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English 2000
16-02-2006, 03:10
I'm not talking about crossbows or guns here....we all know they rock.

I'm talking the lowly archer (although the following tactics will work even better with crossbows or handgunners).

A lot of people don't bother with archers, saying they are a waste because they never make back their points. To me the whole concept of "making back points" for a unit is silly. Swarms rarely make back their points...but if they hold up chosen chaos knights for 2 turns they have done their job. Stop counting points and think tactically.

Archers can't kill the enemy in droves the way high elf players all wish they did. Archers have three roles, which I will cover in the following sections

Deployment
Role 1 - Table Quarters
Role 2 - Annoyance
Role 3 - Distraction
Silencing the Critics

Deployment - always deploy 11 inches or less from the board edge. That will buy you an extra turn of shooting against most infantry...and can also help you catch the guys who like to move just a little more than their maximum allowance. You start 25" apart....not 24" like he probably thinkgs. No way his 4" moving footmen can charge you on turn 3....just use math to foil that tactic. No turn two charges for those ogres.

Table Quarters - this is self explanatory. A unit of archers gets you 100vp's at the end of the game....or denies them to the enemy. If you're unable to get past the point counting thing then add 100 points to the units kill count at the end of the game. This brings me to my second point - annoyance.

Annoyance - Fast cav is the bane of ranked infantry. They negate the ranks while a combat unit does the killing and your troops run away. Archers can kill fast cav in a hurry and put a stop to that. Ever had to deal with frenzied troops being forced to charge? March blockers? Fast cav angled so that you either charge away from the units you really want to get at or just move at a snails pace? ARCHERS KILL FAST CAVALRY!! ARCHERS KILL FAST CAVALRY!! ARCHERS KILL FAST CAVALRY!! ARCHERS KILL FAST CAVALRY!!

Ok, you get the point. I win more games because of the way I use fast cavalry than anything else. Well used fast cav is a game winner. Plain and simple, if you're not using fast cavalry the only excuse you have is because it's not in your army list. Otherwise you're missing out on units that can and do turn the tides of war.

ARCHERS KILL FAST CAVALRY!! If you're facing someone like me and you let my fast cav live you WILL regret it. Just ask the Ogre general I faced in my last game.....fast cav blocked his general's unit from charging the rear of one of my main units that had turned to attack a unit of bulls that had overrun off of the table. 3 fast cav models won the game for me because he didn't think they were still a threat. I angled them so that if he charged he would overrun PAST my unit.

ARCHERS KILL FAST CAVALRY!! ARCHERS KILL FAST CAVALRY!! Therefore archers win games by removing another game winning unit. It's that simple. You need archers to kill fast cav. When all the fast cav is dead you can pick off models from anything else that has low toughness or armour.

Distraction - We all know that archers die faster than vampires drinking holy water on a nice sunny day. But you can help prevent this. Most people send flyers or fast cav at archers. Some fell bats, carrion, or wolf riders are generally enough to kill 10 unranked archers. The answer is to take bigger units.

16 archers with full command is about perfect. Get them on a hill so that both ranks can fire and against those flyers or fast cavalry you have
+1 for rank, +1 for higher ground, +1 for a standard and probably +1 for outnumbering. They need to score 4 wounds just to break even against you. Odds are, you'll win the combat. This means the enemy has to send something heavier and more expensive at you. This is perfect. If he sends a main combat unit at you it will take several turns to get there and essentially that unit is out of the game as it wastes it's time trundling accross the battlefield to get to you. If he sends crappy infantry (like empire swordsmen) you're laughing....when he gets close, add two ranks and fire (you can still fire 8 shots if you're on a hill), then stand and shoot as he charges in. Remember that once the annoyance role is complete you can pepper the incoming unit and maybe strip a rank or two before it gets to you. If he wastes heavy cav on you, just laugh in his face for wasting a killer unit on what is essentially a throwaway unit for you.

Silencing the Critics:

Hills -
Yes to be fully effective you need a hill. Without the hill you lose the +1 combat resolution for higher ground and the second rank can't fire. Every tactic has it's drawbacks. In this case it means you can't kill the fast cav as fast as you would like. Other than that it's still viable, albeit in a less lethal manner.

Wizards -
Sure 2d6 S4 hits is better than archery. Archers don't miscast. Archers can't be dispelled. Wizards can be better used doing damage to your enemies combat units or supporting your units.

War Machines - War Machines misfire, and are better used killing things that have heavy armour or come in large numbers.

Spells/Item that stop Archery - If these items are being used on fast cav units they're not being used to their maximum potential. You have successfully distracted the enemy.

Crossbows/Handgunners can do this and are better than archers in all ways. If you have them in your army consider yourself blessed.

Standards give away 100 VPs - yes they do...but to get those VPs your enemy has to send something resonably dangerous in hand to hand combat to get to you which means one less unit for your main battle line to deal with.

What about his magic and his Archers - if his archers/wizards are shooting your archers it means they're not killing your fast cavalry or fireballing your main battle units. This is fine with me.

I can kill his fast cav with my fast cav - Yes you can. And you'll chase each other around the board all game and miss out on those ever important rank removing flank charges.

Army Specific Stuff

High Elves - pricy, bolt throwers can kill more for less points. The tradeoff is that 16 archers won't be killed by a fast cav/flyer charge so the enemy will have to send something more substantial to kill your archers. Plus war machines can't claim table quarters (at least I don't think they can).

Dark Elves - 2 shots per guy. Pricey, but good at killing fast cav.

Wood Elves - Awesome shots, they do have other options for shooting but being able to add ranks to get 4 full ranks is an interesting (if last resort) option for the tree huggers

Empire - hand gunners are deadly. They can even cut down knights and are very cheap.

Dwarves - good in close combat, T4, S4 shots. High leadership. They are the perfect shooting troops

Orcs - Arrer Boyz are cheap. You can afford a couple of throwaway units. Besides, what else are you doing to do with the arrers that come in the starter set?

Goblins - cheap cheap cheap. Fanatics in Night gobbo units will ruin anyones day.

Bretonnians - My personal favourite for this tactic. Cheap, standards don't give away VPs and they get stakes so that even chariots don't worry them. They might just be the ultimate archery unit in terms of resiliance per point (model for model dwarves and orcs are better)

Chaos - hahahahahahahaha. Sorry guys....just buy more fast cav units and curse my name :P

Chaos Dwarves - use goblins. Save the blunderbusses for his combat troops.

Skaven - magic and ratling guns will have to suffice for killing fast cavalry.

Tomb Kings - you've got it made, fear causing and unbreakable units that always hit on 5's.

Vampire Counts - There IS a reason why I field 4 units of dire wolves?!?!?!?!?

So basically the whole point of the article is to point out that archery is an important part of the game that people should not overlook. If you're one of the people who constantly gets annoyed with guys like me winning because of our fast cav get yourself some archers. You'll be glad you did.

I once had someone tell me I was cheesy for taking 2 5 man units of fast cavalry in one of my armies. Who ever heard of fast cav being cheesy? I took it as a complement. If someone complains about 2 fast cavalry units being cheesy I've used them well because they have done their job perfectly.

I love fast cavalry. It has won me more games than I can count. If you don't want to be in the receiving end of my fast cavalry nastiness get yourself some archers.

Catpipe
16-02-2006, 04:34
Wood Elves - Awesome shots, they do have other options for shooting but being able to add ranks to get 4 full ranks is an interesting (if last resort) option for the tree huggers


What are you talking about ? All archer can get 4 ranks (but for what purpose) You discuss the advatages of archer units and you dont mention that WE Glade Guard get s4 at close range and dont suffer from movement penalty


Have you even played Warhammer 6ed.?

Argrim
16-02-2006, 04:57
Interesting article I like to use my dwarf Xbow units in the way you describe though I use twelve models rather than sixteen. I've been trying to decide about standards but shields and dwarf leadership and a hill often require a fairly powerful close combat unit to budge.

Catpipe I think he's referring to the lack of ranks in a wood elf army not the inability for archers to rank up. Also he just described in his article why to use archers with 4 ranks--reform them that way to take a charge and use static CR to win or hold off mobile troops of a much greater points cost or divert a slower combat infantry unit from the main battle.

English 2000
16-02-2006, 05:05
Catpipe, Yes I have played lots of 6th ed. And lots of 5th ed before that. and lots 4th ed before that.

Have you ever been taught to read?

I'll shorten it for you.

The idea (in general) is to sit on a hill with two ranks and shoot at the fast cav. Hill, rank, standard and likely outnumber gives you +4 combat res. Generally enough to see off weak flyers and fast cav that get a charge on you.
If the enemy decides to send something a bit more substantial (say 20 empire swordsmen) in to deal with the archers you add two ranks to increase your odds of surviving the combat (3 ranks, hill, standard and perhaps outnumber if you're lucky and can kill enough before they get there). If he sends something more dangerous in to deal with the archers, well the archers will likely get smooshed but who cares, that leaves your main battle line with one less unit to deal with at least until late in the game.

Who gives a crap if I didn't mention the other special ablities of wood elves? I didn't mention armour piercing for guns either. What's your point? The goal of my post wasn't the specifically detail every little thing that every unit can do...it was to give a general idea for using archers that most people overlook. The Wood Elf players generally like shooting since they're good at it, it's other players that are generally down on using archers. You'll note that I mentioned that the wood elves have other options for shooting, and since they're all about shooting and mobility the article has less relevance to the tree huggers than most other armies that are capable of fielding archers.

If the only thing you can comment on is that I didn't talk about S4 shots at half range with wood elf archers and that you failed to read my post properly to understand when and why you may consider taking those 16 men lines up 8*2 and adding two ranks to get them 4*4 to help suck up a charge from something like Empire swordsmen I suggest either read it again.

I'll copy and paste the relevant section for you

"If he sends crappy infantry (like empire swordsmen) you're laughing....when he gets close, add two ranks and fire (you can still fire 8 shots if you're on a hill), then stand and shoot as he charges in. Remember that once the annoyance role is complete you can pepper the incoming unit and maybe strip a rank or two before it gets to you. If he wastes heavy cav on you, just laugh in his face for wasting a killer unit on what is essentially a throwaway unit for you."

Apparently you missed the point there so I've made it easy for you. Hope that helps. If you still don't get it, put yout helmet back on and enjoy riding the short bus to school.
:D

EDIT: P.S. Thanks for taking the time to read my long winded ramblings.

English 2000
16-02-2006, 05:12
Interesting article I like to use my dwarf Xbow units in the way you describe though I use twelve models rather than sixteen. I've been trying to decide about standards but shields and dwarf leadership and a hill often require a fairly powerful close combat unit to budge.

Catpipe I think he's referring to the lack of ranks in a wood elf army not the inability for archers to rank up. Also he just described in his article why to use archers with 4 ranks--reform them that way to take a charge and use static CR to win or hold off mobile troops of a much greater points cost or divert a slower combat infantry unit from the main battle.

I have been on the attacking end of those annoying stunties. One game the dwarf rangers snuck into my camp and replaced my black knights' lances with rubber ones....because when I hit those crossbowmen I found my knights crumbling....curse the dice!

And no, I wasn't being silly sending heavy cav into missile troops.....it was the last unit aside from a cannon that he had on the board :evilgrin:

Argrim
16-02-2006, 05:22
Maybe i'll give them a shot(no pun intended) with standards and keep the thunderers as pure shooters. A little extra versatility to my line wouldn't hurt.

English 2000
16-02-2006, 05:27
Let me know how it works out.

Eldacar
16-02-2006, 05:29
If I use Archers, I'll use them to handle light cavalry and weakly-armoured T3 stuff. I honestly do not think, however, that I will be needing more than one unit of them. If I take two, there'd have to be a very good reason for it (lots of light cavalry in my opponent's list, such as Dark Elves with a lot of Dark Rider units). Otherwise, I'd have plenty of other things that can take care of threats more effectively than the Archers can.

They're not cost-effective, which is my main problem with them.

Quin 242
16-02-2006, 05:54
I'm about to open up with a Dwarf army with 12 quarrelers with shields and 12 thunderers with shields. These are not only decent at ranged combat but once the bad guys get in close they still have a respectable 4+ save and will be helping to defend my warmachines.
I also had a musician and a standard bearer in each unit and now I know why :)
Thanks for the useful tips :)

Morph
16-02-2006, 07:24
One other useful thing with archers you missed out, look for opportunities to reduce ranks on an enemy unit. Say the enemy has 4x4 unit of infantry. A few bowshots is hardly likely to worry them too much, but killing just one reduces their rank bonus by one making them easier to defeat with your units.

fightin gobbo
16-02-2006, 08:15
keep in mind that hobgoblin and common goblin wolf riders work well with bows

hairyman
16-02-2006, 09:37
Nice article. :)

I read a lot of stuff on here when I was starting up my High Elves, and the general concensus seemed to be that archers were a waste of time. However, I've stuck with my little unit of 10 and they certainly have their moments... and you're right that they do make a great nuisance.

I'll have a go at bumping them up to 16, but I'm very wary about spending points on full command for them... especially in the relatively small sized games we tend to play. That'll turn them into a reasonably expensive unit, especially if they take armour (something I never normally do).

Actually, the last game I played my archers made some fiendish pact with the dice gods, and managed to avert a charge from some Chosen Kinights with some exceptional last ditch standing and shooting. Won me the game, in fact.

English 2000
16-02-2006, 16:06
The standard is a gamble in all but Bretonnian armies (I think perhaps that goblin standards should not count for VPs as well) but it can really pay off.

I think it is a worthwhile investment myself. Plus it looks much cooler to have a unit with a standard.

English 2000
16-02-2006, 16:12
keep in mind that hobgoblin and common goblin wolf riders work well with bows

I don't have any experience with shooty fast cav....mine always gets spears and goes for the flanks/march blocks/redirects charges. You can do all that with bow armed fast cav but I find the points are better spent elsewhere..although empire pistoleers are scary to fight!

Morph, that is a good point about stripping the ranks. Sadly most people I play take more than 16 men in their infantry units so bowfire is a little less useful because I'm more likely to need 5 or 6 kills before I effect the unit.

Avian
16-02-2006, 16:52
Well, countering your original post:

Infantry witout bows holds table quarters, annoy and distract the enemy just as well at less cost (the last is important)
When it comes to killing fast cavalry you typically need nine archer firing at long range to kill the average fast cavalry, assuming he doesn't use cover or otherwise protect them.
Hills are often something you are not able to get at will and should more often be used to place your more effective war machines. Plans that hinge on getting a hill are thus very risky.
Wizards are less vulnerable than archers, due to being more difficult to take out (can hide in / between units, can march and still be fully effective, better LOS, etc.)
Archers with standards are easy VPs. They'll still probably lose combat (especially if you don't get that hill you were hoping for) and the only reason the opponent does not get twice as many VPs as he'd otherwise get is because archers are so expensive to begin with.


So, five points for effort (I must say that writing ARCHERS KILL FAST CAVALRY!! really convinced me :rolleyes: ), but colour me unimpressed.

EvC
16-02-2006, 19:41
I think they are under-rated but not amazing. I did like how in a recent WD a (weakened) unit of Silver Helms charged into some crossbowmen and were forced to flee!

gunlinetastic
16-02-2006, 21:57
Fast Cavalry a game winner? I have only used Pistoliers (I play Empire) once, in my last battle, and while they took out more than their points cost (through sheer luck) they certainly were not "game winning". They killed a Spawn of Chaos, which I could have shot to bits anyway, a marader horseman, which I could have shot to bits anyway, and is exackly what I did to the remaining survivors, and a Chosen Chaos Knights, which I could have shot to bits anyway...you see what im getting at here?

Flanking is easier said than done.

And your arguement that a Wizard can miscast or be dispelled is ludicrous. A normal 2d6 strength 4 magic missile needs 3 dice to cast reliably. Then it can be dispelled. But archers can miss. A Wizard will never miss the target if he gets his spell through.

And archers only kill things that I can deal with anyway. Lightly armoured fast cavalry is easily killed by just about anything in the game.

Table quarters can be claimed by anything unit strength 5 or more, so saying archers can do this is just saying they are equal in this respect to any other unit in the game.

Annoyance? If strength 3 bowshots annoy your opponant...

And anyway, you idea gets 16 shots at fast cavalry. Lets assume they are BS3 (average), and are at long range (as fast cavalry will be able to stay at their long range).

You get 5.33 hits, 2.66 wounds, and assuming the cavalry has light armour or a shield, around 2 dead. Hardly amazing.

A Magic missile on the other hand, gets 7 hits on average, 5 wounds, and armour 4 cavalry dead. Much better. This will likely mean they cant remove rank bonuses, whereas if you have only killed 2, they still can remove rank bonus, so you will need to shoot them some more.

I dont use them, I have Crossbows and Handguns to do this sort of work. For armies that cant have them, use magic. If you still cant do this (khorne) then dont bother trying.

And the game is about "getting your points back". If a unit doesnt make its points back, that unit was a bad investment. My Huntsmen dont make their points back ever, yet my Steam Tank almost always does. The Tank is clearly the better choice, and a good choice, whereas the archers are an inferior choice.

And you have to be unit strength 5 to claim a table quarter, but you only have to be unit strength 1 to contest a table quarter. So 1 warmachine crewman can contest a table quarter, denying your opponant victory points just as well as any archers.

And if getting your archers in combat is a strategy...

English 2000
16-02-2006, 22:10
Well, countering your original post:

Infantry witout bows holds table quarters, annoy and distract the enemy just as well at less cost (the last is important)
When it comes to killing fast cavalry you typically need nine archer firing at long range to kill the average fast cavalry, assuming he doesn't use cover or otherwise protect them.
Hills are often something you are not able to get at will and should more often be used to place your more effective war machines. Plans that hinge on getting a hill are thus very risky.
Wizards are less vulnerable than archers, due to being more difficult to take out (can hide in / between units, can march and still be fully effective, better LOS, etc.)
Archers with standards are easy VPs. They'll still probably lose combat (especially if you don't get that hill you were hoping for) and the only reason the opponent does not get twice as many VPs as he'd otherwise get is because archers are so expensive to begin with.


So, five points for effort (I must say that writing ARCHERS KILL FAST CAVALRY!! really convinced me :rolleyes: ), but colour me unimpressed.

All valid points but I tend to disagree with your opinion about vulnerability. 16 archers with a standard will generally defeat the usual (5-6 man) units of fast cav, weak flyers like fell bats that usually take them out. If a small unit of crappy (eg empire swordsmen) attacks them they can add two more ranks and have a fighting chance. The larger units of archers will generally require something more substantial to take them out. Yes they will lose, and yes you'll lose that standard but taking away a combat unit from the main line is to me well worth the risk of losing the archers.

No, it's not a guaranteed tactic (nothing is) but taking those larger units (eg 16 men) is a good way to make archers useful. Especially when compared to the typical 10 man archers squads we see.

I said in my original post that the tactic is far less effective without a hill. That's it's biggest drawback, but even without a hill it can still work...you just can't kill the fast cav as easily.

Infantry can sit back and hold table quarters just as well like you said...but other than that if you don't advance or no one comes to attack them they're far less useful than a unit that can shoot.

I agree that wizards are often better at killing fast cav...but in my opinion easier to counter (dispell dice) and can be better used killing other stuff.

As for the cost.....bretonnian archers cost 6 points, orcs I think are 7, goblins are 3 (I think). Dark elves get 2 shots so that makes up for the cost. High Elves are one army where this tactic may not be as effective, I think I said repeater bolt throwers are generally better at killing but not as durable.

Obviously I won't convince everyone, but try it out, you've got nothing to lose and it just might help turn the tide of the battle in your favour.

16 Bretonnian Archers on a hill with full command, gets 16 shots, hitting on 5's at long range you'll get 5.3 hits. 2.7 wounds on your typical T3 fast cav. Saves are usually 5+ so that means 1.8 wounds.
We'll call that 2 wounds on average, usually enough to cause a panic test. When your opponent wises up and takes bigger units of fast cav this tactic won't work...but fast cav are sometimes pricey, and that means less main battle troops for him.

Avian, you play greenskins, take a unit of 16 arrers with command the next time you play and expect to face fast cav....what have you got to lose? Try it a few times, see if it works. Don't just dismiss it out of hand. Unless you have already tried it (I remember you from portent and I'm pretty sure you've played more warhammer than me) so maybe I'm out to lunch.

But I've used the tactic effectively so at the least I can say it works for me. :)

English 2000
16-02-2006, 22:24
Fast Cavalry a game winner? I have only used Pistoliers (I play Empire) once, in my last battle, and while they took out more than their points cost (through sheer luck) they certainly were not "game winning". They killed a Spawn of Chaos, which I could have shot to bits anyway, a marader horseman, which I could have shot to bits anyway, and is exackly what I did to the remaining survivors, and a Chosen Chaos Knights, which I could have shot to bits anyway...you see what im getting at here?

And the game is about "getting your points back". If a unit doesnt make its points back, that unit was a bad investment. My Huntsmen dont make their points back ever, yet my Steam Tank almost always does. The Tank is clearly the better choice, and a good choice, whereas the archers are an inferior choice.

And if getting your archers in combat is a strategy...

Read the example I gave where my fast cav prevented the ogre tyrant and his unit from charging me in the rear after I had repositioned my troops to atttack a bull unit that had pursued off of the table. That maneuver won me the game. Fast cav has won more games for me than I can remember. NOT by killing stuff, but through maneuvering to intefere with the enemies plans or by getting a flank charge (which I think is easier with fast cav than any other unit) with the possible exception of skirmishers/flyers (who can't negate ranks).

My unit in the game against ogres did not kill it's own points cost, it died to a man....yet it saved me from the ogre tyrant and let me finish off his last real threat. How can you possibly say that was a bad investment?

The idea that a unit is only worth it's point cost if it kills at least it's points cost is just plain wrong. I once lost a unit of zombies to chosen chaos knights...the zombies certainly didn't kill their points cost, but holding up those knights for two turns saved the rest of my army from a savage beating at the hands of the knights. Was that zombie unit a poor choice? I think not.

High Elf Eagles likely won't kill their points cost.....but if they stop the enemy from marching for two turns to buy more time for the RBT's to shoot they were worth their points.

I cannot stress enough that a units' value is NOT based on it's ability to kill it's own points cost. It's value is based on what it can do to further your battle plans and it's ability to support the rest of the army to gain a victory.

And no, getting my archers into combat isn't the primary goal...read my original post again..you seem to have missed the point entirely :rolleyes:

EDIT: I do however appreciate that people took the time to read that and form a pro or con opinion. Discussions like this are often helpful to me for getting new ideas or scrapping bad ones...not as useful as time at the gaming table....but still valuable.

jerrytown
17-02-2006, 02:18
well, english...
in a way, they do get their points back... just indirectly.

*************:
if 70 points of troops lets you concentrate your efforts one unit at a time, then what you concentrate on (with warmachines for example) is paying for that 70 point unit. or if that 70 point unit, prevents a charge in the flank of your big bad@$$ unit, then all the casualties saved pay (and with interest !) the price of that 70 point unit.

that's the concept of strategies of denying flanks (yours) and delaying charges (his); and it does pay it's points back, it's just a little more subtle.

of course there are no-brainer units that will always get their points back, but then, that is way they are called NO-BRAiNER (:D); i believe the point english was trying to make is that, there are less obvious choices that are still viable and deserve a better look instead of just beeing discardedwithout testing (like light-cavalry for example)

english, i agree with you, but i'm not sure it would apply to all armies...
i play dwarfs, and... well, i'm not too worried about march blocks, so i normaly use my thunderers for other things, like taking down some ranks or hard hitting small units (ushahabti)

jerrytown

wanderingblade
17-02-2006, 04:23
Interesting read. When I was last playing, my armies (High Elves and O&G) used a fair amount of archers simply because my collection tended to run out. They were reasonably useful but I was often left annoyed by them. This could be because my opponents didn't run that much light cavalry, but I was always left feeling they just weren't really worth it.

Thing is, you've got to place the unit in the army. In the case of High Elves, every unit costs. I forget how much a 16 man archer unit would set me back, but it would be a considerable amount particularly with command. I was usually struggling for points. High Elves are abundant with options to remove light cavalry. They can do the job with magic, they can put out their own cavalry, they've got eagles, bolt throwers... all of which can do something else as well beyond being a distraction and claiming corners. Greenskins have just as many options not to mention their Arrer Boyz take up even more space. The only reason I can see to take them now is as an artillery guard who can do something useful while hanging back - and in the case of High Elves, near 200 points for a deterrant that'll be duplicating a job is points I could not afford. Its slightly better with O&G, but not by much.

Although they're not useless and still have a role - pretty much what you said - I have to say, I think archery is fairly correctly rated; that is, its a just about effective support option thats heavilly overpriced.

English 2000
17-02-2006, 04:34
i believe the point english was trying to make is that, there are less obvious choices that are still viable and deserve a better look instead of just beeing discardedwithout testing (like light-cavalry for example)

Yup. That's what I was getting at.


english, i agree with you, but i'm not sure it would apply to all armies...i play dwarfs, and... well, i'm not too worried about march blocks, so i normaly use my thunderers for other things, like taking down some ranks or hard hitting small units (ushahabti)jerrytown

Agreed, some armies are better suited to it than others. Dwarves are awesome at the bad ass missile troop tactic because they can fight AND have good shooting weapons..guns and crossbows are usually considered a threat. So bigger units mean the enemy has to try even harder to get rid of your shooting. Bows aren't seen as a threat. I think they can be if used right. I do think that something could be done in the next edition to enhance bowfire though.

Well, I've given people some food for thought, love 'em or hate 'em I've got lots of whacky ideas. :D

ElfGuy
17-02-2006, 05:58
Large (i.e. more than minimum size) units of archers, handgunners, crossbows, and virtually every other missile weapon in warhammer fantasy is generally a bad idea. Points spent on command groups for shooting units are points wasted.

The proposed unit of 16+ fully commanded Archers pales in comparision to two minimum sized units of 10 Archers. Two minimum sized Archer units have a very comparable cost to one large commnded sqaud, but two smaller units of shooters will be a great deal more effective.

Sixteen Archers are very difficult to deploy in a long string and two ranks of eight require a very large hill to sustain them. An entire turn of shooting (16+ shots) is lost if you reform 4 wide to meet an enemy. If you don't reform you will lose combats to the same sort of crap minimum sized Archer units lose combats too, such as flyers and cavalry. A banner and extra bodies won't make any difference, opponents will charge you if they know they can win. Not only that, any shooter without a the handweapon/shield bonus will take on heavy losses from anything that engages them. Any enemy unit designed to take on infantry will have a very easy time carving their way through an Archer block. Shooting foot sloggers are generally more expensive than the fighty variety. Opponents will see your large unit of expensive Archers with banner and make a goal of attacking them to receive a great deal victory points without much of a fight.

Two small units of Archers are a great deal more useful and expendable. Two ten man units are easier to deploy than a single sixteen and you can disperse firepower to both flanks or choose to concentrate shots at the center. If one small Archer unit is charged you can flee and still have the second to shoot with. If the fleeing Archer unit escapes and rallies your opponent will have to charge them over again. As for table quarters, multiple Archer units can hold multiple table quarters. Small Archer units can be sacrifced to divert or distract enemies without a high cost.

Opponents will try to attack small Archer units with their smaller units of cavalry, fliers, skirmishers, etc. and win. Flee, get lucky with a stand and shoot, or hit the enemy with something else before they charge, those are your options. If you invest in a large amount of Archers and reform into a block when danger approachs you will lose a round of shooting and you will have an ineffective stand and shoot. Fleeing is a bigger risk and generally less effective when all your shooters are in one big unit. If you field a large fully commanded Archer unit, opponents will just attack it with something stronger such as Minataur/Ogre units, tougher cavalry, better/more numerous infantry, etc. You only making your shooting easier to eliminate by using them in large units. Large units have no real edge over smaller squads.

Drake Dun
17-02-2006, 07:34
I am curious as to what everyone has to say about Wood Elf archers. I have only played one game with my Wood Elves (and of WHFB!) so far, and in that game the archers were pretty much what did all the killing since I tree-singing-cheesed him so bad that there was no close combat. HOWEVER, looking at the other lists I am wondering why in hell I am paying 12 points a pop.

Compare to an 8 point (8?) handgunner. They get one better strength at long range, and armor piercing. That means that even at long range they are a serious threat to basically anything that is not a big old dragon or something.

The WE glade guard get one better BS (admittedly, big) and can move and fire without penalty (instead of not at all). The second ability is also rather nice since you often have to reposition to get your arc of fire right, and obviously it is great compared to not shooting at all. But I only get strength 4 at close range (AKA "assaulted next turn" range) and even then do not get the armor piercing. They present no serious threat to anything other than lightly armored, weak troops most of the time.

Put it all together, and what do you get. I honestly am not sure that the glade guard are better. The handgunners might win out here. And I will tell you one thing for darn sure. The glade guard are POSITIVELY NOT 50% better, which is how much more they cost. Or am I smoking krak? Am I missing something here?

You guys are saying that 7 point archers are not worth it, and the fact is that a lot of the time what my glade guard will be doing is standing still and shooting at long range... in which scenario the only thing they have on the basic archer is +1BS. At 12 points, what do you guys think of them?

Drake

Avian
17-02-2006, 09:38
All valid points but I tend to disagree with your opinion about vulnerability. 16 archers with a standard will generally defeat the usual (5-6 man) units of fast cav, weak flyers like fell bats that usually take them out. If a small unit of crappy (eg empire swordsmen) attacks them they can add two more ranks and have a fighting chance. The larger units of archers will generally require something more substantial to take them out. Yes they will lose, and yes you'll lose that standard but taking away a combat unit from the main line is to me well worth the risk of losing the archers.
That's missing the point somewhat. A 16-man archer unit with a standard is worth diverting a combat unit for. Heck, even with Orc Arrer Boyz, who have pretty cheap archers, that unit with a musician / standard is worth 227 VPs and that's VPs that are pretty easy to get.

I include a unit of 16 Arrer Boyz, he takes a unit of, say, 5 Knights, who cost about the same, destroy the Arrerz and nets him more than 200+ VPs.

That is not a good deal.


The real problem with Archers is that they are a support unit that takes up a lot of space, costs a lot and is quite easy to counter.

We use a league rule here where archers can fire in more ranks (2 at short range, 3 at long range) and under those rules, they are approaching okay. Under current rules and at current costs they are not.

Finnblood
17-02-2006, 10:31
hmmm... I've been salted with arrows. Well, my screens actually, but then the Wizards are free to do what ever they want.

I think the main purpose of archers is to continue the work of wizards, because they are a bit more liable. One critical miscast might ruin your magic phase, but arrows will not miscast.

And after all, mages are heroes, which you can't have too many, but archers are core, so they're an extension to warmachines and wizards.

Think about it: 4 wizards, 2-6 (or more!) warmachines and then archers and some infantry. It hurts. Really, really hurts (unless you have knights, 'course).

warlord hack'a
18-02-2006, 09:26
I agree with Avian, only dwarven 'archers' are good in hth what with the iron shell they are born in.. It would be more realistic to have arhcers shoot in more than one rank evene when on flat ground, those of you who have seen Braveheart know why, archers shoot UP to hit the enemy, not straight forward.. Perhaps something will change in the new edition??

Anyway, I will be trying out a unit of 24 nightgobbo archers with 2 fanatics in them. Use them either strung out (one or 2 ranks max) in my rear as warmachine protection (take out tunnelers, fast cav, ambush troops)/reserve unit to help where help is needed, put them in the rear as 2nd row of troops and march forward (giving some extra fanatics to the front) or put them strung out to the front of my troops, acting as a shield when my enemy has a lot of shooters on ground level.

So depending on my enemies army I can deploy them in several roles, but I must say that the fanatics they carry will probably be more effective than their bows..

Gorbad Ironclaw
18-02-2006, 09:46
I agree with Avian, only dwarven 'archers' are good in hth what with the iron shell they are born in..


Actually, I'd argue that Dark Elf RXBs with Shields are also a good combat unit. In fact, I been considering using them as the core of the whole army.

Chiron
18-02-2006, 12:50
remember that bog standard empire archers skirmish and make great detachments, they can block LOS and stand and shoot at anything that charges the main regiment, as well as firing 360 degrees to take out cavalry

samw
18-02-2006, 14:46
To counter Drake Dun's points:

WE archers get longer range. Short range is 15", which isn't even next turn assault range for most heavy cavalry, let alone infantry. You can set up further back allowing you more shots than the handgunners before contact is made.

Glade Guard get ST4 bows at short range. Despite not getting armour piercing, this is not a massive problem. All fast cav (save hobgoblins) and the majority of infantry only have at 5+/6+ save out of combat anyway. As those who see little point in giving archers armour will tell you, a 6+ save is more a novelty than a defence. Hence AP is hardly a massive benefit unless you're shooting at heavy cavalry, which archers should not be doing.

You can move and shoot and do so without penalty, hence if fast cav or flyers get behind your lines you can spin on the spot and pepper them with arrows, most likely killing them. Handgunners in this situation are powerless to stop these troops. This ability also allows you to move back 2.5" each turn while firing, giving you more turns of shooting.

Glade Guard, like all WE's, can move through woods without penalty. This allows them to hide in terrain before moving out and firing, or to simply move through it to get to a better firing position. This can quickly rectify mistakes in deployment. You deploy handgunners badly and they're out of the game.

Finally, you are paying for the stats. Glade Guard get a point higher leadership, a point higher WS, a point higher BS and a point higher movement. Thay are therefore less likely to run, can fight (slightly) better, are more likely to hit and are more flexible tactically.

I personally think they're a bargain.

On archers generally, (not missile troops in general), it is my feeling that only Bret peasant archers (especially skirmish), TK archers and Glade Guard are worth their points. The Brets are worth it because they're dirt cheap with long bows and, like handgunners, don't pay for stats they won't use. I always include a unit of 12 skirmishing archers for dealing with big griblies and fast cav. That's only 84 points for archers who can be deployed anywhere and always shoot with 360 LoS. They make a very effective guard for my trebuchet. Maybe I'm just lucky with them but Giants, Winged-Nightmares and Demon Princes stay well clear of my guys!

TK archers are good because of their ability to hit otherwise difficult targets (I don't care if you're a skirmishing chameleon skink at long range in heavy cover it's still 5+!) They are in addition unbreakable (hold those flyers in place) cause fear (those fast cav might not charge) and can be made to shoot again with TK magic, with which they can also be thrown into flanks as a last ditch effort. All in all a good buy.

Archers, with the above exceptions, are over-costed, but the problem is largely intractable. This is because archers are always paying for stats they are unlikely to use. What I feel the above examples show is that only if the base unit is dirt cheap (e.g. peasants which without the bows would be 2pts/model) or you attach loads of special rules (like TK and GG) is archery worth it. If GW want O&G or HE to take archers seriously, they've got to give them some special rules. You can't lower the base cost (7pts is it for an elf?), and reducing the cost of bows across the board will simply make those archer units that are worth their points even better.

Anyway, those are my thoughts, feel free to disagree with all, or part of what I have said. ;)

Drake Dun
18-02-2006, 15:36
Thank you, actually. That was encouraging. You pointed out a couple of things I had missed and I do not feel so cheated on the Glade Guard now.

Drake

wanderingblade
18-02-2006, 16:25
A good start would not be raising the prices of bows for high BS models - in effect, HE archers currently pay for BS 4 twice as it were. Maybe as HE archers are (fluffwise) young and inexperienced warriors, reduce certain stats to make them cheaper...

Gorbad Ironclaw
18-02-2006, 16:30
I don't remember any fluff on how Archers are younger than spearmen etc. Where is that? (entirely possible I just didn't paid attention when I read the new book)

Anyway, missile weapons have been overpriced almost the entire edition. I suspect it's in an effort to combat gunline armies(something I can applicate), but I think it's a little overdone. But here is hoping for a general repricing of equipment in next edition, as several things are overcosted. Hopefully it will happen down the road.

Ohh, and I really think you should add Dark Elf RXB warriors(with shields) to the list of good missile units. With there multiple shot, they can put out an impressive amount of shots, and are excellent at killing light units and infantry. And once you get up close they are elves with a 4+ save. Makes for a very effective combat/combat support unit.

It's only really the HE archers that isn't very good actually. The two other elf armies got excellent shooty units.

English 2000
18-02-2006, 18:38
Avian, I think that's a cool house rule to allow archers to shoot in 2 or 3 ranks depending on the range.

Since you don't think archers are worth the points what would your ideal fix be in the next edition of WFB?

wanderingblade
19-02-2006, 18:14
I don't remember any fluff on how Archers are younger than spearmen etc. Where is that? (entirely possible I just didn't paid attention when I read the new book)


If you look in the army list, in the unit blurb for Spearmen and Archers there it is as I recall.

Darmort
19-02-2006, 19:41
Personally I'd NEVER take a unit of 16 Archers...
In my Armies, I have several roles for them in the following;

Small Units; 10-12 Models (usually things like Empire or Dogs of War);
Rank Killers. Easy enough. Take out enemy Ranks so your other units can win combat.
Flank Protecters. Killing Fast Cavalry, Flyers, that sort of thing.
Flankers. Only if necersary.

Large Units; 20 Models (Druchii. Full Command, Repeater Crossbows and Shields. Make brilliant blocks);
Now, at first I deploy them 10*2, getting 20/40 shots a turn (enough to kill a unit of 5 Chosen Knights + an Exalted, lol), and I usually field 2 (yes, TWO) such units, backed by 4 Reapers. For the first few turns they keep firing, whittling down ranks, not to destroy enemy units (unless it happens by accident, at which point I'm happy, :p), and then act as a solid anchor, forming into 4*5 or 5*4, depending on what I'm facing, so my Executioners, Witch Elves, Black Guard, Corsairs, Cold One Chariots, Dark Riders, or Cold One Knights can come in and run down the enemy. Each unit depending on what I'm facing.
My Army is built around supporting each other in this fashion, however, and no one's found out a way to beat the formation (I kill Archery units first off with Nobles on Dark Pegasi, or use my Reapers to mow them down. Skirmishers and Scouts get shot by Dark Riders, while everything else is marchblocked, harrassed, shot up and generally annoyed by Shades, Dark Riders, Reapers, and Warriors.

Oddly enough, everyone's still eager to play me to try beating me... :p

Sambojin
20-02-2006, 12:08
I love my night goblins archers. They already come in blocks of 20+ (25-30 is the norm), they get nets to cut down on incoming attacks and they have Fanatics. They're pretty much the perfect thing for defending artillery parks, shooting up fast cav or just subbing for a normal infantry unit. The above tactics work well, what with the rank bonus and all, although the range isnt great. The fanatic makes a huge difference in whether or not the enemy will charge (or even survive it). A nice little "cheat" tactic is to keep 2-3 fanatics on the side of the game table, letting youe opponent think there's a bog load of them in the unit. It is a "cheat" though.........................

The other real option is to equip wolf riders with bows. They're bloody useless individually, but can sometimes get a lucky kill or two. Since wolvies are core, and it only takes 2 pts to make them archers as well, often its worth taking. Really, no O+G army should be without 3 units of fast cav (at least), so the 30-60 pts is not a huge sacrifice. For about the same price as an elven archer, you get a long range archer, a flanker, a march blocker and a screener unit all in one. Its usually a throw up between these or the unit above. One's defensive, ones agressive. It just depends on your army setup but the fast cav usually win out.

Arrer boys are just your average archer. Good range, good for hitting fast cav, absolutely useless at everything else. It's not that they're bad, its just that they're only as good as average archers (not very). NG are better on defense, wolves better on attack.

Archers for O+G all round are average, but they make up for this by being cheap, core, and have some funky special rules. They support the artillery and magic of the army perfectly, all for a reasonable price. All have their uses, just some more then others.

Avian
20-02-2006, 13:25
A good start would not be raising the prices of bows for high BS models - in effect, HE archers currently pay for BS 4 twice as it were.
That's not really correct, models pay for BS through the cost of missile weapons - BS in itself doesn't cost a thing.
(I have researched the matter, you see...)



Avian, I think that's a cool house rule to allow archers to shoot in 2 or 3 ranks depending on the range.

Since you don't think archers are worth the points what would your ideal fix be in the next edition of WFB?
Something like that, at least. It should be easy enough to include and all it really does is let you field your archers on a narrower frontage (making them more viable in the context of the army and on their own), it does not make each individual archer any better.



Arrer boys are just your average archer. Good range
Actually, range is one of the (many, many) problems arrer boyz have. A 24" range in a game where the opponent usually starts just outside 24" is not a good thing. If you go first you have to move forward (halving your effectiveness and getting closer to all sorts of nasties in the enemy army) or you won't get to fire at all.

Sambojin
23-02-2006, 10:31
24" may not be great, but its pretty good for orcs (wolf's can get 34" at 6+ to hit, chariots 25" with movement). Like most light archery in warhammer, it only serves to kill the odd model, so is usually confined to fast cav killing. The extra range compared to NG is handy, but I'll agree that it's not worth the points. NG are as cheap per unit, have 2x the shots, and can fullfil more roles as infantry. I still think the wolfriders are more effective though, more fun too.

wanderingblade
23-02-2006, 17:36
That's not really correct, models pay for BS through the cost of missile weapons - BS in itself doesn't cost a thing.
(I have researched the matter, you see...)



Really? Thats believable, and actually quite a clever mechanic. So they're just too expensive because they're too expensive then...

Long_Fang
23-02-2006, 17:40
You pointed out some good tactics. I will use at least 2 units of peasant bowmen in my next game.

Thanks :)

English 2000
23-02-2006, 21:50
Woo Hoo! A convert!

Let me know how it works out long fang.