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Jorgen_CAB
27-04-2009, 10:36
Ok, this is my first attempt at trying to do a small evaluation of an army list together with some learning’s and finding I found along the way.

I have played about eight to ten games with my Gondor forces so far, I have tried most of the units, some I have proxied to get a feel for them and borrowed some models to try them out.

I have also done a lot of theorizing using the computer to get some additional experience how certain units behave and works in comparison with different enemy forces.

I have concentrated on smaller games on around 1000-1500p. So my advice will mostly be applied to forces at this size.


General notes on command
If you have the models but don’t pay for them, place them at the second line of your command companies. That way you can at least show them of when painted.

Banners
A banner bearer is ever only useful in a unit that gets additional bonuses for charging, such as Cavalry and some infantry units. It might also be worth it in very large units if you plan on playing aggressively or use that particular formation to flank attack the enemy.

Hornblowers
These command models can be useful in some infantry formation. They are not completely overly priced. I would not go overboard and place them in all my units. But if you have a large Archer unit with a captain a horn blower can give the unit some additional maneuverability.

Captains (Edited 28/4)
These models are perhaps the hardest ones to use properly. The reason for this is the way the Dueling system works. An epic striking enemy model or monster hero with high fighting skills can really turn your captain into a liability.
Since Gondor and the good side have access to some quite cheap and useful Epic heroes you should consider them first. The reason why for this is that Epic heroes always have a chance to move to where they are needed and can use Epic Strike themselves to survive encounters, they have allot of Might and most of them are inspiring leaders as well.

In my opinion you should not put captains in your center forces that you intend to charge into close combat with, in particular smaller formations of four or less companies (I’m talking about 1000-1500p games here. In larger games it might be more viable to use captains in these melee formations). You should employ your Epic Heroes instead. They can move to whatever unit you find useful for the moment.

In my experience it is common for Epic Strike heroes to destroy your center forces (big blocks of infantry) using Epic Strike in combination with magic, making sure that you can epic strike yourself and refuse him the satisfaction of an easy target is the key. I would still put captain in ambushers and flanking forces, they need the speed that you get from additional movement and all the different Heroic actions that you can pull.

Depending on if you like to play themed armies or not you will have different options. But in my opinion you should not cripple yourself if you like to play themes armies, so if you do and you play against someone that does not you might need to proxy some heroes. Whatever is legal where you play you should go for it. We don’t bother so much, if I take a standard captain model and use the Isildur stats and call him Captain of the Guards or some such, that is no big deal.


Common Troops

Warriors of Minas Tirith
These little guys are really the grunts and workhorse of Gondor. They are cheap and can stand up to the enemy pretty well. I use them as the anvil while the knights act as the hammer, this works most of the time.
Make sure that your infantry blocks are as large as possible and no smaller than four companies. Only take a banner bearer when you plan to be aggressive. In smaller games I would never use a captain, see above point for my reasoning.
These grunts are simply there to hold the enemy in place while you better units assault them from different angles.

Archers of Minas Tirith
With heavily armored archers I see a great value in using them as my main missile support. They work well without command and in either two or three company formations. In my opinion a three company formation is the most cost efficient, once you consider monsters. Many monsters need 6/4 to hit so you need that extra company to manage at least two hits and roll on the very hard to kill table.
Don’t be afraid to charge your archers into the flank of an enemy when necessary, their heavy armor makes them viable in melee as well.

Knights of Minas Tirith
These warriors act in the same way as your basic infantry and complement them very well. In my experience they can serve two purposes, and usually both in a game. They can be employed as big hard hitting cavalry that you run down a flank and they can be employed as flanking forces acting as the hammer to support your infantry.
In the first case they must be led by an Epic Hero, their captains are too weak and can easily become a liability to them. As support to the infantry they should be employed and smaller formations of about two or preferable three companies (depending on the size of the battle I would say).
Both tactics benefit from a banner bearer.
Running a cavalry down a flank usually needs the assistance from some infantry as well since cavalry are vulnerable to monsters so you need to take this into account. Rangers or smaller infantry units are perfect to run down a flank with cavalry.

Númenórean Warriors and Archers
I see these guys as regular Gondor men from the fiefdom, or as the free men of Númenór led by the High King Elendil. Take your pick.
All in all I think they are inferior to Minas Tirith Warrior because one additional defense is generally worth more then one additional in fighting skill. Other than that they are employed in the same way as Minas Tirith Warriors. The archers are not that good, Gondor ranges cost the same and a better archers and have the pathfinder skill.

Warriors of Arnor
If I were a geek, I would proxy my plastic Minas Tirith Warriors as these guys. They have one higher fighting skill but one less courage. But since I put an Epic Hero in charge of them the lower courage doesn’t mean a thing anyway until the Epic Character is dead, but then the game would be pretty much decided anyway.
Now, since I’m not that guy I would never do that, but I felt that I needed to say it anyway. :)

Citadel Guards
These are good and sound elite infantry that you also can give longbows. I see pretty much no reason to not give them longbows and run then in a size of four companies. Add in a banner and have an Epic Hero join them and you have a very tough unit. Though, they are not the anvil but rather the hammer.
I think that they look rather good mixing the companies with both spear and bow models.

Rangers (Gondor, Arnor)
Their biggest flaw is that they don’t have the ambush special rule… which makes regular archers with higher defense more useful in my opinion as ranged support. The problem as I see it, in most games that we have played so far, is that terrain tends to be either defensible or impassible which makes the pathfinder skill pretty useless.
There are some very good legendary formations that you should look at before you consider regular rangers.
If you do take them I tend to favor formations of three with a captain to give them some maneuver ability and to capture terrain. The rangers shoot with one dice more than regular archers and their captains are one fight level better than the archer, this makes them in my opinion better that regular archers for grabbing and holding terrain. Watch out for any Wargs and/or other units with strength of four, they will eat you for breakfast, run and hide in defensible objects in those cases.

Men-at-Arms of Dol Armoth
Good fighting skill, courage and weaponry. I would say that they make quite a good unit for supporting your cavalry on a flank. I also think that putting a captain in this unit is viable. They are less likely to face enemy epic heroes with high fight values and their captain has at least a five in fight value so he should not loose a duel with too much if it happens. In any case, it all depends on what you plan to use the formation for during a battle.
In my opinion pike units work best in sizes of four companies running on the flanks to protect hard hitting cavalry such as Knights of Minas Tirith and Dol Amroth from monsters and other cavalry.

Foot Knights of Dol Amroth
Now this is what I call chock infantry. They need a good Epic Hero and a banner. Make sure you get to charge and you will destroy your enemy… they are not too expensive but you need four plus companies to be competitive. All combat in this game is brutal and you will receive losses no matter what you do.

Knights of Dol Amroth
Foot knights on steroids... these knights have a very high chance to hit home and drive the enemy in to the ground. Take them in a formation no smaller than four companies, preferably six led by Imrahil himself of course, no questions asked. If you need a cheaper hero then Faramir or Isildur will do it equally well. They are a little pricey, so I really don’t think they are a very good option in smaller battles, so I would not invest in them over Minas Tirith Knights unless I played 1500p plus.


Rare formations

Guards of the Fountain court
They are nothing special. They have one higher defense value but one lower strength value than Citadel Guard. Theme wise I would rather go for the Citadel Guards than these warriors, but they will take less damage and might be useful as a doorstop and they are not that expensive, but all in all I think that you get more for your value if you take regular warriors who have a front defense of seven.

Avenger Bolt Throwers
Very good against large infantry formations, armored or not... they will die. If you choose to take them, take at least two, preferably three… they are not that expensive and your opponent will feel threatened by them nevertheless. If there is a hill, these guys go there, end of discussion.
They can shoot pretty much at anything but are best used at large infantry or any cavalry formation.

Battlecry Trebuchet
Debatable if they should be allowable in a regular game, but I didn’t make the rules so they are in… nevertheless they are powerful against anything. They are very good for routing out units that hide inside buildings. Place them as far away from the battle as possible on a hill that overlooks the centre of the field.
All in all they are a bit pricey for the damage that they will cause, so I would only use them when I know they would be put to some good use, such as in a siege or an assault on a town/city.

The Undead (Edit 28/4)
Probably the worst units that GW released as a Gondor choice, they defile the whole Lord of the Ring feel in the Gondor list… but anyway I’m not writing this to assess their theme now am I? :)
I have come to the conclusion that the infantry are way to pricey for what they can perform. Terror are not that usable and I would never stick a captain in there with a fight value of four. The King has a rather great power, but his fight skill of four makes him a pathetic target for Epic Strike and other high fight valued heroes. The only thing he has going for him is that additional companies only cost thirty points, so he can bulk up on them. That way you could run them on a flank and do some damage, that would be the only viable strategy for them in my opinion. They can do some damage to monsters since they ignore their high defense and hit most of them on a 5+, though they still cost more than twice as much so it is still questionable if they are worth it, unless you take the King.

Anecdote…
Had Gothmog in a large Orc nine company formation and was charged by the undead in the rear and a block of six Minas Tirith in the front, lead by Faramir. Gothmog Epic Strike, Epic Defense and Dueled the king… almost completely destroyed the Warriors of the dead in the following dual and killed another few in the ensuing fight, they did little in return.
The warrior in the front was then annihilated by the fight and following Heroic Fight. Gothmog even had one might left, and he destroyed the entire center forces in one turn… He killed about 600 points of troops and lost about two companies in the process.

Riders and warriors simply are too expensive to be useful… Terror is not good enough in my experience.

Axemen of Lossarnach
These troops are really very good. You get to choose if you want to use their weapons as pikes or two handed weapons, that simply is terrific. I would run them on a flank in a formation of four plus size. I would add ‘Forlong the Fat’ in a larger game, but not in 1000-1500p. I would not bother with a banner either.

Clansmen of Lamedon
This is a very good unit to use as the hammer instead of or in conjunction with cavalry. I would give them a banner but no Angbor to reduce the risk of getting Epic Striked by the enemy that I flank charge. I would rather put Angbor in the unit as an Epic Hero using say Eomers profile and pay his cost as an ally. Eomers skills fit Angbor quite nicely. If your opponent would not permit you to do that, you put Eomers model there and call him Angbor out of spite or you don’t use Angbor (or Eomer) at all. That is in my opinion…


Legendary formations

Rangers of Ithilien
This is a very good Ranger unit that has the ambush ability. It is very useful to attack the enemy in the flank and rear and to get those important flank shots and get around the shield bonus. They can also charge when the opportunity arises. They also have plenty of Might to resist magic and perform Heroic Shoots and Movement with.

Denethor’s Guard
I would say that this formation is sub par. I would rather use Beregond as an Epic Hero and take Isildurs profile for him instead. This makes Beregond more useful as model. Model a cloak on a regular Minas Tirith Knight and you have him on a Horse as well.

Osgiliath Veterans
This is a rather nice formation, they have both shields and bows and a good fighting skill as well. I would use them to hold a flank or to capture objectives and terrain objects. They are well suited for these tasks. I would not waste them on core duties. I would also give them a horn blower to increase their movement, could come in handy for them. I would probably deploy them in a formation of three or four, depending on the size of the game.

The Dunedain of Arnor
Another good Ranger unit you can use. In my regular Gondor army I simply call them up as expert Rangers who are the best of the best and rename Arathorn to something else to fit my theme.
They are very good and I field them in a size of three companies. I mainly use them for their shooting skill, but will charge if the opportunity presents itself to be viable.

The Grey Company
This is a pricey but useful formation and even more so if you include Aragorn in your list. Though, in a battle of 1000-1500p I feel that Aragorn are a little too expensive for his benefits. His +2 to hit bonus is very great though, and together with the Grey Companies ability to hit at the same time cavalry does makes them nasty indeed. But in a game where you put Aragorn 200p in a formation of four Grey Company 235p you have half the points tied up in one formation in a 1000p game. That is very dangerous to do.
Banner of the King does not count as aregular banner (go figure) and gived you +1 fight skill and it cost you a whooping 50p. It has the special rule to give Aragorn’s courage to all units who are ‘Men’ on the entire battlefiels. I would only do this in a game of 3000+ or some such.

Royal Guard of Arnor
In my opinion not a very useful formation because their fight value are so low and they are more a liability than anything else. I would replace Malbeth profile with Cirdan and the King with Isildur or Faramir to keep with my theme.
After this I would by Warriors of Arnor as usual.

Warden of the Keys
A nice unit… but once again… I feel that it is very dangerous to put a weak non 'Epic Striking' character in such an expensive unit. Duelists don’t care about the defense of a model when they go on a killing spree. If I take this unit they will go on a flank and find some opponent that wouldn’t be able to Epic Strike and kill the unit before they get to fight… waste of points otherwise. I really don’t see the viability of this unit in a small game because of my points mentioned above.

Blackroot Vale Archers
This is a nice formation that can ambush. The downside is that you must buy the standard bearer. Though they only cost 25p per company so you should go ahead and deploy the formation with at least four of them. If you do this you get a good shooting formation with longbows. They shoot equally well as any elf unit would, but for half the price. :)

Epic Heroes
I will not go into detail about the Epic Heroes but I would generally say that they are all very good and cheap (most of them anyway). I would only say that the Hobbit are the one that are quite difficult to use. The main reason because if his low fighting skill, he only has about 50% chance of using his skills in a battle, so he is a 75p all or nothing kind of deal. He can also make life very uncomfortable if dueled by a high skill character such as a Dragon Knight before he has time to use any of his skills.

Down below I have created an army that I think would be competitive in general as well as being somewhat thematic…


1250p

Epic Heroes
Boromir (Leader), 175p
Faramir, 90p
Angbor the Fat (using Isildurs Profile), 85p

Common Troops
1x6 Minas Tirith Warriors, 150p
1x3 Minas Tirith Archers, 90p
1x6 Knights of Minas Tirith (Banner, Shields), 215p

Rare
1x4 Axemen of Lossarnach, 100p
1x2 Avenger Bolt Throwers, 100p

Legendary
1x4 Black Root Vale Archers (Banner, Horn, Duinhir), 220p

Fortune
Counterspell, 25p

The tactic here is to have Boromir in charge of the Minas Tirith block in the Centre and Angbor takes charge of the axemen. Faramir takes charge of the Knights that you either put in reserve or run down a flank... depends on the bettlefield setup and you opponent army. I would place the cavalry in the same flank that I put the axemen. The archers go to the opposite flank of the Minas Tirith infantry block and act as a refused flank. The Avengers are placed wherever seems most appropriate, preferably at a hill behind the warriors.
The ambushers will emerge from a Forrest or Mountainous hill large enough to hold them.

So, comments a welcome... are my logic flawed?
Once again, this Tactica are for armies played at about 1000-1500p. If you go above or below some points may not be as useful. Though, I think that it would be equally as useful up to at least 2500p or so.

Quannum
27-04-2009, 11:00
A very nice consideration indeed! It's nice to see a comparison of each legendary formation against one another as well!

Good job.

Q

Nu Fenix
27-04-2009, 14:30
Considering that is your first attempt I'd say it is very impressive, and doesn't really need any tweaking at all.

I don't play Gondor, so for me it gives me a better understanding of what I may face.

I have been wondering about picking up a Good army to give me more variation in my games, so this has helped me work out ideas.

The concern about low Fight heroes being killed off in duels, as well as being a liability to their formation is one I hadn't considered. Might want to start modelling my Dragon Knights with executioner styled axes ;)

Jorgen_CAB
27-04-2009, 15:07
The concern about low Fight heroes being killed off in duels, as well as being a liability to their formation is one I hadn't considered. Might want to start modelling my Dragon Knights with executioner styled axes ;)

About low fight Heroes being a liability it really depend on the unit and what you use it for. The most important thing is not always that you kill allot of models but that you are guaranteed to win the fight and can use heroic fight to completely annihilate the opponent as well.

If they bring low ranking heroes in expensive units, such as Warriors of the dead it is even more fun... :)

Dragon knights are really good heroes with their fighting skill of seven, paired of with relatively cheap troops as well and you have a very strong combination. You have the potential of being near 100% certain to win the fight and thus continue with issuing a Heroic Fight as well.
By killing that pesky Hobbit with a fight value of three you later completely destroy the whole formation and that other Epic Hero with it before they can escape to safety.

You need to consider the use of greater mobility for the risk of loosing the captain in a fight, and you can be lucky and roll six in the duel, but you might as well roll a one and find disaster.

In forces such as elves the standard hero are not that much of a liability since they have a regular fight level of six or seven... then the result in number of casualties will no longer guarantee you victory, you are not even a guaranteed to kill the hero.

Nu Fenix
27-04-2009, 15:13
The other things with low Fight heroes is whether the local environment realise, or merely think of them as a way to raise the Courage and Fight of a unit, whilst using Might for Heroic Charges/Shooting.

You Gondor Tactica has made me think more about how I would use my heroes and what units I take, then Gondor in general.

I know it isn't the effect you intended, but has made me think none the less :)

I might want to start working on getting and using a Suladan now...

Avatar of the Eldar
27-04-2009, 15:13
Nice work Jorgen! I have to dash off now, but will comment soon.

Orangecoke
27-04-2009, 17:23
This was a great read, and has caused me to re-jig my 1000 points list. In particular I'm definitely reluctant now to take regular captains in my MT warrior/archer formations! Right now I've removed those options, and added some rangers of Ithilien.

Jorgen_CAB
27-04-2009, 19:58
This was a great read, and has caused me to re-jig my 1000 points list. In particular I'm definitely reluctant now to take regular captains in my MT warrior/archer formations! Right now I've removed those options, and added some rangers of Ithilien.

Just consider the reason for not including the captain. You need some units to gain greater maneuverability and Heroic Charges. Remember that Epic Heroes can't be everywhere, but also that the cost of one captain can give you two extra companies of warriors as well.

Are the intention to simply hold the enemy in place for as long as possible, then six companies without a captain can be they way to go. In other cases a unit with four companies and a captain can be equally important. You just need to asses the risk and gain with the different options...

Lord Asuryan
27-04-2009, 21:48
got a one issue with your assessments, though overall, its good.
undead. they're not as bad as you make them out to be, esp. court of the dead king. they move fast, are GREAT against monsters, and wound most average troops on 4s. and the court can shadowstride.

Orangecoke
28-04-2009, 01:44
What's a good size for Rangers of Ithilian formations? Ambushers sounds good but since most defensible terrain is probably capacity 1 or 2 (unless that's not the standard?) it seems like you need to restrict to that many to use them properly as ambushers?

Sarah S
28-04-2009, 03:59
For the company Hero business, I don't think Heroes are that big a liability.

Even if you lose a 50 point Hero and two full companies to a lost duel, you're down ~150 points max. Your opponent has had to spend multiple Might points to do this - and to make sure he wins the Duel and inflicts a bunch of casualties with Epic Strike, it is going to take 3 or 4 Might points. This means that his 150+ point Hero is now a viable target for you to do the same thing to him and his formation next turn... I don't think it's that bad an exchange, particularly with the other advantages that Heroes offer.

Jorgen_CAB
28-04-2009, 06:50
got a one issue with your assessments, though overall, its good.
undead. they're not as bad as you make them out to be, esp. court of the dead king. they move fast, are GREAT against monsters, and wound most average troops on 4s. and the court can shadowstride.

Yes, I mentioned that shadow stride was a good ability, but they usually do not wound on a 4+ but rather on a 5+. The most common courage level is 4 when you factor in Heroes and Epic Heroes. You also must factor in that they cost twice the amount of what normal troops do... I think that the Court of the Dead King would be viable if you run them down a flank. At least I think I did... :)

But overall they are too expensive and die too easily for their points value...

You should also note we are talking about mainly 1000-1500p armies. They might become a better strategic element in larger armies where you can afford to spend more points into specialized units like these.

Jorgen_CAB
28-04-2009, 07:01
For the company Hero business, I don't think Heroes are that big a liability.

Even if you lose a 50 point Hero and two full companies to a lost duel, you're down ~150 points max. Your opponent has had to spend multiple Might points to do this - and to make sure he wins the Duel and inflicts a bunch of casualties with Epic Strike, it is going to take 3 or 4 Might points. This means that his 150+ point Hero is now a viable target for you to do the same thing to him and his formation next turn... I don't think it's that bad an exchange, particularly with the other advantages that Heroes offer.

Well I'm still talking about small games 1000-1500p. You only need to do this once anyway in such a small game. If you have say three characters that can pull that stunt of and your opponent only have two large powerful formation you can do the math yourself.

As I think I have explained above is not only the casualties that it bring, but also the near 100% certainty that you will win the combat so you also can use Heroic Fight and finish him of while he can't do much damage in return. That is the single greatest use of the ability. You need three Might point, but they are worth investing to annihilate one enemy unit with small losses to your own.

You need to bring large well protected units yourself, you need to make sure that you are not flanked and that you can flank the opponent. All these things are equally important as well. I also don't say that this is equally useful in a Mordor army, believe me it is not... you need heroes to gain speed and there it might be more important than the risk of having them killed. Also Mordor don't get access to very good cheap Epic Heroes, that is my second point that I made.

Jorgen_CAB
28-04-2009, 07:09
What's a good size for Rangers of Ithilian formations? Ambushers sounds good but since most defensible terrain is probably capacity 1 or 2 (unless that's not the standard?) it seems like you need to restrict to that many to use them properly as ambushers?

Where we play that standard are closer to three than two, I think that it depend on your terrain. But most Forrest should at least have a capacity of three or four I believe.

You perhaps need to influence the battlefield a little so that you have bigger terrain pieces but less in numbers.

In my opinion you should have have a ruling on the terrain so that everyone knows when you set up the battlefield. I believe that you should have at least one feature that holds at four companies, such as a large forest, mountainous hill or some such. There should be a few that holds three and a few that holds two or less. All in all you are supposed to palace four or five pieces in the size of 12"x12". Some of these can be divided into smaller features spread in a 12"x12" area but some should be bigger. Hills in particular we don't always deem as terrain in that regard, but that depends.