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Author Topic: Very large units  (Read 1563 times)

Offline Misfratz

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Very large units
« on: April 07, 2005, 11:11:55 AM »
The thread on knight unit sizes kicked off a train of thought...

Reminding me of a venerable article in WD [before 6th edition and max unit sizes] when they discussed using huge units in Warhammer.  We're talking >50 halberdiers and 24 [6x4] Knights Panther, that sort of thing.

Now I've heard oblique references to the use of 40 Greatswords on here and the infantry units in the TVI list are large as standards go [~36], but I was wondering whether people had tried very large units of knights recently.  Basically of infantry unit size in terms of model count.

Also would be interesting to hear if people had tried using monster units of infantry - say 50+.  At that size your detachments could be a very respectable 25 strong...

Elsewhere I've often seen Goblin horde armies with max unit sizes of 20 which doesn't make much sense to me.  Given the popularity of MSU does warhammer favour redundancy in terms of number of units more than having a large unit?  [To answer my own question the psychology rules do this a bit because of the risk of losing a whole unit to a terror test for example.]
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Offline rufus sparkfire

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Very large units
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2005, 11:30:12 AM »
Very large units tend to be inefficient, and dreadfully vulnerable to certain things. They are also extremely awkward to maneuver.

In the case of infantry, there is little to gain by taking a unit of greater than thirty men, unless they are unbreakable or stubborn (and in the second case, also immune to terror and panic). This is because a unit of fifty swordsmen is no harder to break in combat than a unit of twenty-five, except that it is more likely to outnumber the enemy. If it fails a terror/panic check, or is flank charged, a large number of points will be lost. Two units of twenty-five spread the points out, and more importantly are able to maneuver independantly to accomplish different goals.

Very large knight units are insanely expensive, and turn like bricks. They can certainly crush almost anything they charge, but can also be diverted and delayed to the point where they have no influence on the game. Once again, a flank charge by a much smaller unit can see them off quite effectively.

For these reasons, it is generally better to take a large number of moderate to small units than a few huge ones.
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Offline Crimsonsphinx

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Very large units
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2005, 11:52:06 AM »
The only army i can think of where large infantry units are a good strategy are undead in both guises.

Firstly VCs, get 40 zombies, keep summoning and the enemy has pretty much no way of getting any vps for this unit.
Same goes for Tks, but they are limited to smaller units and cant add.

Empire, going beyond 30-35 is probably not sensible due to the ever spiraling cost.  Normally with 30 swordsmen, my enemy doesnt get half Vps for them ever, as theres usually still around 20 left by the end of the game.
That is the only advantage of huge units, VP denial, but this can go horribly wrong if a hammer unit charges you and wipes you out, as you have probably lost your most expensive unit and a banner and whatever characters you may have had on the front rank, as empire ones normally cant make up huge differences in CR.
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Offline Konrad von Richtmark

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Very large units
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2005, 11:59:19 AM »
Have to agree with Rufus - after 25 models, the law of diminishing returns kicks in with force. Except, perhaps, if we're talking about a unit with a Griffon Standard, and thus needs to be able to retain ranks even after concentrated fire. In that case I could consider 30, but definitely not anything above that.
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Offline Misfratz

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Very large units
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2005, 12:39:17 PM »
All very good points, but has anyone tried it anyway?  Just for fun?
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Offline Crimsonsphinx

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Very large units
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2005, 12:41:41 PM »
Like i said not with empire.
Used a unit of 35 highelf spearmen before though, that was sure different, and they did well.

But it was way too risky and its not something i could repeat again as my opponants would probably have something hugely nasty to break them such as chariots, but anythings worth a try once.
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Offline jlutin

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Very large units
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2005, 01:19:27 PM »
Would you rather have the extra 15 models that will probably never see combat or a pegasus, or almost a unit of vanilla knights?

When playing Warhammer competitively one must strive for efficency.  I used to take units of 30, now I have parsed them down to 25ish.  I like having the extra 5, but I need the second unit of knights worse.  I know I cannot go below that or I cannot count of having a full rank bonus going into combat, and that is the most important thing for a rank and file HTH unit.

Likewise I used to take 8 in my detachments.  But I found that they could not hold the rank negating bonus.  3 models were not enough.  So I tried 12 (too expensive) and settled on 10.

I used to like to take 2 detachments for each unit, but now I only take 2 for my griffoned unit and the rest get one.

In the end, the question is...

What advantage does having 50 models give you in a 2000 point game?  Even on paper, what are the advantages?  Do they outweigh the cost?  I think you will find that on paper it doesn't make sense, so it is doubtful you will see them in any game outside of a fluffy/fun match.
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Offline bofto

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Very large units
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2005, 09:31:51 PM »
I ran a unit of 30 knights once (BM to the rescue!).  It did well in a)taking damage like a mother, b)scaring the crap out of the other team.  We ran them straight down the middle of the board and just stuck them in, where they remained for the rest of the game (8 turns or so...).  

A friend of mine ran 20+ WW.  They got stopped by a pair of staggered spawn for the whole game.  He was very unhappy.
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Offline Jon23516

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Very large units
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2005, 11:56:27 PM »
Quote from: bofto
I ran a unit of 30 knights once (BM to the rescue!).  It did well in a)taking damage like a mother, b)scaring the crap out of the other team.  We ran them straight down the middle of the board and just stuck them in, where they remained for the rest of the game (8 turns or so...).  

A friend of mine ran 20+ WW.  They got stopped by a pair of staggered spawn for the whole game.  He was very unhappy.


A new guy at my shop dusted off his old Chaos models and is trying to get back into the game. He regularly runs a 15-model Chosen Khorne Chaos Knight unit (5 wide, 3 deep). He wonders why he doesn't win many games. "Hey Frenzied Unit! Chase me, chase me!" yells a brave pistolier...

Back on topic, I would have to agree with most here, 30-man blocks work but are not as efficient as 25-man units, which work just as well. I've never tried 8 or 12-man detachments. I've got 10-man movement trays and my detchment models divide evenly in tens.

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Offline TheBuilder

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Very large units
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2005, 01:50:32 AM »
Get Duke Leto in here....He runs a unit of 40 Greatswords with two detachments of 20

Thats some size
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Offline HoS

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Very large units
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2005, 01:58:27 AM »
Wow :shock:  that is EXPSENSIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!! :twisted:  But delicous!
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Offline Konrad von Richtmark

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Very large units
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2005, 07:59:39 AM »
And something which would make a mortar gunner get high of excitement... :roll:
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Offline K2

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Very large units
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2005, 02:55:01 AM »
In my TVI list one of Parent units is a unit of 35 naked spearmen (7wide/5deep) purely for intimadation purposes. I know they are trumped up goblins in combat, but when my opponent see that huge unit in all its glory, images of a wall of spears and griffon banners make them tremble in their boots.
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