The D.R.A.I.C.H. Boot Camp - best setup for any Druchii unit

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The D.R.A.I.C.H. Boot Camp - best setup for any Druchii unit

Post by Calisson »

The D.R.A.I.C.H. Boot Camp – evaluating DE units.

Boot Camp 0 – Admission
Boot Camp 1 – First Week – resistance to mass shooting
Boot Camp 2 – Second Week – Resistance to a charge
Boot Camp 3 – Third Week – charging destructive power
Boot Camp 4 – Forth Week – killing when exhausted: further rounds of melee
Boot Camp 5 – Fifth Week – doping with a cauldron of blood
Boot Camp 6 – Sixth Week – flag-doping
Boot Camp 7 – Seventh Week – The Monoliths Shooting Range
Boot Camp 8 – Eighth Week – graduation ceremony – unit’s champions.
Boot Camp 9 – Last Week – specialization – best setup - departure for War.

Boot Camp extension
Boot Camp 1bis – First Week-end – template vulnerability (considered)

Other DE training rooms (might be considered some day – not necessarily by the same author):
Temple of Khaine’s fencing room
Clar Karond Noblemen’s Arena
Iron Mountains’ Ranch
Ghrond Experimental Lab

“We’re out!
Never thought it would have been so painful.
Well, now it’s over, we’re more ready than ever to pick up a fight!
Don’t we start now?”

:arrow: This thread is the last one from the series of Boot Camp.
You can have a look to the whole series above, each of the threads examines all DE units under particular circumstances.
Last edited by Calisson on Sat Sep 19, 2009 8:12 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Post by Calisson »

1. Specialization – best setup for every Druchii unit

“Attention, all hands! Pick up your battle dress! General review!”

In the following paragraphs, we are going to make good use of the results found in the previous “Boot Camp” threads, and summarize the good setups found for all kind of unit. Finally, we will assign each unit to a specific role when it is obvious. The results found in the previous “Boot Camp” threads will not be demonstrated again; the interested reader should go back to the relevant thread.

For each unit, we will investigate which setup makes sense:
Is the minimum size any good? Or a big unit of 25? What about as many as possible?
Will they bring Active Combat Resolution (ACR) or Static Combat Resolution (SCR)?
Can they cope with armoured foes? Which width is the best?
Which banner or COB will boost cost-effectively the unit?
Is it better to take no command, partial of full command?

After having reviewed all units, in the successive chapters, we will group together the units according to their specific category: shooting, agile, shielding, MSU, mass, hammer, über, babysitter.

1.1. Warriors

Two uses: cannon-fodder or mass unit.

Cannon-fodder for suicide missions: at minimum size, warriors are useful as a shielding unit against firearms. No command, no shield, in a single line, they will protect troops behind more efficiently than harpies. Note that this unit is helpless in melee and should try to stay away from it.
A unit of 10 warriors costs 60pts and has 10 wounds.
Against many low strength attacks (arrows), it is better to take 10 of them with shields and muso for 73pts, but you could consider corsairs instead for that purpose.

Warriors can make the best cost-effective mass unit.
A unit of shielded warriors can be designed for winning melee through SCR, against opponents who have no big SCR: the rear ranks will bring more combat resolution than the front one! They hardly provide any ACR by themselves unless joined by a character (or assassin). Their width must always be 5, in order to get a maximum SCR. Beware, they are very vulnerable to side-charges, even by weak foes.
The high relative cost of the shield balances the protection it brings. The benefit is more about versatility than protection, so the shield is preferred but not mandatory. Such unit can soak many shots and remain effective.
They will progressively loose their SCR in melee, so they must be used as an anvil for which a hammer is needed! If the CoB is available, they should take their spears, otherwise the shield is often better.
A minimum size of 25 will allow loosing a few before dropping the SCR. Full command and the warbanner azre required. The champion is to be considered if there is a character in the unit. Even if no character is there, his presence will let the enemy believe that there is an assassin in there.
It is perfect for babysitting a sorceress.
25 warriors with shield, FC, WB make a unit worth 215pts which has a SCR of 6 (including numeric superiority).

1.2. MXB.

MXB are the best cost-effective shooters. They should line up in a single rank.
They are not good as a bigger unit because they lack the warbanner and have no ACR; the rear ranks don’t shoot and they cost too much.
MXB should take shields if you can afford them: they are likely to receive missiles and will benefit a lot from them.
Shields will allow them to bring up a melee complement at the end of the battle, should the need arise, and will help them to defend themselves against the most lenient opponents. If they are charged, it is not that big a deal, you may sacrifice them in small numbers and stand & shoot reaction provides excellent result on soft targets.
The muso is always a must. The champion needs not to be taken, unless the unit is babysitting a sorceress, which the champion will help survive if ever the unit is charged.
10 shielded MXB with muso cost 115pts.
I've seen some people taking 12 or 15 in a unit. I can't understand what is the benefit, but I see that it's more cumbersome.

1.3. AHW corsairs.

Cheap enough to be sacrificed, resistant to low strength shooting (S4 max), they are efficient against soft targets.

In small units, MSU style, they would win a charge against most soft targets even with a big SCR, but not against protected ones. They are very efficient as a shielding unit against a dense shooting of low strength arrows, but are useless against armoured foes.
10 corsairs & muso cost 105pts and make the best cover against arrows - and they will be delighted to hunt the bowmen! However, you could well consider instead the RHB instead of the AHW for this specific role.

In big blocks, they would win a charge against any soft target even with a big SCR (they should expect 6 ACR!); a medium armoured target needs 3 SCR to beat them if they charge, and a monster, having no access to SCR, would be beaten as well. Against tough opponents, the rear ranks will bring more combat resolution than the front one. So you should set them in ranks of 7 against little armoured foes (even if you have to renounce 1 or 2 ranks), and in ranks of 5 against medium or hard armoured foes. They will chop to pieces or overwhelm with SCR any foe but an über-unit against which they cannot compete, unfortunately.
The SSS improves them heavily and in addition provides ITP, it is often better than the war banner itself and it is much better than the AP banner, which has its use only against medium armoured foes. Beware however; the SSS makes them frenzied, they can be baited in difficult position; a good point, it makes a free charge-range measurement.
In case they could benefit from the very effective help of the CoB, big blocks of corsairs may win the attrition war. Otherwise, big blocks of corsairs will loose gradually their SCR and will have to seek a rescue. If they win a melee, their slavery rule helps them catch the defeated foe.
Their biggest problem is that they lack speed and often don’t get the charge nor are able to reach agile opponents. They can admittedly afford a side charge by a weak opponent, likely to be destroyed by the survivors’ many attacks.
They are well helped by as assassin: a nice KB can opener will compensate for their weakness against hard armours and flank charges after they have been frenzy-baited, and will take care of the unexpected (such as the Bretonians’s banner for rank bonus denial). The champion is mandatory if the unit has a character like an assassin. If ever the champion is taken and if you have 3 pts left, then the pair of rhb is a good idea. If there is no character in the unit, the use of a champion is questionable.
20 corsairs with magic banner and muso cost 240pts,
or 424pts with the champ and the KB assassin in addition.

With SSS and KB-boosted by the CoB, they become frightening. The difficulty to make them an über-unit lies in the fact that they are relatively too slow to really select their charges, and would need the ASF banner in case they did not win the charge; the CoB would not help them much against immune to KB creatures (like chariots).
A 25 corsair über-unit would cost 303pts, add 200pts for the CoB and 154 for the BSB (&GW), it is already 657pts and you still need to add the two complementary characters, a lord with RoH and MR and a RoD hero - you miss a character slot because you took a CoB, so the PoK is out of reach. The corsair über-unit costs you at least 1022 pts, including the 4 characters.

1.4. RHB corsairs.

The RHB is not a mere option; it makes them completely different form the AHB variety.
The only common point is the resistance to many low strength shooting (S4 max).
You may sacrifice them, and stand & shoot reaction provides excellent result on soft targets, so to be charged is not much big a deal. They are helpless in melee, remember, you must consider them expandable.

This is not to be considered as a shooting unit. The RHB must be considered like a “hurled weapon”, which makes them an irritating harassing unit, in complement to their role as a shielding unit. In particular, they can effectively get rid of march-blockers. In a small unit, they have too little a pts value to be worth fighting but cannot be ignored. This unit will probably shoot only twice but can be sacrificed in order to get a convenient setting for a future charge by another unit. For this setting, the wider the better; unless you need them in smaller width in order to manoeuvre. Remember, you can increase or decrease the width by 5 at a cost of half of the movement (no double march if doing that); by doing it twice, you move laterally the unit 4” sideways, which may get you out of trouble!

In this setting, they make a nice assassin home delivery: they close the enemy who will probably ignore them. Within charge range (which could be cloak range), the assassin pops out free towards some warmachine and the RHB corsairs start harassing the rest of the enemy line. Same setting for the unit, plus the assassin (don’t take the champion).
A minimal 10 RHB corsairs with muso, as shielding & harassing unit, costs 105pts, plus eventually the assassin.

RHB corsairs have been investigated as a big unit. That makes the unit very unusual as a mass unit.
The reasoning is that regular corsairs cannot be guaranteed to get the charge, so let them consider to be charged instead. If the enemy is soft, the stand & shoot will kill many (set them 10 per rank), and if the enemy is hard, then the AHW would be no more effective than the RHB, in that case only SCR matters (set them 5 per rank). Against opponents with “large target” rule, keep them 5 wide, all of them can shoot!
A number of 20 seems adequate, in order not to increase the price too much. The unit may be found to deter charges and be left alone!
The AP banner makes sense for such unit against medium armour opponents (it works for the RHB as well!), but increases the cost and the risk of loosing a banner and prevents the better use of the war banner, if available.
The problem with such unit is that they are completely helpless in case of flank charges, against which they cannot shoot.
A big unit of 20 RHB corsairs with magic banner & muso, but no champ, would cost 265pts.
The cheaper version costs 205pts with only a muso, nothing else, but is more likely to be defeated on the charge.
Overall I would not recommend this strange unit except for a change once in a while in a non-competitive game. Two 10 rhb corsair units are twice as fun!

1.5. DR.

DR come in two very distinct varieties, with or without shield. I will deal with them in two different chapters.
Let’s review them first without shields, the most common set.

With no shields, DR are fragile, but they have the “fast cavalry” rule, which allows them to reform freely while moving, and also to flee a charge and, when rallying, to resume moving. These two assets and their excellent speed allow this unit to move through narrow points or to squeeze between opponent’s units.

This unit is not truly expendable. Each of their wound is very expensive, they must avoid opponent’s shooting and magic. They cannot stand a charge, they must flee instead, it will not prevent them to rally and move the next turn. They must get a muso at least for that reason, otherwise they are best kept at minimum size and minimum price: minimum size to help them avoid magic & shooting, and minimum price in case they did not avoid that.

Here we must sub-divide them according to the use of MXB or not. The difference is not tremendous, as we will see.

“Naked” DR are not designed to charge large units, but to threaten soft foes, such as warmachines or shooters, and march-block the opponent in the process. Against soft foes, they should be able to inflict many wounds, receive few, win the melee, pursue and kill the unit. All this for a reasonable price, as this unit has no reason to exist in large numbers.
The boost of the CoB when charging would provide them with not enough kills to allow them to threaten big or armoured units. A champion is not cost-effective. A pennant is not useful: it would give them 1SCR, but it will not allow them to threaten big blocks and the pennant is not needed against their targets of predilection. Only if contemplating a simultaneous charge along with a chariot would the pennant be useful.

5 DR with a muso cost 92pts and it’s all that you need!

When they’re done chasing warmachines, all they need to do is to contest a ¼ table if 3 of them remain. If less than 3 of them remain, the last ones can still march-block and get in the way and the LOS of the enemy.

If you're playing MSU, then it's interesting to give them the standard: their role will be to charge on a side in complement to another unit, probably a small infantry unit, and only one of these two units needs to have the standard (they don't cumulate the standard bonus). As an infantry has higher chances to get charged and loose a 100 VP standard, it makes sense to provide it to the DR.

With MXB, DR behave quite in the same way.
The differences are that the unit may shoot when not charging (being fast cav allows them to double-march and shoot), and that it is significantly more expensive.
Like naked DR but with even more reason to do so, they will have to hide from shooting and magic. This means that the unit may not be able to shoot as often as it wished, and it may even hesitate to charge if the pursuit could place it in a difficult position, especially since it cannot shoot and charge (not even fail a charge) in the same turn.
This being said, they are a little bit more harassing for the opponent than naked DR, which is also why they are more rewarding for him as a target.
The cost per shot being prohibitive, I do not consider them as shooters but as an agile troop with some shooting added.

5 MXB-DR with a muso cost 117pts and it’s all that you need!

1.6. Shielded DR.

DR benefit greatly from a shield, however, they loose the benefits of being fast cavalry, so it makes a completely different unit from unshielded DR.
With a shield, the use of a MXB is made difficult: the cost of a shot becomes prohibitive, the unit cannot double-march and shoot and the unit is not nimble enough to get in position to shoot without risking to be charged or shot.
Shields bring them a highly cost-effective protection, and, even more interesting, they allow the unit to get rank bonuses. In order to get rank bonuses, you need to take at least 15 of them, a smaller unit is senseless, you would be better off without no shields but with the fast cavalry agility.
This unit is designed for charges, possibly after some skilful manoeuvre in order to get favourable positioning.
Beware: each wound is very expensive, this unit is not a shield for other units! To be charged is dramatic for this unit, it must consider fleeing rather than accepting an uneven combat, in order to fight another day.
With a spear and two attacks per model, they will actually kill some foes. However, they are not likely to get a good ACR against hard targets and will need some SCR to overcome them. Fortunately, they can get that!

Charging shielded DR in a big block (4 ranks & full staff) will win all their charges against any opponent! Expect a margin of 1 or 2 CR, not taking into account numeric superiority, against either horde or elite units or monsters alike. They are not the most cost-effective way of achieving this result, but they are the only core troops who can do that against all opponents with an excellent likelihood of getting the charge. It is the best assault core unit.
The risk to remain in prolonged fights is that doing so, they present a very large flank to the enemy.
The COB is quite effective with them (especially when charging), it would routinely add 1 more kill per 5 models of the considered unit. Please note that the same result is gained with an additional rank – but for half the price – not forgetting that more ranks means more wounds that the unit can take, so the CoB is a help, not a strategy.
The BSB with Standard of Slaughter (SoS) is the best cost-effective enhancement, and allows the war banner to be provided to another unit. As the charge is nearly guaranteed, the SoS seems to be made for that unit.
In that case, they need a champion.
The preferred width is 5: to put more models on the front rank will make the unit too cumbersome to manoeuvre and is not likely to get more models in contact.

Shielded DR can be considered as SCR providers, which they can do at 18” alone or in conjunction with another unit.
A unit of 10 shielded DR, muso, pennant, cost 201pts and brings +2 SCR. Never use it alone.
A unit of 15 shielded DR, muso, pennant, costs 291pts and brings +3 SCR, reasonable.
A unit of 20 shielded DR, muso, pennant, costs 381pts and brings +4 SCR, recommended.
A unit of 15 shielded DR, FC, SoS BSB costs 471pts and brings +5 SCR, terrific.
A unit of 20 shielded DR, FC, SoS BSB costs 561pts and brings +6 SCR, overkill?
All these units cost close to 95pts for each SCR. All options seem valid; the most expensive being the least likely to ever fail – they still must be tested on the battlefield! Of course, the two most expensive units would deserve to become a true über-unit with the addition of a lord with RoH and MR, a RoD hero and possibly a PoK challenger.

1.7. Harpies.

This unit is not a melee unit: it is bound to loose nearly any charge, except against the weakest foes. Even warmachines will occasionally resist them (especially dwarfs’ ones).
They are inexpensive however, and may charge at 20”. This is good for “suicide charge” against a unit with a magic-user inside: the harpies will die ultimately, but not before the magician received 6 hits (unfortunately with no hatred nor CoB). Beware that a clever opponent can avoid that fate: he would set the magician at the end of a line made of 2 more troops that you have harpies. When you charge, you have to maximize the contact on both sides, and as a result only 1 harpy would be able to hit the character.
If at least 5 are remaining, they are excellent to be positioned in the expected fleeing route of your opponent charged by one of your more robust unit – and destroy it just by being there.
They make inexpensive screens. Being skirmishers, harpies can shield a large area. But they are very fragile, and if they are shot by 10 shooters, they are likely to loose 3 of them, to fail the Ld and flee. Who cares about harpies anyhow? If ever they pass the test, the remaining number may not be enough to occupy ¼ tables or to block fleeing units.

The only option they have is their numbers, and it’s between 5 and 10…
5-8 harpies can loose 1 and not test. 5 is the lowest cost, perfect for a 1-use Kleenex shield – but be prepared to see the shield so much reduced by any shooting that the second shooting can reach your more precious unit behind them. It makes no real sense to take 6 or 7 as a normal shooting will kill 3 of them.
9-10 harpies can loose 2 and not test, and can loose 3 or 4 and remain US>5. Even if shooting is likely to kill 3 of them and leave 6, that is enough to keep shielding and, if they pass the test, to charge, so the opponent will have to devote a lot of shooting to the unit. Also, they are more likely to survive and contest any ¼ table. However, corsairs can be a better bargain for a pure shielding purpose, if speed is not an issue. Also, 2x5 harpies seem better than a single unit of 10.
I would therefore recommend 1 unit of 9 for 99pts, or 2 units of 5 for 110pts. Now, if you have only 55pts unused, it is a nice unit to have!
My recommended number is at least one unit of 5, and you can increase it with your spare pts when you have completed the army list.

1.8. Shades.

This unit is our only scout.
It has many options to choose: GW, AHW, armour, champion, and unlimited number.
There are basically two interesting settings: take few of them and hide them in a wood, or take as many as you can and make the Shade Death Star über-unit.

A small unit of shades can hide in a wood and threaten the enemy’s progression. It shoots well but it so expensive that MXB warriors remain more cost-effective. As the number of woods is usually rather limited, it is not advisable to ever take more than 2 small units of shade.
The armour will not save them if they are shot at nor in melee, I’d advise not to take it. You must be aware that they must avoid at all cost any kind of shooting & magic: just stay hidden.

They hate to be charged as well. Stand & shoot will threaten only the weakest opponents, it is much better to flee inside a forest (which will slow down only the pursuer).

Their existence is justified overall by the threat of charging the enemy from within his lines. When charging, they cannot have any kind of SCR. Their number of attacks is too small to hope to wipe out the first rank of the opponent. The AHW doubles the attacks, but this is good only against weak opponents unless you get a CoB to grant them KB; I would recommend to avoid the AHW.
The only weapon which is really threatening is the GW: with it, you can effectively penetrate a heavy cavalry’s armour. It is cheap enough to be taken all the time and it is nearly as efficient as AHW against weak opponents. The CoB can grant them a 2nd attack with a very high efficiency.
Taking many shades is not very effective: they still must avoid front charges, more of them will not help for side charges, and, after dealing some damage, they are likely to loose the melee and be destroyed. The only reason to take many of them would be to have 5 remaining at the end of the melee and deny the rank bonus to the opponent. In that case, taking 7-8 of them seems enough.

The best addition to shades is an assassin, close to be mandatory! You stay hidden at 2.5” inside a wood. The enemy moves. Your turn, you reveal your assassin, displacing a shade which is placed at 1” of the wood’s edge. That single shade sees the enemy, that’s enough to declare a charge, skirmishers move across the wood with no penalty and there you are, side-charging with you unit including the assassin. A clever ambush.
The champion is useful only in order to concentrate one more attack on the short line of contact with the enemy. I would recommend not taking him in order to keep the price of the unit reasonable.
A unit of 5 GW shades with an assassin costs 186pts.
You can opt for Khaine’s gifts, and the champ will be useful as well, for a grand total of 279pts.
Shades are sometimes seen in slightly larger units of 6 to 9, , which boosts their shooting efficiency and makes them more resilient, however they become more difficult to hide and I believe strongly that if they are killed, it's a great loss so let it be the smallest.

The other way to use shades is the now famous “Death Star”.
It has two variants. One single huge unit, or several medium units.
Of course, it goes along with all your characters taking RoH, RoD, multiple MR, death mask, PoK for challenges, the ASF BSB, and as many assassins as you have units. Pairs of RHB provided to all characters for a severe stand & shoot at short distance.
In the multiple-units version, the characters are moving towards the most exposed unit, and will leave it if it runs out of bodies. This allows more assassins and some flexibility but at any time 2 units are unprotected and must hide behind the protected one, so it is less advisable.
Add the minimum required core troop, you may spare a few pts for a hydra and you’re good to go.
In this version, the shades must still take the GW even as they are not likely to strike, the front rank being so full of characters. This is because of the threat of a side charge, that only the shades would cope with (fortunately the BSB provides them ASF).
Here, the armour is advisable: it is really cost-effective. The champion is necessary also, in order to protect the BSB. Remember, when charged by a 5-wide unit, 7 models will be in the front rank.
As an example, 36 shades with GW and armour cost 684pts. Add 1 champ and 1 KB-maxed assassin in each shade unit; it totals 873pts for the single shade Death Star, and 1251pts for the variant with 3x12 shades. Then you still need to add the full set of characters…

1.9. WE.

WE are the best specialists of combat against low armoured foes. Charging WE are incredible against soft targets. Unfortunately, they have a big trouble coping with hard armours.

The COB is quite effective with WE, a COB would routinely give them one more kill, especially if they can use KB. But the main interest of the COB lies elsewhere.
WE die quickly, however, these frivolous chicks refuse to quit if they are made stubborn by the CoB! Especially backed with a COB BSB, they make a highly effective tar pit… as long as they last, loosing 2 to 4 of them each round.

Being initially frenzied, they ignore fear and terror.

You can consider them in small units or big ones, but I have to mention that several D.netters like better them in medium units of 14 or so.

In small units, MSU style, they are very inexpensive. They are as slow as any infantry, but you can afford to let them charged and sacrifice them, especially in presence of a COB BSB. As they are ITP, big soft units of undead do not frighten them. If you don’t want to take a COB, a unit of core corsairs could be better considered in the same role.
When Hellebron is the general, WE become core and are the cheapest core unit available.
A unit of 5 WE costs a mere 50pts, no command is needed. The COB BSB costs 225pts.

A big unit of WE is a very effective mass unit. They can beat most opponents: on the charge, they can quite easily get +7 ACR against marauders! Against tough opponents however, the rear ranks will bring more combat resolution than the front one, for which the many attacks should result in only 1 kill. So adapt the width of the unit according to the armour of the opponent.
They are ITP thanks to being frenzied and, with witchbrew, they don’t care much about rear or flank-charged. Their biggest problem is magic and shooting: they must be protected by shielding units, like RHB corsairs who are also good for getting rid of light baits.
The AP banner is an excellent help, very often better than the war banner, to provide them with some remote efficiency against armoured foes.
One reason to take a champion is for challenges, in case there is a Death Hag or an Assassin in the unit. Another, better reason is the witchbrew, all the more as its effects survive the Hag. This is especially useful as the unit is frenzied and can easily find itself baited to a difficult position.
25 WE with FC & witchbrew with AP banner cost 325pts. They have 4 SCR and get most probably a minimum of 2 kills against any foe. I see no use in taking more.

It is not feasible to make an über-unit with them: no Master nor Dreadlord accept to join Khainite worshippers.

1.10. Execs.

Execs are our best can-openers. They would be everybody’s favourite if not for their drawback: they are not sufficiently protected, be it against shooting, magic of first-strike melee. Their armour provides only with a limited protection. They have not first-hand access to the ASF banner, unlike the BG. Worse, being Khainite prevents them to get the help of any character save assassins and DH, the only characters who have no access to regular magic objects. As a consequence, they can be set either in small, expandable units, or in bigger unit requiring an effective shielding until they can rush into melee where they are quite safe from magic and shooting.

The combo of Exec units backed with CoB is extremely powerful. Execs are the best receptacle for the COB blessing. The COB does not prevent them to die, but the survivors kill extremely efficiently and are doing their job in a perfect way.
You can expect 3 additional kills just thanks to the COB's blessing on 5 Execs against soft or medium targets alike! Against harder targets, the COB adds at least 1 more wound to the wounds made by 5 execs.
When creating your army, you should consider taking a COB as soon as you take some Execs, and you ought to take enough Execs to make sure they survive long enough to get the benefit of the COB in melee (as a rule of the thumb, 20 to 25 Execs seems a good number with each COB, either in 1 big block, 2 medium units or 3 small MSX units).
For a development on how to use the Execs and COB, see the thread:
MSX = 3 execs + COB = The "Burger Khaine"

A small unit of Execs should win over any kind of small unit except a monster or a chariot. However, they cannot overcome 2 SCR, so clever combined charges which cancel the opponent’s rank bonus must be look after. They are slow, and more often than not, they will not get the charge, but the good point is that the COB makes them stubborn and therefore quite likely to resist and wait for the rescue to come.
8 Execs with muso can absorb some limited shooting and remain efficient. They cost 102pts.
Some good players like better them at 108pts with champ instead of muso. The champ is there just to challenge so that more ordinary execs live to strike.
Also, quite often people seem to field them in units of 14, FC (7 wide).

A big unit of Execs is excellent against medium to very hard targets. Against soft targets, it will perform well but not as well as WE. They are not only effective, but also cost-effective in all situations! They are at their best against armoured targets, obviously. Charging big blocks (25) of execs are the most regular champions: they would win against anyone, usually by 2 CR! Expect a 2 CR lead over the biggest units, soft or armoured alike, and they have the second best CR against the hardest targets: expect more than 4 (taking into account the numeric superiority). They must be set in a width of 7 in order to maximize the damage they can cause. Only if the enemy unit is narrow and tough (monster, chariot) is it profitable to maximize the rank bonus. Too bad that they lack both speed and ITP, so chances for charging remain remote.
The champion is always useful in the unit, as long as the unit is at least medium sized.
A big unit of 20 Execs with FC and an assassin costs 366pts, not taking Gifts of Khaine nor COB into account.
2 x 10 Execs with FC and an assassin each plus a COB cost 692pts, to which you will add some Gifts of Khaine.

It is not feasible to make an über-unit with them: being Khainite, no Master nor Dreadlord will join them.
However, Tullaris may be worth considering, especially if a COB helps him winning challenges, and if the unit is efficiently shielded against magic & shooting. One improvement worth to notice is that the unit becomes fear-causing. You would like to add in a DH BSB with ASF.
They can be taken in a huge block, but be aware of their Tullaris’ vulnerability to sniping or challenges.
30 Execs with Tullaris, FC, an assassin and an ASF DH BSB with wichbrew cost 744pts, not taking other Gifts of Khaine nor COB into account (it would total 1044pts). That would be frightening in melee!

1.11. BG.

Like Execs, their armour provides them with only a limited protection, not sufficient against shooting, magic of first-strike melee. Contrary to Execs, this can be improved with banners and characters, which explains why they are so popular. Compared to Execs, they lack GW and KB but they have twice as many attacks, which makes them more cost-effective against soft troops and less against armoured ones – it is the contrary compared to WE.

BG are at home in melee, where they fear no shooting nor magic missiles. They can stay for a long time with little or no support, being ITP and stubborn with high Ld, and having permanent hatred.
The CoB boost will benefit them should the opportunity arise, providing routinely 1 more kill per 5 models, however do not take a CoB for a single BG unit only, it is more cost-effective to buy more ranks.

In small units, they can cope with big soft targets or small armoured targets alike, which make them a good MSE all-around unit, especially if you don’t take the COB: in that case, being ITP and stubborn will help them to stick any charging opponent until the rescue arrives.
8 BG cost 104pts and need no improvement. This size is enough to cope with one round of light shooting.

BG in big blocks (note: 20 is the maximum) will win against almost anything. They are slightly less cost-effective than Execs for that result but they do not care about terror.
The extra rank bonus may be expensive for the benefit, but it is still useful enough to be justified: a guaranteed additional combat resolution may tilt the balance towards a winning melee. Not forgetting that it means more wounds that the unit can soak.
If the opposing unit is little to medium armoured, the BG are better off at a width of 7 models. Against hard armours, take the maximum rank bonus.

They can easily be charged by cavalry. This is why a big unit almost always takes the ASF banner, even though the AP banner would be nice – it is the best option for your 2nd BG unit.

The use of magic objects is enough to justify the cost of the champ. However, he would need to be protected from challenges, which requires a character or an assassin in the unit. The champ can take the RoH, or one MR null shard.
15 BG, FC, RoH, ASF cost 290pts.
A unit of 20 for 355pts can be considered as a basis for a Death Star, however not very likely to get a charge.

Kouran is very interesting if his options are made of good use. The unit becomes unbreakable… as long as Kouran survives. Beware of sniping and challenges by a monster-mounted hero. Unfortunately no other character can join that unbreakable unit, not even an assassin.
20 BG, Kouran, FC, ASF cost 391 pts.

1.12. COK.

With their excellent armour, they fear not S3/S4 shooting attacks and could shield other units from that threat. However, they loose an agonizing amount of pts from armour-ignoring magic or template attacks.

COK have the best ACR in a charge, they should win against any soft target but could find big blocks of armoured troops difficult to beat, and also the hardest targets as well. They are cost-effective. If only they were not stupid… If they don’t win the first round of melee, or if they are charged and did not flee, they will probably need a support to help them out.

The mere necessity of concentrating the attacks justifies taking a champ. He should take the RoH or a MR null shard.
The cost of a COK prevents rank bonus to be even remotely cost-effective, they should not ever be taken in two ranks. You should rather dope them with CoB (expect it to provide them with 2 more kills) or some banner: the Standard of random CR, the warbanner (if you don’t need it elsewhere), the anti-stupid banner if you hate them to run stupid, the ASF banner if you want to allow them to become stupid. Possibly the hydra banner with a BSB can complement another banner.

Listening to other people's opinions, there is a room for "naked" COK of COK with merely a musician, in a role of flanker. However, this opinion is disputed and many don't share it.

5 COK with FC and MR1 cost 190pts.
7 COK with FC, RoH, ASF and Hydra BSB cost 513pts (I included a MXB). It will wipe away anything and can serve as a basis for a Death Star.

1.13. COC.

A COC is impressively robust, except against S7 shooting / charges. When facing a S4 gunline, it may cost-efficiently serve as a cover for less resistant troops.

With its chariot charge attacks, it should win most charges thanks to ACR, including against HE, but with the exception of charges against big blocks. A COC is very cost-effective against armoured infantry; it is at its best against units of 10-15 models, or in combination with another charging unit.
Chariots don’t like prolonged fights nor getting charged; they are likely to survive but they need a rescue countercharge. They will ultimately loose, most likely, because of SCR. If they are charged, you can well let them flee and rally later.

Alone, a COC is effective as a small hammer unit.

The best boost they can get is a character.
A COC can be improved with a BSB SoS. The SoS provides (randomly) the missing SCR and the US5 can help as well. This allows you to have one true stand-alone hammer and will preserve all your special slots. This is very interesting to consider with an army with little cavalry, although it is not as cost-effective as the simple COC. It should deter nearly anyone to enter the charging arc of the COC.
A BSB SoS COC costs 254pts, including the master’s useful MXB.

1.14. Hydra & beastmasters.

A Hydra is not cheap but it is a formidable foe. Its resistance is it most impressive feature, it can serve efficiently as a shielding unit and soak an incredible amount of shots. It’s perfect if you need to hide a large dragon behind.

In melee, the hydra with its beastmasters will win the combat only against soft troops or troops in small numbers. It will loose to SCR against a big armoured unit, and the match is uncertain against the hardest armoured small units. In prolonged melees, the hydra gets more and more likely to win, by progressively thinning out the opponent’s SCR, as long as it does not loose morale. The preferred tactics against large blocks is not to charge them but rather to breathe at them (possibly from their flank) and let them fail the terror test, even if it means that you have to accept countercharges.
A COB does seldom cost-efficiently help it, even though it benefits the hydra as well as the handlers. IThere is some use though, if the hydra needs to survive a desperate combat, the additional ward save will be odious for your opponent; its many attacks will appreciate a KB boost, if relevant.
You can give it a SCR help with a combined charge or you can just sacrifice it: it will pin down 1/3 of the opponent’s army for some time while you take care of the rest of the opposing army with all your other troops.

1.15. RBT.

The RBT is very nice and cost-effective shooting unit. It can shelter a magic-user, who would be hit by only 1/9 of the shots reaching the unit. Position it as far as possible from opponent’s charge, on a hill or 1” inside a wood.
Not much else to add.
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Post by Calisson »

2. Best setup for a shooting unit.

“Let me call now the first nominee…”

A shooting unit is designed to stay away from melee as long as it can. It is supposed to shoot every turn. Just by shooting, it will deal usually more damage than its value.

- 10 shielded MXB with muso cost 115pts.
- A RBT costs 100pts.

They complement well each other, they are both cost-effective and they are the basis for a shooty army.
Shades are a little bit less cost-effective, one unit is always nice to have as scout.

All other shooty units are much less cost-effective and are to be considered only because they have other uses: RHB corsairs to shield and to kill light threats, MXB DR to harass and to charge warmachines, chariots to shield and charge incoming threats, hydra to shield and defend but they compete against RBT, assassin to star-rend chariots, characters (with MXB or pairs of RHB) to wear magic objects or to ride a dragon and charge warmachines, and the lifetaker to keep a sorceress busy.
In addition, some march-blockers such as harpies will be needed to delay the incoming melee and increase the shooting time. Magic is a good complement to shooting.

3. Best setup for an agile unit

“Elves are nimble. Even in battle. Some more than others.”

Agile troops help you to shape the battlefield to your needs and your wishes, and to deny the opponent such ability.
An agile unit must have either speed, free reform, or scout & skirmish. Its role is to squeeze behind the enemy’s lines in order to march-block the big units and to charge the warmachines, light troops and magic-users; it will never charge alone a big foe. It may serve as charge bait. It should not be too expensive because its job is a dangerous one.
The character of the army comes from agile troops. Typically druchii, they are the salt and spice of any Dark Elf army. However, don't take only these light troops! You need also someone else to win the battle.
Pretty much any DE army has at least one unit of either agile kind per 1000pts, preferably two, better two different ones.

- 5 DR with a muso cost 92pts,
they march-block, charge light foes, bait.
- 5 MXB-DR with a muso cost 117pts,
they march-block, charge light foes, bait, shoot lightly.
- 5 harpies cost 55pts,
they march-block, charge very light foes, bait, shield.
- 9 harpies cost 99pts,
they march-block, charge light foes, bait, shield.
- 5 shades cost 80pts
they march-block, may shoot lightly.
- 5 GW shades with an assassin cost 186pts plus Khaine gifts
they march-block, side-charge heavily armoured foes, may shoot lightly.

4. Best setup for a shielding unit

“It takes some courage to look missile in the face. It takes even more courage to expose oneself in order to protect others.”

This small escorting unit is characterized by its low cost, because it is going to be sacrificed in order for another, more precious unit, to survive. If the opponent needs a lot of shooting/magic to destroy it, that’s the better.
You may take them as your mandatory core troops in order to protect your much more expensive special troops.

- 5 WE cost a mere 50pts for 5 wounds, they are core troops if Hellebron is your general.
- 5 harpies cost 55pts for 5 wounds, they are core but don’t fill up mandatory core slots. They are real fast.
- 10 warriors cost 60pts for 10 wounds. It takes more shots to get rid of them. The best to take high S shots.
- 10 harpies cost 110pts for 10 wounds, their shield is the widest… until shooting reduces it.
- 10 RHB corsairs with muso cost 105pts for 10 very resistant wounds, and they get rid of opponent’s baiters. The best to take low S shots.

Note: DR are not a shielding unit! They are less cost-efficient than any of the above. If you need a quick shield, you’d better take harpies, otherwise take warriors or corsairs.

5. Best setup for a small unit (MSU style)

“Small is beautiful”

A small unit must be able to kill foes and win some rather easy combats thanks to active combat resolution, and more difficult combats with combined charges. It must be threatening as a flanker. A specific mention is made for anti-armour units.
In addition, it must have a low cost, for it could be sacrificed with no regret.
Alternatively, it could be sufficiently resistant to divert a significant part of the enemy during an exploitable delay.
Ideally, it should be able to survive a charge and allow another unit the desired flank-charge.
A COB BSB (costing 225pts) may help some MSU units to survive a charge. It will make these small units really threatening, especially WE and Execs.
If they are core troops, small units can be taken in unlimited quantities.
Small troops should not be your only troops. Sometimes, you need to kill big stuff as well!
Small troops would help them get in position and complement their charge.

- 10 corsairs with muso cost 105pts. The only core MSU, and the most resistant to shooting.
They are “lesser” WE, good against light troops only, dangerous with COB against anyone.

- 5 WE costs a mere 50pts. Stubborn with COB. ITP because of frenzy. Cheapest MSU, core with Hellebron.
Specialized against light troops, very dangerous with COB against anyone.

- 8 Execs with muso cost 102pts. Stubborn with COB.
Experts against armoured troops, extremely dangerous with COB.

- 5 GW shades with an assassin cost 186pts. Beware: not resistant, not to be exposed.
Like Execs, they are experts against armoured troops, very dangerous with COB and in addition they are scouts.

- 8 BG cost 104pts. Always stubborn and ITP. Perfect to delay the opponent. Can disdain some shooting.
Good against all troops, very dangerous with COB.

- A COC costs 100pts. Very resistant.
Very dangerous in charges against all troops, including frontal charges against units of up to size of 15 models.

- A hydra costs 175pts. The only rare MSU. US5. Very resistant. Causes terror.
Good against all troops. Can breathe instead of charging.

- 5 DR, muso, pennant, cost 106pts and brings +1 SCR and the US5 flank-charge. Beware: not resistant.
Good against troops which are not too heavy.

- 10 shielded DR, muso, pennant, cost 201pts and brings +2 SCR and the US5 flank-charge. Not very resistant.
Good against troops which are not too heavy.

Note: all monster-mounted characters (including sorceresses!) should be considered in addition to MSU units to which they belong tactically.

With so many choices, it is better not to take twice the same unit: it will be more challenging for both players, and usually more efficient.
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6. Best setup for a mass unit

“The more, the merrier”

A mass unit is essentially a defensive block, counting on static combat resolution to win melees. Its has many wounds for a low cost. Its main role is to soak attacks – and live to tell it. It is a charge blocker, able to survive until delivered by a side countercharge. The champion serves to challenge and spare other’s lives.
This unit is to be combined with other units: it will serve as the anvil for one of the MSU units described above to act as the hammer. Together, they will combine ACR and SCR and win melees.
This unit may shelter characters, which would be an integrated hammer: the unit serves to provide the character with SCR while the character gets the ACR.
One or two anvils are a maximum, the SCR does not cumulate, and only one would have the warbanner (WB).

25 warriors with shield, FC, WB cost 215pts for a SCR of 6 (including numeric superiority). They have a rather good frontal protection in melee if they use their shield and hand weapon. They are hardly expected to kill any foe. If you lack the pts, they are quite as cost-effective without shield.

20 corsairs with FC, WB cost 250pts for a SCR of 6 if it gets superior superiority – if not, then the opposing unit is likely to be a weak one and to loose a lot of ACR. They will resist a lot of shooting.

25 WE with FC, WB & witchbrew cost 325pts. They have 6 SCR (including numeric superiority). They will tear to pieces an opposing mass unit. They don’t care about flank or rear charges. Unfortunately, they will loose a lot from magic & shooting and cannot be protected by being joined by a character with magic objects. A good idea is to protect them with RHB corsairs.

A very different kind of mass unit is the massive shielded DR. It has a great US but less wounds. Its SCR is not so good, as DR cannot take the WB and as their rank bonus is very expensive. But they are SCR provider anyhow, and can do that at great distances.
- 15 shielded DR, FC, cost 306pts and bring +4 SCR (including numeric superiority with US 30).
- 20 shielded DR, FC, cost 396pts and bring + 5 SCR (including numeric superiority).
Such DR units will generate a significant ACR and the armour is nice. A character is a big help.
Contrary to the infantry units, it must get the charge, not wait for it. A good idea is to provide harpies as a shielding unit.

7. Best setup for a hammer unit

“Someone must get the job done”

A hammer is a heavy, offensive block, more aggressive than a mere mass unit. It is designed to win most melees by itself. It will kill a lot of foes and add some static combat resolution in order to win.
You may take 0, 1 or, rarely, 2 such units.
Usually it is a good idea to consider putting a melee character inside such unit: an assassin, a BSB, a magic-object bearer to compensate for the unit’s weaknesses, a high leadership lord, a complementary killer, or all of the above. This is not the discussion here, and the unit should be able to behave well with no character support.

Core hammers are nice because they combine very well with MSE (many small elite) specials.
Special hammers usually require core shielding units.
Note in this respect that corsairs and execs complement each other perfectly, if not for the fluff.

Below is a ranking from the cheapest to the most expensive hammer. The settings provided are the ones I consider to be the most cost-effective. Be aware that I did not try them in combats (one good reason for that: I just finished the analysis required to determine the best setting to be tried!).

- 5 COK with FC and MR1 cost 190pts.
Pros: They expect SCR 1 and quite a lot of ACR if charging. They are good against soft targets or armoured targets with not too big a SCR. Quite cheap, they are cost-effective if they charge. They are very resistant to shooting except template. A nice stand-alone unit, they are resistant to magic, the MR1 and the relative small value of the unit should deter further spells.
Cons: Charge is problematic, with a slow speed for a cavalry unit, further hampered by stupidity. They have trouble against high SCR.

- 20 corsairs with any magic banner and FC cost 250pts.
Pros: They are very nice against soft targets and small-size armoured targets. Against such foes, it is better to line up 7 corsairs in each rank. The SSS improves them heavily and provides ITP frenzy. They are resistant to shooting. Corsairs do not use a special slot.
Cons: They lack speed and their many attacks will bounce on hard targets: Execs would complement them well. Facing hard opponents, they must maximize the rank bonus.

- A BSB SoS COC costs 254pts, including the master’s useful MXB.
Pros: this tiny unit is excellent against any small or medium targets, armoured or not. If you can charge, you could have an impressive CR against all but the toughest targets! Enough to overcome most ASFed HE! Very resistant to shooting lower than S7. It does not use a special slot but a character one.
Cons: Vulnerable to magic and all S7 attacks. It has to get the charge. It can only stay alone. It uses the BSB slot.

- 5 GW shades with champ, and an assassin & Khaine’s gifts for 279pts.
Pros: They are rather cost-effective small target hunters except against hard monsters. The assassin build should help them against tough targets. Their specialized use is to wait in ambush inside a wood until a big unit of heavy cavalry passes in vicinity.
Cons: Due to their lack of SCR, they cannot cope with big units. They must avoid shooting & magic & prolonged fights. Beware, fragile. Not to be used besides their specialized use.

- 15 BG, FC, RoH, ASF cost 290pts. A unit of 20 for 355pts can be considered as well and will last longer.
Pros: They are very effective and quite cost-effective against all targets and do not care about fear. They may receive the charge. This is the lowest cost all-around hammer. They are best in a width of 7 against most opponents.
Cons: They just lack speed and are sensitive to shooting, which may diminish their number if not their resolve.

- 2 x 10 Execs with FC and an assassin each plus a COB cost 692pts (=2 x 346pts), to which Gifts of Khaine should be added.
Pros: Incredibly powerful, they are cost-effective against all targets save the hardest. They are to be set at a width of 7. The combination of 2 units and a COB should cause headaches to the opponent who has to make difficult choices. Do not reveal the assassins as long as you don’t need it, i.e. if you charge reasonably small units, let the Execs do their job and wait to reveal him until you’re side charged or if the melee keeps going and you strike last.
Cons: they cannot overcome 2 SCR and are not very likely to charge. They are very vulnerable to shooting & magic and no character can help them for that. This setting uses 2 special slots and one hero slot. These three units are not that easy to manoeuvre together, it requires a clever general.

- 20 Execs with FC and an assassin costs 366pts, not taking Gifts of Khaine nor COB into account.
Pros: They are effective and cost-effective against any target. The assassin has ASF in case the unit is charged.
Cons: they lack both speed and ITP, so chances for charging are remote. They are vulnerable to shooting & magic and no character can help them for that.

- 15 shielded DR, FC, SoS BSB costs 471pts and brings + 5 SCR. Or 20 shielded DR, FC, SoS BSB costs 561pts and brings +6 SCR. They must remain 5 wide, whatever the opponent.
Pros: This unit has a very good likelihood of charging and will win nearly any charges! It is the best assault core unit.
Cons: very expensive, they are not as cost-effective as infantry units. They are vulnerable to shooting and magic. It uses the BSB slot. Finally, winning a single charge is easy, but the aftermath could be painful against a subtle tactician.

- 7 COK with FC, RoH, ASF and Hydra Banner BSB cost 513pts.
Pros: Doubling the attacks will help them to wipe away the enemy: when a unit of 5 COK would make 6 kills, the same unit with the BSB would make 14 kills! If they got stupid, the surprise ASF will allow them to hit, whoever charges, with many, many attacks. They are resistant to shooting, except template. A trick is to put the champion and the BSB on each side of the unit: if ever, gone stupid, they are side-charged, don’t forget to challenge, and the ASF 5 or 6 hatred S4 attacks should hurt the challenger.
Cons: Their resistance to magic should not be overestimated. Very expensive, tempting target. It uses the BSB slot.
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Post by Calisson »

8. A Galaxy of Death Stars - über units

The philosophy behind the über-unit is to deliberately put all your eggs in a single basket, and to make it very resistant. Take a huge hammer unit, give it as many wounds as you can afford, have all your character join that unit with all kind of rings, magic resistance, fear-causing and ASF banner. That unit is nearly impossible to kill by magic or by reasonable shooting. It cannot be defeated in frontal melee. If ignored, the rest of the army can provide only a few victory points, so this is also a point denial strategy.

Be aware that such unit is not impossible to beat. Chariots will deal some damage. Side or rear charges will cancel its rank bonus and provide SCR. Character sniping or a series of challenges will strip away specific resistances. Magic resistance is not guaranteed. Template weapons and cannons are the bane of über-units.
This is why it is wise to keep some points for core troops able to take care of warmachines and protect the flanks.
Another simple remedy against a huge über-unit is just to avoid it, or maybe keep it busy by providing it with a low value troop to chase and to pursue it in a harmless, remote place.

The über-unit must be able to destroy any foe in melee, resist magic and missile alike and never suffer from terror. In order to achieve that, it should ideally receive the help of one or two magic banners including the ASF one and will shelter as many characters as required to grant it a magic resistance of 3, the ring of many miscasts, the ring of shooting avoidance, a PoK champion of everlasting challenges, possibly an assassin or more, and some kind of fear or terror or at least ItP.

In order to achieve that, you need:
MR3, RoD, PoK: 1 master or ½ dreadlord each.
RoH: master or champion if BG or COK.
The BSB must be taken, with at least the warbanner if he needs no magic item.
ASF: the BSB or the pennant bearer if BG or COK.
COB: 1 hero slot.
Assassin: as many as you have infantry unit.
Terror mask or Gem of fear: 1 master, or CO.

That complement will cost you more or less 230 pts worth of magic objects. Add some 562pts for 1 dreadlord and 3 masters fully equipped (DS, MXB), who are able to deal effectively some damage. Add furthermore 171pts for an assassin, you’re now at 963 pts worth of characters. Replace one master with a 200pts COB and you’re getting 1047 pts worth of characters, all dedicated to helping a single unit. Yes we can! (did anyone say that before me?)

30 corsair, FC cost 353pts, and must be complemented with a CoB.
Pros: Low cost über-unit, and core! As it is cheap, you have plenty of spare pts to get dual hydras and other specials. It has a rather good resistance to shooting and a normal resistance to magic missiles. Its good number of attacks could be efficiently KB-enhanced with a COB. It can take an assassin. The COB can help someone else when the unit is not busy. A character mounted on a cold one will provide cheaply resistance to fear.
Cons: Avoid the SSS because you want to choose your fights, so the mere war banner is appropriate. It needs a psychological boost; all the usual magic objects are required. Being slow and cumbersome, it is likely to be charged and will have trouble reaching worthy opponents. Being flank-charged will cancel its huge rank bonus, which is its main asset in melee. It will suffer against hard armoured foes if not COB-KBed. Overall it is not threatening for a clever opponent.

20 shielded DR, FC, SoS BSB costs 561pts, including the BSB.
Pros: an exceptional +6 SCR! Not forgetting that the characters in the front will bring some ACR. It is a medium-cost über-unit, and it is core! With its exceptional speed, it will be able to charge – and wipe away – any unit, contrary to all other über-units. You can count on two effective charges in the course of a battle. It seems a realistic candidate for an über-unit although it has yet to be tried, to my best knowledge.
Cons: After having pursued, it may find itself in the middle of nowhere, or worse, in the middle of side-charging foes. It has not that many wounds and fears all warmachines. The resistance to shooting is average, and so is the resistance to magic missiles – and each lost wound has a high cost. It needs a psychological boost that cannot come from cold ones. It has a huge flank, so it must not find itself glued on a tar pit. It cannot take assassins. With its speed, there hardly can be any supporting unit save harpies, which are a must-have.

36 shades with GW and armour cost 684pts, to be spread into 1, 2 or 3 units. Add 1 champ and 1 KB-maxed assassin in each shade unit; it totals 873pts for the single shade Death Star, and 1251pts for the variant with 3 x 12 shades. Then you still need to add the full set of characters (all of them must be footed)… A COB will boost heavily the one unit in melee; there may be no unit in melee at all, but it is still a nice-to-consider-to-have.
Pros: The resistance to shooting is great, the unit being skirmisher. If ever it is side or rear charged, it will loose no rank bonus. It may take 1 (or several) assassin(s, who will all get in the same unit as all characters). It needs not to charge, the disgustingly heavy and accurate shooting will wipe away one unit per turn and will stand & shoot to dust another one - you need to have one star assassin or one character with rhb to make the stand & shoot happen at short distance. If side-charged, the GW ASFed shades are a real threat. This über-unit has been tried with some success many times, including in a tournament (did not win though…).
Cons: It is rather expensive. Only footed characters can join it. It is very vulnerable to magic. It needs a psy help which cannot come from a cold one. It has no rank bonus. The 3-unit variant can be destroyed one unit at a time, by shooting, magic or psychology. Once in melee, only assassins will really help.

30 Execs with Tullaris, FC, an assassin and an ASF DH BSB with wichbrew cost 744pts, not taking other Gifts of Khaine nor COB into account (it would total 1044pts).
Pros: In melee, it will kill anything. Fear-causing. One use could be to take advantage of the likely reluctance of the enemy to charge it, and make a huge, single rank unit, which will sweep the battleline clear of any enemy until it is destroyed by shooting. I would not advise that, it seems too expensive for such use, but why not in a club for a fun game to be remembered?
Cons: It is Khainite so it cannot be protected with any magic item. Too bad, it is very expensive. Heavily vulnerable to shooting and magic, so cumbersome and threatening that it will never charge anything (nor be charged except by some suicide chariot), this unit is bound to be found ineffective.

20 BG, Kouran, FC, ASF cost 391 pts.
Pros: The lowest cost über-unit, as no character can join it. ITP. Likely to destroy the front rank of any charging unit, especially if COB-boosted. It will ignore anyway the combat result, especially if in range of the general and the BSB (in another unit). It may effectively be set in a single line, which will sweep the battleline clear of any enemy until it is destroyed to the last man by shooting.
Cons: The unit is at its maximum and cannot be joined by any character, not even an assassin. It is vulnerable to shooting and magic (if out of range of another unit with RoH). Slow, it will not be able to pick up its charges. Kouran is (relatively) vulnerable to challenges. It must be protected against magic and shooting from outside.

20 BG, FC, RoH, ASF cost 355pts.
Pros: Low cost über-unit, ITP. It does not really care about being side or rear charged. It is very effective in melee against anything. It may get a KB-maxed or anti-chariot-starred assassin. Seems a good candidate for an über-unit.
Cons: Little inherent resistance to shooting & magic, the help of characters wearing magic items is required. Slow, it will have trouble to pick up its charges, and this alone may render it ineffective facing a clever, elusive opponent, unless you can magic-move the unit to force a charge.

7 COK with FC, RoH, ASF and Hydra BSB cost 513pts (I included a MXB with the BSB).
Pros: It will wipe away anything. Very good resistance to shooting except war machines’. Fear-causing. Would benefit quite efficiently from a COB.
Cons: Vulnerability to template shooting and armor-ignoring spells. Cumbersome and vulnerable in the flanks. Likelyhood of the charge far from granted, although the ASF cares about this issue. No assassin.
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Post by Calisson »

9. Best setups for sheltering lone characters.

“Who will have the honour to escort our gracious sorceress?”

9.1. Sorceress babysitting.

A sorceress is not designed for melee and must avoid it. Or does she really?

A unit of 30 unshielded warriors with the full command cost 195pts and can perfectly serve as a dagger fuel and at the same time win melees! Such a unit is a good candidate to take the despised sorceress on a CO, with the clear intention to go in melee or at least to get close to the enemy. The sorceress would make the whole unit ignore fear. The bad news is that a sorceress on CO, unfortunately, gets stupid 27,8% of the time.
Such babysitting unit would allow the sorceress to take some short-range or even melee spells.
Without dagger, the shield becomes an option for more flexibility, 25 shielded warriors & FC, have a similar cost (190pts); add a warbanner, for a cost of 215pts, it will result in a SCR of 6!
See the thread: Sorceress on a Cold One - possible use?

Of course, a footed sorceress would be quite safe there, and it would allow the unit to remain in a building. If this is your intention, the pennant and the banner become useless, and consider MXB instead.

10 shielded MXB with muso & champ cost 120pts. This is a perfect complement to a long-range sorceress (Lore of Metal, maybe Fire). If ever the unit gets threaten with melee or suffers too heavy a shooting, the sorceress would be advised to change shelter. Of course, it must be lined up in a single line. The sorceress is better off in the extremity of the line, in case a flying unit manages to charge: thanks to the rule of maximizing the models in contact, only one opponent will be able to hit her. Sure, the chances for the unit to resist is still very low, rather desperate, but it is not a reason to refuse a small chance.
Oh, and they can go inside a building, 5 of them can shoot for each level, and they will be very well protected, from shooting and from a charge.

5 MXB-DR with a muso cost 117pts. This unit will escort the sorceress towards the enemy for very short-range spells. It can absorb only one round of shooting before the sorceress is exposed. Not very effective, but very mobile. If charged, the fast cav rule can benefit the sorceress as well which cannot shoot but can cast. Good for short range spells.

1 RBT is a good shelter, especially 1” inside a wood, and especially if another RBT can serve as a relay, not too far away. The sorceress may be hit by missiles, but only 1/9 of the shots will hit her, and there is no panic test for loosing personnel.

9.2. Assassin delivery.

With a charge range of 10”, an assassin must be protected until it gets close to the enemy’s warmachines.
10 RHB corsairs with muso cost 105pts. They look sufficiently innocuous to allow the assassin to get close enough. When they let the assassin loose, they keep perturbing the enemy from close to its lines.

5 shades cost 80pts and start the game close enough to be dangerous. However, the charge will be more obvious.

Shadowblade reaches the warmachines on his own. He takes a character slot, but the result is guaranteed. When you compare the cost of an assassin with the full set of Gift of Khaine and with the small escorting unit, you find out that Shadowblade is not that expensive.

10. Wrong setups.

“Some of you just have failed to prove their value”

There are some setups for which I see no use. They are not as efficient as other setups that can do more for the same price or the same for less pts. If someone finds a use for the units below that can not be better fulfilled by one of the units above, please let me know.

A huge unit of MXB is obviously less effective than two small units of MXB.
The most obvious wrong setup is DR with MXB and shield. It cannot even double-march and shoot.
A huge mass unit of MXB DR or naked DR seems plain wrong as well.
Shades with armour in small units seem not interesting, especially without AHW nor GW.
COK with full rank bonus may be powerful, but it is a point sink.
5 execs including Tullaris are ridiculous.
5 BG with Kouran are not worth.
Last edited by Calisson on Sun Mar 08, 2009 9:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Calisson »

11. Graduation ceremony.

"Compliments. You are now graduates from our Boot Camp.
Some of your comrades did not pass the tests. They failed, they died, or both. Who cares?
You passed all the ordeals. Now you’re ready for the real thing, which is much harsher… and much more exiting."

Before you leave the thread with some conclusions that you may have found valuable, please remember that this was just a Boot Camp. Drills against standardized foes, theoryhammer lectures. Not the real thing.

The study was exhaustive (and it may have exhausted some readers indeed).
Be aware that I based my conclusions on careful thinking and simulations with an Excel sheet, but not on actual experience. All the nice theories covered in the Boot Camp series need to be trialled in combat. By you!

If your evaluation is different than the theories expressed in any of the Boot Camp thread, please mention it (and provide an elaborated argument, not just a single battle example) in order to update the lessons with your lessons learned. It could be worth investigating. I could further analyse the reasons for the divergence – or identify the flaw in my reasoning, and correct it for the sake of all D.netters.

This is the end.
THE end.

That was my last of the Boot Camp series. It took me a while, but it provided me with a much better knowledge of the Dark elves units that I had before. I hope that by sharing that fresh knowledge, you reader will have gotten also a better understanding of our units.

12. Last Week – Departure for War – Singing conclusion

At the very end of the Boot Camp, the students depart in a final review, with a warrior’s chant.

Let Nagarythe In
(original music from the musical comedy “Fear”)

We starve, look
At one another In Nagarythe
Wa-lking proudly in our winter coats
Fee-ling smells from close Ulthuan
Facing a dying nation
Of warhammer battle fantasy
Listening for the new rolled dice
With supreme visions of battlefields

Inside something there is a rush of
Who knows what stands in front of
Our lives
I fashion my future on Nagarythe
Tells me secretly

Shadowlands Ulthuan Ulthuan
Shadowlands Ulthuan Ulthuan
[Eyes look your last]

Across the Sea of Chill
[Arms take your last embrace]

And I'm a genius genius
[And lips oh you the doors of Death]

I believe in War
[Seal with a righteous kiss]

And I believe that War believes in Blood
[Seal with a righteous kiss]

That's me, that's me, that's me
[The rest is silence
The rest is silence
The rest is silence]

Our march songs on a spider web sitar
Grief is around you and in you
Sorrow for you high elves, dreary

Let Nagarythe
Let Nagarythe In
Nagarythe In
Let Nagarythe
Let Nagarythe In
Nagarythe In
Let Nagarythe
Let Nagarythe In
Nagarythe In...
Winds never stop blowing, Oceans are borderless. Get a ship and a crew, so the World will be ours! Today the World, tomorrow Nagg! {--|oBrotherhood of the Coast!o|--}
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