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View Full Version : Return of the age old debate! Spears VS HW&S!!



TheRaven
04-06-2010, 16:26
So here we are, with a new edition and once again the big questions of which is better HW&S or spears. Both to me seem to get a little bit less useful.

HW&S going from and extra +1 armour to 6+ ward decreases it's effectiveness statistically in almost every scenario (Except against a S value that would have completely negated the old armour save) and the latest rumours have a very specific rules about what the "Parry" save can and can't be used against, so basically you don't get the 6+ ward save against some of the things you need it the most against like impact hits and Crush Them! attacks.

Spears basically stay the same but their effectiveness as a percentage goes down. Before if your front rank lost 4 or 5 models you would still attack back with 5 or 6 attacks as opposed to none or 1, as massive % increase in effectiveness. Now with stepping up, multiple ranks and other rules you are almost going to go from 10 to 15 attacks, until your unit gets reduced below it's third rand in which case spears become pointless (Something that I would imagine happens to skeletons VERY quickly with crumble :( ).

So what are everyone elses thoughts? Do we have a clear winner? Or is it still going to be too close to call?

stashman
04-06-2010, 17:05
If spears also makes charges with extra ranks the will become more usable

SeaSwift
04-06-2010, 17:17
Spears won't make charges.

CrystalSphere
04-06-2010, 17:33
The winner is still the same if you ask me. The only hope of spears is to be very cheap (like skavens 0.5 pts per model) but even then, they will be hardly worth the extra price. An example with clanrats:
-spears: 6+ armour save, extra attacks of S3
-shields: 5+ armour save, 6+ ward from the front
-both: 5+ armour save and extra attacks of S3/6+ ward from the front

The reason why i think spears are really bad is because S3 is extremely bad for killing anything, and the only way to offset that problem is to unleash a very big quantity of attacks, but at what cost?

If you want to kill the enemy troops, it is better you send your high strength troops, that will wound easily the enemy and negate partially or totally his armour save.

If you donīt want to kill the enemy, but to hold on (with static combat res, perhaps holding a enemy unit in place), then you want your troopers to be very resilient, and the best option is hand weapon and shield.

The only thing that can make spears more usable are rerolls to hit/wound, armor piercing attacks etc. combined with massive numbers of attacks. Still i think that trying to kill any enemy with S3 is just a waste of time, and it is nearly always better to just try to reduce your own casualties. I think spears should have got bonuses similar to pikes when fighting cavalry/monsters, that way at least they would have a more defined role.

Bac5665
04-06-2010, 17:33
Whichever is cheapest will win. Since both will now be useless instead of q being useless and one mandatory, I predict that people will just not buy shields or spears, unless they want to do so for fluff/modeling reasons.

Gabacho Mk.II
04-06-2010, 18:23
Interesting.


I somehow (why, I dont know) believed that this matter would be taken care of, finally, in 8th edition.

ftayl5
04-06-2010, 22:59
It depends

For Saurus warriors, I'd take spears coz then if they're charged they get a massive amount of attacks back.
Whereas for Skellies which are more about surviving for Outnumber and ranks thna killing enemy models, I'd take shield for the save

Barry "the blade"
04-06-2010, 23:18
I'm hoping that with the changes coming in 8th ed we will be seeing more basic troops(St3 T3). If that's the case spears on units with a higher initiative(Elves, Clanrats) might be ok. Still they don't really seem to be worth the extra cost unless you can somehow buff the unit in some other way making the extra attacks more effective.

Idle Scholar
04-06-2010, 23:20
The whole parry thing is damn stupid. I mean whatever fluff justifications you can think of rules wise there is an advantage in not paying for an upgrade (besides saving the points). Unfortunately the various army books are written with the parry bonus in mind, and lots of people have built lots of HW & S dudes so GW are understandably reluctant to just remove it from the game.

Unless they give spears the rank on the charge then HW & S are still better for low end infantry and spears are good for troops who's base characteristics give them a good chance of making a kill with each attack.

nzdarkelf
05-06-2010, 00:17
If you want to kill the enemy troops, it is better you send your high strength troops, that will wound easily the enemy and negate partially or totally his armour save.

If you donīt want to kill the enemy, but to hold on (with static combat res, perhaps holding a enemy unit in place), then you want your troopers to be very resilient, and the best option is hand weapon and shield.

The only thing that can make spears more usable are rerolls to hit/wound, armor piercing attacks etc. combined with massive numbers of attacks. Still i think that trying to kill any enemy with S3 is just a waste of time, and it is nearly always better to just try to reduce your own casualties. I think spears should have got bonuses similar to pikes when fighting cavalry/monsters, that way at least they would have a more defined role.


I'm not disagreeing with what you have posted CrystalSphere, but there is one positive for spears you haven't covered.

In the above quoted peice, the high strength troops vs spears will also equate to higher points cost troops vs spears, eg say Dark Elf Executioners vs Dark Elf Spearmen, so potentially you can have 2 Spearmen for each Executioner. So the Executioners will be heavily outnumbered. This means even though the Spearmen will likely die in large numbers they will count as stubborn due to out numbering their enemy and hang in the fight. The stepping up rule will see them returning the enemies blows with 3 ranks of models for a couple of rounds. They WILL chip away on the Executioners numbers. So though they will lose more models per round, the spearmen WILL have a fair change of winning the combat in the later rounds thru attrition.

big squig
05-06-2010, 00:31
Does anyone know if spears still only add a rank to units NOT charging, or did they finally simplify it ad just make it +1 rank at all times?

unheilig
05-06-2010, 03:43
Parry provides an ADDITIONAL save (as it has been verified that you get armor AND ward)... how is this not a good thing?

even if it only saves 1 model a turn... that's 1 point of CR.

Storak
05-06-2010, 08:04
Parry provides an ADDITIONAL save (as it has been verified that you get armor AND ward)... how is this not a good thing?

even if it only saves 1 model a turn... that's 1 point of CR.

math tells you, that it is not a good thing.

6+ ward and 6+ save (after modification) are identical.

6+ save/6+ ward combination is worse than a 5+ save (after modification)

and it gets even worse for higher saves...

the only benefit of the ward is, when you lose your complete save otherwise...

scarletsquig
05-06-2010, 08:07
I think this a debate best left until we know the full rules...

SeaSwift
05-06-2010, 08:10
...Which only happens with special rules/magic that should not be aimed at normal units.

Also, they get even at S7, but with Stonethrower strength coming down this will be rare. So yes parry is getting worse.

Sand
05-06-2010, 08:25
...Which only happens with special rules/magic that should not be aimed at normal units.

Also, they get even at S7, but with Stonethrower strength coming down this will be rare. So yes parry is getting worse.Wouldn't the 5+arm/6+ ward save be better than a normal 4+ save at Str 6 where it'll be a question of having no save vs a 6+ save? And wouldn't they be equal at Str 5 where both will give you a basic 6+ save?

Edit: assuming "normal" troops with LA/Shield.

Nocculum
05-06-2010, 08:27
Parry bonus is lost against anything bigger than you in 8th, so, we may very well see a rise in the use of spears.

SeaSwift
05-06-2010, 08:28
Whoops, yes, but if you're attacking a unit with such a bad save and carrying a hand weapon/shield with something with S6+ then there is something wrong, so this might not be accurate.

And the second is a good example, but not game changing.

CrystalSphere
05-06-2010, 10:49
I'm not disagreeing with what you have posted CrystalSphere, but there is one positive for spears you haven't covered.

In the above quoted peice, the high strength troops vs spears will also equate to higher points cost troops vs spears, eg say Dark Elf Executioners vs Dark Elf Spearmen, so potentially you can have 2 Spearmen for each Executioner. So the Executioners will be heavily outnumbered. This means even though the Spearmen will likely die in large numbers they will count as stubborn due to out numbering their enemy and hang in the fight. The stepping up rule will see them returning the enemies blows with 3 ranks of models for a couple of rounds. They WILL chip away on the Executioners numbers. So though they will lose more models per round, the spearmen WILL have a fair change of winning the combat in the later rounds thru attrition.

You have a point, we will have to wait to see the full rules before being able to judge which option is better. As you say it seems like in this edition there is a big emphasis in making big size units more useful, and certainly spears start to become useful the more wide and big your unit is, so at least the horde rule is a boost to the spears.

The only concern i have with the spears is that for most of the troops that have it (S3 troops) they make the unit more expensive and they hardly make killing enemies easier. One combo i am thinking is dark elf spearmen in horde (10 wide 4 deep) with the ap banner. They would get the 3 ranks, plus 40 attacks with hate and armor piercing attacks. Unfortunately that does not apply to all troops that have spears, and i find hard to justifiy the price when their attacks are so weak.

Imho what GW should do is to remove completely the hand weapon and shield bonus, because after all hand weapons are free, they should not be giving anything. Make shield cheapers (0.5pts instead of 1pt) and call it done, a +1 armour save versus ranged/melee is very good, shields donīt need more things.

Crovax20
05-06-2010, 11:26
I wonder how night goblins will hold up in a fight with spears on their side... I can only hope they win because testing stubborn on leadership 5-6 is bad mkay. And with outnumber gone it seems to be very questionable if goblins will win any combat at all.

nzdarkelf
05-06-2010, 12:41
I certainly agree that 8th will be quite a different game. It will need a different playing approach and may present quite a different look on the battlefield with an emphasis on large core (cheap) troops. Those who like to play MSU's may find a new style of play necessary. Of course in someways it will depend on what others in your gaming group do. Many may just stick to 20 fig regiments in the main, though I expect my Orc and Goblin friend won't. A Big 40/50 fig reg of DE Spears appeals to me, but that will involve a fair bit of painting. With the new fire in 2 ranks rule, I intend to combine my existing Crossbow and Spears regiments together to form 2 regiments of crossbows. Command and Crossbow figs in the 1st rank, and spears in the 2nd. This will give it the old (5th ed) City Guard look, except the spears will just be used as handweapons.

Tactical Retreat!
05-06-2010, 14:26
I wonder how night goblins will hold up in a fight with spears on their side... I can only hope they win because testing stubborn on leadership 5-6 is bad mkay. And with outnumber gone it seems to be very questionable if goblins will win any combat at all.

Well to be fair they weren't exactly feared close combat troops in 7th ed either ;)

papabearshane
05-06-2010, 14:41
But it almost makes Gobbos Compleatly usless if they dont get a bonus for outnumbering. WS2 S3 just dosnt cut it when you leadership is only 5.

ExxonValdez
05-06-2010, 15:01
I run 54 Clanrats with shields and spears pushing my screaming bell. 5 points a model isn't bad. Helps that they are unbreakable. However in 8th edition chargers don't automatically go first, its by initiative order. My rats are 10 wide with spears meaning 4 ranks will attack at initiative 4. Spears are good for that. In 8th edition there will be a lot more attacks coming from 1 direction in most fights. Monsters generally have a low initiative and negate the parry rule so naturally you want spears. Infantry generally strike at 4 or 5 on average so you will want to parry.

Tactical Retreat!
05-06-2010, 17:17
But it almost makes Gobbos Compleatly usless if they dont get a bonus for outnumbering. WS2 S3 just dosnt cut it when you leadership is only 5.


I know. But they were crap in 7th ed too. Now at least they will be able to work as good tarpits since they will be stubborn. Just have a BSB close by and ld5 isn't as bad anymore. Then next turn you flank em with some squig hoppers, trolls or what have ya.

Crovax20
05-06-2010, 21:22
I know. But they were crap in 7th ed too. Now at least they will be able to work as good tarpits since they will be stubborn. Just have a BSB close by and ld5 isn't as bad anymore. Then next turn you flank em with some squig hoppers, trolls or what have ya.

Too bad squighoppers don't go first, no armoursave and have "bad" initiative.

Tactical Retreat!
05-06-2010, 21:56
Too bad squighoppers don't go first, no armoursave and have "bad" initiative.

I 3 isn't all that bad. But even if the enemy does go first you will be flanking them so they won't get that many attacks.

Engekomkommer
05-06-2010, 23:22
Hadn't even thought of this...
Have spears on my saurus as I thought it was worth it for them... now I'm not so sure... think I may have to tear some arms off. :(

Hawkkf
06-06-2010, 04:33
For my saurus I will give them spears but will use sword and board most of the time. I run them 6 wide so spears only add 6 attacks to the front which mean only 3 hits on average against most things I care about hitting me back. Thus only 1 or 2 wounds before saves over hw&s.

HW&S on the other hand will save 1 out of every 6 wounds. Of course this only applies to the front and infantry size attacks. My saurus will go last after most things so a chance at preserving a rank bonus against elite infantry that can pluck off models is a plus.

In the end if you have the option for spears it will be best to take them and decide combat by combat what is best.

Storak
06-06-2010, 11:19
I 3 isn't all that bad. But even if the enemy does go first you will be flanking them so they won't get that many attacks.

the squig hopper charge move is SMALLER than all infantry in the game, apart from dwarfs. if you factor in animosity, they might be slower than most infantry all the time.

why do you think they would get a flank charge?

Tactical Retreat!
06-06-2010, 14:59
the squig hopper charge move is SMALLER than all infantry in the game, apart from dwarfs. if you factor in animosity, they might be slower than most infantry all the time.

why do you think they would get a flank charge?

Because a unit of Night Gobbos is tarpitting the enemy in question. Read the thread please.

TheDireAvenger
12-07-2010, 16:31
At least for Lizardmen, what's the consensus of the warseer community on this matter for Saurus?

HW & S or Spears? Are spears still the obvious choice if I plan to run 10 x 3, 30 Saurus blocks?