View Full Version : Skirmish tactics

22-01-2007, 17:25
I've recently become bored with using a shieldwall formation. I also thought it was time for a new army and that the Uruk-Hai scout set looked pretty cool. So I have just started an Isenguard raiders army which currently consists only of infantry but will later be bolstered by warg riders.
My initial thoughts about this army from a tactical view were that seperating the army into several mutually supporting groups would be more useful than one big line of men, given that I won't be using spears.

I had my first game with them today against a friend's dwarf army. The mission was reconnoitre. The dwarves achieved a minor victory as they escaped with 7 men while I managed only one. I put this down to overestimating the armour of uruk-hai scouts and their shooting ability, also my own inexperience in using such an army.
There were two pivotal moments in the game in my opinion. Firstly, I had a moment when I could have sent both groups of my archers forwards to help with a combat that another flanking group had joined. This was what I was about to do until I unleashed a final volly which killed a brace of dwarves who would otherwise have escaped, this was the first damage the archers had done from range despite several shots. Distracted by this I continued to fire at the remaining dwarves who would escape. This meant that the combat with my flankers was lost and that the group of dwarven archers then had a chance to regroup and prepare for my ensuing assault.
The second was when my force was broken and I had only Lurtz on one wound left. He was brought down by archers a turn before he and his big group would have made combat. This meant no standfast next turn and my army dissolved giving the dwarves victory.

Lessons learnt are:
Uruks are more useful up close than at range. Especially given the armour of dwarves.
Lurtz and Ugluk (who was killed in the flanking combat by being trapped) must be used more carefully as atleast one will be needed when the army breaks.
Skirmishing does work somewhat as the battle could have been mine had I made the right decision. My opponent told me afterwards that he was slightly confused in how to respond to me as with no main group to close in on and engage he was uncertain on where to send his main force or even whether he should reply in kind by splitting his own army up.

Sorry for the brief overview of the battle but I'm in a hurry at the moment. I will hopefully be getting a game in each day over this week so hopefully I'll be able to keep learning and adding to this thread.

28-01-2007, 00:35
Well, I've played a fair few games with the Isenguard Raiders now and I think I've learnt a thing or two about using them in skirmish order.

The list I have been using has varied from 300pts to 500pts.
Thus far I have used the following:

11 Uruk-Hai scouts with shields
3 Uruk-Hai scouts with hand weapons
8 Uruk-Hai scouts with orc bows
3 warg riders with bows
3 warg riders with throwing spears
1 warg rider with banner

Typically the army consists of only at infantry at 300pts and adds the cavalry in the larger games. While the infantry force is quite effective on its own, the addition of warg riders gives the army more flexibility and makes it overall more effective.
I plan on expanding the army with a couple of conversions, one of which is a scouting uruk-hai with banner. I'll also be adding some of the older metal scouts for some variation and painting up some new warg riders, the ones I used were older models that I used years ago. Perhaps after that some feral Uruk-Hai. I also need to get Vrasku just for fun.

Thus far this army has tried to break away from conventional tactics in the sense that it doesn't use spears and thus cannot form a shieldwall. It could make the spearless shield wall typically seen by Rohan Infantry or in some cases dwarves but I also want to get away from deploying my entire army into one main group.
I have tried to do this by fighting in two and threes all over the board and also by forming what a firend called 'infantry blocks' each block consisting of a portion of my force, usually 5-8 models, with my heroes leading the biggest blocks. The warg riders have been interesting so far, as every time they've been deployed they've faced Radagast. Because of this, they've been scattered aorind my army with a warg or two supporting my blocks.
Fighting in twos and threes failed so badly that I only use block infantry now.
The main thing I've discovered about fighting in this fashion is that you really have to improvise in the sense that while you can make plans they can change dramtically due to opportunities that present themselves eg. in one game a really small group, two uruk-hai and a dismounted warg rider (thank you radagast) crept round a building and stopped within charge range of a fair few dwarves. The dwarves charged them hoping to quickly kill them but they held for two turns and thus allowed a larger group to outflank them. This small skirmish escalated into a full battle line clash as both sides poured more men into the melee. This has also led me to the opinion that while it's very useful to begin in several groups, once you have an opening it is worthwhile exploiting it and combing several groups together. This is also useful because as you lose more men and possibly become broken you have the larger number of your troops in range of stand fast.

I'd like to develop these tactics further but I'm not likely to be playing lotr for a while, due to a mini tourney of 40K I'll be taking part in. At the very least I've found a new army that I enjoy using.
Anyone have any opinions of this style of fighting or can suggest ways of improving it?

28-01-2007, 00:36
Below is a brief story/battle report. The mission was 300pts take and hold against dwarves. It was a really good game and I hope you enjoy reading this.

Dwarf and orc alike had become lost in their frantic search for the hidden ruins in which lay something vital for the war. Not even the captains new what they were searching for, only that it was greatly needed by their lords and masters.
Both sides had spread their stength along the landscape in an attempt to find the correct location. The dwarves arrived first with a large party approaching from the North. Others arrived from both East and West. Scouts reported presence of Uruk-Hai of the white hand. Before long the Uruks could be seen sprinting through the surrounding woodland. Their numbers were greatest in the West and East though a handful approached from the South.
The dwarven captain signaled his guard to advance, they approached the ruins with great speed but the Uruk from the South got their first. They leapt into the ruins and lay hidden, waiting to spring out onto the dwarves. Skirmished could be seen in both the west and east with many dwarves being hewn beneath the blows of the Uruk-Hai. The dwarves fought valiently but were too few. The Uruks swept them swiftly aside and the dwarven banner bearer, who had been seperated from the main party was cut down by Lurtz, Captain of the white hand.
Two dwarven warriors had marched further than any other and missed the ruins entirely. They became lost in woodland and were ambushed by four Uruk-Hai. They fought back to back and soon the uruks numbered only two. But wearied by the battle one of the two slipped and was clubbed to death. His partner turned to avenge his fellow warrior but could not reach his enemy. He was cut down from behind and their corpses were stripped of flesh by the filthy Uruks. The final chapter of their lives was never recorded.
The dwarven captain reached the ruins and sent his elite bodyguards to claim it, if any of his host could route the hidden Uruk-Hai it was they. With a great cry they leapt up the ruined steps and began to hunt. The uruks leapt out to meet them and one Khazad guard fell but the rest fought on with unrivaled fury. The Uruks were determined and a series of long and deadly duals began. The Uruks from the east had finished their opposition and began to rain arrows into the ruins hitting friend and foe alike. The Uruks from the west had almost reached the ruins before they were met by the Captain and his line. The clash was bloody and many uruks and dwarves lay on together on the ground never to rise again. The Uruk's leader, Ugluk hacked the head of an enemy warrior and raised it high in one hand, laughing. The dwarven captain leapt forward in outrage. Axe met sword. Ugluk dropped his trophy, seeking another. The surrounding warriors paused briefly, yelling encouragement for their leaders. Both were well matched. Ugluk had height and reach but his foe had skill and thick armour. Ugluk leapt over a low swing from the lethal axe. Before he hit the ground, he had a brief opening. He sliced accross with his sword and drew a flury of blood from the captain's throat. The captain fell and his remaining warriors were slain or fled.
The Uruks gave a great roar and leapt up into the ruins. The Khazad guard were surrounded and raised their axes in defiance readying themselves for death.
Suddenly, horns sounded in the distance. Reinforcements from both sides had arrived. Ugluk, quickly ordered the Uruks to pick up a small chest that had been almost completely hidden beneath a fallen wall. The Uruks fell back to their lines. Ugluk was the last to leap over the ruined wall. He smiled at the remaining guards, saluting mockingly with his sword and hurling their captains head into their midst. With that he gave an evil laugh and leapt away.
The khazad guard fell to the floor exausted and weeping for their fallen hero.

Basically the game ended with three khazad guard left in the ruins surrounded by Uruk-Hai giving me a minor victory.

29-01-2007, 10:36
I really like what you are suggesting. I was also thinking of using a more unconventional army a week or so ago. I play Moria and my main battle line is usually one main force, or two large forces. For example in a 500 point game I have 42 models, 2 cave trolls, a goblin captain, the goblin kind, 2 giant spiders and a bat swarm.

When I use the army as one main force I have the trolls sitting on the flanks, the kind and captain stand behind the main force each about 1/4 of the battle line from the flanks, allowing me to use heroic actions that cover my entire army. The spiders work together, on either flank or near a far objective, together with the bat swarm. The main battle line consists of a 15 model goblin shield wall supported by 15 spears and 10 goblins with spears forming a volley line behind them.

Things with this force that are annoying:
1) Its a big long line of goblins and is really bothered by terrain
2) It is slow and depends on pure brute force
3) The goblin bows are usually forced to volley fire as there is no room for them to see through all the other models on my army or because of terrain.
Things that are good about this force:
1) High breaking model count (21)
2) Outnumbers most enemies
3) Can be broken down into two smaller groups

When I use the army in two groups it is basically split equally down the middle with one group being led by the kind and one by the captain. Each group also has a troll. the spiders always stick together while the bat swarm flies around and attacks behind enemy lines. The goblin archers will stay together for the first few turns in volley formation and then split up and move to where I expect to have the highest casualties.

I would like to try the skirmish force you speak of with the goblins. I imagine something like 4 smaller groups of goblins. When I make a 500 army I will post it here, and after I use it I will let you know the results.

29-01-2007, 10:48
Skirmish Force 1
10 Goblins 5 shields, 5 spears
1 Cave Troll

Skirmish Force 2
10 Goblins with shields
1 Cave Troll

Skirmish Force 3
10 Goblins with spears
1 Goblin King

Skirmish Force 4
10 Goblins with bows
1 Captain with bow

Skirmish Force 5
1 Giant Spider
1 Giant Spider
1 Bat Swarm

NOTE: I would prefer all goblins that are currently armed with spears carried shields, but I do not have all the models....yet..

29-01-2007, 13:30
Sounds good, especially as you can use this army conventionally or unconventionally depending on your opponent. Goblins I think will also make good skirmishers purely because they have numbers and can move over obstacles very easily.
While skirmishing I'm always trying to engage battleline formations on as many sides as possible, the front, the flanks and the rear. However, with the limited numbers of Uruk-Hai it is difficult to be everywhere at once, mind you, the strength more than makes up for it. Goblins should be able to completely encircle the small elite armies, cavalry not included. One thing to watch out for is breaking. When you break you need to go straight back into one formation so that atleast once captain can stand fast your men. Goblins will particularly suffer from this due to their low courage, not that courage three is great either.

I reckon I need to play a cavalry army at some point. Historically they were great for attacking skirmishers and I reckon that due to the increased movement, they will be great in game terms aswell. Having your own counter cavalry or being able to go back into a shieldwall formation will probably be needed to face mounted armies.

30-01-2007, 09:20
Long_Fang, do you use Legions? Because than you can't combine the Goblin King with Giant Spiders I'm afraid.

I tend to keep my Goblin army in one big piece. Spreading it out seems a bit risky, because MT Warriors can outmanouver Goblins and easily outfight them.

Still, the key to winning with Goblins is to break the enemy line and surround him, bringing your full numbers to bear, so in that aspect spreading it out more is benificial.

Gondorian, very nice thread. I would suggest not shooting to much with your Uruks, they have a decent shooting value, but short ranged and are essentially designed for combat. Best use their bows exclusively against jucy targets like cavalry.

Goblins are best off volleying: otherwise they have way to short range and lousy shooting value. And it also allows you to stay out of enemy direct fire range, meaning you can even outshoot non-S3 bow armies.

I do plan on trying your Skirmish tactics with my Rohirrim for my next game, although it's 40K at the moment.

30-01-2007, 12:49
I do have Legions, but those rules are not very concrete. In the FAQ it says as long as your oponent agrees it is alright to use an army design not listed. For example, the dwellers below and moria are very similar lists, except that Moria has no Bat Swarms. Now it doesn't make sense to me how Dwellers below and Moria cannot ally, but for example Moria can ally with Isengard Radiers, for example. So Moria can have Warg Raiders, but not Bat Swarms....

Has anyone gone to a tourny recently that uses Legions? Are the rules in Legions officially enforced? Just curious.

30-01-2007, 13:14
At most official tournaments, LoME is enoforced. While there are annoying examples of instances where two armies that seem perfectly within theme but are not allowed to ally, LoME does also prevent ghastly combinations with little or no theme so there are benefits as well as drawbacks.
There is more than one list with giant spiders in it I'm sure, find one that can ally with you and take a hero and the spiders. The hero needn't be more than an orc captain. If of course you feel so inclined.

Mars, you are dead right on the shooting score, in my first game trying to shoot instead of making a decisive charge cost me victory. I have had some good moments though, namely when I gang all of my bowmen up on a handful of the enemy bows. Also bear in mind that thus far I've played against dwarves who are harder to kill from range. My opinion of them for now is to shoot a little just as the armies close and then charge them up the board. The low strength bows and the light armour really does make it difficult to win archery contests.

Glad to hear that you like the thread, good luck with the Rohirrem. I'm also devoting a little time to 40K just now.

30-01-2007, 13:47
around here we always use LoMe
I don't think Moria can ally with anything that has spiders
that said, Spiders are no big deal
no worse than allying with Barrad-Dur just to field Sauron and a Catapult, which is perfectly legal :rolleyes:

on the shooting, in my experience it's only useful in volley, to force the enemy to come to you, or to take out stuff like cavalry. otherwise you're better off with the models in combat. Good usually doesn't have this problem, since their bowmen are standing close to their lines anyway (which can be a disatvantage though, since they usually are weaker in combat. Dwarves excluded :D)