View Full Version : How to Select an Army

Murderous Monkey
30-10-2006, 15:46
A few days ago I recklessly bought the latest UK White Dwarf and read with some interest the article on how to select an army for Warhammer. It didn't seem as in depth as I somehow hoped, and I ended up thinking that the fine minds of Warseer could probably do a lot better than 'have specialised units and enough of them to do a bit of everything.'

So my learned friends, the floor is open. How do you select an army? What types of units do you want and what sort of balance do you seek? Let us assume that the armies are all 2000 points and that you have no idea what you will face. The answers don't have to be tournament focused but people might find it easier to develop some sense of consensus if you indicate your level of competitiveness... i.e. 'Tournament', 'Competitive Friendly', 'Friendly', 'Phoenix Guard only' (i.e. a player who chooses purely for looks or background with little interest in what might be considered effective).

To clarify, I'm not looking for your exact list, but more the reasons why you've got your list. In essence, what do you think about when choosing your army?

If you think it might help to say what army you play then that could also be a good idea (a Skaven player who never uses cavalry might have very different reasons to an Empire one after all)!

Brother Maynard
30-10-2006, 16:09
Well, I choose my units based on the "forgiving" aspect of them. Meaning, if I make a bad move and put my unit into harms way, which happens alot for me, my unit could survive a bit until I can rally other units together to bail the trapped unit out.

I just picked up putting together a Mortal Khorne army, and I must say I am very pleased with how it performs for me. My Chosen Knights and Warriors have been more than resilient to wanton charges and attacks, that otherwise would anihilate other armies rank and file. I don't miss not having magic or shooting, since the absence of these two phases lets me focus on doing just one thing: getting my troops to the other side of the table to cause some real havock to my oppents forces.

I'm not sure if I gave you any insight into "Army Selection" per se, but its a methode. Know your army's and your own strenghts and weaknesses, and most of all, know your enemy.

30-10-2006, 16:17
I tend to put my lists together to try and account for everything.

In fantasy, I try for a few solid blocks of infantry supported by ranged, artillery and cavalry units. The idea is for the ranged to soften up incoming forces while they hit the infantry blocks and the Cav attempts a flanking maneuver. This worked well for Empire and High Elves.

However, Im going to be moving to a Wood Elf army with a complicated list I put together with mostly longbow troops supported by Wardancers and Cavalry. Im going to try to maximize the power of the skirmish ability. However, the lack of an armor save scares me.

30-10-2006, 17:50
the shield and the sword approach

the shield: i want a solid line of infantry. i'd like 3 units here, as well as the bsb so they are more likely to hold. other things to help them include missile weapons and perhaps some screeners.

the sword: i want at least one if not two unit of chargers, usually knights. they should be supported with flankers (fast cav if i can) and screeners as well.

this gives me various options for deployment
all the swords on one side or split them to cover both flanks

31-10-2006, 02:07
My armies usually include a lot of infantry, because I think that saurus look pretty cool and they are relatively effective. So I try to include as many units of them as I can and still have the points for some march blockers and at least one unit of flankers, either a stegadon or some kroxigor. I don't run Cold One Riders any more, because i have found them to be too fragile to shooting, and I have bad luck with stupidity. Other than that, its a choice between magic heavy or combat, and with the cries of cheese at a slann that I usually get, i typically run a combat based army. The end product has usually ended up something like this:
3 Saurus blocks, 2 Saurus heros, 2 Skink units, 1 flanking unit(steg or krox)
in a 2000 point game.

31-10-2006, 02:32
I focus on a few elements in my armies:

Hunting - Wood Elves need to hunt down their targets ruthlessly. I make sure I have at least 2 units capable of hunting war machines per 1,000 points, and at least one capable of hunting mages per 1,000 points.

Light threats - I make sure that I have at least two units (one per flank) capable of disrupting/destroying enemy light threats.

Screeners - Skirmish screens are great, and a good skirmish screen is a must.

Armour hunting - Something that can bait, outmanoeuvre, or otherwise guarantee that it can attack and kill heavy cavalry.

In short, just something to deal with any major threats that come up, backed up with a way at least two plans to win any given battle.

31-10-2006, 16:38
First of all it depends on what I want to play with. Do I want to play magic heavy or not? BSB or not? Refused flank or both flanks strongly occupied? Since I play Chaos I have a lot of options and a big variety of troops.

Normally I begin with selecting my characters, as that is of great influence on my play style.
Do I take a lvl4 wizard or not? How many wizards do I take? Do I take a BSB?
My characters tend to cost about 500-800 points in a 2k battle.

Usually I want to have a solid line of infantry, consisting of 2 or 3 rank-and-file units with full command.
Possibly I back them up with some chariots in between.
I begin with selecting these units, as they are the core of my army.

An other must-have is fast cavalry and most often I include a unit flyers.
They serve as support units for multiple charges, marchblocking, war machine hunting and/or character hunting.
I usually take about 4 or 5 support units in a 2k game.

An other thing I always want to have are some (fast) heavy hitters. Chaos Knights excel in this job.
The amount of points spend to the heavy-hitters depends on the poins I have left after having taken the rest of my army.

When the list is done I usually have to make some revisions and tweak it a little bit untill I am pleased with the list.

31-10-2006, 22:21
I think I like to have a good variety of different units to mix things up. I also like to consider the deployment phase as a major phase to be won. If I can get good matchups then this will go along way to victory.

For me, manoeverability and point cost are the most important aspects of my way of choosing an army. I usually opt to go with cheaper units/characters and more of them. Playing chaos is a very fortunate army for my style as it incorporates so many different tactics and unit types.

Getting the right matchups is easy to do with chaos because of warhounds. At 30 pts per unit of 5 and manouverabiity of 7, it allows me 3 to deploy only 90pts by the time my usual opponents have deployed about 300-400 pts. Thus I can see where his plan may be going.

I also try to think about a style of army to use. Do I want to play a horde, or MSU or specialised characters or knight heavy or whatever? Then, I need to decide what units will be the backbone, what units can best support this backbone, and what units will help to eliminate the weaknesses of this army.

So lets say I want to use a horde army of Chaos (beast/mortal/demon). I will need alot of troops. Perhaps one/two huge unit of marauders, and one/two huge unit of beastherds. Now, I need my standard warhound units (3 of them). So this makes up most of my backbone. But in order for me to use this well, I will need some speed. So, I can take some furries, or screemers, or marauder horsemen to help hunt down mages and warmachines. I also need some punch, so steeds of slaanesh(also speed) or chaos knights or chariots will help this. And I am going to need some leadership. So I might consider a chaos lord. Or to keep things cheap, a beast lord, a BSB and a few wargors/exalted heros to spread out the leadership by commitee. Maybe I need some magic so I might take some wargors of Tzeetch or make a khorne army.

Versatile units are my favorite. But, having a few units that are one dimensional is not bad as long as they do what they are supposed to do; and do it well. This is why having alot of units helps win the deployment phase.

Then it is about trying to define roles for your units. If you have enough versatility, you can mix and match your units to meet your specific needs at the same time dictating the flow and tactics of the game.