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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-18-13, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
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Default Protecting Swordmasters.

There no doubt that Swordmasters are a very strong combat shock unit that can deal with almost any opponent (assuming no magical buffs, etc.) in close-quarters fighting. However, with T3 and 5+ armour save, they are relatively easy to kill at range, whether using guns or magic or both.

Therefore, the only way to protect them is using magic. In a small game (i.e. > 1000 pts) where a Level 3 caster is not an option, which Lore would you recommend for a Level 2 Mage with Seerstaff of Saphery? Also, would you give the Swordmasters the Banner of Sorcery or would the Banner of Arcane Protection perhaps be a better option?

Moreover, I feel that Swordmasters could be supported with archers because unless you are fighting Chaos, enemy wizards are usually in bunkers that are either very weak (e.g. clanrat horde) or not numerous. Enough rounds of shooting and panic checks will hopefully render the enemy wizard dead and if not, the +3 to Dispel should force it to throw many dice at a spell and hopefully, kill it itself.

Please advise. Thank you.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-19-13, 05:21 PM
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I've actually seen some pretty good results in not putting too much into them. Small units of 10, as flanking elements for a larger unit, work. And, lets face it, there are several much less fragile choices for a larger unit. White Lions and Phoenix Guard aren't killed instantly by shooting like Swordmasters are. Most shooting units can get their points back easily by killing Swordmasters.

As a flanking element, however, you make them have to choose between affecting your primary unit, which will be a much bigger threat when it hits combat, or letting the Swordmasters get to whichever combat they want to. Even if you lose half the Swordmasters unit, you still can get most of your attacks from the front rank, while your primary unit is left to take on the enemy without much casualties, holding it in place for the Swordmasters to cause damage, the one thing they're really good at.

Of course, if you're a good player, using magic to buff Swordmasters near the beginning of the game can have good results. First, you'll want to look at what the enemy will want to choose. There's an element of psychology in this that you'll just have to look at the person to tell, and not everyone has the knack for it, so I won't go into that, but you can generally assume that they'll have had some experience against Swordmasters that resulted in a large dead unit. Some more experienced players may go for the larger unit anyways, trusting to another element to take out the Swordmasters, if they have them, but what you really want to look for is opportune targets other than the Swordmasters. If the only other thing they could really target with shooting is Phoenix Guard or White Lions or something, using a level 2 to buff them with Shield of Saphery with your last 2 dice is a good idea. My experience with Dark Elves and Cauldron of Blood has more than convinced me that a 5+ armor save and 5+ ward save is just about the best protection an elf could hope for when not cavalry. Generally, the buffs from other lores would be too expensive to waste on a unit that's really best as a supporting element.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-19-13, 07:04 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masked Jackal View Post
I've actually seen some pretty good results in not putting too much into them. Small units of 10, as flanking elements for a larger unit, work. And, lets face it, there are several much less fragile choices for a larger unit. White Lions and Phoenix Guard aren't killed instantly by shooting like Swordmasters are. Most shooting units can get their points back easily by killing Swordmasters.

As a flanking element, however, you make them have to choose between affecting your primary unit, which will be a much bigger threat when it hits combat, or letting the Swordmasters get to whichever combat they want to. Even if you lose half the Swordmasters unit, you still can get most of your attacks from the front rank, while your primary unit is left to take on the enemy without much casualties, holding it in place for the Swordmasters to cause damage, the one thing they're really good at.

Of course, if you're a good player, using magic to buff Swordmasters near the beginning of the game can have good results. First, you'll want to look at what the enemy will want to choose. There's an element of psychology in this that you'll just have to look at the person to tell, and not everyone has the knack for it, so I won't go into that, but you can generally assume that they'll have had some experience against Swordmasters that resulted in a large dead unit. Some more experienced players may go for the larger unit anyways, trusting to another element to take out the Swordmasters, if they have them, but what you really want to look for is opportune targets other than the Swordmasters. If the only other thing they could really target with shooting is Phoenix Guard or White Lions or something, using a level 2 to buff them with Shield of Saphery with your last 2 dice is a good idea. My experience with Dark Elves and Cauldron of Blood has more than convinced me that a 5+ armor save and 5+ ward save is just about the best protection an elf could hope for when not cavalry. Generally, the buffs from other lores would be too expensive to waste on a unit that's really best as a supporting element.
Indeed, I'd agree in the case of large games. However, there isn't much room to have a big unit in 800 points and annoyingly, I lack enough Spearmen to use the hammer-and-anvil type tactic you seem to be describing.

In my list, I have a rather large unit of Swordmasters, 16 in fact, and hope to use magical buffs to keep it alive. One problem, I don't get first turn then they die.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-19-13, 07:33 PM
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They are great in small units: I used to use mine in units of 7 in a single rank: they were massively cheap but would make a dent in any unit they hit. In the flanks of the army they'll massacre almost anything they meet while they are also great if supporting bigger ranked up infantry blocks that suffer from low offensive output (spearmen and PGs).

If you are going for a big block of SMs then I would advise either taking a high lv life wizard to give them regen or +2/4 toughness (and possibly regrow some models) or taking a large number of fast 'hunter' units such as silver helms and eagles: eagles can kill warmachines or hold ranged units for a turn or 2 (depending on how poor they are the eagle can often win, especially in the flank) while the silverhelms can kill weak units or hold stronger units.

In your example of the wizard I would say that eagles are massively better then archers: the archers would have to spend many turns firing at almost any units to make much of a dent (looking at 24+ shots to even cause a panic check in something like a 20 strong clanrat unit) and more like 75 shots before they're becoming likely to fail it.
On the other hand a pair of eagles charging that unit, especially if at least one of them is in a flank, should win/draw (and leave at least 1 unbroken) the fight for a few rounds stopping magic for a few turns until the SMs are in combat. Against skaven eagles also have the fun time of charging and easily killing weapons teams and then overrunning into infantry units to guarantee them missing a turn of moving/shooting/offensive magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hasnat View Post
In my list, I have a rather large unit of Swordmasters, 16 in fact, and hope to use magical buffs to keep it alive. One problem, I don't get first turn then they die.
If you're having this issue then deploy in terrain (such as a forest) and have a hero with the sacred incense. -2 to shooting means they'll take almost no damage from most shooting and if you have a mage with a dispel scroll (could even be the model with sacred incense) then you're magical defence is about as solid as it gets in low points games.
I would also think about trying to up those SMs to at least 20 (to run 7*3 needing either 1+ characters or an extra model). Those few extra models means you can take a few more casualties and still be strong enough to do serious damage.


Last edited by Tim/Steve; 04-19-13 at 07:38 PM.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-19-13, 08:11 PM Thread Starter
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I have only have 800 points to spend and I am limited to 200 points for characters in total. However, I like the idea of Eagles... I'll investigate and see if I can lay my hands on some as they are cheap in points... two is only 100.

there is no need to quote the entirety of the previous post. Please quote either small sections or only when its not clear which post you are referring to: its assumed you are responding to the prior post already...
As an example I left your last post unchanged: scroll down the page as if you were reading all this for the first time and you'll see you've got Jackal's ~25 line answer repeated in entirety on successive posts, it really doesn't add anything but server load.
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Last edited by Tim/Steve; 04-19-13 at 08:33 PM.
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