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View Full Version : VC Grave Guard - Great Weapons vs Sword and Shield



Kalist
27-03-2008, 08:31
Great weapons on a Grave Guard unit can be amazing when coupled with Helm of Commandment, Banner of the Burrows (or Strigoi), and Danse (or a corpse wagon).

Sword and shield is also a good choice because it gives your unit an increased longevity and makes your unit more independant of buffs (can survive with fewer IoN's).

Both have their place, but which ones will you guys be using?

athamas
27-03-2008, 08:36
well im equiping all my GG with great weapons,

however as they still have HWaS i will have the defencive option of that of required...

depends what kinda fight they get in!


also i wonder if you can great weapon attack with the staff, then use HWaS to go defenceive, just repeat untill target is dead!

Latro
27-03-2008, 08:40
well im equiping all my GG with great weapons,

however as they still have HWaS i will have the defencive option of that of required...

depends what kinda fight they get in!


also i wonder if you can great weapon attack with the staff, then use HWaS to go defenceive, just repeat untill target is dead!

According to the rulebook, they exchange their shields for great weapons ... so you lose that option when getting great weapons. (Which is probably why those great weapons are so cheap to get).


:cool:

FurryMiguell
27-03-2008, 08:43
Shield and Swords. it gives you the defencive advantage, and you really dont need more punch, as they are very powerful. Anyway, the best way to win your fights with grave guard is having a fairly big unit, and minimize your own losses. give them banner and misucan. you will win the fights on combat resolution, not wounds

Cheers:D

Frankly
27-03-2008, 08:53
I've gone for GWs, in the context of my army I need some heavy hitters for heavily armored opponents. The rest of the army deals with core unit really well + it can deal speical units like dryds and wyches just as well. So for me at least, great weapons are needed.

Karhedron
27-03-2008, 09:11
also i wonder if you can great weapon attack with the staff, then use HWaS to go defenceive, just repeat untill target is dead!
According to the rules you may not switch the weapon you are using during a combat so I would say not. Anyway, you lose the shield when you take a GW so it is rather moot.

As to which is better, I think it depends on the rest of your army. If you have gone magic heavy then I would take the GW option. You will be able to IoN casualties easily and have plenty of Danses or Corpse carts about to provide a first strike.

However if you have gone slightly lighter on magic then I would take the HwS option for the extra longevity. With this combo they can handle most battles of attrition and they still have their killing blow to deal with tough foes.

athamas
27-03-2008, 09:24
well after just finding my army book at the bottom of a pile of stuff.. Damn.. .


oh well, still GW for me, woulding stuff on 2's is a damn site more usefull that occasionaly not dieing..

my army will have enough magic to make sure the unit is up to strength and hopefully hitting first!

Kalist
27-03-2008, 10:31
What about taking two blocks of GG? Put one block with GW close to your vampires or a corpse cart, and have another block with HW+S covering a flank on the outside of your army? The one in the middle could provide some punch while the other can anchor one side. (I plan to go heavy on the other flank with a Varghulf and KotBK screened by wolves).

Oberon
27-03-2008, 16:28
Why is it so great to take a regiment that dies easily? IMO if you have a lot of magic, it is no more acceptable to lose half of your unit every opponent turn and then waste your own spamming IoN to get them back, while you could have used shields and taken half as many casualties in the first place->more PD left to use agressively. If I take a lot of magic, I don't want to pour it on the elite regiment just to keep it alive.

On this basis, I take shields and swords, rank up and grind them down maybe a bit slower, but also with less drain on my magic front.

Malorian
27-03-2008, 16:49
At first In figured that thanks to:

-ASF
-staff of damnation
-magic charge
-raising D6

that great weapons are the best way to go. Then I got messed up by dryads... not sword and shield is the way I'll go.

Dalhara
27-03-2008, 20:10
I've been debating over the question of GW vs sword and board on GG for a while now, and even after some play testing I cant find a clear answer

my main opponent plays wood elves usualy, so the standard unit my GG will likely face will be her Dryads.

Ive run quite a few test battles of the dryads vs grave guard, 10 vs 10 making the assumption all 5 on each side will make base contact head on and that the dryads will get the charge. The results of these tests have not been quite what I expected...

with GW
at WS 3 and no other modifiers taken into account (helm banner etc.) they need 4s to hit, and 2s to wound, what I generally found is the dryads tended to kill 2-3 minimum in the opening charge, but 6/10 times I was able to strike back and kill 2 in return, making the round a draw/win for me (standard and musician) and so stopping any crumble.
ultimately the GW fights tended to last for 2-3 turns and resulted in the dryads being beaten a little over half the time.

with sword and board
I found the results disappointing somewhat in that I had actually expected a much better performance from the higher armor. The end result was that this fight tended to last 4 turns minimum (and thats with some good rolling from the VC) but the real trouble is that at S4 the GG had the same chance to wound the dryads as they did the GG, but, the kicker is the dryads needed to roll 1 less to hit in the first place and each model had 2 shots at it with 3 from the branch wraith. I found the sheer volume of these attacks generally kept the dryads ahead in wounds though usually still tied or close to for combat res due to lack of standard counting ranks etc. I did make a much higher percentage of my armor saves of course, but the results lead me to believe that perhaps dryads are one opponent that sword and board may NOT be the best answer too

The all eggs in one basket approach of corpse cart ASF, a helm vampire in proximity GW on the GG and a wight lord with drakenhoff banner of course utterly obliterated those poor dryads as can be expected from a unit with that many points sunk into it heh
I did not however consider trying sword and board with a helm of command vampire though, I will have to try that out next, would definitely solve the issue of the GG missing on so many of their attacks

of course not being a mathematically inclined person I have no evidence to back any of this up apart from the 20 or so mock battles I played out.

I would love to hear some solid math on the subject or a link to it if its been done before (tried to search for it but the search doesn't seem to want to cooperate with me :wtf:)

just realized that part of my point about their ability to connect with a target may have been lost, I do realize both have the WS3, but what I was attempting to convey was that the GW seemed to make those few hits really count as they were almost guaranteed wounds, whereas with the S4 hand weapons it was 50/50 if those hits even did any damage in the end :(

tom1354788
27-03-2008, 20:48
Personally i run two units of grave guard, so i have 1 of each. But for a long time i preferd hand weapon and shield just because i think they look better that way.

Conversly i think great weapons are actually better in the game for the following reasons:

VC's dont have a lot of troops that can easily deal with high armour saves and toughness troops so i like there flexability.

The corpse cart's ASF spell and Vanhels allow them to strike first in combat, with great weapons which is amazing and should make you favourite in most combats.

If your going to ION troops, you get the best value from doing it on your most expensive choices, so with great weapons its more of a bargain. (although in reality this is very very marginal)



Hand weapons and shields are great though, the extra armour save, being cheaper and the ability of killing blow to still take down armoured targets mean thats its really a totally 50 - 50 between the two options.

Thats why i run a unit of both! :)

Malorian
27-03-2008, 21:02
I think they are for different roles.

If they are going to be use to hit a flank of an enemy already tied up, then only take ten w/ great weapons (even no banner or musician if the tar pit is skeletons), and if you are going to be fighting on your own then play them like dwarves and go with 20 with full command and handweapon/shield (then war banner or something).

Dalhara: One thing that you aren't remembering is that dryads are skirmishers and thus it won't be five on five (unless there is only 5 in each unit), it will be 6 dryads vs 5 grave guard.

EldarBishop
27-03-2008, 21:29
I have a unit of each... though I tend to prefer the GWs. Being able to hit a lot harder what I usually need.

If you have the points to take both then they are either small units, or you have a gaping hole somewhere (probably calvary).

Being able to IoN GG is new... sweet bonus :evilgrin: ! I used GWs even when I couldn't raise them with IoN.

** Only Bretonnian Characters can switch weapons in combat - Lance on the charge, then switch to Magic Weapon (there could possibly be other special exceptions).

DarkStarr
27-03-2008, 22:13
Well considering I use my gg as the hammer, and my skelitons and mainly zombies as the anvil, its great weapons all the way for me, combined with a corpse cart,banner of burrows and the occasional ion They work awsome. Plus i get a warm feeling knowing i can take out a dragon if I have to with them.

If 2 great guard units were facing off equilly equiped one with great weapons one with sword and shield the great weapons would win, both would hit on the same weapon skill the difference is the same armor save vs 2 points in wounding. gw wound on a 2 plus, sword and shield on a 4 plus, gw give a minus 3 armor save whild sword and shield only give a minus one.

Dalhara
28-03-2008, 02:21
Dalhara: One thing that you aren't remembering is that dryads are skirmishers and thus it won't be five on five (unless there is only 5 in each unit), it will be 6 dryads vs 5 grave guard.

Aha, good catch, I hadn't remembered that, however I think that this fact might really just strengthen the need to make those few return hits count.

I have to agree with those above stating that this is very much a 50/50 split, both have excellent uses, I guess what I'll really need to do is just play a few full scale games before attaching their weapons to decide which one will suit me more :p

Kalist
28-03-2008, 07:27
What would you guys use in a 1k game? I'm going to be running 23 GG full command and after reading everyone's input I'm thinking of slapping great weapons on them and run my vampire in a unit of skeletons or ghouls beside them (or even in the GG unit itself).

FurryMiguell
28-03-2008, 08:08
do not put the vampire in the GG unit. put him in a skellie unit. this way, youd not have one very effective unit, but two effective units! These units advance only seperated by a small unit of bats (to flank charge when the big punchy regiments get into battle)

Then two smaller units of skellies on the flanks of the two bigger units (your 23 "man" strong unit of GG and a 29 skellies unit with vampire, and two units of 20 skellies, one on each side). Then again, two units of wolves guarding your flanks (this army should work in a 1k game. vampire and GG being the heavy hitters).

To avoid beeing shot, summon screens of zombies in your front!

Cheers:D

Kalist
28-03-2008, 08:48
I'm a little limited in my army right now because I'm just starting up. My first game is on saturday and I only have 20 zombies,10 skeletons, 10 ghouls, 23 GG (13 with hw+s then equipping 10 with GW - will put GW in front and say all 23 are GW), 10 dire wolves, 1 vargulf and 1 vampire. Is a skeleton unit of 10 too small to put my vamp in or will that be fine if i put it in that and have it near the gg?

Plan is to set it up like this, my view being below these units:


GG -SK-Ghouls--DW
----------------VAR


Vamp in with skeletons so GG and ghouls can march, Dire wolves will be going in front of vargulf so he doesn't get baited and the zombies will just get raised in-game.

FurryMiguell
28-03-2008, 08:53
I guess you'd do fine, but the army seems very small. well, good luck though;). Id still have the vampire on the skellie unit. no reason to overload your GG unit...

Id get mroe skellies next. you atleast need two units of 20 to have a strong infantry base


Cheers:D

Defender of Ulthuan
28-03-2008, 21:29
Sheilds. Always.

+1 Sv VS. Shoting and +2 in CC.
Already S4+KB, so there's really no need unless you're fighting a large monster or a dwarf hero with the rune of preservation. And even then I would give them shields for survivability and that little "not-always-striking-last" thing.

Defender

FurryMiguell
28-03-2008, 21:35
"the shields will be with you, always"...:p

I agree with Defender of Ulthuan (curse the high elf!), shields is the way to go. Hes already got the reason, but if you want GWs, go GWs!

Cheers:D

W0lf
28-03-2008, 21:45
Shields every single time.

When you strike last anyway and are Ws3 the S6 makes so little diffrence.

The Grave guard are there to not die. The vamps do the killing.

My list has 50 GG :)

Kalist
29-03-2008, 00:15
Sheilds. Always.

+1 Sv VS. Shoting and +2 in CC.
Already S4+KB, so there's really no need unless you're fighting a large monster or a dwarf hero with the rune of preservation. And even then I would give them shields for survivability and that little "not-always-striking-last" thing.

Defender


Ok so with great weapons GG can take on large monsters or dwarf heroes with runes...let's say we have GG with shields..who is going to take on the monster and dwarf? Send in the GG and hope they land killing blow, or would you pit your vampire or vargulf against them? (sincere question, no sarcasm or anything - I'm still new so just looking for advice)

explorator
29-03-2008, 01:08
Shields every single time.

My list has 50 GG :)

50 Grave Guard! Is that in 2000 points? In any case its Awesome!

I actually own 30 metal GG with shields, and 24 metal GG with halberds that could pass as great weapons. Never thought of using all of them in a list though W0lf, you are my hero.

I have been following this thread, and I vote shields. Survivability is key. I will add my great weapon grave guard in larger games, but I will put a vamp in the unit with Blood Drinker because I know that unit will suffer.

theunwantedbeing
29-03-2008, 01:14
Give them ASF, and perhaps hatred.
And have a vamp behind them with the crown of command.
Bunch of st6 attacks at ws6 with hatred and ASF tends to make a mess of whatever you happen to be facing...unless its high elves.

If you cant do that to them fairly reliably, best to keep the sheilds.

praesto
29-03-2008, 11:14
Shields every single time.

When you strike last anyway and are Ws3 the S6 makes so little diffrence.

The Grave guard are there to not die. The vamps do the killing.

My list has 50 GG :)

What is the point of 50 GG?

FurryMiguell
29-03-2008, 11:19
@praesto: cause its fun:p

Cheers:D

advinius
29-03-2008, 12:37
I've played the Grave Guard w/ great weapons + barrows banner + vamp behind with helm of command twice now. once agains dwarves, and once against high elves. I was able to keep them viable vs. missile fire in boht cases with IoN spam, and won both major combats they got into.

against the dwarves, it was bugmans rangers, so i was fighting a special character. still overwhelmed them after 3 rounds. with the help of a raised zombie unit hitting the flank. once bugman fell to a killing blow, the unit lost immunity to fear and terror, and got Romero'ed promptly thereafter.

against the High elves, it was against a large unit of spearmen, with a BSB in it, with the... battle banner, i think? (+1d6 CR each round). in that case, he'd already exposed one of his mages to the gaze of nagash foolishly, and thus had lost enough anti-magical juice that he couldnt stop a welltimed danse macabre combo that got the GG stuck in on his flank, and reroling misses. at that point, the magic banner jsut delayed the inevetable. he did roll a 4 for it 3 turns in a row, thus keeping me from breaking him til i actually outnumbered them.

so, my initial experiences would indicate that the whole gg W/gw +banner +vamp w/ helm works. it's not a sure thing, as it was touch and go in both cases, but it works.

Oh, and both of these games were 1500 points, so I didn't have all that much magic, relatively speaking.

BTW, Dalhara... are you in the SCA? thats the only place I've heard the term sword and board.

Defender of Ulthuan
29-03-2008, 13:31
@Kalist:
Black Knights and Vampires of all denominations are good monster-killers.
Possibly the best way to handle a large monster with VC is tie them up in combat with a zombie anvil and proceed to smash them with a KotBK hammer.

Defender

P.S.- Hope this helps :)

Latro
29-03-2008, 16:52
As I see it there are two equally viable, but still quite different options:

Anvil

Basicly a large fully-ranked Grave Guard unit with hand weapons and shields. They rely on their static CR, denying the enemy combat CR and adding a few kills of their own. Very reliable, very effective ... but also very expensive. The biggest advantage is that it has a much better chance at victory, even when additional support (magical or otherwise) is not available.

Hammer

Roughly half the size of an Anvil unit, but deployed in a wider formation (6 or 7-wide preferably) and wielding great weapons. The Grave Guard Hammer relies on combat CR to get the job done, though with one rank and the Warbanner they can still start with +3 static CR as well. Outside support is needed to get the most out of this unit though: the Helm of Commandment and magical support both help them survive and kill more enemies in return. The biggest advantage is the low cost of such a unit and the effective kills it scores (kills never flee and rally, they just stay dead) ... but it needs a strong magical army to really shine.


:cool:

W0lf
29-03-2008, 19:02
What is the point of 50 GG?

2 units of 25 with a lord in one and 2 heros in the other.
6 Blood knights, FC, Ward save vs shooting.
3x 10 ghouls.

Works for me.

Dalhara
29-03-2008, 21:05
BTW, Dalhara... are you in the SCA? thats the only place I've heard the term sword and board.

haha no, I'm just letting the geek in me show :P used to using that term from MMOs and such like :D

still haven't had any opportunity for full scale games :cries:
darn school and studying...

I did muck about a little more with how much effort it would take me to keep a unit of GW GG up vs shooting or heavy combat using IoN though, and assuming I wont have double the PD that my opponent does it definitely does seem like I would be using the majority of my magic phase to get the spells off to bring them back up to strength (not taking into account an opponent using dispel scrolls on it or me burning bound spells to clear the way first of course)
In that respect I can definitely start to see why shields might be more useful in the end, I'll probably end up running a unit of each in large games tbh :p and for my current (rather small but growing) army I may stay with GW anyway because I'm lacking in heavy hitters, only have the varghulf and vamps themselves that are capable of dealing with bigger things, well, maybe the ghouls if that big thing happens to be low armor I guess

probably will swap the GG to shields once I have a unit or two of my black knights converted up though that could take a while, cutting up the cloth/chain stuff on those bretonnian horses and redoing it with green stuff to blow forward like the GG uniforms and the rest of the army is rather time consuming :(

FurryMiguell
30-03-2008, 09:49
@W0lf: That list STINKS with power!;)

What you take really depends on how you are going to use them. will they be the rock, or the blade? (or anvil and hammer, as have been said)

Cheers:D

Windings of a snake
30-03-2008, 10:01
The choice depends on your opponent.

If he has no magic then go for GW and first strike by CC and unholy loadstone.

If he has a lot of magic, then go for CC with balefire and HW.

Heimlich
31-03-2008, 03:22
Shields every single time.

When you strike last anyway and are Ws3 the S6 makes so little diffrence.

The Grave guard are there to not die. The vamps do the killing.

My list has 50 GG :)
Is that in 2000 pts?

Frankly
31-03-2008, 04:20
@ Advinius. I'm with you on GG with GWs + B.o.Barrows + C.Helm its a killer combo. My Lord is back of battle line in a support rule casting magic, so the C.Helm is working really well at the moment. How many models are you running in the GG unit?

@Latro, very nice write on the anvil and hammer, I especially like the hammer unit being 6 or 7 models wide.

Belerophon709
31-03-2008, 10:06
I would personally run GG's with GWs, coupled with a caster lord (Helm of Commandment + Skull Staff) somewhere nearby - preferably behind the GGs.

With 5-6 castings of VanHels per turn if I need it, the GWs will most likely strike first when it's my turn, hit on 2s (banner of the barrows and WS7 from the Helm of Commandment), wound on 2s most of the time and have killing blow to boot.

'Nuff said.

GodHead
31-03-2008, 10:15
How about GG with GW, Banner of the Barrows, Vampire with Helm of Commandment and Forbidden Lore to take Lore of Metal and cast Transmutation of Lead on the enemies?

Hitting enemies on 2's and being hit on 5's or 6's? Yes please.

eleveninches
31-03-2008, 10:33
Great weapons with ASF :).

Have a unit of 15 with banner of the dead legion :)

mudcow304
01-04-2008, 00:57
My unit of the new GG minis got the great weapons because Ipreferred their look that way. oes that make me a bad person? lol :p

fubukii
01-04-2008, 01:39
great weapons have potential to be really good if combo'd with the hatred banner and the corpse cart ASF ability.

But in most cases Hw/shield seems better for a nice static cr block that isnt bad in cc.

Frankly
01-04-2008, 04:26
great weapons have potential to be really good if combo'd with the hatred banner and the corpse cart ASF ability.

But in most cases Hw/shield seems better for a nice static cr block that isnt bad in cc.

:eyebrows:

It depends on what you want the unit to do and how you want to gain CR's.

The use of GG units have really changed in the new armybook due to the buffs handed out to VC units these days, GG units are a viable smash smash unit that can rely on doing wounds instead of static CR's to win combat nowadays.

Both GW's and H.Weapon and shield are on par with each other and the choice is totally dependable on what fits in better in the the list.

Or

Which option looks better.


Read Latro's comments.

Grey Seer Skretch
01-04-2008, 08:16
Just out of interest, grave guard have wight blades and thus killing blow right? (or am i being a special little bunny there?) Does anyone find that that tends to make up for lack of GW? To give context, I'm contemplating taking some in a list, but havent read up on them yet or anything...

Latro
01-04-2008, 08:30
Just out of interest, grave guard have wight blades and thus killing blow right? (or am i being a special little bunny there?) Does anyone find that that tends to make up for lack of GW? To give context, I'm contemplating taking some in a list, but havent read up on them yet or anything...

In the average 5-wide Hand Weapon + Shield formation, you can expect 0.5 killing blows each round of combat ... not that impressive. Nice when it happens, but not something to rely on.

Odds improve with magical re-rolls to an amazing 0.75 killing blows.


:cool:

Fellblade
01-04-2008, 18:01
For my grave guard, I made two units of 21, 7x3 formation. One unit with great weapon, the other with Hw/Shield. Sometimes the lack of static combat res hurts a little, but the extra attacks help make up for that. It also gives you a better chance for someone to survive to take that lucky shot on executing a character in the other unit.
I was also thinking about getting a Wight King to lead each of the units for a little extra punch, although I haven't bought those two models yet.

Aryakin
02-04-2008, 00:37
19 GG with HW + Shield, run with a wight king with either black axe of krell or nightshroud/sword of kings combo and battle standard, with the normal standard being war banner

and 12 GG (6x2) with GW and banner of the barrows.

Typically the initial unit of GG are good enough to beat almost anything they face in combat utilizing either skeletons or zombies in the flank. While the GW GG put themselves into opponents flanks (also effectively done by black knights) even typically taking on other more hardy but not so numerous units like treekin or kroxigors. Is one better than the other? not really but this entire thread has been really saying this much already, essentially its going to come down to ... what do you want the look and feel of your army to utilize? In my case i want the army to be versatile.

However having said that i have found that for low point 1000-1500pt games sheilds and static CR are a far better use for the points... as magic at that level is still kinda shiesty