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Archers, what's the point


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I can't imagine fielding an army without archers. So many times I've gotten big models (100+ points) down to their last tracks with melee. You need those archers to finish the job without provoking another round of defensive strikes!

 

 

I never used any range in the earlier editions, except and occasional elite or solo. I may use it more this edition, due to focus and lower DVs overall.

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Archers also can work really well when used as the main force, given the right faction.

 

Clearly we could have made archers a more potent force in the game, and we did spend a considerable amount of time trying to get them 'right'. Too powerful, and all you have is 2 players sitting in their deployment zones rolling dice. Too weak, and no one uses them. I was shooting for 5-10 archers per army to be the average 'sweet spot', and so far I am pretty happy. The game is meant to be primarily melee, with the ability to do archer heavy.

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When playing elves I use archers as my primary offensive weapon. Vale Archers using focus+bless can bring the pain. The elf archer characters are my heavy hitters.

 

My archers move alot to maintain range and keep hunting cats and death seekers to intercept melee troops trying to close. I use of vale swordsmen and swift attack counter attack or finish things.

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So it seems like archers are not totally useless.

 

However, how do they compare to casters?

 

For example, lets compare the Isiri Archer to Thuusia, Painmage.

 

The Archer is 32 points compared to Thuusia's 46. So for the cost of a magic weapon or a standard, you can get thuusia over the archer.

 

The archer does have a longer range, and can shoot twice. However, it takes a penalty to hit if it actually fires at that range. Even assuming a DV of 10, and a focus action, its still getting one hit on a 7. So a 60% chance to totally whiff.

 

In comparison, Thuusia can cast Bolt, which is free. It shoots out to 18 inches, and she is CP 7. Even against MD 12, she is still hitting 60% of the time. In addition, the majority of things that protect from ranged attacks do nothing against magic. Target has stealth or is in cover? No problem! Someone cast a wind wall? No problem! Not to mention that she can also cast other spells that are even more powerful.

 

Now, to be fair, Thuusia is an elite, rather than a soldier. So you can take more archers. However, I still think that you are better off if instead of a troop of archers, you just take another troop of melee guys and another Thuusia.

 

I dunno, maybe I'm wrong, but it just seems like magic is WAY better points wise than shooting.

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Honestly, more often than not my ranged punch is focused into one or two elites - a mage and an archer. It's not a terrible way to go, really..

 

 

But to provide the counter point.. Thuusia's offensive potential is greater than a single archer, but the impact of losing Thuusia is also greater. Having a single archer knocked off isn't a big deal, but your mage dies and often a whole lot of options go with it. Typically your mages have low DV values which only compounds the issues. Now, there are good ways to protect a mage, but that's another thread.

 

Additionally, as you noted, mages are elites or leaders, and you can't have too many of them. If you plan on reaching out and hitting the enemy, and having that be a core part of your army, you're really going to need archers to bring up the numbers.

 

Hey.. I say, take both. I'm the poster child for building melee-focused armies and practically excluding ranged options of any sort. Many of my armies have only a token nod to ranged combat, in either form (magic or archery). But many armies that do well have nearly 1/3 of the points invested in a combination of magic and archery. And if ranged is the name of your game, it'd probably be more like 1/2 of the points invested in ranged of some sort.

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Honestly, more often than not my ranged punch is focused into one or two elites - a mage and an archer. It's not a terrible way to go, really..

 

 

But to provide the counter point.. Thuusia's offensive potential is greater than a single archer, but the impact of losing Thuusia is also greater. Having a single archer knocked off isn't a big deal, but your mage dies and often a whole lot of options go with it. Typically your mages have low DV values which only compounds the issues. Now, there are good ways to protect a mage, but that's another thread.

 

Additionally, as you noted, mages are elites or leaders, and you can't have too many of them. If you plan on reaching out and hitting the enemy, and having that be a core part of your army, you're really going to need archers to bring up the numbers.

 

Hey.. I say, take both. I'm the poster child for building melee-focused armies and practically excluding ranged options of any sort. Many of my armies have only a token nod to ranged combat, in either form (magic or archery). But many armies that do well have nearly 1/3 of the points invested in a combination of magic and archery. And if ranged is the name of your game, it'd probably be more like 1/2 of the points invested in ranged of some sort.

 

I disagree that losing thuusia is a greater blow. While yes, you are losing more effectiveness, that is because Thuusia is better. However, you've only lost 14 more points worth of guys. Also, the Archer's DV is just as bad as Thuusia's, and he is harder to hide, as he cant be casting Mind Blast from outside of LOS.

 

Also, the main reason that it is usually a bigger blow to lose a mage is because you only have the 1 or 2. And losing an archer isn't a big deal, because you have multiples, and hey, what was he going to do anyway? (cause he sucks, but still costs 30 points :P) But what if you have 6 Thuusia's? The enemy likely had to bunch up to break through your wall of melee, and hey, the other 5 can cast Debilitating pain! Good times for all. (all the thuusia's anyway.)

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Now if I read Stealth correctly it says you cannot target a model with a ranged attack if it is more than 12" away. In this case it doesn't say if that ranged attack is an arrow or a magical spell. It just says ranged attack which means you couldn't target it with your spell any easier than you could with an archer.

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So it seems like archers are not totally useless.

 

However, how do they compare to casters?

 

For example, lets compare the Isiri Archer to Thuusia, Painmage.

 

The Archer is 32 points compared to Thuusia's 46. So for the cost of a magic weapon or a standard, you can get thuusia over the archer.

First, let me point out, as it has been done so many times before, comparing one datacard directly against another for "effectiveness" is not some sort of an exact science. Every datacard serves a different role, each combination of abilities produces unique performance under battle conditions. However, I'd like to point out what I believe to be a few flaws in the analysis of an archer vs. Thuusia. The first factor to consider is the fact that Thuusia is 46 points vs. the archer's 32. While 14 points might not seem like much in the grand scheme of a 1K army build, this means that Thuusia is in fact 44% more expensive than a single archer. Thus, Thuusia should be signficiantly more effective than a single archer.

 

If we instead level the playing field and grant the archer a Magic Ranged Weapon (which it cannot have, but for purposes of this example makes their point cost just a single point different), The archer becomes a RAV 4; the average model DV in WL2 core factions is ~10. Thus the archer, with great range, has an average chance to hit his target 50% of the time. Thuusia's CP is 7, however the average MD for WL2 core factions is nearly 13. Thus, she has a... oh, look, 50% chance to succeed with a given spell. Admittedly, this example is flawed, as it fails to take into account Range differences, hit penalties at Long Range, that archers maintain a DV 8 on 2nd track while Thuusia sinks to a 7, that archers can be taken in in far greater number and concentration than Thuusia, and on and on...

 

Thus, I will agree that Thuusia is superior to an Isiri Archer. Is she better, point for point? Situationally, yes. Then again, I would also argue that archers will out-produce Thuusia situationally as well. You can't read anymore than that into it.

 

~v

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Now if I read Stealth correctly it says you cannot target a model with a ranged attack if it is more than 12" away. In this case it doesn't say if that ranged attack is an arrow or a magical spell. It just says ranged attack which means you couldn't target it with your spell any easier than you could with an archer.

This is incorrect. Models performing ranged attacks do so using RAV via the Shoot action (p.32). Spells are conducted using CP via the Spellcast action (p.34). Stealth does not impact spellcasting, much in the same way Deflect does not.

 

~v

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Now if I read Stealth correctly it says you cannot target a model with a ranged attack if it is more than 12" away. In this case it doesn't say if that ranged attack is an arrow or a magical spell. It just says ranged attack which means you couldn't target it with your spell any easier than you could with an archer.

This is incorrect. Models performing ranged attacks do so using RAV via the Shoot action (p.32). Spells are conducted using CP via the Spellcast action (p.34). Stealth does not impact spellcasting, much in the same way Deflect does not.

 

~v

 

I believe you might actually be incorrect Shak, respectfully. Both Spellcast and Shoot actions are ranged attacks, unless they happen in melee or are specified otherwise. Nothing in the rules states that a Spellcast action used for attack is not a ranged attack. It even specifically states that the targets must be within range of the attack. Step 1 in how to resolve an Attack Spell(p.35) says;

 

"1) Declare each spellcasting model's spells: The controlling side declares all spells and all targets of those spells. All measeurements for range and AoE are also made." That seems to clearly state that casting the spell is an attack that targets something at range, hence ranged attack, therefore stealth applies.

 

Spellcast is merely a seperate form of ranged attack from shooting a bow or what have you, but it is still a ranged attack. Stealth models are infact immune to being the target of attack spells outside of 12 inches and are also immune to the AoE effects of spells like fireball much like a rogue in D&D with the evasion feat since you have to target them with an attack vs their MD if it's outside of the 12". Even spells that don't require LoS like Mind Blast are inelligible outside of 12" on a stealth model. ::):

 

Joshua

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