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Generally, it depends on how killy your unit is, and what it can expect to be facing. For example, Black-Guard are universally considered to be pretty killy in CC, and a frontage that envelops the enemy's frontage. 7 is usually ideal for this, but a frontage of 12 against a horde can also be attractive.

However, spearmen are weak, not likely to kill much, and pretty easy to kill back. You want to minimize the amount of casualties while maintaining the max ranks for steadfast. The minimum for this is 5, and you'll use them at 5.

Does that answer your question?
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