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DarthBinky
12-03-2007, 17:50
So I've been playing Fantasy a lot lately, and there's been a sudden surge in the popularity of gunline armies. Yesterday I got stomped by a gunline Dwarf army, which isn't the first time that's happened this month (it's actually the third time). It's getting frustrating, and I was trying to think of ways to counter these annoying lists.

I have been mostly using Strigoi-led skeleton hordes against them. I recently came up with the notion of using fell bats joined with a flying Strigoi to fly-charge across and attack the cannons sitting on the hills.

Now, we usually play 2000-2500 pt games, and I use my Lord slot on a Vampire Count, and then two heroes are Necromancers (one with Book of Arkhan/Dispel, and the other with Staff of Damnation). I normally use the last hero slot to take a Wraith (yay Terror!) or a Wight Lord (yay killing blow!). But neither of those have really done much for me (everyone passes the terror test, and I never seem to roll 6's to-wound), so I was thinking of using the last hero slot to take a Strigoi thrall with flight.

I'd rather not have my Count running with the bats, because he's the general and if he were off galavanting around the table merrily slaughtering cannon crews and gun squads, the rest of my army would lose the ability to march. Plus he's one of my wizards, and I need him around for ION and such.

One side issue I was wondering is what is the unit strength of a Fell Bat? Are they classed like Great Eagles, to which they are similar, or are they just US1/2? I don't actually own any fell bat models, so I'm going to proxy using my three Elf Great Eagles, and borrowing whatever other ones I can dig up. I'm shooting for an initial squad of 5 bats plus the Thrall, but if I can get more models, I'll shoot for more bats.

Any thoughts on this idea? Any other suggestions for burning those damn gunlines?

zoddri
12-03-2007, 18:03
Flyers for the war machines and then some skirmishing ghouls up front acting as a missle screen should buy you some extra time.
Keep raising more skeletons with your Necromancers and, altough it's hard, try to keep your expencive units out of sight for anything that might be shot at you.

And remember, keep the units big so you outnumber the opponent i HtH.

DarthBinky
12-03-2007, 18:06
Yeah I've been doing that with the ghouls (I field two 12 man units of them). The problem is that they always make sure they have a hill, so they set up on that and pull the old refused flank. so when I do manage to get close, I'm chewed up and can't do much back.

The other problem is the Dwarven runic standards... the guy I played yesterday made sure that all of his non-gun units were unbreakable (slayers) or had that rune that makes them immune to fear/terror (and it was totally legal- he had a different combo of runes on each banner). So he completely negated my army's greatest strength.

FatOlaf
12-03-2007, 18:56
One side issue I was wondering is what is the unit strength of a Fell Bat?

Any thoughts on this idea? Any other suggestions for burning those damn gunlines?


Fell bats are US 1 like most flyers

Funnily enough I'm facing an empire gunline tomorrow with my VC and have had lots of experience against dwarf and other lines with my VC in the past.
Our biggest advantage is we dont panic, so use that... concentrate on winning the magic phase to keep our numbers up, dont use units that cant be healed or raised, BK and GG are too much of a target.
Use MSU of bats and fling em over towards the biggest threats, if they get shot then at least they are not shooting at your units.
I dont use Strigoi so dont have any experience with that, I use mainly Carstein. Use wolves and lots of em, in units of five, small units of ghouls, and banshees! lots of fast moving small units all heading for his guns, this will paniv him into going for them (as well he should) leaving your BIG blocks of zombies, Skeles time to march and danse across the table, when they hit his his line, he's dead!

Von Wibble
12-03-2007, 19:04
Against empire gunlines ethereal screens are good. Unfortunately engineering runes prevent this against dwarfs.

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the greatest weapon - Invocation of Nehek. Being able to raise a screen right in front of the offending war machines is a great counter. Only against models on hills does this fail, but thats generally 1 unit of missile troops and 1 war machine.

DarthBinky
12-03-2007, 19:12
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the greatest weapon - Invocation of Nehek. Being able to raise a screen right in front of the offending war machines is a great counter. Only against models on hills does this fail, but thats generally 1 unit of missile troops and 1 war machine.
We have some large hills at the store where I play, so this guy yesterday was able to get two gun units and two cannons on the hill. It generally works out that way.

I tried using ION to summon some units, but only managed to get off one (thanks to Irresistable Force), and he obliterated that unit before it could do anything. Another problem i ran into yesterday was miscasts- I had three; but that's just my dice hating me. Luckily one miscast was the one that lets him cast one of his spells for free...

I thought about trying the Spectral Host screen, but, as mentioned, runed-cannons make that a non-issue. My banshee sat in the woods and tried to boo people to death, but Ld10 dwarfs (he had a Lord) are hard to death-boo. My other rare slot was a Black Coach, which did ok- it helped wipe out a block of slayers, and finished the battle with 9 wounds left.

Von Wibble
12-03-2007, 19:19
The unit obliterated before it could do anything - it did do something. It stopped the firepower being poured into it from going elsewhere.

Miscasts are very unlucky on ION. Using 2 dice on the lowest power for zombies makes things hard forteh dwarfs to stop. With a lord he can't have that many dispel dice - 10 power dice plus 2 bound spells should get plenty through.

Black Coach is a huge risk - S7 is easily achieved in the dwarf army (rune of penetrating bolt thrower being a favourite).

I'm not sure how your terrain is set up. If you alternate deployment try putting a second hill directly in front of his but slightly outside his deployment zone. No LOS for him now....

As an empire, tk, and wood elf player I dislike gunlines. I therefore have no problems about playing under such circumstances.

Finally - and this should be an easy one for an army that has been dead for some time - patience is key. Dwarf shooting alone will not win a battle if you don't let it. Pick away at the army and something will fall.

explorator
12-03-2007, 19:26
24 Ghouls = 4 units of six each
You need at least 20 wolves = 4 units of five each
To dominate the magic phase try a lvl. 4 Master Necro and three level 2 Necros.
Raise up w/ IoN near his warmachines/gunlines and make him choose from many cheap units while your main units of skellies and Grave Guard close in.

dominic_carrillo
12-03-2007, 23:56
get close enough to summon stuff behind him. screen screen screen. consider dogs of war shooting (cannons, crossbowmen, etc)

dominic_carrillo
12-03-2007, 23:58
a necrarch can have the power that extends the range of his invocations, and his gaze of nagash. Man, im good!

DarthBinky
13-03-2007, 05:53
The unit obliterated before it could do anything - it did do something. It stopped the firepower being poured into it from going elsewhere.

Well, yeah, but it was one of my good units. Pick off the good ones so only crap skellie units (wihtout characters) are left. He brought my general's unit down to 6 guys and easily beat him in HTH when I got there (I had no choice in the matter, it was either charge with the understrength unit or face another round of shooting or a fresh unit of Longbeards led by the Lord).

Miscasts are very unlucky on ION. Using 2 dice on the lowest power for zombies makes things hard forteh dwarfs to stop. With a lord he can't have that many dispel dice - 10 power dice plus 2 bound spells should get plenty through.
I didn't have ten dice- I had 8 (2 from Vamp, 2 each from the Necros, and 2 for the army). Between miscasts, outright failures to cast (ie roll three dice to cast level two ION and roll a 6...) and my opponent's 5-6 dispel dice plus MR on a unit or two, I just couldn't get my spells off.

I'm not sure how your terrain is set up. If you alternate deployment try putting a second hill directly in front of his but slightly outside his deployment zone. No LOS for him now....
We do the standard alternating formula. I usually stick woods in front of their hills, but that only cuts it down so much, and it sometimes bites me in the ass (like this last match, where I found my charge lanes cut). I'll have to give the hill idea a shot...

You need at least 20 wolves = 4 units of five each
No thanks. I don't own the models and don't intend to get them just to try this plan out. Besides, I don't like such small units that get noshed easily, and won't stop the gunline from doing its thing (due to the hill).

To dominate the magic phase try a lvl. 4 Master Necro and three level 2 Necros.
I have tried, and failed. I've also tried mixing in Necrarchs and failed there too- my worst games are ones where I try to rely so heavily on magic. My opponents tend to bring along a lot of wizards, or are dwarfs with a runedude or two. Between my crappy casting rolling (see above) and their massive dispel pool, I tend to not get many spells off unless I get lucky and get IF.

As for summoning behidn the gunlines, you have to realize, they deploy bunched up on a hill in the corner- it's physically impossible to summon behind them- it's almost impossible to even flank them! That's also ignoring what I have to go through to get close enough to summon behidn them anyway (in the off chance that there's actaully room). The units containing my Necros/Vampire are the ones that get hit first/hardest.

There's also one guy who uses a gyrocopter to snipe characters and marchblock... this in addition to the cannons, guns, x-bows and Anvil. He won the last two tournaments I played in.

Frankly
13-03-2007, 06:02
Strigoi are really good against gunlines, mmost likely the best bet besides Von Carstein.

Dire wolves and fell bats, lots and lots of dire wolves, will give you roaming meat shields that have second turn charge abilities.

Summon ghouls is brilliant(and so is summon wolves). When I played strigoi, I used something like this:

Count, flight, summon ghouls, iron sinews
Thrall, summon ghouls, iron sinews
Thrall, summon ghouls, iron sinews
Thrall, summon ghouls, iron sinews

In a tournament I'd sometimes swap a thrall for a S.Caddie, but rarely. You certainly wouldn't have to do this against dwarves.

I will almost never take magic against dwarves OR if I do then I take so much that they can't negate it all, one or the other, theres no use turning up with just a bit and spending 300 odd point "hoping" to get spells off, go for fast second turn chargers and warm bodies giving you more options on the table over magic.

If you run a fast army list you can effectively sit outside the shooting range of you opponent first turn, move in second turn, take the brunt of the shooting in one turn and next turn charge, don't sit in range of anything but his cannons which is unavoidable.

Set up flank first, behind terrain for bats and other flyers, in terrain for ghouls anything that doesn't give him an easy target if he's the type to "counter' set up his units. Other wise set up to target "beatable" units and keep a track of the victory points when you're taking out his W.M.s and ranged attack units and not taking alot of damage, then you have the advantage of time and mobility on your side.

Don't get into 24" of his army and sit there trying to cast spells, or grind it out in combat, dwarf army lists love that, thats playing into his hands(I play dwarfs now ... I love playing against magic heavy lists).

Get into combat on turn two and target easy VPs

devolutionary
13-03-2007, 06:03
There is the other option - distraction. Run a couple of blocks of black knights on the flanks and move in a line. Give him plenty of targets. So many in fact it's too many. Gunlines aren't cheap, undead melee hordes are. He can only attack a single unit with each regiment he has, and if you have double that amount of units and suitable numbers for spell casting, you should be able to a number of units in melee. ONce you're in melee, you have the advantage.

Look at the numbers. A zombie is 6 points. 1200 pts of zombies is 200 models. Spread across minimum units, that's 20 units. The opposition still has to hit (most at BS3 or 4, -1 for the fact that half the time they're at long range, not taking in to account weapon difficulties, so somewhere around the 25%-50% hit rate) and that unit of 20-30 quarellers can only target one 60 pt unit. They are, in effect, wasting their points. That can't afford to ignore them either because quite frankly that many fear causing units will eventually cause a break, even at Ld 8-9. With the various spells available, you can happily raise replacements too, even whole units if needs be.

Granted, it's not perfect, but it's viable on paper.

FatOlaf
13-03-2007, 13:16
I think by the sounds of it you have one hell of a boring opponent, if he bunches all this stuff on a hill, go for the flying circus route. Haver each strig in a big unit of zombies march them fowards and charge the warmachines turn 2, use the book and danse spell to get the units as far fowards turn one.

Shame you dont want to get any Direwolves, one of the best Fast cavalry units in the game and no VC general should go to battle without at least 2 units of 5..

DarthBinky
13-03-2007, 15:15
I think by the sounds of it you have one hell of a boring opponent, if he bunches all this stuff on a hill,
It's actually 3-4 guys who do it. That's why I am looking for a way to take them down a notch. "Flying circus", I like that.

Shame you dont want to get any Direwolves, one of the best Fast cavalry units in the game and no VC general should go to battle without at least 2 units of 5..
Because I know how my opponents play. Like I said, they sit bunched in a corner on a hill and I can't flank or do anything funny like that; their gunline is usually protected by pretty decent units (Empire knights, dwarf heavy inf, etc). If I could take a mortar... ouch. ;)

If I were to throw wolves at them, I might do a wound or two (but good enemy armor makes even that difficult), and then they swing back and just have to kill one or two to wipe out the wolves with resolution (outnumber + rank bonuses + a banner = wolves bamf!). Fear might help, but I can't rely on it all the time, especially now that they've played me a bunch and are preparing for it. It just seems like it'd be giving away free VP's.

DarthBinky
13-03-2007, 15:40
Granted, it's not perfect, but it's viable on paper.
Heh, well, I'm not buying/assembling/painting 200 zombies either. ;)

Seriously though, that's kind of what I've been doing- I field a good deal of cheap skellies led by characters, and have the elite units manuever into flank/rear attacks. The list I used on Sunday was this (champions and such are included in the overall unit numbers- so, for example, it's 12 ghouls including a ghast):

Strigoi Count, wiz 2, Sinews, Massive, Inf. Hate
Necro, wiz 2, Arkhan's book, Dispel scroll
Necro, wiz 2, Damnation staff
Wraith, cursed book (which I completely forgot about until he was dead)
4 x 15 skels, stand. bearer (2 units had musicians also)
13 zombies (meat shield for the Necros)
2 x 12 ghouls, ghast
12 grave guard, shields, champ, standard (Banner of Doom)
5 barded Black Knights, champ, standard (Banner of Barrows)
5 unbarded (wysiwyg) Black Knights, champ, standard (screaming banner)
banshee
black coach

The Black Knights haven't been doing anything in my last ten or so battles, so I'll drop at least one of them to make room for the Circus. The Black Coach has been one of my best units (except the one time it got into a staring contest with Empire knights, so the Empire guy shot it with a cannon to get rid of it), as have the GG and Banshee. I don't bother with champions in my skelly units because 10 pts seems too much for an extra crappy attack and nothing more.

Mister Hat
13-03-2007, 19:47
Binky,

If you are limited by your models then this is a waste of time but...here goes anyway:

Defeating a gunline is all about taking out the guns, no?

So, dire wolves are a must. If you don't want to spend the money on proper Dire Wolves then buy a box of gobbo wolf riders and voila!

Bats are also a must - if you can afford the models of course. If not then wolves all the way.

Split the ghouls into smaller units too. With wolves, bats and 4 units of ghouls you should have enough to get to the guns quickly.

If you don't want to go that route then the only other way to defeat a gunline is to raise zombies next to the guns. You can do this cheaply by using the necro council. A L4 and 3 x L2 will give you 12 dice. This is a nice number because you have 4 attempts to roll for IoN per turn. Always use 3 dice and go for 7+ casting level. With luck, somewhere during your second casting phase your opponent will burn all of his spellbreaking runes and you will start to dominate. Eventually you will take out all of his guns and you can then decide where to hit his infantry. Granted your rank and file won't do much stunty-killing but getting a unit of BKs in the flank won't do him much good either.

I don't know how experienced you are with VCs, so I apologise if this is teaching granny to suck eggs. You need to win by raising lots of zombies, then raising lots more. The combo of raising then Dansing the zombies into combat is an absolute game winner. If your L4 necro gets Danse as well then with the BoA you can really dominate.

I would personally drop the Grave Guard and Black Coach, then use the points to make the skellies armoured, get the extra necros and some Dire Wolves. Don't anticipate winning combats by using a big hammer, but by grinding him down. After all, you can keep replenishing.

FatOlaf
14-03-2007, 13:02
If I were to throw wolves at them, I might do a wound or two (but good enemy armor makes even that difficult), and then they swing back and just have to kill one or two to wipe out the wolves with resolution (outnumber + rank bonuses + a banner = wolves bamf!). .


I'm not talking about throwing them against big ranked up units, they are there to take out anything on the flanks and to bide their time waiting for a gap to use their massive 18" charge range to take out warmachine crew or the flanks of a line of thunderers etc.
They excel at this and have S4 on the charge, they have US2 each so 5 will have a good chance of outnumbering and only 3 are required to hit a flank to negate the rank bonus.They really are the VC generals best friend, and if they do get shot at, so what, 50 points a unit, who cares? And in the mean time he's not shooting your main units, combine wolves with bats and your flying circus and you will give your gunline opponents something to worry about...
And it's not just me telling you this..