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View Full Version : Am I the only one who wishes Men-at-Arms didn't suck?



Wolfblade670
02-06-2008, 11:48
Seriously? I know Bretonnia is based upon the concept of Fuedal society taken to the utmost extreme, but come on! It would have been nice if there had been some virtue of wahtever that would at least boost their leadership, I would've loved to have had a peasent army of Lady worshiping fanatics...

(...and no complaining about how Knights are "broken". ;))

Chaos Undecided
02-06-2008, 11:55
The virtue of empathy was designed for just this sort of thing allowing you to have a knight on foot in your peasant units with an increased range to his leadership boosting of the surrounding peasant units.

Jedi152
02-06-2008, 11:58
But the problem is that peasants do suck. In the background.

It would be nice and fitting if they gained a few leadership bonuses (stubborn?) if they are led by a knight or a damsel (aside from the actual Ld increase, of course), but what can you do.

Braad
02-06-2008, 12:01
So?

You want peasants that chop black orcs to pieces while playing chess in the meantime?

Even peasants that are fanatic are better at keeping pigs than doing warfare. That's the whole thing about being peasant. You tend to be good with crops and stuff.

Eternus
02-06-2008, 12:07
Wolfblade670 named this thread:

Am I the only one who wishes Men-at-Arms didn't suck?

Take that back, blaggard!

Bretonnian Men at Arms are well equipped, are fairly reliable when placed close to units of Knights, and are as cheap as an 'Everthing A Penny' store on the spring half price sale day.

I can't think of any other army that can have troops equipped with light armour, sheilds and halberds, have full command, and still have change from a dabloon. Yeah, so they have WS 2, but they also have Str and T 3, and should give any Bretonnian force some serious numerical backup.

Overall, they're not the best troops, but when you combine decent equipment, Knightly leadership, and low low points cost - you can't go wrong!

chivalrous
02-06-2008, 12:17
Ignoring the background for a moment and looking at the unit, the only thing that sucks about Men at Arms is their leadership.
WS 2 is a bit low but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't make a huge amount of difference except against elite elves.
Their strength is in their number and relatively good armour save. They do have hand weapons and as far as I can remember they come with shields as standard so you've got 4+ AS right there.
You've got a cheap horde unit that if you're using them properly, i.e. in huge blocks, they'll outnumber anything apart from possibly Skaven slaves who they'll outfight anyway.
Fielded 25-30 strong, they will almost guarantee you an outnumber bonus, full rank bonus and if you take a standard a further +1CR without having to worry about giving away free victory points.

Bretonnians, from an objective standpoint, have it all. Elite hard hitting units designed to break things on the charge and large horde units whose only purpose is to provide a reliable source of static combat resolution.
You have enough sources to boost their Ld with the Virtue of Empathy or keeping a Damsel in the unit, you could even babysit them with a cheap unit of Knights Errant or Knights of the Realm and engineer some quite successful combined charges.

Curufew
02-06-2008, 12:19
They're cheap static combat res, banner that doesn't give away points. The only downside are their they're low ld and slow considering nearly 80% of the entire Bret army can move at least 16 " per turn if they march.

Wolfblade670
02-06-2008, 12:27
Then gentlemen I beg pardon for my tactical ignorance. :angel:

Perhaps then I could be better educated in proper Bretonnian tactics eh? I am rather new to this whole Warhammemer buisness.

Huw_Dawson
02-06-2008, 12:44
Wouldn't that be strength 4 with the pole-arm, or are you including that?

Anyway, I agree on all counts - Men At Arms are cheap as chips, and thanks to this you can take quite a few more. Bear in mind that this is probably one of the easiest units in the game to get a static CR of 5, and giving them some back up from a knight with the virtue of empathy and a great weapon is a great way of suprising your opponent. A couple of KoTR to hold a flank, and you have an army that plays much more interestingly than the norm.

Plus, unlike most static CR units, they don't draw fire or charges. Imagine charging them into flanks. :evilgrin:

- Huw

Eternus
02-06-2008, 13:14
Huw_Dawson wrote:

Wouldn't that be strength 4 with the pole-arm, or are you including that?

Strength 3 without the polearm, so yes, strength 4 with. I had a flash to another cheeeeeep troop type - the Zombie, who are now Strength and Toughness 2.

For my Bretonnians, I always go balanced. I have Knightly units of each type, totalling 5 units of Knights, but I also have 3 large blocks of Men at Arms (24 per unit), plus another 2 units of 24 Bowmen, so pretty balanced I think!

I find the best use for the infantry is to push along the flanks and protect the Knights from Flank Charges, or get in some counter charges into enemy units if the Knights get bogged down and bring those superior numbers into play. They also work well as a bodyguard for a Damsel, maybe led by a Paladin with the Vitrue of Empathy. Either way, they are in important part of my army.

Griefbringer
02-06-2008, 13:18
Do not forget that their champion has Ld 6 - not really amazing, but still an improvement from their basic Ld 5.

And as mentioned previously, parking around enough knights/paladins (especially if they happen to be general or have virtue of empathy) tends to boost their Ld to rather decent score of 8.

Gazak Blacktoof
02-06-2008, 13:39
I don't think that peasants are bad for their cost. They aren't great troops but they're cheap so they shouldn't be great.

The reason that most players don't field peasants is that they'd actually have to coordinate the movements of the fast knights and the slower peasants. Essentially brets get spoilt with their cavalry so they have no need to bother with infantry most of the time.

Men at arms are actually very good when compared to goblins. They get the same spread of panic benefits, can use the leadership of superior troops, they don't give up victory points for their banner and don't suffer from animosity. I don't really see what's not to like except that they aren't sooper-dooper-knights with free ward saves and cheap rank bonuses- Ahh! I see the problem! :p


(...and no complaining about how Knights are "broken". ;))

Sorry!;)

Alathir
02-06-2008, 13:55
I love peasants! I always take a knight to lead them (empathy virture isnt necessary as six inches is all you need if you keep the commoner blocks tight.) Sure, they have weapon skill 2, but they are mostly hitting on 4's and a boost to WS 3 would only help them against goblins and skeletons anyway.

For only 5 points you get a 4+ armour save in combat and a choice of halberds or spears for free and you also have the potential of leadership 8 by having any knight nearby, and as a bonus they don't cause panic in your most valuable troops. And their banners arent worth any victory points! With a bit of support, my peasants have proved their worth many times and in one 2k game against Wood Elves one block led by a paladin managed to wipe up over a quarter of their army single handedly.

The problem with Men-at-Arms is that despite their being better than they look, they still pale in comparison to getting more knights. This is something that needs to be corrected in Bretonnia's next book, our infantry needs to be more appealling.

R Man
02-06-2008, 13:59
WS 2 is a bit low but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't make a huge amount of difference except against elite elves.

No, it means that most troops will hit on 3's. Such as... almost all of them, but especially noting WS 3 troops.


Bretonnians, from an objective standpoint, have it all. Elite hard hitting units designed to break things on the charge and large horde units whose only purpose is to provide a reliable source of static combat resolution.

Frankly this is just wrong. We have no scouts, only one artillery pieces, no heavy infantry, very few skirmishers and limited offensive magic. The army is very good, I won't deny that, but we have no where near the versitility of say, Empire.

Now, onto M@A. I will say this: They are certainly not poor thanks to the Peasants Duty and good equipment. However the problem is it can be difficult to keep knights with the peasants as they tend to have either won the battle or died embarrasingly. The Virtue of Empathy isn't that good as it's price stacks and takes out a fair hunk of the characters points limits and you could stick your heroes on a horse but this looks wierd and you end up paying for movement you'll never use.

M@A are fine in themselves, they just need a few minor supporting changes.

Alathir
02-06-2008, 14:08
No, it means that most troops will hit on 3's. Such as... almost all of them, but especially noting WS 3 troops.



Frankly this is just wrong. We have no scouts, only one artillery pieces, no heavy infantry, very few skirmishers and limited offensive magic. The army is very good, I won't deny that, but we have no where near the versitility of say, Empire.



We aren't meant to be as versatile as the Empire; the 'jack of all trades' is one the Imperial army's defining characteristics. We are about glorious charges and heroic feats of strength (contrasted by downtrodden peasantry and corrupt lords). I do agree that a 0-1 unit of high ballistic skill scouts would be a cool option (hearkening back to the days of Bertrand the Brigand)

neXus6
02-06-2008, 14:15
At least Men at Arms can all afford shoes the Empire state troops can't even afford that. :p

Personally I really like men at arms, though I've not got a Bretonian army. Anything that adds some character to that horrible one trick pony of an army gets the thumbs up from me. :)

Finnigan2004
02-06-2008, 14:58
I think that the problem is not so much that men at arms suck, but that knights are such a great deal that they make them look like they do. Simply put, knights are so good for their points that they are a no brainer. The lance affords them more hitting power and survivability (in conjunction with the blessing). Unfortunately, any bonuses that infantry get Brettonian knights can simulate because it costs way too little to get rank bonuses with the lance while retaining the massive maneuverability of heavy cavalry.

vesp
02-06-2008, 16:01
Peasants don't have great leadership... that's why they're peasants.

Makes sense to me.

TheDarkDuke
02-06-2008, 16:49
well for there point cost there really isnt any other unit as cheap as men at arms that hit as hard as them (except for orcs) if you look at skaven and goblins they are close to the same points as men at arms yet the men at arms can hit at strength 4, and considering there price that is actually a really good deal)

and as for the ws2 thing, does it really matter? WS is a nearly useless stat in my opinion.

Chaos Mortal
02-06-2008, 18:34
ws is certainly not usless but i do think men at arms can be good especially with their great models.

Feefait
02-06-2008, 20:48
Cry me a river Knight Boy! lol But seriously... The curve on ws has changed to where ws 2 is not a killer. It's not great... but it's still hitting most things on a 4. It's justvthe attacks back at 3+ that sucks so much. But as pointed out, with str 4 and numbers, you can lose a few and still attack back effectively. Plus there are mroe and more units with ws 2 with less armor or strength that will balance out. Gnoblars I think are ws 2. Skaven slaves as well i think. though i feel like a smuck that I can't remember on my all time favorite unt...

They have uses and used right could win the game for you.

Wolfblade670
02-06-2008, 21:52
How many would one advocate taking in a 500 point match?

R Man
02-06-2008, 23:19
We aren't meant to be as versatile as the Empire; the 'jack of all trades' is one the Imperial army's defining characteristics. We are about glorious charges and heroic feats of strength (contrasted by downtrodden peasantry and corrupt lords). I do agree that a 0-1 unit of high ballistic skill scouts would be a cool option (hearkening back to the days of Bertrand the Brigand)

I never meant to imply that we were. However I do agree with you about the scouts. I think they would give the Bret Player a reason no to just automatically opt for the blessing everytime. (Maybe).


The curve on ws has changed to where ws 2 is not a killer. It's not great... but it's still hitting most things on a 4. It's justvthe attacks back at 3+ that sucks so much. But as pointed out, with str 4 and numbers, you can lose a few and still attack back effectively. Plus there are mroe and more units with ws 2 with less armor or strength that will balance out. Gnoblars I think are ws 2. Skaven slaves as well i think. though i feel like a smuck that I can't remember on my all time favorite unt...

Being hit on 3's is pretty major for a unit that isn't well armoured. This is especially true when using the Halbards, as it denies your M@A the chance to use a sheild, any attacks before or after the M@A will cause alot of damage. Most players prefer to use the HW+S against troops they can't kill (Dwarves) and Spears against troops they can (Zombies). Alot of troops with Halbards have this problem, just a little too vulnerable.

dodicula
03-06-2008, 04:20
"Suck" is a relative term, they compare quite well to empire infantry or orcs or skaven, its only when compared to the outrageously under-priced KOTR or KE that the appear to "suck"

ehlijen
03-06-2008, 04:43
If you'd rather have a shield than a halberd, keep in mind that you can swap the halberds for spears for free. Given how cheap they are for the static CR they give (127 for the full 3 ranks!) and how much equipment they come with in addition to the rather nice special rules, they are not bad at all.

No, they won't win on their own, but they help a lot when knights are around, which is exactly what they're meant to do.

Wyrdstone
04-06-2008, 20:36
An all peasant army for me :D
didn't the old ones have ws3?

minionboy
04-06-2008, 22:54
Back when i played brets I used 4 units of 30 spear men and 3 units of 16 archers, I thought peasants were just fine. :D

Although, I still had a couple small units of knights to hit the flanks... WS 2 is fine if you don't mind your troops dying off in swathes.

Talonz
05-06-2008, 00:06
For my Bretonnians, I always go balanced. I have Knightly units of each type, totalling 5 units of Knights, but I also have 3 large blocks of Men at Arms (24 per unit), plus another 2 units of 24 Bowmen, so pretty balanced I think!


I'd like to see that army list Eternus. I've been meaning to do a list more or less like that.

decker_cky
05-06-2008, 00:07
The best part of them is that they don't give up 100 VP for losing their banner. And isn't empathy a bit of a waste now compared to having a few knights on horses in units? Slightly less Ld range, but you should cover that with other knights, and you get more armour save and can jump out of your unit should you need to.

Eternus
05-06-2008, 12:54
Talonz wrote:

I'd like to see that army list Eternus. I've been meaning to do a list more or less like that.

Ok, here it is. I'll only give you the units, as characters are something of a personal choice. Suffice to say with between 2000 and 3000, allowed 5 characters in total, I take 1 Mounted Lord, I Mounted Paladin Battle Standard, another Paladin, on foot leading a block of Halberdiers, and 2 level 2 Damsels.

CORE

10 Knights Errant, Full Command - 221

10 Knights of the Realm, Full Command - 264

24 Men At Arms, Full Command - 147
(Halberds)

24 Men At Arms, Full Command - 147
(Halberds)

24 Men At Arms, Full Command - 147
(Spears)

24 Peasant Bowmen, Full Command - 164

24 Peasant Bowmen, Full Command - 164

24 Peasant Bowmen, Full Command - 164

SPECIAL

9 Questing Knights, Full Command - 279

3 Pegasus Knights, Gallant - 165

Grail Relique - 172
Relique + 12 extra Pilgrims

RARE

6 Grail Knights - 258

Trebuchet - 100

Now I only put the list here as I have been asked to and it's relevant to the thread, otherwise it would be in the Lists section.

The units add up to about 2000-2200 ish, then characters on top. The Infantry are good for protecting Damsels, without blocking their line of sight like when the Damsel is with a unit of Knights.

I've been using a balanced army, about 50/50 units of Knights and Units of Peasants for ages, and I find it to work really well. With an all Knight army, a lucky warmachine shot can be disasterous, and with lots of expensive units, if you don't break through on the charge, your outnumberd and in trouble. The peasants give your opponent something extra to worry about. Do they turn to face the unit of 6 Knights to the rear/flank and take a charge from a unit with static combat res of 5 in the ass - I don't think so.

Having plenty of units stops your Knights getting ganged up on and wiped out, which is what will happen if you can't guarantee breaking through on the turn you charge, and nothing's guaranteed in this game. Except that Trolls have disgusating personal habits and The Gnoblars and Halflings are one day gonna have a war over who is the sneakiest thieving git of all the sneaky theiving gits.

All hail Duke Francisco of Purgatoria, mightiest fortress of the Border Princes!

Talonz
05-06-2008, 19:02
3k with characters then? How would you do a 2250 version? And why all the full commands? Seems like wasted points on the archers at the very least.

kdh88
05-06-2008, 19:23
Although the WS2 may not seem like much, the fact that most enemies are going to be hitting on a 3+ is going to cut into that static CR, espescially in longer fights (the kind that men at arms are supposed to be used in). More importantly though, they don't really fit in with the rest of the army.

You may notice that while Men at Arms often don't show up, you do see bowmen and trebuchets pretty regularly; that's because the traditional knight-heavy Bret army is going to win or lose when it charges on the second or third turn. Spending points on a unit that won't make an impact until the fourth or fifth is generally a bad idea; if you don't want more knights, it's usually better to buy ranged units that can make at least some impact by knocking off rank bonuses.

Also rember that while they get a point of toughness and strength over goblins, they also cost 25% more if the goblins have shields (and no, the free spears/halberds aren't really an advantage; men at arms are there for static CR, not kills, so they're going to be using hand weapons 90+% of the time). Beyond that, Goblins aren't even that good; just ask the greenskin players.

A better comparison is to Clanrats. For the same cost the rats get +1 WS, I and MV in exchange for the weapons options that don't get used and not giving up VP for captured banners. I know which one I'd rather have. And before someone says that you can't compare prices across army books, remember that the clanrats are in one that is geared entirely to support them while men at arms have next to none.

IMO, the best way to fix Men at Arms is to give them WS3 and include some foot knights in the next army book to give infantry-heavy bret army some punch. Of course the added flexibility should come with the cost of less powerful/more expensive knights (with the possible exception of questing knights, who may even warrant a point or two drop), but that's the price you pay for a balanced book.

The_Dragon_Rising
05-06-2008, 19:48
I have a block of 30 M@A that sit to form an anvil with a 24 strong grail reliquae unit. To then make them a threat i add in a damsel in each, lvl 2 with a scroll, both on beasts. Bears anger + static res = win vs most opponents so far, they easily beat off bloodletters and seeing as it takes only one turn until the knights arrive they work nicely, I play 16 bowmen as well in my list which skirmish with braziers, and find the balanced army works just as well and is more fun than the knight spam.

Eternus
06-06-2008, 11:33
Talonz wrote:

And why all the full commands? Seems like wasted points on the archers at the very least.

These are just personal preference, and for how little they cost, I think it's worth it. A unit of 12 Bowmen is an easy target for a unit of 5 Dire Wolves for example, but a unit of 12 Bowmen with an extra attack for a champion, plus a standard, is a more difficult prospect, and then the ability to win a draw due to musician.

I almost always include command for my units, but that's just the way I like it, though it does make tactcal sense in my mind.

Plus the units look better with command groups.

I'll put a 2250 list together for you and post as soon as I can.

Gazak Blacktoof
06-06-2008, 14:39
I don't think there's any reason, apart from points scraping at the end of list design, not to take command groups on peasants. If I could take banners that didn't give away victory points I'd always take them.

Grey Seer Skretch
06-06-2008, 14:42
heh, right, tell that to the one's that beat my Highborn, Waywatchers and Dryads in combat the other day...I hit them in the front with 8 Dryads and the side at the same time with the wwatchers and lord, thinking exactly what you did, that they sucked. 3 turns later they had utterly tar-pitted my wwatchers, put 2 wounds on my highborn, and wiped out my dryads...admittedly they had a paladin on foot with them, who was rather hard, but seriously, you do them an injustice sir!