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Thread: How to build an effective kings of War army

  1. #1
    Chapter Master jtrowell's Avatar
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    How to build an effective kings of War army

    I don't pretend to be a Kings of War elite, in fact I am not even a tournament player, but I have been playing KoW and frequenting various forums about the game for some time now and there are a few ideas that I found myself repeating again and again.

    This is not supposed to be the ultimate final guide(tm) about making a tournament list, but simply a thead about general ideas to get you started.

    If you have other ideas on how to build a KoW army, even if they are only useable by some specific armies or oriented towards a specific strategy, please feel free to post in this thread to inspire others.

    Some of you might have laready read some ideas like "always take one inspiring source for each 500 points of army", "take one surge for each 400 points of shambling units" or "a 2000 points armies should have at least X units to deploy", and while they are not bad as starting guidelines, there is an approach that regroup those ideas as well as other in a much more effective manner, ladies and gentlemen I am writing about the "Detachment design".

    The global idea is simply to think about your army as being composed of several detachment, or groups of units.
    Druing the deployement, units of the same detachment will be deployed close to each other, and most detachments will usually have their own inspiring source, as well as a general role to fill in your global strategy.

    Of course, there will be some exceptions, for exemple you might have a specific flying unit that you plan to always use alone far from your lines to hunt war engines, heroes or other targets of opportunité, in this case of course the unit would not be part of a specific detachment (or it could be said to be its own small detachment)

    By having assembled your army around this concept, you should find easier to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your army, but you will also have a general plan for how to deploy and use your army while at the same still having some flexibility to adapt to the current scenario, terrain and opponent.

    For exemple you might have an army composed of 4 detachment that looks like this :

    Detachment A
    - light cavalry troop
    - heavy cavalry regiment
    - mounted inspiring hero

    Detachment B
    - inspiring hero on big flying monster
    - heavy cavalry regiment

    Detachment C
    - infantry horde with good defense
    - large infantry horde
    - slow monster
    - various supporting heroes
    (wizard with inspiring talisman, army standard, etc ...)

    Detachment D
    - misc war engines, small shooting units and chaff

    In this case, most of the time you will use C to hold the center, put A and B on the side as flanking forces, and dispatch D units as needed to give them appropriate lines of fire (D is here an exception to the "deploy unit of the same detachment close to each other", it's more a wildcard)
    But against some opponents, you might decide that you want for example to do a refused flank, in which case you would deploy both A and B on the same flank, and put probably most of your chaff on the other side to dely your opponent there.
    In other situations, maybe while facing a lots of heavy fliers, you might want to keep B as a reserve hidden behind other units ready to pounce on any flying unit that would try to search a flank or rear charge.

    Byt using this general method, you will be able to construct a more organic army, with the appropriate number of inspiring source and you will also be able to plan for surge casters or similar supporting units according to each detachment needs, and so on.
    (for example one defensive detachment with mainly big infantry horde with no CS but lots of attacks would be the optimal place to put a wizard with bane chant)

    This will also force you to think more about the role of each unit in relation to the rest of the army, but also prevent situations where you take more than you can use.
    For example you might have taken several cavalry regiment thinking of using them as hammers combined with some infantry hordes, but with only a global view you might find yourself with some of the cavalry units deployed far from the infantry they are supposed to support, or that you have too much of them that you simply don't have the space needed to use them all in this role.

  2. #2
    Chapter Master ColShaw's Avatar
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    Re: How to build an effective kings of War army

    I like the "detachment" philosophy of army building, and in fact tended to use it when building 40K Imperial Guard armies. However, when building a Kings of War army, I tend to do something a little different.

    I tend to build my entire army as an organic whole. I try not to hyper-specialize in any one thing, but build with "main" units and "support" units, with the "main" units being built around the army's main theme, and the "support" units taken to negate weaknesses, protect flanks, etc.

    I have an example of this.

    My Goblin Swarm
    This was built off my WHF Night Goblin army, so naturally has a lot of the little fellows. The center of the army, therefore, is 2 Legions of Sharpsticks. Then, because I like the idea of cave-dwellers working together, I have Trolls. The Sharpsticks have a lot of staying power (for Goblins...) with a really high Nerve, while the Trolls are punchy. Therefore, the core of the army is 2 Hordes of Trolls and the Sharpsticks.

    To command them, I had a spiffy Troll model from Reaper, so that becomes a Troll Bruiser, while a single Flaggit can provide Inspiring to both Legions without any trouble (while being dirt-cheap).

    Bitter experience against Dwarf infantry taught me to have some extra Crushing Strength, and with two Legions and two Hordes already in my frontage, the units can't be too wide, so as additional support, I include a pair of Giants. That'll teach 'em to come into my tunnels.

    That sorts out the main battle line, with 6 fighting units that can serve a variety of purposes. The Giants and Trolls are also fast enough to threaten non-cavalry with pre-emptive charges. Now, I do need to worry about my flanks, and I've got a bunch of old Spider Riders, so I use them to make 2 Fleabag Regiments. Really fast and maneuverable. Unreliable, but they can hold off enemy flank units all right and can even keep flyers at arm's length (since they can also charge 20").

    For shooting support, a battery of Sharpstick Throwers. 4 of them, to be precise. Lots of high-Piercing shots to throw downrange. By now I'm getting pretty near my points limit, so I finish off with a Regiment of Spitters for good measure.

    One of my main principles of army construction is not to have any truly essential units. In the above army, with the exceptions of the Spitters and Heroes, there's 2 or more of every unit. That's deliberate. One Giant is a fire-magnet and tends to die without doing much; two Giants is a credible threat to just about anything. I lose a Legion due to getting overrun by a Drakon Horde from the flank? Oh well, I've got another.

    I think it's critically important in KOW not to overspecialize, as the different scenarios can really screw you over if your army is ill-suited to the task. I recently played a Dominate game against a primarily shooting-based army. At game's end, I'd lost most of my army; in fact, my Undead had been reduced to just 3 characters (a Vampire Lord, a Liche King, and a very nervous Necromancer) and a Troop of Mummies--but thanks to ruthless focus on the objective, every one of them was within 12" of the center. My opponent hadn't been able to close with more than one of his shooting Hordes, and I'd destroyed them, while his one remaining mobile unit, a Dragon rider, was not enough points to save the game at the center.
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  3. #3
    Scout Mark G's Avatar
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    Re: How to build an effective kings of War army

    Interesting reads.

    On the old Empire forum, there was a member - the Village Idiot - who built his army in three detachments of supporting units and had a lot of success with it.

    The inspiring rule and the chaff/piece trade tactics in KoW seem to favour the detachment structure.

    When do you make exceptions? For irregulars?

  4. #4
    Chapter Master jtrowell's Avatar
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    Re: How to build an effective kings of War army

    Bein irregular or not is only a restriction on slots, it doesn't affect if the unit goes into a detachment or not.

    Usually most of my units goes into one group, the exeptions are usually when I have some fast or vanguard unit that is expected to go alone without support, or some wildcard models that are can be used in different roles, usually not always with the same detachment depending on the scenario or opponent.

    For exemple in an army with lots of infantry or slow units where I have two big detachments usually deployed close together near the center to anchor my left and right flanks as well as the middle, I could chose to leave some monster like a giant as a wildcard that I could deploy to support eitheir of the main detachment depending on the opposition, or maybe sometimes use it closer to a flank if facind strong opposition there.

    But I only do this after I made sure that the base detachments have at least enough units to be effective by themselves, the wildcard is just an additionnal reinforcement for when I need it.

    For ranged attacks, it depends, usually short ranged attack already have a detachment that they are supposed to cover or escord, but medium (rifles, bows, crossbows) and long (most war engines, ogre shooters ...) will often need clear line of sight that are strongly terrain dependant, so it's harder to plan for them as a coherent group.

    Sometimes I plan for something like an elven bows regiment to be part of an infantry detachment deployed with it, but when dealing with cheap archer units, the kind that is used as chaff or to hold objectives, they can be used as wildcard.

    Same with chaff, if you already have a specific unit you plan to cover, then they go in the corresponding detachment, else they are left as wildcards, deployed as needed to react to your opponent own deploiement.

    The general idea that Colshaw mentionned above is in fact not a bad one, and part of it is still applicable with the detachment method, but its main weakness is that it tends to be weak to new situations, if the scenario or terrain put you in a position where your default deploiement is not optimal and you want to chance it, you might have the needed tools in your army, but you might not be able to deploy them where they will be the most effective, or at least not without taking a very long time for your deploiement (I usued to do it like that and my main opponent too, but some frendly games ended with our combined deploiement taking almost as much time as the whole game).

    In a tournament setting you won't have the time to think on new ways to use your units, that's when the detachment view give you the flexibility by simplifying the choices from "where do i deploy each one of my units" do "where do I deploy each one of my 4 detachments (plus maybe some wildcards)".

    Of course, in theory a very experienced player will be able to know what works well with his army and to improvise decent deploiement in new situations, but even then you will usually find that the player usually group some specific units together most of the time because they complement themselve well, and then you're back into thinking in terms of groups of units.

    One last remark : if you have less than 3 detachments in your army it's probably not enough, regardless of the points of the game, because with 2 or less groups you won't have any real flexibility to exploit the detachment system and will be back to Colshaw solution.

  5. #5
    Chapter Master ColShaw's Avatar
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    Re: How to build an effective kings of War army

    Jtrowell makes a good point about lack of inherent flexibility in my normal battle-line army selection and deployment. This has actually been part of an ongoing debate in my local gaming group. Some of the players are fixated on list-building, and are always trying new things. Others (of which I am one) are more likely to keep the general list as it stands, with only minor tweaks, and work on developing the tactics of the particular list. This bleeds through into deployment as well.

    Something I have a tendency to do, and it's not entirely wise, is to not worry as much about opposing deployment as many players do. I prefer to have a solid line, knowing what I can expect of each element in it, and make my opponent react to me rather than the other way around. There's a famous quote from General Grant during the Overland Campaign of 1864 during the American Civil War. His officers were expressing concerns about what Robert E. Lee was going to do to their army. Grant replied that he'd rather have Lee worrying about what he, Grant, was going to do to him.

    Thing is, in deployment, one player will be reacting to the other. I prefer to be the one dictating terms to the opposition. That said, I do obviously pay attention to what's going on over on the other side of the table, and especially if my opponent sets up a very heavily-weighted flank, or other extreme deployment, I take that into account.

    I do sometimes get caught out by unusual situations, but overall, I like the "organic whole" idea for myself. I know Jtrowell's method is quite effective, and in the hands of a skilled commander will often beat me, so take my thoughts with as much salt as necessary.

    I'm also not all THAT experienced with KOW yet, as I just started playing in the early summer of this year with my old WFB armies.
    Quote Originally Posted by Atrahasis View Post
    Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to glue and buy.
    Quote Originally Posted by FraustyTheSnowman View Post
    Anything else I have to say has already been said by Col Shaw...listen to the lego man, he's wise.
    "Ember of Dreams"
    http://www.amazon.com/Ember-Dreams-C...0408773&sr=1-1

  6. #6
    Chapter Master jtrowell's Avatar
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    Re: How to build an effective kings of War army

    To be fair, your method by itself is not a bad one, most of the time the detachment system will in fact result in a default deploiement that give in more of less the same as you ("so detachment A is my left flanking force, B and C hold the center, and D is the right flanker").

    I started thinkin in groups of unit instead of a global strategy after a game where the scenario prevented me from doing a refused flank while the terrain was dense near the middle of the table forcing me to split units that where usually deployed close to each others.

    That's when I realized that I was relying too much on some specific units that were supposed to support several units around them depending on the situation, but when splitting the army those units could only keep in range of some of them, resulting in some groups without the needed support

    Among other things I lost during the game several light units to first turn shooting and some bad nerve rolls where inspiring would probably have saved at least part of them, and some detached infantry regiments proven to be less effective when far from my main hammer units, fighting an outmatched fight and only winning me time without killing even one unit.

    That's when I realised that despite my army having all the needed tools (it was a rather balanced combined arms army), it lacked the flexibility to project its force over several parts of the table when needed.

  7. #7
    Brother Sergeant Jator's Avatar
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    Re: How to build an effective kings of War army

    Quote Originally Posted by ColShaw View Post

    Something I have a tendency to do, and it's not entirely wise, is to not worry as much about opposing deployment as many players do. I prefer to have a solid line, knowing what I can expect of each element in it, and make my opponent react to me rather than the other way around. There's a famous quote from General Grant during the Overland Campaign of 1864 during the American Civil War. His officers were expressing concerns about what Robert E. Lee was going to do to their army. Grant replied that he'd rather have Lee worrying about what he, Grant, was going to do to him.
    I would say you're doing the right thing, and I'm learning to do exactly that. When I change mi deployment idea just to react to my opponents I usually end making a mess. As you said, better be the one dictating the terms.

    About the actual topic, I use detachments too, I think it helps you to organize the army and to take units looking at the big picture.
    What I do currently is one "center" detachment and one "flank" detachment that can be splitted into two, depending the scenario, the scenography, and if i'm interested in a refused flank or a pincer movement.

  8. #8
    Chapter Master English 2000's Avatar
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    Re: How to build an effective kings of War army

    I take a slightly different approach. Step one, put in everything I have painted. Step 2, keep adding assembled stuff until I hit 2k points. Once I can field 2k painted I'm done with the army and move on to the next one. When my huge painting backlog is done I'll expand on existing 2k lists to have options.
    Obsessed with Games Workshop from 1993 to 2015.
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