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Getting the Most out of Executioners 
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Adept of Khaine
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Since Black Guard are clearly the strongest special infantry choice in our book, the Executioners are being sidelined even more than they were in 6th edition. But the problem I see with this is that executioners are really good now, as they have S4 and can be combined with the cauldron to increase their effectiveness. Because of this, I see 12 points per model as a fair price.

I'm determined to use executioners in my current army alongside some black guard, (http://www.druchii.net/viewtopic.php?t=57705) and I want to brainstorm some ways to make them more effective, more worthwhile, and more valuable for their points. Here's what I've come up with so far:

Cauldron of Blood
Giving executioners 2 attacks on the charge will absolutely decimate pretty much anything. A standard frontage of 6 with a champion is putting out 13 WS5 S6 killing blow attacks - this will usually be enough to handle anything from medium to heavy infantry, and cavalry as well. In contrast, the 5+ ward save can help when you know you'll be taking a charge from a faster or better maneuvered enemy, or protect the unit from missile fire. Keep in mind these powers are useful on any unit, but when the action is focused around your executioners, you can get a lot more out of them by augmening their abilities with the Cauldron.

Let's not forget about stubborn. By keeping the Cauldron within 12" our executioners turn from elite hammers into upgraded Empire greatswords. If you plan ahead and bring a BSB along, the unit has suddenly become much more valuable - stubborn is a rare and useful ability. If you take Black Guard alongside a block of executiners, you suddenly have 2 rock-hard units that are extremely difficult to break.

Death Hag BSB w/ Banner of Hag Graef
This is a simple fix for the unit, allowing them to always strike first. I don't have to describe how much of an advantage that is to this unit. The weakness of this combination lies mainly in two areas: the frailty of the Death Hag BSB, and the transparency of the combination.

When you field black guard, the enemy doesn't know what banner they have. With the Death Hag BSB, however, you are clearly indicating that the Executioners have ASF, and also indicating that your black guard do NOT have ASF, which is useful information for the enemy. (This point obviously only applies to games where you don't see the opponent's army list)

Assassin
Instead of making the whole unit ASF, why not just add a single ASF character? The assassin can augment a unit of executioners in several different ways. If you want more Killing Blows, you can have it. One the other hand, you can also equip him to make up for the weaknesses of the Executioners, by dishing out a flurry of lower-strength poisoned attacks.

The most important thing about the Assassin here is that he saves lives when you receive a charge. Every model the assassin takes out is a model that doesn't get to strike against your T3 5+ save elites, which in turn allows you more of those S6 KB attacks. I won't delve into equipment, as there's lots of different combinations that each have their merits here.

Magic Banners Under 25 Points
For the low low price of 25 points, you can add a bit of effectiveness to your Executioners. The War Banner is always a solid choice, and the Banner of Murder turn your anti-armour specialists into real can-openers that are wounding on 2s and doing a -4 to the armour save. This is moving a 2+ save to a 6+, and a 1+ save to a 5+... Definitely something to consider, depending on the opponents you think you'll be facing.

Standard Tactical Support
Basic army tactics can help you get the most out of your executioners, just like any other unit. Give them a role to play, whether it's hammer, anvil, bait, or flanker, and make sure they receive proper support.

Summary
This is what I've come up with so far. Obviously, if you combine all these options, you end up with an army designed around executioners... which I think is pretty cool, but it's not for everyone. However, you can also apply any single one of these to get more out of this currently undervalued unit.

Now I turn it over to you! I'd like to hear what people think of this, and I definitely want to hear some more ways we can get more effectiveness from the coolest models in the range.

Cheers!

- Human

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Sun Sep 21, 2008 1:59 am
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This is a simple fix for the unit, allowing them to always strike first. I don't have to describe how much of an advantage that is to this unit. The weakness of this combination lies mainly in two areas: the frailty of the Death Hag BSB, and the transparency of the combination.


There is a third weakness, the death hag's frenzy.

---

I think you should consider using executioners in small units of 6-7, much like how most competent HE generals use Swordmasters these days, but relying more on getting the charge. This brings several advantages, namely the unit hits hard enough to be feared with costing little enough to be sacrificed/used as bait/redirector etc. Using them like this also doesn't require CoB babysitting. Say, two units of 6-7 execs, a unit of BG and what ever you want for the last special slot and you are sorted. I know you've been around for a while so im sure you know the ins and outs of MSU and units working with each other. For example, a front charge of 7 execs combined with a DR unit in the flank will decimate most things thanks to re-rolls, and thats only 169 pts worth of DE combined. The challenge is ofcourse keeping those units alive, but with adequate harpy screening and pressuring elsewhere, im sure it can be done.

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Sun Sep 21, 2008 11:22 am
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That is the biggest imo, if it wasnt for that I'd probably field this combination. In the end tho, to me it seems that the Executioners dont really need it that much in most situations, and if you are afraid that you'll get charged the Assasin is a solid choice as mentioned.

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Sun Sep 21, 2008 5:49 pm
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I'm with Igor on this one, I think that units of 6 with a champion would be very viable (7 is to much IMO, they still want to be able to get sidecharges etc).

Such a unit costs a grand total of 84, 90 if you want a musician as well, which means it can easily be thrown away etc.

It is however amazingly powerfull on the charge, and can break most units, either by getting a side charge, or have somethingelse side charge.

e.g. if a unit of 6 executioners with champ gets a side charge on a unit of 25 black orcs with full comand, the executioners will win by a woping four, this is simply amazing IMO.

I also find that special slots are not as needed today, with the improvment of the hydra, and the movement of harpies to core. Which means that you can easily have slots over to incorporate two or so units of six executioners.
:twisted:

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Sun Sep 21, 2008 6:58 pm
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There is a third weakness, the death hag's frenzy.


Ah, I forgot this. Somewhat spoils the setup IMO.

Quote:
I think you should consider using executioners in small units of 6-7, much like how most competent HE generals use Swordmasters these days, but relying more on getting the charge. This brings several advantages, namely the unit hits hard enough to be feared with costing little enough to be sacrificed/used as bait/redirector etc. Using them like this also doesn't require CoB babysitting.


Using Execs like this has merit, but keep in mind we're not high elves with 6 Special choices. If I take 2 units of 7, that's HALF my special slot selection spent on 2 tiny units that are hard hitting but ridiculously fragile. Yes, they're throwaway and cheap, but I have trouble getting over how much they limit the rest of the army's choices.

Quote:
Using them like this also doesn't require CoB babysitting.


They never REQUIRE babysitting, it's just something to make them more effective.

Quote:
I also find that special slots are not as needed today, with the improvment of the hydra, and the movement of harpies to core. Which means that you can easily have slots over to incorporate two or so units of six executioners.


While our rare and core slots may be good alternatives, I really love our special chocies. Shades, Black Guard, CoKs and Chariots are all amazing choices, and I don't know if I can choose just 2!

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Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:33 pm
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I've found this topic really helpful. I've always loved the fluff and look of the exec models, back to when I used to take Tularis in 5th ed., but with BG being what they are now, I was finding myself having to justfity taking them.

I've had some success using the 6-man units like Empire detachments, partnered up with corsair and BG blocks to get the side-charge support to the "parent" unit. It's helped me against my one battle w/ daemons so far; even though I eventually lost the battle to the Kipper, I popped several units of his infantry through massive combat rez using the method I just described.

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Tue Sep 23, 2008 3:45 am
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I find an assassin is an absolute essential with my execs. The main problem I have with them otherwise is that they really can't function as an anvil (just my opinion), as they die in droves to a charge from amost anything. With an assassin however, he pops out, kills 3 or 4 RnF, the other guy probably still kills 2 or 3 of your execs but now it's your turn to hit back.

If you line up 7 wide, I run 14 with full command personally, then you'll have 4 or 5 attacks back to make combat properly one-sided.

That said, once your opponent knows the set-up... you ever see that last scene in Hero? With the outline in arrows?


Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:16 pm
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It looks like these mini-units really do work, and they're cheap as chips to boot... I think for those of us who aren't scraping for special slots can definitely consider this kind of unit.

Quote:
I find an assassin is an absolute essential with my execs. The main problem I have with them otherwise is that they really can't function as an anvil (just my opinion), as they die in droves to a charge from amost anything. With an assassin however, he pops out, kills 3 or 4 RnF, the other guy probably still kills 2 or 3 of your execs but now it's your turn to hit back.


Good point. In order to act as an anvil, executioners need a few things:

1. Full Command
2. An Assassin
3. Stubborn from the Cauldron

They can hold a charge with stubborn if you don't have the assassin, but you're going to be losing a lot of models that way.

I've thought up an interesting way of using smaller units of executioners (10-12) with an assassin and cauldron; bait. You move them into charge range of the enemy, so that they can charge you in their turn, but also so that you can charge them if they don't. Nobody wants to be charged by S6 KB models with +1 attack from the cauldron, so they're pretty much obliged to take this opportunity. You can give them the 5+ ward save in anticipation of the charge.

When the enemy charges, you can pop the assassin and probably hold up the enemy unit, especially with stubborn. This is when you bring in a flanking unit of CoK, a chariot, a hydra, or anything that can make the final flank charge to crush the enemy.

This seems like pretty standard stuff, but there's some elements that are unique due to the executioners. First of all, a killy unit in 2 ranks of 6 screams "flanker", so when you present them to be charged to the enemy, it's much more tempting to charge than, say, a block of spearmen or black guard. This will make enemies much more likely to take the bait.

Because it doesn't look like a difficult charge to win, I'd wager enemies will be less likely to consider things like a return flank charge... they're hoping to blow through the T3 5+ save unit.

In the end, the best part is that if they don't take the bait, you just charge in your turn with +1 attack, and decimate whatever it is that you're charging. He's damned if he does, damned if he doesn't.

It's a strategy that can be pulled when you need it, but when you don't, 12 executioners will still be a great flanking unit, especially with the help of the Cauldron.

Any thoughts on this?

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Wed Sep 24, 2008 8:32 am
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After a few games vs fear causing opponents I've come to the conclusion that the best use for executioners is 'counts as black guard'... or 'counts as really cool looking black guard'. ;)

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Thu Sep 25, 2008 6:09 am
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Quote:
After a few games vs fear causing opponents I've come to the conclusion that the best use for executioners is 'counts as black guard'... or 'counts as really cool looking black guard'


Be that as it may, this thread isn't about trying to convince people executioners are better than black guard, because they simply are not. It's about using them DESPITE this fact, and, as the title says, "getting the most" out of them once you've decided to field them.

I'd like to hear some more experiences from players who use executioners in the new book. We're a rare breed these days.

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Fri Sep 26, 2008 1:30 am
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Fatc is that even without the Cauldron, Executioners can be significantly better on the Charge than Black Guard, especially against opposing troops with a reasonable armor save. They certiainly do not take a charge as well as Black Guard. But then again, they don't have to. Unlike Black Guard, they have the option of fleeing.

I had a recent game against Wood Elves where I used 2 units of 14 Executioners (with the cauldron) and I was very pleased with how they performed. Executioners did fine, beating up on Dryads, Wildriders, and even Treekin (with help from the Cauldron). I lost the game, but mostly because my opponent was rolling insanely well on his shooting and decimated most of my army with a realtively small amount of missile troops.

In order to get the most out of Executioners, I think they should be used in relatively small units (to ensure that they are disposable), deployed wide (7 models) in order to maximize attacks. Back them up with a cauldron, and they can break most enemies (that aren't unbreakable) on the charge.

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Fri Sep 26, 2008 3:22 am
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Correct me if I'm wrong but if a death hag is in the unit their frenzied and frenzied unit gets +1 attack there's a way to get round the CoB babysitting the unit.

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Fri Sep 26, 2008 4:52 pm
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You are wrong, psychology rules of characters do not apply to the unit.

She on the other hand would still be frenzied, and would have to test if no charges are declared etc.

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Fri Sep 26, 2008 5:07 pm
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- Human wrote:
hread isn't about trying to convince people executioners are better than black guard, because they simply are not. It's about using them DESPITE this fact, and, as the title says, "getting the most" out of them once you've decided to field them.

I'd like to hear some more experiences from players who use executioners in the new book. We're a rare breed these days.


Sure. Tried using them vs VC with a ASF hag. Forced to chargeraised zombies, 3 invocations later, they were facing 40 zombies and tarpitted for the rest of the battle. Played them vs VC with ASF hag and hellebron in another battle. Charged by black knights, failed fear test, VC used vanhels for strikes first, lord killed 2, remaining Exies needed 6's to hit, hit none, autobroke and fled. Played vs daemons, charged flesh hounds, ward saved plenty and were wiped out.

I'm much happier now I use them as BG. That's how I 'get the most out of them'. Now Exies are Khainite, they are even more flawed than in 6th ed when fighting fear causers since they can't get fear immunity without wasting a hero slot on a fear causing banner or using mr fragile; Tullaris. I refuse to hamstring myself by using them vs fear causers.


Fri Sep 26, 2008 11:06 pm
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Sure. Tried using them vs VC with a ASF hag. Forced to chargeraised zombies, 3 invocations later, they were facing 40 zombies and tarpitted for the rest of the battle. Played them vs VC with ASF hag and hellebron in another battle. Charged by black knights, failed fear test, VC used vanhels for strikes first, lord killed 2, remaining Exies needed 6's to hit, hit none, autobroke and fled. Played vs daemons, charged flesh hounds, ward saved plenty and were wiped out.


Instead of copping out and dropping executioners, instead I would have learned from my mistakes and changed things up! With the ASF BSB and Hellebron, it seems you're expecting a lot from your executioners, and also making them a huge target.

Let's see. The first instance is a good example of how the BSB hag can add weakness to the unit, despite the ASF. The second instance is a good example for why it's good to keep the unit cheap; that situation could have happened to a lot of elven units, and if you had only lost a 150pt flanker unit of 12, I don't think it would have been such a negative experience. The last instance against flesh hounds is just you citing an irrelevant example of bad luck you had... normally your executioners would have handled the flesh hounds. I know you're trying to prove a point, but I don't think these examples show weaknesses in the executioners as a whole.

Their lack of ItP is yet another reason BG are a better mainline unit. I'm pretty much convinced now that the Executioners have become a full-time support unit. They pretty much always were, but with choices like BG in the specials slot, I don't see much of a point taking any kind of ranked Executioner unit. Deploy wide with pride!

Quote:
Fatc is that even without the Cauldron, Executioners can be significantly better on the Charge than Black Guard, especially against opposing troops with a reasonable armor save. They certiainly do not take a charge as well as Black Guard. But then again, they don't have to. Unlike Black Guard, they have the option of fleeing.


Bingo. Their ability to flee, combined with fragility and huge killing potential also makes the execs a great bait unit. NOBODY wants to be charged by executioners, and that includes flesh hounds, no matter how well they might roll for ward saves sometimes. Most opponents will take the opportunity to charge them if they get it.

Quote:
In order to get the most out of Executioners, I think they should be used in relatively small units (to ensure that they are disposable), deployed wide (7 models) in order to maximize attacks. Back them up with a cauldron, and they can break most enemies (that aren't unbreakable) on the charge.


Yeah, 16 S6 KB attacks will often do that! I'm more comfortable with frontages of 6 for maneuvering, but 7 would definitely be more effective if you're good at it.

( by maneuvering I think I mean movement tray usage...:) )

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Fri Sep 26, 2008 11:38 pm
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G'day guys, a new player, but i have been skulking around the forum for tactics a few weeks now. Anyway, I played a game till about 4am last night and my most defining moment in the game was likely when playing my 1500 pt battle against my flatmates VC, I let my Black Guard with master get charged by his Blood Knights, they were 14 BG, but 9 were killed on the charge, including the master in the challenge, but without any overkill. Anyway, the awesome bit was when my well placed squad of 7 Executioners performed a pretty perfect flank on them and the Assassin popped out, him jumping out took out 3 Blood Knights while the other 3 Execs in base contact tidied up the slaughter killing the last 2 outright without much trouble.

I think after the success of that maneuvre I appreciate the value of them, but the fear test was daunting and only just passed, so they almost didn't arrive, which would have been a little less satisfying.

Anyway, flanking small uni using my Anvil, I was pretty happy that base level tactics worked so effectively with the right units for the job.


Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:17 pm
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My experience with execs is, that as long as they are not in CC they are to suffer a lot of casulties! So it isn't that crucial if you give them a BSB Hag with the Standard of Hag Graef or the one for the additional attack (or leave the Hag away) you will have a usefull breakerunit.
S4 is especially useful e in rounds of ongoing combat gecause you can use your mundane Handweapons and still have the KB special rule (which makes clear that 12 points isn't that much)

My favourite combination is having them 7 elves per rank, 3 ranks deep with Tullaris and a Hag BS with eighter the Hag Graef thing or the +1 attack standard.
The numbers are here just there to have place for casulties and Tullaris is always nice against some eatheral stuff or Wood Elf Dryads/Treekin. The Hag gives the unit additional hittingpower.
The only thing this unit had problems with until now was a blok of 40 ghouls (in 4 ranks) with a fighterhero and a BS with the regen. standard.

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Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:18 pm
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tullaris is probably the worst model ever if you look at his points!
thx to striking last a +1A standard is a problem - you get charged - you loose tullaris and the hag which means you lost about 300 points. hag as no save at all, 2 wounds, tullaris has 1w 5+AS...
if you really plan to do this think about first strike banner

my advice: use them like before - small flanking units which can crack into hard armoured guys maybe with that AP banner
no big deal if you loose them - but very nice to suppport your normal stuff if you are stopped by big, bad armoured beasts (bait them with other units or BG takes the charge - exec countercharge and so on)

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Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:40 am
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Tullaris does indeed seem like a waste.

Just to recap the thread so far, we have a few general usage ideas:

- Smallish units (6-14) with wide frontages of 6 or 7
- Cauldron of Blood for bonuses & stubborn
- Assassin
- War Banner or AP Banner

Larger units and the frenzied BSB with Banner of Hag Graef are both options to give your executioners an edge, but give you the risk of a fragile point sink that can be baited.

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Sat Oct 04, 2008 7:19 am
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My view on them after using 14 Exec's with death hag BSB (ASF banner + Dance of Doom) for 7 games.

The positive:
with +1A from CoB they can kill almost anything in the game. They have far greater hitting power than black guard especially with bsb-ASF hag (always give her Dance of Doom. The 5+ ward has several times proven to be a lifesaver for her).

I've used them for a couple of games with bsb-ASF hag and so far they have killed anything they come in contact with, including taking a combined charge from 6 grail knights + 8 Knights of the realm with paladin. (first round lost by a few points, ongoing rounds exec's smashed the knights to tiny bits) and in an other game they came out victorious after 3 rounds of fighting from a combined charge by fully ranked dwarven hammerers in front + warriors in the flank.


The negative:
Itp... against armies with little fearcausing, they are more than worth their points. (sure, can be shot down, but so can black guards) but against fearcausing enemies it's very risky to field them. One bad Ld test and they are sent running or hitting on sixes. On the other hand there are few elven units with Itp so I think we should stop comparing them to BG all the time. It's like comparing every unit to a star dragon. Compare them to other elven units and they rly rock.

Hag is frenzied... This unit can be baited. But who said you must charge the whole unit? (altough remember they still have ASF and are stubborn from the cauldron, so even if baited they will stand fighting unless fear+outnumber) But if charging the baiters = you get wiped... then simply charge the hag out and leave the exec's standing. Even if you lose the hag you still got your whole Exe'c unit alive ready to do carnage.


Sat Oct 04, 2008 6:48 pm
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@ champion_re

So, in your opinion is that whole combo worth fielding for that many points? I know it can be effective, but huge deathstar units usually are. Is this one worth shelling out all those points for a fragile but very hitty unit?


Sun Oct 05, 2008 3:06 am
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I think it's clear that the answer is a big fat MAYBE.

If you get the unit into the right combats, it will annihilate pretty much anything and can deliver the fatal blow to the enemy army. People who repeatedly accomplish this goal will tell you "yes, it's worth using".

If your unit is avoided, baited, or shot to death, then you just wasted a huge amount of points on a unit that is most likely the foundation of your army. Losing this unit will really hurt your ability to win the game. People whose units face these kinds of problems will probably say "it's a waste of points".

Champion_re's opinion is valid and useful. But just keep in mind that a person's experiences with the unit, which relies on their own ability and the armies they commonly face, will ultimately decide whether this kind of unit is worthwhile.

It's a classic druchii unit, though - very deadly, very fragile, and not always under control. ;)

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Sun Oct 05, 2008 5:42 am
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Yeah I've had this brewing for a little bit, and yes I did just recently realize that unit size is 5+ but with so many special choices, I'd rather not use up all my slots on very msu.

Quote:
you loose tullaris and the hag which means you lost about 300 points. hag as no save at all,

Pretty sure she's part of the crew and thus would get the ward.

Human, basically it comes down to protecting your biggest investments. :D
I find a unit of 12 Executioners and 18 Witch Elves accompany the CoB just fine and really benefit :twisted:

You also needn't worry about the CoB getting baited because it can't charge.

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Quote:
Pretty sure she's part of the crew and thus would get the ward.

He is refering to the Hag bsb with hag greaf, not the cauldron hag.

Quote:
I find a unit of 12 Executioners and 18 Witch Elves accompany the CoB just fine and really benefit Twisted Evil

do you take a unit of 12 because of lack of slots, or for the added shooting protection?

Quote:
Itp... against armies with little fearcausing, they are more than worth their points.

ITP is a duble edged sword, it would IMO suck if executioners were ITP.

The ability to flee is essential if you want to run them in small units.

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Sun Oct 05, 2008 1:52 pm
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Waerik wrote:
He is refering to the Hag bsb with hag greaf, not the cauldron hag.

I have no idea how you got that from his post, but good find?

Waerik wrote:
do you take a unit of 12 because of lack of slots, or for the added shooting protection?

Lack of models, and I don't find that I need a bulky unit of them they hit hard enough. And yes its a nice buffer, 6 wide is not too award.

If you use your other units properly, the ability to flee doesn't matter when it comes to your hammers.

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