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Master vs Assassin 
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Noble

Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2008 10:40 pm
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I was playing a game yesterday and in my army I had a master on foot with blood armour, dagger of hotek, HA and AHW in a unit of frenzied corsairs. In a unit of shades I used an assassin with rune of khaine.

I think the assassin came in at 121 points where the master came in at 133, but the assassin can wipe the floor with the master and do much more damage.

The assassins stats are better, he comes with ASF, and has poison all for a measly 10 more points. The assassin also has the element of surprise, but more importantly he can fight regardless if you are charged in the flank or rear. There are other perks to the assassin as well. He has a bigger point allowance, he can't be targeted until he is revealed, he can scout with shades and doesn't take up a hero slot.

The Master obviously has his upside. Any unit can use his LD but at best his will only be 1 higher. The key advantages are the ability to make him a BSB to put him on a mount and the ability to use magic items like null shards etc.

I know the assassin has next to nothing for armour, but since he can hide and will almost always strike before anything and hit pretty darn hard, I would say that more than makes up for the lack of armour. A good offense makes for good defense after all.

I honestly can't see myself taking a master on foot anymore, it just doesn't seem worth it. I may take one if I decide I need a BSB on foot, but beyond that I just can't see a great enough advantage over the assassin to make him worth it. I will be using hunter masters and putting them in cav blocks where they still excel.

Just thought I would see what other people tought of this.


Fri Aug 29, 2008 11:22 pm
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The Guiding Eye
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I know the assassin has next to nothing for armour, but since he can hide and will almost always strike before anything and hit pretty darn hard, I would say that more than makes up for the lack of armour. A good offense makes for good defense after all.

I think you may be underestimating the value of armour here dude - having a 1+ mundane save isnt to be sniffed at, and thats before you notice another vital difference between the 2:
- temple of khaine and magical items

masters can take magic items and as such have a much wider array of roles they can fulfill. Granted, Assassins these days are really worth taking - theyre exceptional on the offence, but will be cut down very quickly if they flop their attacks or their enemy has a method of negating the ASF - such as the vampires nightshroud. Having the assassin hidden pregame will help to nullify this somewhat but even without items like the nightshroud, one bad round of combat with his attacks and the assassin will die reasonable quickly - his only protection really being the 5s to hit him that most troops will need. Characters can easily hit him on 4s.

Anyway I'm going into a little too much detail. The point I'd like to raise is yes, assassins are excellent killers and can even fulfill a few other roles thanks to items like the cloak of twighlight, however a Master will still be the more consitent of the 2: his mount options allow him to cause terror, negate ranks, fly (without the need of a bound spell), shoot (with a nice magical bow as well as mundane options) but perhaps one of the more added bonuses is that Masters can gain magical attacks - assassins require the VERY situational Venom Blade to gain this helpful addition.

Masters are more durable because of their armour and talisman options: the pendent of khaleth of course being the most notable.

If Masters are more durable then that means theyre likely to last for more of the game and to have a greater impact on it in whatever role it is that you've designed your noble to fulfill (sorry, Master - not noble! Since when were druchii noble?! :P)

Does any of this help or make sense?

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Fri Aug 29, 2008 11:37 pm
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Shade
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Actually, this post has made me realize a recent trend in my unit building. I have started using assassins to add backbone to units instead of Masters.

It makes perfect sense. You're adding a hero level character but not using any character slots; it's not an independent character as such, it's a unit UPGRADE. You can go two or three hero level characters over the prescribed limit. That's kind of sneaky and underhanded--very Druchii! I think this is EXACTLY what GW had in mind when they drafted this rule.

Thanks for putting this out there and helping me notice a trend in my own army building.


Sat Aug 30, 2008 3:14 am
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Malekith's Best Friend
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Its an independant character that doesnt take a slot, its not a unit upgrade as when the assassin or the unit dies, their VPs are separate.


Sat Aug 30, 2008 3:27 am
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If your going to just put your master on foot and in a unit it is probably a better option to take the assassin. As we are built around winning in the first round of CC so the lack of protection the assassin has in comparison is not much of a problem, and the assassin will also supplement the unit very will if it gets charged with its ASF. Not to mention the psychological benefit that the assassin gives.

That said, you should never be putting Elven fighting characters on foot, and rarely in units. One the greatest strengths of our army is how well our units do Active Combat Res without the need of a character. Which allows our characters to perform a variety of other roles. Supporting CR, board control, warmachine, shooting, and mage hunting etc.

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Sat Aug 30, 2008 4:22 am
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That said, you should never be putting Elven fighting characters on foot


That is debatable at the very least. I like characters on foot a lot because first of all their models look cool, and secondly they greatly add to the killiness of a unit. I rarely ever use mounted heroes (apart from a highborn on CO every now and then) because my armies are infantry focused, and these big mounts are just too expensive (its just painful to imagine the infantry you can get for the price of a manticore).

Quote:
Which allows our characters to perform a variety of other roles. Supporting CR, board control, warmachine, shooting, and mage hunting etc.


All these roles can be performed by units and mostly those units do the job better and cheaper than characters do (shades, harpies and DR for example - they are all better and cheaper at doing those roles). The only thing characters do better than these units is supporting units in close combat which they do best when they are part of the unit they support.

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If your going to just put your master on foot and in a unit it is probably a better option to take the assassin


Not necessarily - it depends on how you are going to use the unit. Shades for example are better off with an assassin because the assassin doesn't screw with their scouting, but black guards are way better when they have a master with ring of darkness and great weapon in them because not only does the master protect the unit from being shot at, but the great weapon together with the benefits of the Banner of Hag Graef will cause some serious damage - just about as much as an assassin with Rune of Khaine and 2nd HW.

In short - it depends on the unit which one would be better. Witch elves need an assassin (as they can't really get any armored characters to support them) but Spearmen, black guard and corsairs will do very well with a noble in them as well. Another point for the noble is that he gives the unit he is with a higher LD in most cases.

Concluding I must say that disregarding either of them (whether the noble is on foot or mounted) is not a good idea - they all have their uses and which one you use largely depends on the rest of your army.

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Sat Aug 30, 2008 5:11 am
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agreed hands down assasin is much better in a unit than on foot, thats a no brainer, but i like master on a dark pegasus w 1 plus armor save, so in my current list i have one of each, my problem is deciding to stick with two lvl 2 sorceress or just bring in 2 more assasins and hope my offense is enought to anhialate the enemy.


Sat Aug 30, 2008 5:20 am
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Noble

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A master with soul render and armour of darkness is an awsome addition to a unit of black gaurd, but I think this is one of few exceptions where the master is a better choice.

The bottom line is the Assassin can dish out way more punishment for less and if you tool him up he can easily take down just about anything, or at the very least do heavy damage. There is a psychological aspect to it as well, my regular opponents now avoid units that they know have an assassin, even with their lords. I agree that armour is great but on a T3 weenie with two wounds it really isn't going to get him much farther. From my experience if the assassin has touch of death, rune of khaine and black lotus combo for example you can be pretty sure nothing will be left in base contact when he is done attacking. Anything that is left alive is usually something that could ace a master armour or not, a monster rider for example. But the difference is the assassin will have a good chance of killing the rider, where the master will probably die before even getting to attack. IMO armour isn't enough to make the master a better choice over the assassin, the assassin seldom needs it since everything is hopefully dead dead.

"All these roles can be performed by units and mostly those units do the job better and cheaper than characters do (shades, harpies and DR for example - they are all better and cheaper at doing those roles). The only thing characters do better than these units is supporting units in close combat which they do best when they are part of the unit they support."

I am not so sure I agree with your last sentence. A master on a dark pegasus provides great support for all you units, making it a much more flexible option. Mounted a master is also great at taking down mages, warmachines, etc... A master in a unit looses mobility by not being mounted, which is one great advantage he does have over the assassin.


Sun Aug 31, 2008 2:28 am
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I find the assassin very useful and great for my many units, but you should not underestimade a master with pendant of khaeleth and soulrender.

With cloak and heavy armor on, he can survive alot and deal alot of damage, with or without the ASF banner in his unit. I can say from personal experience that heavy armored units and cavalery, can easily kill the assassin, while a master with that combination, or with armor of darkness, can do better.

When that is said, I have also experienced my little assassin killing a 400-500 point vampire lord in the first round of combat too... both have their uses. Don't forget that a master can be your general as well :)


Sun Aug 31, 2008 3:09 am
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Yeah I had my dreadlord tooled up with pendant of kaelth and a 1 up armor save on a peggy and his mount died but my lord never took a single wound after taking the full brunt of drawing out 3 night goblins fanatics, he promptly fell back to join the unit of black guard and they were a unkillable match up he challenged a orc lord in a unit of black orcs that never hurt my lord and he killed the orc lord in 2 turns, and with the always strike first banner the black orcs never had a chance, my 15 man black guard unit defeated 20 black orcs with a lord and a 10 man squig hopper unit at the same time and only lost 6. I may tool up a master in a similar way for now on and just stick him on foot with my black guard unit, issue chalenges to the nastiest general they can think of, not die and let the black guard do the killing.

here it is master in a unit of black guard w the always strikes first banner

blood armor, pendant of khaeleth, great weapon dragon cloak, striking first in chalenges or what not will get his armor save up quick and hell have double armor save that will be all but impossible to kill, only downfall is not magic weapon wich could hurt against etheral's.


Sun Aug 31, 2008 6:56 am
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I think the assassin came in at 121 points where the master came in at 133, but the assassin can wipe the floor with the master and do much more damage.


The Assassin can hide and has perma ASF.
Also likely to have more attacks.

The Master can have a armoursave, magical attacks, can be the army general, be mounted, etc.

In the end it's Apples vs Oranges. You can't really compare them.


Sun Aug 31, 2008 11:08 am
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I am not so sure I agree with your last sentence. A master on a dark pegasus provides great support for all you units, making it a much more flexible option. Mounted a master is also great at taking down mages, warmachines, etc... A master in a unit looses mobility by not being mounted, which is one great advantage he does have over the assassin.


A master on pegasus is just as expensive as a unit of 5 DR with Champion and RxB. The master can only do one thing that this unit cannot do - direct more high S attacks at a single model (such as a sorcerer). However, with hatred and a champion in the unit you get 3 S4 attacks and 2 S3 attacks, all with hatred wich you can direct at the sorcerer and mostly that is good enough. The unit also is almost as mobile as the Noble on pegasus as well, it has a higher damage output in the shooting phase and it can break ranks. Concluding, I must say that I'd go with the DR any time. A pegasus used to be great to get a noble where it was needed, however with the new rules this ability has become somewhat redundant because as I said - DR and harpies and shades are more flexible and can do the same roles with 80% efficiency compared to the noble.

I do not disregard the option for a pegasus entirely, I am just convinced that characters should do things that can only be done by them.

Quote:
Yeah I had my dreadlord tooled up with pendant of kaelth and a 1 up armor save on a peggy and his mount died but my lord never took a single wound


That is exactly the problem most mounted characters face - the rider of the mount may be terrifying, but their mounts (which supposedly - in case of dragons - are far more terrible) die like flies compared to the character on top of them. Even a dragon is an easy target compared to the rider on top of it who has a 2+ save, regen and a 2+ ward. But who needs to take care of the character if you sneeze at the mount to make it fall over?
And once the mount is gone - what good is the character?
I prefer to have my characters on foot or on 1-wound mounts so that there is no such problem in the first place (and they can play this game the other way around as well... lets see who laughs now, Archaon :twisted: )

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Sun Aug 31, 2008 11:54 am
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^ Lol, I just played a game today and wouldn't you know it, but my pegasus got shot down by 10 shots at -2 and S3! I think that was pretty lucky though. I don't argue the value of dark riders and harpies, but a master on a Pegasus is capable of taking on harder targets like knights and chariots, where DR and Harpies are better left for light targets. The master obviously has fly too which gives him a strong edge over DR at least. A master with caladors bane and enchanted shield for example is capable of one hitting chariots and rolling up cavalry flanks easily, as well as filling the normal harassment role if you choose. I wouldn't be as confident with DR or harpies, although their harassment potential is more valuable based on their cheaper cost.

In the same game a chariot flanked my block of 18 corsairs killing 5 with impact hits, but my assassin killied it with only poison, ASF and rune of khaine. In the next turn I assaulted a building doing 16 kills driving a mage and the remainder of the unit off the table. A master could never have protected against that and probably would have been run down by the chariot with the rest of the unit.

As for the person who mentioned the dreadlord, that is defiantly not comparable, plus the dreadlord can take some more viable unit protection options than the master as well as protecting himself better..

"That is exactly the problem most mounted characters face - the rider of the mount may be terrifying, but their mounts (which supposedly - in case of dragons - are far more terrible) die like flies compared to the character on top of them. Even a dragon is an easy target compared to the rider on top of it who has a 2+ save, regen and a 2+ ward. But who needs to take care of the character if you sneeze at the mount to make it fall over?
And once the mount is gone - what good is the character?
I prefer to have my characters on foot or on 1-wound mounts so that there is no such problem in the first place (and they can play this game the other way around as well... lets see who laughs now, Archaon Twisted Evil )"


I master cannot take down a mid level dragon or monster in one turn and will probably be ripped to shreds before he even gets a chance. The assassin has a slim chance of killing the dragon, but with manbane and the rune he can pull it off. Either way he will end up dead most likely but not without doing damage first.

"The Assassin can hide and has perma ASF.
Also likely to have more attacks.

The Master can have a armoursave, magical attacks, can be the army general, be mounted, etc.

In the end it's Apples vs Oranges. You can't really compare them."


I disagree, on foot they fill very similar roles at a very similar cost. I agree the master has a few advantages over the assassin, but I honestly feel in most cases the assassin's damage makes him more worth while in almost every case. True the assassin can't protect against ethereal creatures without the venom sword, but a master can't defend against flank and rear attacks, which is a heck of a lot more common then ethereal critters. True the master can take things like the ring of darkness and null shards, but he also makes his unit a bigger target and increases the need for these items. Although this is one strong advantage over the assassin I admit, I still think the assassin is a stronger option even without. Especially considering for him to take either, pretty much limits him to having no magical attack or no magical armour or neither. I have used the ring of darkness on a mage and a master and it is defiantly a good item, but I feel it is better suited for a lord choice since it won't eat his entire magic item allowance.


Mon Sep 01, 2008 1:53 am
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Well I'll agree with Mr Anderson on the preference to non mounted heroes, I to like to stay clear of dragons and the like.

But as I only play 2000pts+ games, I havent yet taken a master over an assassin for killing power. The only Unit i would think benefitting from a master already has my Dreadlord (resisting temptation to write highborn and noble, old habits I guess) in it, where he marches forward holding the line and stabbing things that get into the ASF death zone that is the Black Guard.

Anyway, Master vs Assassin, i prefer assassins, if only for the surprise factor on my opponents face "what do you mean my entire front rank of swordmasters has dissapeared"

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Mon Sep 01, 2008 5:08 am
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@Dread knight: for quotes you might want to use this instead of different coloured text (this is just a suggestion - if you prefer to do it your way, feel free ;) ) type this bit of coding: [ quote] whatever text you want to quote goes in here [ /quote]
(I left spaces after each square bracket so that the code can be seen, you have to type [/quote] and
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I master cannot take down a mid level dragon or monster in one turn and will probably be ripped to shreds before he even gets a chance. The assassin has a slim chance of killing the dragon, but with manbane and the rune he can pull it off. Either way he will end up dead most likely but not without doing damage first.


A master cannot take a dragon down but that's hardly the point - neither can assassins (and man bane doesn't work against Dragons anyway), so the Assassin would have to use his measly S4, and no matter how many attacks he gets out of the rune, he will cause less damage than a noble. In fact, the noble will do considerably better if equipped with the pendant of khaine. The pendant would make the noble virtually immune to the dragon and the rider and giving the noble a Great weapon means that you have the chance of causing a wound each turn (that is not taking into account the fact that the noble will most likely break because of fear). So in the end I must say that a noble with pendant is one of the easiest ways of getting rid of a dragon. You lure the dragon into charging you, challenge (rider cannot refuse) and beat the monster with static CR. hopefully that is going to take two turns so that you can position a unit of harpies right behind the dragon and so once the dragon breaks, it will be ripped to shreds...
For me it is not a matter of choosing between both - I like apples and oranges so I'll take what I can get :D

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Mon Sep 01, 2008 7:02 am
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Actually Mr. Anderson, MAnbane would work, just caps at strength 6.

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Mon Sep 01, 2008 8:03 am
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Noble

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A master cannot take a dragon down but that's hardly the point - neither can assassins (and man bane doesn't work against Dragons anyway), so the Assassin would have to use his measly S4, and no matter how many attacks he gets out of the rune, he will cause less damage than a noble. In fact, the noble will do considerably better if equipped with the pendant of khaine. The pendant would make the noble virtually immune to the dragon and the rider and giving the noble a Great weapon means that you have the chance of causing a wound each turn (that is not taking into account the fact that the noble will most likely break because of fear). So in the end I must say that a noble with pendant is one of the easiest ways of getting rid of a dragon. You lure the dragon into charging you, challenge (rider cannot refuse) and beat the monster with static CR. hopefully that is going to take two turns so that you can position a unit of harpies right behind the dragon and so once the dragon breaks, it will be ripped to shreds...


Um, why exactly does manbane not work against a dragon? I realize you can have a maximum of S6 with manbane, but your still wounding on 4's with a -3 to it's scaly skin save. It probably won't be enough to shred through 6 wounds, but you could get lucky. Even with the pendent of kaleth between the riders 3-4 attacks and the dragons 5 the master has a strong chance of dying before striking. At any rate this seems to be a moot point to me, since from my experience my opponents usually tries to avoid my characters and flank and rear charge my units anyway. Correct me if I am wrong but a character not in the fighting rank can't issue a challenge or accept a challenge. The assassin is the only way I have been able to defend against this kind attack successfully.


Mon Sep 01, 2008 8:17 am
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Not sure how you figure the noble is gonna die. 9 attacks hitting on 3's so 6 hits, 5 wounds at a 2+ Wardsave so averaging less than 1 wound per turn.

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Mon Sep 01, 2008 8:20 am
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Um, why exactly does manbane not work against a dragon? I realize you can have a maximum of S6 with manbane

Quote:
Actually Mr. Anderson, MAnbane would work, just caps at strength 6.

The way I interpreted the rules of Man Bane was that it only works if it actually can increase your strength to the point where you wound on 3+. If you can't get a strength high enough to wound on 3+, the poison doesn't work, and to wound T6 you need S7 which you cannot get from Man Bane, hence the poison doesn't cut in at all. Don't ask me why I never wondered about this, but to me it seemed obvious this way. I never had any arguments about it with anyone so I didn't really think about it at all.
If on the other hand it does increase to S6 no matter what that would be nice :)

Quote:
At any rate this seems to be a moot point to me, since from my experience my opponents usually tries to avoid my characters and flank and rear charge my units anyway. Correct me if I am wrong but a character not in the fighting rank can't issue a challenge or accept a challenge. The assassin is the only way I have been able to defend against this kind attack successfully.


It's not like you have to fight on your opponent's conditions all the time though, and no matter what, when a dragon charges your flank your unit is over and done with, assassin or no (the assassin will be ripped to shreds after causing a bit of damage and then your unit will face some ungodly high combat resolution because of a flank/rear charge and overkill). Better to shoot the monster down by far, methinks :D

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Mon Sep 01, 2008 9:28 am
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Quote:
The way I interpreted the rules of Man Bane was that it only works if it actually can increase your strength to the point where you wound on 3+. If you can't get a strength high enough to wound on 3+, the poison doesn't work, and to wound T6 you need S7 which you cannot get from Man Bane, hence the poison doesn't cut in at all. Don't ask me why I never wondered about this, but to me it seemed obvious this way. I never had any arguments about it with anyone so I didn't really think about it at all.
If on the other hand it does increase to S6 no matter what that would be nice


I am almost positive it can still wound T6 on a 4+, especially since the rules state manbane will almost always wound on a 3+ and it doesn't mention anything about it not working if it can't wound on a 3+. Interesting question though.

Quote:
It's not like you have to fight on your opponent's conditions all the time though, and no matter what, when a dragon charges your flank your unit is over and done with, assassin or no (the assassin will be ripped to shreds after causing a bit of damage and then your unit will face some ungodly high combat resolution because of a flank/rear charge and overkill). Better to shoot the monster down by far, methinks


Although you don't always fight on your opponents terms, it isn't often an infantry block can outmaneuver a flying monster and it just makes sense to hit the flanks and rear, I do it. I do agree with shooting it down which is exactly how the assassin can help destroy it. If you have previously weakened the dragon with RBT or other shooting/magic and brought it to around 3 wounds then the dragon becomes a viable target for the assassin. Even with just poison it isn't far fetched to finish a dragon with auto wounds, especially with hatred. This works the other way too, the assassin deals wounds in his death throws weakening it to allow shooting to finish it. When it comes to monsters I believe every wound counts, so even if the assassin dies but does damage it isn't a total loss.

The assassin is just plain better at protecting a unit from an assault, being able to guard flank and rear is a huge advantage. Not to mention he can issue challenges in instances where a master cannot, which gives your big infantry block better odds of survival. And there is no question who does more damage in almost all instances against a variety of opponents and for less.

As for the master surviving a dragon assault with the pendent, it is totally possible, but at the same time he can fail it just as easily. How many times have you rolled a miscast, especially on 5 dice? :P I would much rather take my chances with the assassins almost guaranteed 5-7 ASF poison attacks, then hope my master lives to strike with his piddly 3 - 4 attacks.

I don't really buy into averages BTW sure it might give you an average but what good is that really, it doesn't allow you to predict dice rolls. I am sure everyone here has bore the brunt of both ends of the luck spectrum and has made terrible rolls and unnatural rolls. This is just my opinion BTW and I have not intended tot start a debate.

I don't put much use into it, but I see no one has mentioned the assassins ability to take a 5 up ward and hand of khaine. I see no need to try and turn a killing machine into a defensive character, but perhaps I am missing something. I suppose you could do dance of death, hand of khaine and rune of khaine.


Mon Sep 01, 2008 4:43 pm
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The advantages of having LD 9 are not to be sniffed at, manys the time i've failed a LD test by one and kicked my self for not takin a few more Masters (or something else with LD 9). Assassins are good if you want to kill loads bt Masters hav their uses for disipline. also masters are more durable.
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Mon Sep 01, 2008 4:59 pm
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Yeah it depends on the role you want to put them in. Master's are now much better suited to the support role, of occapanying a unit and adding Leadership (MR resistance is a good one now aswell) and other supportive abilities.

The Assassin's are more for popping out and throwing you're combat resolution up a little bit by giving some more kills and they will performa admirably at doing that, because it's exactly what they're meant to do. He's a specialist character though, and as has been stated before, he lacks the flexibilty that comes with the Masters.

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Mon Sep 01, 2008 10:49 pm
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