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Shamfrit
17-01-2009, 17:36
Long have people complained and theorised about the points cost and expense of units, characters and items thelike, but have people ever considered implementing the ideas behind MSU list construction on a wider more synergetic level?

Consider which is more important...a large, cohesive, well thought out army, with the minimal allotment of points to character slots? Or, an army considerably smaller with stronger characters which is more brittle and localised.

What advice is there to give when chosing your characters - how can minimalising help at all?

Let's look at a few examples, then open up the board for discussion:

Characters

Often, a character will fulfil a specific role and will not have to multi-task, except for characters such as Vampires and the like; do you need to take up the full allowance of magic items to get the most out of a character? Characters in units will often only ever get attacked by other characters, so they need basic armour to cover attack allocation and something to give them defence or offense (rarely both) in a challenge situation, so:

Warlord
Heavy Armour, Shield, Great Weapon
Warpstone Amulet, Bands of Power, Twisted Crown of Regeneration.

This is a fully allocated Skaven Lord level character...tailored specifically for defence. Now, within the confines of the Skaven army list this is too much, the Warlord needs to survive to provide the Leadership bonus, by all means, but what does this Lord do that a Warlord does with the following allotment?

Warlord
Great Weapon
Warpstone Amulet

You still have a 4+ ward save, to protect you against most attacks, and you've lost no offensive capability, but the Warlord is consideably cheaper, allowing you to increase the size of the unit he is in, or take more units to provide protection/speed/whatever is required.

The same can be said for many armies - Beasts of Chaos, Elves of all varieties, and the same for Chaos, who often have the offence to counter the weak defence available. In the context of the army the second character provides the same utility, whilst retaining the level fo defence required on a minimal level. The points saved make a massive improvement to the army.

Not only can you practice minimalist tactics/construction on a character by character basis, but also on a character selection/alotment basis - that is to say, how many character do you really need? Often, you'll see 3-4 and a small army, but do they do what they need, and are they worth the investment?

A Dark Elf army, High Elf Army or Wood Elf army (more so the first two) can operate entirely succsesfully with only two Masters/Nobles/Mages. Which provide the minimum Leadership bonus and combat advantage/bsb slot to drive the remains of the army (which will be 3-400 points larger, and still effective).

So, where else can minimalism be practiced/utilised to further the strength and size of an army?

Command Groups

Do you always need full command? Do you seriously need a standard and musician on a unit of hammer knights? Consider that they'll almost always lose when flank attacked by a rank and file unit, and that they're often 20 or so points, can you do without?

Do you need unit champions on smaller units, fast cavalry, anywhere except where your characters are going to be located, for that matter, where only your support and mage characters are? A command unit can easily equal 2-3 extra models in a rank and file unit.

Unit Number

This is a crucial question that most players ask themselves when they chose their units...how many is the optimum for what you plan to use the unit for? Will 15 be too little, too many? Will you need 6 Knights per unit to allow for maximum frontage or will you only need 5, to give you more units - serious questions that can mean the difference between defeat and victory.

So, what does everyone think about, when it comes to numbers/minimalism in their lists, how best can it be practised to good effect?

mossel
17-01-2009, 19:00
knights, being designed to break a unit on the charge, should be fielded to cover a maximum frontage (6)
however, knights might also be used to outflank and then go for the flank charge, giving it an even greater chance to break an enemy unit, but then 5 would do...

I think for each unit, you'll need a specific plan, so you don't waste any potential, or can't get the most out of the unit.

characters are an important part of any army, as at least, you'll need a general.
also, for 80% of the armies, characters are the only way to get some magic defense.

so characters too should be choosen with some thought. being it combat, shooting or magic support. leadership isn't mostly the first thing people need, and if it would be the case, it can also be designed for one of the 3 other functions.
mostly, people will take either all out magic characters or all out combat characters and a scroll caddy.

command groups should only be taken in units that willl actually gain an advantage from them.
archers don't need a champion or standard bearer, as they aren't meant to get into CC, and champions and banners only offer advantages in combat (ok, there are some exceptions, but I'm talking general cases here)
combat units blocks should be fully ranked and equiped with full command, giving it a maximum bonus.


I think every unit/character in an army has its one or 2 functions, and should be equiped to do those jobs. extra equipment is usually wasted.

keep it simple is always a good rule!

SevenSins
17-01-2009, 21:24
An interesting thread idea for sure, any plans on how you'd like to structure the answers, or just keep it general? Maybe do it army by army?

I play Ogres where MSU is a safe bet, generally whitout many Command upgrades.
I give mucicians to the bulls as they are used for bait-flee maneuvers (imp. rally) and Standards to Ironguts to break units, outside that no command.

I like to keep character numbers down (as they are very expensive for OK) generally a kitted out melee tyrant and 2 butchers (with bangstick/skullmantle)

Orge_ladd
17-01-2009, 22:07
dogs of war army i only ever take 3 heros, paymaster as i have to and 2 wizards, generaly only 1 of them being level with maybe a dispel scroll or 2. thats it. coz i get enough heros elsewhere what with regiments of the reknown and all

Shamfrit
17-01-2009, 22:15
I hadn't thought about it really Seven Sins, perhaps as we go along we could create a Sticky with a post for each army that's a collection of all the suggestions/tactics and ideas for each army - let's see how we get along for now though :D

I'm writing a more in depth Minimalism Guide to Skaven/Warriors, will get it up when it's done :D

W0lf
17-01-2009, 23:41
Im currently writing vampire counts lists.

I cant seem to write a vamp lord with less then his 200 pts of equiptment or spend any less then 800 pts on characters.

Oh and as for unit sizes im currently in love with the idea of a unit of 46 GG (+lord + BSB, 8x6).

Optimal? very much doubt it :P

Kahadras
17-01-2009, 23:47
I'm a big fan of minimalism and used it as much as I could in my Empire army. I usualy run with a full compliment of characters but try to keep the price down as much as possible. I've found that by shaving points off characters you can usualy get another unit.

With units I never bother spending that much. Knights are used in blocks of five, infantry in blocks of 25, missile troops in blocks of 10 and light cavalry in blocks of 5. Unit upgrades are used sparingly; light cavalry will usualy get a musician (to help with rallying when they flee) and infantry will get a full command to help them out in combat. Costly special and rare options are also usualy ignored in favour of more cheap core choices. I'mn not saying that it's the right way to build an army but I've found that having that couple of extra units from all the points you've managed to save can be incredably useful.

Kahadras

Condottiere
18-01-2009, 06:29
For DoW, the very minimum of characters would a Lord Wizard as general, and the Paymaster. With leadership 8, though, I'm afraid of any situation requiring a leadership roll.

While you could getaway with giving minimum equipment to the Paymaster and place him safely in a second line unit, the Lord Wizard needs to use his full magic item allowance, if only to buff up either the offensive or defensive elements in the magic phase.


And as pointed out in an earlier post, RoR does allow you to minimize the number of characters you need.

Mooglemen
18-01-2009, 06:38
Love this thread. Just tonight I had been thinking about making a list with only 1 character to boost my available units. I'm gonna go scratch one out right now.

bork da basher
18-01-2009, 06:54
im a big believer in less is more when it comes to army list building, especially where magic items are concerned. its very rare i'll use over 50pts of magic items for a single charecter and then only when i want to use him for a specific tactic or role on the table.

for instance when i was creating my dwarf army list, i chose a lord to lead my army, all i gave him was some shieldbearers (more because the king alrik model is my favourite dwarf mini) a GW and a rune of stone. he does perfectly well as he is being what, S6, T5, W3, A4, LD10, 1+AS, immune to killing blow and has 2 more S4 attacks from the shield bearers. all for about 180pts. i could easily have made him 100pts more and he'd be hardly any more effective if i did. instead i could afford to buy another thane (GW, rune of stone, shield) which leads another unit. done this way all my combat blocks were led by a very tough, capable charecter who have made the differance between loosing combats and winning them more times than i can remember. less is more also helps keep the game from turning into herohammer which isnt as much fun.

as for units, i almost never have a full command. standard and musician for footsloggers, just standard for heavy cav, and just a musician for fast cav. champions only have a use for me for sacrificing themselves in challenges to protect a squishier charecter for a turn and i dont find them worth the points otherwise, buying another ranker is better value and often cheaper option.

Mooglemen
18-01-2009, 07:03
Sorry for the double post, but leaving out all but the necessary options (command/magic items etc.), I shaved 450 from my DE army by fielding only 1 character. 450 pts buys me (with 15 pts to spare) double the RBTs and a lvl 2 scroll caddie complete with flying ride (ok, I know that makes it 2 chars, but I'm in love with the lady ever since reading a thread about that set-up on druchii).

By eliminating the fat in my list, I can field a truly evil 4 RBTs and insert a serviceable and flexible magic phase into an army that otherwise didn't have points leftover for such luxuries.
I think there is definitely something to this line of thinking.

Frankly
18-01-2009, 10:26
So, what does everyone think about, when it comes to numbers/minimalism in their lists, how best can it be practised to good effect?

I think its all important.

V.C. is a good example of people saying that some armies NEED top heavy HQs, when infact the only real reason to use top heavy V.C. lists is to run a magic heavy list(which are the way they're meant to be played ... nothing wrong with that), but you CAN run very successful lists with a limited amount of points put into your character slots, by thinking about how the list will act without magic and/or which phase can replace the usually dominating magic phase.

The good thing about playing light magic V.C. is that alot of V.C. unit choices are just brilliant, combine well together, do an amazing amount of damage while heavy great defense. Vargulf + black knights area prime example of great units working together. If you are playing a top heavy V.C. it can be a real struggle to fit both a good magic phase and alot of heavy hitty units into a list without restricting yourself in numbers and support options.

Other armies run better on less points spent in characters. Empire are my prime example. I found when playing them for the better part of last year as my main tournament list, I'd starting with a top heavy phase, then whittles it down to just a General(later Lector), BSB, caddie. As a result my comp score went through the roof even though I was playing a heavy shooting phase and I had the points to spend to really bulk out my list with a good amount of rank and file units + detachments. What this meant was that with more units came more options, especially bait and flee + counter assaults and in an armylist that whittles down its opponent's static CR, unit strength adn static CR game winning.

Command groups have more to do with and function of the unit and if they need static CR or if they need a captain to take and give challenges or a muso for fleeing/combat CR for example. Generally I run full command of most every rank and file unit since they're working on winning combat on static CR and no command on supporting units since they're just helping out static CR units.

Again the function of the unit will usually decide its unit strength.

w3rm
18-01-2009, 14:24
I can really see what your saying.

For example:
Black Orc Warboss-236
Heavy Armour, Iron Gnasha's, Umm's 'At, Ulags Akkrit Axe

or Black Orc Warboss- 181
Heavy Armour, Armed to da Teef, Umm's 'At

You save- 55 points which is enough for a goblin shaman to get some more dispel dice. Or you could up your boy unit and give 'em 9 more boyz! 9 more orcs! He is still a beast in combat with Armed to da Teef.

w3rm
18-01-2009, 14:26
Edit:Double Post

happy_doctor
18-01-2009, 15:07
I, too, am a great fan of minimizing hero costs in order to save points for more units.

I believe that pretty much any army can work rather well with a single character to provide leadership and/or magic defense.

My experimentation with this approach includes a high elf force led by a single Archmage (did well in 6th, does even better in 7th), a dwarf army led by a runelord on foot (if you've read my reports, you'll know that the lone dragon slayers don't exactly count as heroes...they're independent units) and a lizardmen army led by a single slann.

By minimizing the points cost of your characters, you'll find that you're left with a lot more points to spend on units. At the end of the day, it's units that will win you battles, not some overpowered character.

A good rule of thumb in 2000-2250 points is to try not to exceed 500 points of characters. If you can do with less, even better! For every character you leave out of the mix, you can add a full unit of core troops. What's even better, 90% of the time, the list will be more fun to play than a character-heavy build.

The only army I can't envisage doing this is Tomb Kings, due to their reliance on characters to get a solid magic phase and move around a bit.

Havock
18-01-2009, 15:45
A good rule of thumb in 2000-2250 points is to try not to exceed 500 points of characters. If you can do with less, even better! For every character you leave out of the mix, you can add a full unit of core troops. What's even better, 90% of the time, the list will be more fun to play than a character-heavy build.


That depends on the list. Try running a WoC list with a decent magic phase.

Shamfrit
18-01-2009, 16:11
Two level 2's and an Exalted can easily be brought for 500 points.

The matter is, do you NEED to spend 1000 points on characters, when you can do with 500?

mossel
18-01-2009, 16:26
I think it's magic that makes peaople go character heavy. Not many players go character heavy for combat purposes.

As all of you, I'm constantly thinking about starting another army etc., and a one character WoC army, or actually whatever army sounds like something to me! I'll definately give it a try, starting with my DE in a friendly battle in a few weeks (damned exams...)

However, I do think playing like this, is only real fun when your opponent also steps away from going all out on characters. There is no way it's fun to play against 4 Sorcerers on Disc if you just brought a caddy, a general and your army.

Armies that would really do great fielding few characters and still perform well under most circumstances, are Bretonnia, WoC, Dwarfs and Skaven. Just take acharacter for support purposes (anti magic mostly and leadership) and go and have fun with extra units!

I really can imagine a single Grey Seer and a BSB with the Storm Banner leading an army with lots of slaves, clanrats and a decent block of stormvermin, supported by a decent number of ratling guns and warpfire throwers. Some tunnelers, plague monks, censer bearers and maybe some rat ogres and you're ready to go!

Condottiere
18-01-2009, 16:35
Any force can benefit from a BSB, especially for CR re-rolls. Ideally, you'd want a spell-casting general with a high leadership and BSB traits.

Shamfrit
18-01-2009, 17:25
What...

Like a Slann?

:skull:

Condottiere
18-01-2009, 17:33
Did someone already pirate my idea?:eek:

Shamfrit
18-01-2009, 17:38
Right, I think we've banded around a few ideas now, what say we start bringing up character suggestions/minimalised lists for each army?

Should we do it one at a time, or just start building up a portfolio?

I'm half way through my Skaven analysis :D

Desert Rain
18-01-2009, 18:20
When I build an army I allways try to keep characters as cheap as possible. As a rule of thunb I spend between 25% to an absolute maximum of 33% of my allowed points in characters.
I belive that characters are there to support the units of ordinary troops, not to win the battle by themselves.

For my HE I have sometimes used this guy:
Noble: Barded Elven Steed, Heavy Armour, Shield, Lance. He is the leader of my Silver Helms in smaller points games and he is greatly boosting their combat capabillity for just 111 pts. But as I'm writing this I came to wonder if I would do better by just spending 4 more points and getting myself another unit of 5 SHs. The answer is probably that I need the special slots for other things.

While writing I also came uo with this one ,also for the High Elves:
Noble: Armour of Caledor, Great Weaon for 118 pts. For that you get LD 9, 3 S6 WS6 ASF attacks and a 2+ AS.

Kerill
18-01-2009, 18:34
Exalted of Khorne, bsb, jugger, enchanted shield, sword of might
- General and bsb or add in a Level 1 scroll caddy as general or drop bsb.

Havock
18-01-2009, 18:45
Two level 2's and an Exalted can easily be brought for 500 points.

The matter is, do you NEED to spend 1000 points on characters, when you can do with 500?

Well, technically I end up with 3 characters at around 700 pts at 2250 pts: 1 level 4 and 2 level 2's. However, because I have converted a rather awesome champion on a six-legged horse, I tend to squeeze in an additional exalted. A hellcannon would be better, but I don't have one. Most of my models are form the 'knights & chariots as core, daemons & beasts as special' era, and I am too stubborn and cheap to stay up to date :p

2 converted hero model: bitz + half a slaaneshi champion I won about a year ago is cheaper than buying extra boxes of marauders, and I hate painting en-masse; 25 marauders is a LOT, to me. And about all I'll do.

W0lf
18-01-2009, 19:42
Skaven minimalist? :0

you can get 3 warlock engineers generating 9 pd and a warlord for like 500 pts cant you?

Not all of us have it that easy, and if you want to take magic id consider 6lvls the bare minimum, any less and your unlikely to get anything through - certainly not worth it for the pts!

Min is very easy for;

Brets
All 3 elves
Chaos (no magic obv)
Dwarfs - runesmith with 3 scrolls and a thane. can be as cheap as 250 pts
Daemons - 3x HoN with nothing is 345 pts. Thats quite cheap
Skaven - 3x warlock + warlord or bsb is so cheap
Ogres

Hard for
Beats - rely on heros for support
Orcs N Gobbos - ld and support
Vampires - coss everyone 'needs' a 450 pt lord + heros.
Tomb kings - forced into characters and need magic to work at all (hell they need it to march)

weirdo2590
18-01-2009, 20:01
What...

Like a Slann?

:skull:

Now now, just because a Slann is Ld 10 and a BsB and a Magic god all at once does not mean its minimalist. The thing (I dont have new book, just current one) is 350 points to begin with before you've taken the downright essentail upgrades like increased age, they're only ever worth it as 2nd or 4th gen. Actualy wait.... 4th gen with mabye a 4+ invuln save plaque is still under 500 points..

THANK YOU MINIMALISM THREAD

Entreri Bloodletter
18-01-2009, 20:13
I'm a big fan of minimalism in both my orcs and my dark elves. For example, my orc general is a normal Orc Warboss with the Akkrit Ax and Amulet of Protectyness. 170 points for 4 S6 re-rolling attacks and whatever armor and ward save your opponent has. Now I could easily spend another 100 points on him but that wouldn't necessarily be better.

And almost always, more troops are better than super beefed up characters. For a while I was considering only running a Cauldron Hag as my general and nothing else for my DE, but I'm in love with my BSB and flying scroll caddy so that kinda failed ( still < 600 pts though)

As for command options, oftentimes I only use full command for my infantry blocks while most everyone else gets a musician.

wamphyri101
18-01-2009, 20:14
recently been really doing this with my HE.
No dispel scrolls and probably only 80pts worth of magic items. Trying to go for more models/unit to counter 300pts+ characters you face

wingedserpant
18-01-2009, 20:19
With my Orcs and Goblins I rarely minimise. I can usually afford to fill all character slots and make them quite nasty. In 2500pts I have two shamans, one with the sneaky staff and the other with two scrolls. I take a Warboss with a defensive item and one offensive item and the same for my BSB. I don't take a magic banner for him as I take the spirit totem in my big unz and the banner of buchery with my black orcs. The others are goblins only or of no interest with me.

I never used to take a standard in the battle standards unit but since they now stack I thought I'd better as combat with orcs in the current climat can get very close.

The only minimising I do is only taking two fanatics in each goblin unit instead of three.

I find that Orcs and Goblins are great in the fact that you can spend alot of points on a unit like black orcs or big uns but still have enough for some hard characters and alot of cheap supporting units wheras in other armies you would have to rely on that unit.

Recently though I noticed that since my trolls were always used to flank either heavy caverly or to negate rank bonus I lowered the unit size from 4 to 2. This also saves space on my battle line.

Shamfrit
18-01-2009, 20:32
Minimalist Thoughts To Skaven

Using this minimalist ideal, this is how I arrived at my current Skaven list:

The Under Empire boast one of the most minimalist prone lists possible, due to the sheer cheapness of virtually everything in the Army Book. Not only are our Core troops as cheap as every other core troop, with bonuses, we have support troops that are even cheaper still. This may be a biased review as it pertains to the user’s style, so feel free to adapt to suit, or suggest ideas of your own, my approach is a Horde style Warlord lead list, although I’ll try and touch upon minimalist ideals for magic/shooting heavy variants as well. First up, a brief overview of the army rules we need to take into account.

Army Wide Rules & Minimalism

Skaven have two key rules, firstly, Life is Cheap and Shooting Into Combat, both boost our incredibly cheap units to LD10 if they have ranks, and allow us to swarm with pathetically cheap units and shoot into combat, where their losses will virtually always outweigh ours. If you wish to take advantage of this suicide tactic you have to keep your units to their minimum size and cost, so a Horde and a Suicide Pact Skaven style play from one another’s paws. Knowing that you’re going to lose units to break tests and panic should further enforce the idea of keeping down the cost, so place your resources where they’re needed the most. Otherwise known as 'no need fora bigger stick when you've 200 rats to do the hitting for you!'

Characters

Warlord: The optimum equipment, as far as I am concerned, whereby a Warlord maintains his Leadership ability and has enough to fight, looks something like this:

Warlord
Great Weapon
Warpstone Amulet

At 121 points, this is the cheapest he can be whilst still retaining his fighting ability (as lacklustre as it is) and still having defence, in the form of a 4 ward save. Baring in mind that Skaven characters aren’t remotely good at fighting, and that our characters can stay in the rear of a unit yet still confer Leadership, keeping the Warlord in the rear of a unit should, in most cases, avoid him ever getting into a fight anyway. There is the option of giving him a Heavy Armour/Shield upgrade, so he can stay off Unit Champions and help against normal rank and file, but that’s two clanrats you’re missing out on, or five slaves!

Chieftain: At 45 points, this is a cheap character, but they’re not much better than a human fighter, so should be treated purely as a Battle Standard, and again, retain the from the rear approach, they do not want to get into a fight…ever. A War Banner BSB will set you back a pathetically cheap 95 points. To the rear of a unit, the Cheiftain provides +2 cr to the unit he’s in, and the vital break test re-roll to 12”, for 95 points it’s pathetically cheap!

Warlock Engineers: Magic defence becomes the next priority now we’ve covered the general and the battle standard. With the lacklustre availability of spells and options available to Warlock Engineers you’ve now a choice…take a single, no upgrade scroll caddy, setting you back 95 points, or take two Engineers to get two 9+ castings of Warp Lightning per turn and Storm Daemon, setting you back a total of 270 for both, with three scrolls, and a bound spell…it is a close call to make, since 170 points buys a heck of a lot in a Skaven army. For the sake of argument, let us go with the two engineers, as it provides an offensive choice for magic, bringing out total character slots to 486 points.

In the grand scheme of things, none of the other character slots really offer anything vital to the core mechanics of the Skaven army. With a Greyseer you’ve already spent 200+ points, and once you factor in the Bell, and support, you’ve spent too much to be a minimalist, that, and SAD provide far too many problems to deal with now (, although a Greyseer with the Amulet, a scroll, and nothing else is perfectly all that is required.)

---

Core Units

Clanrats: should, without a doubt come with 25, a banner, and a musician. Do not take a unit champion in a unit you don’t intend to have a character in, 140 points without, 150 with, that’s another 2 clanrats or another 5 slaves. Don’t take more than 3 weapon teams in any one army, more is going to cause problems, mostly points related, or impede movement of an already huge army. The optimum Clanrat allotment should be 3 units. With two ratlings and a warpfire thrower, and 3 accompanying units of 20 clanrats.

That’s 6 units, and three weapon teams for a miniscule 735 points, 138 models, something only Greenskins can match, our army now rests at 1203 points, is mostly LD10, with re-rolls, has covered magic defence, with standard output in offence, and is already taking considerable shape. For this amount of points in SAD you’d barely have 3 units and a plethora of Warlock Engineers.

Nightrunners: These guys are so useful it’s unreal. First and foremost, do not add additional weapons, at all. Let’s not kid ourselves, they’re not going to do any fighting that’s useful in 90% of games, and the price starts rocketing once you do. They should be used as march blockers, flank stallers, fast cavalry harassers, and most important, most important of all, circular screens for your slaves, and for your weapon teams. 35 points for 5 might mean they get panicked easily, but, frankly, since they won’t cause panic to anything else, and they provide you shields, that’s 35 points pathetically well spent. Use Mainstay to it’s maximum, taking one per clanrat unit you have. Now we have a horde army, with all the trimmings, for a pathetically cheap 1308.

Poisoned Wind Globadiers: Contrary to popular belief, taking 2 as deployment distractors is not their best use, especially as we now have 9 units already, and still 900 points to go. You need something to take down armour, especially Knights, which you can screen and bait with your Nightrunners and the like, a single unit of 8, or two units of 5 will provide you with a solid support for your weapon teams, and your clanrat units. Keep them behind, or flank with Nightrunners to see off advancing cavalry, don’t spent more than 100 points on them, that should be the general rule. That means you can then split them into supporting units for your clanrats (3 shots at 4/4+ might tip the balance against cavalry after all.) Now we’ve 11+ deployments potentially, and still 800 or so points to go.

Stormvermin: Yes, I just said Stormvermin, in a minimalist guide. What you need in this approach is an anchor, to house both the Warlord and oft the BSB at the centre of your main line (usually two clanrats either side, and a third off flanking) and this is the best unit Skaven have to offer. 23 models, with shields, full command, and a Banner of the Swarm added for good (and cost effective) measure gives you CR7/8 if you tweak. That is a very effective bunker considering the army around it. 252 points sounds a lot, but it brings the army together and gives you better troops, considering the deficit in spending up until now. But of course, removing them because a Clanrat unit could otherwise do is still an option, freeing up even more points!

Shamfrit
18-01-2009, 20:33
Special

I’ve moved to special now as we’ve covered every viable or reasonable option in the Core selection, and spent a considerably amount on Core troops to cover all aspects that the army book can provide. Swarms are too expensive, when Nightrunners and Clanrats at LD10 with a Battle Standard do the same job. We’ve spent 1455 so far, with plenty left for gubbinz.

So, the first thing to be included has to be Plaguemonks.

Remarkably, Plague Monks work effectively in MSU/flanking units, typically with 12 or18, with additional Hand Weapons, and a small clump of Censer Bearers accompanying them. For a minimalist approach, we will take 18 (6X3,) with no command, additional hand weapons, and 6 Censer Bearers accompanying them. 144 points for the Plaguemonks, and 102 for the bearers gives us a hard, ItP hammer unit with a flank breaking unit for 246, and an additional 2 deployments.

We’ve remained relatively light on shooting and ranged up until now, and with our minimalist considerations we can consider spending points on things the list needs that a character/magic heavy list wouldn’t otherwise be permitted.

Jezzails: If you must include them, two units of 5 seems to be the optimum allocation. 200 points, for two extra units, dividable fire, and easy enough to slot between units or perch on outlooks to provide covering fire for your long, long line of rats. You could suffice with a small unit of five, deploying them last or nearly last against the biggest, immediate threat, likely Knights, or a Large Target etc. 2 Units of five stops you being blindsided against this, and provides much needed player psychology, so that’s 200 spent. (Although you could do with one.)

Tunnelers: Warmachines provide a critical problem to mass horde armies, panic and more targets counter pointed by template scatterign weapons having a field day against T3 rank and file. A single unit of 5 Tunnelers gives us something, without spending too much to deal with bunkering and hard to reach targets, they need nothing more than Poisoned Hand Weapons (so they can deal T4 war machine crew, for 85 points fills our Special slots.

That is our two thousand point, minimalist ideal Skaven army considered. If you play 2250 you’ve still got 264 points remaining, and you’ve already got every option pretty much covered, meaning more units, a magic item or two, or filling the remaining Rare slot (a cannon, still leaving 164, for perhaps more Plaguemonks.)

So, that is our list, bearing in mind it’s biased to a player’s opinion, but with minimalist ideals all the way through, to provide the minimum required in all turns, and to deal with all potential (except Greater Daemons obviously, but that’s what the cannon could be for, or to take a Dogs of War tailored unit.)

Condottiere
18-01-2009, 22:18
Is Suicide Skavens a viable option?

Shamfrit
18-01-2009, 22:43
Well, yeah.

I regularily run a unit of reduced frontage slaves into everything I can, then proceed to pour all my weapon team and magic fire into the ensuing combat.

I lose the unit of Slaves, but frankly, they lose most of their unit too, and mine only cost 40 points!

My Skaven Tactics USING this list require another post equally as long, so I won't go into detail now, but, let us say that it involves Greek/Roman style block movement, and full use of the frontage expand/reduce rules to protect it's Weapon Teams and deliver a strafing fire field, whereby anything that approaches can't get to the weapon teams, but catergorically gets 2-3 rounds at it per turn.

I might draw diagrams and stuff oneday, but I've made 3 2 post tactica contributions today, and written some rp posts and assignments, my wrists are, shall we say, a little tender, and not for the usual Warhammer Nerd reasons :p

happy_doctor
18-01-2009, 23:09
Well, if suicide skaven refers to the Dark Elf equivalent list that seems to be so popular at the moment, I'd say that skaven have the potential to do it better.

The tactic used is no other than the infamous checkerboard pattern, requiring a lot of regular clanrat units, lots of slaves and a healthy dose of night runners, giant rats and single rat ogres for redirection. When taking this approach, there is no need for magic defense (magic missiles can't really harm you) and it would take a gunline's shooting to even put a dent to your horde of rats.

Two elements are absolutely indispensible in the list: The Warlord for his Ld value and the BSB with the Storm Banner to keep flyers off your flanks. Although the appearance of the latest books has weakened this build (high elf swordmasters are very hard to shift), it is still a nice and quite minimalist choice.

Here is a link to the list I used to field a couple of years ago (and the sound tactical insight I got from the Warseer skaven community!)

http://warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=101835

Condottiere
19-01-2009, 00:14
I don't and wouldn't run a minimalist DoW list, but if I did, it would be the Paymaster, fully armoured on a barded steed and Enchanted Shield, and a Lord Wizard with a Power Stone and three Dispel Scrolls.

Condottiere
19-01-2009, 00:22
I might draw diagrams and stuff oneday, but I've made 3 2 post tactica contributions today, and written some rp posts and assignments, my wrists are, shall we say, a little tender, and not for the usual Warhammer Nerd reasons :pThis is too easy.

Though I hear there's some great derived art for 40K SoBs.

Shamfrit
19-01-2009, 00:31
Your list is sound happy_doctor, if a little off what I intended in my post; I hadn't realised the term/approach had already been coined.

I'll write up a summary of the above list's intended use, although I have Skavenbrew involved, and an extra weapon team in the list I use; might have to post it in the Council of the 13 Thread though, don't want to drown my own thread with off topic stuff!

I think that gives Skaven a kick start though;

I've an interesting idea, let's look at each army and see which army can provide a general and a bsb with the best mundane save and attacks, no monstrous mount, no magic item/gifts/spites etc.

Along the lines of

Prince
Barded Steed, Dragon Armour, Shield, Lance

Noble
Barded Steed, Lance, Shield, Dragon Armour, Battle Standard Bearer...

X Points.

Obviously Skaven will win :D But, it'll give us ssome sort of idea about which lists can achieve miniamlist optimism with a cheap character base? *Rummages through army books.*

EDIT:

This is too easy.

Though I hear there's some great derived art for 40K SoBs.

Woot?

W0lf
19-01-2009, 00:40
Herald of nurgle
115 pts

Herald of nurgle bsb
140 pts.

Who needs better characters then these in plague bearers accompanied by flesh hounds and flamers?

Lord Dan
19-01-2009, 01:13
I cant seem to write a vamp lord with less then his 200 pts of equiptment

Sounds like a challenge to me! First test, taking an effective vampire using less than his 200 pts. I will aim for an efficient all-around vampire using only 100 points between his vampiric powers and magic items:

Vampire Lord
Infinite Hatred, Lord of the Dead, Dread Knight, Crown of the Damned

2+ armor, 4+ ward, +1 to raise skeletons, re-roll to hit in combat, lance, and stupidity added in for flavor! All coming in at 305 points. Hardly minimalistic, but some armies really shouldn't ditch their characters completely (VC and TK come to mind).

More you say? Alright, let's do 50 points!

Vampire Lord
Infinite Hatred, Avatar of Death

255 point killing machine with a 2+ armor, lance, hatred, and point-for-point just as efficient as those 400 point killer/ caster monsters I see floating about. If you hadn't guessed it yet, I'm completely behind Shamfrit on this one.

More, I say!

Cambion Daystar
19-01-2009, 07:22
I have an empire list with 4 characters: Archlector, Captain BSB, Warrior Priest and Wizard. Only magic item is the Rod of Power on the wizard for extra DD.

Darkmaw
19-01-2009, 07:51
Consider which is more important...a large, cohesive, well thought out army, with the minimal allotment of points to character slots? Or, an army considerably smaller with stronger characters which is more brittle and localised.


My thoughts are armies are either horde, elite, mixed.

For horde armies (eg O&G and Skaven), the characters are usually for the leadership. So its wise to spend points just to keep them alive, since the leadership bonus acts as a force multiplier to the numerous units available.

For elite armies ( eg Elves and Demons), the characters usually act as either a Hammer unit by themselves (GD/ Stardragon) or enhancement to the units (Heralds) to make up for the smaller number of available hammer units.

For the horde, there is a minimal amounts of points needed to achieve survivability (eg. orc warbosses or skaven warlords buying saves). For the elite, there is a minimal amount of points needed to ensure the killing power. (eg. Bloodthirster buying hatred gift).

Treadhead_1st
19-01-2009, 08:24
Hmm - I am trying to build a magic-heavy Warriors of Chaos list, and minimalism seems to escape me.

I've 2 Level 2's with merely Mark of Tzeentch and a Dispel Scroll. That's about as minimal as I'll get - decent casting thanks to MoT and fairly good defence (a few dice and a pair of scrolls). Still costs me about 300 points for the pair though.

However, things fall apart when I get to my Lord. A Level 4 weighs in at just under points totally naked. I stick him on a Manticore, pushing him to around 500. Some armour, a Powerstone, Amulet, Sword and a Gift later, he's a tad over 600 points!

I guess he could be slimmed down without the extra points spent on Diabolic Splendour, Blasphemous Amulet and Sword of Might (80 points or so), but I find he really needs the extra killing power these provide, otherwise he gets broken by most RnF units (as my supporting Cavalry is almost always shot-up first).

I think being spendy has it's place - provided the expensive character has a dedicated role in the army. For me, I cheapen my Heroes to compensate (and my main line is mostly Marauders too) so that I can focus on having a magical dervish of death doing his thing on his own (well, bit of support that ususally bites the bullet). I reckon it's justified as this guy (depending on spells) can break most RnF units in a single turn, making it easy to roll up the lines of the less-apt troops (anything not T4 really).

When I was trying out an Empire army, I kept my Heroes as slim as possible. I remember my General used to have a Greatsword and a suit of Armour (I think it was the 2+ one) and that was it. Didn't see the need for anything else, since he had a posse of Greatswords for protection. Though I did max-out the agic allowance on my Wizards...purely on Dispel Scrolls, as I found Magic was my real weakness.

Shamfrit
19-01-2009, 09:56
I understand your plight Treadhead, I really do, the first twenty or so games I played with the Warriors list (having never played Hordes) involved a thousand or so points of characters, which was pathetic all in all. I could've done it differently and gone for the strength of the Warriors list, that is, the combat.

You don't need fighty characters, considering that a Chaos Warrior is easily as good as most Hero level characters in the game with better states, except for the small fact they've got one wound, instead of two (similar initiative, better attack stats, 2+ save in combat, what could be better?) Factor in that they're 18 points each instead of 80+, and you should start to see that your army should do the fighting, that is, after all, what their name implies.

Magic in the Warriors list is expensive, but you have to ask yourself what is the minimum magic input you need to get an output? The general concensus on Warseer seems to be 6-8 power dice, that's the average magic level presence in your everyday balanced army. What's the cheapest way to achieve this, and the mandatory two scrolls/4 dispel dice?

Sorceror of Tzeentch, Lvl.2

Sorceror of Tzeentch, Lvl.2

At their core cost, they're 280 points. Which, you're right, is exhorberantly expensive. But for the price of your Sorceror Lord's base you've got the same amount of dice, but on two characters, instead of one, spreading your range and options out.

Now ask yourself, what do your sorceror's need? Yes, they have to challenge, but that's nothing a mount could avoid getting into, so perhaps you need two Chaos Steeds, which also give you 2+ armour saves on both, a steal at 36 points for the two! Now you need some magical bonus. The puppet on one, with the Spell Familiar (for options,) and a scroll or two on the other, perhaps scroll/spell familiar will give you everything that is considered mandatory in an army list. 4 Dispel Dice, 2 scrolls, 6 dice.

Sure, they might cost 200 or so each, but, you've saved points, and left yourself a third character slot to serve as your general. An exalted/bsb and you've spent 500-600 points covering the same cost as your Sorceror Lord on Manticore and given yourself 2 extra characters to boot!

This sort of shuffling around of responsibility obviously comes with it's downsides. For example, you're going to find it hard to get Infernal Gateway/Delusions/Rot, Glorious Rot! off, with 3 dice you've limited in spells, which is why you could consider The Third Eye since you've points to spare.

Just a few thoughts, I'm going to thrash some Vampire Counts with Mono-Khorne 2 character no magic defence warriors now :D (For that, I get 18 knights :skull:)

Draconian77
19-01-2009, 10:47
Example DE list using minimalist philosophies.

Master, Lance, Shield, Sea Dragon Cloak, Heavy Armour, Dark Pegasus, Potion of Strength = 174

Master, Lance, Shield, Sea Dragon Cloak, Heavy Armour, Dark Pegasus, Lifetaker = 174

Master, Lance, Shield, Sea Dragon Cloak, Heavy Armour, Dark Pegasus = 144

Master, Lance, Shield, Sea Dragon Cloak, Heavy Armour, Dark Pegasus = 144

10 Dark Elf Crossbowmen = 100
10 Dark Elf Crossbowmen = 100
10 Dark Elf Crossbowmen = 100
5 Harpies = 55
5 Harpies = 55
5 Harpies = 55

7 Shades, Great Weapons = 126
7 Shades, Great Weapons = 126
10 Black Guard = 130
5 Cold One Knights, Dreadknight with Ring of Hotek = 176

Hydra = 175
Hydra = 175

This list eschews magic defense in favour of speed and hitting power. Dominating the movement phase is what this list is all about, relying on speed to put the most valuable targets out of LoS of enemy spellcasters(Or going for the much more direct approach of charging in and assassinating them...)

For those enemies that have a modicum of mobile firepower you have the Hydras+Hotek carrying CoK's combo. These components are for all intents and purposes, expendable fire magnets. The real damage is going to be inflicted by the quartet of flying Masters.

10 Black Guard function can be used as flank guards and 10 is all you need in most cases to hold out for that vital turn. Seeing as how they aren't functioning as a bunker neither a S6/5 unit champion or the ASF banner are required.

With Shades and Harpies you can redirect the most powerful units at leisure, although this role is better suited for the Harpies seeing as how the Shades can be used in conjunction with a Master or two to break fully ranked units.

With 30 Crossbowmen filling out your core choices(Frowned upon but effective...) you can pressure the enemy early on. Its frustrating to be marched blocked and redirected for several turns whilst being showered in bolts. More importantly they can also influence the movement phase by destroying enemy fast cavalry or skirmishers.

This army is all about synergy and unfair fights(Very Druchii...), whenever your units finally commit themselves to a fight it should be from every direction.

A thought on the two magic items that made it onto the Masters, the Lifetaker and the Potion of Strength.

The Potion of Strength allows the Master to increase his S of 6 to 9 for one round of combat. This can be vital for overcoming 1+ save foes or Chariots.

The Lifetaker is a very useful tool which no DE army should be without in my opinion. It basically reads as "Mages must stay within units at all times or risk certain death." Obviously this is useful because it means that catching them is much easier but its real benefit lies in limiting the mages line of sight.

Whilst the mages are hunkering down you can either kill some skirmishers/fast cavalry or engage in some speculative shots against war machine crew.

Kahadras
19-01-2009, 18:36
Example DE list using minimalist philosophies.


I think the list is a good example of how minimalist philosophies can be applied to building a 'competitive' list. I prefer to use minimalism to give the army a bit more in the way of numbers. By dropping expencive magic items and saving points here and there I can afford to buy another block of infantry or bulk out other units in my army. This works particularly well with elite armies like High elves IMHO.

Kahadras

Storak
19-01-2009, 19:56
the masque is a pretty minimalistic approach...



sorry guys, but you are using VERY STRONG books to make points about alternative tactics..

my orcs have used a pretty minimalistic approach for quite some time now. (only necessary command, only necessary char equipment)
its still not enough to beat the new books.

and you will pay for minimalism, when you opponent starts sniping 4 cannon at (a needed) general.

Shamfrit
19-01-2009, 23:07
How is Skaven a VERY strong book Storak?

Draconian77
19-01-2009, 23:15
I think the list is a good example of how minimalist philosophies can be applied to building a 'competitive' list. I prefer to use minimalism to give the army a bit more in the way of numbers. By dropping expencive magic items and saving points here and there I can afford to buy another block of infantry or bulk out other units in my army. This works particularly well with elite armies like High elves IMHO.

Kahadras


Odd, I always assumed that it would benefit cheap armies more as they could get more units in for the points saved. But maybe a few gems are worth more than a swarm of bullet-catchers. (Hmm, WHFB...great weapon-catchers!)

Harwammer
19-01-2009, 23:24
Odd, I always assumed that it would benefit cheap armies more as they could get more units in for the points saved. But maybe a few gems are worth more than a swarm of bullet-catchers. (Hmm, WHFB...great weapon-catchers!)

Well, there is an optimum number of units in an army. Go over this and panic will become a HUGE issue. Especially for armies that already have leadership problems.

Awilla the Hun
21-03-2009, 22:35
I have never previously known that I was a necromancer, but I have just began this fascinating new career!

I like characters to have magic weapons, just in case something that really, really doesn't like them (Spirit Hosts etc) turns up. But otherwise, I agree. I keep pouring points into my characters, only to look up and stare at the remaining total.

The_Dragon_Rising
22-03-2009, 00:14
Now now, just because a Slann is Ld 10 and a BsB and a Magic god all at once does not mean its minimalist. The thing (I dont have new book, just current one) is 350 points to begin with before you've taken the downright essentail upgrades like increased age, they're only ever worth it as 2nd or 4th gen. Actualy wait.... 4th gen with mabye a 4+ invuln save plaque is still under 500 points..


In the new book 300pts buys you a lvl 4 caster who can remove all 6's from one enemy wizard is ld 9 and a BSB and has a 4+ ward and can sit in the second rank of a stubborn ItP unit of temple guard.

Morello
22-03-2009, 06:11
I find this approach hard to use on VC lists, at least when it comes to characters;

* The entire VC list is priced as if you will be able to raise the troops. Characters are a requirement for the army to function.

* VC characters are pricey, with double the available upgrade cost due to Vampiric Powers, and those powers are required to validate the initial points cost of the character itself.

This makes VC both very maximized in terms of chars and causes it to have a lot of Synergy. I think a lot of players understand how devastating it is to a VC army when their characters, especially a general, is destroyed. I think this is what has popularized things like Deathstars in this book.

dijit80
22-03-2009, 07:40
I guess he could be slimmed down without the extra points spent on Diabolic Splendour, Blasphemous Amulet and Sword of Might (80 points or so), but I find he really needs the extra killing power these provide, otherwise he gets broken by most RnF units (as my supporting Cavalry is almost always shot-up first).


This is exactly the point with minimal forces by spending less on the character you can buy more wonuds for tht supporting cavalry unit so they can survive. This whole minimsl thing is not anything new, anyone aiming for top places in a grand tourny needs to do it, its the best way of making the most efficient force out of the points cost available. Al the points spent on magic items generally don't make their points back, whereas upping the static CR of units almost always helps.

Another question if you're not going artillery heavy, where you expect to win by destroying units at range, why are you taking any artillery at all? Yes they can take a few CR from a unit, but by buying a fast cavalry unit instead you gain something else for your opponent to shoot at and if you get the flank charge the enemy unit gets NO rank bonus.

Havock
22-03-2009, 08:26
I understand your plight Treadhead, I really do, the first twenty or so games I played with the Warriors list
(...)
Just a few thoughts, I'm going to thrash some Vampire Counts with Mono-Khorne 2 character no magic defence warriors now :D (For that, I get 18 knights :skull:)

Going magic heavy instantly means hero hammer with WoC, really.
Lvl 4 on dragon, 2 level 2's... 1200 points.

But that's just because I am a lazy git who thinks painting 10 of the same minatures is a boring prospect.

Finnigan2004
22-03-2009, 14:59
I'm with Havock. I can paint two elite armies in the time that it would take to paint a suicide elves army. I could probably do four, if it were suicide skaven. Probably even more in relation to the skaven because I'd give up the suicide skaven in despair when I looked at the unwashed horde.

W0lf
22-03-2009, 18:09
Completly depends on the army ofc.

Skaven, Ogres, WoC, Empire, Dwarfs etc can easily do cheap characters with good effect whereas HE, Vamps, Tomb kings, Beastmen benefit more from spending alot more.

Probs the best minmalist army for this kind of thing is indeed WoC.

Scroll caddy general
135 pts.

Thats pretty cheap and exalted really arnt needed in a chaos army (CC is what we do). Ofc it can be argued chaos excells more with 10+ PD but minimalist can also work.

Rivalling that (and infact better imo, woops);

Slaan
BSB, +1 dice per cast, 2x dispel scroll
350 pts.

LD 9 general
BSB
Generates 4 DD and 2 scrolls for defence
Generates ~9 dice for offence.

Sure its tempting to spend more pts on him but he can easily be run just like this.

MarcoPollo
22-03-2009, 18:29
I wonder whether considering mounts as character points is a valid approach. Say a simple skink shaman at 150 pts. That is pretty average for a level 2 caster with scrolls and tricks. But put him on a 290 pt stegadon and all of a sudden you have a 440 pt character.

So how do you folks rationalize the expense put on expensive mounts. Sometimes having a flying rank breaking griffon is important in some armies.

Another good thing to consider is what your amy can do well, versus what it cannot do well. For example a chaos lord/exalted is not needed in the chaos army these days. There are already a bounty of killy things that chaos brings. And a unit of three dragon ogres costs the same a lord (naked). Surely a naked lord cannot bring 9A st7 m7 12 wounds, and fear to the table at 231 pts. Ok he gives you +1 ld, and better weapon skill, but that is hardly comprable to the extras you get from the dragon ogres at the same price.

Minimalism is a definite way to boost the number of units in the army. Which in turn helps to "out deploy" your opponent.

Harwammer
22-03-2009, 18:56
I wonder whether considering mounts as character points is a valid approach. Say a simple skink shaman at 150 pts. That is pretty average for a level 2 caster with scrolls and tricks. But put him on a 290 pt stegadon and all of a sudden you have a 440 pt character.

So how do you folks rationalize the expense put on expensive mounts. Sometimes having a flying rank breaking griffon is important in some armies.

Another good thing to consider is what your amy can do well, versus what it cannot do well. For example a chaos lord/exalted is not needed in the chaos army these days. There are already a bounty of killy things that chaos brings. And a unit of three dragon ogres costs the same a lord (naked). Surely a naked lord cannot bring 9A st7 m7 12 wounds, and fear to the table at 231 pts. Ok he gives you +1 ld, and better weapon skill, but that is hardly comprable to the extras you get from the dragon ogres at the same price.

Minimalism is a definite way to boost the number of units in the army. Which in turn helps to "out deploy" your opponent.


For character mounts I suppose it relies on how the character is planned to be used. If it doesn't matter too much where the character is on the table (e.g. a wizard with heavens lore) then you can probably consider the mount 'separate' for points as the character can do his job regardless of where the mount takes him (I suppose this is true for skinks on stegadons as they recieve a decent armour save).

I think its pretty hard to do a WoC minimalism list based around infantry. You need your general (caddy) and a bsb is helpful, thats *edit 270 (not 170)* points there and you really ought to give each of them at the least a horsey.

It seems to me the best minimalism WoC list may be marauder cav spam. Those guys can be pretty ferocious but remain cheap and versatile.

Shiodome
22-03-2009, 20:28
Orcs can get by @ 2k with a warboss and BSB imo. the points saved by not taking a shaman with staff of sneaky stealing/2xScrolls pays for morks spirit totem (3 dispel dice for 5 total, which is a passable minimum imo) with 50 points to spare. the 4th character for O&G's doesn't really add much for it's points and those points easily buy a large block unit.

something i'll try when i've got enough models to take advantage of the points saved. :)

dijit80
22-03-2009, 23:06
An interesting version for HE, is the citizen levy - spearmen and archers with bolt throwers and a few heros with GW to add the kill. HE spearmen are the equivilent to elites in some armies and can easily make good. It makes for an interesting play, and is again another version of minimalism. i remember Nigel stillmen talking about him going anti-high cost character so he could take a few blocks of 40 HE spears who could laugh at flamecannons - that must be 10years or so ago now.

Spirit
23-03-2009, 14:41
I must say i am very bad when this is concerned.

I used to run vampires and found it very difficult to spend under 900 points on heroes. The sheer amount the vampires do makes them integral imo.

now im onto lizardmen and i find the same problem. More than half of my 2k army is on heroes, granted this gives me a carnosaur, ancient stegadon and stegadon to boot. But i wouldnt trade any of them.

One stegadon is magic defence, one has the warspear and BsB, the other is the general.

I guess itmust be something to do with my lack of enthusiasm to paint 100 skinks!

Count de Monet
23-03-2009, 16:53
I agree with the principle. And from a list-writing standpoint it's generally the way to go IMO.

But I often have trouble doing it in practice. I like dumping points into my heroes so that I don't have to paint another hundred guys to make the points level. ;) I go 'maximalist' not because it's better, but because it's a time saver for me. :o

Desert Rain
23-03-2009, 18:10
A 2000 points HE list could do with just one character namely an Archmage with level 4, Silver Wand and a couple of scrolls. In total he costs 310 points and gives you a reasonable magical defense, 4DD and 2 Scrolls, and a lighter offense with 6 PD. Give one of your elite units the Banner of Sorcery to improve your casting and if you have the points you could give him another scroll and/or a powerstone.

My 2000 pts HE army will have an archmage with guardian phoenix, silver wand and a scroll paired up with a L.2 mage with seerstaff and another scroll. In total thats 500 points which is about as much as I want to spend on characters in a 2000 pts army.

Keller
23-03-2009, 19:53
I think it depends a lot on the army as to how minimalistic you can go for characters. Based on my armies:

In my Empire, I barely take any magic items. Characters are there to provide a little extra punch and pass on leadership. Magic armor is almost never used. Wards and MR items show up, though very rarely. Magic weapons are only taken to add in a little variety if I am worried about something in particular. Arcane items are a bit more common for defense. I usually take all mundane equipment with an enchanted or talisman, or an arcane item if a wizard. Average is 20-30 points per character, max. Many characters get nothing.

My Ogres also skimp on magic weapons/armor. Their talismans are larely junk, and I don't find many of their Enchanted to be of much use. Generally I take a Big Name and mundane equipment on my Bruiser/Tyrant and 25-30 points of Arcane on butchers. A Tyrant w/ an Iron Fist and Giant Breaker has proven to be quite sufficient in many of my battles, with 6 S6 attacks, or 5 S6 and a 3+ save if I need the shield. Of course then I need a Giant, but that's seldom a problem.

Vampires, I tend to spend more points on characters, though not as many as most people seem to. I shoot for ~50-70 on Vampires and no more than 100 on Vamp Lords (items and powers.) Necros and Wights pretty much never get any magical equipment.

Dogs of War: Ha, maybe a Dispel Scroll if I feel like it.

MarcoPollo
23-03-2009, 20:05
The problem with dumping alot of points into characters (or other trick/hidden items) is that sometimes it is easy to forget about these little tricks you have when playing in the moment.

I can't count how many times I have said to myself: "Doh, I wish I would have remember my 'X' ability on my 'Y' character/unit. That would have saved me a few hundred victory points ..." .

It happens all the time. But if you don't use alot of those tricks, then it happens less as there is less stuff to remember when you are trying to figure out w/s hit numbers and wound values. And by the time you remember, usually it is too late to do anything about it.

EvC
23-03-2009, 21:38
A great topic, well resurrected as well :D

With Warriors, which are my "current" army, you can only really try minimalist if you go magic-lite. As with Shamfrit, most of my early lists sought to take advantage of strong magic (ostensibly as a way of forcing the enemy to come to actually fight me, and punish them if they boringly stayed away and shot). My firts Sorcerer Lord belonged to Nurgle, and in a block of Nurgle Chosen, there's no two ways about it: he HAS to be on a Daemonic Steed (Or Palanquin), as one failed LD8 terror check or charge by Zombies and he's running. Which would be disastrous. Combine with a neat pair of defensive magic items (Armour of Damnation and Father of Blades) and the Word of Agony, and BAM, 440 points. And of course, he had no boosted magic, so I needed 2 more level 2s and a bound item... although I scaled it back to level 4 + level 2 + banner of wrath eventually. But that was still nigh 900 points on characters AND I didn't have a BSB, which meant that every time I failed my Rapturous break test that was game.

More recently, I've gone for Khornate Warriors. It's not quite as minimalistic as the one suggested by Shamfrit earlier, but does have a Lord in it. Axe of Khorne, Enchanted Shield, Favour and Jugger. Somewhat expensive, but LD9 is nice to have for a change, especially when combined with a BSB. Plus he has 35 points spare magic items allowance and no gifts, so I'm not going too crazy with him. The BSB is also rather minimalist, with just flail, shield, Khorne and Fury of the Blood God for some cheap MR. As an added bonus, he goes on a chariot which I'd want to take anyway, and I save a fair few points there since he passes frenzy on to his mount :)

And then just a scroll caddy as my third character. As discussed elsewhere, it's simply mandatory with Warriors. He gets to carry Bloodcurdling Roar as well, so typically kills a good 40 points of enemy models as well as providing defensive capabilities. It's especially nice against Empire, where I simply let all the prayers through and use his power dice to dispel studd in my phase :D

Orge_ladd
23-03-2009, 23:12
as an ogre player i find it hard to get cheap heros.. mine being 130 at least to start with.

but i did come up with this for 2000 points

tyrant, great weapon, wyrdstone necklace, heavy armour, 236
butcher, 1 power stone 155
butcher, 1 dispel scroll, 155

thats 546pts.. and its not even using anything expesive.. but is still exensive..

Keller
23-03-2009, 23:34
The problem with dumping alot of points into characters (or other trick/hidden items) is that sometimes it is easy to forget about these little tricks you have when playing in the moment.

I can't count how many times I have said to myself: "Doh, I wish I would have remember my 'X' ability on my 'Y' character/unit. That would have saved me a few hundred victory points ..." .

I do this all the time! I just played a game with my Empire last night and wanted to try the Casket out (steal enemy spells) after having read some interesting battle reports with it. In a 3K game, I gave it to a Griffon-mounted Count and hoped for the best. It was turn 3 before I thought to use it... In the two turns that I did remember, I didn't get anything.

Shamfrit
24-03-2009, 01:35
Aye, I'm surprised this kicked off so well again, after sneakily referencing it in another Tactica that appeared :D

I can concur with EvC, I've faced the list he's discussing and it is very effective considering the lack of investment in the character slots that you'd otherwise expect to spend 800-1000 on for a magic heavy list, which really only comes into it's own with Tzeentchian Lore of a Daemon Prince, as otherwise, you're just another magic army - Nurgle is good, but not good enough to carry games (except Buboes on a Vampire Lord :wtf:)

Where Warriors shine is in the strength of their units, characters are very much support models, as a unit of Chaos Knights, unlike, say, Black or Cold or Empire Knights, can break most things on the charge without combat support - you don't need to invest in things to keep your units fighting. EvC's lord is a hammer, and a big bloody one at that - its a psychological threat you just don't get with Magic Users, because it's always a case of miscast ha ha! He could fluff his attacks of course, but his list of KB'd generals is growing for a very good reason :D

Minimalism is a very important practice to at least know about, you're not forced to utilise it to your advantage, but in doing so, it helps you second guess yoru opponent's army, which comes down to knowing item costs etc - helps you find out where the last 25 points have gone and if you've just run into a hidden surprise!

Remember folks, keep it cheap, there's a recession going on!

fishound7
24-03-2009, 07:57
So i've been thinking on this.
I use a dwarf lord w/shieldbearers rostone GW
bsb Mrogromil ropreservation
Runesmith rospellbreaking x2 shield
Total 458

VS

So if i just use a runelord without the anvil and I save a ton of points
Runelord rostone, ropreservation, rospellbreaking x 2 shield
bsb mrogromil ropreservation
Total 340

The runlord is just as hard to kill as the dwarflord. It only lacks its fightyness and leadership but it provides me with an extra DD. I save about 118 points which is easily another warmachine or another unit of crossbow's or much needed strength to combat blocks

Your Mum Rang
24-03-2009, 10:43
I've been looking into two Cauldrons as a minimalist way of having a tough General/BSB and then supporting the army as a whole.

Skyldig
24-03-2009, 12:19
A great thread once again, I often feel minimalism is the way to go when I plan my characters magic items. For example I used to feel that if I take a 35pts item on my hero, I have 15 points left that I *must* use. So I searched the whole book for something, bought it, and called it a day. I don't do much of that any longer, instead I focus on their roles, and keep it as cheap as possible. This tend to rule out any magic items that is too situational. I only ever use something that I know I get to use, and even then, decide if it's worth the effort.

Also, when it comes infamous items, people will just expect them to be there and thus avoid them as best as possible. As such, items like the speculum or golden eye of Tzeentch might not even have to be included to allow the character to work just as good as he would with them. Play as if they where there, and people will believe they are.


Looking over the difference between 2250 pts armies and 3000+ armies, I also feel minimalism is needed. All too often you compare these armies only to find that there are no more troops to speak off. It's more characters that turn a 2250 pts army into a 3000 pts army. Ain't that sad? How I wish people took a look at their 2250 army of say 80 troops, and turned it into a 3000 pts army of around 120 troops. I think there could be more fun and better games because of it.

Dokushin
24-03-2009, 12:44
Personally I find it most effective to just write your whole list without buying -any- upgrades, magic items, abilities, or command, and fill the whole points up with troops, and only then go back and start adding upgrades. Once you start thinking about that 50 points in terms of another kroxigor or 3 saurus warriors it really helps keep your army from becoming too bling-heavy.

Keller
24-03-2009, 12:46
Looking over the difference between 2250 pts armies and 3000+ armies, I also feel minimalism is needed. All too often you compare these armies only to find that there are no more troops to speak off. It's more characters that turn a 2250 pts army into a 3000 pts army. Ain't that sad? How I wish people took a look at their 2250 army of say 80 troops, and turned it into a 3000 pts army of around 120 troops. I think there could be more fun and better games because of it.

Sometimes there is such a thing as too many troops, though. I played on Sunday a game of 3K with my Empire. I don't normally spend much on characters, so decided to splurge on a Griffon-mounted Count, secondary to my General, to terrorize my HE opponent who always fails Ld checks. I spent a total of 820 points on heros, leaving my 5 large infantry blocks / detachments, 2 units of 10 gunners, some archers, 3 arty pieces, and pistoliers. I had over 210 models w/out the crews and characters. I got lucky with my pistoliers and crushed his left flank (horray for panic,) then had to try and divert 2 regiments with detachments towards the right side, getting so bottlenecked up they never made it. I guess that's a good problem to have, but it was frustrating. There was a fair amount of terrain blocking the way, though.

EvC
24-03-2009, 14:31
EvC's lord is a hammer, and a big bloody one at that - its a psychological threat you just don't get with Magic Users, because it's always a case of miscast ha ha! He could fluff his attacks of course, but his list of KB'd generals is growing for a very good reason :D

List updated with recent conquests just for you :D

Farquad
25-03-2009, 13:53
Haha, nice post

iamfanboy
25-03-2009, 20:37
I've been thinking about VC minimalist for a long time now, and it's hard. So much synergizes with the rest of the army - how much is a free march move WORTH for all regiments with T4 A2 Poisoned Attacks? Etcetera. So far, though, what I've come up with is this:

Infinite Hatred - necessary for any fighting Vampire. Rerolls are gold in any situation, and with an S5 character you don't want to be whiffin'.

Forbidden Lore - necessary for any casting Vampire. Yeah, it's nice to have Master of the Black Arts for +2 PD, but KNOWING you will have Vanhel's trumps that. Alternately, you can select Lore of Beasts or Lore of Metal, depending on the situation - I like Metal more, I've gotta be honest.

Ghoulkin - If you're using more than one unit of Ghouls, take this power. Not only does it give them a free march move, letting you put the pressure on your enemy right away (dwarf gunlines, I'm looking at YOU!), but any characters in the regiments get the move too.

Master Powers - At least one of your Vampires should have at one of these; which one depends entirely upon your army make-up. The Vampire who has it does not have to be your most powerful caster, since all of them have Invocation of Nehek; but if you do take it on a lesser Vampire make sure he's got a Black Periapt to buff his power dice.

Avatar of Death/Dread Knight/Walking Death/Master of the Black Arts are all good abilities, but for a minimalist set-up they aren't... well... always worth it. (yeah, I know I'm gonna take flack for saying that about MotBA, but still... it's bloody expensive!)

For magic items:

Sword of Might/Sword of Battle - Take the Might sword on Vampire Lords, and Battle on regular Vampires. They boost out the combat ability for a minimal outlay, and make the Vamp more than capable of massacring almost anything in their way.

Armours are a situational thing. For Vampire Counts, the magical armours are more about granting special abilities (immunity to KB/Poison, negating ASF/charging, -2 penalty to-hit, +1T) than powerful armour save; well, aside from the two Hauberks. Decide which is most important to you and go for it; protect your Lord by any means necessary.

Enchanted Items - Helm of Commandment is NECESSARY. Even if you only take it on a 'lowly' Vampire, that's still WS6 granted to an army where even the elite Special unit has a WS of 3! Talisman of the Lycni can be used with Ghoulkin to catapult a regular Vampire into a first-turn charge, but that is a bit, uhhh, risky.

Talismans - Crown of the Damned is the only way to give a reliable Ward save to your Lord, but at the cost of Stupidity - the ultimate unreliability.

Arcane Items - Black Periapt is absolutely necessary for an army that marches (literally!) on its Power Dice; you can sacrifice a dispel dice for another IoN any day. Book of Arkhan is worth it IMHO to keep the pressure on your opponent's dispel dice, but admittedly it's a bit expensive for a minimalist build.

Nightmare - Giving an S4 Attack and a +1 armour save to your Vampire for 20 points could be a waste or a given, depending on your Vampire. If you've got a decent armour save already (from Walach's, Cadaverous Cuirass, or Avatar of Death), it'd be worth it. If your only defense is a Crown of the Damned, I wouldn't bother.


And that sums up the last hour or so of typing on my thoughts. Admittedly, it's a bit silly to go minimalist on Vampires, but you can maximise the value of points spent fairly easily.

Jind_Singh
26-03-2009, 05:54
Awesome thread - the dudes a genius for taking out time and effort to put down a well written post.
You've all hit on the key - cheap out the army as much as possible to bulk up the army. Quite often you buy so many trinkets for the characters, i've seen lists that are almost 80% character costs!!
I played daemons (dont hate me!!!) when they 1st came out (now I'm a night goblin!) and I took 1-2 heralds, and bulked out on troops. This was done to the point I quite often outnumbered the other side - with 'expensive' daemons.
Command groups are the biggest points sink, as are magic items. Have a specific role for each element in the army and stick with it.
Great thread!

Zoat
27-03-2009, 11:39
For minimalism/synergi I always loved "The Village Idiot" and his approach to the Empire. Very well thought out and effective army! Check it out

http://www.warhammer-empire.com/warroom/tvi_tactica1.php

Hope no-one posted it before!

Desert Rain
27-03-2009, 15:35
That was a really interesting read. I imediately started to think if it can be used with High Elves in a modified way.

MarcoPollo
27-03-2009, 19:48
The village idiot technique can be used with almost any type of army. It works well with empire because it has:
1) cheap troops
2) lots of shooting
3) detachment rule.

but you could run a village idiot technique with chaos even. You just use marauders as the anvils, and chaos knights as the hammers with hell cannons and magic. Your speedbumps are the warhounds. You could also do it well with lizards. The anvils are the saurus with spears, or skrox units. Your hammers are the cold one riders or kroxigors, and your speedbumps are the small skink skirmishers. I mean every army can do the trick to some degree. But it works well with empire due to the above mention attributes. I suppose you could call it "passive agressive" techniques.

dijit80
27-03-2009, 20:46
It's similiar to how i played High Elves for many years. 2 large blocks of spearmen, a block of lions, backed by Swordmasters, reavers and Dragon princes. Disposable units are the Eagles.