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 Post subject: Size Swordmasters Units
PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:37 am 
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Hi all,

I have played warhammer in several editions, I'm using Warhammer Renaissance at this point and I'm planning to use either 9th age or The Warhammer Armies Project as well to play with my High Elves.

Question: do (in any edition you ar willing to talk about) larger units (say 10+) of Swordmasters viable?

In earlier editions they only had one attack, so ranks might help. In WHR the second rank fights, which is doublink the effect. In 8th, WAP and 9th age the second rank only has one attack, and the rules allow for smallish units. I tend to stick to them. Is there any reason not to?

In other words: do big units of SM's make sense?


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:29 pm 
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In 8th Ed High Elf infantry fights in 3 ranks (spearmen in 4) - plus one if the frontage is 10 or more (a horde).
The first rank of the Swordmasters uses their two attacks, the rear rank are supporting and can use only one of the two attacks.
Therefore it makes sense to have 3 ranks and at least 5 frontage, often 6 or even 7 if you have enough points. More than 7 and you waste attacks against other 5-wide infantry or cavalry.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:09 am 
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Auctor Aeternitatum
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They can make a bit of sense. About as much as SM in general at least. The problem with SM is that in most cases WL are better. The extra S compensates for the extra attack, especially with larger units. After all, if you have 5 models then the SM get twice the attacks of the WL. if you have 15 (in 3X5), then the SM only have 33% more attacks.

That being said, larger units of SM have some advantages over smaller units. SM in general are vulnerable to shooting. And having more bodies means you're more likely to get into combat with a decent sized unit. Also, a larger unit means that you can buff them more easily. For instance, give them the ironcurse icon and you have a 6+ ward against regular shooting and template shooting, which you can buff with high magic. This makes them pretty decent at resisting shooting. And they do get lots of attacks. 21 of them in 3X7 put out 28 attacks. Which is impressive for any unit.

My thoughts are that if you're going for the toughest tournament list out there, then there are better choices than a large unit of SM. But in a casual game they will do fine.

Rod

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 11:12 am 
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Green Istari

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I can only speak for 8th but...

Prince of Spires wrote:
That being said, larger units of SM have some advantages over smaller units.

This. Small Swordmaster units make sense in true MSU lists but otherwise they need the multiplier effects HE's thrive on in 8th.

MasterOfNone wrote:
Therefore it makes sense to have 3 ranks and at least 5 frontage, often 6 or even 7

This. I had some success with the following unit:

Archmage, Lvl 4, 4+ Ward, Dispel Scroll, Ring of Fury
19 Swordmasters, Full Command, Banner of the World Dragon
BSB, Dragon Armour, Sword of Anti-heroes, Merwyrm Shield, Ironcurse Icon.

As Rod touches on, Shield of Saphery is very helpful for this unit. If you take no further mages, every spell you cast buffs their Ward save (stacking on top of Ironcurse and Deflect Shots). Adding World Dragon creates a very strong unit which will destroy most things and lose to far fewer. The foot BSB is optional but works well with the unit. You can run the same unit with Lions instead and it remains pretty strong. Those can manage fairly well without Shield of Saphery though, so I'd tend to favour them in different builds. There's a good case that Phoenix Guard are even better with Shield of Saphery, though they'll take Razor Standard instead of World Dragon and the latter is always very tasty.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 10:34 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2004 7:54 am
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Thanks for your insights.


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