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Optimum size for elite units? 
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Shade
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Hey- looking for people's thoughts on the following conundrum.

So I was just musing lately on the optimum sizes for elite units of foot troops (IE exec's, WE's, and BG). I came to the following conclusions

10 strong - With WE's and exec's both being rather weak to missile fire, these units seem to get picked off pretty easily by one round of concentrated shooting. Also, at 10 models in a unit, it is hardly worth buying anything more than a musician, lest the enemy claim your standard. Considering all of the units all take up a special slot, I don't see many practical uses for this size unit other than a flank guard... but thats what we have harpies and corsairs for.

15 strong - DE's are notoriously points-heavy, so this configuration to me has proven to yield the best results. Although WE's and exec's in units of 15 do tend to get shredded pretty easily with a round of shooting and magic, they still manage to get into combat most of the time, and merit a full command. A mere +2 rank bonus seems kinda little for units of BG and exec's who are nominally hammer units. Still, this is how I field my exec's most of the time, especially since we have access now to very cheap strong SCR units (20-25 warriors with BSB+warbanner)

20 strong - this formation seems a bit of a points sink to me, and I would only really consider fielding BG in units of 20 just due to survivability. WE's and exec's (as aforementioned) tend to get shredded when an intelligent general focuses a good round of shooting and magic on them, and with elves' T3, heavy armor is really the saving grace for the BG. Although, at 20 strong, you gain +3 rank bonus, potentially outnumbering, and you can always take a war banner on any of the units, making for an expensive but effective meat grinding version of a CR-generating unit.


I am planning on testing out an army of "elite infantry" based DE, and I was thinking 10/15 WE's, 15 execs, and maybe 20 BG, but I was struggling with the optimum quantity there, so I would like some advice.

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Sun Aug 03, 2008 8:02 pm
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Noble
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I went with 14 Black Guard in a 1k battle against and destroyed a comparable unit of Greatswords with a war priest, to the man, without losing a single one. I feel that with our special/elite infantry, they are much more valuable in a wide frontage, ie. 6 or 7, than in static ranks for end CR. I think it is more likely that the extra Executioner, Black Guard, or Witch Elf will get a kill than all 5 survive shooting and magic to bring that rank's bonus into the equation.

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Sun Aug 03, 2008 9:58 pm
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Cold One Knight

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I go 12 in my Executioner unit. Small enough to be ignored on the most part and yet still able to perform their support role as flankers for my spearmen. If they die, as support they are not as big a loss as a big unit. If I was to field BG or WEs I would go 15 at least. But I would rather take frenzied corsairs or non frenzied corsairs than witch elves.

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Sun Aug 03, 2008 10:07 pm
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Hey there guys!
In my experience I've gone the 15 strong Executiones's with full command in games which I don't come up against alot of shooting.
I don't have any BG or WE's so the Exces are the only hard hitting unit of infantry I have.
Before the new book came out the Banner of Murder was my standard add on to the unit which worked a treat if you got into combat.
I've got a game coming up against my mates High Elves and I'm thinking of taking my 15 man Exes with a lvl 2 with the Ring of Darknes so they are less easy to kill with shooting and an assassin.
But we'll see...

Cheers!
H! :twisted:

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Sun Aug 03, 2008 10:13 pm
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Noble
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I don't know if it is a good idea to put your Sorceress in that unit. Ideally, they'll want to end up in combat, which is exactly where she does not want to be. Also, good luck with Executioners vs. High Elves - they'll get kills a bit easier, but the consensus is you're overpaying, especially against the low T and AS Asur. I'd count them as Black Guard this time to see how you like them.

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Sun Aug 03, 2008 10:28 pm
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vorthain wrote:
I don't know if it is a good idea to put your Sorceress in that unit. Ideally, they'll want to end up in combat, which is exactly where she does not want to be. Also, good luck with Executioners vs. High Elves - they'll get kills a bit easier, but the consensus is you're overpaying, especially against the low T and AS Asur. I'd count them as Black Guard this time to see how you like them.


Yeah, you're right.
Unless I can get off WOP which is really clutching at straws.
I just didn't want them getting shot up!
I guess another option is required here.
I'll use them as BG and see how I go.
Thanks for the feedback mate!

Cheers!
H! :twisted:

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Sun Aug 03, 2008 10:41 pm
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Sure - the new Black Guard are brilliant. Give them the Banner of Hag Graef and rip those Asur a new one. For extra evil, make it appear you've left them out to dry in the enemy charge range, or make it look as though you've meant to fail a charge. When he comes in to finish you, it reverts back to I order, which means you'll be striking first. This is especially good on the haugty, expensive Swordmasters, though it works on all infantry but the Phoenix Guard. The Ring of Hotek is also good if the enemy wants to pepper them with magic missiles - he will be miscasting in no time.

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Sun Aug 03, 2008 11:03 pm
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If you have two units of the same unit, then 8-12 could work. There's redundancy so shooting isn't so bad, and one unit can bait to ensure the other charges. If you have one unit of each, then 14-20 is better I think.

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Sun Aug 03, 2008 11:25 pm
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I have been considering fielding Witches in small units of 5.
Whilst they will easily get wiped out by shooting, it will still require multiple units to completely wipe them out and then they are only 50 points.

If they aren't shot to pieces or even if just 1 survives they can do considerable dameage on a flank charge or suicide charge to wipe out mages or war machines.

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Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:46 am
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Seems like a waste of Special choices.

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Mon Aug 04, 2008 1:38 am
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Malekith's Best Friend
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Its 6-7 wide for me. That dictates minimum unit size of about 12-14 anything much more than that and you start reaching diminishing returns.

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Mon Aug 04, 2008 2:12 am
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Also I thought that only Khanite characters can go with Khanite units like executioners. So you can't stick your sorceress in a unit of exectioners.

Probably one of the best special units in the DE army will be ~15 black guard with ASF banner, master with soul taker (to deal with any armoured foes). You could support the unit with a master with the ring that makes people shoot at you with half BS.


Mon Aug 04, 2008 3:32 am
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The minimum size for any elite is 5.
Playing MSE, I would think of a unit of 7 in order to maximize the number of hits.

More than that, you're talking of models just used to replace the first row or to make up for kills by shooting.
Considering that WE and exec are cheap, why not? but then it is less MSE.

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Mon Aug 04, 2008 9:06 am
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5 WE = 50 pts. Leave them sitting on a table quarter out of shooting range/magic range and they make their points back; might even kill some infantery (units of 19- models or something ;) )

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Mon Aug 04, 2008 1:09 pm
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12-14 models in two ranks. Elite troops win by killing people. Rank bonuses are a waste with every model costing as many points as it does. The second rank isn't there for the rank bonus, but for making the unit retain its number of melee attacks even after suffering casualties.

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Mon Aug 04, 2008 1:25 pm
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Probably 5-8 is enough for executioner units to keep them nice and expendable (and since they usually die in droves if they are charged). 2 7's would be preferable to 1 15 IMO.

Generally, I wouldn't use small units of anything that can't flee though, so at least 15 BG IMO (I use them primarily as a tarpit so the ASF banner is essential to blunt charges too). If I had the cauldron on the field, I would play my witches 20 strong unless I was facing fear causers. I probably wouldn't bother fielding them unless I was bringing the cauldron.

For warriors, 20 is the minimum unless their role is purely sacrificial, then 10 is suitable. Corsairs; 10's are now very useful to combo charge with another unit because of their slavery rule. I wouldn't reccomend large units with handbows unless you were playing a very specific enemy (like GD's or low armoured large flyers). If I took the frenzy banner, I would probably go large (15-20) with an assassin.

Generally I wouldn't go small is I planned to put a character or assassin in the unit because they could be panicked or wiped out by magic/shooting too easily.


Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:19 pm
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Saedron wrote:
10 strong - With WE's and exec's both being rather weak to missile fire, these units seem to get picked off pretty easily by one round of concentrated shooting. Also, at 10 models in a unit, it is hardly worth buying anything more than a musician, lest the enemy claim your standard. Considering all of the units all take up a special slot, I don't see many practical uses for this size unit other than a flank guard... but thats what we have harpies and corsairs for.

I find 10 ideal.
Do you really use all of your special choices anyway?
I have never found i needed more special choices, and now with characters getting a chariot w/o taking a special I can even fit my shades w/o any problem.
Quote:
15 strong - DE's are notoriously points-heavy, so this configuration to me has proven to yield the best results. Although WE's and exec's in units of 15 do tend to get shredded pretty easily with a round of shooting and magic, they still manage to get into combat most of the time, and merit a full command.

I'm really not a fan of the 15 big units.
For ACR units it is to expensive for +1 CR, and I really have little problem getting units of 10 into CC anyway.

For the price of two 15 big units I can get three 10 big units. Two 10 big units and 5 DR's or two 10 big units and 10 harpies. All of which I find to be a superior choice, it provides more tactical flexibility, more units to control the movement phase and allows me to get more combined charges which is really very important in a army like DE.

15 big units are rarely more effective for ACR units, and for SCR units its worth to extra points for the CR and wounds.

That said I have not played with the new book yet, and I am considering trying ou 15 BG. If any unit in warhammer can be used effectively this way it will be this one. However, I'm not convinced it will end up being worth the points. This unit with the ASF banner (which is of course an amazing option on this unit) runs ~300 points, I normally try to keep my units around 200.
Quote:
20 strong - this formation seems a bit of a points sink to me, and I would only really consider fielding BG in units of 20 just due to survivability.

Agreed that it is a point sink. Wouldn't even field BG this way, just to expensive. Especially for a unit that is going to draw as much attention as the BG and can so easily give up points to a warmachine.

While the elites should all avoid 20 strong units, they are optimal for Spearmen.
35 points for +1 CR is fairly cheap, and Static CR is useful against most armies.
Our army uses the role to support our ACR units which is a bit different then the horde armies.

Anyway, stick to units of 10 for ACR infantry and 20 for SCR units.
Using 15 for either type of unit is just not efficient. BG might be an exception based on how versatile the unit is, I'm not sure it is worth supporting their versatility yet.

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Tue Aug 05, 2008 2:14 am
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14 BG with FC, ASF banner and Champ with soul render comes in at just under 270 pts. This is the most I can see spending on amy foot slogging elf unit.

I run swordmasters in 12 and 14 sized units and White lions in a unit of 12. Phoenix Guard at 14 or 15. I have never been midgame and thought, I should have poured and extra 75 pts into this unit. I have often thought anything over 12 is too much.

If I am running elites 7 wide I'll go with 14 just because it looks better out of the gate and if you get flank charged early you have to models to attack and try to stave off tragedy.

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Tue Aug 05, 2008 2:28 am
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