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In defence of Dreadspears..... 
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Warrior
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Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2014 11:48 pm
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I'm a total Druchii noob and have only played 2 games (both won!) since I returned to the hobby after nearly two decades. As such I have been scouring the forums for tips and advice on the best methods and tactics for a dark elf army. I've noticed most are pretty dismissive of the humble spearelf often citing their T3 and 5+ as reasons not to take them and compared to the rest of the book, they are admittidly the least impressive unit but I think thats only because people are comparing them to the rest of our very good units, not neccessarily to other races. My dreadspear block have done quite well against their imperial equivalents. I've made a list of the reasons I think they are worth taking below and it would be interesting to get others opinions and maybe start a general debate on the merits of our bog standard troops, certainly compared to other faction's equivalents.

- ASF, MP: Yeah well every Druchii comes with these abilities, so compared to witch elves and executioners its not that brilliant but on rank and file dagger fodder its pretty potent. Our cheapest troops can lay down the hurt against their human, greenskin and skaven equivalents who would kill for the same buffs. They might not be likely to break steadfast on a block of 40 peasants or clanrats but they're cheap enough to field in large enough units that they could weather such a combat for enough rounds to make their superior combat ablilities start to count. Chuck wyssans or enchanted blades in there and they will start getting quite killy.

- Cheapest choice: It says a lot about our other choices that 9 points per model is our cheapest choice. especially compared to Empire spearmen or the oft cited skavenslave. however a block of 30 is a whole 60 points cheaper than 30 welfs or corsairs. In a smaller points games you can more easily fit in a large anvil when you're going for minimum core in order to get that big unit of executioners or that extra RBT.

- Rank and Flank: The superlative DRAICH thread extols the virtues of the rank and flank tactic, cheaper troops mean more ranks and at Ld 8 Dreadspears have an above average chance to successfuly hold while you bring a disruptive minimum size unit of welfs or corsairs to bear on the flank.

Thats just my thoughts anyway....


Sun Jan 04, 2015 12:51 am
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Pretty much the reason you will find most people don't take them is because our other core choices are so much better, not because they are not better than other races core choices.
You will find them commonly used as a bunker unit for non mounted Sorceresses.

Every unit in our book ( let's ignore the Fleetmaster ) can have a place in a competitive list and will have a use. I am not sure others have come out flatly stating spears are no good, only why bother with them when we have better options to do all the things they can do, and really the points difference is negligible in most cases.

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Sun Jan 04, 2015 1:04 am
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I frequently use a unit of 15-20 spears with FC and the gleaming pennant. They baby sit my Level 4 metal so she can six dice final trans from the back of the board. Great unit for the role it fills, and is a concession under most comp systems.

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Mon Jan 05, 2015 12:35 pm
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I will be trying to use them once I finished painting my new unit of them. I'll be testing a 30 man formation, with a Sorc and maybe a combat char or a BWS. \o/
In the previous book, it was possible to upgrade them with armour piercing (25p banner). This made them fairly combat effective, if that was to be their purpose. Now they get ASF and MP, but not armour piercing. Sticking a BSB in them is a big investment for the benefit.

All in all, I think they are good. They are reasonably priced even. However, by making them more expensive in the new edition, and boosting their combat power they have lost their key role: cheap fodder. To boost them to a combat able unit, they need more (counter intuitive) upgrades than, say, a Corsair or Witch Elf unit.

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Mon Jan 05, 2015 2:03 pm
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Warrior
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I get the feeling that 9th edition will give spears some more appeal. Almost any foot unit in any army I can think of is going to pick a hand weapon over spears if the option for shields exists to get that survivability. Perhaps in the future the extra rank will be able to fight on the charge, or being charged gives armour piercing for the round as a bonus.

I like 20-25 with full command, gleaming pennant and a mundane noble with a halberd in bigger games. They can be an unexpected roadblock in a game where there are more threatening units and more annoying chaff to be killed.


Tue Jan 06, 2015 7:24 am
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Yes there are multiple options they could adopt to make them slightly better. +1 S on the charge even on foot, Armor Piercing, Always have the extra rank. However I think if they go with AP then it will cost an extra point. For some reason (probably because of Crushers, Chickens, ETC.) GW has put more stock in AP this edition than previous. But that could stay or go away next edition.

Or they could toss in more new rules but that could muddy the rules more than they are already. For instance something like they get +1 S against enemies that charge them in the first round. That would new and cool.


Tue Jan 06, 2015 9:48 pm
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Basically, bleakswords cost 9 points too and exchange an additional rank of attacks when charged for a 6+ parry save. Most people value the parry save more than the extra rank because 9 point s3 models are really meant for holding enemies up, not killing them, so bleakswords are usually preferable.

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Wed Jan 07, 2015 8:36 pm
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I have 20 with FC and have used the banner of discipline or gleaming pennant with them, both times these turned out to tip the game in my favour at a crucial juncture after mauling the enemy. This was at a high cost so I'll be taking a block of at least 30 against more combat orientated armies in future. I get that they are not massively cheaper than our other choices but I think every point counts with our expensive troops, obviously depending on what you're facing. Its a shame you can't take the razor banner without having the BSB in the unit, I'm not familiar with the previous edition but 25pt razor banner would have seen lots of action from me.

I've tried to keep my sorceresses well away from any CC so far and have used dark shards as a bunker, but I can see the merit of taking a small unit of spears or swords for her to use. I'll try that in future.

As a noob I appreciate the advice given immensely as my club have started a WFB campaign which will be my first.


Wed Jan 07, 2015 11:16 pm
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Some people like to use them as sacrifical dagger fuel. They are the cheapest and using them up to get extra power dice can be very rewarding especially under the end time khaine magic rules. Not really my taste, but decent/overpowered in many sac dagger builds.


Thu Jan 08, 2015 8:55 pm
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I generally use corsairs with handbows as sorceress bunkers because they can fight as well as spears but in exchange for a single rank of attacks so in reality usually 5-7 swings I get 1point of armour and double tap shots that mostl hit on 5s after moving 6 inches (banner of swiftness) this unit I tend squeeze just inside 12 inches (the second rank I mean) and start blasting away with magic and handbows, if charged and I dontnthink I can take them or don't have anything to countercharge that will, I generally flee if the conditions are right of course otherwise stand and shoot and pick of a couple more.

Dark magic is my thing and soul stealer, word of pain and power of darkness for the lvl 4 and a warlocks soulblight can make them handle a lot of things.

To be honest I don't think that an extra spear man per 5 corsairs is worth it against the benefits above (we haven't even touched on AHW instead) until you can field 60 plus spears in a horde as you will then get when charged a lot more attacks and also a significant saving too points wise for a massive anvil (110 points)

Dagger fodder yes spears are better but generally you will only save over the course of a game 10-20 points at most I'd say (without play testing)


Fri Jan 09, 2015 12:01 am
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I stopped using them in the current book. as the introduction of warlocks removed the nessesity of a second caster. I moplaced my l4 on steed, with superb DR I dont need to feild slow and expensive infantry.

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Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:34 am
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Good point. Since Dark Steeds give fast cavalry to characters and Warlocks can play second caster, the use of infantry as sorceress bunker has been reduced significantly.

But I'm still going to try a setup with BWS.

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Tue Jan 13, 2015 12:13 pm
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Highborn

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U don't necessarily agree with using warlocks as bunkers. The problem I found was that I was reluctant to put them into combat for fear she would die or be unable to cast, therefore wasting their significant combat potential. I realise that better players than me will disagree, pointing out that they won't want to see combat and stay mobile.

A bunker of hand bow corsairs isn't necessarily a bad idea actually and I might have to try it. Alternatively I always prefer crossbowmen to bunker with:more pricy but just as defensive and can contribute more.


Tue Jan 13, 2015 1:10 pm
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Marcopollo wrote:
They are the cheapest

Again, this is a slight misrepresentation. They are joint cheapest and Blightswords are generally better. So most folk go with Blightswords instead. They have all the advantages of cheapness, while also gaining a 6+ parry save in close combat, which is generally superior to an extra rank of WS4, S3 spears that lack AP (which is generally ineffectual and doesn't fit with the role of "anvil" or "bunker" that is usually assigned to 9 point models in a dark elf army.

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Tue Jan 13, 2015 5:03 pm
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