View Full Version : Formation.

13-02-2006, 11:59
A quick question about formation: In your experience, is it better to have a smaller frontage and more ranks - so you retain your rank bonus for longer, or a wider frontage and less ranks - so more models can fight?

If i had 35 zombies, would it be more advantageous to go for 7 wide by 5 deep? Or 4 wide by (roughly) 9 deep?

Thanks in advance!

Your Mum Rang
13-02-2006, 12:06
I've also been wondering about this.

I have 24 Marauders and 12 Marauders. I was thinking 6x4 and the 12 in 5/5/2 or 6x2.

I have no experience with these kinda things.

13-02-2006, 12:21
From experience, most of my opponents prefer ranks to get the static combat res, but there are exceptions.
The most common units I've seen with wider frontage...

Attack-heavy units (eg. Witch Elves)

With the first 3, even if they lose, it's unlikely to be disastrous because they're unlikely to go anywhere.
With number 4, it's because they are more likely to get a better combat res through having more attacks rather than more ranks.
Another way of looking at it is that Elite infantry, for example, generally have +1Ld. So a kind of 'built in rank bonus', if you will - so they can afford the extra attacks as a gamble.

I generally wouldn't recommend wider frontage than ranks with core troops, unless you're a horde army (eg. Gobbos or Skaven)

Gorbad Ironclaw
13-02-2006, 12:34
Why would you go with a wide unit of zombies or skeletons?
They can't kill anything. There is very little reason to provide a wider unit, generally all it will do is ensure the opponent can get to fight with all his models, or even bring in two units. For undeads, and indeed most other units ranks are much, much better than going wide.

The only case where going wide is a good idea, is when you have models that are actually quite good at killing things. Witch elves being an example.

If your in doubt, go for ranks.

13-02-2006, 12:59
I would say the formula is more about concentration of attacks. The more attacks you can get in the same frontage gives you the advantage in a combat - there's a reason an additional hand weapon is relatively expensive points wise. There's no point being 7 models wide if your opponent's front is so narrow as to discount 2 models attacks. Smaller base sizes help given that 5x20mm bases = 4x25mm bases so that's an additional model attacking.

Your Mum Rang
13-02-2006, 13:01
So I suppose if I see no wide frontages ont he opponent then I should rank up for more ranks rather than a wider frontage.

What about units used to flank? I hear 6x2 is good here.

13-02-2006, 14:07
The principle is different for flanking units. Ranks are not as important as removing the opponents rank bonus - as long as there are five models in your flanking unit and they're not skirmishers then its mission accomplished. If you make them too wide though, you're limiting your manouvre options by giving them a wide wheel arc which can be problematic if you clip something else whilst charging.

The creme de la creme of flanking units is fast cavalry though. Anyone who says otherwise is just trying to mess with your head.

13-02-2006, 21:20
The principle is different for flanking units. Ranks are not as important as removing the opponents rank bonus - as long as there are five models in your flanking unit and they're not skirmishers then its mission accomplished.
One should point out that it is US 5, not 5 models, that is required to negate ranks. You certainly don't need 5 knights or 5 ogres to do the job.

As for the discussion at hand, it all depends. Elite units can go for a wider frontage, as they can reasonably rely on making kills. They shouldn't forego ranks alltogether, but they should focus more on killing. Weaker units should rely on static res, therefore they should reinforce their ranks to ensure they can claim them.

The great part about having deep ranks is that you can lap around, if you win but do not break the enemy, without sacrificing your resolution in hopes of making more kills. That can really go a long way in a combat, depending on your opponent.

Generally 5 ranks is plenty, allowing for 4-6 casualties before you lose a rank. As a player who relies on basic infantry (ws 3, s3, t3), I usually go for a unit of 25 men in a 5x5 formation. If your units are cheap, you can afford more to deepen your ranks, or widen your front. When I play my VC, should I summon more zombies, I often add an extra file or two, rather than have 3-4 ranks that don't mean anything.

Your Mum Rang
13-02-2006, 21:27
How about Marauders? They are WS4 and mine have flails so can potentially do more damage than the typical rank and file. What should I do with a unit of 24 of these and a unit of 12?

13-02-2006, 22:13
Marauders are on the big bases right? I'd go no more then 5 wide as anything more seems too unwieldy.
For regular bases I go max 6 wide, and that's only on units that rely on kills more then numbers, like my Swordmasters or White Lions.

Mad Makz
13-02-2006, 22:41
Also Zombies may provide a large frontage so that they are harder to flank, as flanking effectively offers a swing of 4 combat resolution (-3 from negating the ranks, +1 for the flank charge) increasing your frontage widens the front arc, which increases the distance between units if they are to successfully flank you, which allows them to less easily support each other.

7 wide x 5 deep Zombie units would on the one hand not be very manouverable, on the other would block off a large portion of the tabletop, it would definitely depend what you were facing and what you wanted to achieve. Versus Brettonnians the wide frontage would probably be very risky (because they could get 3 lance formations in there) but versus empire it would probably be quite effective (as they don't have the killing power and it would prevent being easily flanked by detachments I believe, although I can't remember the detachments supporting charge rule well enough to be sure of that).

dwarf lord
14-02-2006, 03:40
It depends on 2 things...1st are u better in hth than your oppenent? secondly is your unit designed 2 dish out damage or soak damage? Ill use my dwarf army as an example...my warriors w/ ha, hw and shield are always 4 wide with deep ranks. My hitty units (gw warriors or lonbeards) are 5 wide w/ less ranks. My new favorite unit is ha, hw, shield warriors 4 wide w/ the almost unwoundable dwarf lord on shield taking up 2 of the front rank. Your opponent wont do any wounds most rounds(almost never on the 1+ armour rerolable save and 4+ ward save lord) leaving him 2 models 2 attack and those are toughness 4 and 3+ armour save.

Crazy Harborc
14-02-2006, 18:25
Around here, it's 4 across by 2,3,4 ranks deep, in smaller games 2000 or less points. Units of 20 (or more) infantry minies are usually in lines 5 across by 4 deep.

For most of our games, 2500/3000/plus points, we rank up foot 6 across by 4 deep. That works VERY well with spear units and my favorite.......pikes.:D