D.R.A.I.C.H. – Chariots not dead! - Special & mounts.

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D.R.A.I.C.H. – Chariots not dead! - Special & mounts.

Post by Calisson »

:shock: What? A chariot?
:? What? Several chariots???
This thread is there to incite you to trigger these comments.
Personally, I own a chariot but I don’t often consider taking it.
Am I wrong? Let’s see.
Here below is a compilation of some nice reflections I’ve found about chariots in D.net – plus a couple of mine.

0. Summary:

The chariot is a great support unit for infantry.
A character on a chariot is no more a character; it is a chariot with an improvement.
In small games, core infantry is supported by a special chariot for a combined charge; both are inexpensive.
In large games, special stubborn infantry is supported by a character’s chariot for a following charge; both are expensive.

1. The chariot: a slow, stupid, sturdy support.

Let’s examine thoroughly the chariot’s characteristics.

Painfully slow. :x
Movement 7 is not that much. Many foreign chariots are quicker, especially HE’s.

But what makes the chariot really slow is:
- it cannot double-march;
- it needs to avoid difficult terrain, or it will receive 1D6 hits at S6;
- it gets stupid sometimes.

No double-march means that any infantry moves faster, even our RXB shooters. Only the RBT are slower. The COB moves nearly at the same speed. But these two units need not to reach the enemy, contrary to the chariot.
As a result, if you put a chariot on the starting line along with an infantry, the last one to reach the enemy is not unlikely to be the chariot, unless you can charge in turn2.

The damage expectation for getting into difficult terrain is the following:
between 1 and 6 hits, each has 2/3 chances of wounding, 5/6 wounds will be unsaved.
In average, there is a requirement for 7 such S6 hits to destroy the chariot’s 4 wounds.
So, in average, the chariot will loose half its wounds and will survive… once.
Conclusion: Terrain is bad. Avoid it. If ever you’re stuck in it and loose 2-3 wounds, consider remaining there and hope you don’t fail any stupidity suicide test. If you’re lucky and lost 1 wound, then ½ turn and get away.

:) At least, it is more manoeuvrable than most units: a small frontage, and may wheel at will.
Chariots, although slow on the march, become quite fast and very maneuverable when you get close: they are not march-blocked and wheel at will. This makes setting up a flank much easier with a chariot than with a large, regularly wheeling unit such as COK.

:D It is not slow when time comes to charge: not only it charges at 14”, but, like monsters, a chariot can pivot at any single point in the course of the charge, rather than at the beginning – plus a free wheel when hitting the opponent, like anyone. OK, this does not allow you to get illegal charges, i.e. you need to see the appropriate side of the unit.

:twisted: And the chariot can become as fast as flyers, when it pursues with 3D6. This is to remember if you combo-charge with a unit of corsairs who have the slavery rule.

Stupid at worst times. :evil:
With Ld9, stupidity happens 1/6 of the tests.
So there is 1/6 chances that things will go unexpectedly and put you in trouble. Except when you’re already in a melee, i.e. already in trouble.
OK, that means less than once a game, considering that a chariot rarely survives 6 turns without ever starting the turn in a melee.
The chances decrease to 1/12 if there is a Dreadlord nearby.

So, instead of just moving or remaining still, the chariot may decide single-handedly to go straight at 3.5”.
Beware to never, ever leave any unit in front of your chariot. I did it once. I learned never to do it again.
And don’t point at any terrain closer than 7”. This is a self-inflicted but real restriction to the chariot’s mobility.

As it is fear-causing, you’d rejoice that the chariot doesn’t care if the target unit is fear-causing itself.
Alas! Stupidity still requires a Ld test so the advantage is cancelled.
The advantage of causing fear does not quite help to autobreak any foe, as it would require the opposing unit to become US3 or less, meaning probably that they have lost by a lot, so that would help only to finish up stubborn infantry.
Overall fear is not that great an asset.

Don’t worry too much about stupidity. Sure, it will happen. But even if it prevents sometimes an actual charge, there remain the potential charge that your opponent has to take into account during his own turn: the front 90° of a chariot is always a place to avoid.

Very sturdy, except when receiving S7. :)
That is one of the best advantages of a chariot, and it is often underestimated.
T5 is much better than most other DE units.
4 wounds are great, since the chariot looses none of his ability till the last wound.
3+ save is really great, one of the best we can get, and better than most foreign chariots.
As a result, our chariot is exceptionally resistant to an insane amount of small S hits, like most missiles.
Think about it: Bowmen shooting 50% accurately S3 arrows need to shoot 144 arrows in average…

:cry: Alas! There is the famous exception of S7 hits, a single of which suffices to destroy it at once.
Against foes that don't have S7 attacks in their army, it usually proves to be one of our single most durable units (after the Dragon and the War Hydra).

:) In melee, two factors help defensively the chariot.
As your chariot causes fear, it means anything trying to charge it may have to test and may fail. Not reliable but can be useful especially against low leadership armies.
Also, the small 50mm frontage of a chariot means that a 5-wide cavalry unit can’t hit it with the whole of its frontage.

A striker who hurts a lot. :twisted:
On the impact, the bonus hit with the blades makes 1D6+1 autohits. This is slightly less random than the usual D6+0 that most foreign chariots get. We are more reliable.
Chariot impact are at S5 = very usual for a chariot.
4 attacks total, 2 for the CO, 2 for the charioteers. And these attacks have hatred, better than foreign chariots!
Also, the charioteers have a higher WS than most R&F, they guarantee a ton of kills.
S4 is good, and further improves when charging (cavalry lance = +1 = S5; see BRB p.56).
Many S5 wounds will go through most armours.

Inflicting D6+1 S5 autohits, 2 S5/WS5 hatred attacks, and 2 S4 hatred attacks on the charge will make nearly anyone take notice. Ouch. We have a very reliable killer… when the CO don’t get stupid.
The Strength and killing potential of the chariot outshines any other unit save the hydra.
OK, it is not enough to kill a dragon on the charge, but wiping out 5 elite infantrymen is nothing exceptional for our chariot.

8) An additional advantage is the small frontage, and the fact that the chariot is a single unit.
It means that the impressive strength of a chariot is concentrated on 50mm, and even on a single point if necessary: touching the target with a corner is enough.
It means also that you can put other units in your frontline, good for combi-charge: the chariot hits corner to corner, allowing nearly everyone in your infantry unit to get into contact.
(E = enemy infantry, 5 wide; CC= chariot; F = friendly infantry, 7 wide, 6 of them in contact).

Remember that impact hits are inflicted only to R&F as long as there are 5 R&F in the unit.
If there are less than 5 R&F in the target unit, then the impact hits are randomized.
Conclusion: character assassination is not possible!

:( A hindrance is that the two chariot’s cold ones can fight only in the front, not even on the side.

:x Also, remember that a fleeing chariot inflicts normal impact hits if it meets another unit, friend or foe. If it is a US5+, non-fleeing foe, the chariot is thereafter destroyed. This rule is more a curse than a blessing.

A cheap special slot. 8)
At 100 pts, the chariot is really inexpensive for what it does; it could be sacrificed with no remorse, especially taking into account how difficult it is for the opponent to destroy it.
However, its major drawback is that it takes one of the very scarce special slots. This is the real drawback of the chariot.

It shoots, too. :roll:
Could pull a rank off a unit in the early game or get rid of a Fanatic.
The best use is to complement a unit of RXBmen, at the end of the shooting phase. Did you need one more kill in that unit in order to force a panic test? Chariot shoots 4 shots.
Too bad a stupid chariot can’t shoot, and too bad it can shoot only in its 90° LOS.
OK, it is just a side role and I won’t comment further on it. But don’t forget it, sometimes it’s useful!

A chariot moves as slowly as infantry; takes little space; must avoid terrain.
=> it goes well along with infantry.
It resists a lot of light shooting although no cannonball; it deters the opponent to put anything in a 90° x 14” area, and this area can be oriented freely.
=> it needs no cover, and can cover itself and others. It makes a great flanker.
It provides an exceptional Active Combat Resolution and has no Static Combat Resolution on its own.
=> it is a great complement to mass infantry providing Static Combat Resolution.

:? Chariots are both wonderful and horrible - wonderful when they hit and horrible when touched by S7.

the chariot is a specialized unit which is great combined with mass infantry.
Its main drawback, as a support unit, is to take a special slot.

2. Uses and misuses for a special-slot chariot.

Core Infantry support unit. :D
We have seen above that a chariot complements well a slow and massive infantry unit, which needs to get across the no man’s land before it meets the opponent.
The chariot deters march-blockers and side-chargers. It may even cover the lousily armoured infantry from side shooting.
When finally you get into melee, the infantry unit provides SCR, the chariot provides ACR.
Chariots make a better support unit than most other units, because they are cheaper, because of the smaller frontage, and because they are more resistant to counter charges.

Our elite infantry competes with chariot for special slots.
But if the bulk of your army is made of corsairs or spearmen, then the chariot is an outstanding complement.

A spearmen unit provides a high SCR but the ACR is probably very low, and the opponent will be able to retaliate with most of his front rank surviving. Here, the chariot not only provides a well needed ACR but also, by killing foes which would be quite unaffected by the spearmen, a chariot prevents the loss of many spearmen and the loss of the corresponding ACR to the opponent. Spearmen don't generate kills, chariots do and they work beautifully together.

With corsairs, the chariot is less useful as a flanker, since the corsairs are better protected against shooting, and if side-charged, they don’t loose any shielding and will retaliate with twice as many attacks as spearmen.
In melee, the corsairs provide a little more ACR and less SCR than spearmen. The chariot helps not only to get more ACR but, more importantly than for spearmen, it prevents efficiently retaliation.
But the best comes from the combat result: if the enemy, loosing the combat by a large margin, flees, then the corsairs’ slavery rule slows the enemy, while the chariot gets 3D6 to catch them and destroy them. :twisted:

Conclusion: Core infantry escorted by special-slot chariots are very inexpensive.
If you want to keep the costs low, then this is a way to go.
Excellent in small games, where you face less S7+ cannons and the likes, and where pts are scarce.

Anti ASF. :D
Do you hate those haughty HE and their ASF? Chariots are for you!
Impact hits happen before the ASF. Sure, it is random, but you can expect easily 3 less infantrymen to ASF you pre-emptively, and probably more. They will be replaced by fills from rear ranks, which will not be able to strike back (even ASF) but will be allowed to offer a target to all your own troops facing them.
Conclusion: chariots + core infantry perform very well versus ASF elite infantry.

Furthermore, the chariot takes some width and can reduce the exposure of your other units.
In case you faced a 7 wide elite unit (H) with your 5 wide unit (D), then you can arrange to have 2 opponents face only the chariot(C) (one diagonally) and its very sturdy armour. This will abide by the rule to maximize models in contact, as all his and your models will be in contact (one opponent and one of yours diagonally). This will be useful during the possible following turns of melee if you don’t break the opponent immediately. Of course, don’t expect to win the trophy for the fairest opponent with this trick.

Area denial. :)
Move your chariot the full 7” (yeah, impressive…), and pivot freely in order to face whichever direction is best, even if it is at 90° from the general move. The chariot will deter the opponent to put anything in a 90° x 14” area.
Next turn, you can pivot freely in the general direction of your movement, move 7”, and pivot again freely towards the no man’s land you wish to create.
The opponent will hesitate a lot before putting anything in the threatened area, save the sturdiest dragon or the most inexpensive baiter.

Goalkeeper. :)
Same as before, but done at home, if you play a magic-gunline.
In that case, you spend a lot on expensive sorceresses, and many more pts in core RXBmen and rare RBTs.
Special slots are available and you don’t have that many pts left.
Instead of taking an expensive and rare hydra as babysitter and renouncing some RBTs, or taking an expensive and vulnerable to shots BG unit, just take a couple of chariots, quite cheap and special. Not marching isn't a big deal since you intend to stay where you start. Just wait for your prey to come into range.
They will pose a difficult threat to the opponent who wants to get quickly in melee before you magic/shoot him down. And they are difficult to get rid of.

Only flyers don’t care much: they can easily position at more than 14” of your chariot and less than 20” of your shooters for a deadly charge next turn. Hence the need to take 2 chariots for that purpose, you cover much more space – and remember to position your chariots 6” forwards of your troops!

Juicy target. :?
Seems desperate, but sometimes it is useful. The idea is that at 100pts, chariots are expendable.
Sure, the chariot is vulnerable to a cannonball. So what?
Remember to present your flank to cannons, not your front nor your rear. They will have to guess the distance more accurately (25mm wide instead of 50mm long target).
In average, cannons inaccuracies require shooting two cannonballs to get rid of a chariot. This is two cannonballs less shot at your other units. Of course, if your other units include your general on manticore, then your chariots are not the most likely target!
Conclusion: you placed an expendable chariot in the open for a tempting S7 shot to draw attention away from that flank shot you just don't want to take. OK, this is expensive a “cannon dispel scroll”. But in the meantime, your whole army moved, did they?

Heavy cavalry Tar Pit. :x
Warning: This tactics is generally not advised.
The idea is to single-charge a unit not too large, but it can work also when the chariot is charged.
Taking advantage of the sturdiness of the chariot, you hope to receive little to no damage, especially since the small frontage of the chariot prevents some of the opponents to hit anything at all.
Therefore, you loose the combat because of the opponent’s static combat resolution only.
Loosing by not much, your high Ld will allow you sometimes to stand firm, pinning down the opponent’s unit where another of your unit can side-charge it.
If you loose, your chariot flees 3D6”, it chances to be caught are low.
Now, this is usually not a good tactics, because:
- you need too much luck against units with high S or high SCR;
- if you fail, your chariot will flee towards your own troops and may cause havoc with impact hits.
However, it can be used against heavy cavalry, which has little SCR, which will hit back only with 4 models, and which strength is reasonably low when not charging itself.
I’ve used myself once with success against Bretonnians. Really, chariots can be incredibly sturdy!

Single chariot charging frontally. :cry:
This is always a bad idea unless you can prove it was your opponent’s mistake (he moved while phoning to his girlfriend, he was drunk…).
Never, ever, use a single chariot to charge an unengaged unit (stupidity tests aside), unless it is a very small support unit that you’re sure to break AND you NEED to break that unit (for example, because it prevents you to double-march).
If a large unit happens to be in range, thanks to your brilliant manoeuvring, it will loose 5 models and survive, and in later turns, you’re bound to loose to SCR. You’ve lost more pts than him.
If a small unit did arrive in the charging area of your chariot, it is for a good reason. If you don’t know for which reason, your opponent knows.

Shooters hunter. :twisted:
This an exception where charging frontally a unit is nice (thank you Hartsteen for bringing this out).
A chariot is great to hunt down any shooter unit except those warmachines with S7.
Be it bowmen, longbowelves, shortbowgobs, crossbowdruchii, rifledwarfs, warmachines, all of them are going to be destroyed by a single charge. The stand & shoot is easily survived by the surdy chariot, the impact takes its toll, charioteers and CO kill a few more and fear no retaliation, and the remaining few shooters become normally less than 4 and autobreak to this fear-causing unit.
However, the chariot is slow. As the shooters usually remain where they started the game, this is a job which will be fulfilled only in turn 3. The likely overrun (pursuit is mandatory because of hatred) will just allow one more charge in turn 5 or 6.

Combined chariots charging frontally. :x
Well, this is not something to do either. Why?
Compare it to a unit of 6 CoK with FC and magic banner, which can take on most infantry to the front for a little more than 200 points: you get roughly 6 ACR and 2 SCR, enough to overcome the opponent’s 5 SCR.
For the same pts albeit two special slots, two chariots will kill something like 10 R&F, winning by more and having US 8. Tempting! But if the opponent doesn’t break, the drawback is that in the following turns, they hardly kill anything anymore, contrary to the COK.
Also, 2 chariots means 30% chances that at least one of them will go stupid. This is not reliable enough. Especially since your opponent will be cautious not to leave in front of this formidable – but slow – threat anything worth the double-charge.
This is why CoK are better suited to be line breakers than COC. Better use COC as support units than main hitters.
The only exception is if you’ve got more chariots in reserve for a flank rescue charge in later turns, i.e. a chariot army.
Anyhow, not many players take up two of the scarce special slots for chariots.

Charging a unit inside a wood. :) :idea:
Normally, your chariot wants to avoid any kind of difficult terrain/obstacle. Your opponent will take advantage of it and hide inside woods. Wrong if he does!
If their unit is worth more than your chariot, charge!
- If they select to flee, you’ll just run 7” and won’t suffer any damage, while the opponent will have left his useful position, and worse, he will now be positioned on the opposite side of a difficult terrain, across which it will take him forever to come back and be useful.
- If they don’t choose to flee, then your chariot will suffer some damage but survive, and will deal his impact & normal hits.
The chariot is likely to win the melee.
- If the loosing charged unit does not flee, then both units are stuck and can’t do much till the end of the game: good for you as now both units can’t do anything and your unit was cheaper.
- If the charged unit flees, then your chariot is likely to catch it with 3D6 pursuit, and may even get out of the wood without taking any other damage (BRB p.63 top, the chariot won’t suffer any more terrain damage during this turn). This is the best you can expect.

Bait & flee. :? :idea:
Not the best unit for that, therefore your opponent may fall into your trap.
By “mistake”, you place the chariot in charge range of your opponent, and better, it presents a flank.
It’s tempting to charge it, in order to deny its impacts, especially since only the charioteers would be able to strike back.
So your opponent charges.
This is when you declare that you flee. You’ll catch your opponent by surprise. Just be careful not to flee across your own troops, they would be surprised, too…
As you flee 3D6, this is a pretty sure failed charge for your opponent, and you had readied a flank charge just for that mistake to happen…
OK, this is not for beginners; I just mentioned that possibility because I know it can be done, but I will not advise it.
Last edited by Calisson on Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:57 pm, edited 19 times in total.
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Post by Calisson »

3. Chariots as character’s mounts.

Chariot improvements are scarce – until comes the Master! :D
- No command, not any single option is available for a chariot as a unit.
- The COB could grant the whole chariot a 5+ save which it hardly ever needs. Neither the cold ones nor the chariot itself can be blessed, so it’s no use granting +1 attack or KB to the chariot.
- The only real improvement that a chariot can get comes from a character riding it.
But he makes the chariot tremendously improved.

Improvements, from a chariot’s perspective. 8)
Let’s consider that the Master is a chariot’s improvement. This is awesome!
A character frees the special slot taken by the chariot, and you spare 10 pts in the process. However, you’ve taken a character slot instead, so basically it depends if you’re short on special slots or short on character slots.
A character onboard may add a considerable amount of killing power, and other magical benefits too. Now you get a real hammer unit, not a mere support flanker. The Master can even be the BSB.
The Master adds an element of uncertainty as the opponent does not know which magic items could be present.
The unit strength is increased, and it is US5 now! This makes flank charges more useful as it will give you a unit that can negate an enemy's rank bonus. OK, admittedly, it is really not easy to place your slow chariot for a nice side-charge. But when it happens… Also, a US5 unit destroys fleeing units crossing its path. Not very often, for sure.
Finally, if hit by a cannon, you’ve lost 90pts, but your character on foot remains for further fighting – they can’t both be destroyed by the same bullet.
A Lord increases the Ld of a chariot to 10, so stupidity drops by 50%, from 1/6 to 1/12.
All of this should incite to take chariot as master’s mounts rather than as special slots.

From a character’s perspective, there are mostly drawbacks. :evil:
If you consider the reverse perspective, i.e. which benefits do you get from mounting a character on a chariot, then the result is mixed: compared to other mounts, a chariot has some benefits but also many more bad aspects.
As a result, if you need a chariot and have character slots available, then it is a good option to improve your chariot; on the other hand, if you need a mount for one of your characters, you’re quite likely to select another mount instead.

The good:
- Fluff. He's the Master, he gets the car. It makes you feel a bit like being the Witchking himself.
- Protection from missiles. A Master on chariot will be hit only 1/6 of the time. When it happens, the character gets a +2 improvement to his armour save, down to 1+. The only better protection for a Master is to be sheltered inside a large unit, which cannot be destroyed by a single cannonball. In addition, in a chariot, there is no panic test for loosing bodies to shooting, contrary to regular units.
- There is a subtle advantage: a BSB in a chariot cannot be separated from his unit by a challenge. Compare to the situation of a BSB inside a unit, where a challenge can lead the BSB fitted with mundane gear to fight alone against a frightening hero killer. On a chariot instead, the said hero killer will be hit by 2 CO and a charioteer in addition to the Master. OK, not that great an advantage.

Now, the bad:
- No double-march move. You need to stick close to the action zone already in the setup, or you spend 2-3 turns to catch up. So don’t put your chariot on the far flanks but somewhat closer to the centre.
- Terrain. You need to keep miles away off terrain. Don't get caught with your flight path crossing some wood...
- Stupidity kicks in sometimes. Well, you will hate it someday to not charge that flank...
- When the beasts are stupid, you cannot even shoot.
- The chariot is much slower than a DS or a CO (who can double-march), furthermore these two mounts allow the character to join units, contrary to the chariot. The other mounts which do not allow joining units are all flying, with an incredible mobility. The chariot is the only slow mount which does not allow joining any unit.
- A character on a chariot cannot join any unit… at least, until the chariot is destroyed. The chariot is still likely to be destroyed by the first S7 hit. Hey, cannons can be troublesome but cannons are not nice to pegasi or manticores either! A chariot destruction can happen either in the openness (a cannon shot) or in melee (by a very strong über character). Fortunately, the character is still there and can still fight. So you better had him kitted to remain useful in preparation for that event. Better keep an infantry unit nearby to take him in! This is another reason why chariots and infantry go so well along.
- Missiles do hit the character, even normal missiles; OK, it is only 1/6 of the time, and the Master gets a bonus armour save, so this is really no big deal.
- When the chariot is in melee, the opponent may select to hit either the chariot or the character, which has not anymore a bonus save like for shooting. Therefore, the character has no protection inside a melee.
- Putting your general in one chariot is a BAD idea. It is too fragile to protect him for long, and you are likely to lose him if a charge doesn't go well. If stupid at the wrong time, it would be easily charged and overwhelmed. The chariot is the place for that secondary character, not the main guy.
At least, if it is your general's home, make sure to support him very well.

Any other mount is better than a chariot from a character’s perspective. Therefore, you should not take a chariot to help a character do his job, but only a character to help a chariot do his job.
In that perspective, we’ve seen that it is nearly mandatory to have a nearby infantry unit to shelter the character after the first cannon shot.
Be it mounted by a character or a special unit, the chariot is primarily a support unit for going along with infantry.
A core infantry is supported by a special chariot and both are inexpensive.
A special infantry is supported by a character’s chariot and both are expensive.

Best equipment for a Master.
As we just have seen, the question is not to determine the best setting for a character on a chariot.
The question is to determine what will help best the chariot, and if it is cost-effective.

Keep the Master cheap. Of course, he gets Heavy Armor, SDC, Shield. That is already 180 pts. For that price, the improvement is to burn a character slot rather than a special slot; and better attacks in melee.

Mundane weapons will improve greatly the Master.
Cavalry Lances are good: on the charge, 3S6 attacks from the Master rather than 1S5 from the charioteer he replaces (BRB p.56) but they become useless once/if the chariot is lost.
That’s why you might take additionally a Beastmaster’s Scourge, which improves in footed combats.
GW are pointless since they only add +1 to strength and prevent the use of a shield. Halberd is slightly better. AHW is useless.

For a magic weapon, the Crimson Death is nice but the Whip of Agony is better as it improves if the character becomes footed. Note that Caledor’s Bane can be used. Remember not to take any mundane weapon, as the use of the magic one is mandatory.
Potion of Strength can be considered: it has a single use, but the chariot is likely to charge once only.

For protection, the cheap Blood Armour must be considered: before you reached melee, you have the extra protection from the chariot, and as soon as you reach melee, you’ll improve your armour. Armour of Darkness is good also and is fairly cheap.
PoK is worth taking only if the bearer is BSB.

RXB is a good choice, competing with the lifetaker (longer range but costs some magic item allowance), as the chariot will often be too far to charge but close enough to shoot.

Best equipment for a BSB.
If you aren't running a BSB, then you can take a BSB chariot for the extra combat resolution. In that case, all options above remain valid. It is definitively interesting to increase your CR by 1 for 25pts. Also, the range of morale re-roll is increased as it is measured from the wide base of the chariot rather than from a small footed model.

A BSB on chariot, full mundane armour, Cavalry Lance, Beastmaster’s Scourge, Standard of Slaughter costs 250 pts. On the charge, this US 5 chariot gets +2 to +4 Static Combat Resolution, and deals 1D6+1 impact autohits at S5, plus 3 S6 hits, 1 S5 and 2 S4 hits, all with hatred. A BSB on a chariot with the Standard of Slaughter hits like a ton of bricks. This is the best offensive option.
The Warbanner is more defensive since it will get +2CR during every round, not only on the charge. It keeps working if the hero looses its chariot. That is for 10 less pts.
The Banner of Murder is evil, since the whole unit becomes permanently AP, so it helps cold ones too, and arguably the impact hits become AP as well. It would be nice against Brets, however the chariot speed is a liability here.

In average, a chariot charging infantry with WS4, T3 and a save of 4+ will get:
Characterless chariot: 5 kills, 0 SCR for 100 pts, which makes 20 pts/CR.
Master, Cavalry Lance: 6.6 kills, 0 SCR for 190 pts, which makes 28 pts/CR. Added CR comes at 56 pts/CR.
BSB, Cavalry Lance: 6.6 kills, 1 SCR for 215 pts, which makes 28 pts/CR. Added CR comes at 25 pts/CR.
BSB, WB, Cavalry Lance: 6.6 kills, 2 SCR for 240 pts, which makes 28 pts/CR. Added CR comes at 25 pts/CR.
BSB, SoS, Cavalry Lance: 6.6 kills, 3 SCR for 250 pts, which makes 26 pts/CR. Added CR comes at 10 pts/CR.
In average:
You pay 20pts for each of the 5 first CR brought by the chariot, which is very cheap!
Then you pay 56 pts for each of the 1.6 more CR brought by the Master.
Then you pay 25 pts more for each of the CR brought by the BSB and the warbanner, which is normal.
Then you add 10 pts more for the last CR brought by the SoS, which is one of the cheapest possible.
Basically, the chariot alone is more cost-efficient, but the Master with chariot is more efficient, to the point of being able to take down units single-handedly.

Malekith’s mount.
This one costs 10pts more than a regular chariot, i.e. 20pts more than a Master’s. But it is the only chariot to get an incredible 2+ save! Still stupid at Ld10, and you’ve paid a total of 710 pts for getting stupid 1/12 turns, i.e. once every other game (or less, as the chariot will be destroyed sometimes, or may remain in melee)…
But the real trouble is that it is still destroyed by a single cannonball, in which case Malekith can proceed on foot. Better have not far a unit of his faithful BG to take him in!
I never heard anyone considering it. No wonder why Malekith authorized long ago noblemen to use chariots, which were initially exclusively for him! :lol:

4. Tactica for a chariot with a character.

The role of infantry support is the same for a chariot with a Master than for a chariot without a master. Most of the tactica seen previously remains the same.
- the cost has doubled or more, so the unit is no more expandable;
- the efficiency has improved thanks to the Master’s hits and possibly the BSB;
- the unit is now US5, so the unit flank-charge cancels the opponent’s rank bonus: this leads to new tactics.

Core Infantry support unit. :?
The regular chariot is cheaper for this role.

New: Special Infantry support unit. :D
In games with more pts available, special infantry is more often seen, special slots are less available.
The Master’s chariot does not eat a special slot, and can crack tougher nuts which are more likely to show up than in smaller games.
The tactics of assisting elite infantry is different than for core troops, which need to get the charge, and to have the simultaneous charge form the chariot.
Here, we accept to receive the charge. Our elite infantry is usually stubborn (either BG, or Execs & WE near a COB), and the availability of the BSB in the chariot will help the stubborn unit to withstand the charge of the enemy. Next turn, the US5 chariot will hopefully be able to get a side-charge and free the infantry unit – and kill the enemy über-unit. Even a front charge is enough usually, as long as your elite unit does not take the whole space.
A BSB chariot is great to support stubborn elite infantry. With this combination, you don’t even need any command at all for your elites!
With a character, the chariot makes an excellent flanking unit.

New: Supporting two infantry units with a single chariot. :D
An expensive chariot with a Master, especially if it has the unique BSB, is nice to put between two infantry unit. In that way, the Master will be able to choose which side to help, according to the need, while the two units cover the precious chariot’s flanks.

Anti ASF. :D
Same as the regular chariot, i.e. outstanding!

Avoid: Area denial. :?
Only for the regular chariot, as the Master’s is too expensive.

Avoid: Goalkeeper. :?
Only for the regular chariot, as the Master’s is too expensive.

Avoid: Juicy target. :(
Only for the regular chariot, as the Master’s is too expensive.

Heavy cavalry Tar Pit. :cry:
Never! With a hasty judgement, it could be considered much better than with the regular chariot, if you take a BSB and a warbanner. In that way, there remains a SCR of +2, which helps a lot not to break away. However, the additional risk is to give up 100 VP if you flee. Alternatively, a Master specifically tooled against knight would get some ACR. However, the risk remains too high for the benefit it can bring.
So it must be avoided, just like for the regular chariot.

New: Single chariot charging frontally. :P
Contrary to a regular chariot, this is a role for which the BSB on chariot is well tooled!
Especially with a flank charge, they can solo most enemy units.

Shooters hunter :?
It is as effective as with a normal chariot, but you're doing it with an expensive chariot, probably worth more juicy targets than a small 80-110pts shooting unit. There is a risk for the character who will get 1/6 of the shots (but with a great save). Also, don't try this with a wounded chariot with 1 remaining would, if the chariot is destroyed, it stops the charge at once, and the character remains there as a sitting duck, nice target for the same shooting unit (screaming for revenge) in their immediately following turn.

New: Combined chariots charging frontally. :twisted:
Here again, what was not advisable for mundane chariots (in the unlikely event of having two special slots available) becomes fashionable for Characters on chariots.
Two nobles on chariots are said to be insanely good. If they charge together the same unit, you’re talking about a total of US10 fear-causing, which deals an awful lot of damage.
In large games, a pair, one with a Dreadlord, and other with a master working together benefit from the Ld10 and seldom become stupid, so you can consider them reliable (either one of them fails 16% of the time = same as a single Ld9 unit). If the enemy block doesn't run from combat resolution due to impact hits on the charge round, the Master and Dreadlord produce enough casualties to mitigate SCR until help can arrive.

Charging a unit inside a wood. :roll:
What could be considered with a cheap, regular chariot is still worth considering:
Sure, you’ll hurt the chariot if you get struck inside a terrain. If you have to move twice through the same terrain, there are more than 50% chances that the chariot will be destroyed.
So what? You’ve lost 90 VP to your opponent. By doing so, you may have killed him on the charge or you may have forced him to go away from a good position.
And now? You’ve got a footed master inside a wood. He gets the light cover from the wood plus being skirmisher, so he is hard to shoot down at -2.
Being skirmisher, he can move with no penalty in the wood, he can even double-march. He can charge at 360° (with a sight limited to 2” inside woods). If threatened, he can move deeper into the woods and get away from the LOS. Basically, the woods are now yours, when previously they were chosen as a stronghold for the unit you just chased. And the Master won’t give away any more VP.

Avoid: Bait & flee. :x
More surprising than with the regular chariot, but it takes a much more expensive unit to do the trick, so it becomes less advisable.

New: A secondary anti-magic role for the Master. 8)
If you want to give a secondary role to your chariot, then you can consider the following items:
Crystal of Midnight (no LOS) – Seal of Ghrond (no LOS) – Rink of Hotek: taking advantage of the extra large size of the base of the model, hence the ring’s range is increased – and remember, chariot can pivot at will.
With them, you don’t need to get a charge to make your character useful. All these items work even if the cold ones become stupid. Here, the Master is just a bearer of the items, in a nice anti-magic role – and he can support infantry, too, and is resistant to shooting and melee (save, toughness, fear).
If ever a cannonball blows the chariot up, the bearer can still brush the dust away and walk inside another unit, and keep his role.
However, after the first charge at 14", the chariot overruns 3D6" more, leaving the rest of the infantry well out of the ring's radius. Hopefully you're close to the caster (or you just killed him), but generally this could prevent an offensive use of the chariot.
Last edited by Calisson on Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:09 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Post by Calisson »

5. Chariots compared to other units.

Not many units in the DE inventory hit at S5! Let’s compare to the other hard hitters.

Compared to COK.
For the price of 2 chariots or one chariot with a Master, you can get 5 CoK with full command and Warbanner.
- Command options and magic items are available for COK, but the chariot with a Master gets items as well.
- COK march and are quite a bit faster, when chariots are narrower and can turn on the spot in any point of its movement, which is a real blessing. Chariots shouldn't enter terrain features, but well, slow cavalry shouldn’t either.
- Chariots are sturdier but are cannon magnets. That's T5, 4W, 3+ and poppable vs. T3, 5W, 2+, unpoppable.
- Chariots hit harder, COK hit longer. Chariots are much better on the charge, but in prolonged combat, they have only 4 attacks. Fleeing chariots can hurt your own stuff. 5 knights are US 10 and so can often outnumbered and autobreak small, elite enemy units.

Overall, COK are more flexible, good at both offence and defence. Chariots are more cost efficient.
Depending on the army, one or the other will be better.

Compared to Execs.
Executioners are the only hard hitters among infantry.
Instead of a chariot, you could get 8 Execs.
Speed not tremendously different. Execs much more vulnerable to shooting. Chariots hit much harder, execs hit longer, if they survive at all. Chariots are fear-causing. Impacts are ASF, Execs can’t take the ASF banner.
Overall, very different, and Execs are less cost-effective than chariots.
Now, if you throw a COB in, that is a different story: Execs are exceptional recipients of COB’s blessings, contrary to COC.
So if you have no COB, then COC are a better deal. If you have a COB, Execs are better.

Compared to a hydra. :cry:
Anyone would choose a Hydra over a stupid unit! The hydra is much more robust, faster, terror causing, can get KB from a CoB.
The advantage of the chariot comes with a BSB on board, which brings in SCR. But in a similar role of a flanker, the hydra is obviously preferable.
So basically you’d consider a chariot only because you couldn’t get more Hydrae.

6. An army with chariots.

Q. How many chariots can a 2,250pts DE army take?
A. 8! 4 special and 4 characters! :P

The usefulness of chariots depends heavily on the other models on the table.

:D Chariots are great for supporting a slow melee army, as one of our best hard hitters, but with no ability for prolonged combats.
:) If you have a magic/gunline, they can provide a useful and cheap area denial.
:x However, they don’t support the agile part of your army, so if agility is an important feature for you, don’t take chariots.

Depending on the availability of special or character slots, and depending on the pts limit (the smaller the game, the more useful the chariot), you may opt for:
:D - Cheap special chariots supporting cheap core infantry (corsairs for their slavery rule, or spearmen for their SCR).
:twisted: - Expensive Masters on chariots supporting elite, stubborn infantry (BG, or Khainites+COB).

Fluff is a good reason for taking chariots. For a cold one themed cavalry force, 2 masters on chariots, 2 units of knights and 2 regular chariots sound good.

The usefulness of chariots depends also heavily from the opponent.
For the evaluations below, I rely mostly on comments found in older discussions, rather than from analysis or first-hand experience. More comments would be welcome.

Against Dwarves or Empire, you are very likely to face at least 2 cannons, which can take care of the chariot with no hurry.
Lizardman Jaguar Charm Warrior has S7 and can fly. If you value your chariots keep a couple of Dispel Dice back to stop this guy.
DE have few S7 items, that a Master can take. The most common S7 hits are the assassin's stars coated with manbane: 3 thrown weapons, able to stand & shoot and destroy the chariot before impact hits.
Chariots are usually a waste of time against VC and WoC who can run around with their excellent fast cav and dogs while smashing with their own awesome Khorne chariots.
However, chariots work wonders on Empire knights, WoC Chosen and other hard to kill units.
Used as support against the Undead, chariots are said to have broken, entirely, through Undead units on the charge.
They are said to be good against Daemons as they are soo tough. Due to their high toughness and armor save, combined with a good charge range and ability to deal damage, chariots are probably one of our best options for dealing with Tzeentch Flamers.
Against ASF HE, they are a must-have.
Chariots are very good vs armies that force toughness tests like Skaven where they have the range to hit those annoying plague censor bearers and break them before they start hurting our cav or elites. Also, those 2 crossbows are very handy vs skaven where you will be faced with single models like skaven weapons teams and you don't want to waste an entire unit's shooting on. However, Skaven have attacks that you need to be wary of: Doomwheels with S10 ranged attacks.

In a tournament, you don’t know who will be your opponent. Unfortunately, chariots lack the flexibility to adapt to your opponent, so if you take chariots, you have to tune up the rest of your army so that if can take care of the units against which the chariot is helpless.

7. Why are chariots so rarely seen?

Compared to the previous DE army book, chariots have been changed significantly, mostly for the better:

:D Many improvements:
Increase of many stats: WS increased by 1, S increased by 1 (charioteers only), I increased by 1 (both charioteers and COs), and, very important for a stupid-prone unit, Ld increased from 8 to 9!
Save improved from 4+ to 3+ => this change is really impressive!
No more using a special slot if you mount a chariot with a character. Chariot cheaper with a character. Malekith sometimes rides a chariot again => now chariots are more likely to be taken anew as a character’s mount.

:| One standardization: 100 pts with RXB instead of choosing between 95pts without RXB or 105 pts with RXB => no more optional.

:cry: One change for the worse: No more 2 for 1 slot => they compete a lot more against other special choices, and this single drawback annoys many.

The improvements would seem to more than overcome the single drawback.
At 100pts, chariots are a bargain.
They no longer need Masters for babysitting, contrary to what was necessary previously.

However, they became less attractive. Why?

- One hasty explanation is that they have improved less than other units, but it does not stand long a careful study.
- The prevalent explanation is that they are destroyed too easily by any S7 hit. This is one of the strongest reasons.
- An often heard explanation is that previously, when you could have 2 for 1 special slot, the other special slots were not as attractive as nowadays. Furthermore, in these days, MSU was the prevalent tactics, and chariots were playing a significant part in it. So chariots were needed and did have room available.
Today, 1 chariot eats up a full special slot, and competition is harder for special slots, especially with BG becoming special and all other special units being improved as well.
Finally MSU is no more the prevalent tactics, practically any style exists in DE. The need for chariots has decreased.
Less room for them; less requirement for them => less of them.

8. Conclusion.

Games Workshop has ceased to display any chariot in their website, and many stores don’t sell them anymore.
On the army book, chariots are nowhere to be seen except in a single drawing p.53.

:P Every sign shows that this unit is going to be released in a new version, with the new CO instead of the previous “cows”. :lol:

When it happens, I’m sure that there will be a need for knowledge about how to use best the new terrific unit.
This is when I hope that the present work will be useful. :oops:

Please provide comments where it can help to improve the article.

Conclusion: this was my final conclusion, contrary to the many conclusions that came before.
Last edited by Calisson on Tue Feb 23, 2010 8:38 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Post by Sulla »

As well as benefitting our army vs ASF, charots are very good vs armies that force toughness tests. Especially vs skaven where they have the range to hit those annoying plague censor bearers and break them before they start hurting our cav or elites.

Also, those 2 crossbows are very handy vs skaven and goblins where you will be faced with single models like fanatics or skaven weapons teams and you don't want to waste an entire unit's shooting on.

The big problems with chariots still exist; s7 smashing is a big worry vs most armies. And of course the biggest problem is that a hydra is cheaper than 2 chariots! :roll: Luckily, in terms of problem 1, we have access to core harpies, dark riders and some pretty awesome shades to deal with shooters and some pretty handy characters and units to team up with them in combat. For problem 2, you're gonna have to rely on your own willpower to ignore that 2nd hydra and take a risk...
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Post by Brad »

Calisson wrote:Finally, the small 25mm frontage of a chariot means that a 5-wide unit can’t hit it with the whole of its frontage.

Umm... two Cold Ones side by side mean a frontage of 50mm at least.
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Post by Calisson »

@ sulla, incorporated, thanks.
@ Brad, corected, thanks.
At least 2 persons have read the entire article! 8)
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Post by Dreadlord taylindril »

Good article, I sometimes use chariots in my raiding force army list. since in that list I do not use knights or Assassins, So I take chariots to counter High Elf always goes first (curse them all) and to give me some punch.

Thank you for the article, it has certainly given me some new idears about how to use my chariots in future.
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Post by Jazperdude »

Thanks for a very comprehensive read!

I am currently painting up a chariot, although he does not compare to our other special choices I will use him anyway because it is fun to play with and makes the game more challenging.. your article will sure come in handy
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Post by Thanatoz »

Great article Calisson.

For chariots, I usually look at the points size of the match.

While I find for example 100 points a very good value for a chariot at 2250 points, it's the competition for those special slots that hurts too much at that level.

On the other hand, at 1k points a chariot is likely to make a bigger impact, and every point saved matters. I therefore like chariots better in small points games, where S7 is also less prevalent.

I love chariots, and am looking for a hard 1K points chariot list right now just for laughs, just need to figure out the balance. Thanks for posting this!
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Post by Dread_knight666 »

Great read Calisson! It really opened my eyes and I will be running a tandem of chariots in my next battle, one with a master.

My biggest fear of using chariots is as you point out the S7 issue, but I started thinking about it and I don't really play anyone with many S7 attacks anyway, except for dwarfs occasionally. I also play a infantry heavy list and I never fully realized how well a chariot can aid infantry until I read this article. I also realized my lack of faith in chariots was unjust, as I have taken them occasionally and every time they are outstanding, but my fear of S7 attacks has stopped me from putting them in my regular list.

Thanks again, really is a good read.
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Post by Calisson »

Thank you all for the appreciations. Always nice to read. :D
Please come back with actual fighting experience (which I lack) in order to confirm or infirm the assertions made mostly from old comments or from my own analysis.
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Post by Melinia »

Add Skaven to the list of armies that have S7 attacks that you need to be wary of. I was using my Tomb Kings list against someone using the new Skaven army, and one of his Doomwheels popped a unit of three Chariots with S10 ranged attacks.

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Post by Archonroc »

First off, great article!

As a DE player I LOVE chariots. I played Dwarfs for years, and I never got chariots, mounts, monsters, or some other fun stuff. So picking up DE I went straight for the chariots.

In general, I advance the Chariots up with the RxB line, a few inches ahead (support and protection), then if nothing is threatening them, Turn 3 I attempt to make a combined charge. It's been working well, and I normally take 2 over 2,000 points.

The hitting power is stupendous, especially against large frontage units, if I can combine the charge with CoKs. This usually keeps them in the generals Ld bubble for half the game. a few other turns they're in CC, stupidity tends to disrupt them once every 3 games or so. (only about two turns of stupidity on their unmodified ld / game, it seems about average).
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Post by Dread_knight666 »

Thank you all for the appreciations. Always nice to read. Very Happy
Please come back with actual fighting experience (which I lack) in order to confirm or infirm the assertions made mostly from old comments or from my own analysis.

I ended up using a chariot with a master(full mundane, WofA and RofH) in my last game against a goblin squig horde, the chariot performed admirably, I wish I could say the same for my luck.

It was actually quite fortunate I took the chariot, it made destroying his squig herder units less painful as the T5 deflected exploding squig quite nicely, unfortunately harpies don't do as well. :P

I will defiantly try it again as I don't think I got a true taste of what it can do, but on the first go around I was very impressed. My opponent took Scarsnick(Spelling) and my chariot didn't enter the table until my first turn, so that set it back a little from my main battle line. My rolling for impact hits was dismal as well, on both charges I rolled a 1 :? Thankfully the master and crew performed very well in CC both times, destroying a unit of 20 squig herders on the charge and running 50 night goblins and Scarsnik off the table. I was also able to shoot and kill two fanatics.

A few key points I would emphasize

In an army of mainly T3 models, having a T5 model can really be handy.

I am not sure giving it the ring of hotek was a good idea. After the first charge the chariot overran 3D6 leaving the rest of my infantry well out of the rings radius.

The shooting can indeed be handy, especially at little things you don't want to commit an entire unit too.

And one point, I don't think is mentioned in your article callison. Chariots although slow on the march, become quite fast and very maneuverable in close, I am sure you cannot march block a chariot since it does not march. This makes setting up a flank much easier with a chariot and with a character, the chariot makes an excellent flanking unit.

BTW if anyone cares to know, I scored a massacre and obliterated the goblins to the man.
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Post by Calisson »

master's WofA = ???

Your experience with the Ring of H is now part of the article.
Same for the agility at short distance.

Take care of your many small greenish slaves, and beware of them stealing all they can. ;)

@ Bounce, below:
A little bit about fear and about Lizzies has been added.

Not convinced by the impact while fleeing: instead of moving the chariot as you say, I'd rather have charged the sorcerer in the first place! :lol: Anyway, it seems too obvious for the opponent to do that.

@ Hartsteen, further below:
Thank you for the idea! :D
Added to §2 and §4, with developments.
Last edited by Calisson on Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Bounce »

Another terrific article!
Just a few things I thought you could add.

About Fear, as your chariot causes fear it means anything trying to charge it may have to test and may fail. Not reliable but can be useful if you want to take a risk especially against low leadership armies.

With regards to bait and flee. What about if you used this offensively?
i.e imagine your enemy has the following battleline

Harpies RBT RBT Lone Sorc Depleted Unit of 4 RXB

You could move the chariot between the Bolt Throwers and the Harpies. The Harpies charge for a flank attack and you flee 3d6" through your opponents army inflicting D6 hits on everything?
Would definitely be a shock for your opponent.

Also with regards to S7 hits. I'd mention the Lizardman Jaguar Charm Warrior. S7 and can fly. If you value your chariots keep a couple of Dispel Dice back to stop this guy.
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Post by Killerk »

I haven't played in a while (GW is pissing me off all the time, and there are much better games around), having said that.
I use several CoC in a few of my lists, and on one occasion i used 4, 2 regular and 2 with heroes. they work remarkably well, the whole lot costs around 600 points and takes up 2 hero slots and 2 special slots, but your chariots reach your enmy's, I played against empire, they cant kill them all. in the 2 turns they have.

chariots are only slower than infantry if they don't charge on turn two. and on turn 3 they lack 2" to infantry, which isn't that bad.
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Post by Bounce »

I am not sure about your opponents KillerK but I rarely manage to charge my Chariots in on turn two. Reason being my opponent doesn't move his troops straight forward at top speed. Plus there is no point charging the chariots in by themselves they need support, preferably from infantry who can only go 10" thus they often may as well be infantry for me.
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Post by Hartsteen »

Great article!
I missed one tactic I use myself;
Chariots are very cost-efficient to send against lone units of archers.
Be it high elves, druchii, bretonian or even empire - a chariot is perfect to take out archers.
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