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Othiem
10-10-2008, 01:29
I'm curious what people think about empire spearmen with shields? The general consensus seems to be that spears with shields are a waste, since if you're going to pay 6 points you may as well get a swordsman for the improved WS. It seems like the thinking here was that most units were either S3, so you had a decent chance of not getting wounded, or S5 with great weapons and thus negated your extra +1 save. However looking at many of the units in the newer armies, I'm seeing more S4 units like your basic chaos warrior, or units that have insane numbers of attacks at S3 or S4 like witchelves, daemonetts, and blackguard. And 2 of those listed are up to WS5, so the difference between WS3 and WS4 isn't what it used to be. It seems like the advantages of swordsmen are going away, however the units that destroy those advantage are of low enough armor save and toughness that having more spear attacks to toss back at them is worthwhile. Is it time to start fielding spearmen with shields again?

The motivation for this comes from a few of my recent games. When fighting the newer armies, it just feels like they are able to pump out so many kills that the traditionally great empire SCR is not cutting it anymore. I've actually started fielding my detachments as minimal blocks of swordsmen, since more often than not countercharging with a detachment of militia or halberds ended up giving more active CR to the enemy then it took away from the rank bonus. With the newer army units, it seems like the potential for spears generating some kills is back, so why not start investing in keeping them around for their turn in combat, thus denying the enemy some CR while maybe tossing in a few kills for you against the lower T, low AC but higher dmg new models?

Frep
10-10-2008, 01:58
My problem with empire spearmen with shields isn't their value as opposed to swordsmen but rather, that for the price of 25 spearmen with shield and command you could get thirty spearmen ,without shields, with full command and probably outnumber your opponent.

Othiem
10-10-2008, 02:39
My problem with empire spearmen with shields isn't their value as opposed to swordsmen but rather, that for the price of 25 spearmen with shield and command you could get thirty spearmen ,without shields, with full command and probably outnumber your opponent.

Interesting point Frep, but I'm not sure if I agree. Versus elite infantry, you will outnumber at 20 more often than not, definitely at 25. Versus cheap, fear causing undead, the combined bonus of not losing as many units due to extra armor save will help you not lose the combat and avoid autobreak. And if they do come at you with a big brick of undead, you can charge in with your detachments to push you into outnumbering.

VC Doke
10-10-2008, 03:49
As a former Empire player (only played when they were 7 pts. with shield) and a current Vampire Player I saw that putting shields on any infantry is well worth it.

Lets put out the raw numbers.

Each Empire spearman is worth 5 points starting out. By increasing the cost of the model by 20%, (from 5 to 6), you are increasing their survivability by 20%, (dropping the AS from 6+ to 5+), if you're against anything with less than Str 5.

Only if you're facing something with Str 5 or higher are you not getting your money's worth.

But on the flip side, by making one more armor save because you bought shields you're: 1) contributing to obtaining an outnumbering bonus (circumstancial) 2) taking away one point of CR from then enemy (which balances if you don't outnumber your enemy). 3) getting one more attack back against your enemy with an average of a 12% chance to wound with hitting on 4's, wounding on 4's, 4+ AS. It's all a wash.

My last point is that making two more armors saves because you bought shields you're: 1) further contributing to obtaining an outnumbering bonus (circumstancial) 2) taking away two points of CR thereby throwing outnumbering out of the window (usually) 3) getting two more attacks.... a 25% chance to wound.... You win!

Sorry long rant. :angel:

Malorian
10-10-2008, 05:05
I like the idea of it. If you need the save you go with the handweapon, and when you need to get more kills then you use the spear. I think having 1 worse WS is worth the flexibility.

Othiem
10-10-2008, 05:59
I like the idea of it. If you need the save you go with the handweapon, and when you need to get more kills then you use the spear. I think having 1 worse WS is worth the flexibility.

Good point, I had not thought of that. It definitely makes the unit more flexible than I had original thought. That alone seems worth the points. It really helps spearmen be the anvil that they should be. Especially since I'm not really a big fan of the giant blocks of swordsmen that seems to be the theme around where I play. 24 max per unit if I can spare the points, but I still tend to run in blocks of 20 and try and squeeze in more separate units. Time to start glueing shields on.

Braad
10-10-2008, 06:37
Shield just look better on a spear armed block. That can also be important for some units.

Zot Zot
11-10-2008, 04:00
Taking shields dramatically increases the flexibility (and thus survivability) of your spear armed troops. The only spearmen I use without shields are my scratch built pikemen (who serve as spearmen simply using long spears if we are not allowing DOW units.

Shields all the way.