PDA

View Full Version : Skirmishing core troops?



sigur
10-07-2006, 01:22
Following the "are flyers necessary"-debate, I want to start one about Skirmishers in WHFB. I know, we had that before and this is a quite controversial topic and all, I just think it's time to bring that up again and now that I got deeper into WHFB, I want to know people's opinion about this.

To make it short, I'm against skirmishers as core troops, no matter what army. I'm not against skirmishing units at all, they add another interesting level to the game, but I think that they should be limited to special and rare choices. Okay, the only skirmishing core units I encountered so far are Skinks and Dryads but I think that they just function too well, especially due to the 360 arc of sight (in some cases combined with missile weapons).

I don't see any reasons for Dryads to be Skirmishers compared to Dwarfen slayers or Orcs who are deployed in rank and file. I know, people can argue against that but this isn't 40k after all and "skirmishing" should be kept for special units, scouts and such. Armies which consist to 80% of skirmishers just don't seem like Warhammer to me because they more or less "leave out" the crucial and interesting movement phase.

So let me know your opinion on this people, maybe you can change my point of view on this.

alextroy
10-07-2006, 03:05
There is nothing wrong with Skirmishing Core troops in general. It' specific skrimishing Core units that are the problem.

For example, nobody screams about Empire Archers being skirmishers. Ambushing Beast Herds make me want to cry out in frustration on the other hand and Dryads pack a nasty punch in a nice skirmishing package.

sigur
10-07-2006, 03:21
I might be wrong here, but aren't Empire archers (or huntsmen to be more specific) 0-1?

Makaber
10-07-2006, 03:28
Well, I'm a beastman player, and I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone who thinks a beastman army is somehow overpowered, or bland to play against. So, while slightly biased, I don't think beastherds are a problem.

Dryads can be a pain in the ass, but I've never had much of a problem with wood elf players fielding dryads in large numbers. Sure they hit like a ton of bricks, but they're not that great at actually winning a fight in the long run. I'd be much more worried if somebody actually paired up their dryads with spearmen.

Skinks are a pain in the ass, no doubt about it. I don't think it's the skirmishing alone, though. It's more of a combination of low cost (meaning high numbers), skirmishing, high move, and the damn blowpipes. The combination allows you to field troops that are fast and agile enough to avoid seeing combat, while at the same time inflicting vast damage to light infantry. If you removed just one of those elements, skinks would lose a lot of their appeal.

So all in all, I don't think it's the presence of core skirmishers in itself, rather how they function with the army as a whole.

Shaggoths_Rock
10-07-2006, 04:15
I too play BoC and use beastherds and like makaber I dont feel that skirmishing core troops are over powered its just how you handle them.

alextroy
10-07-2006, 04:17
I might be wrong here, but aren't Empire archers (or huntsmen to be more specific) 0-1?
Yes, Huntsmen are 0-1 and don't meet requirement for Core Units. Archers are a Core Unit and they skirmish.

As for Beastherds, I just hate how they skirmish, have rank bonus, and can enter the battle behind your line. It's bad enough they can do two, but all three! That being said, they can be handled, it cramps my war-machine-loving style.

Nell2ThaIzzay
10-07-2006, 05:14
Maybe I have the wrong Skirmisher unit, but I've never really found Skirmishers to be overpowered or anything.

I'm Vampire Counts, so my Skirmishers are Ghouls. And I find personally to be too many downsides to Skirmishers to make them overpowered. And at least in the case of my army, I find them almost pointless to take.

Skirmishers first of all don't negate ranks. To me, that's huge, because that's a major chunk of manuverability in my opinion, is the ability to get rear and flank charges to negate your opponent's flanks. Skirmishers don't do that, and also don't cause panic tests and such, so that's one major minus towards them already.

They do make good screeners, however, with the -1 to hit modifier when shooting. So they do make good shield units for your bigger core regiments. But screener units I hardly find to be totally worth the investment.

I myself don't see a problem with Skirmishers. Sure the 360 degree line of sight kinda sucks. But Skinks have never bothered me too badly. Maybe it's just because my opponent never fields enough of them? Who knows, but Skinks are hardly on my list of overpowered units.

I dunno, in my personal experience with this game, Skirmishers have hardly ever proven to be overpowered. I don't see much problem with them being core choices. I know damned well I'd NEVER use Ghouls if they were special choices... taking away from potential Grave Guard, Black Knight, Fell Bat, or Spirit Host unit choices is not something that a unit of Ghouls is worth.

Kensai X
10-07-2006, 06:26
Well I play DoW which has arguably some of the best skirmishers in the game in the form of Pistol Duelists and their not at all overpowered. They provide neccassary flank defense and are immensely useful in controling the movement of the opposite player and providing me with plenty of strategic options. This mirrors their role in real life and I think it makes perfect sense. What I think the problem is, that some skirmishers are universally useful against all types of foes and are the be all to end all option in their list to do the task. I think this why people complain so much about skinks and the like.

samael
10-07-2006, 07:03
I wil find it a happy day when skirmishers no longer count as true core.

Yes they do belong in armies but the amount of especially "40k" skink armies starts to grate on my nerves.

Until that time I will just be happy that the 7th edition will enable me to marchblock them.

Mad Doc Grotsnik
10-07-2006, 07:44
Allegedly Samael.

Got to say, I really don't understand why Skirmishers will be march blocked. Takes away a lot of their flexibility. Doesn't bother me mind, as I use Harpies who fly anyways....

Dr Death
10-07-2006, 08:11
Imho Warhammer has kind of lost its way with increasingly wild and wacky "novelty" armies. An increasing divergence from the aim of the rules has become apparent in 6th ed and very much counters the original "straight laced" start. With new rules for army organisation (if you pick x you can have more than one regiment of y) Warhammer 6th ed has drifted fairly wide of it's original mark laid out in Ravening Hordes.

Skirmishing armies are part of this.

While i welcomed the idea as an intellectual exercise with beastmen. As time has worn on and with the release of both Lustria and Wood Elves, i think the novelty has worn off and the concept has actually started to work against the system in that everyone has such radically different styles of play that tactics as such no longer exist- They fall outside of what the system is supposed to represent as tactics. One could say such lists do as power gamers are said to do in that they "play the rules, not the game", meaning that they represent astounding acheivements of arithmatic when they are balanced but they are nothing more than that- rules do not work their way down to effective representation of large scale battle. As Anthony Reynolds said of the brettonian lance formation in the brettonian designers notes "In a game of squares and rectangles, triangles just dont work." The same could very much be said for irregular masses of troops.

Now i dont want to do away with skirmishers- they have their place and in some armies that may be more prominent than others, but it should always be a role of support rather than of predominance in an army. The game as a whole should ultimately one of blocks of troops and even the most unruly and unusual armies should be bound by the games cheif tennants.

Dr Death

Scythe
10-07-2006, 09:08
I don't think it is as bad as people make it. Let's look at the list of core skirmishers in the game (out of my head, so I probably miss a few):

Empire archers/huntsmen (the latter are 0-1)
Ghouls
Dryads
Wood Elf Scouts (limited to the number of Glade Guard)
Skinks
Gnoblar trappers (unsure here, but they are linked to the number of Hunters in the army)
Brettonian skirmishing peasants (0-1)
Skaven night runners
Beastherds (well, they kind of skirmish)
DoW duellists (I think that they are core)
And a whole bunch of swarms in various armies

Now, I have never heard complainments about most of these choices. The only choices I hear people complain about are Skinks and Dryads, and that's probably because they are just great value for their points. Now, does this means core skirmishers are bad, or just that 2 troop choices are simply a bit too effective?

Viskrit
10-07-2006, 11:45
These troops in themselves are ok, but I think Dr Death's point was that when an entire army is made of skirmishers, there's a problem.

Personally, I am happy that the SoC lists will be made unofficial in 7th edition. These extreme armies, like Slayers, Eshin etc. will disappear.
Does anyone know if the Lustria lists will stay official or not?

However, I have no problem with WE. I think they are fine.

I voted "Yay" for skirmishing core units, since I think that they are, on the whole, not a problem.

Dr Death
10-07-2006, 12:10
Quite right Viskrit, my problem isnt skirmishers in themselves but rather their increasing prevailance in a game which is ultimately geared towards blocks of troops. I think the game would work far better if every army was focused on blocks supported by a variety of additional troops (skirmishers, flyers, wizards, artillery, chariots et all) rather than creating these vastly different "gimmicky" manners of play.

Dr Death

McMullet
10-07-2006, 12:21
I play lizards but I try not to take too many skink units. I would find a 0-1 limit far too restricting, and sadly making skirmishers not count to the mininimu core requirement would leave me with one counting core unit when I didn;t have a Slann. This means 3 units of Saurus Warriors in a 100 point game... :(

I agree that skirmishers need to be toned down a bit. The rumoured march-blocking will help, certainly. Perhaps something along the lines of the Skaven mainstay rule would be nice, that is you have to take one ranked unit for every skirmishing unit, thus forcing Southlands players to take, at least, some Kroxigors or Saurus before they load up on Skinks. However, simply limiting Skirmishers is impractical, because of the way it changes the armies that are misfortunate eniough to include many of them.

Hopefully, when the army books are redone there will be some sensible reduction in the number of skirmishing units we see.

mageith
10-07-2006, 14:02
To make it short, I'm against skirmishers as core troops, no matter what army. I'm not against skirmishing units at all, they add another interesting level to the game, but I think that they should be limited to special and rare choices. Okay, the only skirmishing core units I encountered so far are Skinks and Dryads but I think that they just function too well, especially due to the 360 arc of sight (in some cases combined with missile weapons).

It's hard to know how to tackle a 'should be' question these days. Since so few folks tend to think that 'realism' has much to do with WFB about the only other question to debate a 'should be' question is on game balance.



I don't see any reasons for Dryads to be Skirmishers compared to Dwarfen slayers or Orcs who are deployed in rank and file.
Theoretically rank and file 'should be' better. And if the Dryads had any smarts they'd have organized long ago.

So its not Skirmishers, per se, that are a problem but the rules for skirmishers and their enemies.



I know, people can argue against that but this isn't 40k after all and "skirmishing" should be kept for special units, scouts and such.

IMO that's modern thinking imposed on an allegedly ancient warfare game. Skirmishings, in ancient warfare, is a vastly INFERIOR formation. In an age when shooting was weak and cavalry was strong (but very expensive), the only reasonable change infantry had to was to remain together in tightly organized and disciplined units. Roam proved this for a thousand years--until their organization crumbled. The Pikes of the Swiss reproved it. That fact that a thousands years intervened where infantry was mostly a laughing stock was a problem with organization and training, not with the formation itself.

In modern warfare, where shooting is very strong a more dispersed formation is necessary.

In short, loosely formed inferior fighting units 'should be' required for most armies but it 'should be' a vastly inferior formation only good for a few things such as fighting other skirmishers, taking out separated elements such as wizards and perhaps harassing reserve and support elements such as war machines.



Armies which consist to 80% of skirmishers just don't seem like Warhammer to me because they more or less "leave out" the crucial and interesting movement phase.

OTOH, skirmishers provide for probably the most used formation in ancient battle that is mostly absent in WFB--The Mob--The loosely organized tribal formation that emphasized individual fighters moving to the front. It's only chance against an organized disciplined fighting unit/army was to vastly outnumber it and overwhelm it before it took too many casualties and broke and ran.

In many ways the Beastmen Raiders rules come close to this. The mere reduction of one CR for fighting ranks seems to have made a big difference. They seem reasonably balanced, even with their other helpful rule allowing the ambush. Overall GW did a really good job with the Beastmen. The unruly rule adds flavor and their low Leadership adds the unpredictability I'd expect to find in a numerous but unorganized army.

The well-supported new rule that restricts the marching of Skirmishers will help armies deal with those pesky Skink skirmishers.

I would have added another to bring Skirmishers into line. They can't use the leadership of the general but can use the Ld of characters actually in the unit

As long as the skirmisher formation is an inferior formation, which it is, this will only happen when necessary anyway and not turn WFB into 40K. Except for big harding hitting units such as Ogres which would probably always run as skirmishers.

Revlid
10-07-2006, 14:11
The only Skirmishers I have ever seen anyone complain about are Dryads (hard combat skirmishers) and Skinks (cheap shooty skirmishers).

I think its entirely reasonable that Skinks shouldn't count towards the maximum Core. Saurus are, after all, the basis of any Lizardmen group that has anything to do with fighting. Leave the Skink Horde to the Southlands.

Again, its fairly reasonable that Dryads shouldn't count towards Core (or should have some kind of restriction) under an Elven general. Many Dryads still view Elves as untrustworthy, and would only fight under a Forest Spirit general.

McMullet
10-07-2006, 14:26
I think its entirely reasonable that Skinks shouldn't count towards the maximum Core. Saurus are, after all, the basis of any Lizardmen group that has anything to do with fighting. Leave the Skink Horde to the Southlands.

That will make lizardmen armies very boring. You'll need to take at least 2 units of Saurus in a 1000 point army, which is half your points if they're a decent size. That, or Saurus and a Swarm, which also skirmishes. The problem I have with that is not limiting Skirmishers (which I approve of), but the fact that it makes a list with few options even more restricted - compare this to Dwarfs, Empire, Elfs, O&G, etc. which already have a choice of 4 or more ranked core units, most of which are cheaper than Saurus. Simply making skinks not count will not help IMHO.

I don't like a lot of skinks myself, but that is not the answer.

mageith
10-07-2006, 15:29
That will make lizardmen armies very boring. You'll need to take at least 2 units of Saurus in a 1000 point army, which is half your points if they're a decent size.

As I said earlier, 'should be' is difficult to debate but that's exactly how a Lizardman army should be cored, IMO. The army is made of Sauria, of which you can have several configurations and then fancy it up with whatever else you have for the points available.

In addition, Sauria can be individualized with their spawnings. In this respect, the Lizards are designed just as an army should be designed.

Edit: Except, alas, for the fact that I momentarily forgot, that once sacredly blessed they aren't core anymore.


compare this to Dwarfs, Empire, Elfs, O&G, etc. which already have a choice of 4 or more ranked core units, most of which are cheaper than Saurus. Simply making skinks not count will not help IMHO.

Look again at Dwarfs. They have one, yes one, core unit (same stats) but with different configurations and special rules. Warriors, Quarrelers and Thunderers are the same and Rangers and Longbeards are upgrades. Dwarfs have less choices than Lizards.

This is essentially true of Empire too: Halberdiers, spearmen, archers, crossbowmen, free companies and handgunners are all the same stats. Each simply has a different weapon/armor configuration and/or special rule. In addition, they have upgradable knights and the slightly superior swordsmen.



I don't like a lot of skinks myself, but that is not the answer.
I don't know if its THE answer. But it's certainly a reasonable and simple answer.

Mage Ith

McMullet
10-07-2006, 18:29
Edit: Except, alas, for the fact that I momentarily forgot, that once sacredly blessed they aren't core anymore.
Aye, that's just it.

I don't necessarily mind being forced to take 2 units of Saurus most games (indeed, I normally do...), but that's a lot of points and thus a vast reduction in flexibility. OK, so the example armies I gave are the same biologically, but they have vastly differering roles. For example, empire can take a useful core unit that consists of 10 handgunners, 80 points, or 8 Knights, probably a couple of hundred points, or 20 spearmen, which is somewhere in between. If Lizardmen were limited to Saurus, Saurus or Saurus for core choices, that's the bulk of your army preselected for you. Less than 12 Saurus is a pretty unviable unit, and personally I like to take at least 16-18. That's 200+ points each.

Once could equally argue that a small, cheap unit of missile troops "shouldn't" count as a core choice, because you can fill the slots with them and still have most of your points to spend.

Makaber
10-07-2006, 23:07
As for Beastherds, I just hate how they skirmish, have rank bonus, and can enter the battle behind your line. It's bad enough they can do two, but all three! That being said, they can be handled, it cramps my war-machine-loving style.

Well, the way the beastherds work is pretty much the only think the beastman army has going for it. Consider the drawbacks of the army: Each beastherd has a Ld of 6 as soon as you off the champion. If you want to ambush (which seems to be a gripe of yours, enter the battle behind the line and all), you're stuck with a general with a Ld of (at best) 8.

And sure, you can hate how they work, by all means (hell, I'd be disappointed if you didn't ;) ), but (again) I don't think anyone feels the army as a whole is too good.

Scythe
11-07-2006, 08:28
Aye, that's just it.

I don't necessarily mind being forced to take 2 units of Saurus most games (indeed, I normally do...), but that's a lot of points and thus a vast reduction in flexibility. OK, so the example armies I gave are the same biologically, but they have vastly differering roles. For example, empire can take a useful core unit that consists of 10 handgunners, 80 points, or 8 Knights, probably a couple of hundred points, or 20 spearmen, which is somewhere in between. If Lizardmen were limited to Saurus, Saurus or Saurus for core choices, that's the bulk of your army preselected for you. Less than 12 Saurus is a pretty unviable unit, and personally I like to take at least 16-18. That's 200+ points each.

Once could equally argue that a small, cheap unit of missile troops "shouldn't" count as a core choice, because you can fill the slots with them and still have most of your points to spend.

Hmm, what about making Saurus an 1+ choice then (like they did with Ogre bulls)? You'll garantee at least 1 unit of Saurus, so avoiding the skirmishing only army then.

Nell2ThaIzzay
11-07-2006, 08:55
I really don't think there's a problem with Skirmishers at all.

I don't have a problem with it.

In fact, I think they are very inferior to regular rank and file units.

And I think that limiting them is wrong. Fluff-wise, some armies tend to focus on these skirmisher units.

I.E. Ghouls and Strigoi Vampires... fluff-wise Ghouls would be the centerpiece of the Strigoi army, not Skeletons and Zombies. So making Ghouls not count as core choices in a Strigoi army I don't think is very fair.

I've never had any problems against any Skirmishers that I've ever faced. I hardly see a problem.

McMullet
11-07-2006, 10:22
Hmm, what about making Saurus an 1+ choice then (like they did with Ogre bulls)? You'll garantee at least 1 unit of Saurus, so avoiding the skirmishing only army then.
Now that I like. Perhaps even 1+ for every 1000 points in the army.

McGonigle
11-07-2006, 12:06
On the skink problem, how about bringing back ranked skinks into the main list, possibly with the rules for mixed skink-kroxigor formations. Then make it so skirmishing skinks cannot contribute to core choices.

That provides Lizardmen with a cheap non skirmishing core that they don't have to spend 240 odd points on to make effective.

Although the entry would need repointing from the cohort entry in the Southlands list since it is drastically over pointed: a skirmishing skink with a javalin and sheild comes in at 6 points ranking up the same skink costs 8 points. Two points to loose the ability to skirmish (When for skinks it is definately an advantage)
As a point of comparision despite being far worse at being ranked infantry than clanrats and marauders they are more expensive.
Perhaps recosting at 3-4 points naked. (As per the ravening hordes article.)

McMullet
11-07-2006, 12:17
That could work, yep. It would give the army an interesting tactical option, using Skinks for static CR and using Saurus, Krox, Cavalry and so on for support.

Not so sure about the return of the mixed Kroxigor/Skink units, that could be nasty indeed - effectively, it allows you to give Kroxigor +5 CR for 150 points or so. Static CR has gotten a lot bigger since 5th ed, and that would give Krox too much of a bonus IMHO. I would actually quite like an option to take a unit that is not so good at what it does in a lizardmen army.

Steel_Legion
11-07-2006, 12:18
i say limit, i am sick of coming up against armys that are nothing but skirmishers for core, such as a lizardman army i played, about 5-6 units of skinks with poison bows, not fun at all for my bretonnian knights, saying that my lord and his standard bearer killed 78 of them... but it wasnt fun, and it just is boring, thats my 2 cents anyway

Scythe
12-07-2006, 08:57
On the skink problem, how about bringing back ranked skinks into the main list, possibly with the rules for mixed skink-kroxigor formations. Then make it so skirmishing skinks cannot contribute to core choices.

That provides Lizardmen with a cheap non skirmishing core that they don't have to spend 240 odd points on to make effective.

Although the entry would need repointing from the cohort entry in the Southlands list since it is drastically over pointed: a skirmishing skink with a javalin and sheild comes in at 6 points ranking up the same skink costs 8 points. Two points to loose the ability to skirmish (When for skinks it is definately an advantage)
As a point of comparision despite being far worse at being ranked infantry than clanrats and marauders they are more expensive.
Perhaps recosting at 3-4 points naked. (As per the ravening hordes article.)

Ahh, I wished they would bring back ranked skink units... A M6 T2 ranked unit is always fun! Still, limiting skirmishers to the number of ranked units might work a bit restrictive, as skirmishers are described to be a lot more common. In that way the 1 saurus unit per 1000 pts would work better... or maybe 2 skirmisher units for one ranked, or just make skirmishers 0-1 or 0-2 with extra unirs allowed if you take a ranked unit.