Like most Empire players with the new book, I have been testing different formations of our troops and detachments to get the most out of the new rules. The two best improvements in my opinion are detachments that benefit from Stubborn parents and Archers with archer detachments. I have combined the two into different formations that maximize their usefulness and allow me to manage the battle.Reference my Battle Reports thread for examples of the formations in action:
--Start of the Battle Report on the regular Griffon Formation (2500 points)
--Start of the Battle Report using the Griffon in smaller battles (1750 points)
--Start of the Battle Report on an attempt at Griffon Wings (2500 points)
--Start of the Battle Report using the Inverted Griffon (2500 points)The Formations
The primary formation I have dubbed “The Griffon Formation.”
--It has a base parent horde of Greatswords or Halberds with the Crown of Command.
--The horde has two detachments. I use Halberd detachments but Swordsmen could also be used for more staying power. I personally run them 3-wide or 4-wide to provide a reduced frontage against the nasty stuff I am trying to hold off on the flanks. If I am lucky enough to get a flank with a Countercharge, most enemy units are not that deep to allow 5-wide frontage full attacks round after round anyway.
--In the front is an Archer unit with musician and 2 detachments of 5 archers. The Archers provide a screen for the horde as well as additional diverters.
--In the back is an Archer unit with musician (sometimes with a Standard too if I need more for Blood and Glory Scenarios) that serves as a bunker for my Lvl 4 Wizard.
The base Griffon Formation looks like this:
The Griffon Formation could also work for busses and would look about the same:
One of the big complaints of detachments is that smart opponents will charge your detachments at the same time they charge the parent to avoid the Countercharge. The Griffon Formation potentially allows you to re-direct the re-directors away from your detachments. In the below scenario, the opponent charges in blindly without stopping your countercharges.
Of course, depending on the situation, a smart opponent might take one extra turn to clear away your archers in order to charge cleanly across the front. Depending on the distance, this may allow your parent unit to charge him instead. Your detachments could charge as well or, as depicted below, move up to cover the precious flanks of the parent.
Also, another benefit of the formation is to have 2 units on each side of the horde/bus to keep your opponent from swarming you and getting your flank. The below graph shows how your archers and detachment will keep your flank clean for 2 turns, maybe 3- allowing your buffed up horde to kill what it is engaging.
If you don’t like having an Archer unit directly in front of your horde, either to be sacrificed or to flee away from any charges (causing Panic tests for your horde and Wizard bunker)… another option is the Inverted Griffon Formation. In this one, you expand the frontage of the Archer unit in the rear to 6 wide so you can put 2 Archer detachments in front of your horde detachments that are set back. Each detachment is still within 3” of its parent to start. Once your movement begins, you can move up both side detachments as needed to protect the flanks of the horde.
If you really want to go all out, you can use The Double-Headed Griffon Formation. This allows you 3 to 4 re-directors per side. I have never used this one personally because I want to get into combat eventually- but it might serve some armies well, especially ones with lots of ranged firepower.
Another idea I came up with is using Archer formations to protect artillery, which I have dubbed the Griffon Wing. In deployment you would put an Archer unit with 2 Archer detachments around an artillery piece. In this case, a Helblaster.
When an opponent sends something nasty its way, you can “open up” the Wing by placing one detachment in a blocking position (ensuring not to cover 50% of the target) and the other in a reserve position outside the firing arch. If necessary, the parent unit can move up for one final diverter. If you haven’t killed the nasty creature/unit after 3 rounds of shooting at it- at least you got max use out of your artillery piece. This only works for ground-pounders; flying units can only be slowed one round by Archers right next to the artillery piece so the charger can’t fit into the space to charge it.
Last, but not least, is babysitting a Steam Tank. As debated at length in another thread, opponents are parking chaff on the side of Steam Tank preventing it from being able to pivot and only move straight forward due to its Random Movement rules. An Archer unit, preferably with a Life Mage to keep the Tank rolling, could babysit the Tank and provide two archer detachments on either side.
This formation would prevent anything from getting within 1” of the side or rear of the Tank. With the flankers one inch back from the front of the tank, it still provides you with a decent arch of movement. You can even increase the distance between the Steam Tank and archers if your opponent’s chaff are on larger bases.
I personally would only use this formation against an opponent who consistently uses the pivot trick against you- otherwise all you are doing is narrowing the direction your Tank can go. (Please don’t comment in this thread on the legality of the pivot trick- use the other thread for that. I offer this formation only as a way to mitigate the tactic.)
I have used The Griffon Formations successfully in several recent battles. I hope that it generates some thought and discussion on how we can best use our detachments. I look forward to your comments and suggestions!