3. Supportive Units
3. Supportive Units
Of all the sections in this guide supportive units covers by far the most diverse range of unit-types. The roles for support units are equally varied, these include providing close support to you main blocks, being able to harass and threaten the enemy, and hunting down enemy war-machines.
Small & Medium Infantry
These support units can be units of orcs or goblins of pretty much any type, typically ranging between 15-25 models. Such units can provide close support to your main anvils, ideally used for making flank charges on an enemy engaged to the front. Alternatively a small to medium support unit can be use to guard the flanks of your main-battleline against the likes of enemy skirmishers or fast cavalry seeking to move around it. A third use for such a unit is a 'bunker' to hide your important characters, this unit sits just behind your main battleline from where characters in the unit can cast spells or provide a leadership bubble to the units infront. Lastly your small Night Goblin units of 20 can be used as additional FDS 'fanatic delivery systems', giving you more options on how and when to lauch these whirling maniacs, this is typically where I deploy my fanatics so that they can be unleashed on the flanks causing havic. It is also slightly 'safer' for your units as typically your stuff is only in roughly 90 degrees and his units in 180 degrees. It is however not all the Orcy!
In terms of equipment you have all the same options as the large anvil blocks. On smaller detatchments of around 15 orcs the additional hand weapon is a good option (such a unit will mostly be trying to get flank charges). It is also common for small-medium infantry units to carry bows or short bows. In this way they have further means to harass and annoy your enemy, maybe even cause some significant damage. Greenskin archery is not brilliant (understated) but if taken in sufficient numbers your missile troops can certainly prove themselves useful. It is possible to build these units slightly wider, for example orc arrer boyz work well 6 wide since you get the extra shots from the front 2 rows and are still relatively sturdy in close combat. This tactic is less advisable on goblins who are weaker on both counts. A few players however like to take goblin archers in bigger horde units, the theory behind this is that you then try and buff their shooting with either The Spider Banner or the spell Gift of the Spider God for a horde of poisoned shots with a very limited range.
There is plenty of debate on what is a better points investment for the supporting infantry unit: bows or shields? In the current edition I would say either option is perfectly good depending on your personal preference. Common Goblins however have the unique option to take both shields AND short-bows (a bit like the High Elf Lothern Sea Guard but without spears or smelling funny). This is a really great option that gives you the best of both worlds. I find players who field these Goblin Sea Guard as highly suspicious and rather poncy.
At current point-prices wolf riders and spider riders are about equal in terms of value-per-point. They are typically taken in units of 5-10. They can be use for war-machine hunting, harassing the flanks of the enemy, or supporting your main blocks with flank charges. A large unit of 10 or more spiders can also be used to storm buildings. It is worth taking at least 1 weapon upgrade on the wolf riders, in other words either spears or short-bows. It is also worth getting a shield for the extra save. Both units will want a musician but the standard is only really worth considering on larger units of 2 or more ranks. Despite their potential uses fast cavalry are also quite fragile. These days many players will opt for just 1 small unit or not take them at all in my case.
Boar riders are traditionally used as an expensive hard-hitting unit (see section 2) but taken in a small unit of 5 they can be used in many of the same supportive roles as fast cavalry above. They won't get a vanguard move or other fast cavalry special rules but on the other hand they are a lot more hitty and are that bit more resilient. As discussed in "Killer Units" the Savage Orc riders can take either additional hand weapon or the spear and shield, the common orc rider should take a spear and shield. You don't want to over-price this unit so for command options I would take just a musician.
If you don't want a full-size unit these can also be taken in small units of 1s and 2s. Such units can fit nicely inbetween your anvils to provide those units with close support.
Chariot types, Pump Wagons and Mangler Squigs
Of the two chariots the Boar Chariot is slower but more resilient, making it reasonably suited to providing close support for your infantry in a similar way to trolls above. Wolf chariots, Pump Wagons and Mangler Squigs can be used to sweep down the flanks or simply rush ahead of your main battle-line. The main purpose is to get stuck in and cause as much damage and disruption in the enemy as possible, or at the very least divert the attention of enemy war machines. All these three are relatively good value, strong enough to potentially cause nasty damage but also cheap enough to be expendable. Finally the extra crewman is a good buy for both types of chariot, the extra wolf is generally not good since you don't really want to increase the frontage as more models can then attack your rickety chariots and as they're held together with spit and string thats not a good thing really
Last edited by Ratvan; 05-09-12 at 12:35 PM.