Tactica Tuesday: Unit sizes in Warhammer Fantasy

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to talk about this week until wednesday, when I played a game of Fantasy with Gus off of Epic Addiction. It was a good fun game of my Wood Elves against his Empire, but it got me thinking about how much unit size can play a part in Warhammer Fantasy. I briefly mentioned this in last week’s Tactica Tuesday with regards to Necron Destroyers and 40k, but since Fantasy doesn’t have the force organisation constrictions of 40k unit sizes are a lot more variable and, to my mind, have more of an impact on the game – for monstrous creatures and ‘elite’ units, that is. I’m sure we all agree that the more clanrats in a single unit the better!

To get back to the game, I tried out my Treekin in one large block of six rather than the two units of three that I usually run. They certainly did well enough, cutting through knights, halberdiers and a cannon crew, but for all that there’s certainly some downsides to running a large unit of monstrous infantry.

Treekin

Image (C) Games Workshop.

Being a larger unit increases the combat strength, since the unit will be able to survive that much more firepower on the way in without losing their combat effectiveness. Monstrous creatures in particular benefit from this, since the second rank gets to support with up to three attacks per model rather than one, which given the large base size of the models and the normal difficulty in getting many in base-to-base, is a boon. The unit can also benefit from a rank bonus for combat resolution, although arguably elite monstrous infantry shouldn’t need ranks to beat an opponent(!). On a personal note as well, I’m very fond of the Regrowth spell from the Lore of Life, and having fewer mainstay units makes it easier to regrow models without having to prioritize units as much. Harking back to Wednesday again, my Treekin would certainly have died at least twice if there had only been three of them, but as there were three more left I was able to keep regrowing them through the spell.

However, even in 8th edition Fantasy I’m still not sure that large units are always the way to go. Ive found that smaller units offer far more flexibility, with a greater maneouverability making it easier for them to threaten flanks or circle round the enemy. Additionally, while it makes target priority for spells such as Regrowth harder this also applies to your opponent since it’s harder to focus fire without potentially leaving yourself vulnerable. Smaller units are of course also more vulnerable, and often more of a risk due to the fact that it’s easier to destroy a unit, which can often disrupt or even destroy an army’s flank or counter-charge.

At the end of the day, speaking as a long-time Wood Elf general, I personally prefer smaller units – even in the Steadfast ranked-up game that is eighth edition. Of course, a lot of this is down to army choice and personal preference, and don’t get me wrong – I’ll certainly be running all my Treekin in one big block again sometime soon! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject – let me know what army you play and what size elite units you generally take in the comments :)

Thank you for reading, and I hope to see you again next time!

Take care,

Ben

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2 thoughts on “Tactica Tuesday: Unit sizes in Warhammer Fantasy

  1. I play Lizardmen and usually go with a few larger blocks of core and smaller groups of elite units. The biggest elite unit I run regularly is a block of 8 Cold One Riders, which I usually run 6 wide. This means my elite units are really flexible and mobile. It has its drawbacks, but I’ve had a lot of success running smaller blocks on the flanks of a few larger infantry units.

    That said, with the exception of Temple Guard (which I would only field as a unit of 20 or larger), most of my elite units are monsters that are usually fielded in relatively small blocks. I would run a block of Kroxigor in a unit of 9, but I don’t currently have the money to pick six more up…:p

    • That sounds good, I used to run a similar unit of Cold One Knights back when I played Dark Elves. I know the feeling though, I’d love to pick up three more Treekin and run a unit of nine! :)

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