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Author Topic: Your thoughts about spearmen...  (Read 20302 times)

Offline Silver Wolf

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Your thoughts about spearmen...
« on: December 15, 2010, 11:11:44 PM »
Hi guys...

I'd like to hear a few thoughts about this idea...
I was thinking about buying a horde of spearmen... I'd put around 40 (full command included) in one block...
And I'd use them mostly in 1000-1500p battles...

So my questions are :
1) Are they any good on the battlefield?
2) Should I give them shields ?

Thanks in advance...
"Watch the skies, traveler."
Check out my wargaming blog - The Forge of War

Offline Talben21

  • Posts: 1238
Re: Your thoughts about spearmen...
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2010, 11:25:43 PM »
I cannot say this enough...

Spearmen are terrible. Take Halberdiers because in this edition if you don't have at least strength 4 then you might as well go home.

Swordsmen still have a purpose as an anvil unit, but trust me, Halberdiers are far and away the best choice.

Then when you buy your Halberdiers I recomend these models. They look better, the Halberds won't break (they are made of metal not plastic) and are cheaper than GW...

http://www.artizandesigns.com/prod.php?prod=1822
« Last Edit: December 15, 2010, 11:58:42 PM by Talben21 »

Offline oak_prince

  • Posts: 886
Re: Your thoughts about spearmen...
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2010, 11:59:41 PM »
Hordes don't make bad unit good.

I like my 6E Starter Spearmen and their lion shields, but I can't imagine using them as anything but army-filler at least seven ranks deep in big games.
"Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone".

Offline Davido

  • Posts: 537
Re: Your thoughts about spearmen...
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2010, 12:29:00 AM »
I love spearmen. I would probably up the numbers to 50 though to try and take advantage of the fight in 4 rank goodness for as long as possible. Also as people have said strength 4 is gold this edition so it would be a good idea to make sure you buff these guys with magic in some way or possibly hex their opponents if at all possible. Also I find they are better without shields in terms of effectiveness v point cost.

I will admit halberdiers are a bit better but spearmen are still fun.
Yay my rocket battery finally killed something.What do you mean those are my halberdiers.

Offline Baron Martens

  • Posts: 185
Re: Your thoughts about spearmen...
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2010, 05:22:10 AM »
I wouldn't be as emphatic as some of the others have been, but essentially they're right: Halberds are a better choice than spearmen, especially if you're planning on buying a new unit.  They're ok to use if you've got them already, but I wouldn't recommend getting more of them unless you play entirely for fluff and prefer them for that reason. 

If you do still decide to use them, then yes they should have shields.

Offline Chambo

  • Posts: 111
Re: Your thoughts about spearmen...
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2010, 08:10:35 AM »
I've been fielding spearmen in units of 25 (5x5) with spell caster with lore of beasts for the S4 & T4 buff and WP for hatred. S4 in 3 ranks with re-rolls is good but relies too much on getting the spell off so it doesn't always work. I haven't tried this with a hoard formation yet. 
Be professional, be polite but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.

Offline Uryens de Crux

  • Posts: 3751
Re: Your thoughts about spearmen...
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2010, 08:25:38 AM »
I don't thnk spearman need to be deployed in a horde formation, but they do need to be deployed in depth so they are stubborn

Cheap, cheerful and disposable, send em to tie something up while your halberdiers do the damage
We go to gain a little patch of ground that hath in it no profit but the name.
The Free Company of Solland

The Barony of Wusterburg

Offline Silver Wolf

  • Posts: 630
  • I see lead people.
Re: Your thoughts about spearmen...
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2010, 08:44:00 AM »
Thanks for answers guys !  :happy:

Oh and I've heard that they are good against skavens or even ogres (although I don't believe that)...
"Watch the skies, traveler."
Check out my wargaming blog - The Forge of War

Offline Fandir Nightshade

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Re: Your thoughts about spearmen...
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2010, 08:48:35 AM »
They look nice



and profit greatly from beast magic.

Offline Johedl

  • Posts: 278
Re: Your thoughts about spearmen...
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2010, 08:51:20 AM »
1) They are not a terrible choice next to Halberdiers, but Halberiders are the first amongs equals. They are the middle ground between Halberdiers and Swordsmen. They are marginaly more hard hitting than swordsmen and lives marginaly longer than Halberdiers, and sadly the middle ground makes them the last among equals. It depends on what your facing. If there is alot of Elves or humans then they are good, but if there are alot of T4 modells facing you then your better of with Halberdiers for killing or Swordsmen for WS4, I4 and 6+ WS. I would recommend to use a narrow formation of 6 files to begin with and do not go horde. They attack in three ranks anyway and the fourth rank via horde would just expose the unit to more attacks and less ranks. They need steadfast and wins by holding until one flank charges with a hammer. If you are going with 40 then a detachment of 15-20 halberdiers might tipp the balance in combat early with a counter/combined flank charge. This tactic can be done better with Swordsmen as anvil and if the spears goes on the offence then Free Company can do the job and keep the extra attack on the charge.
They can be good against ogres. They have higher initiative and their high numbers of attacks means that they can deal out does extra wounds that removes a Ogre and his three attacks. Horde is actually a good option against ogres due to fact that they will probably be steadfast anyway and need the extra attack.

2) Allways give them shields so they can take abit if missile fire and get the 5+ AS in close combat. Unless you are taking 50+ of them.

Offline Fandir Nightshade

  • Posts: 10157
Re: Your thoughts about spearmen...
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2010, 10:08:51 AM »
5+ armour save makes even more sense in a big chunky unit of 50 as those 50 extra points will keep them longer alive and perhaps not grant the enemy a single victory point for the unit (300+ points saved) also with much more attacks in 8th edition a 5+ save could make the difference of losing. Add in glittering scales and you have 3+ not bad in my book (well if you field great swords they usually are better with their 2+ save and their great swinging swords flailing away at a fantastic strength of 5).


Are you sure they have more I than ogres? Or do you mean that the swordsmen are good against them?

Offline Johedl

  • Posts: 278
Re: Your thoughts about spearmen...
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2010, 10:33:49 AM »
Quote
5+ armour save makes even more sense in a big chunky unit of 50 as those 50 extra points will keep them longer alive and perhaps not grant the enemy a single victory point for the unit (300+ points saved) also with much more attacks in 8th edition a 5+ save could make the difference of losing. Add in glittering scales and you have 3+ not bad in my book (well if you field great swords they usually are better with their 2+ save and their great swinging swords flailing away at a fantastic strength of 5).

It might be my personal issues with units over 260 pts that is speaking. I hate having a 300+ pts unit decimated by a single spell. In units 50+ state stroops adding shields comes at the same cost as 10 additional troops, granted that they are easier to get combat result from. On the other hand they could form a death star for your characters.

Quote
Are you sure they have more I than ogres? Or do you mean that the swordsmen are good against them?

Ogres (Maneater is the exception) have I2 . Gnoblars have I3. Swordsmen are just as good as killing Ogres as Spearmen, unless there is a warrior priest in the unit, due to the Swordsmen's WS4. Halberdiers are best at killing ogres though, despite their lower number of hits, S4 is just so good. Spearmen have the potential amount of wounds they can possibly do due to lots of attacks speaking for them, but the statistics tend to lean towards Swordsmen or Halberdiers every time.

Offline polybus11

  • Posts: 764
Re: Your thoughts about spearmen...
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2010, 02:24:49 PM »
I tried a unit of spearmen once.  I paint stuff when I think they will be good.  It gives me a nice motivation so before I try them out I like to paint them.  Anyhow, after one game with them, I clipped off those spear tips and changed them to halberd tips.   :::cheers:::

Offline ZeroTwentythree

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Re: Your thoughts about spearmen...
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2010, 02:30:38 PM »
It might be my personal issues with units over 260 pts that is speaking. I hate having a 300+ pts unit decimated by a single spell. In units 50+ state stroops adding shields comes at the same cost as 10 additional troops, granted that they are easier to get combat result from. On the other hand they could form a death star for your characters.


Using the above example and assuming a unit of 300 points, that equates to 50 with shields or 60 without shields.

In order to cause 60 wounds through a 6+ save, it takes 70 successful S3 wounds.
In order to cause 50 wounds through a 5+ save, it takes 67 successful S3 wounds.

Very minor difference. Almost negligible. So the arguments for and against, in this case, aren't to strong. But in light of the "extras" I mention below, I think the "extra bodies" has further advantages.

For starters:

In order to cause 60 wounds through a 6+ save, it takes 60 successful S5+ wounds.
In order to cause 50 wounds through a 5+ save, it takes 50 successful S5+ wounds.

So against S5+ attacks, having extra bodies means the unit will last longer. Extra bodies can always soak a wound, extra save is only good against low strength.

The way I think about it -- and this may not be entirely accurate, but it "feels" right -- is... If the cost of buying extra bodies is equal to or less than the cost of the armour save in order to get an average of one extra survivor from a given set of attacks, I will generally go for the extra bodies.

Beyond the mathhammer of soaking wounds, you can also potentially use the extra bodies for horde formation, and more ranks and numbers (and thus, steadfast.) The only benefits I can think of for a smaller unit is that it takes up less space and is potentially more maneuverable. I'm not sure either of those are important when you are talking about core infantry in numbers of 40+

As far as spearmen vs. halberds vs. swordsmen... I'm not going to step into that one at the moment. Personally, however, I've been using a unit of spearmen lately because, a) I have a unit of them painted up, b) I wanted more figures in my army, and c) they look cool. I may be a huge advocate of understanding mathhammer and acknowledging that it is the foundation of the game mechanics, I am no slave to the mathhammer.

Offline Talben21

  • Posts: 1238
Re: Your thoughts about spearmen...
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2010, 03:01:32 PM »
And if you are starting to argue the defensive benefits of spearmen then why the heck not just take swordsmen?

Higher WS will make you harder to hit, you get the same 5+ save but you also get a 6+ parry save.

We've done the math on this time and time again, spears just are not that good. If you happen to have them then yeah use them for whatever you do, do not buy and paint spearmen when you could be buying and painting Halberdiers.

Offline Uryens de Crux

  • Posts: 3751
Re: Your thoughts about spearmen...
« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2010, 03:05:13 PM »
Or you could use what you want and not pay two hoots to the fractional differences mathammer makes.

If you like spears, take em.
We go to gain a little patch of ground that hath in it no profit but the name.
The Free Company of Solland

The Barony of Wusterburg

Offline Ballasar

  • Posts: 4
Re: Your thoughts about spearmen...
« Reply #16 on: December 16, 2010, 06:04:14 PM »
Or you could use what you want and not pay two hoots to the fractional differences mathammer makes.

If you like spears, take em.

  Best advice yet.
If you're playing a game and not having fun,  you're doing it wrong.

Offline Outrider

  • Posts: 304
Re: Your thoughts about spearmen...
« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2010, 06:47:18 PM »
I've not really noticed the shortcomings of spearmen. Give em a detachment of archers to screen, and baby block of halberdiers to support and they'll do good things. Give em a priest and a level 1 amber wizard and they'll do great things. At 2k I run 2 50 man blocks built like this, they've yet to disappoint.
Scattered firepower = Wasted firepower

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Offline Silver Wolf

  • Posts: 630
  • I see lead people.
Re: Your thoughts about spearmen...
« Reply #18 on: December 16, 2010, 07:37:21 PM »
Thanks guys you've helped me a lot...

I think I'll go for spearmen... Just because I like them and because I've had an amber wizard in plan...
I'm playing for fun after all, I'm not a powerplayer...
I don't mind loosing a few games...  :biggriin:

« Last Edit: December 16, 2010, 07:40:51 PM by Silver Wolf »
"Watch the skies, traveler."
Check out my wargaming blog - The Forge of War

Offline oak_prince

  • Posts: 886
Re: Your thoughts about spearmen...
« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2010, 08:14:46 AM »
Aye. We're the -Empire-. Our goal is to blast so many enemy to pieces that even the free company can take the survivors on.  :icon_twisted:
"Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone".

Offline Odominus

  • Posts: 1933
  • Winter is Coming
Re: Your thoughts about spearmen...
« Reply #20 on: December 17, 2010, 09:00:17 AM »
Odo drops the bombs and laughs at all the clucking.

......, it would really help if you did research before spouting your opinion...

Offline Nicholas Bies

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Re: Your thoughts about spearmen...
« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2010, 09:29:35 AM »
Spearmen are hardly terrible.

I use 2x50 blocks in my 2.5 games and found they work fine for me. As long as you are able to buff them up with magic they can work absolute wonders. Then again I prescribe to Light and Shadow magic so the augments and hexes available to me mean the spears are usually fighting at an even keel or even slightly better odds then usual.

41 attacks even at str3 is hardly anything to sneeze at
The greatest form of control which can go on forever until it is exposed is a tyranny you can't see, touch and taste (unlike totalitarian Govts). When you sit in a prison cell but can't see the bars, because people don't rebel against not being free when they think they're are.

Offline Fandir Nightshade

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Re: Your thoughts about spearmen...
« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2010, 09:31:23 AM »
With okhams mindrazor they are very scary.

Offline Nicholas Bies

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Re: Your thoughts about spearmen...
« Reply #23 on: December 17, 2010, 09:36:14 AM »
With okhams mindrazor they are very scary.

Exactly!
The greatest form of control which can go on forever until it is exposed is a tyranny you can't see, touch and taste (unlike totalitarian Govts). When you sit in a prison cell but can't see the bars, because people don't rebel against not being free when they think they're are.

Offline Odominus

  • Posts: 1933
  • Winter is Coming
Re: Your thoughts about spearmen...
« Reply #24 on: December 17, 2010, 09:43:40 AM »
Everything is scary with okhams!
Odo drops the bombs and laughs at all the clucking.

......, it would really help if you did research before spouting your opinion...