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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:43 pm 
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Re:Dwarves : Please bear in mind that I play Dwarves, too, and have done so since the time one could take Burlok Damminson as a hero choice ;)
Playing the movement game with dwarves used to be very challenging, then it became a bit easier with a couple of upgrades in 7th (Strollaz's Rune and Rune of Challenge, mainly) and got a big boost in 8th with the upgraded charge distances. And yes, in a list designed to actually move you have to think ahead and it still is kind of challenging.

However, the above becomes kind of a moot point the minute you add 2 organ guns, 2 accurate grudge throwers and a cannon, plus 3 large dwarf blocks and proceed to castle them in a corner in such a manner that the opponent will not be able to access your warmachines with anything short of a pendant of khaeleth Pegasus Rider!

One could argue that target priority also plays a big part in the success of such an army, and I'll agree to an extent. But that is not a skill that's difficult to acquire, ask any semi-competent 40k player. Then there's the luck argument, but seriously with the proliferation of Runes of Forging and Runes of Accuracy and Engineers, plus the 8th edition targetting rules, I'd say that it's a lot less luck dependent than advertised.
And more importantly; when I play against an army that focuses on movement, both myself and my opponent are guaranteed a good game. When the dwarf general brings the army above and castles on top of that, then the best case scenario is that he will have some fun blasting my models off the table.

Going back to the MSU discussion, I'd say that as long as any one of your maneuver elements has a basic damage output (which is the case for all of the HE elites, when you factor in ASF rerolls and a strength value of 4+), any unit can work. After that, it's up to you to use them correctly and create the advantageous situation that will make them shine. Granted, White Lions and Swordmaster hit harder but they are also very susceptible to enemy shooting/magic.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:53 pm 
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Well since the shooty castle is such a perfect counter setup to your preferred msu style of play I can see why you don't want to play against it. I don't shy away from the tough matchups/counter matchups, those are the ones I enjoy the most.

I (and other empire/dwarf) castle players also don't appreciate being labelled a [sarcastically] "tactical genious" because my style of play with one army I use doesn't measure up to your opinion of what is fun and what isnt.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:39 pm 
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Ok, at this point I'll just drop this because starting a flame war/dispute over dwarves and castle tactics beats the purpose of this thread and is disrespectful to Swordmaster's efforts in providing us with a very good tactical essay.

For the record, I didn't mean to offend you or any other castling players, it is your right to play this game in any way you want to play it. And it is my right also to refuse to play you, not because I will lose (I'd say that I win against castles more often than not - and MSU plays a great part in this) but because the game and the supposed tactical challenge provided is not worth my time. Like they say, it takes two to tango, and I like dancing the movement game. :)

Now, if you wish, we can discuss the tactics I proposed for dealing with castled enemies. Another point I didn't mention in my assessment was that magic can give the answer sometimes, Heavens lore for example is great for putting the hurt on bunched up enemies.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:24 pm 
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Hi guys,

Thanks a lot for comments. They are very diverse and about different subjects so I will try to address them not referring to particular posts but by topics they were made on.

Assaulting the castle

As SmithF wrote Dwarves are probably the main army that adopts that formation. Chaos Dwarves can do that too with an addition of K'Daii destroyer, which does not make things any easier. Empire was known for their gunlines although these days it seems human armies are more varied. I am sure other armies can build their own versions of that.

In my opinion "castle" is one of the classic approach. If you build an army that can hurt the enemy from afar surrounded by heavy blocks of hard to shift infantry then you can easily form the castle. You force the enemy to come to you, as he cannot quite hide from your war machines but when he comes to you in a hurry (as usually he is afraid to lose more warriors due to deadly fire) you kill the survivors.

However, I haven't had many opportunities to fight against such an army somehow. In a way I was lucky to play against players who prefer less orthodox armies or like to experiment more etc. Thus I haven't developed any good tactics against such a foe and my last disastrous game against Dwarves showed that perfectly.

Because of that I find it as a challenge. It requires completely different tactics on my side. I need to find a way to force the enemy to play to my tunes rather to accept his offer and be shot to pieces in glorious but foolish frontal assault. I will comment on some more personal feelings about "castles" later on so bear with me :)

SmithF was kind enough to provide some very good ideas and I happen to remember similar advice from Seredain some time ago in some points. So how did I do in my last encounter against Dwarves in the context of these ideas?

1. Wide deployment - I was lucky not to face grudge throwers but it seems single line formation for units is a very good approach, at least at the beginning. I have relatively small units so even 15 warriors wide is possible to use. It might be good for me to do some test deployments to see what and where I can fit, especially when we take terrain into account. Last time we had difficult terrain in the middle of the battle field, which was in addition treated as hard cover. It protected my troops from crossbows but at the same time limited my own shooting and it still means nothing for war machines. Yet another reason to rethink deployment!

2. Longbows - I agree that is good to use that extra range but my opponent also knows about it and his counter to that was to deploy his crossbows a little ahead from his cannons so that in order to shoot at them I had to enter the effective range zone for quarellers. In addition his machines were deployed close enough to obtain protection from the magic standard (I tried to switch it off but failed). I could not shoot at organ guns without additional penalty due to his own units standing in front of them. I must admit that in situations like that I feel it is a little unfair that brave Dwarves do not even suffer from hearing problems due to proximity of mulch-barreled war machine while expert archers of the best elven kind have to use "the force" to hit the organ gun as they don't quite see it. My initial plan to focus my shooting with two 15 strong LSG units and Reaver Bow at blocking regiment of 10 crossbows didn't work. With their T4 and 5+/5++ save they were really well protected against my bows. Although my opponent agreed he has never rolled so well for his saves. :) It seems to me that I need to correct my deployment in such a way as to be able to focus all the shooters on a single target and maybe shoot at cannons first as I wound wound them on 6's instead of 5's and they would "only" have that ward save.

3. Flank attack and envelopment - ideally yes. But again the enemy knows that and he will counter that easily with appropriate positioning of his units. So there must be some kind of good bait for them to make some holes in that shield wall. In the last game I should have focused on hunting down Gyrocopter first but I foolishly let it kill my reavers. I think next time I will use the opportunity and catch it with my heavy cavalry while his other units will be afraid to help and to break formation. I could not even charge with reavers as he blocked passages with his Lord too and the only opportunity I had for a charge at a cannon required double 6's which this time I didn't get. If I had an opportunity to attack with 2 units of swordmasters or swordmasters+dragon princes from the front I would still do it as they can grind down the enemy even if they have a character in their ranks and I can accept such exchange provided my second wave is intact to follow.

4. Target saturation - I do have a problem with it at the moment. I need to coordinate the positioning so that something survives but with my small regiments it is obviously more difficult. For example, I was considering going with 2 eagles, Dragon Princes and Ellyrian Reavers to do attack from the flank to charge 10 crossbows (which I tried to thin down with LSG and Reaver Bow armed BSB), follow into Orgun Gun and make a breach there. However, I could not save one eagle from the cannonball (not enough terrain to hide them especially when I was second). Then, with 2 rounds of shooting resulting in a single dead Dwarf (not to mention losing majority of both LSG units) I was still facing Organ Gun and 2 regiments of crossbows. I think the odds were not great here for me and I could not provide enough targets to soak up the damage and still be able to attack with enough strength. Another example where I need to find out favorable deployment in order to be able to use target saturation to my advantage.

5. Magic - Yes, I have found out that it is important to keep casting spells to bur these scrolls (or runes :)) and sometimes the rolls for casting/dispelling can be favorable for me. If I were to cast vaul's unmaking only once but to be able to switch off that protective banner then I would say "mission accomplished" :)

I am also kin to play against castles as it gives me the opportunity to re-learn patience :) I am so eager and happy to move my units around and to charge with them quickly that it is actually helping my enemy sometimes too. I think I can expand my options by playing against such a difficult enemy too.

MSU elements in other armies

I must admit it is difficult for me to discuss army lists. Building one is of course important but it is also a very general approach and as you can see in the army list section you can discuss infinite amount of different builds without even touching the matter of how to use it. If we would use a simplified definitions that compare army list building to strategy and using it in a game as tactics, then I am definitely much better and interested in tactics :)

I am very glad that people start using small units in their armies as this may increase the versatility of the army lists further and I believe it will also spice up their games giving them more tactical opportunities. Obviously MSU elements do not change the way the whole army works into MSU style.

The army list Sinsigel provided is a good example of combined arms approach. It can use small regiments of Swordmasters and Lion Chariots as expendable units but very dangerous if unchecked. Personally I prefer 10 strong units even at a cost of making them more uniform across the board (in Sinsigel's list I would go for bigger Swordmaster units, smaller Lions and 2 Dragon Princes instead of single unit) as in my games there were few moments when I was left with 2-3 warriors thus denying points to the enemy. But it simply has to be tested, maybe for armies like the one Sinsigel wants to use such units make more sense.

I would not consider such small units as thrown away regiments, however. It might be tempting to use them in such role and sometimes it will be justified but the enemy will know about it and might not fall for such a trap (as in the case of Great Eagles). What is more, appropriate positioning should be even more important as possible panic checks due to lost regiment of 7 swordmasters can be more devastating in the case of that big, fat unit of LSG. It is unlikely but I did suffer from failed panic test on Ld9 with a re-roll when my big unit of Spears run away from the board with the Archmage among them. The best way is to simply rule out such a situation.

I would also encourage to re-thing characters equipment and still make them as flexible as possible. Fighting BSB is good, especially in a big unit but having him floating around to provide re-rolls can be quite good too. BSB on barded steed still can join infantry but is mobile enough to move around quicker and still can be attached to cavalry. It might even surprise your enemy who might assume he knows where BSB is going to be. Do not limit your options! The same with Book of Hoeth. It is a very expensive item and I am sure it is good to have but maybe your Archmage can be as useful without it while saved points might add more bodies? If you prefer to play with it then it is great but that would be my suggestion to consider.

Dwarven tactics vs. MSU HE tactics

I have never led Dwarves to battle so I am not going to claim I know how to play them. And because of that I acknowledge the fact there are important details I simply do not see as they can only be visible once some minimum game experience is required. However, there is also a reason why "castle formation" in the case of Dwarves in particular is considered less inspiring and simply boring.

This is what I observed about Dwarves from my own games and battle reports I read.

The formation they adapt each game hardly differs. In fact, its strength lies in it. You don't have to worry about the enemy that much as you have your chosen deployment. If there is a hill, you take it. If not, you take the corner. It is opposite to what I experience with my army. Each deployment is different as each time I face different enemy I am looking at a different sets of advantages/disadvantages I would like to exploit or prevent to be used against me.

The approach seems to be irrelevant to what enemy you Dwarves face. You shoot at him. If he does not come, you shoot some more. If he comes, you kill what is not shot down by your huge infantry blocks, often armed with great weapons. It is a rare situation when the enemy is patient enough to let you shoot at him (provided there are not many grudge throwers present) while he refuses to play your game and come to you to be happily chopped by S5/S6 troops. And then it really makes for a dull game but if I were a Dwarven player I would not be surprised to see something like that at a tournament. If the enemy cannot win by assaulting your castle and likely be utterly destroyed while by refusing to fight he might actually get even a draw then why come and fight? I must admit I am tempted to do so until I find a better way.

Dwarves do not have magic phase. They do not need to plan for that at all. No spell casting order or number of dice used problems for them. It is simply one less factor in the equation you need to include. And as such it does make your tactics simpler.

I do not deny that maintaining a good castle formation requires some skills. But in comparison to complex movement phase of the MSU army Dwarves are not subtle at all. You have to make a right decision as to what to shoot at first and it is an important one to make but I am not convinced it is a sign of a tactical genius either. I am sure you need to take into account angles and appropriate facing of the regiments but you don't really need to worry about exposing flank of a cavalry unit to the cannon shot thus preventing better positioning (or even making it impossible at particular moment) for combined charge. Shooting with Dwarven war machines does seem easy. You are not hindered by negative to hit modifiers. You can hide your cannons thus denying war machine hunters proper access not giving up ability to shoot at all. Your accuracy is the subject of jealousy from many other artillery crews. In the game it simply looks like you nominate the target and place the template just to see how many are hit. Are you really surprised it is not perceived as a sophisticated tactics?

I am also sure that LA does plan his moves 3 turns ahead but then it would be exaggeration for each Dwarven castle holder. As it is an exaggeration that throwing a great eagle if something goes wrong to fix the problem. If eagles are used this way it means that indeed something went wrong and that will only buy time for a turn. It also means that the enemy forced you to use the eagle they wanted and not the way you wanted. Provided you still have one to use because somehow all Dwarven players target them with cannons turn 1 :)

That is not to say Dwarves do not have problems with some other armies. But I am not convinced that in the Dwarven Castle vs. HE MSU they are at a disadvantage at all. :)

HE MSU vs. refused flank

I was about to write a little about it but it is quite late now and I would rather discuss that topic with particular army list in mind. It was actually my question to LA which I phrased badly so he understood I asked him about his HE lists :) So if you can think of an army that can use refused flank in general and that you think would be dangerous to my army in particular then let me know!

Cheers!

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:43 pm 
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The mounted BSB is a great example of a character who can often go where he likes because of his excellent re-rollable armour save.

In general I find a solid player will often use his HE characters the same way each game. An inspired player will tend to vary this more.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:51 pm 
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Thank you for your elaborate comments, Swordmaster.

The reason why I opted to take 3 units of 7 instead of 2 units of 10 was to increase tactical flexibility.
Considering anything above S3 will kill SMs easily anyway, I see little difference in 7-man unit and 10-man unit in terms of survivability.
If both are both fragile anyway, then I would choose tatical flexibility of more numerous unit, meaning I would rather take 3 units of 7-man SMs.
That was the basic idea behind using them.

Another thing I would like to mention is checking flying monsters. For an army with special infantry MSUs, flying monsters cause much headache
due to its superior mobility and thunderstomp, allowing them to easily overrun one of the MSUs, and then exploit the gaps in the army.
This is one reason why I thought it was neccessary to keep S6 WL unit away from being 'too' small, but with just enough body not to become too bulky.
14 was the optimal number I thought of.

And the aforementioned flying monster is one reason why I attempt to put in another RBT in the list. Many consider it overpriced for what its does,
but if just one of the bolt struck the bloodthirster and cause 2~3 wounds, that's enough to make my opponent think more carefully about employing it.
The idea between the 3 RBTs is to increase the chance of inflicting that 'wounds', which can be used to dictate enemy flying monsters.
Although the cost of RBT can get me another unit of 7 SMs and give me plenty of attacks compared to RBT, the RBT has a range of 48" meaning
unless the terrain is extremely disadvantageous to me, even at 4+ I can guarantee to hit. Three of them just increases the chance of hitting.

I'm planning to deploy each RBT quite far from each other, but at places that offer views clear enough to spot large flying monsters.
This can not only prevent the series of overrun which can wreck RBT batteries with single charge, but can divert the flying monster.
If it isn't flying towards the RBT, then that's more of my hitty MSUs doing other things with out distraction. If not, the RBTs can continue shooting.

These were my ideas on unit sizes and RBTs for countering the weakness of MSU(i.e. flying monsters).
But since I am merely a novice anyway, many of you might find considerable flaws in my reasoning.
I would be glad to hear any comments.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:59 pm 
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We had quite a debate on this on Swordmaster's Blog, magic bows can do this RBT job to some extent and seem to fit MSU style better. But as said Sinsigel, I think your list is a bit like Seredain's, mine or Milliardo's and all run RBT and/or magic bows, partly for this reason.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:58 am 
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Hi Sinsigel,

Thanks for the reply!

As SpellArcher has already mentioned we discussed having shooting in MSU army (at the beginning I had only 2 x 10 Archers and 5 reavers for 2400 points army) in any form, be it with all archers core and/or shooting characters as well as with RBT's. As with any choice it is the most important to know what feels the best for you as there is no absolute answer. Even if particular choice is less straightforward to use but you enjoy having it more then simply do it!

For me ability to move is the biggest priority. That is why I was reluctant to use war machines. I still rate RBT's very high and they have a lot of uses for any HE army. But I have also noticed they limit me in the movement phase. I am less decided as to the actions I want to attempt with them. I prefer more aggressive approach and I feel the best when I can move my pieces without losing their abilities in the process.

However, there are examples of MSU armies which do use some artillery. I understand your concern with big fliers and it is understandable why you want to have some anti-aircraft battery :)

This is not the only choice though. Big fliers are the reason why I am taking some champions now. My approach is as follows. If I can slow the rampage of such a powerful character long enough to other regiments to avoid his attention or even trap it so that he does not kill as much as he is worth himself then I consider the investment of my enemy not returned. With 600+ points that such models are worth then need to kill 4 of my regiments to balance things out. Every close combat phase they miss makes it more difficult for them.

With good positioning I may lose a unit over 2 rounds of combat but then the enemy needs to lose another turn to reposition. I aim to use that precious time to attack his other elements. Or if I have a chance to harm it with counter-charges to set these. It is not easy and so far I have not yet had enough opportunities to test it but my game against Bloodthirster gave me enough evidence that it can be done. While last game against VC proved I am able to destroy a powerful Lord in close combat too.

As to the size of regiments I understand your reasoning and my aim was just to say that personally I prefer more uniformity. I was not suggesting, however, 2 x 10 Swordmasters but rather 3 regiments of them with smaller White Lions. I also thought that the difference between 7 and 10 is insubstantial. But if you check my game against Dwarves in the last tournament you will see that this little difference meant my 2 and 3 strong regiments of Swordmasters not only survived the game denying the points to the enemy but they also manage to get to his war machines while he was focused on preventing fast cavalry to do so.

These are my observations. You can use them or ignore them, I am ok with both, it is your army after all and the best way is to find your own path. If you believe in lucky 7 then by all means go for it! :)

Cheers!

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:21 am 
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Greetings!

I hope mods don't mind that I resurrected that topic. My initial intention was to update it more or less regularly. I hoped that with more games I will have more examples and new observations to share. And I do!

However, while getting more experience in commanding MSU HE, I got also busy with battle reports writing. I kept the list evolving on a relatively slow manner so that I can better understand how each elements fits into the army and what role it plays. I thought I need more games to be played against specific armies to be able to add some more comments on how to tackle these enemies in particular. Then some armies got new books and the things I might have learned about them seemed out of date.

While I have written quite long posts about various aspects I still feel there might be more to add. Hence, I decided to update what I have written and hopefully make it more relevant to our new army book. I hope I will organize myself well enough to be able to survey my previous games and add some more examples on how to tackle particular problems with MSU force.

But I would be very grateful for some feedback in regards to what might be interesting aspect for you so that I can expand it in the next update. For example, you might be interested in how to fight against Monstrous Cavalry units as they are quite common now. I have some experience in to fight against them and what to avoid (as I have learned in hard way).

Please, let me know so that I can organize future additions in a better and more appealing way for you.

I hope that the updated version can be an interesting read. Looking forward to reading your comments!

Cheers!

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 4:50 pm 
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If you don't mind i have something to ask :

1) What's your opinion about frosty ? I played it quite a lot of time and i must say that it is purely awesome , but in a msu approach it would be the only big cannon target , making it not so awesome ; would you play it ? If the answer is yes , in every army or just in a particular one ?

2) I read you play swedish comp , so i suppose your lists are suited to play that way , if you were to play no limits would you still try msu or you would go for some kind of heavy hitting big unit ? If it was without special characters ?

3) How would you suggest the hero / lord choice ? Msu take a lot of points , so how would you set them ? Have you found the reaver bow potion of strength bsb valuable ? What about the general ? Have you changed mind about the loremaster or you'd still go for it ? With or without the book ? If you had to take a lv 4 wich lore would you opt for ?

4) How were your shooting units ? In the convic report you had a eagle claw some sisters and archers , are you still sure about them ? Wouldn't you take more eagle claw to threaten heavy armored units / heroes / lords ?

5) Are the eagles still so important ? Or have they lost something ? I see you still appreciate them very much , how would you split your redirectors / warmachine hunters between eagles and reavers ?

6)How do you use swordmasters ? Now that they lost rerolls they are not the reapers they were before , how wide do you run them ? Wich unit do they usually hunt ? And the white lions ? Someone thought about running them 3 wide to hunt monsters , what would you do ? Is losing an attack worth it ?

7) Is the world dragon standard so important ? I saw you were not running it , was it due to the swedish comp ? Or no unit was valuable enough to bring it to the battlefield ?

Last question is a curiosity : which book do you think is better to msu competitively speaking ? And which is the funnier ?
I'm sorry if i made some mistake , but i usually play no limits and i am not very familiar with swedish comp system .
Thank you very much , i'm always looking forward to reading your posts


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:48 am 
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Hi Shining wolf,

Thanks a lot for your questions. I really appreciate your interest in the topic!

Let me try to address your questions.

Quote:
1) What's your opinion about frosty ? I played it quite a lot of time and i must say that it is purely awesome , but in a msu approach it would be the only big cannon target , making it not so awesome ; would you play it ? If the answer is yes , in every army or just in a particular one ?
Frostheart on its own is great for sure. I actually think it is too good and because of that a lot of armies auto include at least one.

You are correct that large targets in MSU army stand out more and can attract even more unhealthy attention. Frostheart can to an extend sustain more damage than other monsters and if on top of that you run Life or High Magic you can heal it too.

I haven't used it yet so my impression is based on what I have seen so far in others games. It seems it works great with armies that have fewer units but more with "all or nothing" approach. That means that you have either powerful unit with magical banner and associated characters or support units that tend to be of minimal size and cost for that particular choice. Then it is easier for HE player to choose the fight where Frostheard adds its support.

I imagine in MSU army it might be less straightforward but it can still be very helpful as MSU force still needs to win combats. If you want a good example how it might work check Hinge's reports as he runs MSU with Frosty.

At the moment, despite its clear usefulness and the fact it will make a fantastic centre piece of an army, I do not plan to include it. First, its cost, while acceptable, means I need to get rid of 2 other units to accommodate it. And it is always hard decision. Second, I'd rather try other, less obvious choices to see what I can add to my army than to pick the model that everybody else uses.

Quote:
2) I read you play swedish comp , so i suppose your lists are suited to play that way , if you were to play no limits would you still try msu or you would go for some kind of heavy hitting big unit ? If it was without special characters ?
Not quite true. I attended some tournaments with comp, some with Swedish Comp (and indeed it becomes more and more popular among organizers of the events here) but also some without comp. What is more, I have never build my army with any comp in mind and I have not tailored my army to get a better score. Sure, getting extra points from the comp does help but it does not mean I don't have to win games against tough armies. Especially when you apply battle comp you can guarantee to get tough enemies as soon as you start winning games.

So yes, I would bring my swiss knife to any gun fight anyway :) The reason is I really feel comfortable with that army now. I never feel like I can win the game right from the start. It is always uphill battle, where I need to be on top of my performance, don't make mistakes and have some luck in dice! But it does work so I am kin to keep it going this way.

Special characters are another story. The thing is I don't quite like to incorporate them as they don't fit the theme of the Outcasts bordering on the hunted renegades. What is more, at least at the moment, I don't quite see how could I fit them. Lord characters are expensive and I would probably need to replace loremaster with one of them. Hero level characters seem to add more to big units than to my swarm.

Which characters would you consider for MSU army?

Quote:
How would you suggest the hero / lord choice ? Msu take a lot of points , so how would you set them ? Have you found the reaver bow potion of strength bsb valuable ? What about the general ? Have you changed mind about the loremaster or you'd still go for it ? With or without the book ? If you had to take a lv 4 wich lore would you opt for ?
It is my personal approach that I try to go with absolute minimum of characters. That means a general and bsb. I prefer to play with units even if characters might add more ... well ... character to the army :)

I also like them to be versatile. That is why BSB has a reaver bow and can fight in combat sometimes. New reaver bow is less accurate so you need to be more careful with him moving around. At the same time you might want him mobile because he might be needed in different areas. And with MSU army the force can be spread. At the moment, since he is pedestrian, I don't move him that much but that might change. Even placing him among Shadow Warriors can create a good situation where he can march and still shoot.

General is mandatory. Since I have only 2 characters I have always have some kind of spell caster. Archmage worked very well but I wanted to see how I can make Loremaster work. At the moment I am inclined to say that neither is better, they are simply both good but add to the army differently. I still don't want to take the book. It is a good item but I don't think it is necessary to win games. And for me it is yet another example that Mr. Ward is not good at designing rules.

I was using Metal Archmage and it was a good option. He was less subtle in his role and I often had to roll more dice for a spell simply because it was easier to choose for the enemy which one to stop. Metal lore offers some nice protection and augment in the form of Enchanted Blades (very good on Swordmasters and White Lions), so it is not only about Searing Doom. But that of course helps too.

Two other magic lores that might be worth consideration are Light and High. Light always seemed like a good choice for MSU simply because it has area of effect spells. Adding to the movement or further improving WS and I or adding attacks is always good to have. High magic is subtle and might not be that great when you have so many regiments to use lore attribute. But I run High Magic in it's older version and I had a lot of successes with it. Now it still aids the army in many way. I know that many players might be, however, concerned with no direct answer to high armour.

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4) How were your shooting units ? In the convic report you had a eagle claw some sisters and archers , are you still sure about them ? Wouldn't you take more eagle claw to threaten heavy armored units / heroes / lords ?
My shooting is solid. What I like about the list is that it does not look powerful in the shooting phase but if it is focused and the targets are chosen well, then I can do a lot of damage. See ConVic report against Warriors of Chaos for an example. In fact, I was even concerned I might have too much and I might play defensively.

2 Eagle claws are always better than one but I don't feel I absolutely need it. Yes, heavy armoured targets are always a challenge but I still need a combination of magic, shooting and combat to take them down. Another eagle claw would not change that.

However, I am considering skycutters with small bolt throwers simply because I can have versatile and fast chariots. I have a feeling I might need more speed with that army to be able to use movement phase better. I have tried to play with an army that had Silver Helms and Tiranoc Chariots instead of Sea Guard and one unit of Dragon Princes. Unfortunately we didn't have a chance to finish it. It showed, however, that the army has nice potential thanks to the speed of these units. I imagine skycutters would fit nicely into a theme.

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5) Are the eagles still so important ? Or have they lost something ? I see you still appreciate them very much , how would you split your redirectors / warmachine hunters between eagles and reavers ?
Eagles are as useful now if not more. I have always used Reavers but now I can afford two in 2400 game. However, I see their roles overlapping rather than being unnecessarily redundant. I can now harass the enemy with reavers and perform feigned flight more often while eagles are kept in cover to jump and re-direct when required. Or I can do better target saturation in war machines hunting.

Technically any unit can do re-direction for me. It is not only for eagles or reavers, since they are the cheapest. And I prefer not to sacrifice them if I can. I can, in fact, use both for double flee too now.

Basically it comes down to more tools in the box which I can then use better according to the situation. Depending on the enemy, the terrain, the set up, etc.

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6)How do you use swordmasters ? Now that they lost rerolls they are not the reapers they were before , how wide do you run them ? Wich unit do they usually hunt ? And the white lions ? Someone thought about running them 3 wide to hunt monsters , what would you do ? Is losing an attack worth it ?
I think we were spoiled with the re-rolls on SM and WL. It was nice to get used to the fact they always have them and now we lost them. Sure, it is much harder to get the damage done in comparison to what used to be. But they are still very dangerous with I5 and high WS. I guess being more careful in picking up the fights is the way to go. They still cannot be ignored.

I am still learning what formation to adopt but I see the need to run them in 3 ranks to allow for more attacks in narrower frontage. I was even considering having Swordmasters in 14 strong units to allow for 5 wide formation with 3 ranks + character. I don't want to lose that rank in case I will need to fight some big character. But 4 wide is still an option for a unit of 11 I have now.

White Lions are more likely to run in such formation since they are stubborn. Main thing is that in that formation the units can pack more attacks at narrow frontage and I can fit two better against a single enemy. i failed to do that against daemons at ConVic and that was a bad decision on my part.

I would try to pitch Swordmasters against some elite but small units of the enemy, they are still very good at urban fighting. They even might have a chance to combat single characters but it is risky business. They need to co-operate now more than before. I now more see them as units that I might need to commit to some hard combat but with an understanding that they will emerge victorious but with no shape to continue the fight.

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7) Is the world dragon standard so important ? I saw you were not running it , was it due to the swedish comp ? Or no unit was valuable enough to bring it to the battlefield ?
No, Swedish Comp had nothing to do with me not taking the banner. For me it is one of the three that I don't like about the new army book. Banner, Book and Frosty. They all are signs of poor design. Good design is when you offer choices and variety, when things can work together if you unlock the best way for them. Not when you include items/units that are so good that the rest pales in comparison.

The banner seems to benefit armies with one big unit the most. Hinge is trying it still on a 15 strong White Lion unit. I will be checking his reports to see how it goes for him. But again, I don't think I need it to win games. And I would certainly be more glad if I can pull off the victory without these cheese and poorly designed items.

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Last question is a curiosity : which book do you think is better to msu competitively speaking ? And which is the funnier ?
it was actually demonstrated that MSU is viable approach to any army. Of course some seem more likely to have it right than others.

I think all elven armies should be good at it and I am not talking about shooty-avoidance lists, usually connected with Wood Elves. I am very curious about new DE as they might pull out very interesting combinations for MSU force. They have good mixture of troops which are quite good choices for MSU. Relatively cheap monsters for high attacks, Sisters to deal with big, steadfast blocks, a lot of fast cavalry, good elite infantry etc.

Empire seems particularly good at cavalry MSU. I know people tried MSU TK (even going as far as winning a tournament with them), MSU Daemons are becoming more popular, WoC have plenty of tools for fast and hard hitting MSU where you treat lone characters as units on their own. Heck, I have seen successful O&G and Dwarven MSU too (and got beaten by one as well, haha)!

Personally, I would like to try other elven armies as MSU. With not that much shooting either. Possibly, DE are now the best equipped to run a successful MSU at tournaments. Although I must say many other players perceive HE as the best choice.

If you can laugh at animosity test then O&G might be the most funny one, while MSU Dwarves seem to me the most challenging but with a lot of surprises for the opponents.

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I'm sorry if i made some mistake , but i usually play no limits and i am not very familiar with swedish comp system .
I am not sure what kind of mistake you had in mind but I haven't spotted any! :) As I have mentioned before, I don't specifically play with Swedish Comp, it just happens that the tournaments are organized with it recently. But other than that I am happy to try my army against any other. Comp or no comp.

Thanks a lot for so many interesting questions. I hope I managed to answer them. I will be very happy to answer any more if you are interested in any aspect of the MSU. Also, if you feel like I need to elaborate more on something, just let me know!

Cheers!

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Are you seriously asking someone called Swordmaster of Hoeth why he has more swordmasters than white lions? Really?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:40 am 
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First of all i have to say that i am not exactly an experienced player , i played no more than 10 games with the old book and even though i am trying to play as much as possible with the new one i still haven't reached 15 games , so i'm sure i'll do some bad tactical mistakes sooner or later :oops:
About the theme of your army : i'm rather happy to see someone else enjoy the outcast approach , i personally prefer the " fight for your doom " style , with my fallen army . Apart from that i don't think Ward made such a bad book and i think that he tried to boost some choices in order to let High elves fight powerful combination and have a hope to win a lot of times . While i think that the world dragon banner is too much powerful because some troops have magical attacks ( daemons ? ) i think that the design itself is quite good , letting your unit have some kind of protection against really poor design characters ( in my humble opinion , like daemon princes ) , or against poor designed spells ( unfortunately the really poor spells allow no ward saves ) . That said i do think that with a msu approach the banner is free VP , wich is not really that great . My opinion about the book is that it is quite well designed ( not like the old book ) , since it can underline elves inclination toward magic without making them overpowered , while it can be abused with banner of the world dragon trying to get a miscast during the crucial turn trying the uber spell , but i think that the book was designed with the loremaster in mind , and there it is not like you have one hit knock out spell like mind razor or dwellers , but you can cast a lot of hexes buff , just slightly making your unit better ( without having to throw 4 dice to cast wyssan's therefore improving the miscast chance ) , or magic missiles , clearing chaffs . I read the convic report , and i saw you managed to lose Larry ( quite a doomed character , he fit the army theme perfectly ) with 2 dice , but i think it was a random event and you can prevent miscasts to happen , making Larry the lv4 he deserves to be . I play quite a lot the frostheart because i love the model and i spent really a lot of time painting it , i love to have a beautiful presence on the board , and she is the best i have .
I am really sad because reading your report i see you can have a lot of fun even when you lose because your opponents are actually friendly , where i play there is a problem : a player that only plays really overpowered , poor designed , mindless lists , and none seem to be able to beat him , even though he has no skill at all ( i must say that only the newbie usually play with him , since the few experienced players and me have no fun against him ) . The typical list he run is the troll heavy throgg demon prince skullcrushers chimera list , or the dwarf gunline . He is a problem because he always wants to play and if he win he start mocking you , i played against him only one time and it was a draw , due to the fact it was a objectives match , and i played Teclis in order to beat him , and if it was not for his 0 skill he would have won on turn 2 . Because of this i play frostie , so i can handle at least the demon prince while my army tries to survive and because of that i asked you about special characters . I am against special characters in general , but , apart from the " i have to win " thing , alith anar is actually taunting me really much , unfortunately he needs shadow warriors and he eats a lot of space .
I'm sorry for the rush , but ruining a beautiful game is harsh


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:41 am 
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Re special characters, I think (if you would run them) that Alith Anar would be a good fit in a MSU army (though this is theoryhammer for me, since I haven't ran him yet). Swiftstride and -1 to hit when shooting at his unit are very nice bonusses in a MSU infantry style army list. A quick to fire s7 bolttrower at BS 7 (which means you almost always hit on 2+) is just icing on the cake. And because he's relatively cheap, you can still fit larry or an archmage in with him.

As for the BotWD I agree with you that it's not nescesary in a MSU list. In a small unit, the benefit is lower relatively speaking, it is easier to get it and the points for it. Frosty I can see having a bigger impact on your armylist. Of course, taking it means losing other stuff. And that then runs the risk of taking away from the MSU list feel of the army. That is at least what I see in lots of army lists. Take 25-40% of characters, fill up core, take frosty and then just take a single big unit in special.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:50 am 
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Hi guys!

Thanks for more comments!

@ Shining Wolf

Experience is not a guarantee you stop making mistakes! It may be less likely or maybe you can see the traps better but unfortunately it is still possible. Hence, if I were you, I would rather try to be optimistic and focus on what you do correct. :)

I like our new book, I think that overall it is a good one. It may be I was too opinionated about it in my previous posts. However, I uphold my opinion that if you include things like Skullcannon, Daemon Princes or Banner of the World Dragon then it is a sign of not good design. I understand what might be the reason but I disagree it has to be this way. At the moment we cannot change it but vocalising the disagreement with the current shape of the list is one of the ways I can give feedback to the designers. Are they going to hear it or do something about it in the future is totally different matter!

I certainly hope Larry will behave next time but just to help him with it I gave him Earthing Rod! I really like his versatility and I think he will do great as soon as I will learn how to use him better.

It is great you enjoy using your Frostheart and that you put time and effort to make it look good on the battlefield. That is a very good approach that takes into account other aspects of the hobby. If the look of the miniatures was not important why not to play with paper versions instead? You could even hide them better behind terrain! :)

Indeed, I believe I was lucky to have friendly opponents. I think it is partially the attitude of players in Australia, where they play hard but fair. Of course you might be unlucky to play against somebody with totally different mentality (and I saw it happening) but in general they seem to be like that. Which is great! I wish more communities were similar.

There are a few things you can do against such individuals. First, you have a choice not to play against them. It is your quality time when you want to spend it to have fun. No point wasting it on an annoying opponent. But make sure he knows why. Mocking your opponent after lost game is simply lame.

If you can go over it then you can actually use that to your advantage. You see, people who play tough armies can be overconfident. They constantly win so they might lower their guard. While you can start designing ways to beat their armies. Maybe it is also a solution. Play against the army, not the person.

I prefer to find solutions with my existing force rather that changing army list as a first step. I played against heavy troll army with throgg and they are still beatable. Trolls are surprisingly vulnerable to shooting if sisters are added to the equation. Just a single wound makes them lose their regeneration. Then the whole army can pick up them as the target and trust me, that hurts. If your opponent runs a single unit of them it is even better because you can relatively easy divert them. Or slow them down so that they don't see combat until you are ready.

Another good thing against trolls is when you have dragon princes with banner of eternal flame attacking together with Lions and/or Swordmasters. Dragon Princes attack first and then elite infantry is next but trolls have just lost their regeneration again! If you combine both, shooting and close combat abilities, you have a very good chance to destroy such a regiment entirely!

The bottom line is that you have a choice. Either to stop playing annoying opponent or steal yourself and try to beat him in a way he does not expect. Either way I think it is better to focus on the game even if such a player may ruin fun for you once in a while.

@ Rod

Alith Anar was suggested to me before and I agree he has some nice skills that might add to the overall army performance. I will see if I can come up with a list that includes him just for fun!

Sometimes it is ok to include more expensive model in the MSU army. Frostheart does not cost more than the Loremaster after all. On the other hand going for a Dragon and still calling it MSU is plain silly. It really depends on the overall composition and what you intend to do with it in particular for that army list. Simply because similar units do not perform the same roles in different armies.

The good thing is that there are a few players trying their own versions of MSU (Hinge and Eltherion spring to mind) so that you might observe how different configurations work.

Cheers!

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Are you seriously asking someone called Swordmaster of Hoeth why he has more swordmasters than white lions? Really?


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 2:47 pm 
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Thank you a lot for your advices , i feel relieved now . I'll try msu and hopefully i'll finally manage to learn how to play with it , though i think i'm making a variation since i'm most likely going to run a book of hoeth archmage , the idea is to try out all the 9 lores , starting with shadow ( even though it is the mainstream choice i do like it flavorwise , i will still have to try the other 8 ) . I usually play 2000 points , so it will be a smaller army , even then i hope 13 units are enough XD and i'll give sisters a chance ( i played them and i had a lot of win with them , but i changed them because stats wise the bolt throwers are much stronger , since bolt throwers aren't doing that much i think i might have done a mistake :oops: , but i'll run 1 eagle eye anyway ) and even the eagle will see the battlefield this time . I have to see how the experiment goes since i'm running all the " mainstream " choices ( 2x white lions , 2x swordmasters , 1x dragon princes ) , and i' most likely going to change something , because i'd really like to try chariots out ( all of them , especially the white lion's one ) and even shadow warriors , silver elms , phoenix guards , sea guards and maybe even spears . Unfortunately i'm not going to play anytime soon due to personal matters , but it would be awesome to hear some opinions of something you already tried out.
It's always a pleasure to read your consideration :)


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 3:45 am 
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Hi Shining wolf!

Sorry for a delay but I was at a tournament over a weekend (expect 5 battle reports in following weeks).

The good thing about MSU and in particular with the new book, is that there is no one way of doing that. So even if you have a similar concept it will play differently because you, as a player, have different approach and might take different units that suit your style better.

Every unit you take have a role to play. I don't like direct comparisons between the units as they might fulfil different roles in different armies. They often have different objectives in different games as the enemies and scenarios might call for specific configurations. That is the reason where I like the variety of regiments as their varied skills might overlap but not be the same at all.

One such situation is with Eagle Claw and Sisters. If I had 140 points only I would take one each simply because they complement each other perfectly. The same with Lions and Swordmasters. There is nothing wrong in going all sSsters, all eagle claws or all Lions if that is what you prefer. I am just saying it is something that works for me because I have found out I can fight better with varied army rather than the one that runs the same units everywhere.

I have some more observations to share after the games so stay tuned for updates. I will start with battle reports but I hope to come back with more tactics orientated updates in this topic as well as some army list musings in another section of the forum.

As a teaser I can say that I definitely need to decrease the number of bows as I am way too static and tended to choke myself in deployment sometimes simply because I was reacting than acting.

Cheers!

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:20 pm 
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Hi Swordmaster! Good to see that you're still on the tournament scene and I'm looking forward to reading the reports.

If you don't mind, I'd like to start a conversation about Musicians. I know that you rate these really highly. Are there any points in your games where you can identify where having a musician would have been useful, or where having one allowed you to do something you otherwise wouldn't have?


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:47 am 
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Hi Clockwork!

Thanks! Seems like tournaments are my only opportunity to play recently. partially my own fault :( Anyway, I think I have quite interesting games to report from the Castle Assault and I will try to write the reports fast enough!

You are correct, I rate musicians very high. Apart from situations where having one helped to rally or win some combat by 1 I had a few situations where their presence was crucial. Out of my memory a few examples:

1. This one is actually when I lacked musicians. In one of my older games against Beastmen I was testing the army where I saved points by not including musicians but trying to get more warriors. As a result a unit of White Lions did absolutely nothing when the enemy fled and they could not re-join the rest of the army due to lack of musician. They managed to reform but these 5" less was enough for them to be too far to participate in the combat.

2. Another old game, against Vampires. There was a wounded BSB on a nightmare who was going to approach my units and possible interfere with the setting of multiple charges against Necromancer bunker. I swift reformed archers and shot at him, dealing that last, crucial wound. Lucky, as he had 2+ armour but if you don't try you don't get the results. Without musician I would be out of range.

3. More recent examples, which I hope to illustrate with upcoming reports. I was experimenting with changing formations for Swordmasters and Lions during the game. Without musicians my battle line would be too static. instead, I could reform Swordmasters and Lions into 3 ranks and attack Gor horde with more units and with more attacks while kept moving at the same time, keeping the pressure on my enemy and not letting him to reform or charge any of my units alone.

4. Another example from one of the games in the last tournament. I set up a multiple charge against one enemy unit. However, another powerful regiment was approaching my unit with Loremaster from behind. My estimation was I needed 2 turns of combat to grind that unit down and because of that I needed to secure the safety of regiments participating in the assault. I swift reformed archers to act as a re director (I had no eagles at this stage and other light troops were engaged elsewhere). Without the musician and these 2-3" extra move after the reform I would not be able to prevent the enemy from attacking my troops.

I hope these examples illustrate the importance of having musicians. I tried to show these that are less obvious (i.e. not rallying or combat resolution bonuses) but crucial for controlling movement phase.

let me know if these are good enough :)

Thanks for your question and if you have some more, I will do my best to answer them!

Cheers!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:08 pm 
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Thanks for your feedback! Looking forward to the examples.

On another note, how do you find the lack of a dispel scroll?


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:35 pm 
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Hi Clockwork,

In general it was not that bad, I expected to miss it more often. Of course, there are moments where that scroll would save lives. For example, in the game against O&G at ConVic I could have saved Larry with it. Instead of keeping the dice and then failing to dispel 'Eadbutt I would simply use scroll.

However, the trouble is that you might want to use one too early. And a few games when Larry blew himself up showed it is still quite ok to play without any spell caster.

Cheers!

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Hi, Swordmaster, and congratulations on your threads regarding MSU. I usually do not comment, but I've read your threads and thoughts since the previous army book, as this is a playstyle I love, even if I'm still maturing as a player. I've got a few questions, if you do not mind.

1) I understand you dislike Frosty, Booky and Banny for being autoincludes and crutches, and I agree. However, I'd like to hear your opinion on Flamy. I mean, it is not a bad monster, but is not such a powerful and gamechanging beast as frosty, and actually I think it could fit a MSU playstyle. True, it presents a big target, which is not the preferred idea for MSU, but the way it works and its secondary ability could make it a reasonable option, and it isn't that expensive.

2) How do you (or would you) counter CacoSpam? I've seen some builds based on it, and on paper it seems to be a tactic fairly dangerous to MSU.

3) A friend of mine is picking Dark Elves, and I fully expect a dark elf gunline coming my way. I've read some of your reports against Wood Elves, which would share some of their strengths (higher maneuverability and better shooting), but I feel they are completely different beasts. On paper, their high amount of quality shooting shreds small units (thanks VotA for panic rerolls, though), and the advantage of Hatred is maximized against small units that intend to win quickly. I've devised some strategies based on screening and cavalry, but I'd like to hear your oppinion.

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Hi Shadeseraph!

Thanks a lot for kind words! I am glad you like what I write and I hope it is useful for your own games. And believe it or not I still consider myself as a player who has lots to learn. I just find that when I share my experiences I can grow faster :)

Also, thanks for your questions! They always help to look at many subjects from different point of view or even bring my attention to some topics I haven't encountered yet. So for the future record, if you have any just shoot!

1) Just to clarify a little. Yes, you might say I don't like the items/unit because they are too good for the money and they take away variety of otherwise quite a nice selection of choices. But they are of course good things to have and if a player wants them in their armies, then that is their choice. I will not criticize them for picking the best tools they think the book offers. However, if these choices are absolutely necessary to win games is another story. :)

I haven't consider Flamespyre in my army yet so what I am going to attempt it to do some theory hammer. It is indeed a pricey unit but not way above the cost of some of the regiments I have already in my force. Especially, if you include bonus for banners. Flame Phoenix has a few nice advantages one could use for MSU force.

It flies, it has ward save, it has magical and flaming attacks. It can be very good then at destroying some ethereal creatures, especially single banshees but also small units of hexwraiths on his own. Since it flies it can support any units and is not restrained in movement. I wonder if it could help in hunting down some regeneration sporting units/monsters. Unfortunately it has lower initiative so cannot strike before Lions or Swordmasters, stripping the enemy from their regenerative abilities. Just wondering here if that could be the thing to do.

With T5 and ward save it is a little better protected from small arms fire and might have a chance to survive an odd cannon ball too. It can then be used as a war machine hunter. A little expensive one but at the same time more reliable than great eagle I think (of course you can point out you can have 4 eagles for the same prize).

It's ability to inflict more hits when flying over the units with ranks can be quite useful but I think one should simply keep moving him over as many regiments as possible. During the course of the game it might amount to some considerable number of wounds. The more ranks the better but small support units can suffer from that too.

It might attract unhealthy attention unfortunately, simply due to its size. I have noticed that enemy often chooses something that might not be the most dangerous target but the one that is the most eye catching. Hence shooting at units with ranks with stone throwers just because they can inflict the most amount of damage. No matter if elite infantry may be more dangerous. Of course, you can try to use terrain, if possible. Or use the fact that the enemy will aim at him to your advantage. They might not target anything else but since it is 200+ points it is quite expensive distraction.

At the moment I do not plan to include any Phoenix in the army, although painted well it would look great. I am rather slow in incorporating new things and Phoenix was not on top of my list. But I will definitely try to look at the options with more games I play and maybe I will include him one day. :)

2) I am not familiar with CacoSpam. As I have said I have a lot to learn. :) Could you explain what it is?

3) I played against relatively shooty Dark Elves against GuessRange whole liked to field 3 bolt throwers, 2 units of shades and crossbows. It was painful also because it combined well with his Dark Magic. The shooting alone is already bad though. I don't have the definitive answer but there were a few things that worked:

- 24" range - it can be a problem for DE. So try to avoid them, especially at the start so that they need to march towards you and still cannot shoot at you. Positioning your regiments 6" away from their deployment edge is sufficient to do that. It also allows to shoot at them with archers and inflict some casualties. Remember they don't have 5++ from Cauldron anymore so might be more fragile.
- Magic Missiles - I like them a lot as they are very good at destroying Shades or Dark Riders. Very dangerous troops and while Dark Riders still can be dispatched by shooting (4+ armour will be annoying here though) then Shades often deploy in woods thus making them very difficult to shift. And these two units have to be priority to destroy.
- Double line formation - with MSU approach you might be in position where you can fool the enemy by deploying some of the units on one flank and then reinforce that flank with more regiments. There two ways of doing so. First, you are deploying infantry at 6" mark. If the enemy deploys his shooters there then you deploy heavy cavalry there as well. And move as fast as possible to either block the shooters or, if you have enough troops left, to charge them. If not you infantry behind should arrive intact and destroy them in combat. You just need to pick these carefully as they might still inflict casualties in combat due to hatred/ASF and not that good armour save of our elites. Variation is to move cavalry and some infantry (lions) as screen for Swordmasters as they are more fragile against shooting but better in combat against enemy shooters. Second option is to deploy cavalry first, thus hopefully making the enemy think you will deploy infantry on the opposite flank.

So yes, as you said screening and the use of cavalry is in general the way to go I think. Add your own shooting and magic to the equation, focus the fire to eliminate the most dangerous threats. IF playing MSU you need to win against your enemy support units. Otherwise they will not let you attack big blocks on your terms.

And whatever tactics you are going to employ you need to remember that there will always be a lot of bloodshed between both armies. :)

I hope that helps.

Cheers!

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 4:16 pm 
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Thanks for your answers!

Yes, my thoughts on the flamespyre phoenix ran across the same line. I have to say I play mostly against cannonless armies, which is an advantage at fielding them, but I also agree they attract insane amounts of cannonfire, even if there are better targets.

Regarding CacoSpam, it is a tournament build based around the lore of slannesh, specifically the Cacophony choir spell (unit in range suffers 2D6 hits that wound on 4+, no armor save allowed. If at least one unsaved wound is suffered, the unit gains ASL and Random Movement (D6) till next magic phase. Can be bubbled at 12"), though it also abuses Phantasmagoria (unit takes LD tests on 3D6 discarding lowest, can be bubbled at 24") and, to a lesser degree, Hysterical Frenzy (Remain in play. Can be cast in either allies or enemies, unit gains Frenzy, or +1 attack if already frenzied, and suffers D6 S3 hits each turn).
It is one of those builds that just go for casting the same spell again and again, and the thing is absolutely deadly to almost anything if it succeeds even once, not just for the wounds, but because ASL and Random Movement (D6) is crippling.
Both WoC and DoC can use it, through it is more common on DoC lists. The casting is usually made by a mage on steed of slannesh, which grants him the Fast Cav rule.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 11:19 am 
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Hi Shadeserph,

Thanks a lot for explanation! I have not encountered such army yet but but team mate, Adam G., had a daemonic army with this concept in mind, I believe. He had a Damon Prince of Slaanesh and a Herald of Slaanesh on Steed among others. So these two spellcasters were there to provide necessary spells. He also tried to benefit from lore attribute to heal his daemonettes or even more importantly, his fiends.

I watched his games against WoC and OK during Bedhammer time. He lost both only to come 4th over all during the tournament, so I guess it worked! :)

Do you have a specific army in mind or just the one that has either Keeper of Secrets or Daemon Prince of Slaanesh + Herald of Slaanesh on Steed? Let's assume, for time being, it is all about level 4 + level 1. I will go through all spells of the deck now and try to think what kind of threat it is for MSU force. It is actually good combination because it allows to pick 5 spells and almost guarantees having the ones DoC player wants.

0. Leash of Slaanesh

Easy to cast and S3 with AP is enough to claim some casualties from the lightly armored, T3 elves. Also, with usual great speed of Slaaneshi daemons they can potentially position themselves at a flank and try to hit several units at the same time. Potentially quite a significant amount of damage for not much of power dice investment. Still not the priority to dispel. I am also not sure if any of the usual spells would be exchanged for this one.

1. Acquiescence

Game changing spell if you ask me. A little less useful against MSU force as I try to rely on charges with more units than is required because I want insurance against poor rolls for charge distances. But it still can mess up the plans. Also, being cheap to cast it can also be used to draw dispel dice. Dangerous but will depend on the particular magic phase and how many power dice my opponent has.

2. Pavane of Slaanesh

Sniping spell. With Ld 9 and re-roll I have relatively good chances to still pass the test even on 3d6. Still allows ward saves so little trinkets such as Golden Crown might be helpful here. But again, a good spell as it can be cast with 2 dice safely and forces tough decisions.

3. Hysterical Frenzy

Quite interesting because subtle spell. Forces frenzy checks and might pull out a unit into less favorable position. Less useful against small units as pulling out one is not going to affect battle line as much as in the case of the army with fewer regiments. Can also backfire if you cast it on hard hitting units such as Swordmasters. d6 S3 at the end can be annoying but even with 6 hits I might not suffer that badly. Of course, every wound counts and I would not like to have that but I think that the risk is acceptable. I think I would let it through unless it is cast to finish the unit or there are no other spells to cast.

4. Slicing Shards

Can be deadly if unlucky with Ld tests but unlike S or T tests the odds are in elves favor. 10+ means that even level 4 might want to use at least 3 dice to cast it comfortably. Getting 6+ o 2d6 is not that difficult but it is approaching a more risky margin. Another spell from dangerous but manageable and while risky it can be let through.

5. Phantasmagoria

Game winning spell. Cast at appropriate time can affect crucial combat. Not only target has to roll 3d6 on fear/terror tests but also for break tests which can be that crucial difference between staying in combat or losing it. Relatively easy to cast and with very good range, especially on highly mobile caster. Can also mess with movement phase when units are required to swift reform. Option to cast bubble is difficult but might be risked. However, I am not sure DoC player would do that often. There is a risk of a miscast and Daemon Prince is expensive (can also be a general) and that spell might not be the one to take that risk often. Definitely a spell to watch out for in the middle of the game where combats erupt.

6. Cacophonic Choir

Another game winning spell. at 12+ it requires 3-4 dice to cast though so one needs a good roll for winds of magic. Relatively short range is limitation but again, not as big due to speed of Slaaneshi daemons. Something to make a priority to dispel as 2d6 hits is always dangerous to my units. In particular as a bubble version. Quite risky for me to keep all dispel dice for that one as it often happens that the opponent casts it with enough dice to get irresistible force or the result high enough to be to difficult to beat with level 2.

All in all a dangerous deck with some subtle spells but I think still manageable because not all the spells will be possible to cast at the same time. Some of them can be let through at some risk. Choir is a no-go spell. Phantasmagoria kind of too but as long as it is not cast into combat it can be less dangerous.

Unless I am missing something 5 spells are possible to prioritize well enough to minimize the efficiency of their impact on the game, with the usual exception of above average rolls for casting values.

Let me know what you think!

Cheers!

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:53 pm 
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The main problem I see is that Cacophonic Choir needs to be successful only once to be a pain. If the enemy is focused on casting it, he will do it (the average 7-4 phase allows 5 dicing the spell for a fairly reasonable success level, for example). Of course, despite the famed daemonic mobility getting the right positioning to abuse the spell is not that simple because of the short range.

Pavane of Slaanesh can be used to force the enemy to keep potential targets (RBT,noble,Larry) close in a MSU army, limiting their mobility. This isn't such a big deal, though, as your characters are more a support tool than anything. On the other way, it can be used to force easily nuke-able formations.

There is something to be said about Hysterical Frenzy ruining support paths and baits, but with elven leadership this is not such a big deal. That said, I can see it being cast on a unit of reavers or an eagle to force ItP/Frenzy on them. Solid damage, and a failed frenzy test is a redirector / double fleer less. Even if it doesn't die, ItP means it isn't pulling flees.

Finally, there is the obvious combination of bubbled Phantasmagoria with anything strong enough to cause panic tests, but this is quite unreliable due to requiring two spells. A Skullcannon could prove problematic, though.

In general, I think the biggest limiting factor should be movement for those wizards. As stated, bubbled cacophony has a fairly small range, so forcing the enemy to endanger his mages to pull it could work quite well. You have strong shooting, which is a plus, and the chariots could be threatening enough to dissuade it from flying to your backline.

Of course, the problem is dealing with a flying daemon that can get to your backline while also dealing with Nurgle Beasts and a couple skullcannons...

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Hi Shadeseraph,

Indeed, certain spells have to be cast only once to destroy many units or inflict crippling casualties. Because of that one should not resort only to magic phase management (sorry for being too serious about the game of toy soldiers :)).

One of the best way to deal with magic is assassination. Daemon Prince in DoC is not as tough as its WoC counterpart. It is relatively vulnerable to shooting, even S3 bows can harm it if you point enough of them. Denying it safe landing zones can be good idea too as it limits the use of the spells and can allow to trap it. With MSU army you have more opportunities to do so with more units available. DP is usually expensive enough that DoC player might be very careful with it thus further limiting its use.

Herald is also a vulnerable target. It as only 2 wounds after all and 5+ ward save to speak about. Not the best protection in the universe. Targeting it in combat can rob the unit from ASF but also get rid of the spell caster. It is in particular important if herald has one of the dangerous spells.

It is not easy to do but it is one of the options one should use to win the game. Pose a threat to the most valuable model of enemy army. I would gladly send 2-3 units to try and destroy DP as its impact on the game can be far greater than the point cost suggests. And an exchange in this case is quite good anyway.

Cheers!

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Great write up as always Swordmaster.

The MSU seems to lend itself well to a wide range of armies, the HE's in particular with their ASF seem to take full advantage of their maneuverability. This being said there are a few armies which may have more difficulties adopting this MSU Strategy.

Tomb Kings, Vampire Counts and Daemons spring to mind as their units have an inability to flee if needed.

Further army restrictions
Tomb Kings: Inability to march is restrictive
Vampire Counts: Only march close to Vampires or if a Vampiric unit.

Daemons not as restricted.

also

Horde Armies
Skaven and Orcs & Gobbos may also struggle using an MSU approach due to their poor leadership in some cases and squabbling (Greenskins).

Other problem units are Stupid Units which may not always do as they are told #-o

This being said it is the variety of Strategies and Tactics that makes Warhammer Fantasy such an intriguing game to play.

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Hi Eltherion,

Thanks! :)

It is quite interesting that you picked these 3 armies because:

1. Nick Hoen won CanCon with an army that can be considered TK MSU
2. Nick LeGrand came second with DoC MSU at Castle Assault

So as you can see there are ways to create a successful MSU army with any other army book. The difference is that they simply have to be used accordingly to their own specific rules. Hence, there might be some similarities but there will also be a lot of differences.

It is of course true that they need to cope with some limitations. For example, TK might include more units Entombed Beneath the Sands.

Very often people use the argument that MSU has to have access to fleeing troops to be successful. I disagree. Sure, it is useful ability but my experience tells me that it is not the best option and definitely does not work the way you think (if at all). First, enemy very often can simply re-direct so if you flee with 2 units at the same time it starts posing problems as even with MSU you might not have enough of them to cover the gaps, might cause panic (often it is not possible to avoid running through your own units completely) and simply wastes time as you have to rally and move back to starting point. Two turn to be where you were.

At the same time units from undead or daemonic armies don't panic, don't fear etc. It is their significant advantage in general and for MSU in particular. MSU forces might be spread out and not in the close proximity of general or better - BSB. Especially for Lions and Sowrdmasters, failing that fear test can be deadly as they suddenly hit on 5+ and they don't have re-rolls. ItP units don't care and are very reliable in that regard.

Horde armies can have their own Multiple Units armies too. For them "small" can be relative and might be more about point cost rather than numbers. They also have a variety of war machines or very special types of troops that can mitigate the weaknesses. Or you simply need to cope with some things and just keep pushing forward. :)

But as you say there are varieties and they make that game interesting. The main thing is not to copy but be inspired and search for your own path!

Cheers!

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Good to see the MSU approach being used with TK's and Demons.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:25 pm 
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Yeap, but the main thing is that it is good to see people willing to try new things. It does not have to be MSU at all. It is enough that people try to find their own ways instead of copying army lists.

Cheers!

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