15 Spearmen as Sorceress bodyguards

How to beat those cowardly High Elves?

Moderators: Layne, The Dread Knights

Post Reply
User avatar
Sweeping death
Posts: 108
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2005 2:50 pm
Location: Brazil

15 Spearmen as Sorceress bodyguards

Post by Sweeping death »


I´m in the process of restructuring and increasing my druchii force, so as to adapt it to 8th ed, and in the process, I´ve come to reflect on the following issue.

The new rules changed two things to which I´m trying to find a combined solution. One is the necessity of having far more core troops and the other is the rise of the risk for lone characters, particularly wizards, and the consequent need to have these characters inside "bodyguard" units. For magic users, there are 3 particular problems;

1) You don´t want them to get into CC, so most of the time you do not want their bodyguard units to get into CC too.

2) If they miscast, they´ll cause a lot of damage to the bodyguards

3) You want to be able to move/march, so as to assure you always have range to cast your spells.

These criteria imply that you:
1) don´t want elite fighters and/or large units as bodyguards, as this would be a waste of their fighting capacity;
2) want the cheapest possible bodyguards, so as to kill as few of your own points as possible in the case of a miscast;
3) don´t want rxbs as bodyguard, as moving/reforming will reduce their already slim chances of hitting. You don´t want DRs either, as they´d loose the fast cav ability.

These assumptions and conclusions lead me to consider the use of the classic 15 Spearmen block as optimum bodyguards, as:

1) They fill your core requirement, freeing your points allowance for combat dedicated units to maximize their fighting;
2) They are the cheapest thing you can afford for miscasts and "oblative armour"...
3) They can move and manouvre freely to get your sorcs in range;
4) They are strong enough to deal with small fast wizard hunters.
5) Having your sorcs inside them will attract enemy fire and magic to them, instead of against your dedicated fighting units, giving your enemies more targets to deal with.
6) If used with FC, they are cheap sources of banners for Blood and Glory
7) They´re big enough to sustain some damage and protect the sorcs with 'lookout sir', while being too small to be a waste if kept out of combat.

I must say, that this particular option has also something to do with the miniatures I owe, as I´d fill the rest of my core requirements with rxbs and DRs and will try to run 2 sorceressess, possibly two lv. 2. But I think that the logic behind it is not restricted to my specific case and should be an interesting point to debate.

I´d like to hear the opinions of the community about this reasoning, specially about the flaws I may be overlooking.

Posts: 109
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:04 pm
Location: Maryland, USA

Post by Jl177 »

I plan on running the spearmen power dice...I mean bodyguard unit as well (19 spears - no shields - and level 4) in my next game. It's also a great place to stick the +1Ld banner to give your level 4 general leadership 10. I would be somewhat nervous starting it at 15 because of causing unneeded panic checks if I get a little too stab happy. I would even consider bumping it up to 25 so they can be a little late game rank-negating flank charging unit.
User avatar
Posts: 656
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 9:05 am
Location: A torture dungeon in Suffolk

Post by Malus99 »

Good rundown of bodyguard properties, the only concern may be durability, is 15 enough, and yet not too much? I think 15 may not be enough to hold if they get hit by anything reasonably substantial, yes I realize that the idea is to keep them out of combat but if a unit of 10 DR hit them I reckon the spearmen would be the worst for wear, I think 20 would give just that extra rank, I don't know, it depends on the circumstances and how much heat you will be facing. Either way, good summary.
Veni, Vidi, Voro!!!

All things perish, this is the law of existence, accept your suffering and your mortality, only by using this truth, can you transcend it.
User avatar
Posts: 54
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:43 pm
Location: Yorkshire

Post by Aeth »

I use 20 with shields for a little extra protection. The extra fighting rank you get with spears should deter small units of warmachine/character hunters from any frontal charges and they make the cheapest batteries for my dagger.
....\~| \
.r/_\ /___\ç

These are the voyages of the Black Arc Enterprise..........
User avatar
Posts: 409
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 10:02 am
Location: Denmark

Post by Auere »

I think that 20 with full command, no shields and Banner of Dicipline is a quite optimal setup.

In ranks of 7 they do not take to much damage from template weapons, and they will do fine in close combat against lighter regiments.

The best thing about spears is their ability to carry the Banner of Dicipline - hence making the supreme sorceress lds 10.

They are NOT for combat, and should serve as an anchor unit behind your lines providing leadership and good spellcasting.
Last edited by Auere on Mon Dec 06, 2010 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Trainee Warrior
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:11 am
Location: Lurking....

Post by Minaras »

I use either a small unit(15-25) of spears with no shields, as a pure bodyguard unit to keep her safe and be dagger food, or a big unit(30-50)with shields, who will serve as bodyguard/slaughter catlle for the first turns, then i move her to a more fitting unit, depending on the situation, and use the unit as anvil.
Hoooty-Hoot and all that jazz
User avatar
Malekith's Best Friend
Posts: 1444
Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 2:54 am
Location: Santa Barbara, CA

Post by Tethlis »

I wouldn't underestimate repeater crossbows either, depending on the lore you utilize. They're not the greatest for Banner of Discipline or Sacrificial Dagger use, but they're a unit that you already want to protect and keep out of combat anyway, but can easily fight and defend itself against most threats. As I mentioned though, your choice of Lore largely dictates whether RXB are a viable bodyguard unit or no, since a short-range Lore depends your Sorc be in a unit that's more comfortable moving.
There is no escape from Chaos. It marks us all.

User avatar
Dragon Lord
Dragon Lord
Posts: 9675
Joined: Sat Sep 21, 2002 6:42 pm
Location: Designing new breeds of Dragons

Post by Dalamar »

Crossbowmen sadly can't have a magic banner... or they'd always carry flaming banner.
7th edition army book:
Games Played: 213
Games Won: 114 (54%)
Games Drawn: 33 (15%)
Games Lost: 66 (31%)

8th Edition army book W/D/L:
Druchii: 36/4/16
User avatar
Masked jackal
Posts: 475
Joined: Sun Dec 27, 2009 5:26 am

Post by Masked jackal »

I usually keep it to 20 because my enemies will target the spearmen with a spell or something, despite them keeping out of combat. That combined with the sacrfices makes a larger bodyguard necessary, though I'd drop it in a smaller game.
8th Edition Druchii War Report:
W/D/L: 30/1/15
Bored Life: Forum for RPs and general discussion in need of new blood. PM for details.
User avatar
Sweeping death
Posts: 108
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2005 2:50 pm
Location: Brazil

Post by Sweeping death »

Hi guys, thanks for all the comments and the some new thoughts I hadn´t considered in the analysis.

From the comments, I see three questions. The first is whether 15 is big enough to withstand the rigours of 8th ed. battlefields and the second is about the usefulnes of rxbs as bodyguards and the last is about the use of dagger and banner of discipline, which have optimal synergy with medium/large Spearmen units.

Although I haven´t formed a fixed opinion yet and see the advantage of "dagger" elves, the problem with using 20 Spears is that, as there have to be 2 bodyguard units (one for each wizard), that would already be 2 x 20 strong Spears. Just for having them staying out of combat seems kind of a waste, and the extra 70pts could mean a full rank of BG or other units that are actually going into CC. The 2 sorcs + their bodyguards would already cost around 650+ points, which is quite a lot for lists that are not focused on magic.

The point really is that I count the bodyguard units as purely defensive support units (almost like a kind of armour for the magic users) and in this category they compete with several other stuff, such as harpies, rbts, small flanking cok, the magic users themselves etc. Having them bigger means either even more points in support, rather than in combat units, or less options for other support.

15 may seem too small and prone to take panic tests, but with a Ld 10 general around, that´s a calculated risk that has to be wheighted against the increase in cost for 20 Spearmen.

The other point about 20 strong Spears as bodyguards is that I, personally, don´t like the idea of killing my own Spearmen for powerdice and don´t necessarely build my magic around the dagger. But I understand of course the inherent power of this approach and the usefulness of 20 or more strong Spearmen in this case.

Finally, concerning the banner of discipline, I hadn´t thought very much about it as, as said, my current list building is going in the direction of 2 lv. 2s and a Dread Lord for Ld10. But, again, the use of the banner in conjunction with a 20 strong Spearmen and Supreme Sorc. is very interesting indeed.

About the rxb, there is really I point that I didn´t consider enough. I guess that I´m so used to Dark Magic´s short range that I simply assumed the need to keep the sorcs mobile.

This also led me to think better about Dark Riders, wich I think can still be an interesting bodyguard for mounted sorcs, particularly the shielded version. It´s still an 18 inch march to get into optimum range for Soulstealer and other short range magic. But I´ll open a new topic to specifically discuss them.

Cheers and thanks for the interesting debate!
Posts: 94
Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2010 8:56 pm

Post by Markusswe »

I have used a 16 strong warrior unit without shields for my lvl 4 with shadow magic, lifetaker and sac dagger. The warrior unit also got gleaming pendant. Has worked like a charm.

With such long range on the spells and on lifetaker this unit hasn't seen CC more than once over the course of 2 tournaments (died to an ethereal flying black couch). Also, it has stayed out of range of dwellers and even stone throwers in some games...
User avatar
Posts: 1956
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 10:57 am
Location: Hell

Post by Meteor »

Or, for 35pts or 45pts, you can give her a ward save which would remove condition 1 and gives you more options as to what unit to take as a bodyguard unit. Or to take a larger unit of spears to absorb damage from miscasts, from enemy fire, to sacrificial dagger, and still possibly fight or at least hold off an enemy attack.

It's cheaper and less troublesome too. The biggest advantage I find with it is the flexibility to charge her bodyguard unit into combat with her still in it when you actually do need that charge. Otherwise you'll be investing more points into a dedicated bodyguard unit that doesn't do much if anything at all, that'll crumble when it somehow gets hit. 15 spearmen is 90pts, a decent ward save is 35 or 45pts.

But I can't find a way to justify risking an expensive bunker unit to S10 miscasts other than, badluck? But honestly, miscasts aren't that common, it's just more noticable and thus, sticks to you because you don't expect them when you're only throwing three dice for example.

Though I have seen my friend miscast twice, and consequently reduced his Lv4's 50spearmen bodyguard unit to just the full command left from the two miscasts.

The other issue is that it's quite easy to reduce that 15 warrior unit to less than a rank left in one shooting or magic phase, meaning your sorceress will start receiving wounds and no more look out ma'am rolls if she doesn't hop into another bunker quick smart. They're only T3 with a 5+ at best after all, not that hard to kill. One miscast at even the small S10 blast will render the bodyguard largely useless.

So whilst it's relatively cheap and safe, it has its risks too.
What's mine is mine, What's yours is mine.
Now that we understand each other, lets get down to business.

Jacks -Shade
- WS 5 - - S 3 - - T 2 - - D 6 - - I 5 -

Short Sword, MC Long Sword*, Dagger, RxB & RHB [20/10] MC Shade Cloak, 4 Throwing Daggers, 3x Healing Vials, 451C, [3]Dark Venom, [4]Unseen Chains, Food, Dark Steed- Spike

Basic Stealth, Awareness, TWF, Suithenlu Khythan, Ride

Magic Item
Eye of the Jabberwock

*Magical properties possibly imbued
User avatar
Sweeping death
Posts: 108
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2005 2:50 pm
Location: Brazil

Post by Sweeping death »

Hi guys, just wanted to close the topic by thanking you for the great answers and discussion.

For my current list, I´m probably going with a 30 men Spearmen and 2x12 rxb. Although I still think that the smaller spears are excellent bodyguards (I´m not so sure about the rarity of miscasts...), particularly if you have 2 sorcs and short range magic (so you won´t have to move your rxb), I´ve come to think that having 2x15 blocs for the sole and olny purpose of bodyguarding lets you few options for actual steadfast denying infantry blocs.

Anyways, the debate has been very enlightening and useful.

[/i]There was no sin in Naggaroth save weakness: the Witch King commanded the fealty of conquerors and slave masters - anything less was prey. [/i] Malus Darkblade

Pictures of my army:
My Rorhirrim:
http://z10.invisionfree.com/LOTR_Brasil ... st=0&#last
Post Reply