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Thread: Shooting Armies

  1. #1

    Default Shooting Armies

    My general experience has been when a shooty army meets a horde army at equal points, the horde army wins through the amount of extra bodies it has. I have played in numerous games with my chaos dwarf blunderbuss units going against Tomb Kings and Goblins, and lost. I have a friend of mine who tried to make a pure Tzeentch army for chaos daemons, and it doesn't work at equal points value against other horde armies. My same friend trying tried to play an all elf army for wood elves verses dwarves, and lost. Once he tried to use dryads and tree men in the mix, he won against the dwarves. This was at 3000 points, so there was a lot of stuff on the board. Fast forward to this Saturday, I played in an 16, 000 point battle. My friend on my right flank had a troll army from the warrior of chaos at 2000 points, and opposite him was a wood elf army with flyers and shooty elves. I held the center with 3000 points of chaos dwarves, and I was paired against 2000 points of ogres. There was no where for the opposing ogre player to flank attack, so he proceeded to get destroyed through magic and blackpowder (fireglaives) in a frontal assault. The trolls got to the wood elves and destroyed them. I have experimented in the past to build 2000 point shooty chaos dwarf armies, but I am not satisfied with the results against hordes. I have tried to do the same with my ogres, using black powder like leadbelchers and maneaters with a brace of pistols, but these armies aren't competitive at equal points. I am starting to think a shooty army needs a 25% point increase to be competitive to a comparable horde army.

    Chaos dwarves are expensive in their war machines and black powder, making it hard to get enough guarding units and redirection chaff. It's so simple to come up with an ogre 2000 point list that has horde of bulls, a unit of mournfangs, and two ironblasters, and you are ready to go clobber any army. I can't make a chaos dwarf army comparable to that, in the use of shooting. I have heard of rumors where black powder armies work, but I have never seen a gun line work, or an all arrow army work. Tell me where I am wrong about shooty armies. Are there any success stories out there?

  2. #2

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    I think there are two ways to go about a competitive shooting army in Fantasy. The first is to play an avoidance list with lots of ranged chaff, i.e. typical Wood Elf builds, certain Dark Elf builds. As you say, shooting alone can't beat down a combat horde, though taking lots of ranged chaff to slow it down and redirect a horde can still get you a draw perhaps by killing the rest of their points. The second is a mixed gunline with a few good combat blocks. Very few armies can do static gunlines well, and the ones that do have to have decently strong/durable combat units to hold up whatever makes it through the shooting. Dwarves have Ironbreakers/Irondrakes/etc for this and tend to do it better than any other army, but Chaos Dwarves can sort of do it as well with the T8 W8 Iron Daemon and 3+ 6++ Infernal Guard in Core.

    Some lists like Orcs and Goblins or the Khalida-star put out ridiculous amounts of shooting and can still fit in heaps of chaff/combat units, but most armies don't have that luxury. Magic is a bit help (obviously not for Dwarves) as even one successful casting of the Dwellers Below or the Purple Sun can rip the heart out of a combat horde. I'm not as experienced as I would really like to be with these kinds of lists, but I think that is what tends to work - I'm not sure any army can get away with a pure shooting build in Fantasy at the moment, especially not with units like a Fast Cavalry Warlock bus or a Movement 9 Dragon Prince bus with the Banner of the World Dragon.
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  3. #3

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    Have you seen the new wood elf codex? I have a friend who plays it and he's lost when he plays an all elf list. He's had some success with mixed lists of dryads and elves. I think is problem is that he doesn't have any of the rangers with their great weapons. I've played chaos dwarves against his all elf list and won, and then I saw a mixed wood elf and dryad army get slaughter by an all khorne daemon army. He did manage to kill a 500 pt Bloodthirster with hagbane poisoned arrows though. I don't think woodelves have much in melee, maybe a block or horde of treekin, or the rangers would work.

  4. #4

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    Empire and High Elves are the two that, imho, can do a static gunline well enough to survive most -- but you always have to include at least one unit (preferably two) that can step in to act as a blocking force at some point.
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  5. #5

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    Dark elves have good ways to do this but not enough for them to be a viable tournament army especially if it's comped swede style. One tactic is as mentioned above, use 4-5 units of warlocks or dark riders to force double failed charges and you can do that a couple of times and keep the enemy hoards out of combat for 3-4 turns. Even if they manage to get into combat with a tiny 5 man unit the DE player has probably angled them in such a way as to force them to an angle where they have to turn again to line up to a new target. It's a super annoying tactic to pay against but it works as well for DE as it does for WE. You would also want some sort of magic to boost them like something to lower toughness and movement like shadow or raise your troops BS. Obviously spells that force whole unit tests or die are anti hoard as well. You fry half the unit with a unit killer spell and then pick off the rest with shooting. A shooting ONLY army won't do that great without support. A level 4 and a lvl 2 caster makes sure you get 1 unit killer spell and you just 6 dice it until you hit that hoard. Combined with the redirectors is how you win.

  6. #6

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    I play both Dwarfs and Empire and as far as I've had any luck trying heavy shooting lists I always come up short. Both of my armies lack the mobility to shoot and get out of the way. I think if you are really wanting to play gunline then you need to roll Elves. The ability to not only gun people but to move around them and keep from dying in the process is pretty important. It will take finesse and learning to do it but I've never had luck with my two armies going gunline.
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by dms505 View Post
    Dark elves have good ways to do this but not enough for them to be a viable tournament army especially if it's comped swede style. One tactic is as mentioned above, use 4-5 units of warlocks or dark riders to force double failed charges and you can do that a couple of times and keep the enemy hoards out of combat for 3-4 turns. Even if they manage to get into combat with a tiny 5 man unit the DE player has probably angled them in such a way as to force them to an angle where they have to turn again to line up to a new target. It's a super annoying tactic to pay against but it works as well for DE as it does for WE. You would also want some sort of magic to boost them like something to lower toughness and movement like shadow or raise your troops BS. Obviously spells that force whole unit tests or die are anti hoard as well. You fry half the unit with a unit killer spell and then pick off the rest with shooting. A shooting ONLY army won't do that great without support. A level 4 and a lvl 2 caster makes sure you get 1 unit killer spell and you just 6 dice it until you hit that hoard. Combined with the redirectors is how you win.
    Basically agree but I think Wood Elves are even better at this. The ambushing gladeriders, use of the woods and true flight are huge! The only thing which comes close to balancing that for DE IMHO is the warlocks which are amazingly strong.

  8. #8

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    The key?

    No gunline is ever, ever going to remove combat from the game entirely. So plan ahead for when the enemy gets crackin' with the knackin'.

    Undead in particular are a pain, as early on, it's pretty realistic they can replace casualties as fast you can cause them. and you don't have so much as a glimmer of panicking anything off the board. Gobbos, yeah not so much

    Use your shooting as efficiently as possible. Take out the support units first and foremost. Even if you don't wipe them out, it's perfectly possible to see such units reduced beyond the point of usefulness and impact.

    Use your shooting to knock off ranks here and there, rather than go for the wipe out. If you have the option, always upgrade with shields. Take Dark Elf Repeater Crossbows. They are a bit pricey with shield, but then you end up with a very competent combat unit (just as good as Bleakswords, or whatever they're called these days) equipped with quite possibly the best infantry based ranged weapon in the game.

    Like or not, Warhammer is won or lost in the combat phase. Even Magic, dirty as it can be, won't alone carry the day in the majority of your games!
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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Mystery View Post
    The key?

    No gunline is ever, ever going to remove combat from the game entirely. So plan ahead for when the enemy gets crackin' with the knackin'.

    Undead in particular are a pain, as early on, it's pretty realistic they can replace casualties as fast you can cause them. and you don't have so much as a glimmer of panicking anything off the board. Gobbos, yeah not so much

    Use your shooting as efficiently as possible. Take out the support units first and foremost. Even if you don't wipe them out, it's perfectly possible to see such units reduced beyond the point of usefulness and impact.

    Use your shooting to knock off ranks here and there, rather than go for the wipe out. If you have the option, always upgrade with shields. Take Dark Elf Repeater Crossbows. They are a bit pricey with shield, but then you end up with a very competent combat unit (just as good as Bleakswords, or whatever they're called these days) equipped with quite possibly the best infantry based ranged weapon in the game.

    Like or not, Warhammer is won or lost in the combat phase. Even Magic, dirty as it can be, won't alone carry the day in the majority of your games!
    I mostly agree, this is true of traditional gunlines but the WE and DE avoidance style armies CAN avoid combat or only engage on favourable terms against many army builds.

  10. #10

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    I've played Empire for quite some time now, and I've had a very hard time focusing on one aspect of gameplay versus the other. I've tried shooting armies, magic armies, combat armies, avoidance lists, etc. But I'm sure MOST of my problem is also jumping from one list to the other and not focusing on one game style, haha

    I know of a few empire players that do really well with ranged lists, but often a combination of magic and shooting. You're right, can't completely exclude combat but I believe most use the Steam Tank to that purpose. But again, combat is a phase of gameplay you should not exclude unless you can figure a way to issue a mass of panic tests before they reach you in combat. All-the-while hoping you have very little reaching your battle line.

    Great discussion, I'd love to try a ranged list and execute it successfully. Just haven't been able to yet, lol

 

 

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