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Author Topic: Greatswords are underrated.  (Read 6290 times)

Offline Olrad

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Greatswords are underrated.
« on: March 31, 2015, 06:21:49 AM »
I was playing a 2v2 today. My greatswords (horde of 37 plus a warrior priest, BSB and witch hunter all with great weapons) charged abother 2 hordes of nurgle WoC and dark elf corsairs both 30 strong. They had hatred and speed of light and a 5+ ward and razor banner. They literally won combat on both of them killing half of both units only losing like 8 guys and routed both of them.. And they fled off the board 2 turns later.

Greatswords are basically bearded kenshiros. Why aren't they In your list?

Offline Sceleris

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Re: Greatswords are underrated.
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2015, 10:53:26 AM »
When you get that combo of buffs off halberdiers would do pretty much the same damage at a cheaper cost.

Offline Jomppexx

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Re: Greatswords are underrated.
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2015, 02:18:35 PM »
Because they suck.
They move slow, they hit weak.
Sure if you buff them with speed of light + priest + armour piercing flag + prayers, they become good.
But at that point they cost well over 600 points, with the wizard and priest included. Where a unit of 4 demigryphs can take a lot more pain, deal equal damage as they survive longer and have armour piercing for free. They also have M8.
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Offline Olrad

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Re: Greatswords are underrated.
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2015, 05:41:00 AM »
Because they suck.
They move slow, they hit weak.
Sure if you buff them with speed of light + priest + armour piercing flag + prayers, they become good.
But at that point they cost well over 600 points, with the wizard and priest included. Where a unit of 4 demigryphs can take a lot more pain, deal equal damage as they survive longer and have armour piercing for free. They also have M8.

But one column of greatswords has the same amounts of attacks as a demigryph, with a much smaller rank size, i think the base size is about 3 infantry bases. meaning that the greatswords have about 9 attacks with hatred whereas the demigryphs get 3 plus the one from the knight himself and then the stomp... not to mention the unit cant be countered as easily by high strength attacks or artillery. And with magic buffs on a unit, the extra attacks from the greatswords amplify the offensive and defensive implications of the spell far more than the demigryphs would be able to benefit from. And that's only with one, lord help your enemies if you manage to get two or more, at which rate greatswords literally become unstoppable and ruin an entire flank in a couple of turns.

I feel that the greatswords are more synergistic in this manner.

Considering that greatswords in a horde of 40 have a 10 wound buffer before they start to see any losses of combat power and they are stubborn on top of that, they are a perfect combo of anvil and hammer all their own.

They do end up being a larger investment but the extra points in strength and weapon skill over halberds really do pay for themselves considering 5 strength is kind of the magic number in the mechanics of the game. With the 4+ armor (which should never be underestimated) and stubborn I'd take one 40 greatswords over 80 halberds any day.

At the end of the day I just feel like greatswords are a perfect margin of expense, effectiveness, and synergy.


I'll do some number crunches, but for what its worth so far I know that 39 greatswords, a warrior priest and the razor banner cost 549 points. Yes they do cost more, but theres more to benefit from as well. Basically its a deathstar. You throw characters in there as well. I enjoy having a witch hunter in the unit for the magic resistance and the off chance you might actually snipe a caster, for 55 points its great. with the warrior priest you've got the obvious hatred advantage. (and btw 4 demigryphs do not do as many attacks, and thats without hatred, not to mention the knights don't even get that armor piercing special rule) With the ward save you get a unit with a 3+ ward save versus magic. hell, you could take a bsb and throw him in there for extra fun too.

All I'm saying is that greatswords are far better than anyone seems to give them credit for. In my mind they're almost like the embodiment of the philosophy of the empire, where at face value when compared to other things they understandably don't look that great, but they become godlike with support.

Everyone in my local group fears and respects the greatswords and so far they haven't fallen yet.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2015, 06:15:03 AM by Olrad »

Offline Olrad

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Re: Greatswords are underrated.
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2015, 05:44:23 AM »
When you get that combo of buffs off halberdiers would do pretty much the same damage at a cheaper cost.

And not quite, the sheer number of attacks going through with the buffs is where the armor pen really helps.

Halberds pierce one armor naturally and the only option for razor is a bsb.

The Greatswords can have their own razor without a BSB for 55 total.

The 4+ armor will see that your greatswords will not be as phased by ranged as well. S3 bows and crossbows will have a 50% mortality rate on greatswords. S4 They still get saves Hell, even with armor piercing.. whereas halberds dont even get saves at S4.

Piercing that 3 armor goes a hell of a long way on that last saving grace they get in more situations.

Not to mention that again, 5 is the magic number considering the median toughness value is 3 and greatswords only fail on 1s whereas halberds also on 2s. thats one sixth of the kill potential on the average unit right there.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2015, 05:52:31 AM by Olrad »

Offline Steerpike

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Re: Greatswords are underrated.
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2015, 05:50:53 PM »
I am no one to speak about highly competitive environments, but I have to say greatswords are perfectly fine for my regular gaming.

Some time ago I took not one but two GW hordes in a 2500 game against O&G. Of course that left not many points remaining for much else, but I still squeezed a few buffing units into the list. The greatswords heroically held the nasty units while slowly grinding them, and they just cut through anything else. As always, luck ended up being relevant in the game (both in my favor and against), and one of the units died to the last man. But the Empire emerged victorious eventually.

The idea behind the list was to play the attrition game with abundant infantry and no cavalry. In fact it was quite an 'anti-internet-wisdom' army: featuring plenty of crossbows, a beast wizard and lead by a General for the Hold the Line rule. No warrior priests, canons, steam tanks or demigriphons. :mellow:
« Last Edit: April 01, 2015, 09:49:17 PM by Steerpike »

Offline CarolineWellwater

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Re: Greatswords are underrated.
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2015, 12:06:28 AM »
(( Olrad

You wrote:

Quote
Basically it's a deathstar.]

And there is your answer to why your Greatswords are doing so well.  You've made a deathstar unit, and your opponents have been foolish enough to actually engage it head on.

The biggest weakness to infantry deathstars, is your opponent can just avoid it for pretty much the game.  If, instead, your opponents are charging the front of your deathstar at it sounds like they are, then they're pretty much playing right into your hands.

Something to think about in terms of your Synergy comments.  For the same price as your 40 Greatswords, not only can I get 40 Halberds, but I also have just about enough points left over to get both of the Magic-Chariots to support them.  So... for about the same price as 40 Greatswords, I'd have 40 Halberds that are +1 to hit in melee, have a 6+ ward save, and are better supported by magic (with both the extra Power and Dispel die, plus both have a pretty decent spell).  To me, that's a big reason why to bring Halberds over Greatswords, the points you save, let you get more stuff.

Now, as to Demigryphs, here are a couple of counter points.

1) Again, for your 40 Greatsword Horde, I can get two, 3-Pax units of Demigryphs... with points left over.  So, while the Greatsword horde has 40 wounds, with a 4+ Armor Save.  The two units of  Demigryphs give you 18 wounds, at Toughness 4, with a 1+ Armor Save.  To me, advantage goes to T4 / 1+ Armor Save.  I don't need to worry about my Armor Save, if they can't get past my Toughness.

1-A) Not only that, with the Demigryphs having T4, I can be convinced to take Halberds over lance-and-shield, and rely upon a T4 / 2+ armor save, while having a boat-ton of Strength 5 attacks, all at Initiative.

2) Now, if your Greatswords are on 20mm bases, 10-across (a requirement for horde formation) is 200mm... 7.8" across.  If they're on 25mm bases, now your frontage is 250 mm... just about 10" across.  That's a broad frontage.  3 Demigryphs offer the same number of attacks at a frontage of 6.75"... which means your attacks are denser.  And, since the unit is narrower, it is considerably easier to maneuver.

3) The demigryphs are M8... which means a threat radius a 8" + 3k2" (average 16" threat radius.)  Greatswords have a threat radius of 4"+ 2k2" (average 11" threat radius).  In other words, it'll take the Greatswords one more turn to get into position to charge, when compared with the Demigryphs.

4) The Greatswords do better with the Warrior Priests "Hate" ability (as Hate doesn't affect mounts)... but the Demigryphs do better with the Warrior Priest prayers.  Hate pewters out after 1-turn of melee.  You can cast prayers every turn.  Hammer of Sigmar works on your Stomp attacks... now getting to re-roll to-wound rolls on auto-hits is sweet!

5) Now you can pay to get the Greatswords the Razor Banner, to mimic the built-in Armor Pen of the Demigryphs.  But, now you've upped the cost of your 40-sized unit of Greatswords by another 10%.  I'd rather use the built-in Armor Pen of the Demigryphs, and have additional points to play with.

6) Next, I'm not thrilled with Stubborn at all.  It helps, when you Lose combat.  It has no other effect.  Fear and Armor Pen, which the Demigryphs have built-in, effect combat each turn, and help you to Win... in which case, you won't need to make an LD check on Stubborn.  I'd rather have my unit have abilities that help me win... and not abilities that keep me around if I lose.  Staying around if I lose is why I have a BSB... not Stubborn.

7) Only the Greatswords benefit from the MR of the Witch Hunter... but that also adds another 12% to the cost of the unit (going with the 40-strong sized unit of Geatswords).  However, with the Demigryphs able to take a magic banner, I can mimic the effect of the Witch Hunter with the el cheapo Lichbone Pennant, while only adding 3% to the cost of the unit.  (I'm going to assume both units have paid for the Standard Bearer upgrade, so those 10 points are moot.)

I'm not saying Greatswords aren't a bad choice.  I'm also not saying that a Greatsword deathstar doesn't have potential to cause serious damage.  I just don't find them to be an optimal choice, and that's why I don't use or recommend them.  And maybe that's why other players don't recommend them as well.

Anyway, just some thoughts.  ))

Offline TastyBagel

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Re: Greatswords are underrated.
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2015, 12:42:54 AM »
Hah, that list sounds great Steerpike! Loves me some Greatswords.

I do agree with the OP's belief the Greatswords are underrated. Greatswords boast a unique mix of traits for an Empire infantry unit, namely: a decent armor save, S5 attacks, and being Stubborn.

Greatswords can definitely work as a big killy horde, and do it better than our Halberdiers... but the issue for most folks is that the Greatswords don't perform twice as better than Halberdiers. Few folks run Greatsword Hordes as their cost is prohibitive relative to the alternative of running a Halberdier Horde. Halberdiers are generally far more cost effective killy Hordes in most situations, letting you do basically the same thing for half the cost, so you are able to round out your list up with other things (like ubiquitous Demigryphs..).

As an alternative to fielding them as a horde...
My meta has some regular tournament players, so there are "harder" lists floating around, but it by and large a "build fluffy, play competitively" kind of environment. Silly as it can be, i play more msu-style lists, and ran 2-3 units of 10 Greatswords with Musicians for a while, to take advantage of Stubborn from the Greatswords. Being Stubborn, they could move up and delay an enemy advance, or pin something so Demis/Knights/Halberdiers could smash it in the flank. they were rather expendable, but did good work. Stubborn is a unique ability in our army, and this has worked alright for me... making the most out of an under appreciated unit.

Offline emcdunna

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Re: Greatswords are underrated.
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2015, 12:43:36 AM »
Greatswords are just priced for all of the random benefits that most people don't want. For instance: the armor save, the stubborn, maybe even the WS4, etc.

The only way you can afford to take them is if you benefit from EVERY one of the things you pay for, including detatchments.

You should never consider paying for 40 greatswords without getting 2 detachments of 20 halberdiers so that at least the stubborn buff is passed on to those guys too.

In the end, they are just overpriced for what you can do with them compared to what the game designers considered you would get to use them for.

Also, there's this thing called white lions... look it up and cry about how awful greatswords are by comparison.

Offline Jomppexx

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Re: Greatswords are underrated.
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2015, 06:50:29 AM »
There is a way to make Generals of the Empire/Greatswords playable.
For example:
General of the Empire - 120 points? 110?
M4, WS6, BS6, S4, T4, I6, A4, W3, LD9

Basically a Grandmaster without his horse, might need tweaking if he turns out to be just straight up better than the Grandmaster.
Second choice for making Generals competitive:

Same stats as before or current stats but WS6. (So still 3A)
If a General of the Empire is the general of your army:
(Either or)
A) One unit of state troops (Swordsmen, Spearmen, Halberdiers, Crossbowmen, Handgunners) may take a magic standard worth up to 25 points.
B) One unit of Greatswords can be taken in Core. (Might be too good, Greatsword core, Demigryphs in Special)

Greatswords on their own are terrible, there's no way to make them good. No matter how much you buff them with magic they will still be whimpy WS4, S3, T3 humans. Greatswords could be good if:
A) Cost was dropped down to 9 pts or something.
B) Greatswords had either S4 or T4. We aren't elves so we could have T4, Inner Circle knights have S4, why not Greatswords?

And indeed, if you compare greatswords with White Lions... Remember to bring towels. White lions cost, I think, 13 points (so 2 more). Have ASF, 3+ vs shooting, S4, M5, I5 (or 6), LD9, and of course stubborn.
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Offline emcdunna

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Re: Greatswords are underrated.
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2015, 05:31:47 AM »
Greatswords are special, like white lions (a bad thing) but are worse than Dwarven GW warriors (2 pts less, core unit, has T4, etc.) in combat and in army slot.

The only thing they are good at is looking beautiful on a shelf. Now maybe when you face beastmen or some rubbish army you can use them... but vs Nagash and UL magic heavy list? No. (I speak from personal experience)

Offline McClane

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Re: Greatswords are underrated.
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2015, 03:26:04 PM »
The more I read the forums and learn what's "good"and what's "bad" I get more and more depressed that all the units I like are crap. :(

Offline SoonerSox

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Re: Greatswords are underrated.
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2015, 06:01:56 PM »
Greatswords are amazing in Age of Sigmar. Their only flaw is having just 1 wound compared to Knights with 2 wounds. Otherwise their 2 attacks with -1 Rend combo'd with a 4+ save are really good especially if you have a hero nearby, which takes their 4+ hit to a 3+. They already have a 3+ wound so if you throw hammer of Sigmar on them from a WP you can obliterate whatever they are facing. Since there are no limits to your army list, take a wizard for mystic shield and give them inspiring presence from your general. A group of 20 will be very hard to stop.

Offline Xathrodox86

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Re: Greatswords are underrated.
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2015, 07:45:52 AM »
Greatswords are special, like white lions (a bad thing) but are worse than Dwarven GW warriors (2 pts less, core unit, has T4, etc.) in combat and in army slot.

The only thing they are good at is looking beautiful on a shelf. Now maybe when you face beastmen or some rubbish army you can use them... but vs Nagash and UL magic heavy list? No. (I speak from personal experience)

But they are nice as a general/hero bunker. I mean, where else would you place your squishy human lords, i fthey are on foot? Plus with a priest/banner combo even GS's can hit really nice, especially when buffed by some magic.

My only compaint is that they have S3, while Dark Elf Executioners are S4. What the heck GW? Elves are stronger than humans? Do they even lift?
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Offline emcdunna

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Re: Greatswords are underrated.
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2015, 11:34:35 PM »
My only wish for greatswords is for them to be 10 points, and for their detachments to still count as core.

Then they could actually function in the army as the main deathstar unit (filling core tax with detachments).

Offline Fidelis von Sigmaringen

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Re: Greatswords are underrated.
« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2015, 07:19:27 AM »
They would make a decent anvil, but hardly a deathstar.
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Offline emcdunna

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Re: Greatswords are underrated.
« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2015, 12:47:31 AM »
Warrior priest prayers + hatred + 6+ ward save + +1 to hit bonus + cold blooded leadership + augment spells + flanking detachments...

That's enough of a deathstar for me.

You can say "yeah but that costs 1200 points" well so does 40 white lions with a couple characters and BOTWD.

Offline CarolineWellwater

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Re: Greatswords are underrated.
« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2015, 04:02:55 AM »
(( emcdunna,

I'm going to assume "Cold Blooded Leadership" means you have your BSB with your Greatswords as well.

So… given all the bonuses you're talking about, your company of Greatswords would cost ~950… not including any gear for your characters, and not adding in the cost of the Greatsword detachments.

Okay, for 950 points, you could also get:

40 Tomb Guard with Full Command, and Banner of the Undying Legion
Tomb Prince
Necrotech
Heirophant Liche Priest.

and some serious points left over

So… I get a unit of Strength, Toughness 4… 5+ Armor Save / 6+ Parry Save / 6+ Regeneration… Hatred… Killing Blow… WS 5 guys… that cause Fear… and will pretty much grow more of themselves each turn.  All of which, to me, makes for a better unit.

And all that for approximately 75% the cost of your Greatsword mob.   I'd even have points left over to get Halberds for my Tomb Guard… or a couple of units of Chariots… or some Carrion… or some character upgrades... or a Tomb Herald… or a squad of Necroserpent Knights… or Tomb Stalkers… or a mob of skeleton warriors… 

Point being that, for me, Greatswords just aren't… great.  Pretty good, sure.  Better than Core Empire troops, definitely.  Worth the cost when being compared to other Empire Special choices… or against other "11 point" or "same function units"… not really.   And, all the bonuses and synergy you mentioned working on your Greatswords work just as well with Halberds, and then whole thing is cheaper to boot. ))

Offline Fidelis von Sigmaringen

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Re: Greatswords are underrated.
« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2015, 07:37:09 AM »
Warrior priest prayers + hatred + 6+ ward save + +1 to hit bonus + cold blooded leadership + augment spells + flanking detachments...

That's enough of a deathstar for me.

You can say "yeah but that costs 1200 points" well so does 40 white lions with a couple characters and BOTWD.

You are heavily dependent on spells/prayers that may or may not go off. And those WL will not need buffs to chew through your Greatswords.
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Offline emcdunna

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Re: Greatswords are underrated.
« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2015, 06:58:28 PM »
Not saying it's the best thing ever, but it's not a "C" choice. It's more like a "B" choice whereas white llions are an "A" choice

Offline Fidelis von Sigmaringen

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Re: Greatswords are underrated.
« Reply #20 on: July 17, 2015, 07:55:37 PM »
And thus not deathstar material.
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Offline Baron von Klatz

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Re: Greatswords are underrated.
« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2015, 05:01:48 AM »
The more I read the forums and learn what's "good"and what's "bad" I get more and more depressed that all the units I like are crap. :(

They're not crap, you just have to use them more strategically and make fewer mistakes with them than a more competitive unit can make.

I've seen Empire players win some tough battles with a "sub-par" list and come in high places at tournaments (sometimes even first place).

You just have to understand that your playing with a bit of a handicap and you can't rely on power plays to win. Think strategically and pray that the dice gods don't ruin your plans. :wink:
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Offline Xathrodox86

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Re: Greatswords are underrated.
« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2015, 06:04:51 AM »
The more I read the forums and learn what's "good"and what's "bad" I get more and more depressed that all the units I like are crap. :(

They're not crap, you just have to use them more strategically and make fewer mistakes with them than a more competitive unit can make.

I've seen Empire players win some tough battles with a "sub-par" list and come in high places at tournaments (sometimes even first place).

You just have to understand that your playing with a bit of a handicap and you can't rely on power plays to win. Think strategically and pray that the dice gods don't ruin your plans. :wink:

On one hand I agree with you Baron, but then I think that my opponent with his ASF, Banner of the World Dragon and High Magic just needs to sneeze at me to kill me... Yeah, the fun's kinda going away.
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Offline emcdunna

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Re: Greatswords are underrated.
« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2015, 12:22:55 AM »
BOTWD is so broken.. just be glad your greatswords don't do magical attacks ;)

But to be honest, greatswords look so insanely cool that i'm always gonna field them :) I mean come on, that armor and dem beards!

Offline CarolineWellwater

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Re: Greatswords are underrated.
« Reply #24 on: July 25, 2015, 08:44:49 PM »
(( emcdunna,

I'm not a big fan of how Greatswords look.  They look better and more professional than Core troops... but I like how the Rieks Footknights look better.  Those, I feel, look more like they are wearing Full Plate Armor.  Greatswords look somewhere between Light Armor and Heavy Armor.  And the Reiksfoot do have several models that look like they are using two-hand, or at least hand-and-a-half swords as well.

Maybe if they had greaves and cuisses instead of cloth pants, I'd be more sold on them. ))