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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 1:05 am 
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Something Cool

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Shadow Warriors --- Welcome back to the Meta

With recent changes in the wider metagame it has become imperative to seize board control before the game ever begins. New books have had an increasing amount of vanguarding and dangerous scouting units. Shadow warriors fill a niche that no other high elf unit can, mid board control.


The Need:

40 Hammerers, 40 Longbeards and 20+ Irondrakes all have the ‘Strollaz rune allowing them to vanguard. Dwarf units have seen a rise in their combat potential with big scary units possibly rerolling to hit and being able to vanguard them half way across the table puts them in your face and in charge range before turn 1 even begins.

Waywatchers and scouting Deepwood scouts with hagbane arrows. Well waywatchers are the bane of heavy armor, and even against our elite infantry with the option to multi shot they’ll be able to clear elves in droves. Deepwood scouts can get close enough to our bolt throwers and let fly the 6s in an attempt to poison them with our very fragile 2 wound warmachines.

Dark Riders are the best fast cavalry in the game. Check that, they’re tied with Warlocks and they’re both in the same book. With vanguard they become some of the scariest units on the table and there’s usually a lot of them. Lots of shooting, debufffing magic and just being a headache makes these units a nightmare on the tabletop.

Just from these three books alone we’ve found a purpose for shadow warriors. The same principles can be said against any army with either scouts or vanguarding fast cavalry. Shadow warriors can keep these units either bubble wrapped away from your warmachines and/or pin vanguards in their own deployment zone.

Purpose:

As stated above the unit of Shadow warriors is great to keep your valuable Repeater Bolt Throwers bubble wrapped against scouts. What I mean is that you can deploy your bolt throwers deep in your own deployment zone. Then use an eagle to seal off the mid zone by deploying close to the edge deployment line. Finally the shadow warriors are placed mid-field effectively forcing the scouts to be beyond 30” away from your bolt throwers or other fragile units. If you lose the scout roll, shadow warriors can focus on countering vanguards or setting themselves up for later shenanigans and the scouts are left open to quick charging.
With so many crazy combat units out there presently 8th edition has quickly evolved into redirect or chaffhammer. An extra cheap redirector with the added addition of scouting is a great unit to have. They can set up midfield and with eagles make great double fleers and slow down the progress of your opponent’s army.

Application:

So now that we have identified the need and even the purpose of a 5 man shadow warrior team what are some practical ways on implementing them on the field.

The bait!

In this theory the shadow warriors set up across from one of your opponents nastiest but fragile combat blocks. Hopefully you can position them in a manner, which allows you to also bubble wrap your warmachines or block some vanguards. Opposite of this combat block should be your heavy hitters, white lions/phoenix guard/dragon princes/etc, but in a not so obvious position.
When you deploy your shadow warriors make sure their center is lined up with the opposing center that would cause the opponent to charge towards your heavy hitters. Now most opponents will see the threat of the redirect and declare the charge straight away. If they don’t that’s ok! Your shadow warriors are free to draw fire or redirect in later turns. If they do declare the charge flee! This is imperative! Your opponent won’t have anything else in charge range and will be unable to redirect. Your goal here is to roll average and get your shadow warriors run down.
This works best against heavy cavalry busses. If your shadow warriors run 17” they’ll most likely be cut down but you’ve now drawn your opponents cav star way out of position and right in front of your big nasties.

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For this example we'll use a big unit of Empire Inner Circle knights with all the bells and whistles. The shadow warriors have set up the redirect by using their scout move then inching closer.

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The Shadow Warriors flee back toward their lines drawing the cavalry away from safety.


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The shadow warriors are caught but you've now placed your opponent in prime position to be massacred before help can ever arrive.

Double Flee:

This doesn’t need much explanation but for completion’s sake I’ll include it. Use the shadow warriors to redirect an enemy unit and declare to flee as a charge reaction. Make sure you set up a unit of reavers or eagles or unit X behind the shadow warriors to flee through. When your opponent redirects to the unit behind the SW flee with that unit as well. Your opponent has no choice but to charge the secondary redirector and will fail the charge because the secondary redirector has bounced through your shadow warriors!

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The Shadow warriors have positioned themselves to redirect a unit of 40 hammerers. The eagle then deploys behind.

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The hammerers declare a charge and the shadow warriors flee through the Great Eagle.

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The hammerers then redirect into the great eagle who also flees through the shadow warriors. The hammerers have a failed charge and can only move a maximum of 6"
Fire Magnet:

Set them up in front of a warmachine. Dare your opponent to shoot at anything else.

Hard Cover Screen:

Works really well against ballistic skill based shooting armies. Because they’re skirmishers they are pretty darn mobile for infantry and with free reforms can find themselves in advantageous positions to place your more fragile combat units in cover.

Finally: Flee away from the closest unit please.

Make sure this is your shadow warriors. In the last game against ogres I played he was attempting to screen sabre tusk with his mournfangs. With the loremaster’s help (ice shards on the mournfangs) and the ‘fangs being outside of the general and bsb range they were prime for a panic check. My shadow warriors were able to thread the needle around the unit to get the sabre tusk in hard cover. With a decent shooting phase (it was already on one wound at this point) the shadow warriors dropped the cat and fled the mournfangs off the table. Not very reliable but when it works it’s a beauty.


Common Builds:
5-man hit squad. Take 5 guys and use them to redirect. The goal is to keep them cheap and cheerful. This is a very flexible build that provides the unit with multiple roles.

10 man unit is starting to become pricey something you’re not going to want to just throw away on a whim. These are best taken as character bunkers giving your characters very mobile infantry platform that is hard to charge and can easily stay in cover. Common use includes the archmage and a Reaver bow toting character.

5-man unit with a champion are less common and starting to get expensive. I would avoid the temptation of including the Reaver Bow on the champion as the shots are wasted and your 5-wound unit has virtually no save. However, all skirmishers are stubborn in a forest and by conga lining you’ll be able to pin an enemy unit for a turn. The problem arises in tournament play when woods might not populate every table or might be super small.

Characters:

Shadow Armor Loremaster:
Seems like a very sweet and fluffy build. This allows your loremaster to get into a sweetspot range early on and let the spells fly. I would suggest avoiding the book of hoeth here and take some Magic Resistance equipment.
Shadow Armor, Dispel Scroll, Ring of Fury, Obsidian Amulet.

Alith Anar:
Often wasted in shadow warriors but fits the build perfectly. A mobile bolt thrower that hits like a freight train he can mow down entire units of MC with a good roll. He’s got some decent perks like swiftstride but that might be better suited in a combat unit.

Magic Support:

Standard lores apply for shooting units. Shadow for The Withering is always a great spell but also mindrazor can turn what looked like a cute 10 man skirmish unit into a unit of boiling death. It’s a great game when your opponent accepts your Shadow Warrior charge into his knights and he’s suddenly pulling half the unit. If only they had additional hand weapons…

Also heavens is always worth a mention. Harmonic convergence is a great spell that works not only on your shadow warriors but also your bolt throwers and other shooting elements. I like heavens because it also clears castles with impunity, nothing says “F-you warmachines!” like a giant comet from heaven smashing down and blowing them to smithereens.


Conclusion:

I hope this was at least a little insightful for some players eyeing shadow warriors. They are one of the most underrated units in our army book and your soft scores will almost undoubtedly improve with the inclusion of a perceived soft choice.

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Last edited by Malossar on Tue Jun 03, 2014 2:50 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 1:27 am 
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Hi Mal,

It is great to see that you decided to have a closer look at Shadow Warriors which, for different reasons, are often omitted in army lists. I have two comments/questions:

1. Do you think you could provide diagrams to illustrate your ideas? Pictures always help!

2. How many do you think are needed for the job? Is single unit of 5 is going to make an impact? If you can afford more, is it better to have 2 units of 5, for example, or 1 unit of 10? I know it depends on what the rest of the army looks like but I still think it is something worth considering.

Cheers!

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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 8:51 am 
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Good article, Mal.

I agree with SM. Units of 10 for example open up bunkering options for mages or a march and shoot BSB. It's hard to hunt war machines with them these days but there are exceptions, like Bretonnians.

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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 10:58 am 
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Shadow Warriors are one of my faveourite units (though I am biased) Something I like to do is put the reaver bow on the champ. It gives you a highly mobile bolt thrower and some supporting shots as well as tactical ability to reposition and control the flow of movement.

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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 10:53 am 
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Thanks for the write-up Mal.

Like the others I'm wondering what you consider their best unit size to be. Is 5 enough (if their main goal is deployment phase board control then I would say yes) or would 7 offer a bit more reliability when dealing with things like chaff or warmachines and requiring more of a response from your opponent?

Also, would you consider a shadow armour character or Alith Anar in them?

Rod

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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 9:11 pm 
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Shadow Star, wouldn't the Reaver Bow just be Str4? That's not bad but hardly a bolt thrower.

I once took Shadow Warriors. I had them scout in a conga line to within a certain range of some heavy cavalry, such that the level 1 metal mage I deployed with my archers marched into them, jumping to the front, to unleash a searing doom upon the target. This took some careful placement, so that they weren't easily ran down during the obvious flee move they did during the opponents turn. Fun stuff.

I considered doing this with a naked Loremaster of Hoeth. Searing doom for you, Fireball for you, Spirit Leech for you.

Khaine's Ring of Fury, and some magic resist could be handy here.

I don't think that Alith Anar needs to really set up with scouts. He's got the range and BS to stay in a safer unit. Fluffy and fun as hell though, I bet.


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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 1:55 am 
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Excellent article Mal!

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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 3:38 am 
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Ben E. Violent wrote:
I once took Shadow Warriors. I had them scout in a conga line to within a certain range of some heavy cavalry, such that the level 1 metal mage I deployed with my archers marched into them, jumping to the front, to unleash a searing doom upon the target. This took some careful placement, so that they weren't easily ran down during the obvious flee move they did during the opponents turn. Fun stuff.

I hope it didn't move double it's M because that'll be an illegal move.

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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 12:01 pm 
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Excelent analysis, Malossar. I am a fan of the ETC StarDragon list, and i´ve added for the last 3 months a unit of 5 SW with champion, with great results.

They make all the things you say, plus don´t forget they, as skirmishers, are stubborn in forests. That´s why i take the champion: conga line´em in a forest and... ta-da!, you are trapped for a turn! :lol:


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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 1:17 pm 
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Something Cool

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Ok I have updated the original post with all of your wonderful suggestions. Let me know if there's anything else you'd like to see added.

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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 5:55 pm 
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While it’s still theory, I was looking for ways for my busses to capitalize on their overruns into new combat for a free round of CC. The goal is to keep the momentum of the cavalry by ensuring the busses participate in as many combat as possible through the course of a game.

That’s where the shadow warriors could do a better job than reavers. I still have to experiment in a real game but their cheaper cost, higher weapon skill and scout ability means they could tie up an opponent unit longer through flank or rear charge, setting that opponent unit ripe for the bus overrun. Especially if using champion like mentioned earlier.

I think they are more likely than reavers to be able to reach the enemy backfield and more resistant to normal shooting so it’s should be easier to work in conjunction of the cavalry busses in a cavalry themed army. They also still be able to perform war machine hunting duties if required but I’d rather have them work with reavers rather than replace them.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2014 1:39 am 
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pk-ng wrote:
I hope it didn't move double it's M because that'll be an illegal move.


Care to point me at where this is true in the BRB?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 9:58 am 
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[quote="Ben E. Violent"][quote="pk-ng"]
I hope it didn't move double it's M because that'll be an illegal move.[/quote]

Care to point me at where this is true in the BRB?[/quote]
FAQ if i'm not mistaken.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 10:20 am 
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FAQ sais:
Q: Can characters change position inside a unit as part of a
normal move?(p97)
A: Yes, as long as they end up in the rank closest to the front
of the unit that has a space in. It is also worth remembering
that even if only the character moves the whole unit will
count as moving that turn. Having a belligerent officer barge
his way through the unit is not conducive to a good round of
shooting!

So you can move inside a unit, but it is part of your normal move. Exception probably is when moving to the front rank of a unit, which is automatic as soon as there is space.

Of course, the FAQ is not 100% conclusive. But just be careful when slingshotting characters that it can be frowned upon by people or gaming groups and might not win you any friends. Though of course that completely depends on the people you play with.

Rod

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:00 pm 
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Holla


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 6:54 am 
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[quote]
I considered doing this with a naked Loremaster of Hoeth. Searing doom for you, Fireball for you, Spirit Leech for you.
Khaine's Ring of Fury, and some magic resist could be handy here. [/quote]
Good plan.
Squad 1: Alith Anar +10SW,
Squad 2: Noble/loremaster with shadow armor, halberd and reaver bow +10SW
Squad 3: mage lvl 2 death with Moranion wayshard and 25 archers.
Oh wait, i almost out of points :)
Probably better used for point control scenarios and Triumph and Treachery. But in T&T probably SW can't be deployed in enemy read due lack of space.


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