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AOS game discussions: strategies, tactics... 
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Corsair
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Hi.
I made this thread by duplication from existing discussions about AoS, from which I extracted relevant posts.
This thread is open only for those who want to give AoS a try.
All non-constructive comments will just be removed.
Please participate!

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Tue Jun 09, 2015 12:39 am
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Sangfroid wrote:
This comment isn't directed towards the posts about profit etc.. More to get people, positive and thinking about combos etc...

Still looks a tactical game to me just different, movement is still key because the person whose turn it is gets to pick the first unit that fights.......think about it you charge in then you get to chose to swing first.

Add this mechanic to say a blackguard unit who have double the weapon range of most units, so you charge you strike first (with double the models)


Keep in mind, that's not by combat, but anywhere on the table. Suppose you have some Witch Elves stuck in melee from last turn, and on the other side of the table you charge with your Black Guard at someone else. Do NOT choose to go first with the Black Guard, choose the Witch Elves instead. Why? Because the Witch Elves suffer more casualties if their enemies hit them first, but if they go first they will kill enough of their opponents that they'll receive fewer attacks in return.

Your opponent will then *not* choose to attack the Witch Elves, because why would they? The Witch Elves have already attacked. Instead, they'll choose to go first in the combat with the Black Guard. Then you attack with the Black Guard, and finally your opponent attacks the Witch Elves.

(Or you could decide that it's more important to attack first with the Black Guard, and that Witch Elf casualties are an acceptable sacrifice. It all depends on which fight is more important to your strategy, what else is going on, which side is more vulnerable, etc.)

That's assuming that there are only two combats going on: the one with the Witch Elves and the one with the Black Guard. More likely there will be several melees going on at once and you'll have to decide where it's more important to go first. :)

Right now, people seem to be making the mistake of thinking that getting in the charge first is all-important and expecting to wipe out enemy units with one well-placed charge. It isn't, and they won't, unless it's a really small light unit, like 5 Shades, and even then it isn't a sure bet. It's nice to be the one to charge, but it's more important to position your units carefully and fight in the right place, and if your opponent breaks ranks and charges you instead, great! You've got them right where you want them :)

This won't last, people learn quickly. So take advantage of it now and get a head start on strategy, while the foolish are still busy with the wailing and the rending of the clothes ;)

Sangfroid wrote:
Just a ramble but it's not all doom and gloom :-)


On the contrary, it's all looking very bright!


Mon Jul 06, 2015 2:34 am
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#barking agatha

You hit the nail on the head there I was kinda simplifying a single scenario to get the juices flowing, The more I read the deeper those 4 pages seem to be, for example a unit that begins its move within 3 inches of another unit can only stay put (for the next combat phase) or retreat if it does so it cannot run nor shoot, this reads that a unit of darkshards that is charged (and survives) can shoot the enemy then carry on the close combat or retreat and open up a space for something else to charge in.

Interesting mechanic and opens up a consideration to not only which scrolls you pick but tactics for which units you charge (with what) and which you shoot/magic to death instead


Mon Jul 06, 2015 5:58 am
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AoS rules wrote:
In order to play, you must  first muster your army from the miniatures in your collection.
AoS rules wrote:
You can continue setting up units until you have set up all the units you want to in this battle, or have run out of space. This is is your army. Count the number of models in your army – this may come in useful later.
Any remaining units are held in reserve, playing no part unless fate lends a hand.
As I understand, it is open lists, from which to select units deployed.
This allows you to guess if the opponent might wish to play the single-model-sudden-death-WAAC, or elite, or mass.
It is up to you to have in your muster units to give appropriate answers.

During deployment, you can keep in reserve (i.e. not take at all) all but one unit if you wish.
This, with alternate deployment, should allow you to counter in the early deployment the single WAAC model, especially if you play second.
Hey, you could well come with your army of DE and your army of O&G plus Nagash, and decide after battlefield is set which one you will use!

After all, there seems to be a potential for army list building (what are the tools I wish to have available, not knowing the opponent?),
and some deployement finesse: adapting "tit for tat" to what I see from opponent's already deployed troops, which will fight, and his reserve, which may fight or not participate to the battle.
There will be two phases of deployment: alternate deployment, and once one opponent says finished, the other one has full leisure to adapt to what he sees on the table - with the available surface of the table as limit.

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Mon Jul 06, 2015 11:30 am
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In a weird way this may impact the deployment order as well as the models you bring.
- If you're going to counter a single model WAAC list, you best face it off with a good anti-model. So I expect high profile models to be a good choice for a first drop.
- If your opponent goes for a low model count, and calls "stop", then you are still at liberty to drop any model you want to, to counter possible sudden death scenarios.

Assassination:
- The player triggering the sudden death can choose the mission, but the other player can choose the target. I expect a tanky character to be a good counter for this.
- It should be quite possible to deploy a swarm or living shield to protect the target.
- You can still drop any workable counter to the assassination model(s).

Blunt:
- If your opponent wants sudden death, a tanky swarm or defense mob is a good choice. You can use it to deflect the sudden death.

Endure:
- Here I'd opt for as many models to counter the sudden death as possible. Make sure some shooting is available and perhaps a caster.

Seize Ground:
- This is going to be a tough one, but again I'd go for a tanky swarm unit.

So in short, to build a list that can handle a sudden death scenario, you'd need a tanky character, mobile troops, tanking troops and preferably some ranged damage. Which pretty much sums up all the options. Luckily, you are at liberty to actually do that. In theory you could drop the whole model range.

It looks like having some defensive options and a way to control the opponent's movement is important. Defense comes a lot harder in this game, with a single save roll as protection. I would recommend higher wound models in a unit. 2 wound models would lose only half the models for the same amount of wounds suffered, and will feel the sting from battleshock only half as much. It may prove more important than the actual bravery.

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Mon Jul 06, 2015 11:52 am
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Did a bit of analysis this past weekend, and here is a combo I'm trying out this weekend...

Dreadlord on Foot + Death Hag + ~30 Witch Elves

Dreadlord
Quote:
Cruel Tyrant (Command): Unit re-rolls all wounds


Death Hag
Quote:
Witchbrew: Re-roll wounds of 1 & no battleshock tests


Witch Elves
Quote:
Frenzied Fervour: +1 attack when <=14" from a Death Hag
Sacrificial Knives: Re-roll all hits when >= 20 models


In an ideal setting, each Witch Elf now has 3 attacks and re-rolls all hits and all wounds. Witchbrew goes on the Hag herself. You could also feed the unit Witchbrew if the Inspiring Presence Command ability will be needed.

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Mon Jul 06, 2015 1:15 pm
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AoS uses a simple system for break testing though battle shock. Manipulating the battle shock test seems like a handy way of removing additional models in a combat. What stands in its way is the number of models lost, thus wounds, and the bravery.
However, the gain is also determined by the number of wounds (the bigger the wounds, the bigger the gain).

So I did some work to see how these stats manipulate the battle shock result, to get a good understanding of what makes a good defensive unit, or a poor one.


Battle shock test

We can break this test down to the following formula.
models fleeing = models lost + roll - bravery

Based on this, we work out how much damage is required to make 1 model flee.
1 flee = damage/wounds + roll - bravery

Expressed in terms of wounds
wounds = (damage/wounds + roll - bravery) * wounds
wounds = damage + roll * wounds - bravery * wounds
damage = (bravery - roll + 1) * wounds

This expression tells us how much damage we need to do (or can handle) until we start losing models. A unit with 2 wounds per model, bravery 4 and a shock roll of 3 loses a model after 4 wounds have been dealt.

The value of bravery and wounds

Now we can check the value of our attributes, using partial derivation:

value_bravery = wounds
value_wounds = bravery - roll + 1

We notice that bravery is as valuable as the number of wounds. Indeed, if we continue our example, the same unit (2 wounds, shock roll of 3) with 5 bravery would need an additional 2 wounds taken before it loses a model in the test. And for a roll of 3, bravery of 4, the unit with 3 wounds instead of 2 would require 4-3+1=2 more damage to lose a model in the test.

While this all seems trivial, this gives us two very important factors.

Bravery * wounds = defense score

Imagine for a moment, that we wouldn't have to roll in the battle shock phase. We'd have the following formula:
models fleeing = models lost - bravery
Or:
damage = (bravery + 1) * wounds
And:
value_bravery = wounds
value_wounds = bravery + 1

This shows that for every point in wounds, the value of bravery increases by 1 point and the other way around. As is apparent in the damage formula: bravery and wounds are being multiplied. This is a common sight in game mechanics, and it has an important effect: they multiply each other's value which dramatically increases their power when combined.

It's worth keep an eye out for that.

For example, the damage required to make a model flee on a roll of 3 in a unit with 4 bravery and 4 wounds is:
damage
= (4-3+1) * 4
= 8

A unit with 6 wounds and 6 bravery, can take a whole lot more:
damage
= (6-3+1) * 6
= 24

While the attributes have only increased by 2 on each side, there is a spectacular increase in resilience: we needed 3 times the damage for 1 model to flee with the same flee roll.
Of course there are fineries to the formula. The point I'm trying to make is to look at the combination (multiplication) of these two stats, and not just their values individually.

Roll vs wounds

We take another look at the value of the wound attribute:
value_wounds = bravery - roll + 1

We can see that the roll can affect the value of wounds negatively. The flee result counts the number of models that run away, not the number of additional wounds. A model with a higher wound count is a bigger loss than a model with a lower wound count, in terms of damage dealing or defense anyway. This probably jumped to many people's mind when they read the battle shock rule: it makes you lose models, which could be handy against multiwound models.

This expression above formalizes that and the benefit of getting such a unit to test increases with every wound the models have.

Conclusion: wounds are powerful multipliers of a unit's resilience, but they introduce a weakness to the roll of a battle shock.


Instability! High wounds, low bravery

We already concluded that the multiplication of bravery and wounds can ramp up the damage a unit has to take before losing additional models. But we also indicated that wounds increase a weakness to the battle shock (well.. it increases the benefit of making a unit fail its test). Bravery is the shield against that roll but once the test goes foul the unit could be losing a lot of wounds very quickly.

What we seem to get is instability for models with high wound counts and low bravery. Without the bravery to protect them against the roll, once a model goes down it could lead to a disastrous effect.
They key trick is then to tackle that bravery and get them to test. The test could be aided by either a combat buff, or simply by damaging one model with magic and shooting before jumping in.

It looks like this is the new form of instability that can pop a unit quickly.

A few examples

The formula we need:
damage = (bravery - roll + 1) * wounds


  • Trolls, 5 bravery, 4 wounds, 3+ roll: 12 wounds required.
  • Trolls, 5 bravery, 4 wounds, 4+ roll: 8 wounds required.
  • Trolls, 5 bravery, 4 wounds, 5+ roll: 4 wounds required. (see the instablity?)
  • Night Goblin, 4 bravery, 1 wounds, 2+ roll: 3 wounds required.
  • Night Goblin, 4 bravery, 1 wounds, 3+ roll: 2 wounds required.
  • Night Goblin, 4 bravery, 1 wounds, 4+ roll: 1 wounds required.
  • Liberators or Dark Riders, 6 bravery, 2 wounds, 3+ roll: 8 wounds required.
  • Liberators or Dark Riders, 6 bravery, 2 wounds, 4+ roll: 6 wounds required.
  • Liberators or Dark Riders, 6 bravery, 2 wounds, 5+ roll: 4 wounds required.
  • Cold One Chariots, 7 bravery, 6 wounds, 3+ roll: 30 wounds required.
  • Cold One Chariots, 7 bravery, 6 wounds, 4+ roll: 24 wounds required.
  • Cold One Chariots, 7 bravery, 6 wounds, 5+ roll: 18 wounds required. Notice the strong increase in required wounds.

Countering high wounds, damage in advance

According to the rules, right now, it's possible to damage a unit with a spell or shooting before charging in that unit in the same round. This could be used as a mechanic to make a single model die quickly.
On high wound models, this could significantly improve your odds of damaging the unit through battle shock. Though... my numbers show this is only very effective against units with a lower bravery.


Round up of conclusions

Based on this theory hammering, I think it's important to look at the wounds and bravery together. They show a synergy in the resilience of a unit against the battle shock testing.
  • Bravery is the shield to survive the test roll.
  • Wounds makes it harder to modify that roll
  • Wounds also create a "desire" to score wounds through battle shock
  • A low bravery and high wound count can make a unit unstable.
  • When trying to get an indication of a unit's resilience to battle shock know that wounds and bravery don't add up but multiply instead.
  • A rule of thumb for a unit's resilience to battle shock: (bravery - 3) * wounds, which is more or less 50% chance to pop one model.
  • Models with high bravery and a notable number of wounds are incredibly resilient to battle shock.

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"I move unseen. I hide in light and shadow. I move faster than a bird. No plate of armour ever stopped me. I strike recruits and veterans with equal ease. And all shiver at my coldest of whispers."
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Mon Jul 06, 2015 4:13 pm
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Loriel from Ulthuan posted a few interesting tactics, for which he granted me permission to repost them here.
Original thread: http://www.ulthuan.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=77&t=69113

Loriel wrote:
After my first UB practice / test game I quickly realized that some of the elements that seem to be taken away actually still are around very much.

For example.

Effective Rank Bonus

K, on the last edition ranks gave static combat resolution and allowed supports attack to be made. They also had steadfast to help them hold their grounds

Well here is example picture (porprotions are not correct etc, but principle can be seeing here)

Image
Image

Image
Image

ok these pictures are not the most perfect ones, but in short having "3 ranks" compared to "1 rank" and get charged in corner means about extra 4-6 attacks. so that would be roughly "the same" as +2 combat resolution in old one. well not exactly, but you get the point. Effective rank bonus.

Effective Flank Charge
Ok as we know in the old one flank charges were really good / bad thing depending were you flanking or not. The basic effects were +1 to combat resolution, denies support attacks and some saves such as parry. Additionally if the flaking had rank also ranking bonuses were denied. Additionally if unit was charged from multiple flank it couldn't reform.

Image
Image

Well lets assume opponent will have straight line formation of troops with maximum of 1 inch apart from each other. (very ideal I know) getting charged from both flanks means. No pileup option for the defender. Also it will seriously cut attacks. You are not allowed to move if you are 3 inch from enemy and you can only pile up, but unit must maintain 1 inch from another model. If we would charge from both ends to "ranked" unit then the most middle ones needs to be left there to connect the two parts of the unit. Thus effectively negate attacks that could follow from pileups. The wider the unit is the topology of maintaining 1 inch between friendly models makes the unit more vulnerable to flank charges.

"Redirecting"

Well redirection in old edition in nutshell means, stall enemy big threats from doing what they are supposed to do. This was achieved by running some mundane troops infront of them, changing their overrun directions, forcing march tests etc.

Well redirecting in this form doesn't exist, but.

Image
Image

Lets take our previous edition redirection masters, Reavers. Now if you clip only one model to the corner of the unit 1/2 inch apart from it then the conga line with exact 1 inch apart. now you cut down many attacks your opponent can do by filling this. Additionally as the reavers can shoot prior to charge they can do significant ammount of damage. and you can remove models as you see fit. so remove from back until one of opponent pile up models is within 1/2 of the second model, then kill the one that is closest to the opponent. Your back reavers will get 3 shots per round to the unit and this unit performance is hindered next to nothing additionally this actually can cause really negative effect on battleshocks for the unit in question. As the rules state that the unit that starts turn within 3 inch from enemy model can either retreat or remain stationary. It is actually little odd that it isn't models. In this situation given that this game has really smooth and dymanic movement why couldn't those dudes that are in the back simple "run" to aid. well not by raw.

------

These were really basic things, hope it helps people to find more tactical elements from the game.



Daeron wrote:
While elves aren't exactly the most tanky models, the pile-up can also be used to force a hammer and anvil mechanic:
Image
The pile-up is forced towards the anvil, which keeps the damage on your flanking unit minimal.


Another important choice is selection of the models that are removed from wounds and battle shock. You could, in theory, remove those models that keep you in combat. Like so:
Image
As the range of combat is 3" this might be hard to pull off, but this might save one against a flank charge, maybe.



Daeron wrote:
Another idea on the flanking charge. The second flank charge (horses?) doesn't even need to reach combat. The "pile in" rules state that you can move up to 3" to the nearest enemy model... It doesn't state this has to be an enemy you are in combat with (the concept "in combat" doesn't exist).

In theory, you can force a model to pile-in away from combat by placing a flanker closer to an enemy model than the combat (but not within 3"). The controlling player has the liberty to make no pile-in move (or move 0") but the model is locked in position. Enough models have to stay within 1" of each other during the pile-in, forming a line between the locked models and the combat, prohibiting it to fully commit on the combat it is fighting.

This can be saved by a retreat, though. But it kind of restricts the enemy movement.

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Tue Jul 07, 2015 12:05 pm
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Quote:
Effective Flank Charge
Ok as we know in the old one flank charges were really good / bad thing depending were you flanking or not. The basic effects were +1 to combat resolution, denies support attacks and some saves such as parry. Additionally if the flaking had rank also ranking bonuses were denied. Additionally if unit was charged from multiple flank it couldn't reform.

Well lets assume opponent will have straight line formation of troops with maximum of 1 inch apart from each other. (very ideal I know) getting charged from both flanks means. No pileup option for the defender. Also it will seriously cut attacks. You are not allowed to move if you are 3 inch from enemy and you can only pile up, but unit must maintain 1 inch from another model. If we would charge from both ends to "ranked" unit then the most middle ones needs to be left there to connect the two parts of the unit. Thus effectively negate attacks that could follow from pileups. The wider the unit is the topology of maintaining 1 inch between friendly models makes the unit more vulnerable to flank charges.


While what you're saying here is true, what's also true here is that you need to attack one unit at a time and the opponent gets to remove dead models as he sees fit.

So, the saavy opponent could remove casualties in a way to actually remove one of your units from combat. (if he's able to remove enough models to leave his unit > 3" away from your unit that hasn't attacked yet - you can't pile in)

It's something to consider when doing a combo charge. In fact, I don't think that I'd ever combo charge like the diagram with 1 wound models. Against Ogres, absolutely. It's something that we/I will have to playtest to see how best to do combo charges.

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Tue Jul 07, 2015 7:03 pm
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Do this removal from combat trick if it's your opponents turn. Subsequently you can charge back and then reap any charge bonuses.


Tue Jul 07, 2015 8:46 pm
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Okay finally had a game of AoS last night and another thing I noticed from a defensive point of view is that infantry units with a 2inch range (in this case sisters) are excellent defensive units I played with my stuff on movement trays and square bases but kept the sisters just over 2inch away from my warlocks as I advanced almost in a solid line (cold ones on the other side) I lost the initiative turn two so my opponent effectively got to have two turns so he closed and charged his black knights into the warlocks and I was able to pile in with the sisters and get off 21 attacks because of the long range of their weapons.

This was a test game with approx 95 wound armies each that we balanced and contained a variety of unit types to see how they did.

The other thing of note is units of handbow corsairs (you know I love em) staying behind the line and then stepping up in your own phase in range and shooting thru the gaps at engaged units also claimed 3 black nights.

The warlocks doombolt spell means these guys have to be fielded in 10s at least I think and the difference between a Lord on a dragon and a Lord on a horse also makes me feel we need our generals on monsters unless you are going. To avoid combat with them altogether. (The dragon Lord in combat with tyrant shield rerolling failed saves) is pretty solid.


Wed Jul 08, 2015 6:13 am
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Sangfroid wrote:
The warlocks doombolt spell means these guys have to be fielded in 10s at least I think


I had a game last night, using 2 units of 5 Warlocks and I thought "Shoot! Should have merged that!". Thinking back on it, I'm not sure if that really would have been a better idea. True, the 6 mortal wound version is immense. But you're losing 3 spells for it. Purely from a magic point of view, it's possible to cast every spell the unit knows (no powerdice limit). By splitting the unit up, you gain 3 spells (Doombolt, Arcane Bolt, Mystic Shield).
From a damage point of view, 2 Doombolts and 1 Arcane Bolts have to compete with the 6 Mortal Wound Doombolt.

Assuming all spells are cast, the mortal wounds hitting the enemy are:
Image
Which beats the 6 Mortal Wound doombolt. It's not entirely the same, of course, but then consider taking a few wounds on the unit. The big unit will go down quickly in performance. The small units will do less. The small unit also gets a mystic shield to boot.

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Wed Jul 08, 2015 8:12 am
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That makes a lot of sense but the 5 man units very quickly drop in performance (2w and then they are firing d3 bolts which is worse than arcane bolt obtained from a different caster as that caster has 3 different spells) then I wondered are we thinking in 5s because of 8th would it possible to track the efficency of 7 or 8 man units i.e a sweet spot, as I suspect a lot of comps will use some kind of wounds/bravery formula so finding out at what point you get optimum models for performance would be awesome.

also I've been thinking today at work and I'm wondering if 2 inch attack infantry units (black guard, dreadspears and sisters) are actually more effective in a tight square based formation. If you are holding a 1 inch apart formation you are increasing your frontage so the enemy can get more models in b2b or within an inch but the 1inch spaces don't really help you that much because your second rank fights just as well over the shoulder in a tight formation.

Whereas if your tucked in tight the enemy has to spread out and pile in all around you to get the Most out of their attacks. This not only gives you more attacks per inch (if you have more than 2 ranks) but also disperses their formation and blocks off other units engaging with you as easily. In fact would the optimal formation with these guys be a square 16/25/36 models etc....

1) if you charge and get to pile in first you bring models from the back to extend your front rank two models deep at least
2) if you are charged and get piled in on every enemy that is coming around your formation after the first is actually giving you 2 models worth of attacks back.

Thoughts?

EDIT: in fact attacks per inch would be a good measure of a units effectiveness then use their hit/wound/rend to come out without formula that gauges offensive capacity


Wed Jul 08, 2015 4:08 pm
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Sangfroid wrote:
That makes a lot of sense but the 5 man units very quickly drop in performance (2w and then they are firing d3 bolts which is worse than arcane bolt obtained from a different caster as that caster has 3 different spells) then I wondered are we thinking in 5s because of 8th would it possible to track the efficency of 7 or 8 man units i.e a sweet spot, as I suspect a lot of comps will use some kind of wounds/bravery formula so finding out at what point you get optimum models for performance would be awesome.


1 unit of 10 -> 6+ 1D3 Mortal Wounds (1 Doombolt + 1 Bolt)
2 units of 5 -> 2D6 + 2D3 Mortal Wounds

After 2 wounds:
1 unit of 9 -> 1D6 + 1D3 Mortal wounds
1 unit of 5, 1 of 4 -> 1D6 + 3D3 Mortal Wounds

After 4 wounds:
1 unit of 8 -> 1D6 + 1D3 Mortal wounds
2 units of 4 -> 4D3 Mortal wounds

Two units always win.

Quote:
also I've been thinking today at work and I'm wondering if 2 inch attack infantry units (black guard, dreadspears and sisters) are actually more effective in a tight square based formation. If you are holding a 1 inch apart formation you are increasing your frontage so the enemy can get more models in b2b or within an inch but the 1inch spaces don't really help you that much because your second rank fights just as well over the shoulder in a tight formation.


The 1" space is entirely optional. 1" is just enough to fight in 2 ranks so a tight formation already pays of with 1" melee weapons. This was a nasty surprise to my Duardin opponent yesterday as my Witch Elves launched their 3 attacks per model from 2 ranks. Yeah.. he wasn't too happy with that.
The 2" range should permit up to 3 ranks of 20mm square bases.

Quote:
Whereas if your tucked in tight the enemy has to spread out and pile in all around you to get the Most out of their attacks. This not only gives you more attacks per inch (if you have more than 2 ranks) but also disperses their formation and blocks off other units engaging with you as easily. In fact would the optimal formation with these guys be a square 16/25/36 models etc....


I also formed my units in a square to be equally effective on all sides. It works as you said, but I didn't get flanked. I only broke formation when I needed the extra flexibility to get more attacks in.
I think examining formations is a very, very interesting topic. BTW, I keep my models on a movement tray in tight formation. I just slide the tray in whatever direction I want, no wheeling, no turning. This way, all my models make the exact same move. It's 360 degree sight anyway, turning is not required.


Quote:
EDIT: in fact attacks per inch would be a good measure of a units effectiveness then use their hit/wound/rend to come out without formula that gauges offensive capacity


Interesting concept. Hm. I'm always a little weary of such units as they can be very situational and one unit may have an easier time pulling it off than the other. But it is worth checking out.

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Wed Jul 08, 2015 7:48 pm
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Ahh I see the issue here each unit of warlocks can only cast 1 spell per hero phase so two units can do 2 spell 1 unit 1 spell

the warscroll for locks says they can only cast once which is a pain, in fact only malekith and Morathi in our army can cast two and so far I've only seen teclis, a slann and a high elf Mage with book of hoeth that can cast 3 times

I also agree the fuss about us losing tight formations is drivel having your guys nice and close is stronger,

How do you think a cav unit can be formed optimally?


Wed Jul 08, 2015 8:09 pm
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Ahhh! Gee.. my mistake. I may owe my opponent an apology :P
We went through the rules throughout the game and the magic of the main rules state each spell can be cast once. Now the scroll specific rules state how many spells can be cast. It makes more sense now :)

Let's see the impact:

1 unit of 10 -> 6+ Mortal Wounds
2 units of 5 -> 2D6 Mortal Wounds
After 2 wounds:
1 unit of 9 -> 1D6 Mortal wounds
1 unit of 5, 1 of 4 -> 1D6 + 1D3 Mortal Wounds
After 4 wounds:
1 unit of 8 -> 1D6 Mortal wounds
2 units of 4 -> 2D3 Mortal wounds

I'm still tempted to go two units :P

Close formations are better but some weapons work with a range, i.e. a gyrocopter's steam gun hits everyone within 6" inches. That said, if they move close enough, you can charge it next round.

For cavalry you can go quite gamey. Front-to-front, there's no benefit to either formation and a straight up formation is just as good as any. However, edge to edge (imagine a 7-wide unit fighting a 5-wide unit, the 2 outer models) can use something else. 1" distance might just be enough to cross the cav base sideways to let a model behind it strike. If every letter represents 25x25mm and it takes two letters to make a cav base then this formation would give the max amount of attacks on a 5-wide unit after pile-in:
AACDEFGHH
BBCDEFG I I
Putting the horses sideways on the edges might let one more horse fight on either edge, or in the case of warlocks, an extra model.

I would expect some grumbling from my opponent though :D

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Wed Jul 08, 2015 8:59 pm
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Love that cav idea will try something similar next time I get chance, interestingly the Coldone Knights themselves have a 2 inch range I think that oval bases will allow a further option as you can angle them ever so slightly allowing the tip of the second rank to squeeze in a bit allowing then a full rank of extra knight attacks maybe on the charge.

What's funny is peeps are complaining about the loss of movement phase and positioning yet it's still there just in a different way!

Don't worry about the casting mishap, it's how I read it originally myself then.when I actually went to cast a spell and read the warscroll realised in time. In fact this alone makes two units of 5 optimally as it also means 2 unbind attempts too!

The magic defence and offence is also another topic worth exploring, our wizards are not that strong really as we can only cast a single spell and dispel once per turn (excluding Morathi & malekith) so we need a mixture of multiple casters and or warlocks to cover ours lines. Because our heros can no longer join units I'm wondering if it's worth having a exposed caster at all even if she is On a cold one (and I don't think it's worth a dragonmage when you compare how tough the dreadlord is with tyrant shield) a good round of shooting or warmachines or magic can have her dead easily enough.

So maybe 2 units of 5 locks gives us a good offence reasonable defence (two dispel attempts) and then also a fair amount of survivalbility with 20 wounds and speed.


Wed Jul 08, 2015 9:48 pm
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I'm still in the proces of theorycrafting and testing the game, so my view on the game is still subject to change. But considering the big overhaul that AoS brings, and the various debates about its mechanics, I thought I'd dive in and write in my view on it.

For sake of structuring my text, I'll follow the structure of the rules which are simple enough as it is :P

The Battle Rounds - Random turn sequence

The randomized choice on who goes first every round feels like a cheap trick to disorient the strategists. It also gives your movement and shooting an irregular pace.
Warhammer had it as well, with fleeing, overrunning, quick reforms, stand and shoots etc, but it was more controlled.

I'm ambivalent about it. WFB may have overemphasized min-maxed movement. AoS too little.

The Hero Phase

Magic moved to the start of the turn, which is a big thing. Your opponent (last move?) has the initiative now to position his troops against your magic phase. You will have to set up your magic defense during your movement.

Other than that, this phase feels like a charge-up round that becomes a mini management game with cards or tokens:
- Start by collecting any of your cards/tokens from the table
- Redistribute them across the table, one at a time.

I mourn the loss of 8th's magic system though. I enjoyed that. But perhaps 6-dice Dwellering all those noobs demanded a fix.
For the non-magical abilities, it's a great addition and I bet we'll see counters or cards come up for this soon.

The movement phase

It's so simplified it benefits ranked units as well as skirmishers. It might just make AoS a sort of hybrid between a ranked mass battle and skirmish game.

It brings a new aspect to the game: formations. Formations can influence combat, defense or terrain benefits.. which is a thing I didn't expect to find in this AoS. A nice surprise.

Still, strategy and style are replaced with "game". 360 degrees sight and free movement lets you slide a model or unit in any direction (without rotating). Rotation becomes an aesthetic thing, and something for irregular bases/formations.

I see dynamic scenery landscapes may become a thing in AoS.

It does seem possible to control your opponent's movement, but not without dodging a counter charge. The most reliable way to dominate their movement is by charging the enemy.. which means committing your troops.

Running: A D6 movement bonus replaces all movement restrictions and irregularities. Light-hearted, simple, gamey and non-strategic.

Retreating: Flee as a choice and it seems possible to prevent a unit from fleeing. Something to keep in mind.

It also means you can't "catch" a unit, but have to take it down or make it fail battle shocks.

Shooting
By using pre-compiled hit and wound chances, a lot of the finesse is lost. It felt a bit overpowered, as one can shoot from combat (even a warmachine), into combat. You can't "escape" into combat, or block shooting with combat, which is another strategy removed.

It feels way less refined, but gunlines rarely felt refined in WFB. It still captures the gist of things: you're going to blow things to bits.

There is but one counter: it looks like warmachines and gunners get shot more easily themselves.

Charging

Note that the new rules require you only to declare that you're charging. There is no declared target, response or anything. So, roll your dice and choose your target depending on the results. The movement liberty is interesting: you can reform during charge to maximize/minimize your models in contact with the enemy, provided you have the movement available. I bet this will permit some tricks.
It -will- be important!

It impresses me that, once your units are in combat (or within reach), then combat will happen and it's hard to get out. Taking the initiative is bound to benefit you which means you'll be rewarded if you dare to commit your troops.

All in all, we did lose the mini-game that the charge phase was in WFB. I guess the focus now lies on the result of it: combat.

Pile in
The counter to the tricks that charges permit is the pile-in. This is its equivalent and I think it will become important in more competitive games. It's a phase that can be manipulated, and so it will become a part of the game where the difference is made between the casual and the pro.

Combat
Initiative is gone and fights are picked by alternating players. This actually increases the importance of battle selection compared to WFB.

WFB, especially 8th, had the entire strike order set in stone. Only dice could make a difference now. As such, WFB emphasized the importance of movement and charging.
AoS takes a different approach, and it's quite interesting. By choosing your units to fight, it turns into a minigame where each players try to maximize their damage or minimize the damage taken. It can be strategic choice which will undoubtedly play a role.
Instead of committing a unit to a predertmined scenario, throwing in an extra unit may turn some initiative.

It also means attacking a big unit with a lot of small units gives you a penalty: the big unit goes first against all but one small unit, probably reducing the effectiveness of a frontal MSU attack.

Battleshock
A very interesting design but it has a design flaw: you need to keep track of wounds, across several subphases (hero phase, shooting, combat, ...). This could make for a messy table.

Attacking, hitting, wounding

WFB was stuck in its interpretation of damage dealing and they were in a constant limbo to overcome the engine's limitations through special rules, like re-rolls (hit, wound, armour), blanket ward saves and all other kinds of horrors.

AoS steps away from this, which offers clarity and flexibility. The cost is losing an important tie to WFB's roleplay history.
I think AoS offers less flavour, but it will play better.

Wound and counter heavy

They killed off ward saves in general (well, except for Phoenix Guard because high elves), lowered the saves and then boosted the wounds to compensate. While I applaud this change from a gaming perspective, there's a downside: keeping track of all the wounds!
I think we'll see a lot of specialized wound counters emerge soon enough :)

This makes AoS token or counter heavy, with the spells and abilities from the hero phase and then the wound counters for the units.

It almost reminds me of a Wizkids game I observed (never played).

Warscrolls and units

I think it's a very smart move to replace books by scrolls. It permits them a much more flexible release schedule. Books don't have to be completed, just the units you want to update/release.
I imagine GW will come up with battle formations of some sort, to sell new models in bulk. Depending on their compatibility with old models, they might throw in old models to boost their sales again.

The downside is that it's harder to get an overview of an army, and its abilities. I think a database of units, scrolls and special rules would be interesting at this point.

If they don't provide one, I will.


Final remarks

It's a fun game, emphasis on "fun" as in.. You have to focus on the "fun" because it's all what's keeping the game from being broken. It plays a bit like a game that's in open beta.
The game engine itself is alright. It plays fast and light. I can definitely see myself play this, for a long time.

But the character of WFB is gone, and that was important. It's the old world and its battles that inspired people to build momentous scenery, that pushed creativity and conversions.
It's neater to build a conversion if you can somehow reflect that customisation in the rules.

WFB combined a rigid and complex game with a history rich sandbox world. I remember having to look up rules in almost every battle I had. I remember being inspired to make my own characters and write my own piece of history in its rich and inviting world.

AoS turns it around, it seems. It creates a sandbox game that almost begs intervention to make your own campaign or framework. At the same time, it blew up the world and history and the first release offers a premade story which you'll have to read to go with the flow.

Ahh well.. I have a closet full of unopened WFB boxes because I have a spending issue and never enough time. AoS seems better paced to players like me. I just hope the game still presents enough of a challenge in a few months time.

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Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:02 pm
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Daeron wrote:
Still, strategy and style are replaced with "game". 360 degrees sight and free movement lets you slide a model or unit in any direction (without rotating). Rotation becomes an aesthetic thing, and something for irregular bases/formations.
...
It also means you can't "catch" a unit, but have to take it down or make it fail battle shocks.
...
It's a fun game, emphasis on "fun" as in.. You have to focus on the "fun" because it's all what's keeping the game from being broken. It plays a bit like a game that's in open beta.

1) Rotation is not aesthetic; it costs movement because no part of a model may move more than the model's move characteristic. However, I doubt anyone will lose sleep over the rotation of infantry models unless they have levelled spears.
2) This is one of the better changes from 8th edition. As cinematic as it can be to punch a hold in a battle line, it sucks to have to pick up a unit of a couple dozen models because they got run down by 5 lucky chumps. I like the grind because the models see more table time.
3) The only thing keeping the game from being broken is the intelligence of the players in their army selection and tactics. Age of Sigmar gives you all of the rope in the world to hang yourself, but when two competent generals have a game, it's a fair tug-of-war.


Sat Jul 11, 2015 7:52 am
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Corsair

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I have been playing WFB for 13 years and have well over 6000 points of dark elves. What drew me to WFB was the blocks of units facing off and a high level of tactical game play.

When i initially read the AOS rules i was very disappointed. I have played a lot of over the years and to see the game reduced to skirmishing wasn't great.

However after really going through the rules and thinking of creative ways to play i realized that there is now much more freedom for games that resemble and act like real battles. Units act much more reliably and things like flanking the enemy actually work like they should instead of just counting towards a break test.

The thing that got me scared the most was that all units were skirmishers. However when i saw that everyone had actual range for their attacks, i realized that keeping your units ranked up still had many advantages.

You could get many more attacks in while keeping the enemy from piling in around you as long as you kept your battle like strong. Since our bases are small we can get in two ranks of models attacking with 1 inch attacks and 3 ranks of models in with 2 inch attacks. This means that if the enemy wants to come at your strong front like in a disordered skirmish formation, that you will be getting many more attacks in than they will.

In the game i played today, i saw the value of having a strong middle to hold the line while your support units tried to get around the enemy to swing the battle in your favor. The more attacks you can focus on one enemy unit while taking few in return is what will win games.

I know that logic may seem obvious, but it really becomes important when deciding how to deploy your army. If you can maintain a strong center with ranked up models, the enemy can't wrap around you and you will naturally get more attacks on the enemy than they can get on you.

I have some pictures of my last game to show my point a bit more clearly. I believe i had the advantage in army strength from the beginning but i did allow them to set up their army after I had set up all of mine.

We didn't get to finish the game because the store was closing, but the combats that were fought, were very much in favor of the ranked units just because of how many more attacks I could dish out.

Let me know what you guys think.


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Sat Jul 11, 2015 10:33 pm
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More pics


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Sat Jul 11, 2015 11:03 pm
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more pics


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Sat Jul 11, 2015 11:05 pm
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Great pics I do love seeing pics of models streaming across the field!

Me and Daeron were discussing on another thread the benefit of formations with certain troops in particular those with a 2inch range. The optimum defensive formation for these I think is a square because you want the enemy to pile around you because every one model (after the first) that piles around you get 2 models to attack back in return.

Okay couple this with our new dreadspears who get +1 to hit if they haven't moved and +1 to hit if over 20 models and sudden you have a unit that is hitting the enemy on a 2+

Okay couple that with a foot generals ability to grant a boon that you can reroll all 1s wound rolls, or a dread on a dragon you can reroll hits of 1 and gain immunity from battleshock or a master bsb re-roll 1s for wound rolls, or the cauldron of blood (1s for wounds again) a solid unit that will cause a problem for a lot of units. They will die as they are that tough but it's not their job to live just to hold the enemy.

Now with 2-3 smallish square (blackguard and sisters also perform his role) as the front line the enemy will charge, pile in and extend his models around your squares, this is then where your Move vulnerable units (witches, characters monsters etc...) step up and either charge the extended enemy lines maximising your counter charge attack and minimising attacks back on them or your shooting units can pour their shots into the enemy with no danger of being charged back I'd even counter using corsairs with hand bows, shooting then charging in as well if you think it's going to break the enemy.

The other advantage of squares if placed well in deployment and moved well throughout the game is you clan reform into a line and plug gaps if required or go on the offensive charge and either not attack first so they pile in around you (same benefits as above) or Pile in in ordered files increasing you line width and bring 3 models per file into the fight (I.e ranks of three) this last bit is possibly how sisters and black guard should be deployed as they are more offensive than spears overall.


Sun Jul 12, 2015 7:04 am
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Sangfroid wrote:
...a square ....
couple that with a foot generals ability to grant a boon that you can reroll all 1s wound rolls, or a dread on a dragon you can reroll hits of 1 and gain immunity from battleshock or a master bsb re-roll 1s for wound rolls, or the cauldron of blood (1s for wounds again)
You can even make a larger square with empty center, as long as the square perimeter is 3 units deep you got your defensive ability.
In the middle hole, place your vulnerable BSB, CoB, foot general, or even the dragonlord, ready to jump over the lines and attack given the opportunity.

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Sun Jul 12, 2015 1:28 pm
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Now your talking that's what we need more of intelligent ideas still leaves the character vunerable to shooting and magic (they are anyway so no difference there) but it would protect against being charged also if it's a melee character you can still pile in with models and make a space (or do so with casualties.

Interestingly lokhir can leap over models when he piles in if there is a character to attack


Sun Jul 12, 2015 3:59 pm
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