Revised Eastern Kingdoms List

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Revised Eastern Kingdoms List

Postby BaronDeSade » Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:47 pm

Hello All,

After Friday's brutal battle against TIm's Gondorians where the Eastern armies nearly, but not quite, plowed the field with Gondorian bones, I spent some time thinking about what worked and what didn't work in my army, and what I should do to change it up.

I regretfully agree that I had too few models on the table, so my first change is to bring my three warbands up to full strength. The second change was for me to dump the Easterling War Priest, as the man is an embarassment to the Eastern Kingdoms. My third, regretful change, was to remove Amdur for my list, for although he is dynamite, he can't win a war all by himself and his living-banner effect does not cross over to my Khandish horsemen, which are a powerful part of my strike force.

So I assigned my warbands each a task and then gave them heroes and troops appropriate to that task.

The first warband will be only infantry, and hold a position. This is important in many scenarios, and one of the strengths of the Easterlings is their heavy infantry, which can be very hard for an enemy to shift. This is a solid warband that can hold ground and fire a couple of arrows while they do so.

Captain Ilhan of Rhun with Easterling Halberd
5 Easterling Warriors with Shields
2 Easterling Warriors with Bows
5 Easterling Warriors with Pikes and Shields

The second warband will be deployed on the left, and it will be flexible, either holding ground alongside the center warband, or launching an attack of its own into the enemy. Filthy mercenaries all, but they have their role to play.

Chieftain Baatar of Khand on horse with bow
9 Khandish Warriors
3 Khandish Horsemen

The third warband will be very aggressive, using its speed to stretch the enemy's lines out and then hitting them as hard as possible. All the while, they can pepper the enemy with missiles. They will be deployed on the right of the line, as befits their status as the elite element.

Captain Tai-Shan of Rhun on armored horse with bow
1 Kataphrakt with War Drums
1 Kataphrakt with Banner
3 Kataphrakts
7 Khandish Horsemen

599 points and 39 models. My lines are thin, with my tough infantry deployed in the center and my cavalry out on the wings, just as with Hannibal at Cannae, as I too expect to be facing opposing forces which are more numerous and deeply-ranked, as were the Romans.

Glory to Rhun! Glory to Tai-Shan!

Thoughts?

Baron DeSade
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Re: Revised Eastern Kingdoms List

Postby Smeagol » Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:41 pm

Looking at your current revision and the details of yesterday's battle got me to rethinking the Easterlings I had been assembling. Some number crunching showed me that it is possible to breach the forty model range with Easterlings and still have a potent cavalry arm. The ability to intigrate Khandish Horsemen into the force gives me what I wanted without the unnecessary infantry components I didn't want to have to take.

So Tai Shan's rival Easterling Warlord has mustered his force together to gain greater glory and riches.
1 Easterling Captain with shield on armoured horse
1 Black Dragon Kataphract
6 Khandish Horsemen

1 Khandish Chieftain with bow on horse
6 Khandish Horsemen

1 Easterling Captain with shield
12 Easterling Warriors with shield

1 Easterling Captain with shield
12 Easterling Warriors with shield

Points = 599
Models = 41
Might = 8

A fine looking fighting force and it uses many if the strengths and tactical flexibilities that Tai Shan's force has. It's a bit more flexible as this force can divide the infantry components into two parts or combine with the support of two dedicated captains. The cavalry is all FV or better and is bow armed. This gives the tactical flexibility of mounted bowmen and the ability to provide cavalry support from two angles. The force is not as fast as Tai Shan's since you have a drummer and you also have the armour cracking ability of the axemen which I do not. I could swap out some armoured warriors if this proves to be an oversight.

Funny how fighting against your Easterlings makes mine stronger. :-)
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Re: Revised Eastern Kingdoms List

Postby BaronDeSade » Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:59 pm

It's not strange at all. You have the benefit of watching my successes and mistakes. You are learning the lessons of history, so you don't have to make them yourself. :wink:

Your force has more might than mine, slightly more models, and is more flexible when it comes to deployment. I do have a drummer, a banner and axemen and pikemen. I also have slightly more cav than you do. I thought about what I wanted to do with this force, and I could have made a four-warband force, but I decided that I would prefer to have three warbands at full strength with some nice upgrades than four warbands of moderate strength and upgrades.

Glad that Tai-Shan is an inspiration to you, even in defeat. :lol:

BdS
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Re: Revised Eastern Kingdoms List

Postby Smeagol » Sun Feb 12, 2012 1:36 am

I just discovered that pikes are only one point. That means that pikes in an Easterling force are a viable option in my opinion. So to that end they now have a place in my forces.
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Re: Revised Eastern Kingdoms List

Postby BaronDeSade » Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:04 am

D'oh! That's a game changer!

BdS

Edit: I can now change one of the Easterling Bowmen into a warrior and upgrade one of the Khandish warriors into a horseman.
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Re: Revised Eastern Kingdoms List

Postby BaronDeSade » Sun Feb 12, 2012 1:55 pm

Right, so I dropped the pikes, because, as you say, they are only good for supporting heroes and I would much rather have Khandish horsemen than Easterling Archers. Still, 1 point pikes are a pretty amazing thing. Final revision of the army has more striking power.

1st Phalanx

Easterling Captain
12 Warriors with shields

2nd Phalanx

Tai-Shan on armored horse with bow
Easterling Kat with drums
Kat with banner
2 Kats
8 Khandish horse

3rd Phalanx

Khand Chief on horse with bow
4 Khandish horse
8 Khand warrior

599 points, 39 models, 12 warrior bows
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Re: Revised Eastern Kingdoms List

Postby Spectrar Ghost » Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:58 pm

Can you elaborate on why you think Pikes are only good for supporting heroes?

I'm not terribly experienced yet, but I found the pike and shields to be excellent in the game I've used them in so far; they were effective in a very tight combat in a way that straight shields would not have been. I can see shields being useful in loose order, where there is more frontage to hit, but close order combats would seem to tend to favor the pikes. Thus pikes as a core with shields on the flanks would seem to be an effective configuration.
SG

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Re: Revised Eastern Kingdoms List

Postby BaronDeSade » Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:37 pm

I would be happy to elaborate. Tim, also, loves to elaborate so I should get in my elaboration first, while there is still room :wink: .

The main reason why a pike is mostly useful for heroes is because of the difference between what you are spending vs. what you are getting.

An Easterling warrior has average fight and strength scores. If you buy a pikeman to stand behind him, you are spending more than 100% of the original warriors's cost to give that warrior a second attack die. This is not a great investment because you are multiplying something that is not that great to begin with. On the other hand, a pikeman behind a hero costs about 16% of the cost of the hero, and is amplifying that heroe's high fight and strength scores, so not only are you investing less, you are getting a much better rate of return.

My friend Gary likes to play Dwarfs, and he liked to play with Dain Ironfoot. I built my Easterling warriors into phalanxes, got Dain surrounded, and thought that I would beat him that way, but it usually didn't work out like that. I would throw tons of dice, and Dain would only throw a few, but any of his 6's would trump all of my dice. If I did win, I would throw tons of dice to damage him, but I would rarely succeed because of his insane defense score. If I did succeed, he would often avoid the wound with fate. By that time, the rest of my army was falling apart, and it was because I was spending a ton of points to try and get Easterling warriors to wound a hero, which is not a job that they are suited for.

Consider this also: a regular Easterling warrior has a shield, so he can choose to have two dice in the fight by shielding, just as he could have two dice if he had a pikeman behind him, and that doesn't cost you anything. True, you can't strike if you win the fight, but then, a basic Easterling warrior likely won't cause a wound anyhow because his strength score is only average (unless your opponent is D3, which gives you a 50% chance.)

So, in my army, the job of the Easterling warriors is to hold the line, which is a very important job, while my other models, such as Khandish horsemen, attack the enemy and try and inflict wounds. A Khandish horseman gets more dice to attack on the charge, has a higher fight score and 400% of dice to strike if he wins (against an infantryman,) compared to an Easterling warrior, and doesn't even cost twice as much as the warrior. So for efficiency's sake, I try and maneuever so my heavily-armored warriors with shields are holding the line while my cav and/or axemen are trying to inflict wounds.

Now, you CAN grind the enemy down with Easterling warriors, a field of pikes, and a banner. I did it myself at the LV GT in '07 and took third overall using that strategy. Most enemy forces can't grind the Easterlings down faster than they get ground down themselves, so it can and does work. However, it takes a long time and a lot of dice rolling and is not very fun for me, so I was very happy when Khand was folded into the Eastern Kingdoms so I could have more cavalry. Pls check out my battle report if you haven't already :wink: .

Hope that helps!

BdS
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Re: Revised Eastern Kingdoms List

Postby Spectrar Ghost » Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:58 pm

That makes sense. I think that in some situations it oversimplifies though.

The difference is not number of attacks, but attack density. This is particularly true in situations where there is a limited frontage. If you have a gap betweren terrain of (to pick a number totally and completely at random ;) ) 100mm/4", you have up to 12 attacks to his 4. This wil not be true all the time, but if you use a pike/shield block in the correct terrain and/or manner I think you would find them more useful than a straight shield.

It's also significant that Easterlings can take hits to the rear ranks of their block better than other pikemen (and I use the term men loosely here) due to the Phalanx rule. You've got Defense 6 through the entire block, instead of a thin line of high Defense in the front rank. Thus they are less vulnerable to flanking or exploitation of a break in the front rank.

I still need to play more games to develop this army and tactics further though.

edit: I also rolled an absurd amount of sixes to wound against Dwarves last night. I'm aware I may be skewing my results by extrapolation from insufficient data - I've tried to avoid it though.
SG

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Re: Revised Eastern Kingdoms List

Postby Spectrar Ghost » Sun Feb 12, 2012 5:07 pm

What about having 4 Black Dragons with shield backed up by 8 regular Easterlings with pikes? That way the rear Easterlings are backing up F4. Of course this is another situation where you have a thin line of troops your're relying on, but it really only costs one model instead of three to upgrade the entire block.
SG

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Re: Revised Eastern Kingdoms List

Postby BaronDeSade » Sun Feb 12, 2012 6:57 pm

If you want to discuss "frontage" then the Easterling hero is still your best bet, as he only takes up one model's-worth of frontage. :D

One of the rules that is sometimes overlooked is that when a model is defeated and must back up, only one other friendly model is allowed to move out of the way. So, in the following formation of three Easterlings and six Pikemen:

EEE
PPP
PPP

If the enemy is engaging all three of the Easterlings, and the middle one is defeated, then he will be trapped, and the enemy will get double strikes on him. If you have four Black Dragons in this formation:

BBBB
PPPP
PPPP

You are in an even worse situation because your two middle Black Dragons will be trapped if they lose the combat. If you want to use pikes in this way, your best bet is to do this:

BBBB
PPPP

Two of the Black Dragons can "shield" while the other two can strike three times. You can also arrange it like this:

BBBB
P P
P P

With gaps for the pikemen to move into so the front rank can retreat.

I must disagree that having pikemen in the second and/or third rank is a significant advantage. If you are flanked or attacked from the rear, your pikemen will have to be defending themselves directly, so their pikes are not being used. If you are being squeezed on two or more sides, then your troops will be trapped again...

Yes, if you can find a narrow gap to defend and your enemy is foolish enough to attack you there, then those pikes will be an advantage. However, since you don't have a way to make the enemy come to you, an experienced general will not attack that position but just move around it. If you put all of your eggs in one basket, then it becomes too easy for an opponent to outmaneuver that basket.

The absolutely best position for an Easterling warrior is to be part of a trio that surrounds and traps an enemy model. They will have three attacks and six chances to wound for only 24 points. Work on getting into that position. :wink:

Glad to hear you were smiting the Dwarfs. The Easterlings traditionally steal from them.

Cheers,

BdS
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Re: Revised Eastern Kingdoms List

Postby Spectrar Ghost » Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:18 pm

Interesting, I hadn't thought about chaining pikes to the side in a two deep formation.

Question - I know the player with Priority decides how fights are divided. Does this apply to supporting attacks as well? i.e. in the formation

BBBB
PPPP

can the opponent (if they have priority) decide who is supporting who, or does the controlling player do so? If the opponent does, it would make the pi shaped formation

BBBB
P P
P P

a better choice.

I'm still unsure whether pikes are an advantage in the rear ranks, but my point above was that they are at less of a disadvantage than other races, due tothe Phalanx special rule. Other races lose the support attack elsewhere, and have worsr Defense to boot.
SG

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Re: Revised Eastern Kingdoms List

Postby BaronDeSade » Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:49 pm

No, the opponent choses which fight to initiate, but the controlling player choses how to use his support.

The first formation works just as well as the second because you don't have to be "behind" another model to support it. You just have to be touching. So, you can support "sideways" and then "forwards."

Cheers,

BdS
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Re: Revised Eastern Kingdoms List

Postby Spectrar Ghost » Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:53 pm

Hmmm. I'll have to think about this a bit. Thanks for the food for thought.

Now back to your regularly scheduled metagaming.
SG

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Re: Revised Eastern Kingdoms List

Postby Smeagol » Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:04 am

Steve covered the subject fairly well. Phalanxes are not a good formation in their native form. The front line is easy to trap when your opponent has Priority. Your frontage is also too small which makes it easier to outflank the formation. For example 15 models three deep gives you a five inch wide fighting line. Fifteen models attacking that line means I can bring seven models into engagement plus any supporting spears. That's four models attacking the corners of your formation. If I send just one model to engage the first supporting model on your flanks then I'm hitting your phalanx corners with up to four models and you are defending with one model. At best you defend for two dice and I'm hitting you with four dice. If I win you are taking eight dice in strike due to being trapped. If I put my heroes into your corners then I greatly improve my chances at destroying your corners. Meanwhile your center models get three attacks versus my two but if I win your lead model is trapped, but mine are not in the event I lose.

O-O-O-O
O-O-O-O
OOOOO

This gives you the ability to back out of lost fight with your supported models and you just defend with the others if you feel the need.
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