Monday, January 21, 2013

Chariots of the gods

Happy New year 2013!

The first post of the year will be about the last unit of my Tomb King army I just finished yesterday... well I still have have to paint the movement tray and to magnetize the chariot bases. So yes it'll be about Chariots!

It will also be a longer post as I don;t update the blog so often so it will make me feel less guilty about that but not only. I want my take on the Tomb King to be out there on the web. It sounds arrogant but it isn't. I listen to most podcasts related even remotely to WFB and on one hand I have to say a fair bit of them have some solid practice with this army but I can agree really with none of them on the strengths and weaknesses of the current book. According to me it highlight mostly the versatility of this second version of the book. So i decided that when I post a new finished unit I will also develop how I make use of it on the field and I just happen to finish a core unit so i will even start in order.

I. The hobby side.

Unit of 4 chariots. Without further ado here come the bad boys:

On the left you have two closer look at the unit champion and on the left side same for the standard bearer.

The paint job is classic and fit the rest of the army. I may add some more ink job on the base later on to unify the army. having a big base size army is a blessing for the model count but keeping the basing on very much the same exact shade is harder than I anticipated. I find small patch of ink helps to tie up the various models by mimicking imperfection of the ground, plus it add some depth to your model almost effortlessly.

II. Gaming side

- core choice, no way otherwise player would consider them
- can take magical banner up to 25 points
- D6 impact hits 
- charioteers have 2 A each
- easy to raise back (1d3 +1)
- T4 model with 3 Wounds
- do not suffer really from Nehekaran Undead special rules as no chariot can march.
- 2 sneaky shots that hits on 5 with 24" range

- not really suited for delivering characters because they won't provide look out sir except if you invest over 300 pts or more
- do not survive attrition, hordes, and or cavalry bus
- NEED the charge

Unit size I used the most: 3-4 with no characters or champion but with at the very least musician and standard bearer if room for its points. 
I don't play anymore big chariots buses. It may be my play style but they never give their points back nor survive the battle. I find large unit hard to maneuver and so difficult to get the charge. The inability to have support attacks hit hard this formation, and the +1 S for impact hit per rank f three or more chariots is not enough of an incentive. 
I think 2 units potentially dealing 4D6 strengh 4 is better than one potential 4D6 strength 5. In the same idea, a front exceeding 5 chariots is a waste of points as they will never make contact during charge so will no provide you impact hits. 
Chariots are ideal for focusing the opponent army and distract him from the real threats of your army. You could consider them as expensive chaff but it is narrowing down their use. They have a real psycho impact on your opponent, I have only face opponents that over-estimate or under-estimate them. Their real fighting ability comes from the impact hits and the defensive abilities comes form the T4 and possibility to raise them easily and repeatedly. Bare in mind that baiting for TK means trading as we cannot flee; chariots are mobile enough to be sacrificed to give you a flank to the Snakes. I almost never double charge with them and a sphinx or snakes because a smart opponent will get the wound on them and that will negate the hitting power of my heavy unit. They usually wait on the flank for opportunities. They are good at taking small monstruous cav or negate the charging bonus of heavy human knights. The latter especially if you get the killing blow spell off. They are also useful every turn of the game as they can shoot; granted they are not snipers but good enough to clear small scouts such as skinks or single characters. 

Characters: No thank you! Way to snipable. You need 5 rank-and-file models to have a "look out sir!" (LoS) excluding the champion. It would bring the unit beyond the optimum size according to me for a net bonus very mild as WS 5 or 6 won't make this unit a killing machine at all and potential extra bonus stretgh on impact hit. 

Special Characters: There is two special characters that can ride a chariot, so there are two scenarios here.  Interestingly enough both have huge chariots and that is important to keep on mind for foot print and how to make the best of it. 
First Settra, I tried him few games as I was looking for a way to use my Ushabti. It did not work but I found the games pleasant anyway and he potentiates well Snake Riders. I surround him with a unit of  7 chariots with full command with the banner that grants +1 M. I chose a front of 3 chariots, so my front was solely composed of Settra and the champion, nobody could hit the unit from the front and I have LoS for Settra. The idea is to lock a unit by charging with carrion or scorpion in the flank and then charge the front with Settra unit.
Second is Arkhan and the opposite somewhat. He is ok in a fight but that is not is strong suit. I used him more extensively than Settra for the sake to run a "Death" army, that is to maximize the Ld hexes and the insane amount of Ld based tests leading to wounds or flee that TK can generate. We may not be teh best at that role but we are in the top 3 with this type of army. So here I take again 7 chariots full command, the banner may vary a bit here but I like my chariots to be mobile so I often go +1 M. The front rank is composed of my command and Arkhan sit in the second rank casting mayhem. I usually equip him with non-flying chariot as it is almost the price of a chariot. Do not be afraid to end up in hand-to-hand with Arkhan try to place him in contact with rank-and-file so his weapon brings back wounds on chariots. Do not forget that Arkhan is a TK so his WS carry over teh unit, WS4 is better than WS3. 

Conclusion: Two units of 3 chariots with musician is usually my first choice in a list. They are crazy versatile from clearing the chaff to give an edge in flank charge with infantry or hunt war machines. I only consider big unit to accompany special characters. They are very much the spirit of the army so comes from your core. Honestly what's not to like about them. They are always chariots in my lists.

Questions and comments are all very welcome.

Till next time, take care my friends and stay addicted to the plastic bliss.