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8th Ed. How to beat Empire cavalry deathstars?

Discussion in 'Lizardmen & Saurian Ancients Tactics' started by Karnus, Jan 28, 2019.

  1. Karnus
    Chameleon Skink

    Karnus Active Member

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    40 odd 1+ saves, lances, mounted warrior priest, mounted life wizard, mounted captain BSB, mounted general armed with runefang and anything else I’ve missed.

    That’s what I face half the time when fighting empire. I’ve only had success with dwellers below on a unit like that, but it wasn’t enough and risked a miscast on the slaan.

    Anyone have a go-to strategy when facing something like that?
     
  2. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
    Skar-Veteran

    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Well-Known Member

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    I'd say use the Lore of Metal with your Slann - Plague of Rust can be used to repeatedly decrease the target's armour save by a point every turn, while Final Transmutation ignores all saves of any kind and automatically kills each model in the unit on a 5+ and characters on a 6.
     
  3. Karnus
    Chameleon Skink

    Karnus Active Member

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    As I say I prefer dwellers below from life for this task as it’s a STR test, so kills models on 4+ and most heroes on a 5+.

    I love the idea of plague of rust but I can realist expect to cast it 3 times a game if I’m going for it but that’s only (only lol) getting them down to a 4+ Armour save.

    I was hoping to stumble across a non-magic solution if there is one as I’ve started to fall out of love with the slaan, far too pricey for what he does.
     
  4. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
    Skar-Veteran

    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Well-Known Member

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    Blade of Realities on an Oldblood cowboy in a Saurus cav unit? They have Knight-level saves and the Blade of Realities ignores both armour and Wards.
     
  5. Karnus
    Chameleon Skink

    Karnus Active Member

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    I always discount the blade of realities because it is so pricey, but that could almost certainly work, or a dual carnosaur list as long as I can get the flank?
     
  6. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
    Skar-Veteran

    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Well-Known Member

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    Carnosaurs would be good in the flank as S7 would deal a hefty -4 armour save modifier, but they’re better at killing enemy monsters. However, cavalry units have fewer models, so it may be possible to wipe a Knight unit out with a Carnosaur or two. In fact as each Carnosaur has a chariot base I reckon only about 4 (or 6 max) knights would actually be able to fight each one (2-3 at the front and 2-3 supporting), and if you charge the knights will be fighting at their pathetic human Strength of 3 so would be wounding on 6s with their measly 4 (or 6) attacks.
     
  7. NIGHTBRINGER
    Slann

    NIGHTBRINGER Second Spawning

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    Be careful when planning to field Carnosaurs against Empire, a cannon or two can ruin your plans real quickly.
     
  8. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
    Skar-Veteran

    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I would take some Terradons to bomb those or just charge the nearest knight unit as soon as possible to avoid getting one-shotted.
     
  9. NIGHTBRINGER
    Slann

    NIGHTBRINGER Second Spawning

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    @Karnus

    Are you dealing with Knightly Orders or Reiksguard Knights?
     
  10. Karnus
    Chameleon Skink

    Karnus Active Member

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    I am normally dealing with knightly orders I think (the upgraded ones?)
     
  11. NIGHTBRINGER
    Slann

    NIGHTBRINGER Second Spawning

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    I've never seen such a cavalry deathstar, cavalry usually aren't that popular. Deathstars can be quite potent but there are several counter tactics I like to consider (choosing the best of these options depends on what type of deathstar you are facing and what tools you have at your disposal)...

    • magic
    • templates (like breath weapons or stone throwers, etc.)
    • other death stars
    • redirection
    • neutralization
    • use of movement & terrain (because death stars are typically awkward to move and have a huge footprint)

    The two options I highlighted in red are not particularly useful for you in this instance because we don't have any templates to adequately negate that 1+ armour and the good mobility + swiftstride makes the Knightly Order deathstar a bit more mobile than most. However the rest are all very viable.


    To begin let's take a closer look at this Knightly Order unit.

    The first thing that jumps out is the staggering points cost. Upgraded Inner Circle Knights cost 25 points each. So the 40 knights you are facing cost a whooping 1000 points, which doesn't even include command, a magic banner or the 4 characters you listed. So the entire unit will cost somewhere in the vicinity of 1500 points. 1500 points buys you a lot of counters!

    The greatest strength of the Knights are their charge, 1+ armour and mobility.

    The greatest weakness of the Knights is that they aren't that impressive in a protracted fight (cavalry typically aren't... unless they are of the monstrous variety) and they are very expensive. Sure on the charge they have S6 with their lances (which is how you said your friend equips them), but after that they are only S4. Not only that, but they only have a single attack from the rider [WS4, S4] and one from the Warhorse [WS3, S3]. That isn't that scary from the unit itself, although you will have to deal with the characters. So whatever you do, try not to let them charge you!!! Consider them almost like chariots, in the sense that they are relying on the charge. If your friend instead swaps out their lances and shields for great weapons then the equation changes a bit, but he does reduce his armour save from 1+ to 2+ (which can make a big difference).


    So you have two basic approaches that you can take. The first involves redirecting or pinning the unit with a small percentage of your army in order to free up most of your army to mop the floor with the rest of his army. This can be accomplished with redirection, terrain usage and/or neutralization. The second option is to try to kill the unit and essentially win the game right then and there. This is accomplished through the use of magic and/or your very own death star.

    I won't focus too much on magic because you said you were looking for other options, but I might mention it here or there.


    Neutralization
    This tactic essentially involves creating the most defensive stubborn character you can in order to hold the unit in close combat. The idea is that you aren't trying to kill the unit, but rather pin it in place for as long as you can. If you can take a 1500 point unit out of the game using a 300-400 point character then you have essentially created an imbalance between the rest of your forces and your opponent's forces. With Lizardmen, the best candidate for this job is the good old trusty Oldblood Cowboy. You have to take the Crown of Command to make the Oldblood stubborn. Arm him with a GW (it's cheap and will allow you to take out enemy characters that might pose a threat to you) and a Cold One. You then get him a 1+ save (which is very easy to do) and a 4+ ward save (there are other options rather than the ward save, such a Fencers Blade + Glittering Scales). If you weren't facing an armour ignoring weapon (Runefang) than a Bane Stone 1+ rerollable save works too. In any event, build the character as defensive as you can with all the magic items you can fit in there. Next, you really need a Slann nearby to ensure you won't break from combat, leadership 8 cold-blooded is nice (about 90% success rate) but I wouldn't chance it. With a BSB Slann and the Banner of Discipline, you have Leadership 10 cold-blooded with a reroll, which I believe gives you approximately a 99.9% chance of making your leadership test. Essentially you are unbreakable. As a result your opponent must slay your uber-defensive character in order to free up his 1500 point unit. Make sure you challenge him every turn. If he accepts, then you get to ignore the rest of the unit and fight one on one. If he refuses the challenge then send the Runefang general to the back rank and out of the fight. Remember that the Runefang general is pretty much the only guy you really have to worry about. The oldblood should beat him, but it isn't a sure thing. Your Slann can also provide a bit of a helping hand here. With the lore of Life or High magic you can heal up the odd wound that gets past your Oldblood's defenses. High Magic also gives you Arcane Unforging which you can use to destroy the Runefang magic weapon.

    Once you have sprung this plan into action, just use the rest of your forces to wipe out everything else he has and win the game. If you have turns left over (after crushing the majority of his other forces) you can always flank the deathstar and try to kill it.


    Redirection
    Just keep the unit busy by feeding it chaff units. Skinks, flyers, etc. He only has 6 turns to bring his unit into meaningful combat so every turn you are able to waste means that his 1500 point unit is not doing much. As with the neutralization tactic, this frees up most of your army to wipe out the remainder of his forces.


    A deathstar of your own! Fight fire with fire as they say.


    I have a couple of good ideas here (we can build a better deathstar!), but it is getting late so I will have to tackle them on a different date. Either way, I think this is a good start and should open up some options for discussion. Let me know what you think.

    Cheers,
    :cool:
     
  12. Karnus
    Chameleon Skink

    Karnus Active Member

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    I love the idea of a single old blood holding up the unit, definitely going to try that first!
     
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  13. Scalenex
    OldBlood

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Redirection is probably our real non-magical solution this type of enemy. If you can the knights busy you can destroy the rest of his army piece by piece and win via points attrition.

    A tarpit of Cohort Skinks can ruin a knight block's battle but the hard part will be forcing the knights to fight said tarpit is not easy....requiring you play a good redirection game.

    If you can deny the knights the charge (or make them charge something you don't care about), monsters and Temple Guard and even Kroxigors (if there is a supporting unit to provide standards and ranks) can tear up knights.

    The problem is that Empire cannons can take out our monsters pretty easily and Kroxigors are moderately vulnerable to small arms fire. Also, Kroxigors will get slaughtered by knights if Knights charge them first. I still like Kroxigors because I like the way they look. Also, 7 Strength hits, I really like those!
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
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