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Battleline units: what's your flavor?

Joined
Jan 1, 2017
Messages
447
#1
Matched plays require to field battleline units, but I saw that there are really different approaches in the way of choosing and using battlelines.

ONE
given that i need to pick them, i will invest on them.
Battleline units are usually cheap, and gain bonuses when fielded in hordes, so 10 skeletons are bad, but 30-40 skellies in a single unit are good. At that point, you will use heroes to support them and your battlelines become almost the core of your army.
The upside is: the "tax points" of battlelines become your functional main force. No points wasted!
the downside is: you will have less points for behemoths or other elite units.

TWO
given that i need to pick them, i will cut the losses.
Battleline units are usually cheap, so I will save as many points as I can, using those few points I need to spend, in the best possible way.
a 10 zombie unit is good, because it costs only 60 points. Playing Tomb Kings, 5 Skeleton horsemen are also good, cause they cost 100 pts, but offer high mobility and so can go and take objectives or follow my fast units and act as screen. And screens save your precious key units from bad things, as you don't want the enemy to directly charge your heroes!
The upside is: you will spend very few "tax points" (saving them for the really strong units) and you will have some disposable chaff unit.
the downside is: you will spend anyway a certain amount of points (from 12% to 20% of your total) on suboptimal units


(two and an half)
available just to our army: zombies.
it's a mix of 1 and 2: at 2500 pts, I can pick 4 x 10 zombies as battleline, then merging them as a single 40 unit.


THREE
When you use certain allegiances, you have elite units that become battleline.
That's good, because you can field strong troops without having to waste points on weaker units and so (for example) I can pick Crypt Horrors as battleline.
The upside is: your battelines are strong troops, you won't have weak points.
the downside is: you will probably lack chaff units and every loss will be severe



What do you like / use more, and why?

Do you have in mind some other ways to choose / employ battlelines?
 
Last edited:

Oppenheimer

Crypt Horror
Joined
May 26, 2013
Messages
556
#2
I hate the idea of battleline. Terrible units should be cheap and that should be the reason to take them not because they've been artitrarily selected as a requirement.

That said I tend to either make 3 cheap units of minimum amount or one big unit and two cheap minimum units.
 
Joined
Jan 1, 2017
Messages
447
#3
I hate the idea of battleline. Terrible units should be cheap and that should be the reason to take them not because they've been artitrarily selected as a requirement.
I do believe it's more the heritage of WHFB core units.

Personally, i tend to favor solution 2: cheap units that got some nice utility, while I spend points on more precious things. However, there were many battles where cheap battlelines gave me the victory, tnx to an objective taken or a vital 1-round screening.
If only Dire Wolves were battleline...

But must be said that it also depends on the faction and the unit involved.
With an Order (Empire, maybe with also some dwarfs) army, it would be logical to max out handgunners as battleline units, increasing all the bonuses they get from unit size, generals buff and hurricanum. Guys that shoot at 16" at 2+/2+ rend -1, and that can stand and shoot, are pretty strong.
 

Malisteen

Master Necromancer
True Blood
Joined
Sep 23, 2009
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2,100
#4
I like skeletons and zombies, so my battleline is generally some combination of:

skeleton warriors with spears and tomb shields, 30 or 40 strong. These things hit like a train vs low save units, buff to high heaven, and are durable for their points, especially with ruler of the night. down side is that they want to be in a huge unit, which is awkward and pricey.

Skeleton chariots. fast enough to flank or run for objectives, very tough, threatening on the charge to low save unitd, like any deathrattle they buff to the stars, huge recursion, even moreso with a herald running around, not to pricey for a min unit.

zombies: min units cheap as chips, with the flexibility to shamble towards separate objectives or mob up into a single, vaguely threatening blob.


Here's a generic 2500 point list with my typical core at that range, provided the army isn't built around any particular gimmick):

Royal Warsphinx (general, rotn, tb)
Arkhan the Black
Tomb Herald
Necromancer
Lich Priest

40 Skeleton Warriors
3 Skeleton Chariots
10 Zombies
10 Zombies

Mortis Engine
Corpse Cart
6 Necropolis Knights

320 summoning points for style
(1 Terrorgheist; 6 Spirit Hosts + 2 Bat Swarms; 20 Zombies + 20 Archers; 40 Zombies + 1 Banshee; 2 Morghasts + 1 Banshee; etc)
 
Joined
Jan 1, 2017
Messages
447
#5
I like skeletons and zombies, so my battleline is generally some combination of:


zombies: min units cheap as chips, with the flexibility to shamble towards separate objectives or mob up into a single, vaguely threatening blob.
Re-reading the recent General's Handbook FAQs, I don't know if this tactic is still available:

Q: The Pitched Battle rules say that I have to include a certain number of Battleline units in my army. If I include them on the roster, can I choose to merge them into a single large unit when I set up?


A: No.


now, It's true that the question is using the terms "when I set up", but I doubt you can merge the units in the first turn because of it.
 

Malisteen

Master Necromancer
True Blood
Joined
Sep 23, 2009
Messages
2,100
#6
No that's about deployment, not using special rules during the game. The question is about whether a player can purchase 4 sets of, say, clanrats to satisfy the battle line requirements of a large game, then deploy them as a single unit of 40. We're not doing that. We're buying 4 sets of zombies, deploying as four separate units, and then, during the game merging them as per their special rules. There is no conflict.

If there were, it would cause all sorts of confusion, especially when you consider that you can field more than the minimum restriction, and summon additional units to the field during the game. How would you track which units were or weren't allowed to merge? No, it would be a mess.

Again, there is no conflict forcing you to worry about this. The minimum number of units is only about what you deploy, not what you have on the field at any point during the game. After all, it is normal and expected for players to end up with fewer units on the table during the game than when they started, just from normal attrition. If a player starts with the minimum number of BL units and then you kill one of them, do you stop the game and accuse them of having an illegal army? No.

The only thing you have to worry about with the zombies' mobbing up rule is that a single unit of zombies can never go above their maximum number of models per unit.
 
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447
#7
No that's about deployment, not using special rules during the game. The question is about whether a player can purchase 4 sets of, say, clanrats to satisfy the battle line requirements of a large game, then deploy them as a single unit of 40.
Wow... it never crossed my mind that someone could distort the limitations on battlelines in such a way.
They are talking about the number of battleline units in the roster for a reason. Otherwise they would talk about a percentage of points.
2 units at 1000 points is 2 units, not "one unit that happens to have a number of models that would be sufficient to form 2 units" :o
 

Malisteen

Master Necromancer
True Blood
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Sep 23, 2009
Messages
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#8
It's not an entirely unnatural question given the rather awkward method of buying units in chunks, and the various 'warscroll' based community list construction rulesets that came before the general's compendium.

The mob up thing is something unique to zombies, if it was going to be addressed in the faq, it would be under the zombie unit specifically.

That said, because of the interaction between the mob up rules and the battleline requirements, I expect that zombies will lose the rule altogether whenever 'battletome deadwalkers' shows up.
 

Alabaster427

Minister of Thriftiness
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#9
I either take ghouls or zombies. I've been trying to come up with a good list that has other battle line units but I haven't been able to yet.
 
Joined
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#10
I either take ghouls or zombies. I've been trying to come up with a good list that has other battle line units but I haven't been able to yet.
I think that is because Death desperately needs a new Battletome.

The FEC battletome was weak enough in that it didn't add any units or interesting rules. FEC as a faction feels like re-flavored orcs/ogres that prefer regeneration over raw speed/stats.

Death has so many weird tiny sub-factions that trying to go all "nighthaunt" so you can use Spirit Hosts as battleline seems fun in theory, but that sub-faction is so lacking when compared to many of the game's other factions (Skaven Skyre/Pestilence/Nurgle/Khorne/Stormcast/Sylvaneth/Seraphon/Beastclaw Raiders/Even normal ogres have a decent variety).
 
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Messages
447
#11
Yes and no.

Yes, the Death Faction needs a new battletome, FEC is too much a niche. Especially with TK discontinued, there's truly the need for more variety and actually it can be given just by new battletomes.
If GW wants to keep the fluff of rivalry between Sigmar and Nagash, they must do something in this direction.

However, our situation is still better then other armies. There's still many that sit on the initial warscrolls, and even Seraphon, that were top tier at the beginning, with the release of their battletome as first one, now are falling back with each new release, and their battletome is "fully fledged", covering the whole array of the army, while we have still many sub-factions that can still be developed.
 

Malisteen

Master Necromancer
True Blood
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#12
Death is supposed to be one of the GRAND ALLIANCES. On tier with ORDER or CHAOS, not just one of their constituent parts, like Seraphon. The situation's bad for Destruction too, though not AS bad. We need some new battle tomes pretty desperately. With some actual new units in them.
 

Alabaster427

Minister of Thriftiness
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#13
The problem is that you have to choose your one allegiance. If you go Nighthaunt or Deathrattle, for example, you lose out on the command traits and artefacts from having a Death allegiance. The trade off is very imbalanced.
 
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#14
Death is supposed to be one of the GRAND ALLIANCES. On tier with ORDER or CHAOS, not just one of their constituent parts, like Seraphon. The situation's bad for Destruction too, though not AS bad. We need some new battle tomes pretty desperately. With some actual new units in them.
Except, ORDER is made by many armies, Seraphon is one
DEATH was made by just two armies: Tomb Kings and Vampire Counts. TK are discontinued, so we have one faction that is made by one army. That is the wrong part.
We need a whole lot of new units, and a new battletome would be good only if it brings new models.

One battletome for a part of VC would be fine, if only Death was a larger faction..
 
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#15
The problem is that you have to choose your one allegiance. If you go Nighthaunt or Deathrattle, for example, you lose out on the command traits and artefacts from having a Death allegiance. The trade off is very imbalanced.
Nope, you still have the goodies of the Death Allegiance!

There's a hint in the FAQ for the General's handbook.

Q: How do you determine which Grand Alliance a unit belongs to?
A: The Grand Alliance a unit belongs to is defined by the keywords on its warscroll; so, if a unit has the Order keyword, it is part of the Order Grand Alliance.

and it has been explicitly clarified in GW's facebook page.

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Malisteen

Master Necromancer
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#16
Not that that really helps much for nighthaunts, given how limited their selections are, especially when it comes to survivable general options, spellcasters, and support. Spirit hosts are a nice unit, but they do not make for a good or interesting army all on their lonesome.
 
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