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Demoulius
15-08-2011, 21:07
Hello,

Im looking at several options available to standard troops and I cant really see if spears are worth it opposed to hand weapon and shield.

Upgrading the weapon generally costs 1 point as far as im aware and you lose a parry save. In return you get an extra rank of attacks (if you dident charge)

Are spears generally worth it? I only faced them once so far (tomb kings on skeleton warriors) and while I charged the extra attacks dident seem to impact the game all that much :confused:

SunTzu
15-08-2011, 21:21
A lot of the time there's no benefit. For Tomb Kings in particular, a handful of extra WS2, S3 attacks isn't worth paying points for IMO.

Some units find it more useful though. WS4 attacks with rerolls to hit (say Dark Elves or High Elves) are a bit more worthwhile, especially if they come with extra special rules on top (HEs fight in yet another rank and ASF). Generally spear attacks remain S3 though which will put a cap on their usefulness.

It largely depends on what you want your unit to do. To act as a tarpit or resist an attack, the parry save is more useful. To perhaps cause a few more wounds especially against frail targets, spears have a place. It's a question of balancing what you want from your army. Defaulting to hand weapon and shield isn't necessarily a completely awful decision though...

Jind_Singh
15-08-2011, 21:26
I don't mind spears but often won't give them to my units - the extra few attacks don't mean much.

Some units like Sarus love them, but Gobbos for e.g......

Not so much!

It would have been better if units with spears got special bonus from mounted units, but then it opens a can of worms as mounted units would need a boost like impact hits from the mounts (which would have been awesome for any mounted units that have barded mounts - I can see the horses crushing enemy foot units as they charge!

Then you can say spears don't allow those impact hits

fruitystu
15-08-2011, 21:30
Thing is, Parry saves often achieve less than an additional batch of attacks. Sure, a 6+ Ward sounds saucy, and perhaps it's just my luck, but I don't find myself making said save that often.

I think it goes without saying that Spears work beautifully in a horde formation, especially on cheapo troops, as that extra rank (10 attacks in many cases!) will make the difference between a narrowly lost combat, and just squeaking a win. Certainly you're guaranteed to see every model fighting, and they are relatively cheap (again with the odd notable exception).

So yeah, I'm in favour of them all the way. Look into your list, and see how you can boost said unit. Take the aforementioned Tomb Kings. I've got the models to field 2 Hordes of 50 Spear Skellingtons. Nowt special on their own, I'll freely admit. But then, chuck in a Prince (WS5 all round? I should coco!) and then a Necrotect (mmmmm! Cheap hatred) and suddenly, you have one hell of a punch unit, S3 or not, especially should your opponent fail a vital Fear test.

And believe me, in 8th, second round bonuses are absolutely awesome! And seeing as you're always striking in I order, Spears are very much the order of the for low Initiative troops.

Askari
15-08-2011, 21:39
Nah, parry saves are awesome. Empire State Troops (barring magic-assisted Halberdiers) aren't going to kill anyone anyway, so you might as well take Swordsmen which can take a hit and live to fight/confer a rank bonus another day. Many a time I've taken 3 wounds or so, only to save 2 due to parry, and win combat.

The fact that Spears actually cost extra points for many units just makes HW/S an even better option.

Demoulius
15-08-2011, 21:45
(made a small booboo. PLayed spears twice... first time was aagsint night goblins in a huge horde... They decimated my greatswords by forcing tons of attacks :cries: )

I play empire myself and am looking to go VC when my army reaches a certain point ( i think 2000)

Are spears any good for these armies?

For Empire I almost see halbers as a must because of state troops horrible S3. S4 makes them at least decent but lack of a save means they die in droves.

Swordsmen have a nice save but are only S3. Spears are S3 but have much more attacks (well 1 rank more anyway) To be fair I only see them beeing worth taking if you take a horde so 4 ranks get to attack... Otherwise the few extra attacks at S3 will hardly make an impact I think...

For VCs youd want numbers on your skeleton warriors anyway since they lose numbers quikly should they lose combat... Skeletons are already pricey without the spears though so im not sure if investing more points in them is a wise choice...

How I see it anyway... Are they any good or what? Anyone can help me with this?

Sexiest_hero
15-08-2011, 21:47
I take spears on VC skellies. Helm of commandment and Danse make them fun, A tomb blade, lord of the dead vampire adds numbers for free.

Askari
15-08-2011, 21:51
Hordes only get full attacks vs. other hordes typically anyway. So spears on a 5x4 ranked unit is really rubbish as 5 extra S3 attacks, and only when being charged, is pathetic. Even on hordes, it may only come to 7 extra attacks depending on enemy frontage.

HW/S at least spares some men from dying, keeping the rank bonus high, and hopefully also Steadfast. Being cheaper means you also have more men to begin with.

Oddly enough Empire and Vampires are my armies also - and I avoid Spears in both, though I'm inexperienced with the Vampires, your point about expensive Skeletons getting more expensive is a major factor.

yabbadabba
15-08-2011, 21:53
Nah, parry saves are awesome. Empire State Troops (barring magic-assisted Halberdiers) aren't going to kill anyone anyway, so you might as well take Swordsmen which can take a hit and live to fight/confer a rank bonus another day. Many a time I've taken 3 wounds or so, only to save 2 due to parry, and win combat.

The fact that Spears actually cost extra points for many units just makes HW/S an even better option. I'm going to contradict this by saying I have enjoyed watching my mates Orcs and Goblins bounce off my Empire Spearman Horde.

You are going to get a right old mix of opinions on here mate but the best thing to do is proxy and playtest. You might find that they do/do not work for you in your particular gaming environment.

Good Luck.

zerorocky
15-08-2011, 22:05
As always, it depends. Most the time people will find better options, but a bunch of Saurus Warriors armed with spears is pretty scary.

The bearded one
15-08-2011, 22:14
You might find that they do/do not work for you in your particular gaming environment.

that particular gaming environment would happen to be me :p

Oi, stop offering your sympathies to him! I'm not that beardy!

fruitystu
15-08-2011, 22:15
Hordes only get full attacks vs. other hordes typically anyway. So spears on a 5x4 ranked unit is really rubbish as 5 extra S3 attacks, and only when being charged, is pathetic. Even on hordes, it may only come to 7 extra attacks depending on enemy frontage.

HW/S at least spares some men from dying, keeping the rank bonus high, and hopefully also Steadfast. Being cheaper means you also have more men to begin with.

Oddly enough Empire and Vampires are my armies also - and I avoid Spears in both, though I'm inexperienced with the Vampires, your point about expensive Skeletons getting more expensive is a major factor.

7 extra actually. Almost as many as non-horde units put out with their front two.....

Andy p
15-08-2011, 22:33
I find them fairly useful on troops like night goblins, simply because they are free and cost no points on them.

Okuto
15-08-2011, 22:42
it depends on the troop choice.......stuff like night gobbos are good spearmen...TK skellies are so-so(I use them cause I need to fill in points and I like the look of them)

Though if I take spears I don't buy a shield......just to save points.....

Just ask yourself do you prefer more attacks are more staying power

theunwantedbeing
15-08-2011, 22:58
Spears are something you only really bother paying for on Cavalry or if you think it looks better than normal hand weapons.
Other than that, it's extra points on models that are probably not going to do any real additional damage and while that 6+ save isn't going to save anything meaningful, you can spend the points on something else.
50 man unit, 1pt a spear 50pts saved and 50pts is the full item allowance for hero's and most units magical banners.

More attacks is of course more useful for dealing with enemy characters/unit champions.

stashman
15-08-2011, 23:02
Orc Big Uns with WS4 S4 (S5 first round of combat). Lets say the fight is against Empire Swordsmen, both units are 50 strong Horde formation. I do easy calculation.

Swordsmen strikes first, hiting with 15, 4 wounds after 5+ armoursave.

Orcs hit back, hiting with 21, 12 wounds after both saves (armour and parry)

In this scenario, maybe the orcs would save another wound on 6+ but 10 more attacks is more brutal in bigger units.

Parry rule is awesome and fluffy and helps handweapon units to have something better than just an attack, and for low WS and low S, parry save can be better.

And Spears look cooler!!!

CrystalSphere
15-08-2011, 23:04
Spears are only useful if you get them for free, or otherwise if your unit looks like it can do some damage with them. This could be because they are S4 (ex. orc big´uns) or WS4 (like elves), or you have ready some magic enhancement to improve them (ex. tomb kings can put killing blow, goblins can put armour piercing etc.).

Djekar
15-08-2011, 23:30
For me the problem is that unless you are willing to pay the extra points for more armor the additional hand weapon is flat out better than a spear.

stashman
16-08-2011, 00:24
For me the problem is that unless you are willing to pay the extra points for more armor the additional hand weapon is flat out better than a spear.

On savage orcs - yes.

But on ordinary big uns, 5+ armoursave is better with lightarmour and shield.

Okuto
16-08-2011, 01:24
ordinary big ums I just take two weapons......if my big um horde gets wasted then that saves the black orc horde a couple of units beside it.

I often find a 5+ isn't really worth it, the T4 is good enough IMO.

If you take spears I say drop the shields and take more bodies. for the 50 pts saved on shields for my empire spearmen I took 10 more spearmen which IMO is better than the 5+ save

In the case of my orcs, well I just give them a choppa and they're good to go, if they get wasted there's another mob waiting to finish the job

H33D
16-08-2011, 01:50
Here is my opinion on spears.

If a model has S4 or higher, or T4 or higher, they are better off with spears because more S4 attacks is better and T4 doesn't need a parry save to protect it as much.

If a model has S3 and T3, it doesn't matter which you choose because they are both going to be about just as effective. If one of them costs more than the other (unlike with night goblins) then go with the cheaper route.

If a model has S2 or less and T2 or less, take shields because you aren't going to hurt anything anyway and with T2 a lot of wounds will probably be coming your way and you will want to try to save them with that parry save.

Djekar
16-08-2011, 01:57
But on ordinary big uns, 5+ armoursave is better with lightarmour and shield.

This is what I meant when I said
[...] unless you are willing to pay the extra points for more armor the additional hand weapon is flat out better than a spear. I'm saying that unless you spend the extra point to give the orcs shields that the additional hand weapons are better. They get the extra attack like spears and keep it on the charge and with fewer ranks. If you are going to pay the extra point for shields then sure they might come out ahead but then they should because you paid for it.

Flash Felix
16-08-2011, 03:20
Would spears be worth it if you got the Parry Ward Save, same as for HW/Shield? In other words, if your model is using a shield, it gets the Parry save, regardless of weapon (provided it's one handed of course).

As it is, you're paying points for a spear and a shield, normally for two points per model. In many cases, you're paying points for a model that will often be inferior to the cheaper model with only a shield. This seems counter-intuitive to me. Also, a shield is a parrying device, so from a fluff perspective, it can gain the Parry Save too.

This might seem strange to WFB players who are used to only HW/Shield offering the save. But it would make spears useful, traditionally the mainstay of rank and file, line infantry throughout history.

Thoughts?

I'd also give them +1S when charged by cavalry from the front, but that's another issue....

Aluinn
16-08-2011, 03:27
I was, until recently, firmly in the "never take spears, they're a waste" camp, but lately I've started to come around at least a bit. I think this may be one of those cases where theoryhammer and mathhammer tend not to give the full picture. (Well, they usually don't give the full picture, but it's even more partial than usual in this case.)

I think the issues in favor of spears, in spite of the acknowledged arguments that they aren't worth paying points for, are:

-IF we're talking about a Core unit, and your army features minimum Core, the points you save by not taking spears would not otherwise be going towards any non-Core unit, but only additional Core, probably even in the same unit. Thus, to say that you saved 50 points or whatever by not taking spears is misleading; it's not 50 points you can spend on Special, Rare, or characters, as it may be in other cases where one shaves points off a list. Most often it means the unit in question would be 60 models without spears rather than 50 with, or something close to that.

-Though the combat math almost always comes out in favor of hw/s in terms of how much the combat is won/lost by with equal points of models on either side, there's a case to be made that it's more important to just kill more dudes than to have a higher chance of winning combat, given Steadfast (or Unbreakable for Undead), and this counts for more when we're talking about larger units of weak models that have a high chance of losing, whatever they may be armed with.

-There can be only one Ward/Regen save, and Parry counts as a Ward save. Thus, any unit buff or ability which may grant a Ward save or Regen will render Parry saves useless.

-Additional attacks on (most often) S3 models may seem lame, but if the unit's in Horde formation they are more telling, and, most importantly, if the unit is both in Horde formation and is granted offensive buffs with magic, it becomes a pretty big deal. Basically, spears become more valuable as the unit's WS, S, and I increase, and as they gain other bonuses like Killing Blow or ASF, but pretty much always cost the same--unless you're Skaven and get them cheaper, you filthy cheesemonger :). The Parry save on the other hand does not scale multiplicatively with any sort of augmentation; at best it is an additive benefit, and even that is rare to see (e.g. Mark of Tzeentch).

Now I'm not trying to make the case that everyone should take spears, but as of now my opinion is that hw/s and spears are about equally viable choices for most units that have the option. There are some exceptions to this; I would most likely never take Empire Spearmen, for example, because they compete with units that either have different stats which complicate things (Swordsmen with better WS and I), or have a weapon which is usually better (Halberdiers). However, I would consider giving my VC or TK Skeletons spears. (I know Ghouls are better, shush :).)

Consider how much you can buff your units offensively, what kind of defensive buffs they may receive (relevant in that if it's a Ward or Regen, this favors spears), and their base stats (better WS, S, I favors spears), as well as the unit's size and formation (Horde favors spears), and go from there.

Either way though, choosing hw/s or spears is not likely to make for a different outcome in any game; how you use the unit is far more important, IMO.

Okuto
16-08-2011, 04:29
I still take empire spearmen only cause I have so many of them though I still takethe mandatory halberds beside them.

IMO though night gobbos get the most out of spears

NTJ2010
16-08-2011, 05:11
It depends on the unit...for Orcs Boyz, for example, for the same points you can get an additional handweapon. Ideally it nets you the same number of attacks with the following differences.

Extra Hand Weapons help on the side, rear, and on the charge. Spears do not. Spears allow for shields to be used though, without a parry.
Also, specifically for orcs, the extra hand weapon is another attack for the Boss in the unit (who, if you aren't using Big 'uns) is higher strength and weapon skill.
So for orc boyz the only advantage to spears is if you also use shields (and now you are looking at +2 points instead of +1, and going from a 6+ to a 5+)...

Got to take it case by case. If it's a unit like VC skeletons or Ungors you have to decide is 5-10 extra WS2-3 S3 attacks worth an extra point and loss of Parry, usually I'd say no.

On units that are stronger/higher WS or get rerolls (like HElfs and DElfs) it can be worth it.

*shrug* not an easy answer, which is good. It's a case by case thing and even then it's still not black and white.

Jolly Puggles
16-08-2011, 06:54
For Empire, Spearmen are pretty much a waste of space...you pay the same price for Swordsmen and Halberdiers, where the one has higher Weapon Skill and Initiative (plus Parry) and the other has higher Strength. In that company, Spearmen just look somewhat lacklustre.

For VC's, Spears on a Skeles are probably worth it. So long as you're getting a good number of Invocations off a turn. Having a Lord of the Dead Vamp makes Spears better again (free Spears for any raised over the initial unit size during the battle!). The extra attacks, even at base stat line are usually more useful than saving the odd model because you can raise a new model in your next magic phase. VC's will usually win any given war of attrition because they don't stay dead and they don't run away...why bother with extra armour saves?

N1AK
16-08-2011, 07:41
Would spears be worth it if you got the Parry Ward Save, same as for HW/Shield? In other words, if your model is using a shield, it gets the Parry save, regardless of weapon (provided it's one handed of course).


I'd rather give them another rule instead of making the difference between HW&S and Spear + Shield even smaller. You suggest +1str when charged by cav, I'm not sure it would be my choice but that kind of idea. You could for example allow them to fight in +2 ranks, give them a bonus to initiative when charged etc.

Sadly it's a bit of a moot point, spears will stay as they are for a few years yet. Until then, unless you're an elite unit you're probably not gaining enough out of spears to pick them over HW&S, and very few units can justify paying for them unless you have a specific strategy based on it.

Athariel
16-08-2011, 08:57
I was using Dark Elf Spearmen but found they kept doing badly. I have now swapped them for Corsairs while more expensive on points they just seem to do better even without the Frenzy Banner.

I also find that Crossbowmen do better for me as Sorceress bunker than Spearmen.

chamelion 6
16-08-2011, 11:36
My Empire army is built around large spear units, but my approach to making them work depends heavily on detachments of handgunners and halberdeers.... I drew my inspiration from historical tactics and it works pretty well. I think my spearmen would be hard pressed on their own, but they aren't intended to fight that way. I don't think a straight, side by side, comparison tells the whole story. It's how you use them and how they interact with other elements of your tactical scheme that ultimately decides how well they work.

For example, I keep hearing that Cav isn't particularly useful either and yet it factors heavily in how I play my army.

In the end, I don't think its as much a matter of which weapon you choose as it is a matter of whether you find ways to use it to maximum effect.

Odin
16-08-2011, 11:39
With TK's we have houseruled that they can exchange HW for spear for free. Even then, the HW & Shield combo is probably the better option, but at least you have to think about it. Charging a point for an upgrade that probably makes you worse is just silly.

On the other hand, for Saurus it is absolutely worth it!

Aluinn
16-08-2011, 13:18
With TK's we have houseruled that they can exchange HW for spear for free. Even then, the HW & Shield combo is probably the better option, but at least you have to think about it. Charging a point for an upgrade that probably makes you worse is just silly.

On the other hand, for Saurus it is absolutely worth it!

Ah, but TK have an AoE spell that grants 5+ ward saves, which will replace the Parry and make spear Skeletons just as survivable as hw/s Skeletons. You can't totally rely on the buff, as with any magic, but then again it is the main spell in the Lore of Nehekhara for raising models in units that are engaged, so is probably going to be used very often whenever it's rolled up.

Also, the Killing Blow buff makes those extra 10 attacks (if you're in Horde, and otherwise I would agree spears aren't worth it) much more worthwhile, on top of the fact that if they benefit from MWBD they'll almost always hit on 3s.

I really think that spears are quite worth taking on TK Skellies once you account for those factors, and also because TK tend to only have about a block of Skeleton Warriors and a block of Tomb Guard as major combat-capable infantry units, which means that the Skeletons arguably need to be able to actually kill stuff rather than just tarpit.

Djekar
16-08-2011, 13:28
a well thought out text block

Well said about considering everything in your list - probable buffs, etc. I'm still not initially a fan of spears, but it is making me think more deeply about that choice.

Memnos
16-08-2011, 13:30
Spears can be very effective.

For instance: Got a couple of Lev 1 Amber Wizards for the Empire? S5 Spears, rerolling because of a Warrior Priest, can make a big difference.

Lore of Shadows in Beastmen? You can slam them with penalties to Toughness, WS and Initiative. Suddenly, you're hitting them on 3s(Rerolling), wounding them on 3s and getting 7-10 more attacks.

It really depends on who you're playing and how you plan on kitting out your army and using it.

Oglog
16-08-2011, 19:20
Yeah I reckon spears are good in horde formation but I'd always chose HW/S over spears for the parry save, far more worthwhile on your standard rank and file

popisdead
16-08-2011, 19:28
Ungors? Not often.

50 High Elves with Okham's Razor? OH YEAH!