Tuesday, January 4, 2011

WHFB: 8th Edition Tricks

I've been re-reading the rule book lately and I find this to be very rewarding when it comes to improving your play and opening up new tactics.  I noticed as I read through each section, ideas were popping into my head on how to try new things to take advantage of rules that most people take for granted.  This is especially true in things that changed since 7th.  A lot of veteran players in my area are still playing 8th Edition incorrectly by using 7th Edition rules that no longer exist; not because they are intentionally trying to cheat, but that they simply haven't read the rule book enough.

So hopefully the articles in this series will be short, but contain actual useful information you can use to win games, as opposed to long theory articles that don't actually help you on a practical level.  So today's trick involves charging, and getting a unit to run off the table in one turn.

Much like the Russians did to Napoleon, once you have them retreating you have to keep them retreating.

We have all been in this situation before: you declare a charge and your opponent chooses the flee reaction.  He knows full well that with his Musician and nearby BSB, he will rally on his turn and your charge will get shut down.  Unlike 40k, units in Fantasy can rally even if there are nearby enemies, so you can't walk someone off a table.  It is very annoying to break a large block, only to have them rally the next turn, and wear you down through attrition.

So the goal is to punish someone for using the flee reaction.  But how?  By combining three separate rules to your advantage.
1.  A unit that is fleeing automatically chooses the flee reaction if it gets charged again.  That means another 2d6 inches closer to the board edge of doom.

2.  Charge reactions are chosen and resolved before the charging units are moved.

3.  A unit can declare a charge even if there are intervening friendly units, so long as there is line of sight to the enemy and they are within the range of a potential charge.


My opponent has a large block of Empire Halberders.  I declare a charge at them with my block of Swordmasters.  He declares a flee reaction and falls back 8".  Just behind my Swordmasters, I have a unit of Dragon Princes.  The Dragon Princes are slightly to the right of the SM and have LOS.  Even with the 8" flee reaction, they are still within their max potentia 20" range to declare a charge.  They declare the charge.  The Halberders flee another 2d6 inches.  If they aren't already off the table, a charge declaration from my Reavers who are 18" away will send them off.

So we killed the unit by running them off the table.  Now the best part.  All our charging units have the opportunity to redirect their charge with a successful leadership test.  The could potentially do the same thing again to a second unit.  It's likely the opponent won't choose to flee this time, so they will just get eaten by the Swordmasters and/or Dragon Princes if they pass their test to re-direct.  Win/Win.

This validates a few tactical concepts you hear people talk about a lot: multi-charges and fast cavalry.  Everyone agrees that fast cav is great, but most people limit their greatness to harassing units' flanks or attacking Warmachines.  I would contend that their best use is to declare long distance charges at already fleeing units to run them off the board.  Fast cavalry tends to be closer to the opponent's deployment zone and to have the highest charge range in your army.  Those two combine to make them ideal in declaring improbably long, but legal, charges in order to get fleeing units to flee further.

It also demonstrates the value of multi-charges.  An opponent is simply more likely to choose a flee reaction if you have multiple units charging him.  In my above example, the opponent may have fancied his chances of the halberders against the Swordmasters and held.  But since I would have the Dragon Princes charge later in the charging sub-phase, he would assuredly opt to flee.  And let's not forget, thanks to re-directing charges, the penalty for multi-charging is very small


  1. Can you site the page #s for the above rules please

  2. Sure thing...

    1. Page 17 (Flee!).

    2. Page 16 (charge summary).

    3. Page 16 (can I charge?).

  3. Oh another thing do you thing you could do a post about WE (Wood Elf) Tactics. I know you play dark elves the armies are kinda (mind you I mean KINDA) similar. I really like you logic thought processes. Also do you think you could do a assessment of my list I know some of the Haus of Pancakes guys do it

  4. I'm one of those guys who's finding it a hard transition. I really need to re-work my dwarves in light of the new edition but can never find time for it.

  5. Wood Elves are pretty tough to make work, but I'll brainstorm on it.