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  1. #1

    Default Throwing some Shapes in the Church of War.

    Slight mangling of a quote from the very excellent Spaced. Not bad for a title, eh?

    So, it seems that despite early accusations (from people who had already decided they didn't like the game), AoS does in fact offer up quite a lot of tactical opportunity. And I'd like to discuss what people have experimented with - mostly to see if there's owt I can pinch for my own nefarious deeds.

    Fog up? One which is remarkably simple. The supporting unit.

    We all know how combat works in AoS. You charge one unit, but anyone in range is free to have a swing, whether they're locked in combat or not.

    The supporting unit is just that - a second unit behind your front line. For this to work, I'm making two broad assumptions. And here they are.

    1. Your choice of supporting unit has at least a 2" range on their close combat weapons
    2. Your opponents unit has only a 1" range.

    If either of these isn't what it should be - this just plain old ain't gonna work so well.

    If both are there? Deploy your frontline unit - it can be any unit you like, but for best results consider something with reasonable armour, or special rules to help them avoid damage (shields, buffs etc). Keep them tightly packed (with no templates, there's little downside to this), and have the unit numerically superior to the supporting unit - just how many more will depend on the base sizes in play. In essence, you're looking for enough dudes (or ladies) to form a either a straight line with flanks (think Oldhammer, but with the filling removed from a unit) or a broad, sweeping curve.

    That done? It's time to deploy your Supporting Unit. Again, this can be any unit as long as they have that all important 2" range or greater - but it really, really works if you're lucky enough to have access to a 'ranged' unit that does multiple damage for each unsaved wound. Made your choice? Good stuff. Deploying them is going to take some precision need them to be 1" behind the frontline unit. No more. No less. Numbers wise, don't go too crazy. They need to sit behind that frontline unit, and at all times remain at least 1" behind them, including any flanks. And to prevent sneaky charges engaging the supporting unit directly, keep them small enough that there's a decent amount of Frontline unit on the flanks, ready to move in to penclose the supporting unit.

    Now for the tricky part - this is easiest to wield as a static set up, only moving the Frontline units flanking models to enclose. The whole formation absolutely can move about freely, but if you want to maintain the formation, unless you're the creative sort and have made yourself a movement tray, you'll need to keep that 1" gap nice and precise - and this may slow down the pace of the game (nothing wrong there, but not everyone's cup of tea).

    Anyways. Static or shifty - once they're in position, you just let the enemy come to you. With no way to easily engage the supporting unit directly, your opponent will have to go through the frontline - whilst being duffed over by both of your units. If your opponent has over extended his charges, there's every chance both of your units will be able to swing before his one.

    With the extra damage inflicted by the supporting unit, and their immunity to immediate reprisals, your opponent is likely to have a really hard time from Battleshock - all the more so if your support unit has multiple damage weapons (oh, hai, Ironguts...)

    Right, that's one broadly laid out. to take it apart.

    Oh yes. No tactic is perfect. Every fortress built can be taken down. Here? It's actually quite beautifully simple. Go for the mainline units flanks. USe a sacrificial prawn unit to engage them off centre. Depending on the relative sizes of the Frontline and Supporting unit, you stand a decent chance of drawing the frontline unit off enough to expose the support unit (which is less likely, but not guaranteed so) to have received magical buffing, leaving it about as vulnerable as it will ever be. Of course this requires having a few units in place to charge, but hey - we all need to plan, no?

    K. Over to you guys. Let us know what you've come up with, what you've seen, and whether you've spotted a way round it

    Oh yeah - I'd totes attach a diagram, but the copy of MS Paint on my machine doesn't have the shape stamps, so that's me well beyond the limits of artistic ability.

    I may be able to knock summat up on the iPad though.
    Last edited by Mr Mystery; 10-27-2015 at 05:59 AM.
    Fed up for Scalpers?

  2. #2


    Right. One quick doodle later...

    Please bear in mind this is a) quite good for me b) not to scale c) demonstrative purposes only.

    Black dots represent the Frontline unit. Red dots are of course therefore the supporting unit.

    Irregular curve used because I'm rubbish at art.

    As you can see, the perimeter formed by the Frontline unit continues some distance beyond the Support Unit. As per my description, this is to allow them to curve back in, as seen on the right hand side, to better block units trying to circumvent the screen.

    And if you're really keen, you could always put a proper ranged unit (bows and that) just behind the Support Unit.

    Speaking of proper range units - this deployment/strategy/tactic type thing works best if all the models are the roughly the same size. With the Frontline unit tightly packed, you stand a chance of entirely obscuring LoS to the Support Unit, keeping it that much safer until it's muscle is needed for the delicate and judicious smashing in of faces.
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    Last edited by Mr Mystery; 10-27-2015 at 06:27 AM.
    Fed up for Scalpers?

  3. #3


    Currently working on not one, but two crude little doodles to show a further possible refinement to the above.....

    Dunno when I'll get a chance to post it. Lunch break is nearly over, and tonight I really need to get cracking with the packing for my house move on Saturday.
    Fed up for Scalpers?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Isle of Man


    what a busy bee you are
    Twelve monkeys, eleven hats. One monkey is sad.

  5. #5


    Not a bee.

    I'm a Wasp at a picnic. The picnic of those who say the game has no tactics.

    I'm a Wasp at a picnic. The picnic of those who say the game has no tactics. AND I AM IN THEIR JAMS.
    Fed up for Scalpers?

  6. #6


    Right then....

    Supporting Unit variant #1 - The Gates.

    Nice and straight forward - instead of one Frontline unit, you use two. Might work best with identical units, but it's not essential.

    Deployment is done as follows.

    Only change is that as mentioned, the Front line is instead two units, meeting in the middle. Keep them as close together as you can.

    As you might be able to guess from the (oh so crude) arrows, this gives you the option of swinging the Frontline units wide, allowing the Support Unit to sally forth and get crackin' with the knackin' should something worthy present itself.

    This done, you can protect the flanks of the Support Unit with its former shieldwall, allowing the Support Unit to focus on duffing up its main target.

    This can be particularly irksome for your opponent, as there's the chance you can do your breakout and then reform the formation in your next turn if everything stays close enough.

    It can helps mitigate the natural counter in my second post - your opponent engaging the flank of the Frontline Arc to expose your Support Unit. As you can no doubt tell, it forces your opponent to commit yet more resources to that, as they need to peel away both Frontline Units.
    Last edited by Mr Mystery; 10-27-2015 at 02:48 PM.
    Fed up for Scalpers?

  7. #7



    Now I've got your attention again....some more thoughts on the Shape of your deployment, this time exploiting the pile in rule.

    It's all about the curves, Beh-beh!

    Here I've used the old classic of castling. Hill is in lilac, Frontline units in black, Artillery in Yellow, and a Mobile Reserve in Green.

    But why the curves? Straight forward envelopment friend, and a way to try to control where your opponent will strike. If he goes for the centre, his smaller elite units will find the two wings of the charged unit closing in around them, maximising your return attacks - especially if they overextend their charges, allowing you the option of wailing on such an enveloped unit before it does any damage.

    It's particularly effective against lone Monsters - whilst they can certainly dish it out, they still need to minimise retaliation attacks
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    Last edited by Mr Mystery; 10-27-2015 at 03:05 PM.
    Fed up for Scalpers?

  8. #8


    Click image for larger version. 

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    This is what my friend did in our last game, the positioned a ranged unit on a choke point with enough space between the models to charge a melee unit through, unfortunately I couldn't get close enough to the gun line with my own melee unit to charge
    Long live the glorious nagash supreme lord of the undead and immortal king. Emotionally imparred autistic with a tendency towards obsessing on near useless topics like dinosaurs

  9. #9



    And pleasing to see you have embraced the new form of art that is crude doodling!

    How was the choke point formed?
    Fed up for Scalpers?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Her Majesty's United Kingdom


    Interesting stuff. The range stat for close combat weapons was a big change for a GW game and one which I am still getting used to. Careful use of it can really be the difference between a well thought out game and just mashing your models together in the middle of the table. It also makes spears and other pole arms more relevant and thematic which is nice.
    Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit
    Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.


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