View Full Version : Good size for HE elite infantery?

30-12-2008, 14:13
Hello mates!

How many solidiers would you recommend in the following units; Swordmasters; White Lions and Phoenix Guard?

I am thinking 12 in the sword and lion regiment, with 6 in the front rank. I also thought about a 17 strong 3 rank 6 wide unit joined by a character. Alas that extra rank costs 90 pts. Is it worth it?

Whats your thoughts on this?


30-12-2008, 14:28
Isnt it ironic how DE used to be MSU and now HE tend to be MSU?

30-12-2008, 16:51
Swordmasters work well in small units 7-8 models. The only trouble with this strategy is that they will most likely be shot at by everything in the army that can shoot. Personally I plan to run them at 14 with command and the banner of Arcane Protection, 7 wide and 2 deep and give the Champion the Amulet of Light.

For Phoneix Guard I would say 15 is the min. They aren't going to generate much CR through kills alone. They are your "solid block" that aren't going to move. I've seen Chaos Knights bounce off them.

For White Lions, you could do an either or. They have a good save against shooting so could be fielded in a small unit and still do well. But I would rather run them in a similar size to the Guard.

30-12-2008, 19:50
I don't like SM but they could work in units of 18 (6x3) with shield of Saphery on them.
Lions work great in units of 8-10 models.
As for PG their best size in my opinion is 20 with a lion chariot for fear causing support and hitting power.

30-12-2008, 20:25
With Swordmasters and even more so with White Lions, you really want to be maximizing the number of attacks you make if you're going to get value out of the unit. Rear-rank's usefulness is first as a damage-absorber, so that after taking casualties in shooting or melee you still have a full front rank to attack with, and second for getting a rank bonus. Each point of rank bonus is going to cost between 90-105 each, so it's not very efficient to invest in more than one.

Units of 12 (6x2 or even 7 in front rank and 5 in rear), 14 (7x2) should generally be effective. For a powered up unit, you could take 18 (6x3); this would be a scary unit, but not very efficient, and might attract too much attention from enemy shooting. For white lions, I like the 7x2 formation, as they have only one attack and want to get off as many as possible, and having more bodies makes stubborn more effective.

Phoenix Guard are a different beast; their melee abilities are mediocre, their real effectiveness lies in tarpitting, and maybe grinding down the occasional weak enemy unit for autobreaking by fear. Because their attacks are weak, you're going to want to have the maximum rank bonus and the smallest possible frontage, so you should be running them in ranks 5 long. At the very minmum 15 (5x3), better at 20, and maybe 25 if you want an especially formidable block. Because they work better with lots of ranks, PHoenix Guard units will tend to be the most expensive infantry units, and they really count on denying the enemy CR rather than actually killing the enemy.

31-12-2008, 08:16
The White Lions are best purchased in units of 15 in my eyes. This gives you the flexibility to go to "killy mode" with 7/7/1 or block-up 5/5/5. They're solid units that can take light missile fire and they're rather versatile so make use of them.

Sword Masters are not as flexible. They're there to kill. You want at least 7 to make it to contact with the enemy. This means 7/5 or 7/7 usually.

The Phoenix Guard are not as killy as the SM nor even as reliable in combat as the White Lions. But they're tough for Elves, a great choice for bunkers or BSB units. They're block-fighters and never deploy less than 15 or greater than 20-their points are still high and they aren't Unbreakable or Immune to Pyschology or even Stubborn **(unless you put Korhil with them)** so they can and will lose combats. One poor phase can see 20+ PGs being scattered.

So much for seeing their future deaths and being unshakeable in their resolve.

Note on Command upgrades: WLs and PGs are great candidates for Full Command. Flanking SMs can make do with a Musician. I wouldn't rely on a Standard Bearer for the SMs. Consider the Talisman of Loec for a Bladelord though, you have a rather decent chance of killing most Hero characters.

Chicago Slim
31-12-2008, 22:22
I tend to run multiple units of 8 White Lions, with a champion and musician-- the cloaks make them a bit hard to shoot down, so they usually get to the fight with full strength, or very near to it. Once there, they hit hard, and are stubborn on an 8, which makes for a very nice anvil.

It's about 150 points, and it can't be ignored.

With Swordmasters, I tend to go with slightly larger units, because they're more fragile, despite having excellent hitting power. I'll typically bring 12, deployed 8 in the front and four in the back (even though swordmasters are a high-priority shooting target already, nobody locally can resist shooting them if there's exactly 5 guys in the second rank...)

Phoenix Guard, I like to take in large blocks (20-30). They do a lot less killing, with only a single S4 attack, and they cause Fear... Of course, if I knew that I was facing an army that didn't have a lot of answers to Fear (Beasts, Brets, Empire, Skaven), I might bring more, smaller units (10, with a banner), and give my opponent every opportunity to charge them (figuring that sometimes he'll blow the Fear test, and thus be stuck doing nothing, instead of fighting... When he DOES get the charge off, I'll have to hope that the 4+ ward and high Leadership help me survive the break test... :)

Dragon Prince of Caledor
02-01-2009, 03:51
In 2000 pts 14 swordmasters with no command 7 across. 15 white lions and either 15 or 20 phoenix guard. I am going to get more to have 20 because that makes better use of their fear. Depending on who you are playing i have used 9 swordmasters effectively.

02-01-2009, 04:02
I definitely think that the game has shifted towards MSU in the last couple of years. My wood elves used to be a "radical" looking army due to MSU, lack of command models, and composition either based on pure speed or pure knockout power. This is now pretty common, especially with the other Elven races.

I definitely agree with the above posters. The harder a unit hits, the less static CR is required to be dangerous. Swordmasters are great at 7-18, White Lions probably more like 10-20 since they don't quite hit as hard, and definitely take a big fat brick of Phoenix Guard with BSB if you want to use them to their fullest.

To continue my WE comparison, it's like taking Wardancers and Eternal Guard w/ BSB. EG are useful in a big huge unit with BSB to make sure they are a solid anchor/static CR generator, meanwhile the MSU support units do all the damage.

02-01-2009, 07:19
Unless I have allready used up all those special choices and still have points left, I will more likely field an additional unit then add swordmasters to an existing one.

So I often end up with 2 units of 7-9 swordmasters, which turns out to be fine.
If your opponent does not shoot so much, he has trouble dealing with them.
If your opponent does shoot much, even one greater unit will not survive.

White Lions and Phoenix Guard can be played both, as MSU or great blocks.

02-01-2009, 10:33
Phoenix Guard are great at around 15+ as a large infantry block fielded 5 wide. Swordmasters should be 7 wide and around 12-18 in size (as they attract lots of shooting and are fragile). White Lions can either be deployed as large 15+ blocks or they could be fielded in 7-10 man flanking units (Woodsmen is a very powerful rule).

03-01-2009, 07:48
I usually have a big block of at least 18 white lions with 2 smaller units of 6-7 white lions for flanks. Swordmasters should be in no bigger than 14. Any bigger than that and they'll be the big target. Try putting some kind of shield in front of the swordmasters if you want to run them in big numbers.

03-01-2009, 08:10
Swordmasters should be 7 wide and around 12-18 in size (as they attract lots of shooting and are fragile).

If you let your opponent shoot at your swordmasters you better not field them at all. They give away to many points this way to easily.

Best way to use swordmasters is, to hide them until your archers and repeater boltthrowers have reduced your opponents shooting so far, that the swordmasters are nearly save.

Most archers are toughness 3 with little armor so this is a easy and fast job for your shooting. And by the way the best way to use longbows after all.

Even if you field 25 swordmasters immun to panic, any army half way capable of shooting will be lucky about those easy points if you put them on the open.

03-01-2009, 08:35
Or just screen the Sword Masters with Phoenix Guard on the way in. Heck, you can use LSG for it too.

I've never been a fan of MSUing the PGs though, unless you need fairly rugged screens that is. Even then it's best to block them up.

Defender of Ulthuan
03-01-2009, 16:53
The best size for elite infantry is to be elite cavalry stocked up with some chariots.

SM perform well in many sizes; White Lions are far cooler, but tend to be second rate (that means take small units); and phoenix guard are good for being bodyguards, which can either be a small unit to protect a caster, or a large unit to hold the center.


03-01-2009, 16:55
Why not use ellyrian reavers to do a screen? After your opponent is within charge range of the swordmasters, rush them with the reavers and swordmasters. And if reavers are too weak, use silver helms with no upgrades. I once used a big block of swordmasters but its not really worth the 330+ points. But if you want protection on them, use a lv 1 mage with seerstaff and get Celestial shield in the Lore of Heaven. 4+ save against magic and shooting is great for that unit.

03-01-2009, 18:35
Because Reavers are useful for more than just screening and Silver Helms are a bit of a waste even while screening? Unless of course you intend to charge headlong into the enemy's shooting as a way of screening.

04-01-2009, 09:02
But if you want protection on them, use a lv 1 mage with seerstaff and get Celestial shield in the Lore of Heaven. 4+ save against magic and shooting is great for that unit.
A level 1 mage with the Seerstaff is 130 points and can only cast spells with 2 dice. This means you have only 58 % chance of getting Celestial Shield off.

Much better then to choose High Magic and the default spell Shield of Saphery which you have an 83 % chance of succeeding with. It might just be a 5+ ward instead of 4+, but it works in close combat to, and it doesn't remain in play, so your enemy doesn't have a second chance to dispell it.

Then, instead of the Seerstaff, you give the mage the 30 points Sacred Incense which gives -1 to all shooting against the unit. On top of that you give the unit the Banner of Arcane Protection (25 points) to give it Magic Resistance 2.

Now you only have to worry about war machines which doesn't use ballistics skill, and that 5+ ward does come in handy against those cannon balls.

05-01-2009, 01:41
Sword masters;

14 or 21. 7 Wide. Maximise attacks as they rely on kills for protection.


14 or 18. Ether 7x2 or 6x3. Both work.

Phoneix guard

0. I hate them and think they are useless :P. My friend runs 19 with warbanner + BSB with battle banner. Kinda gay unit but then again its a hella points sink i just ignore.

05-01-2009, 04:27
I Run SwordMasters in Blocks of 20, the same with Phoenix Guard. 7 Wide. Swordmasters always get Lion Standard, and the champion gets Armor of Caledor (suprises the crap out of alot of people when the champion has heroish stats)

I run SM with a mage until they are about to hit combat, most of the time, that way they can benefit from Gem of Courage if need be, as well as the benefits from Shield of Saphery. I always run a dragon of some sort, whether it is the dragon mage, or a prince. Along with this I run either two lion chariots, or a lion chariot and a unit of Dragon Princes. The idea is that is gives the enemy 3 fast moving flankers, two bolt throwers, and three blocks of infantry (two blocks 18 spearmen and one big block swordmasters). This creates a problem as the mage in the Swordmasters unit, usually has loremasters cloak, so they waste magic on them, and usually cannot kill everything that will kill them.

05-01-2009, 05:12
Lately i've been running a list with 14 PG + BSB with War Banner + Archmage and it has worked great! Many units just bounce off, including a Tyrant and his units, a Tomb King and his Tomb Guard and even Konrad inside a unit of Grave Guard!

06-01-2009, 03:33
From what i've seen, you will never be happy with the amount of swordmasters you bring- either they will get shot up and never make it to combat, or they won't be shot at and then you've thrown away some points on a too big unit. I've seen 10-14, 7 wide front be most effective, though.

PG to me seem to form the most resiliant part of an elven army- my HE opponent plays them front and center with a general and they're a pain to move with anything besides a combined flank and frontal charge. Best used in 15-20 or so, 5 wide.

WLs are scary, and even more so because they are the best suited to being fielded in tiny units due to shooting resistance and being able to hide in trees. Small lumps of 9-12 seem ideal, 6 wide (I would say units as small as 7-8 but that leaves them vulnerable to panic).