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How to: Deploy


Jul 13, 2014
I was hoping to stimulate a general discussion/guide thread on deployment. I played 2.4k against High Elves, and even with summoning ~900pts onto the board I still got trounced. My opponent was rushing me a lot which I did not appreciate, especially during my crucial magic phases. That and some horrifically sneaky unit placement and reforms... (Did I mention it was a list geared up for Lizardmen and hunting down skinks?) Anyway, enough excuses...

I'm quite certain that I wouldn't have got trounced so heavily had my deployment been more effective. I think this could be said for many of my match ups, so I'm clearly doing something wrong.

Tips on deployment then?

I'd post some battle deployment graphics but that would only really help me specifically in the match from yesterday, and I'd like this thread to be a place to gather a kind of tactica on deployment, what sort of units should match up with other units, what units are good at taking down other units, guarding flanks, vanguarding, maintaining line of sight for units that need it and any and everything else you can think of.

Looking forward to hearing your advice and suggestions.


Minister of Thriftiness
Dec 9, 2013
Do you always play battle line? or do you mix it up?

Typically, if I am running 3-4 units of Direwolves, I place 2 units first. This allows me to still have a pretty open deployment zone and hopefully get my opponent to place some of his blocks. If they also have chaff placed first, so be it. I save the other wolves to counter deploy against war machines. I only vanguard if I think or know that I am going second to get a good charge in, or I am trying to goad a charge first turn. Vanguarding can also help if you go first and you are just trying to get out of the charge arc of your opponents front line.

I usually place the unit(s) that my characters will be in close to last and nearest where I want them to be. Sometimes I will place a TG right before the characters and between two units to keep my opponent guessing which unit my general will be in. Other times I place it early because a TG will usually draw out an enemy hammer almost immediately, leaving you to counter deploy yours.

Nagash, I will usually try to hide behind a building if the enemy has cannons, bolt throwers, and such. Otherwise, he is in the background. You can also use your large targets like ME, TG, Nagash, Mortarchs, etc. to hide smaller things like a casket or even a lone character on foot and prevent sniping.

I like to be sneaky: I have a ghoul on top of my casket as the keeper and use two wight kings as the guards. Then I might place a necromancer right next to the casket with the two wight kings. Obviously I disclose that it's a character in deployment, but more often than not, your opponent will forget or just be paying attention to your general's placement. Later on, it looks like the necromancer is just a crewmen. This allows you to hide a character in plain sight without much fear of him getting killed and free to cast magic.


Vampire Count
Oct 28, 2011
I play my battle line depending on the use I want them to perform:

- Usually, I play my Infantry in the center, and have 2 - 3 infantry blocks. Not all of them are designed to win combats. This is to have a chance to dominate the center of the board, preventing one flank from meeting with the other too soon or without my consent, because I play strong flank and weak flank. They must be placed exactly on the limit of the deployment zone, so that the can rush forward and block if they need to. Sometimes there is no need to advance, so they just reform/wheel/move sideways to adjust and prepare to recieve a charge.

- Then I place my speedbumps/redirectors according to the units in front of them I want to delay. Direwolves, Fell bats, Spirit hosts come in here. Fell Bats are essential if you plan to counter charge Cavalry with Cavalry, but only if you favor engaging dangerous units with your own dangerous units right off the bat. Speaking of bats, those Fellbats can set up a very very nice Cavalry vs Cavalry charge, almost guaranteed that you'll be the one lowering the lances upon them.

- Last, I choose the flank I want to be my strong side, where my general goes and deploy my Cavalry there. If I field a terrorgheist, he goes near too so he can march. On the opposite flank I have my weak flank, which means it can be composed of Vargheists that will fly over the incoming unit and prepare to hunt down archers, etc. That flank is going to recieve a lot of punishment, so tarpits must be stronger there to hold down units as much as possible, until my cavalry has flanked and crushed the middle.

So you see, in the end, I want the middle to be stuck on meaningless combats. it doesn't matter I don't win them, as long as they can hold for 3+ turns, which is long enough for Cavalry, monsters and all the pain a V. Lord can bring to the table, to gain their side and start enganging dangerous units from the rear/flank. Even the most powerful horde can succumb to a well planned flank-charge, and you need very few support units to make that happen, so long as your center infantry moves where they need to be, and not an inch further.


Mortarch of the Dark Soul
True Blood
Dec 23, 2012
As for specifics with your game, also post army lists along with the deployment graphic.

As for general deploying advice, here is some tips that remain time tested and true:

1) roughly look at your army and his, and divide them up into units A, B and C. Unit A is his star player. B the moderate stuff. C his weak unit. When deploying and maneuvering you're goal should be to engage his B with your A, his C with your B and his A with your C. Once his B and C is dead, remove his A with your A+B. This is not literal. It's more complicated, with chaff, redirecting, flanking etc. But being aware of these parts of an army and how they function and getting these matches to occur leads to greater victories.

2) have enough units to out deploy, and fewer dogs to get +1 to go first. Deploy you noncommital units first. These are units that can easily relocate (fast cavalry and flyers). Chaff usually falls into this category. More drops is not always better. Best is enough uncommitted drops to force him to start putting key units into play before you. Unless your army is built to go second, then it doesn't matter.

3) learn how to pull off and counter a denied flank. Basically, you deploy noncommittal units first, then get him to deploy a key unit on one side of the board. As you start deploying key units, he reacts and hopefully divides his forces. Once deployed, his army is deployed across the board while your army if concentrated on one side. You then move your noncommital units to the committed side and his army is now split. Manuever and engage properly and he can't get them back together.

Counter denied flanks by committing only to the middle and one side. Hop your blenders over to secondary units to concentrate your points of impact/damage. Worse case scenario, raise dead and chaff/redirect/summon your way out of it.

4) using redirection and charge baiting wisely, scatter and jam up his movement. Take advantage of opportunities that will present themselves (usually flank charges).

5) identify and minimize greatest to weakest threats in priority order.If range or magic an issue, engage to avoid shooting/magic missiles. If monstrous cavalry, redirect. Artillery, send hunters after it. Massive deathstar, out maneuver it and keep it warring it's time. Use remain in play spells like curse of years and doom & darkness to soften threats then hit them where they will break. Keep these tactical responses in mind while deploying but be careful not to react to your opponent so much that you lose sight of your own army synergies and support.

Let me know if you have questions.


Wight King
Mar 25, 2009
Without seeing the exact nature of your deployment and his, I normally use this as a general rule:

1. Make a quick risk analysis of all the units he in his army. To me, this means which units pose the most threat, has the most power, and can move the fastest. The highest threat are ones that are both fast and can cause a lot of damage. Compare this to slow-moving low-damage units and they're not as threatening. Know what he has as his main combat units, his bunkers, his chaff and re-directors, his long-ranged shooting options, or his hard-hitting MCs.

2. Look at what you have in your army and think to yourself: Do you have anything to deal with said units, ranging from the highest risk to the lowest. You should already know your army well enough to know what it can and cannot handle.

3. Formulate a strategy on how you're going to deal with what he has on his side of the table.

4. Enter the actual deployment phase, in which you're actually executing your strategy with tactical maneuvers. This is where you take all your analysis and deploy answers for them. Luckily, as VC, you're able to out-deploy most of your opponents with plentiful Dire Wolves and Spirit Hosts. If your Blenderbus can handle his main combat block, you deploy across from it as a natural 'check' for that unit. Unfortunately, we are Undead and require most of the army to deploy fairly close to each other. This is why most VC deployments are "weighted" if you're using a knight-bus, and you won't find a standard line unless you're playing on foot. This is both the strength and weakness of the fast-movers VC list vs. the walking VC list.

Which list do you have? It's better you just post your list and your opponent's list :)


Vampire Count
Oct 28, 2011
I have a way to remedy such moving weakness Hero!

I see our army (infantry-wise) to only needing to move up to 12 more inches than where they start, that means the first march move and then a regular move, tops. Our Blenderbus can safely leave the army to shamble forward from then on, unless you are facing a gunline, in which case, you should deploy so that tarpits get beaten first, and advance 8'' at a time, until it's time to faceroll archers with Cavalry awesomeness.

So, even if the bus on one side of the table, the army should do fine providing central cover, or at least that's how I see it.