire power went on warriors.

Combat - If you want use spears you will have either a 5+ or 6+ save in combat against S3 a 5+ save is decent but nothing special a 6+ might save the odd wound but isn't going to do much. A 5+ save might make a difference in a tight combat against other cheap infantry this could be tight combat situation so a little extra help could be very useful in this situation but i'm not sure I would use a warrior unit on its own to do this very often. Against strength 4 a 6+ save doesn't do a lot and I struggle to see the value in paying 20pts for this. S5 neither unit gets a save.

If you use shields and hand weapons then you balance the extra points and loss of attacks vs a good 4+ save. With hatred the extra attacks are fairly valuable but there are plenty of units which aren't going to be too heavily effected. once you reach S5 the 6+ save is of limited value but it could save you occasionally against bigger stuff that is quite a good unit for warriors to face the extra 1 combat res from saving a wound is valuable but it is only going to come through occassionally. I can see the 4+ save being good at holding up S4 units but these units may be more vunerable to spear attacks so it might be better to use the spears. I have noticed that with a sorceress in a warrior unit abit of extra protection would help to finish off the remainder of S4 units (particuarly cavalry).

Warrior units with assassins seem to work pretty well without shields especially with the extra supporting attacks usually being useful/the extra save making little difference against the stuff an i send an assassin against. Units with fighting characters is interesting as I have rarely used a fighting character in a warrior unit without an assassin.

What are people's thoughts? These are some random musings to an extent as I haven't played with shields.


Fri Jan 02, 2009 10:17 pm
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Trainee Warrior

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Personally, I always use the shields. All your points are perfectaly valid but I find that as long as they have the defensive ability then there's always a chance that they'll save.

However, I find that spearman aren't brilliant. I tend to opt for the crossbowmen. Much more effective. I always give them shields as well as this creates a good combat unit as well as a good shooting unit. I have 2 of these in my unbeaten 1000pts army.


Fri Jan 02, 2009 10:36 pm
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I think for spear elves the not having shields is actally a good thing, as the difference in points is significant with such cheap troops. For RXB it takes them from a 6+ save to a 4+ save and doubles their save versus shooting so I tend to use shields with them.

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Sat Jan 03, 2009 12:45 am
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For one single point I take a model from a 6+ save in close combat to a 4+. That's the best/most cost effective upgrade in the game.


Sat Jan 03, 2009 1:31 am
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phierlihy wrote:
For one single point I take a model from a 6+ save in close combat to a 4+. That's the best/most cost effective upgrade in the game.


That's only if you opt to use hand weps and not your spears.

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Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:32 am
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Slanderbot wrote:
phierlihy wrote:
For one single point I take a model from a 6+ save in close combat to a 4+. That's the best/most cost effective upgrade in the game.


That's only if you opt to use hand weps and not your spears.


Yes, but these are not damage dealers, they are supposed to hold the line and defend. Unless you give them banner of murder, just use the shields with 4+ saves.
At least, thats how I see it.

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Sat Jan 03, 2009 9:08 pm
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I never leave home without the shields on the warriors. Your save increases from 1/6 chance to 1/3 chance, and 1/2 chance in combat if you use hand weapons. The only reason I could think of not taking the shields is if you are dedicating a small 10 man unit to sacrifice to your Sorceress with sacrificial dagger.

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Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:21 pm
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Shield basically doubles your survival against the average strength (3) if you keep using spears, gives you some save (as opposed to none at all) against S4.

And hand weapon + shield is one of the most effective armour combos.

I see no reason not to pay that one point unless you're building a unit to be a sorceress bodyguard only there to be sacrificed.

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Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:47 pm
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Quote:
I see no reason not to pay that one point unless you're building a unit to be a sorceress bodyguard only there to be sacrificed.

I would include shields here as well, IMO, you need a normal sized unit (20-25), to accompany a sorceress with a dagger, a 10 man unit is easily broken and run down by enemy fast cav.

It is thus fairly reasonable that you want to use the remnants of the unit for taking out smalller enemy units via static res etc.

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Tue Jan 06, 2009 12:44 pm
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I think they should always have their shield, by doing so, you're giving them more options to help yourself in the battle. Even if it's 10 warriors, it's 10 points that could convert into a nice support if needed.

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Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:15 pm
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Everyone knows that WITHOUT SHIELD is cheaper but more vulnerable than WITH SHIELDS.
Sometimes, it should be more interesting to have one option rather than the other one. But when?

If you're facing S3 attacks, then the armor save (33%) will preserve a % of warriors higher than the cost rise (17%).
If you're facing S6 attacks, the save is negated and obviously the shield has no interest.
that was easy. Now...


Where is the limit?

For melee frontal attacks (using handweapon and shield),
Facing S4 or less, the shield spares more than its price.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Facing S4 AP or S5, it hardly makes any difference: the cost of the warriors spared thanks to the shield (17%) is the same as the cost of the shield (17%).
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
facing S5 AP or worse, the shield is useless.


For missile attacks (or side attacks, or shield & spear)
Facing S3 missile attacks, it is more interesting to have the shield.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Facing S3 AP or S4 missile attacks, the shield cost (17%) pays exactly the save rate (17%).
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Facing S4 AP or higher S,don't take the shield, which is not paying back its points.



Reasons for taking NO SHIELD:
- You don't plan to take part in any combat because your main purpose is babysitter / dagger fuel.
- AND you're facing mostly ranged attacks with S3 AP or worse (like a Dwarven gunline or Empire gunline with only crossbows and powderguns) or no shooting at all - but not if they have bows

OR

- You're facing mostly melee attacks with S4 AP or worse (such as Ogres or chariots)



A thought about MXB:
the price raise is always less significant than the survival increase, unless you're facing attacks negating the save... or no attack at all.
So for MXB, the shield is an obvious must-have in most situations.

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Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:21 pm
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actually a very good approach, Calisson - comparing the % change in survivability versus % change in price.


Tue Jan 06, 2009 2:27 pm
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I think that shields are always worth taking. They look good and give your elves a fighting chance against almost all core troops there are. My warriors are not expected to kill a lot but to outlive their counter parts and giving me something that can be called a battleline.


Wed Jan 07, 2009 7:04 am
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True, comparing the % change in survivability versus % change in price might be a good idea, but it's impossible to mathematically factor in the fact that a unit WITH shields might hold in close combat, where a unit WITHOUT them would lose and flee, potentially causing you to lose the battle.

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Wed Jan 07, 2009 11:28 am
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I don't like to compare % chang to survive VS % change in price. Why? Because you never know when your luck will blow up the building. It's in these time that you'll be happy to have these shields. And let's face it... 10 to 25 points in 2k points isn't a lot to give more versatility to a unit.

I stand in the favor of the shields because you can base a better strategy with them. I always have a backup plan for each unit and if I have a unit with a single purpose, it's mean that I don't use that unit at it's best.

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Wed Jan 07, 2009 1:07 pm
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Slanderbot wrote:
phierlihy wrote:
For one single point I take a model from a 6+ save in close combat to a 4+. That's the best/most cost effective upgrade in the game.


That's only if you opt to use hand weps and not your spears.


Phierlihy is correct.

The front rank of all my "spear" units is modeled with hand weapons because that is the way they fight...HW+Shield. The shield gives you the option to get the 4+ save in hth or use the spears if there is ever a situation where spears are the way to go. Maybe in a protracted fight with zombies or some such.

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Wed Jan 14, 2009 4:37 am
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for 1 point there is no point in not putting shields on your guys

i put it both on my spear elves and RXB

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Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:39 am
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This thread has me thinking now. I am building an army and was going to take 2 X 10 man XB's w/musican and without shields. I am struggling for points and really don't think that the shields were going to be useful. I figure most attention would be directed against other prime targets, and shields would be a waste of points on them. I'm not so sure now.....

Any suggestions?


Sun Feb 08, 2009 7:56 am
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Ghoppa wrote:
This thread has me thinking now. I am building an army and was going to take 2 X 10 man XB's w/musican and without shields. I am struggling for points and really don't think that the shields were going to be useful. I figure most attention would be directed against other prime targets, and shields would be a waste of points on them. I'm not so sure now.....

Any suggestions?


My RXB draw a lot of attantion with their shooting through the game and become my close combat reserve later in the game, so the extra save is worth it versus shooting and the 4+ save is worth it in CC.

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Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:19 am
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Interesting topic and something I've never really thought about. For me, shields were always a given on both my spears and my RXB. I guess in certain situations it would be more beneficial to not have the shields, but for the very small price I would still go with shields every time for that added versatility. And even a small chance of making your armor save is infinitely better than no chance at all and you never know when you'll have good luck.


Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:17 am
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I normally just give them shields; one extra kill in CC can make a huge difference, and I usually tend to want them to get in CC. The shields are sometimes the difference between winning with 2 or losing with 2. If I'm short on points though, I might drop the shields.
Rxb-men need the shields.

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Mon Feb 09, 2009 2:43 pm
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Nice to point this out. Up untill now I never used shield on my R XB warriors. But that little mathhammer made it perfectly clear why you should on any given situation.

Thanx guys :D


Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:45 pm
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Calisson wrote:
Reasons for taking NO SHIELD:
- You don't plan to take part in any combat because your main purpose is babysitter / dagger fuel.


Calisson has it right. Dagger fuel is the only time I would do without a shield, and even then, I would only skip the shields if I know I was facing an army with no real shooting or magic.

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Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:03 pm
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Wow this thread has come back from the dead. Ok lets look at some of the points. Just to clarify my perspective I tend to use at least 40 spearmen and frequently 20 RXBs as well. So that's 60 points (or a unit of harpies and a sea dragon cloak on a character). Also for me at least (and I would have thought for most Dark Elf players) points are always tight.

Quote:
I guess in certain situations it would be more beneficial to not have the shields, but for the very small price I would still go with shields every time for that added versatility. And even a small chance of making your armor save is infinitely better than no chance at all and you never know when you'll have good luck.

This maybe just because of me taking about 60 guys who could have shields, but for me a unit of harpies/half a unit of dark riders/2/3rds of a unit of shades isn't a very small price. Also the odd chance of making a save on a 6pt spearmen isn't particularly important to me very often so a small chance of a save being infinitely better that no chance isn't a huge incentive to pay out 60pts.

Quote:
If I'm short on points though, I might drop the shields.
Rxb-men need the shields.

This is the issue I find surprising aren't you short on points most of the time? I certainly am, I always consider if I can find the points for shields by dropping something else but it always seems what i would have to drop would be a big loss compared to a better save on basic troops. This is even in lists where their is obviously a lot of benefit in having shields on the RXB and spearmen.

Quote:
actually a very good approach, Calisson - comparing the % change in survivability versus % change in price.

It is an interesting statistic (probably the best all round statistic that could be used) but certainly doesn't come close to giving definitive answer to the questions. Value isn't directly linked to survivability, it depends on the situation for example if you hit the flank with the unit you need to compare the benefit of winning combat by one point more compared to the extra 15% cost, this would only have an value if you were around leadership 6,7 or 8. Meanwhile if you get shot at that won't take you below half unit strength but causes a panic check then you have to compare the reduction in chance of a panic check being caused compared to the chance of failing the test (potentically on Ld 10). Also and probably most importantly you need to compare the cost compared to the other unit's (e.g. harpies) influence.

Quote:
Nice to point this out. Up untill now I never used shield on my R XB warriors. But that little mathhammer made it perfectly clear why you should on any given situation.

I frequently run into situations where having shields wouldn't be the best choice.

I guess my biggest issue is possibly in the way I use my units I rarely have my Spearmen or RXBs targeted by enemy shooting. In combat my spearmen are mainly used to either flank heavy cavalry, pin big monsters/characters or as an assassin deliver device (in which case I don't expect many attacks back). My RXBs rarely get into combat on the whole if anything gets there it is probably got through my lines which means it woudl be too hard for shields to make much difference. Or things have
already gone pretty badly wrong for my battle line.

I'm not against shields on units, particuarly RXBs I can really see their value but I can never see how to justfy the cost in an actual list. Perhaps if I played 2250pts reguarly instead of 2000pts i would find it easier to fit shields in.


Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:50 pm
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Quote:
Quote:

If I'm short on points though, I might drop the shields.
Rxb-men need the shields.



This is the issue I find surprising aren't you short on points most of the time? I certainly am, I always consider if I can find the points for shields by dropping something else but it always seems what i would have to drop would be a big loss compared to a better save on basic troops. This is even in lists where their is obviously a lot of benefit in having shields on the RXB and spearmen.


It's more like I prefer other things than shields at some times; it might be more important to give my lord armour, than my warriors shields...

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Tue Feb 10, 2009 8:25 am
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