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Thread: Are Empire swordsmen still worth taking?

  1. #61
    Commander Algovil's Avatar
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    Re: Are Empire swordsmen still worth taking?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Solar Plexus View Post
    Your conclusions are not entirely true. Swordsmen are likely to lose 1 model less (1.38) per round. When we spend the same amount of points on the unit - and why not, we need to fill core -, Halberdiers will have 6-7 more models to start with. Both will break in round 3 with a very very marginal edge to the Halberdiers. In this situation, Swordsmen are not the better anvil.

    Spearmen lose 2 more models each round compared to Swordsmen. Both are at a disadvantage when flanked but Swordsmen suffer more - it's the AS + parry that makes them survive. Spears without shields - and that is how I would use them to keep them cheap -, and assuming the same amount of points spent on the unit, their increased starting numbers allows them to stay steadfast / keep 3 ranks for four turns.

    If you cannot increase the size of the unit in question, eg. in a detachment, then individual quality can be more important than point cost.



    Yes, but that is the most important question we must answer when we ask what the best anvil unit would be. If you only need to hold for a single round, the question is moot - just use anything with ranks. Also, no counter-charge is ever guaranteed. We all know what happens to plans once we start to deploy, or roll for a scenario. Sometimes a unit must hold out on its own just one more round.

    As an aside, in this particular scenario, you'd also need to have something extremely killy. The flanker would need to kill ~8-10 models, or he could easily run. 3 DGK's all in b2b (15 GS/10 S6 Knights) kill about 4 GG (5 GG/5 GG) + flank + charge and do not even disrupt. With Halberds to the front, you get 6 kills, 3 ranks, standard, flank, charge = 12. That's barely enough to break even with the GG's kills, let alone whatever SCR they've got. Then there's the possibility that the ones fighting to the side cause a wound on your flankers or that your opponent removes models from the flank about to get charged to reduce attacks...
    Were my calculations or conclusions incorrect?

    According to my calculations, 11.67 halberdiers are killed each phase, compared to ~9.72 swordsmen, the difference is ~1.95, swordsmen therefore lose almost 2 models less, right? Taking account cost/model, Halberdiers lose more "points" each combatphase. So even though you can buy more Halberdiers, those will die at a rate that cancels that advantage. The pro with Swordsmen is that the give away less negative CR in this situation.

    Negative CR from the steadfast unit is something that is very important if you are flanking with killy troops, which is why swordsmen are better than Halberdiers in a bus IMO.
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  2. #62
    Banned Lord Solar Plexus's Avatar
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    Re: Are Empire swordsmen still worth taking?

    Quote Originally Posted by Algovil View Post
    Were my calculations or conclusions incorrect?
    Ah, you're right, I was looking at the net difference.

    TBO: Oh, as is often the case, the theory is a bit misleading! We all know that our unit of State Troops in 3k is usually hitting on 2's with re-rolls, S5 with re-rolls, 5+ wards, heavy MR, WS10/I10, with DGK's and its flaming detachments in both flanks and ICK in the rear of all enemy units. Because the cannon and HBVG have killed everything else turn 1. They're 6 point Chaos Warriors, man!

    Nah, seriously, I still think Swordsmen are not worth it. They can be just as good at holding something up for a turn than the others but Halberdiers are a lot more flexible. It happens that I get outdeployed by single Spirit Host or Rat Dart drops. The Halberdiers can reform to horde or bus depending on what they're facing. The Swordsmen can reform, too, but will often perform worse in a horde.
    Last edited by Lord Solar Plexus; 07-05-2012 at 10:02.

  3. #63
    Chapter Master The bearded one's Avatar
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    Re: Are Empire swordsmen still worth taking?

    Quote Originally Posted by Algovil View Post
    Were my calculations or conclusions incorrect?

    According to my calculations, 11.67 halberdiers are killed each phase, compared to ~9.72 swordsmen, the difference is ~1.95, swordsmen therefore lose almost 2 models less, right? Taking account cost/model, Halberdiers lose more "points" each combatphase. So even though you can buy more Halberdiers, those will die at a rate that cancels that advantage. The pro with Swordsmen is that the give away less negative CR in this situation.

    Negative CR from the steadfast unit is something that is very important if you are flanking with killy troops, which is why swordsmen are better than Halberdiers in a bus IMO.
    Not necessarily. for example, let's say one unit, the swordboyz, are losing 10 guys each round, while the halberboyz are losing 12 each round, the swordboyz are indeed losing 2 models less each round, however if the swordboyz were generating 1 kill each round, while the halberboyz are doing 4 or more, the halberboyz are generating less negative combatresolution, as they only lose by 8, while the swordboyz lose by 9.
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  4. #64
    Commander Algovil's Avatar
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    Re: Are Empire swordsmen still worth taking?

    Quote Originally Posted by The bearded one View Post
    Not necessarily. for example, let's say one unit, the swordboyz, are losing 10 guys each round, while the halberboyz are losing 12 each round, the swordboyz are indeed losing 2 models less each round, however if the swordboyz were generating 1 kill each round, while the halberboyz are doing 4 or more, the halberboyz are generating less negative combatresolution, as they only lose by 8, while the swordboyz lose by 9.
    Sure, but that is not the case in the example above, here the CR is in favor of swordsmen, can not tell how the situation will be vs other units, formations.
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  5. #65

    Re: Are Empire swordsmen still worth taking?

    No core state troops in bus formation generate a lot of kills. As Algovil detailed, the difference is at most 1 wound. Against, say, savage orc biguns, halberdiers will manage about 2.1 wounds vs 1.4 wounds for the swordsmen, but the SOB in horde formation will inflict 16,7 wounds on the halberdiers and 10,4 wounds on the swordsmen. After choppa has worn off, the halberdiers will still take 13.3 wounds per CC phase, while the swordsmen will "only" suffer about 6.9.

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    Re: Are Empire swordsmen still worth taking?

    Quote Originally Posted by The bearded one View Post
    7.4 rounds against savage orcs? Howmany swordsmen are there exactly against howmany savage orcs?
    Pertinent questions.
    There are many parameters to be fixed when comparing 2 units in combat which I'm sure you are aware of.
    I used the same number of points for both units for the figures stated which I quoted verbatim from ... below.

    The figures of 7.4 and 5.1 (2 less) will be exact for 1 test unit and it does incorporate Steadfast - the Steadfast test is assumed to be passed.
    The figures will vary with the test unit chosen but rather than bore you with details let me generalize briefly
    - Swordsmen will be better than Halberdiers, per point, as a holding unit against most enemy units (or rather the 108 units I tested).

    Since you're a Dwarf player - I'll throw this in - As an exception, Halberdiers are better at holding against Hammerers than Swordsmen.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8Pxb...ature=youtu.be
    Last edited by DeathlessDraich; 07-05-2012 at 12:03.
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  7. #67
    Banned Lord Solar Plexus's Avatar
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    Re: Are Empire swordsmen still worth taking?

    47 Halberds vs 50 Clanrats, both in horde:
    R1:........6.25 : 6.9 Halberds might eek out a win right away, which here is probable if they charge. If they do, they'll break SF (both have 4 ranks left).
    R2-R3:...just about the same, Halberdiers might just barely break opponent.
    R4:........6 : 5.2 Clanrats hitting first becomes important now that both fall below 30 attacks. CR might just break opponent...and it's getting worse for the Halberdiers from now on.

    40 Swords vs 50 CR, both in horde
    R1-R2:...4.2 : 5.5 Swords can win by 1-2 but unable to break SF.
    R3:........4.2 : 5.2 uh-oh, numbers are dwindling.
    R4:........4.2 : 4.4
    R5:........4.2 : 3.7 crap.

    Sure, it's from a 7th ed. book but that matters little in this context. Swordsmen cannot even win against a unit of their "class" that costs 2/3 their points (unless they break them in R1-2. YMTC if that is likely or not!) and could run if they lose. Halberdiers can win - and for all that it's worth, I think that is better than a sheer defensive mindset or reliance on a second unit coming to help out.

    Of course we could and perhaps should field the Swordsmen in bus. However: While they will be SF for a long time, we're increasing enemy attacks, relatively speaking, and guaranteeing a loss. That begs the question why we should take them in the first place - after all, those Halberdiers can be formed into a bus, and those Halberdiers can be supported by DGK's or anything to the flank just as easily.

  8. #68
    Chapter Master The bearded one's Avatar
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    Re: Are Empire swordsmen still worth taking?

    Quote Originally Posted by DeathlessDraich View Post
    Pertinent questions.
    There are many parameters to be fixed when comparing 2 units in combat which I'm sure you are aware of.
    I used the same number of points for both units for the figures stated which I quoted verbatim from ... below.

    The figures of 7.4 and 5.1 (2 less) will be exact for 1 test unit and it does incorporate Steadfast - the Steadfast test is assumed to be passed.
    The figures will vary with the test unit chosen but rather than bore you with details let me generalize briefly
    - Swordsmen will be better than Halberdiers, per point, as a holding unit against most enemy units (or rather the 108 units I tested).

    Since you're a Dwarf player - I'll throw this in - As an exception, Halberdiers are better at holding against Hammerers than Swordsmen.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8Pxb...ature=youtu.be
    you still didn't answer the question Howmany (points worth) of swordsmen vs howmany (points worth) of savage orcs? I can't imagine 3 swordsmen lasting 7.4 rounds against 2 savage orcs, obviously
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Dan View Post
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  9. #69
    Commander Algovil's Avatar
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    Re: Are Empire swordsmen still worth taking?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Solar Plexus View Post
    47 Halberds vs 50 Clanrats, both in horde:
    R1:........6.25 : 6.9 Halberds might eek out a win right away, which here is probable if they charge. If they do, they'll break SF (both have 4 ranks left).
    R2-R3:...just about the same, Halberdiers might just barely break opponent.
    R4:........6 : 5.2 Clanrats hitting first becomes important now that both fall below 30 attacks. CR might just break opponent...and it's getting worse for the Halberdiers from now on.

    40 Swords vs 50 CR, both in horde
    R1-R2:...4.2 : 5.5 Swords can win by 1-2 but unable to break SF.
    R3:........4.2 : 5.2 uh-oh, numbers are dwindling.
    R4:........4.2 : 4.4
    R5:........4.2 : 3.7 crap.

    Sure, it's from a 7th ed. book but that matters little in this context. Swordsmen cannot even win against a unit of their "class" that costs 2/3 their points (unless they break them in R1-2. YMTC if that is likely or not!) and could run if they lose. Halberdiers can win - and for all that it's worth, I think that is better than a sheer defensive mindset or reliance on a second unit coming to help out.

    Of course we could and perhaps should field the Swordsmen in bus. However: While they will be SF for a long time, we're increasing enemy attacks, relatively speaking, and guaranteeing a loss. That begs the question why we should take them in the first place - after all, those Halberdiers can be formed into a bus, and those Halberdiers can be supported by DGK's or anything to the flank just as easily.
    This is interesting, and I agree that Halberdiers are much better in a horde, and it seems better at winning combats. We have also shown that Swordsmen are better at not losing vs elite troops, having better CR, and therefore fitting better for an anvil used with a killy unit as hammer. Calculations on 50 Halberdiers in a horde vs say 30 Grave Guards in a horde would be interesting to show if the killing power of S4 could counteract the vulnerability of no real defence.
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  10. #70
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    Re: Are Empire swordsmen still worth taking?

    @ LSP
    Hi, Didn't check the accuracy of those calculations but, keeping other factors constant, a quick check from my tables yields:


    Swordsmen vs Clanrats - Swords win by +0.54
    Halbs vs Clanrats - Halbs lose by 0.2

    I reserve the right of possibly misreading some values but in any case the margins are too small to be relied on in a game.

    Clanrats per point are of course better than both units.

    Personally I don't use Swordsmen or halbs anyway since there are better alternatives for Empire

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    Last edited by DeathlessDraich; 07-05-2012 at 13:10.
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  11. #71
    Banned Lord Solar Plexus's Avatar
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    Re: Are Empire swordsmen still worth taking?

    Swords win by 1.4

    CR: 30A * 1/2 * 1/2 * 2/3 * 5/6 = 4.167
    SW: 30A * 2/3 * 1/2 * 2/3 * 5/6 = 5.556

    but cannot break SF in this example and dwindle too fast to close the gap,

    Halbs win by 0.69

    CR: 30A * 1/2 * 1/2 * 5/6 = 6.25
    HA: 30A * 1/2 * 2/3 * 5/6 * 5/6 = 6.94

    - on paper. 6.25 could easily be 6, 6.94 could easily be 7, so they probably win by 1. They also win by 1 if they charge and both kill the same.

    On the other hand, Swordsmen look a lot better compared to Halbs against Stormvermin (WS4, S4, higher I, HA): They will only lose by 1.8 or so while Halberdiers would lose by 4.8! A couple of models more can hardly compensate for that. Swordsmen with a Warrior Priest would actually win this one (albeit by below 1) while Halberdiers w/ WP would lose by 1. Hmm....

  12. #72

    Re: Are Empire swordsmen still worth taking?

    I'd say swordsmen are best used as detachments for greatswords myself. Stubborn means a lot on a unit that is designed to be defensive and even a unit of 12 or so can tarpit an enemy unit for 2-3 rounds, as long as that unit isn't insanely hard hitting.
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  13. #73
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    Re: Are Empire swordsmen still worth taking?

    Quote Originally Posted by Von Wibble View Post
    I'd say swordsmen are best used as detachments for greatswords myself. Stubborn means a lot on a unit that is designed to be defensive and even a unit of 12 or so can tarpit an enemy unit for 2-3 rounds, as long as that unit isn't insanely hard hitting.
    This I second. I have very good experience with that combination. Expensive - true, but holds a center like a rock!!!

    From this discussion : I have to check spearmen in a bus, shileds off, 50 bodies.
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  14. #74

    Re: Are Empire swordsmen still worth taking?

    to be honest i play swordsmen because i brought the manann's blades set and love them as models. ultimately i pay an extra 33 points over halbs and their buss is pretty solid at 5x7 with a BSB. they usually only need to last 2 rounds before the demigryphs hit the flank and win so they work well. are halbs a better core choice over all? yes but not buy much. i apply the same hurricanum and preist buffs as Halbs get and they can go killy as a horde. if you want to field them in anything other than a seriously competitive tourney then go for them as you don't lose out much and they can really be some fun.
    I would just like to pointout that other than Elven elites and WoC there arent many things that are WS 5 so, in my meta at least, the WS 4 comes in handy (hit on 4s most of the time and, against the right opponent, hit back omn 3+, 2+ if in hurricanum range). 30 attacks hitting on 2+ with re-roll to wound and hit (what priest usually puts on halbs) and reroll to hit on the first round is quite decent, and before people start yelling it would be better on Halbs i know, but this doesnt detract from how they can be effective if not optimal

  15. #75
    Chapter Master Jericho's Avatar
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    Re: Are Empire swordsmen still worth taking?

    Meh, you can spin these arguments a lot of different ways. In the end, it all depends on what you want the unit to do in your army.

    If you are using lots of cav, Demigryphs, Greatswords, etc. for your heavy hitters, then you can often get away with Swordsmen for survivability. If you are relying on the state troops themselves to do your heavy lifting, then obviously you want them to hit hard (with the full spectrum of augments, re-rolls, etc.). My personal playstyle would be to use halberdiers as the Parental/Regimental unit and Swordsmen as the Detachment. But that's just me.

    I really struggle to rationalize taking Free Company or Spearmen in any lists, mostly because I don't like the model options as much but also because I play Dogs of War and S3 pikes -- which are much better than spears -- still suck balls. If that's the way you want to go, then at least they are cheaper than the "good" options of Swordsmen/Halberdiers

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