Author Topic: Good read from a past era  (Read 4000 times)

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Pickett

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Good read from a past era
« on: August 25, 2009, 12:35:31 PM »
I dug this up on a google search a while back. It was a good read then, and it was fun to take a look at now. Man I miss this game!

KI Swarm
by 42up

Before reading this primer, I would ask you read my discussion on the shade for basics on melee concepts provided in the article. This will help one get as much out of the primer as possible. This primer is geared towards 200-300 point but will have sections dealing with 400-500 and 600+ armies.

Let’s get started.

First let’s examine the standard KI swarm formation-
3 ***elf at arms
1 ***rivvenguard
1 *standard bearer
The point total is 87 points, thus averaging 17.4 points per fig in the formation. The formation provides 3 stable attackers, 1 special melee fig and 1 support fig.

-The Elf at Arms-This has come to be a staple of any KI melee army. The fig has very stable stats, high damage and attack. Its only problems are its relatively slow speed (8”) and its awful defense (14). The defense causes even the lowliest of offensive figs to hit it at least 50% of the time. This would be a great problem if it were not for its cost. 19 points is not much to pay for 10 attack and 3 damage. In essence, the elf is a melee oriented fig. It supplements it poor defense with offensive numbers and its own stability throughout the dial. When a KI formation swarms a fig, the fig will take first strike and usually elect to hit an elf. Then on the next turn, the elf can still be used in combat formations and is not truly useless due to the fact of superior numbers. Even a fig with 180 arc sweep will have a tough time with the formation. Putting 2 elf at arms on the front arc and the other elf, rivven and bearer on the back will make ones opponent have to make a serious choice. The only fig that is nearly impossible to swarm is the maelstrom golem. But the secret to him is attacking his support.

-Rivvenguard-With high defense and MR, this fig is often the front man of the formation. This will also be a top target for a ramming fig that will have no thought of losing a click in order to break your glass fig. These figs should really not be used in excess because of their glass-jawed nature and the fact that they have WM. A swarm needs to be consistent with damage and not have to rely that heavily on dice when scoring points is its #1 goal. 50% of the time the rivven will hit harder, 16.6% of the time it will hit the same, 33% of the time it will hit lower than the elf at arms. So in all actuality, it is only more effective than the elf 50% of the time and worse 33% of the time. Reliability is found in the elf, not in the rivven. WM is a nice threat to have in the formation. It makes the guard into usually the first threat that an opponent wants to deal with. Most fear the 50% chance of a 4-6 damage roll and will knock the rivvenguard fast.

-Standard Bearer-before this fig, there were great debates other which swarm was better, KI with elves or A.G. with utems and blade golems. When this fig arrived, the debate was over. For a small 11 points, you get a +1 to attack (through formation attack) and an increase of speed by 4”. No more was swarm decimated by gunners. This fig, along with rammers, broke the strangle hold that the gunners had. One may say that an offensive attacking slot is given up in the process. But this is not so. If one added another ***elf at arms, the formation would be 95 points. There would be almost no room for harassment. You could add a *elf but is that better than the return on the SB. The *elf would probably not be a primary attack and you would just use it for its attack bonus yet it costs more than the bearer and does not provide 4” extra movement.

With that established, we can go on to figs that are sub-par in swarm-

-Liege knight-This fig is too expensive for swarm and adds nothing to the offensive power of the swarm. I have seen people include him for its supplementation of elves defense. The elves defense are found in there numbers, not their high defense values. This fig costs an elf and a half in a formation. This limits attackers to 3 with the SB. You either have to sacrifice the consistency of the elves or the special melee abilities of the rivvenguard. Is it worth losing a large portion of offense for so little a return? Swarm is an offensive army. When a swarm tries to be defensive, it sacrifices its greatest strength and gives the opponent the advantage. I promise you, a swarm sporting liege knights will lose to a defensive army such as an artillerist/priestess army. Why, the swarm is trying to play defensive against an army that is much better at being defensive than the swarm.

-A healer of any sorts (mending priestess, faith healer, EGM, etc)-This again applies to the offensive army that tries to be defensive idea. It just does not work. A swarm needs to use every action to try to score points, not sit and wait to heal. Healing a fig costs an action directly but, to heal a fig, you have to go to the healer, by healed, rest then go. You could say that you would put the healer near the front line, but this is a worse idea than playing a healer itself. Putting a healer on the front line exposes it. It is easier to harass, attack, ram, etc. In a melee army, you will either be in base to base or trying to get into base to base. There is just no room for a healer. Remember, you cannot heal a fig when it is in base to base with an enemy fig, and to score points, a swarm army has to be in base to base.

-Range figs- this one should be simple to understand. When your melee is in base to base contact with an enemy fig, you cannot fire upon that fig thus making the range fighter dead weight. This also applies in the opposite scenario. The only ranged combatants that I would suggest are the ***scorpem gunner and the **dwarven ram fuser. Both of these have a range that exceeds the movement of the KI swarm and have supplemental abilities but I will go in to that later.

-Immortal fanatic-some might look at this fig and say-Wow! Dodge and sweep on the same fig with a 180 arc. That is awesome and for a very reasonable price. First of all, the price is not that reasonable to swarm and secondly, the fig adds and extreme amount of inconsistency to an army type that strives for stability. This fig will only be hit half the time and can attack 2-3 figs at once. But with a low defense, this fig will be able to be hit. Dodge is a random effect meaning that it could work and it might not. Against an opposing swarm, this inconsistency is greatly shown in the fact that the fanatic will be attacked again if the first fig missed. And if just one fig connects, the fanatic is practically out of commission b/c of its glass-jawed nature. This will be an even bigger ram target than the guard. The swarm already has a better fig in the rivvenguard.

-Temple Blademaster-this fig saw limited play before the guard but that was mainly b/c of the dominance of death star and the fact that he was a threat as explained about the rivven. Now this fig is just too many points, the *** being the most effective of the 3 and almost costing 2 ***elf at arms at 36 points. This fig has had its moment in the spotlight and is now just over shadowed by stronger units in the swarm. The blademaster is not a bad fig, he just does not have any place in the swarm formation with the inclusion of the *standard bearer and ***rivvenguard.

-KI Chargers-these should only be used when there is no other option. They are not that bad of figs, yet there are just better choices, namely the reapers. They have battle armor and that is about it. They are also a little cheap than the reapers. For mounted figs to be included in the swarm, these are the bottom of the barrels. If you want to keep in faction, it is not so bad, but I strongly recommend playing a reaper if you want a charger. Most of these mounted are glass jawed and crumble easily in the current Meta. BA is okay, but toughness is a much more valuable SA. I can only say, if you want to play for looks, then go ahead and play the chargers.

-Temple Lord-Realistically, why would you use this over the High Elf General? It is not as consistent as the general and is more expensive. I have heard some say that his 10” FM means that there can be another attack in formation, but as I have already illustrated, this would just be unfeasible. That “extra” attacker would be used for formation duty. Overall, he does not bring anything new to the swarm. They already have better FMers and MRers. And if you wanted to use him as a Meta call, what kind of army would you use him against over the high elf general? You cannot use him like a rivven in heading congas and formations because you would be putting him at unneeded risk. I will just say 10” FM does not cut it. 12” FM is why KI swarm is a dominant archetype.

**~Meta Game figs~**-these are figs that can make a swarm army in one area look completely different, with the exception of the core, to another area’s swarm army. Figs in this category are usually used as answers to different armies that present a problem to KI swarms in one’s area. Most 200 point swarm armies have no room for Meta gaming. Meta gaming is only fully realized by swarm in 300+.

-**Dwarven Ram- This fig provides much versatility and is a counter measure to many armies. Its ram and 10” range will prove invaluable against opposing support. This fig is especially a problem to fling and ping b/c they almost have no way to deal with it, aside from continual harassment and using their own ram against it. If you have fling and ping in your area, this one fig will usually tip the balance in your favor making a very hard battle, reasonably winnable. The ram also is useful versus the long range of the hierophant, storm golem, arcane and now regal. I am not saying that you should fire upon these large uniques (if there is a good opportunity, maybe). You should fire on the weaker harassment around the large uniques. Most will usually support some charger of sorts, harassment of their own and other support figs. Striking at the support will greatly decrease the power of these fatties. One popular tactic vs. a storm golem army (300) is to ram from the side while running forward with 2 shade and the 2 melee formations under shade coverage, leaving the rivvens exposed. The storm golem now has the option of either hitting the ram, rivvens, and shades. Each one is an evil and will force a very tough decision on the storm golem’s commander’s part. The ram is your best general option due to its versatility and 12” movement.

***Scorpem Gunner-This fig gives you an edge against swarm and 14” range uniques. Unlike the ram, the gunner is not limited to support. It can actually hit the unique with 10 attack. Its main use though, is a counter to swarm. Swarm vs. swarm will be a very tough battle, but the inclusion of the gunner gives you an opportunity of absolute first strike against a swarm formation. The scorpem will also deflect harassment off of the swarm formations b/c of its threat factor. The technomancer is unneeded as the goal of the scorpem is first strike and not continued yo-yo. (On a side note, the yo-yo tactic is extremely vital to guild swarm where their speed is always inferior to an opponents range or speed).

***Nightmare/Fell Reaper-This fig was one of the most improved post-UL. It can fill many rolls in the KI army-anti harassment, a deep threat, tying up 14”range uniques, anti-F/L, ram, MR, and other annoying abilities and can also pose as a combat fig in a pinch. This fig really shines if you see lots of mancatchers. Both cannot be captured and the nightmare can charge in at 7” for 3 damage to a mancatcher if they base with your forces. Both will also help vs. the regular Swiss as a harasser to the heavy amount of mounted figs and ram that they run. The fell is also a consistent damage of 3 vs toughness. 3 damage is usually enough to knock a fig past its toughness slots. They can also tie up a priestess in an artillerist army b/c of their 14” movement. A very solid choice in the general category, but IMO, the **ram is a better choice. One exception is if you plan to see pyre spirits. This fig left unchecked will steam roll you. A reaper can tie up and beat on the pyre spirit quite nicely.

-Wraith-the all purpose fig. This fig will rip through cen-fat (an army based around a melee unique), death star and Swiss like nothing else. He provides the big guns when needed. Ram does not bother him (because of stability), he can go toe-to-toe with uniques twice his size and he provides an extreme threat that must be noticed. If you are looking for an anchor fig, this is your piece. An opponent is very reluctant in engaging a wraith allowing the wraith to in a sense control a large portion of the board. The great thing about the wraith is that an opponent is not going to send 61 points of forces to deal with it. The wraith is such a threat, that the opponent must recognize it as such and act upon it. Reasoning that if he does not act, then his own movement is limited by the anchor effect of the wraith, he will expose himself, and his support will be vulnerable. With 12" speed, the wraith can run circles around most figs and easily skirt around firing arcs. A wraith just creates action and point advantage by his presence. One of the nice features of the wraith is its MI. If you see heavy magus, lich, magus drac, etc. He is a potent fig and is suited well for KI swarm. But he does take a chunk out of the swarm itself and is a large point investment. He is a melee fig and you have plenty of melee as is. He is a decent fig to bring to a tourney if you do not know what kind of armies there will be. You cannot go wrong with the wraith. Just be sure you understand how to use him properly. He is not just a melee fatty. I would recommend doing research on this fig at mkrealms if you want to use him.

-High Elf General-this is a good surprise fig to run in a swarm. He is a little tough to deal with in 200 points and can be a good counter to cen-fat, guild swarm and Swiss. He is pretty much a souped up elf at arms. He has 0 wasted abilities and is pretty much pure melee. But, unless, you have a very large amount of solid melee nons (i.e. blade golems) or figs with toughness, I would just go with something else. He does have command though which makes him immune to capture now. Also, he can does not crack after taking a hit and will be able to fight deep into his dial. He can also be used in what I like to call a safe. Swarm loses lots of little chunks of its army. A safe is like a collection of points that is less susceptible than the rest of the swarm. As long as the High Elf general has one click of life, you have saved 60+ points. This can be vital to a swarm. But a safe is like a double edged sword, if you lose it, you lose 60+ points.

-Any Amazon Mancatcher- These figs pose a large threat to uniques. They give death star problems, cen-fat problems, Swiss problems (mainly b/c of larger point figs). They are just pains. UL has sent a shockwave through them and made them much less playable. The tactic primarily used as of now is to send the mancatcher behind the swarm and then base with wounded figs, pushing to capture. This is especially effective vs. large melee figs. Its main problem is its speed-only 10”. This fig will always be behind the swarm and thus never fill the role of a shade. It can play harasser in limited situations but it is definantly not a shade in KI swarm. This fig comes recommended b/c it can rack up serious points for KI swarm. It is not a bad idea to put one of these in you army if you have had trouble scoring points at tournies.

Tactics-general

General tactics can apply to any situation but they are just that, general. Some of you more veteran type players might want to skip over this section, but I still recommend that it is read, b/c I will refer back to it when discussing army specific tactics.

Movements-

Pincer-the pincer tactic, moving in on the enemy from both sides and closing in the middle like a pincer. This tactic can be very useful versus slower formations or formations where the majority of the opponent’s points lay. Just tie up the formation with a shade and come in from both sides. This tact is especially effective versus cen-fat (an army based around a strong melee unique) in that it forces your opponent to show their back arc. A fig cannot cover both sides and in the pincer move, you are very likely to get that extra +1 to an attack quite frequently. This tactic will help you immensely when facing the big range uniques as well. When you are coming from both sides, you cannot fire upon both formations.

Frontal assault-this kind of movement requires the least thought. It is just, run a shade ahead of your forces and move straight at your enemy. This kind of tactic is very strong versus black powder rebel based armies b/c of their shortened range. In a sense (vs. BPR), you do not need a shade, but it will help. This tactic should be used sparingly though. It does concentrate your attack to a specific point, but it gives your opponent a good idea of where you are going to attack and allows for counter-movements. It is hard to commit to a frontal assault, when your opponent scatters his middle only as a rouse to surround you and pull a pincer movement on you. If you use this tactic versus non range (gunners or artillerists) you will suffer some heavy losses.

Flanker movement-this movement is used when your opponent has spread his line to thin. Using the armies’ superior speed, you can easily attack one of your opponent’s flanks. Attacking a flank will force your opponent to respond thus forcing him to waste precious actions in engaging your forces. With this movement, either your opponent gives you first strike or an extreme point advantage. This is a tactic that you can use to the fullest versus inexperienced players.

Frontal assault feint-side pincer (or flanker)-This is a movement that can be employed to flank your opponent and is a little more complex. The way the movement works is as follows- Move both your forces only 8” up the middle, keeping one slightly behind the other. Most opponents will assume that you are setting up an immediate basing attack and try to keep 13” away from your force and head also to the middle. If he heads to the middle, then you have caught him, if he heads to the sides, abandon the movement. When he does move to the middle, rest, he will also rest most likely. On your turn, move the back formation towards the edge of the board in an angle to set up the flank while moving the other formation forward. You want to be about 4” away with the frontal formation and 6-8 with the flanking. You have now caught your opponent in a trap, either he can run and get cut off, or he is flanked. This formation will also work on range but you need to cover with a shade.

Engaging tactics-

The most common tactic of the melee swarm is to base at least 2 figs to one unit. This gives a point advantage and makes it easier to hit. The tactic also forces the rest of your opponent’s formation to base with you thus negating a large part of first strike. This tactic is very effective versus both range and melee. In range, you can base with one or 2 of the figs in formation and leave the others alone. The units not based cannot fire on your units; this forces them to move into base contact where they are far less effective. This tactic is also very strong versus storm golem and death star type armies. Once you are in base with one of the support, they cannot fire upon and have to waste an action that they could use to attack in order to not give you a point advantage. This same tactic also works against melee. Most people fear being the first to make base contact because it gives your opponent first strike. If you base 2-3 figs to their one, they are going to be forced to use actions to engage your units thus giving you first strike. The KI swarm can easily be in base contact first and employ this movement because of their superior speed.

Surrounding-

This tactic is used when facing a fig that you do not want to break away. I have heard all this talk about the new mounted rules and shake-off. Let me tell you, if you surround a fig, it is going nowhere (unless of course it has flight). The mounted may do a point of shake- off damage to a few of your figs, but it still will have its back arc shown and thus be hit. Everyone talks about how the Orc Captain is the new melee hater. If you surround him, he is probably going to use his big sweep damage. He will probably hit but then next turn, you will be doing 9 damage from attack formations and then be on your way to a big fat point payoff, you could even capture the orc if you did not berserk it. A fat payoff like that and your opponent will be forced to engage.

Surrounding also gets you a +2 to one of your attacks through formation. You can get up to a +3 which will give an elf a 13 attack which gives him a good shot a hitting anything. As the highest defense versus melee goes is 19. A surrounded range monster like heiro or stormie is a dead range monster. The same can be applied to almost any unique.

Attacking-

A swarm formation is like a big melee unique that is very cheap, can do massive damage, and has a very long life but is more vulnerable to F/L. You have to remember that a swarm wins by being in base contact where it is far superior to anything it can face. Never be afraid to push. What pushing does is mark a fig not suitable for a retaliation by the opponent? Remember, the opponent is going to hit the healthy fig first, not the one that is wounded. Use this to your advantage. Attack with the Elves first without pushing the rivvenguard; under these options, your opponent will either be forced to hit a weakened elf or suffer a point of damage. This is a sound tactic especially if you miss with the first elf. If you are facing a glass-jaw, you might want to take the gamble and finish it off. But I would not push the rivvenguard if I did not have to. The benefits it provides as a threat are much more beneficial than those that he provides as a pure attacker like an elf. Do not be afraid of figs with MR. Usually one good hit will put them past their MR clicks. Trading 2 damage for 3 is okay in my books, especially when that removes MR from the fig thus easing the pressure on your elves. I cannot stress how important it is too push when attacking. I would almost suggest being very aggressive with a swarm but you have better be sure you fully understand what you are doing, for a mistake when playing aggressive will usually cost you heavily. When attacking a formation, always attack the most vulnerable threat first. An example would be 2 **bladesmen with a troll chieftain. Attacking the bladesmen completely removes them from playability and makes them only useful in giving the troll a +2 to attack which he probably does not need. If you attack the troll, he will still be threatening and so will the bladesmen. Removing the bladesmen severely removes the effectiveness of the troll in that you can now concentrate all your attacking power on it. Attacking is an art in KI swarm, not something you just do blindly. Blindly attacking a fig/formation without a plan will lead to a mistake and mistakes lead to losses.

Defending-

Most of your defending capabilities lies in the * and **shade. I would recommend reading my previous article to get a better insight on defending. But trying to play defensive with the formation is a bad idea. You have aggressive melee figs. Putting an aggressive fig into a defensive position is a waste of points and probably means that your were tricked or out maneuvered.

Terrain-

This will play an instrumental part in whether you win or lose. Placing terrain can be one of the most difficult parts of the game as a whole and will affect the game through its entirety. I will discuss terrain placement more in-depth in the army specifics, but what I view as the standard terrain for a KI swarm is 2 Blocking Wall, 1 Hindering. You probably want a piece of blocking every game thus the inclusion of 2. 1 Hindering is plenty. Hindering is important versus range armies but does not have the all around playability that a blocking wall has in KI swarm.

Tactics-army specific

This section will cover tactics versus specific army types. Some of the tactics can apply to other army type, but like the topic of this section, many will be specific tactics that apply to different armies. I cannot cover every type of army but will try to list most of the major ones that a KI swarm player will see.

Swiss Army Knife-this army uses a plethora of different tactics to try to find and expose the weakness of an opponent’s army. A good example of what a 200 point Swiss will look like is this-

Neophant
*** Fell Reaper
* Mancatcher
**dwarven ram
*shade
***screeching terror (or ***temple blademaster or *fell reaper or *war krugg on yak or a ***amotep gunner/shade, this is really the Meta game spot of the Swiss)

The army takes 2 turns to move and has a counter to many armies. 2 figs in the above army have toughness, 2 have quickness, 1 has ram, and 1 has terror. The army also has a possibility of 10” range with the dwarven ram and terror. This army can be quite a problem to the swarm and only gets worse at higher point values. The trick to beating this army is to focus on the non-mounts. You can almost forget about your 12” movement if you make a mistake b/c the standard bearer is going to be a big target. One tactic is to run forward first with the shades forcing the Swiss to deal with them. With the Swiss tied up, move into the non-mounted with your formations. This key to beating Swiss, you have to strike at their non-mounted figs to gain a point advantage. I would most likely keep my formations close together to support one another. I would also surround the SB. This will ensure that you do not lose him or get him tied up. If you lose the 12” movement, this will be a much more difficult battle, not unwinnable, but very difficult. Setting up terrain will also be important. I recommend trying to get 2 blocking on to this field. Try to position the walls so that you can move towards your opponent’s forces while covered. Just do not think that a Swiss army will stay in one place, they are extremely mobile. Try to place terrain so that it hinders the movement of both the ram and the reaper.

Fling and Ping - This is a an army that shows just why ML is the best special ability. It uses a bone toss engine and either yo-yo or ML/Ran in 200. 300 points usually use all 3 ways to abuse ram along with a reaper of sorts. A sample 200 is as follows-

Formation-
*techno
**techno
***scorpem gunner

The bone toss engine-
*skeleton
*skeleton
***grave robber

***nightmare reaper
*shade
*Amazon mancatcher

This will be one of the most difficult match-ups a KI swarm player has. Yo-Yo is one of the toughest things to deal with and the continued bone-toss engine is no small problem either. If you can reach the technos you have a shot, but that is quite a problem. Usually the technos and grave robber stay in base contact of very near so that the skeleton can be immediately flinged after it has been necroed. This leaves a perfect spot to place an attack, as wounding those 3 figs, just wounding not killing, will give you the win. You pretty much have one clear shot at winning and if you miss it, it will be an extremely tough match. To win this match, you are going to need your A-game on. Here is how I would combat fling and ping- First of all, on terrain placement. I would try to create a bottle neck(using 2 blocking terrain set at a 25-30 degree facing each other) with an opening about 16-18” from the other side of the board. This should give you cover again F/L and limit the movement of the mounted figs. You opponent can fling a skeleton there to impede your movement, but that just buys the fling and ping a turn. A good option is moving a rivvenguard in base to base while keeping the guard in base contact with a formation. A push hit will kill skeleton, and the threat that rivvenguards pose are not as large as in other armies (they do create a nice deterrence versus yo-yo, but the fling and ping will probably elect to fire anyways in order to put a severe handicap on the formation) plus, there is a good chance the skeleton will miss. You are going to have to do one big coordinated attack in order for this to work- On 1 turn- First send in the shades and tie up any mounted. Then move straight into base contact swarming both technos and the Grave robber. The next turn, push to wound. After that, it will be easy to mop up. This has to be done almost immediately before the fling and ping can position into a favorable spot. You should have plenty of time to make this work b/c of F&P’s slow movement. If you let them position, you will have a difficult time winning. Against an inexperienced player, this tactic does not have to be performed with exact precision to pull off and if you mess up, you still have a chance; but against some one that really knows how to play fling and ping, you are going to have to be perfect and not make any mistakes, b/c one mistake against an experienced fling and ping will cost you the game. They will position and it will be other.

These next discussions will be tough matches but will be much easier than the afore mentioned. I will not go into extreme detail like I did the others but I will give some basics on dealing with them.

Swarm-

Ahh, the mirror match. This will come down to who is the most experienced swarmer. The swarm can be anything from Atlantis to orc to a complete mirror of Knights Immortal. Just be sure to base first in order to gain the point advantage and force your opponent to base in response rather than get full benefit from first strike. Divide and conquer is the name of the game in swarm. Usage of shades illustrated in my previous article will help immensely on their use in swarm. To sum things up, you need to concentrate one formation. You do this by tying one formation up and then attacking the other with both of your own formations. Like I said, this is going to come down to who is the better player. As a KI player, you definantly have the speed advantage, which will allow you to divide and conquer much more easily. Orcs will be the easiest swarm to face, as they have low defenses and rely on actions more than even a KI swarm does. A.G. will be a little harder. That formation of 3 blade golems will be a pain in the neck to take down. My advice is to go after the utems first. The only problem is that a shade can only stand one hit from the blade golems. My biggest concern is that you will may not have a large enough point advantage after facing the blade golems to sweep up the utems. Thus I would go for the utems first, taking advantage of the slow speed of the A.G. Hopefully, when you finish off the utems, you can swarm the blade golems and just beat them by numbers. The KI swarm match is just going to come down to who is the better player, use divide and conquer and your experience to win.

Bombers-

The arcane, storm golem, heiro, and now regal are all bombers. They have the magic 14” range that puts them out of reach of the average KI swarm. This is an army where shades and blocking/hindering terrain are going to play a major role. Thank goodness bombers are slow. The army is not really that difficult to the experienced player, but new swarm players can feel intimidated by the fact of 14” range. The trick is the conga line. Just put that wonderful, MRing rivvenguard right in front and charge on down. Go ahead and hit the rivven, you will lose more points from your first click than the guard took in its 4-5. If you can get into base with these monstrosities, things will be easier. But now you have to run a gauntlet of sorts. These armies are very easy to be in 200, but in 300 they have a little support (but so do you so I will discuss 200). A piece of hindering terrain and a pushed shade or 2 is a decent tactic. Just tie up whatever support they have and then go in for the kill, though vs. a stormie, I would hit the demis first and keep one shade back. When the demis are gone, I would tie up the storm golem. Then on the next turn, move into base contact. In 300 points, you have a plethora of counters against this, a scorpem, a dwarven ram, a wraith, etc. A **dwarven ram or scorpem gunner would probably be your best choice if you knew that there would be bomber type armies. Not only can they ram or F/L, but they can snipe well too.

Range-

Artillerists based or gunner based, they both pose a threat, but the gunner one is a little more potent. Artillerist based armies are not that difficult to beat but can still pose a threat. The key to winning is your superior maneuverability and 12” speed. You can base before they fire and with blocking terrain, this becomes much easier. Remember, these figs only have a 90 degree arc. One can easily skirt around the arc from both sides to pull a pincer move. If you get a shade in base contact, no matter if they have chargers, it is over. They cannot shoot and you can run forward. Artillerist swarm is a pretty easy army to beat, b/c once you get in base contact, artillerists crumble quickly. Atlantis range on the other hand is a tad more difficult, mainly because they pack gunners plus a yo-yo. Any army packing yo-yo will be a little tough, but this one specializes in destroying formations. Orc and guild swarm are annihilated by this army, but KI has the magic 12”range. First of all, I would conduct a precise attack. Try to put your assault in one turn. Using a similar terrain placement as the fling and ping will serve well. All you need to do is just put a shade in base contact with the scorpem 1 turn. When you do that, rush the gunners. The smart guild player will hold the scorpem back and wait for an opportunity to fire. The inexperienced will get into base contact with the scorpem in hopes of immediate reprieve.

The next section touches slightly on armies that you will have an easy time with or more simply, the ones swarm was made to beat.

Central-Fat-unique

An army based around a central fat unique. This army is pretty much a walk in the park for swarm. Any melee unique, even the almighty orc captain(maybe excluding the maelstrom golem, but he stinks vs. everything else) will have trouble against swarm. Just use the tactics that I discussed in the general section or attack the melee uniques support. Most of these types of armies like to have a lesser formation and a healer along with the melee unique. Just slap those around and the opponent is put into quite a uncomfortable position. Pretty much all the general tactics work against this army.

Death Star-

Practically an auto win. All you have to do is get into base contact with one of those demis or shamans and start slashing. The central fig really has a 11” range b/c of the fig in front of it. Just start slashing, tying up any support and work your way, to the creamy center of the death star. There are just too many offensive attacking figs for the death star to deal with. End the match quick and go get something to eat or watch another match.

Turtle-

FM and yo-yo broke the turtle army in two. This is pretty much a death star that stays in the corner, but easier than a bomber b/c it is pretty immobile. An immobile bomber army is a dead one in this Meta game. Have no fear though, you will see the turtle army at a tourney. They leave themselves wide open for unfavorable terrain placement and easily beaten by a conga line headed by a shade.

Black Powder Rebel based-

I am sorry to say this BPR fans, swarm rips the standard rebel army to shreds. Rebels are just too slow and do not have the range to counter swarm. If you are not playing a ram of some sorts, you have close to no shot at winning. The range is just not there. BPR was not designed as a faction to counter swarm, but they do have rams and mancathcers. Even a mancatcher army will have tough times versus the swarm. Remember, mancatcher have to go into base contact to capture.

Necro-

All I can say about this one is that-everyone has to learn sometime. Thank the dice gods if you get paired against something like this. Do not take the grave robbers out immediately. Let them necro a little. All that means is more points for you. When you finally get tired, just kill the robbers and call it a game.

Armies-

200 pt swarm (a.k.a. pure standard)

Formation 1
***elf at arms
***elf at arms
***elf at arms
***rivvenguard
**standard bearer

Formation 2
***elf at arms
***elf at arms
***elf at arms
***rivvenguard
*standard bearer

*shade
*shade

Generic 300-

Formation 1
***elf at arms
***elf at arms
***elf at arms
***rivvenguard
*standard bearer

Formation 2
***elf at arms
***elf at arms
***elf at arms
***rivvenguard
**standard bearer

*shade
*shade
*shade
***fell reaper
**dwarven ram

The anti-swarm swarm-

Formation 1
***elf at arms
***elf at arms
***elf at arms
***rivvenguard
*standard bearer

Formation 2-
High Elf General
***elf at arms
***elf at arms
***rivvenguard
*standard bearer

***scorpem gunner
*shade
*shade
*shade

Happy Swarm(for the area that loves MB and ML or any other fun magic ability)-

Formation 1-
***temple blademaster
***elf at arms
***elf at arms
***rivvenguard
*standard bearer

Formation 2-
***temple blademaster
***elf at arms
***elf at arms
***rivvenguard
*standard bearer

*shade
*dwarven ram
*dwarven ram

The higher point swarm-

This is pretty simple to understand. In higher points, I would recommend putting in 3 swarm formations and then adding in meta game figs. People certainly do not like to be consistent in these and you can see some of the strangest armies. Be prepared to face quite a few MDF, though a swarm can is just too much for them to handle. A good swarm army in this format can dominate since you really have less to worry about your arch nemesis fling and ping. Here you have the chance to really play a swarm that is more your style. If you like playing the High Elf General, go ahead. A pure standard filled swarm like a 200 point one, will have a tougher time winning than a swarm with plenty of Meta game figs in it. Also, just because it is higher points, does not mean that bad figs like the liege knight and fanatic are acceptable. Polish up on your dragon fighting tactics and you should do rather well with a KI swarm. You will be able to almost completely out maneuver your opponents.

Swarm on a Budget-

What do you do when you do not have all the top melee uniques that you need to construct a swarm army? You go budget. Strong budget figs are any type of rivven and elf at arms. The weak temple blademaster is a great addition to a swarm army. My advice to budget swarm is go a 4 fig formation if you do not have many figs. A four fig formation is not as strong as a five fig, but you will probably have stronger figs to supplement the formation as a whole. Budget swarm is actually a pretty easy thing to make. The standard immortal fanatic can also work well in budget swarm. There is just one thing. You need to have 2 standard bearers and shades for swarm to work. There just is no exception to this rule. Also, something to try is lower point version of the mounted KI in the formations. They get the benefit of the FM as well as any other fig.

Here is my version of KI on a budget-

Formation 1-98 points
*temple blademaster
**elf at arms
*elf at arms(these are actually pretty good)
*elf at arms
**standard bearer

Formation 2-82
*elf at arms
*elf at arms
*rivven guard
**immortal fanatic
*standard bearer

*shade
***imp

Something along those lines should work rather well and even win you a few local tournies. Working with an army like that will let you know if swarm is the right army for you. No doubt, swarm is a strong army, but it does not fit everyone style of play.

I hope you enjoyed the primer and found it to be a helpful tool.

- 42up
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Guest »

Pickett

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Re: Good read from a past era
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2009, 12:37:03 PM »
Here's 42up's accompanying post on harassment and melee.

Shades & Melee
by 42up
Harassment can be a tough concept to get perfected. I have seen many people on the boards scoff the shade in their melee armies b/c they assume that they do not need them. This is inherently a product of inexperience. I have seen many strategy posts that are broad and can cover much material. But for sake of convenience, I am going to cover one aspect in-depth. That is- The Role a Shade Plays in Melee Swarm.

First of all, I would like to get some basic melee ideas and formations.

Concepts behind melee swarm-

1. Must be in base to base to score points.
This is something that one must realize when playing swarm. You cannot win sitting around trying to heal or waiting for another formation to catch up. Many players like to include a healer in their swarm. This is a mistake. You score 0 points healing a fig and you waste 1-2 whole turns healing. If one formation needs to be healed, the other should hold back so the swarm can reach optimal efficiency. So in other words-Healing is a wasted point slot in swarm. Swarms also need to be of equal speed with one another. You cannot have one formation/fig moving 8 and another moving 12. This thins out your forces and does not focus your attack.

2. Swarms need to be as efficient as possible-
Swarms do not need to waste points on things that do not support/strengthen the swarm (a.k.a. healing). When using support, you want to increase mobility. A swarm needs to be maneuverable. KI and Orcs do this via Force Marchers and A.G. performs this by adding a techno/scorpem. The Piper/bearer increases the speed of the formations to provide increased mobility. The techno can ml figs and the scorpem negates the fact that the A.G. is inherently slow and has no FM fig. Dual figs are added weight in swarm. Figs like the battle queen and steam golem are too point costly and unfocused for a swarm. This also applies to large uniques.

3. Swarms need to achieve maximum value out of a formation-
A swarm army wants to make every formation count. Having one strong formation and a weaker one is quite the antithesis of swarm. Smaller figs need to be in groups of 5 while larger figs can suffer 3. A swarm formation needs to be around 100 or less. Any more and maneuverability is lost (exception being the high elf general with an elf contingent). Formations should be difficult to take down and redundant. Redundancy provides for increased formation potential if one fig is injured critically. This also has practical reasons in that some figs are stronger than others. The **brute is stronger than the ***crusher greatly and thus one would not play the crusher over the brute.

4. Actions are everything in a swarm-
The swarm wins as I have said by going into base 2 base. When in base 2 base, actions become vital. Each attack will add points and take away from the effectiveness of opposing figs. Redundancy provides that actions can mimic those of another. In other words, the action used to attack with an elf at arms can be repeated. Every move is vital; anything that takes away from the actions of a swarm army should be rethought. When in base 2 base it will come down to who use his/her actions more appropriately. Failing to maximize action potential will often lead to defeat as not enough points were acquired.

Minor points-

1. Swarms need no body guards
2. Large uniques are not needed in swarm (the HEG general is an exception along with the wraith and taskmaster. The new whelp master would be included but he really has nothing to work with.)
3. Blitz forms of melee are now unworkable (blitz being rivvens supported by chargers or crystal bladesmen swarm)
4. Swarms need to push often
5. Swarms usually outnumber their opponents but this is no excuse to use the swarm recklessly
6. Swarms are aggressive and should not be played defensively

Here are what I consider solid melee formations-
***elf at arms
***elf at arms
***elf at arms
***rivvenguard
*standard bearer

***utem guardsmen
***utem guardsmen
***utem guardsmen
***utem guardsmen
***utem guardsmen

**tribal brute
**tribal brute
Taskmaster
*clurch piper

**half troll hacker
*half troll hacker
*half troll hacker
Taskmaster
*clurch piper
(in orc formations, the taskmaster can readily be dropped without replacement)

***blade golem
**blade golem
**blade golem

High Elf General
***elf at arms
***elf at arms
***rivvenguard
*standard bearer

Now that we have established some melee basics, it is time to focus on the shade.

The purpose of a shade in melee-

1. To give point advantage by tying up part of an opposing army
2. To tie up range units
3. To block line of sight
4. Ability to move for free with 12" speed
5. To tie up opposing harassment/support
6. To pose as a threat to figs with low defense
7. To cause an opponent to waste actions

1. To give point advantage by tying up part of an opposing army-
This is perhaps the most vital quality of the shade. By tying up part of an opponent’s army, the rest of one's army has a significant point advantage. This advantage gives fewer losses and thus you lose fewer points while taking advantage of outnumbering an army. Many people have been raving about the new push off damage given by mounted. Never be afraid to gain an action/point advantage by tying up the mounted fig. Mounted figs are usually costly, especially the uniques. If you can remove their mounted fig from the game for 2 turns, then the point of damage the shade takes is worth the cost. Divide and conquer the old saying goes. This has no greater impact than to a swarm army. This will usually decide the mirror match as well.

2. Tie up range units-
This applies especially to the orcs. The KI can usually out range an army and the guild is packing a techno and/or scorpem gunner. This is one of the more obvious facts of the shade and needs little explanation. Just remember to tie up a range formation prior to attacking. This applies greatly when you are swarming an opponent's figs and they have range in position to fire once their comrade has been disposed.

3. To block Line of Sight-
The shade has the inherent ability to push and acquire stealth. This ability can be invaluable at times when facing multiple range targets or a fig with 14" range. The shade can also elect to block the LOS directly without pushing. This is helpful when you have a specific target you want to strike first and an opposing range formation that you must bypass.

4. Ability to move free with 12" speed-
This is an extremely vital part of the shade which makes him the piece de resistance to other harassers. Quickness is so much more important to swarm than flying. Actions, like I said, are greatly important and must not be used wastefully or ineffectively.

5. To tie up opposing harassment/support
Tying up harassment is much more vital than tying up support. A fig cannot heal when an enemy fig is in base contact with the target. Tying up a bodyguard (a.k.a. ***centaur LT or *heavy cavalier) for a turn or more can often insure victory. Negating the first strike capability is very important to the health of your figs. Tying up a supplemental fig like a scorpem, techno, rammer, piper, etc. is also important though not vital. A technomancer is an often seen support figure. Remember, when he is MLing your shade away, he is not ML one of his own warriors. Tying up harassment is extremely important; I do not know how much I can stress this. If an opponent can slow you down, force you to waste actions, or break a formation, you, the player, are at a serious disadvantage with a swarm army. Tying up an opposing shade with your own is very reasonable and I can not condone it more.

6. To pose as a threat to figs with low defense-
The shade can also attack in a pinch. Most range figs and support have low defense. Use this to your advantage to force your opponent to take notice of the shade. The shade can also be used to kill/capture a weakened fig if you must move your swarm out.

7. To cause an opponent to waste actions
if a shade causes part of an opponent’s army to attack it or move against it, which means it has to temporarily ignore the swarm. This is where everything ties together. Causing an opposing army to waste actions on a 12-16 point fig will win you games indirectly. While they are trying to deal with your shade, they also have to consider the swarm. Both are threats. If an opponent, elects to neglect the shade then he has consequently removed part of his army from the game. If he uses actions to deal with the shade then you have a free turn or 2 to do as you please. Like I said before, actions are everything to a swarm army. If you can cause your opponent to in a sense lose actions then you gain an action advantage on your opponent. Actions translate into attacks which in turn translate into points. Using a low point fig will usually net you a greater amount of points.

Hope that helps. I could make most of the minor points in the swarm section into major but I just wanted to cover what I thought to be the vital theory of swarm. Please note that this is a theory post and feel free to give constructive criticism. If this goes well, I might post a melee swarm primer for the KI and A.G

- 42up
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Guest »

rob

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Re: Good read from a past era
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2009, 05:39:39 AM »
Heh. That was a good read but it took my a while to get through it.

I salute those with the dedication to write things like this.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Guest »

Khamsin

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Re: Good read from a past era
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2009, 08:13:15 AM »
This is making me cry  :cry: I have to print this and read it very carefully and with much joy.

KI was one of my favourite factions, along with BP and Elementals - all for rather ethic reasons than because of the figs.

My last real game was (must be already 1.5 year passsed  :( ) was 4000 KI and Solonavi (me and another guy) vs 4000 AG and MS - and we won by less than 10 points! (although it should have been more if we would have continued the game for longer than the four hours we played, as their tank was killed, and our chariots and Eidolon still in best shape).
Apart from 3 chariots and the titan, we used of course two formations of cavallry, a long line of Longbows (they really did it quite well for the 150 points they costed - at least holding back these whimps from attacking) and some tribows.

But, and that's why I originally started the reply (I'm also dedicated to long posts :wink: ) we also used six or seven "legions", swarms comprising [email protected]/Immortal fanatics/heros, standard bearers - and the figure to compensate the poor defense of the [email protected]: The Shield Golem. And we really made it all across the table (as I said - whimps!) to crush into those lines of golden statues - they didn't move one inch (apart from the tank, which was swarmed and killed by the tribows' pierce and the longbow formation :P This reminded my of one scene in "The Bridge of Arnheem" - never let the tanks attack without support!).

This is MY style of the game - moving, not waiting! That's why my favourite Non is the Centaur lieutenant - definitely. It's risky, I know, for you might be crushed by ranged attackers before getting in contact (remember such famous battles like Poitiers and Culloden - sorry for the latter, HP!). But also think about the glory when all the game is played in your opponent's half and his demand for every single attack roll to succeed - or be hacked to pieces instead!

NO, I don't need psychological treatment, I just need somebody TO PLAY!!!  :mrgreen:

Salute
Khamsin
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Guest »
[size=75]Our youth is degenerated and lacking discipline. Young people do not listen to their parents. The end of the world is near.
(cuneiform writing, Ur, 2000 B.C.)
[/size]

Holadinca

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Re: Good read from a past era
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2018, 03:47:01 AM »
Well, the information that I want to have such good information again.