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View Full Version : Sword Masters, how many is too many? Teach a noob



static grass
07-04-2009, 10:08
Hello hello static grass here.

Long story short: I have played dwarves for years. Occassionally I am able to drag them upto the top ten of a tourney simply by setting out my stall and shooting everything to death. But I am sick of playing dwarf, I get one phase in the game to decide what happens (shooting) the rest I am either reacting to events or on the receiving end. They are now on the shelf awaiting a new armybook and M4.

Anyway I have some HE and I am loaning a friends HE for the next tourney in errr 11 days. SO I have read the HE tactica ad nausem and like any dwarf player I have boiled my thoughts down to...

How many of these amazing kick @ss Swordmasters can I reasonably cram into 1750points? and how should they be arrayed?

In terms of logistics I have 46 models waiting to slice through everything like a flying chainsaw.

I am thinking:

A. One unit of deathstar doom. I will need a scroll caddy to make sure nothing else happens to them.
B. One large unit say 21 flanked by two smaller units upto 12 in size. One heavy hit unit with some flank guarding plus flank charge options.
C. Multiple units of ASF death. 4-5 units of 7-9 swordmasters.
This give the option of more flanking.

I do intend to squeeze in some DPs and a unit a sea guard.

On a side note I have always loved the saphery fluff and my fledgling force is lovingly painted in hues of blue purple and grey. :angel:

PeG
07-04-2009, 10:15
I dont think a T3 deathstar without shooting and only one scroll caddy will do anything except for dying against most armies. You can only hit one unit a turn (if you catch any) and if you kill that unit the enemy will be free to shoot/magic you again.

slingersam
07-04-2009, 10:30
I agree with the above poster, as I don't think high elves
are even capable of making a decent death star list.
But if you decide to use about 500-700 points on core
and other things you will need then you can get up to
70-83 swordmasters which is quite a lot.

static grass
07-04-2009, 11:24
Thanks for the feedback. I had three ideas not just death star what do you think of the other suggestions?

Conotor
07-04-2009, 11:28
Make units of 9 swordies, 7 wide. This give max killing power until the 3rd guy dies, witch is pretty decent.

static grass
07-04-2009, 11:50
Okay so a vote for MSU. hmm interesting. I am abit worried about the lack of combat resolution though.

sroblin
07-04-2009, 13:01
Combat resolution really isn't in the cards with Swordmasters, IMO; they win by killing stuff, and if they can't then they're doomed anyway because the return attacks will slaughter them. The critical thing is to make sure their front-rank reaches the enemy (and stays at) full strength of 6 or 7. I like units of 12 personally; if they avoid getting shot, they can start with +1 CR, but more likely the rear rankers will help absorbe some casualties. As long as they get 12-14 greatsword attacks, they should do ok.

The trickiest issue with such an army, I think, is devising a strategy to protect them from shooting. Screening units? Magic? Diversionary fast attackers?

static grass
07-04-2009, 15:17
Well at the last tourney there was very a limited number of shooty armies. I will have to look at this area though. I guess I will be taking an eagle to hunt down enemy shooty stuff.

sroblin
07-04-2009, 17:25
You could invest in a decent magic phase, kind of of going with the saphery theme, and use lore of life (howler wind or the rain lord spells) against shooting. Both are easy to cast even with level 2s.

static grass
07-04-2009, 17:34
Good thinking batman! But to get this magic spell off will I need two mages?

Makarion
07-04-2009, 18:35
2 level 2 mages
BSB w/ the ring to make him a level 1 as well

1 unit of 10 archers
2 units of 14 swordmasters
1 unit of 5 dragon princes with the banner of sorcery

Left over points to taste - an eagle and RBT could be nice.

Ultimo ninja
07-04-2009, 21:37
2 units of swordmasters going up the middle will need screening. Period.

I suggest eagles. Send them out front to get shot. 2 eagles out front, 2 bolt throwers in the back.

use chariots for the flank.
If you dont have points for magic offense, get a caddy or two and use drain magic.

Hopefully 2 strong unite of sword masters, the bts, and the chariots can kill enough to get you the win.

For HE's the best deathstar unit is white lions with a mage in them or maybe a special char. Tarpit= phoenix gaurd with magic banner and maybe a hero/ mage.

polobuch
08-04-2009, 01:31
I have this army based on: swordmasters:
3 mages with the usual equiment...
2*10 archers.
20*SM+magic banner
14*SM+battle banner
14*SM+ no fear
10*SM+movement banner
7*SM+champ and musician
2 eagles.
oh yes and 7 DPs with some kit.

the idea is that you have a VERY fragile army, so GO MEET your opponent and up close.

sroblin
08-04-2009, 02:48
Good thinking batman! But to get this magic spell off will I need two mages?

Realistically, yes. To have a good chance of getting any one spell, you have to have enough casting power (including casting other spells) to get through the opponents casting dice.

Also, if you really want to ensure that you will have one of those two spells on a level 2, you need the seer staff, or gamble with the silver wand. (With a level 4, this is not as much a problem.)

static grass
08-04-2009, 08:57
Wow so many great responses! I am truely impressed.

@Makarion.

I like what you are suggesting. The concept behind the list is the characters assist the units getting to combat and in the case of the BSB staying there. Quite opposite to what I am used too. I note the eagle suggestion.

@Ultimo Ninja.

Ahh a straight talker! Come and sit down :D Eagles again. I like the lion chariot model and unit but time is of the essence for me. Dragon Princes will have to suffice, I can keep them bare bones though. The bolt thrower is also a good suggestion I know how they work as a dwarf player :D

If I every get around to an army of chrace then deathstar it is :D I think though Caledor and Avelorn are more likely to get a theme army first from me.

Both of you have suggested 2 units of 14 at this point.

@Polobuch.

You clearly fell into a box of SM minis as a child. Your list is similar to my concept list when I started the saphery theme. My favourite part of your list is the Ellyrion banner on the SM unit. I had the same idea too. What gives a better armour save than 2" of wood? when you have a unit like this then setting up terrain becomes your secret deployment phase *Shakes fist at WE players*

@srobin. Okay 2 lvl 2 mages it is. No one has suggested less than this so far. It is good for the theme too. I like all the double up ideas in this thread it reminds of being in the army. If it is worth taking then it is worth take 2 of :evilgrin:

Thanks for all your great comments guys!

static grass
14-04-2009, 09:26
As an Epilogue to this thread.

I went with.

2 units of 21 spearmen with FC

2 units of 14 SMs with FC one with war banner and the other with lion standard.

1 unit of 6 DPs.

2 Great eagles

1 BSB with banner of sorcery.

1 lvl 2 mage with dispell scroll and thingy that lets you pick spells

1 lvl 2 mage with dispell scroll and jade amulet (extra power dice)

I played against a friends VC and had a fun evening playing warhammer I got to move and cast spells and charge. Hurrah! Good bye dwarves! I got off more flank charges during that game than my previous 5 years playing warhammer :D

It was a good game of cagey manouvering against a wiley opponent for the first two turns. Then four turns of unrelenting blood letting. Khaine would be pleased.

However once swords had been stilled and we counted the dead it turns out I won with a massacre. It is very nice to win. More importantly however it is more nice to have fun playing warhammer, I don't need a shooting phase.

Using magic was a bit funky the extra power dice are useful. Most turns I would successfully cast about 4 spells with maybe 1 dispelled. This is a very good return on investment.

Leadership wise I am still quite low - the BSB is vital as are the magic banners on the SMs.

On the armylist as a whole I am happy that it works as is. I know it needs tweaking but I might be able to squeeze in another game before the weekend to do so. Other than this I am happy to take this tiny army to the tourney and hopefully avoid any dwarf players in the first round :angel:

Jericho
14-04-2009, 09:36
Holy smokes you got 3-4 spells per turn through VC magic defense with 8-10PD? They usually pack 6-7DD, and have several ways to get modifiers going on. I'm assuming he threw a ton of dice at Drain Magic every turn, allowing you to squeak everything else through?

PS. I love your attitude. I wish you lived about 4,000 miles closer to my house, you'd be welcome to game with our club any time!!

static grass
14-04-2009, 12:52
I made a dogs breakfast of my first magic phase - hey dwarf player here :D so he dispelled everything. He also happily pointed out that Drain magic should be cast last.

He didn't have a very strong magic defense to start with 1 DS and I think 5 DD (note the "I think"). and he lost two vampires in turn 4 giving me a free hand afterwards. But you are correct Drain Magic is a real show stopper for VCs and he went for it every turn and yes there was a lot of squeaking (Praise Loec). Shield of saphery is fantastic for a 5+ spell.

I did realize that the magic was going well for me - as a dwarf player most people never get more than 1 spell of a turn. I felt that most games I wont have it that good. I should modify the above statement though as I mainly got three spells each turn after dispells. But there was a critical turn (3) when I got off 4. 2 Shields of saph, Flames of the phoenix and a drain magic. I need it though. My 2 Swordmaster units where getting shredded by blood knights and black knights, in a nasty multiple engagement - it was a great gore fest.

My opponent is a real sport. He has tolerated my dwarf army lists for long enough. The secondary objectives of the game was to shake of some warhammer cobwebs and examine the armies before the game. So my opponent now has the chance to take another look at the cavalry theme he has before the tourney hone it some more.

bob_the_small
14-04-2009, 12:59
IMO you need to have a largish unit (so that if it dies you dont lose too many points...) with 2 flanking units... so say, 18 SM(3x6), with 2 units of 7, move like this


SMALL SM ---------- BIG SM ----------SMALL SM

This way you have a unit with ranks and a banner, and then you can have 2 flanking units for getting rid of their ranks and for outnumbering AND for more attacks so you get 43 ws 6 str 5(champ in each unit) attacks with ASF and you have a flank, so static combat ress of 5!

static grass
14-04-2009, 13:57
Hi bob,

Yeah I have the minis for this SM unit of death. I just don't have the time to paint them before saturday. But yes absolutely my Host of Hoeth army will include a large unit of swordmasters.

The problem with detachments is that if they are weaker than the main unit then they get charged, beaten, broken and then run down.

I know that small SM units are pure pain and with ASF added to a rock solid stat lines they are terrifying to charge but I think for me I am going to say the glass is half empty rather than half full. My unit of DPs will provide much needed flank charge threat, although in the previous game they did diddly squat.

This conclusion neatly fits with all my preconcieved ideas and and my painting schedule - phew.

W0lf
14-04-2009, 14:39
Teclis
20 spearmen
10 archers
21 masters
14 master
14 masters
3 RBT

2K.

Throw banner of sorc on masters and a warbanner on spearmen (for teclis unit) and your good to go.

Sandstone
14-04-2009, 17:39
The only problem I see with your list that your Swordmasters will die to:

- Daemons Magic
- Wood Elf Shooting
- Dark Elf Shooting
- Dwarf Shooting + Anvil
- High Elf Shooting + Magic
- Just about any concentrated shooting

For 15 points a model, you have a T3 heavy armoured pin-cushion. They're fairly slow for what they are, and, in the end, they're only Str 5. You'll enter a combat with 0 combat res, and against almost everything that they'll hit, it's not enough. Swordmasters can't handle Heavy Cav (1+ or 0+ save), and your small units of 14 get wrecked by dragons or large creatures.

I've always found White Lions to be better, as they're 3+ against shooting and ability to move through woods is amazing. They're also Str 6 and stubborn.

I know you're probably set on swordmasters, but I just wanted to raise a few points about how many you're taking.

W0lf
14-04-2009, 18:52
I tried that army list in a tournament and it worked fine. Never brought it (proxy ftw).

White lions are overall better then swordmasters..untill yourealise they are great at losing combat not winning it.

Reguardless of if im playing my WoC, Vampires, WE or Dwarfs id rather see lions opposite me.

static grass
14-04-2009, 20:36
The only problem I see with your list that your Swordmasters will die to:

- Daemons Magic
- Wood Elf Shooting
- Dark Elf Shooting
- Dwarf Shooting + Anvil
- High Elf Shooting + Magic
- Just about any concentrated shooting

For 15 points a model, you have a T3 heavy armoured pin-cushion. They're fairly slow for what they are, and, in the end, they're only Str 5. You'll enter a combat with 0 combat res, and against almost everything that they'll hit, it's not enough. Swordmasters can't handle Heavy Cav (1+ or 0+ save), and your small units of 14 get wrecked by dragons or large creatures.

I've always found White Lions to be better, as they're 3+ against shooting and ability to move through woods is amazing. They're also Str 6 and stubborn.

I know you're probably set on swordmasters, but I just wanted to raise a few points about how many you're taking.

Concentrated Shooting is an issue I know. I blew away 2 HE armies in the last tourney with a nasty gunline. But if that is the ONLY problem then I am pretty happy :D The tourney is at 1750 points so some of issue's disappear instantly like anvils and heavy magic plus other stuff like dragons.

I am not worried about shooting as though mainly because I intend to win my first game and thus avoid all of the victorious shooty armies that will be stuck in the mid tier. I agree that 15 point pin cushions are pretty bad but gunline armies usually do pretty badly :D

As for super heavy cav. Well the game against the VC had them and I killed them all so I reckon I can handle them as well as anyone else.

WL are great I know, for all the reasons you have listed. If I get the time I will do a whole Chrace themed army.

LKHERO
14-04-2009, 22:06
A big block of Sword Masters + BSB w/ Banner of World Dragon, Standard Bearer w/ Standard of Balance, Alith Anar + Noble w/ Sacred Incense?

bob_the_small
14-04-2009, 22:34
Well, its up to you!

garythewargamer
15-04-2009, 04:46
swordmasters are just a real meat grinder. I run two units of seven and try to screen them are use shield on them. Sometimes it works but they still look good as I am pulling them off the board.

My daughter runs a big block of them with a mage with sacred incense and banner of arcane protection on them. Normally they at leas make it to combat.

static grass
15-04-2009, 09:47
Yeah - I am probably going to have to look at the incense option again. I have two eagles to put the pressure on shooters though.

bob_the_small
15-04-2009, 10:54
Yeah - I am probably going to have to look at the incense option again. I have two eagles to put the pressure on shooters though.

But thats what the shooters do, they shoot your eagles....

static grass
15-04-2009, 11:20
But thats what the shooters do, they shoot your eagles....

Good! If they want to spend a turn grouse hunting that is fine with me! It is not like I have to move within close range to charge.

I can't not take stuff because it will actually get shot at. I know my opponent will try do very bad things to my army. My plan is to give my opponent many threats to shoot at. Although my list is based around SM and Saphery. I decided to include a unit of DPs. At the very worst my spearelves are better than any shooty unit in CC.

I should point out that I plan to take lore of life against shooty armies to get that windy spell and make it rain spell.

@W0lf thanks for the list. It really fits my theme and should be effective too. I am happy to hear that an experienced hand prefers SM over WL. WL rock because of good stat line combined with a lot of funky special rules. SM rock because of an excellent stat line. I have a unit of WL waiting for paint one day but I really think they add something to a much larger army say 3000 points. I see them as an anvil unit.

Gazak Blacktoof
15-04-2009, 11:38
White lions should work well with detachments of sword masters. If the detachments are charged by a unit they can't beat then they can flee.

Cats Laughing
15-04-2009, 23:29
My favourite part of your list is the Ellyrion banner on the SM unit. I had the same idea too. What gives a better armour save than 2" of wood?

Not having my book here, I can't remember, but does the Ellyrion banner allow "you" to see through 2" of forests?

If not, that wonderful "armour save" will work both ways and your opponent will happily ignore said SMs until they stick their heads out to be shot off...

LKHERO
16-04-2009, 00:18
Not having my book here, I can't remember, but does the Ellyrion banner allow "you" to see through 2" of forests?

If not, that wonderful "armour save" will work both ways and your opponent will happily ignore said SMs until they stick their heads out to be shot off...

Ignores difficult terrain.. but you can't charge anything without seeing it.. which the banner doesn't allow.

Gazak Blacktoof
16-04-2009, 00:57
Cats Laughing, you can usually orchestrate things so that you don't expose yourself to more than one turn of fire. Providing you're not facing down a load of outriders, a pair of organ guns or something similar they shouldn't fair too badly. As people have pointed out several times in this thread you only need one rank to survive to combat.

LKHERO
16-04-2009, 00:58
Take Teclis in a Mage Bunker PG + BoS and Unseen Lurker a block of 20 FC Sword Masters w/ Korhil + Standard of Balance into your opponent.

Cats Laughing
16-04-2009, 21:06
you can usually orchestrate things so that you don't expose yourself to more than one turn of fire. Providing you're not facing down a load of outriders, a pair of organ guns or something similar they shouldn't fair too badly. As people have pointed out several times in this thread you only need one rank to survive to combat.

I think the proper phrase would be "you can try to orchestrate things so that you don't expose yourself to more than one turn of fire."

Really depends on the terrain set-up, or somehow drawing your opponent to the forest you're hiding in. It can work and sounds like an interesting idea. I wouldn't count on it working every time though.

I know that on most local tables (in leagues and tourneys, terrain is preset) you'll find it really hard to march from forest to forest across the board. That march around/through terrain can add up to 2 turns to crossing the table (even while ignoring movement penalties), which can destroy any hope of affecting the outcome.

Of course, in the right circumstances, especially if you can place terrain, that combo does sound really good. I would just counsel against believing that it is foolproof.

sroblin
17-04-2009, 15:44
I think with a purely assault-infantry army, it will be very hard to limit the attacking units to one turn of fire. First, the opponent is going to get the first turn some of the time, (there are ways to lower the chance of that, of course, let us say 33% of the time.) Second, if an opponent facing an assault infantry army usually has a pretty strong incentive not to approach it and instead get the most out of his shooting, meaning the infantry has to cross 24-28" before reaching enemy troops. Even fast Elf infantry can't get within charge range of the enemy deployment zone until turn 3 movement. Banner of Ellyrian on Swordmasters is a great way to protect ONE unit. White Lions profiting from woodsmen is another. Both depend on their being trees in the right location. And I'm not even bringing into account potential march blockers.

I think the real solution to the problems faced by offensive infantry-heavy armies is to use combined arms- take enough shooting that your enemy has an incentive to close with you, take a few cavalry or chariot units to charge the enemy line by turn 2, disrupting their shooting and forcing them to move their own combat units in reaction. Infantry charging on their own without support risk recreating the battle of the Somme.

bob_the_small
17-04-2009, 16:03
Take Teclis in a Mage Bunker PG + BoS and Unseen Lurker a block of 20 FC Sword Masters w/ Korhil + Standard of Balance into your opponent.

Approaching Deathstar?

LKHERO
17-04-2009, 18:26
Approaching Deathstar?

Not really considering its like half of your army with about 1/5 the effectiveness of something like a Shadestar in terms of points effectiveness.

static grass
20-04-2009, 11:41
hello all,

I see you are busy on my thread :D

The original point of this thread was to get a decent army together at 1750 points to play in a tourney. I went with the army list I posted earlier and now the tourney is done so perhaps you would like to know how I did???

VERY BADLY :D 32nd out of 36.

I lost three times twice to VC and once to Daemons of Cheese.

I beat beasts, go me! and drew against Empire (I should have won but ran out of time).

Surprising though I am quite happy with the result! I only had 1 practise game and your sagely advice to go on.

The spearmen did good. Doing what they can for a core choice. The swordmasters where okay, I got what I expected, I think. There is something missing I am not sure. Sometimes they did very well other times surprise me by being average. The Dragon Princes were not very good, this is probably me though as an ex-dwarf player struggling with cav. The one game they did anything was charge, break and run down 4 Minatours with mark of Khorne (I think), yes I know that was lucky. They guarded the flanks okay though. The eagles where great. I was getting good at using them by the end of the tourney. Two might have been too much most games not sure.

I think the troubles really begin and end with the characters. The BSB with banner of sorcery achieved diddly and in the final game died too easily and cost me the game. The mages where okay. A few spells here and there but nothing game changing and no chains of spells. The shield of Saphery is good though and was very helpful. I struggled to get off Drain Magic against both VC players. In the final game not once.

I will have to re-think my characters. My BSB will lose his magic banner and turn a bit more fighty. I am tempted to turn one mage into a caster with 2 power stones and the other into a dispeller with two scrolls. Or just give them both one of each.

Away from the elves I really got to experience the raw power of fear causing armies. Repeated failing fear tests is very difficult to out think. Coupled with unbreakable you are locked in combat against a foe you can not destroy in a single turn and thus are vulnerable to getting deaded.

At the tournement most of the armies were VC, Daemons and DE, Daemons won. There was no comp and special characters where in. The winner won all five games with a massacre, his first was against me. I was happy to make it to turn 6. Sadly though he lost his dignity when he kicked a chair across the room during a later game.

More importantly I got to play some great games against some great opponents. My final three games where against beasts -> Empire -> VC games and all were well fought, very tactical events against opponents who knew their stuff. Lots of great swirling masses of combat with the Swordmasters in the thick of it. No quarter was ever asked nor given :evilgrin: , in a very gentlemanly and friendly way.