A question for the experienced

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A question for the experienced

Post  cmemate on Wed Sep 17, 2008 2:38 pm

Hi Guys,

I have a question for those with experience with fast cav & skirmishers on tactics. I am reading on tactics and also heard this from a GW employee.
Using fast cav in a north south line up to march block, and skirmishers in extreame lenghts in the middle of the battlefield to block shooting lOS.
Is this considered cheezy? To me its ubsurd, I feel its kind of bastardising rules, am I just looking at it wrong? I just thing 10 fast cav doing a major block like that is taking advantage of the letter of the law,no? I don't have tourney experience and in MJ we just don't do it to that extreame, are we of the norm or just not playing the troops to there full potential?

Thanks for your input, Cmemate

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Re: A question for the experienced

Post  squalie on Wed Sep 17, 2008 4:33 pm

It's called a "conga" line, and if you ever pulled that in one of our games I would smash your archers with a hammer. Just sayin'......

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Re: A question for the experienced

Post  nathanr on Wed Sep 17, 2008 4:50 pm

Honestly I don't see why it would even be effective. Your fast cav would be vulnerable to all kinds of charges which you would probably flee from, effectively cancelling the march-block. I think it would be much simpler to use a few smaller units of fast cav which you can tuck out of charge arcs but in march-blocking range. Plus it is more acceptable.

The skirmisher missile-screen is more of a gray area. If it is excessive (a skirmishing unit of 20 spaced 1" apart in a line) then I think it is bad sportsmanship but if you are just using a skirmishing unit as a screen for a more valuable unit (or two) as you advance I don't see too many people objecting.

Actually, can't units see through skirmishers? I don't have my big red book at work or I'd check.

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Re: A question for the experienced

Post  squalie on Wed Sep 17, 2008 5:32 pm

Skirmishers block LOS.

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Re: A question for the experienced

Post  Kallidon on Wed Sep 17, 2008 11:17 pm

*shrugs* If you've got a big unit of skirmishers and they are up front and your using them to block LOS, there is nothing unsportsman about that at all. I think is a fantastic use for them.

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Re: A question for the experienced

Post  squalie on Wed Sep 17, 2008 11:33 pm

That's not what he's saying.

Beastmen can use a tactic, where they line up side by side, single file, say - 24 inches. I declare a charge, and as long as enough are in range the rest of the models get "dragged" into combat and then rank up. The outer most figs have now moved almost 2 feet to get in combat. Legal? Technically, but a fellow should get kick in the huevos for it.

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Re: A question for the experienced

Post  nathanr on Thu Sep 18, 2008 8:43 am

Unless beastmen are the exception to the rule, when skirmishers charge only the ones who actually have the movement to make it to the combat go in the front rank and the rest rank up behind. That tactic would probably end up with one model fighting and the rest ranked up behind in a big conga-line! That makes for some pretty sweet flank charges.

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Re: A question for the experienced

Post  ScottRadom on Thu Sep 18, 2008 8:55 am

squalie wrote:That's not what he's saying.

Beastmen can use a tactic, where they line up side by side, single file, say - 24 inches. I declare a charge, and as long as enough are in range the rest of the models get "dragged" into combat and then rank up. The outer most figs have now moved almost 2 feet to get in combat. Legal? Technically, but a fellow should get kick in the huevos for it.

Any model that doesn't make it into base-base is placed in the rear of the unit, out of combat as Nathan said. Also since beasts need to make Bas contact with 25% of the unit or it's a failed charge I personally fully endorse using these units as screens.

I have been chiming off in the army lists section about what I feel/insist good warhammer means. I am full in support of players trying new tabletop ideas to try and win, like a full line of single file fast cav for blocking LOS. Sure, why not? Maybe it even has some bearing in History.

As for the far more conventional skirmish screen, that's what those guys do. I am all about that! I think that it's just fine, and it really is sacrificing that unit to protect another, so at least you get to kill something!

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Re: A question for the experienced

Post  squalie on Thu Sep 18, 2008 1:19 pm

Here we go....

I'm exaggerating to clarify, but be patient.

I place my herd consisting of 20+ models side by side, 1 inch apart, basically making a line 2+ feet wide. Since I can charge 10", it certainly isn't hard to get 5 models within charge range. I then charge, maybe 5-6 inches, and then the remaining herd gets dragged 18" into combat.

You're going to have to make me drink a lot of Whiskey to convince me this isn't taking advantage of the rules.

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Re: A question for the experienced

Post  ScottRadom on Thu Sep 18, 2008 1:57 pm

squalie wrote:Here we go....

I'm exaggerating to clarify, but be patient.

I place my herd consisting of 20+ models side by side, 1 inch apart, basically making a line 2+ feet wide. Since I can charge 10", it certainly isn't hard to get 5 models within charge range. I then charge, maybe 5-6 inches, and then the remaining herd gets dragged 18" into combat.

You're going to have to make me drink a lot of Whiskey to convince me this isn't taking advantage of the rules.

Sure, but remember that anything that can't make BtB contact is put in the back of the unit (Unless raiders work different)

It's only 8" extra move, a little unrealistic (I hate that word when talking about warhammer) but I have no problem with it, and I do think it falls under the tabletop generalship style and not the powergamer loophole exploiter. Why I don't see a problem with this....

-Your opponent. Where is he and what is he doing all this time while you march forward with your red-rover style screen? A charge from even light cav will likely send these guys packing. How about shooting them? -1 to hit and tough 4 is nice and all but blastigate them. If you're opponent charges the extreme edge of these skirmishers they must all whip on over (Up to the 24" you've described) and leave the rest of the army feeling cold, naked and exposed.

-Why not fight fire with fire? What happens to you when your opponent catches wise to your sheme (Should probably be tipped off in the deployment phase). The skirmish screen works both ways as you can't se through your own guys, and can't issue charges with your own more dangerous (presumably) units. Why doesn't he advance a unit or two of his own ranked that your scrificial beast herd may have trouble with? Beware the lone slayer...

Not only do I not find anything about this tactic abusive or cheesy, I really like it. I think this is what ungors, skinks, huntsmen etc. are designed to do. It represents best what skirmishers are suppost to do which is harrass and delay enemy units. The second part of this tactic that I enjoy is that you've laid out a scenario where you're using a 150pnt(???) unit to screen (given a 24" forntage) up to maybe 1000 pnts of beasts so you're paying more than a 10% premium if all this unit hopes to accomplish is to block LOS and make a single charge. It's a great tactic against a static army like dwarfs, but things like hills, good blocking units of their own and other plans should be able to deal with the screen.

What part of it don't you like Don? is it the extra "magic charge" move that the unit would be required to make?

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Re: A question for the experienced

Post  Kallidon on Thu Sep 18, 2008 2:01 pm

If that's how you want to line them up, it wouldn't bother me. I'd rather have them in a pack myself for looks sake, but I wouldn't penalize an opponent for doing it. People line up 15 handgunners or archers in a row.. only thing here is they are spread out a bit because they are skirmishers.

It's the same thing for 40K. You can take a mob of 30 Orks, line them all up in a row with 2" between them and send them forward. Anything standing behind all of a sudden gets a 4+ cover save. It looks goofy as hell, but well within the rules.

I believe there are definite downfalls for doing such things though. Your opponent might start doing the same, it might start to get hard to move your own troops if there's a giant wall in front of them and with that big of a unit.. you run the danger of making it easier for more enemies to contact you as opposed to if you stay in a compact block.

Just my thoughts on it.. but I have less experience with fantasy compared to the others on the board so I might be missing something.

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Re: A question for the experienced

Post  nathanr on Thu Sep 18, 2008 2:59 pm

Also what happens when there is impassible terrain or some such thing? You will spend a turn bringing in the outside guys before you can advance again. It would work best on a big open table.

I might have to steal this idea but modify it to use with my dwarfs! Imagine my opponent's suprise when a unit of ironbreakers 1 rank deep and 15-20 wide marches forward with ranked up longbeards behind! Or you could just take 5-10 model units of ironbreakers directly in front of each big unit of longbeards. The longbeards are immune to panic so if the ironbreakers are charged (and choose to flee) or happen to panic and flee they won't cause any panic in the longbeards.

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Re: A question for the experienced

Post  RickyDMMontoya on Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:24 pm

You want stupid movement? Try wheeling with Bretonnians, then get back to me on this. Eight extra inches? A 4 rank lance laughs at gaining only 8 inches of free movement!

Oh for the days when you measured from the model that moved the most... Sad

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Re: A question for the experienced

Post  ScottRadom on Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:30 pm

nathanr wrote:Also what happens when there is impassible terrain or some such thing? You will spend a turn bringing in the outside guys before you can advance again. It would work best on a big open table.

I might have to steal this idea but modify it to use with my dwarfs! Imagine my opponent's suprise when a unit of ironbreakers 1 rank deep and 15-20 wide marches forward with ranked up longbeards behind! Or you could just take 5-10 model units of ironbreakers directly in front of each big unit of longbeards. The longbeards are immune to panic so if the ironbreakers are charged (and choose to flee) or happen to panic and flee they won't cause any panic in the longbeards.

This is not the same thing. What Nathan proposes is wrong, evil, and abusive. Not the small unit thingy, just the big ole single rank of dwarfs.

But... Way back in the day my good friend Ric Newman (R.I.P. bro) used to take an army that was really a min, max abusive list. It was 3 min sized units of HE archers and everything else was spent on Wizards in chariots. And some bolt throwere too. Playing dwarfs I lacked any kind of options to counter thise stupid list, so I pen and papered a solution that was a single unit of Iron Breakers 50 models strong with a BsB that had a flag that killed all magic targeted at the unit, and I think anything within 6" as well. They would join hands and march single file across the board. That and some crossbowmen of my own and we figured that solution would work. But that kind fo thing isn't what I like about warhammer at all.

Of course all this discussion is great, and it's all a matter of personal opinion of what we want warhammer to be. I find the original question about using Skirmishers and Don's situation of the long conga line perfectly keeping within the spirit of what I envision the world of warhammer to be, but Nathan's long line of dwarves I find repulsive to even consider. I have many times considered the screen of crossbows in front of my Longbeards and other HtH dwarf units and using them to flee when the time is right and think it's a great tabletop tactic that feels like it may be effective, but not a long line of Ironbreakers just sitting their ready to run. That feels un-dwarfy!

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Re: A question for the experienced

Post  nathanr on Thu Sep 18, 2008 4:05 pm

Looking back at my post I am ashamed... Embarassed

I still like the units of 5 ironbreakers in front of the longbeards though, I would imagine that to be a tactic that dwarfs would use when they have to advance. Why else would we be given the option of taking units of 5 ironbreakers? They are forming a shield wall in front of their venerable elders, then when the combat starts they run behind the combat unit to protect the rear (flee the charge and rally).

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Re: A question for the experienced

Post  Kallidon on Thu Sep 18, 2008 5:09 pm

Oh for sure, it's the dwarven equivelent of fast cav right there.. hehe.

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Re: A question for the experienced

Post  ScottRadom on Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:20 pm

nathanr wrote:Looking back at my post I am ashamed... Embarassed

I still like the units of 5 ironbreakers in front of the longbeards though, I would imagine that to be a tactic that dwarfs would use when they have to advance. Why else would we be given the option of taking units of 5 ironbreakers? They are forming a shield wall in front of their venerable elders, then when the combat starts they run behind the combat unit to protect the rear (flee the charge and rally).

Yes! I made someone feel eAshamed!

I think you are allowed to take units of 5 ironbreakers so GW could sell them in smaller boxes and make them easier to keep in inventory at their stores.

It is a great idea, but my question is why use ironbreakersÉ If you donèt plan on fighting with them then wouldnèt 10 man units of missile troops or even reg warriors in a two rank formation get you more bang for your buck, and still serve the same purposeÉ 10 reg warrior is 80pnts (Youèll want a musician though) and 5 ironbreakers is 75pnts.

Fleeing through your longbeards also means you can never be caught and run down. Also this tactic should not be refered to as fleeing, cause dwarfs donèt do that elfy crap. Dwarfs withdraw in good order....

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Re: A question for the experienced

Post  RickyDMMontoya on Thu Sep 18, 2008 7:56 pm

I am frankly taken with the Ironbreaker shield wall, and might consider doing a Dwarf army for just that...
It's kind of captivating really.

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Re: A question for the experienced

Post  Carson on Thu Sep 18, 2008 9:27 pm

You know, over the years of playing Warhammer, I've heard alot of talk about conga lines, skirmish screens etc. Most of it is just talk, as I've nvere really seen it in use...other than small skirmish screens. The mechanics of the game, terrain, and not to mention your opponent make it difficult to put into practise. I actually love it when an oppoenent uses a skirmish screen as they usually are protecting some killing machine behind it. It's great as you can basically ignore this threat for most of the game. Leave the skirmishers where they are and let your opponent spend a couple of turns rearranging his lines to open up a charge route.

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Re: A question for the experienced

Post  nathanr on Fri Sep 19, 2008 8:20 am

I would use ironbreakers rather than regular warriors because they have the better armour. That way they might actually survive the shooting. Meat shields are for rats and greenskins! Gromril shields are for dwarfs!

And yes, thank you I know that dwarfs never flee, it is just a tactically brilliant reform to the rear.

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Re: A question for the experienced

Post  ScottRadom on Fri Sep 19, 2008 8:59 am

nathanr wrote:I would use ironbreakers rather than regular warriors because they have the better armour. That way they might actually survive the shooting. Meat shields are for rats and greenskins! Gromril shields are for dwarfs!

And yes, thank you I know that dwarfs never flee, it is just a tactically brilliant reform to the rear.


But it's still just a+1 armor save for way more points. And it's taking your special slots!

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Re: A question for the experienced

Post  nathanr on Fri Sep 19, 2008 9:49 am

Bah, who needs special slots anyway? I'd probably only have 2 or 3 of those units anyway and that leaves room for 2 bolt throwers and organ guns or flame cannons (or gyrocopters if it is indeed an offensive marching dwarf list).

You might be right in that warriors or missile troops would be a better use of points but I think using ironbreakers makes a better theme.

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Re: A question for the experienced

Post  ScottRadom on Fri Sep 19, 2008 11:27 am

nathanr wrote:Bah, who needs special slots anyway? I'd probably only have 2 or 3 of those units anyway and that leaves room for 2 bolt throwers and organ guns or flame cannons (or gyrocopters if it is indeed an offensive marching dwarf list).

You might be right in that warriors or missile troops would be a better use of points but I think using ironbreakers makes a better theme.

Okay since the cat is out of the bag I may as well fess up and say that I have been doing this for a while. Ièll tell you why I am opposed to Ironbreakers to accomplish what we will call the Shield Wall tactic...

A unit of ironbreakers will cost too much points wise to make an effective screen. A unit of ironbreaker with a musician will cost, 71pnts, I think. It will only have a frontage of 5 models at that cost and limit the effectiveness as it is small enough to be avoided, especially if even a single casualty is inflicted. I find the better option to go for a ten man strong unit of warriors for 85 (95shields) as the lack of extra armor save is more than made up for with the additional frontage gained. killing 5 ironbreakers is easier than killing 10 clansdwarfs with missile fire or spells.

The effectiveness of this tactic using melee troops is limited in my opionion because your opponent has no real reason to charge this unit, or the screening shield wall unit in fornt of it. That is why I much, much prefer to place my missile units in front and use them as a dual purpose unit. They screen very effectively (t4 and ld 9 usually with a re-roll for panic test from casualties) and have then bonus of encouraging the enemy to charge because they are shooting at the enemy, reducing his effectiveness. Your Dwarf army is gonna include missile troops anyway, why not use them on the front lines instead. 10 crossbowmen with a musician are 125 points, and for the extra investment help make force your opponent into dealing with them because they will be inflicting casualties.

If you use melee units as screens which are too small to be a threat themselves then an experienced player will simply ignore your blocks of dwarfs and pick on things they can kill near your flanks, or perhaps use whatever missile and magic capabilities to try and knock out your own war machines or small units. The screen tactic with a melee unit blindfolds you because if you do want to maneuver the units behind the screen it will take 2-3 turns to accomplish that. while semi-effectively blocking your units from huge charges and missile weapons you have also fenced them off from your opponent, who can always wait until turn 6, charge your screen units and probably pick up at least a minor victory from table quarters and the odd dead unit.

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