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2015 NICT lists - please discuss
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scott holder
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2015 6:37 pm    Post subject:

Quote:
The sling gives a reasonable reach for the army - they are also all Regular LMi and move 120p. I have been able to be aggressive in the face of reluctant opponents and in a few turns I find myself on their side of the board (despite being outscouted in almost every occasion) and pushing towards their rear/camp area. I've come very close to looting camps with Tepanec/Aztec in the past and have even surrounded reluctant opponents on both flanks (hostages for sacrifice).


I can't tell you how many games I've observed Bill's Chipotletecs looking just like you describe. Admitedly he takes longer to "get there". Rolling Eyes Shocked Laughing

His games seem to be binary in that regard, either he's "pinned" and counter punching or he's swarming the other side of the table.

scott

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2015 8:29 pm    Post subject:

All good points by Todd and Scott. However I'm an empiricist and I stand by my view. Show me in recent memory a Meso American army that has finished first in either the Nationals or Cold Wars.... Yeah. Thought so.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2015 8:36 pm    Post subject:

I sense a challenge Smile.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2015 10:21 pm    Post subject:

Ewan McNay wrote:
I sense a challenge Smile.
Oh by all means play a Meso American army next summer at Historicon. I like the assurance that we'll have a new champion.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 2:55 pm    Post subject:

And so we come to our champion:

Quote:
Ewan McNay, Sassanid Persian. * indicates elephant-proof.

CinC alone on his elephant, Irr B, with PA 115
Irr B Subgeneral as SHC L,B,Sh + 1E IrrB EHC L,B* 129
Irr B Subgeneral as SHC L,B,Sh + 1E IrrB EHC L,B* 129
Irr B Subgeneral as SHC L,B,Sh + 1E IrrB EHC L,B* 129
4E Irr B HC L,B 121
3 Irr B El: 2 with 4 crew and 1 with 2 crew 175
3 Irr B El: 2 with 4 crew and 1 with 2 crew 175
6E Reg D LC B* 82
6E Reg D LC B, with 2E made elephant proof 74
8E Reg MI (7D, 1C): 4 LTS, JLS, Sh / 4 B, 1E caltrops 114
3E Reg D LC B*, 1E JLS 48
3E Reg D LC B*, 1E JLS, Sh 52
12E Irr LI (11D, 1C) B, 6E w/ Sh 63 63
6E Irr LI JLS, half Sh (5D, 1C) 45
6E Reg D LI S, Sh 46
4E Reg D LI JLS, Sh 34
4E Reg D LI JLS, Sh 34
4E Reg D LI JLS, Sh 34


Perhaps the most important thing to say is that this list and Ewan's play is a real testament to the virtue of long term dedication to a list. Ewan has thought about this particular list more deeply than anyone else. Indeed I would hazard that Ewan has put more thought into this list than the rest of us combined. And he has many hours of tournament time testing his ideas on the table.

That's how you take a "B" list and beat a bunch of "A" list contenders in the Nationals.

Think about that for a moment. Sassanid is a solid list, with several virtues and some unique thought problems for an opponent, but a fair share of weaknesses as well. I'll get to all of that in a moment. Bottom line it's a good list, but not a great list. Of the lists played in this year's Nationals I'd rate Alexandrian Imperial and Nikephoran Byzantine as clearly superior, and Tepanec and Moldavian as at least equal and arguably superior. The moral of the story: any sufficiently skilled player truly dedicated to getting the best out of an army can take a "B" list all the way to the championship. So while there are probably only a half dozen of what I would consider "A" lists, there are dozens of "B" lists, meaning we should all feel free to choose from a wide variety of lists without competitively disadvantaging ourselves.

The virtues:
* Irr B elephants. Not the ideal crew, but certainly good enough.
* Elephant proof cataphracts. I viable shock troop in their own right, they pair nicely with the elephants. Dense shooting that might threaten the elephants is going to be vulnerable to the cataphracts, meaning the cataphracts can be used effectively to set the table for the elephants.
* Abundant regular light troops. These troops greatly expand the frontage this army can cover, and as regulars their high maneuverability makes it difficult to get around them or brush them aside.

The problems:
* No rough terrain troops. With no loose order foot of any kind, this army has no ability to project force into difficult terrain. Given the preponderance of terrain cluttered tables we see these days, that presents a real challenge.
* The morale and armament of the light troops is poor. None of the light cav fights rank and a half, a detriment these days. Lots of D class stuff here, which won't counter very reliably, nor pass wavers -- particularly uneasy wavers -- reliably. JLS-armed LI that's entirely D class isn't going to be very effective at challenging enemy LI, and in general JLS is not a great LI weapon type for dealing with enemy LC.
* Too few loose order lancers. You can't really stiffen the LI by putting SHC behind them because (a) that's a very expensive use of SHC, and (b) when charging through LI, disordered SHC is just not a good thing to have. Ewan has one 4 stand unit of HC who can kind of play this supporting role, but that's really not enough. I think a good case can be made for dropping one of the SHC units and getting a unit that's just EHC.
* The staff element elephant. This is a matter of personal playing style, and I know there are some tricksy things one can do with joining this staff element to a body of elephant proof cav, but still. Staff elements almost always seem like a waste of points to me, where I'd rather have a full unit that can easily do some actual fighting.

So there you have it. The way to beat this army is to use terrain to your advantage, and/or fight a careful battle with quality light troops and take apart the Sassanid skirmishers. There's probably enough points there for a decent win, and you may well expose a flank somewhere that garners more points. Patience is the key, and the ability to delay the SHC / elephant combination until your own advantages can prevail.
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Todd Kaeser
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 4:57 pm    Post subject:

Dan Woyke's list has been edited into the original post.

I will gather information to attempt to refute Mark's post about the inability of Meso-American armies to win major tournaments this weekend. Very Happy

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 5:02 pm    Post subject:

"B" list?

For one time, I'm gonna get meta in terms of list construction and I'll be blunt: this list as I constructed it is a travesty. It's my only real "failure" in terms of effectively balancing the extant historical record against the game. My mistake was overly relying on the opinion and research of one person; it was one of the few times I relied on an "outsider" for input. I regret that this list *ever* saw the light of day.

Years ago I remarked in Ewan's presence about how I really needed to redo the list. He had the proverbial cow because of the money he'd sunk into the lead collection. Quite frankly I should have stuck to my guns because now, whatever info or analysis I had is lost in the jumble of my middle-aged memory.

"B" list my ass. Rolling Eyes Mad

scott

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 5:24 pm    Post subject:

As the person that Scott visualises when he snarks on overly-competitive, win-uber-alles gamers Smile [OK, maybe Derek also] - I would not play this as much if it had not at one time been an A list. I've been astonished that no-one (other than Charles Yaw, for a while) else plays it.

These days, in comparison to other lists that get a plethora of special rules, it pales; I have a much longer piece in my head about the downsides of continuing to expand the special cases that act as warts on the point system Smile. The LC were always bad, but now they just die to 1.5-rank opponents. The foot were always bad, but not they just die to two-full-rank opponents. Sassanids don't get fancy Byzantine rules, or Macedonian rules, or circulating combatants - nuthin'.

What they *do* get is a unique combination of the SHC and El side-by-side. That's why I took it: it's a one-off threat, so not something that most enemies spend much time thinking about. That and it looks cool.

If the list were being redone*, though, they really should get some Dailami.. Smile

{*Scott is correct in his recollection of my reaction. One of the things that FHM did early on was make a cast-iron pledge that no army would ever be obsoleted by list changes, and I relied on that in my penurious post-doc state when I sunk the $$ into buying what is still my only full 25mm army. These days I would not freak _as_ much, probably, maybe...}
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 5:32 pm    Post subject:

Quote:
...OK, maybe Derek also...


Hardly.

What Derek does is find very innovative ways to bring something few people expect configured in such a way as to a) play to his tactical style while, b) surprising the crap outta everybody.

When was the last time anybody brought Han Chinese to the NICT?

I rest my case.

Ugh, I'm defending Derek, I need to take a shower. Embarassed

The reason I don't get really tiresomely irked at the win-at-all-costs-don't-play-a-list-for-any-other-reason-types is that I do understand that most of you aren't in a position to have the kind of army variety in 25mm the way Derek, and Bill and to a far lesser extent me, do. Given the lack of playing time all of us have experienced over the last ten years, it's hard to justify either the time expenditure to paint a 1600pt army or the money (which you would to a certain extent anyway just for the lead).

scott

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 7:39 pm    Post subject:

Gee, Scott, tell us how you really feel. Smile

I'll jump right in and offer some candid opinions on army list selection and our little corner of the miniatures hobby more generally.

First: I find scenario miniatures distasteful in the extreme. "Let's re-fight Waterloo, only none of the fog of war will exist, we'll know precisely when the Prussians will arrive, and we have complete visibility across the entire field of battle. Then we'll pretend that we're simulating history." No wonder pure history buffs like Christian Cameron wander off to the re-enactment world in disgust.

Or you get the romanticized hero worship that certain communities have for certain armies and/or leaders. "Ok, Hitler was kind of a bad guy, but the German war machine is neato!" "Well, slavery was bad, but the underdog army of states' rights rugged individualism led by canny and brilliant leaders like Jackson is amazing!" We've all met these types, and countless others cast from the same mold. I want none of it.

On the other hand: I loathe Warhammer. A miniatures system so un-moored from reality that anything can, and often does happen. No justification needed. Lump Warhammer 40K and every other fantasy / sci fi rules system in here too (yeah, Jon Cleaves, I'm lookin' at you; thanks for bailing on us). All worthless.

No, for me the sweet spot is the middle ground of tournament historical miniatures. Cold, calculating competition leaves no room for romanticizing your list or your leaders, yet the history and pageantry of what we present on the table still matters deeply. And let's face it. In our period, Warrior is the best miniatures rules set without even a close second.

So that's why I play this system. Why do I pick the armies that I pick?

While I want them to be competitive, that's actually not the first requirement. The first requirement is that I want them to be colorful. Colorful might mean historically interesting, or it might mean exotic in some way that comes across visually.

Examples: I absolutely love the tale of the fall of Constantinople in 1453. A tragedy of Shakespearean proportions, with an outcome that could have easily gone the other way. The 100 years or so that leads up it it is full of equal drama:
* Emperor Manuel II going hat in hand through Western Europe, humbly begging for money and troops to help him out against the Ottoman Turks, only to be brought before a puzzled Henry IV in London at Christmas. In response to Henry's baffled "Who are you?" inquiry, Manuel draws himself up to his full stature and replies, "I am the emperor of all the Romans."
* By the way, the person who escorted Manuel from the court of King Jean to the court of his rival Henry was a Knight of Saint John. Who says the Middle Ages didn't have badass James Bond types?
* Sire Jean le Meingre, captured by the Ottoman Turks at Nicopolis, is brought before the Sultan and asked to beg for his life. He remains utterly silent, and as he is about to be beheaded, a comrade calls out to the Sultan, "Good God! You can't kill him, he's the Marshal of France. I'll vouch for his ransom." Four years later, unable to muster enthusiasm for another crusade, Sire Jean, aka Marshal Boucicault, takes his personal retinue to Constantinople and proceeds to kick what Turkish ass he can with his small force.
* Vlad Tepes, aka Vlad Dracule, "The Impaler", slaughters an entire village in his domain and puts the heads of the villagers on stakes along the road leading to the village, rather than have the populace conquered by the Ottoman Turks. The Turkish commander brings his force forward enough to discover the heads on stakes, and then turns around and withdraws, uninterested in challenging the madman who would slaughter his own subjects essentially as an act of spite.

I could go on, but you get the idea. The French, the Byzantines, the Later Crusaders, the Knights of Saint John, the Ottoman Turks, the Timurids, the Later Hungarians, the Wallachians... an amazing cast of colorful characters worthy of playing out of pure historical interest.

On a completely different note, and colorful in a different sense: I've always been fascinated by the Terra Cotta army, something that surely rivals any of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient world. Such a detailed and specific glimpse into so distant a past, and of a culture so radically different from the West. The list in question would be Qin Chinese, but I like the idea of digging even further back to Shang, where we are now talking about a civilization and an army that is on the very fringes of recorded history.

And chariots! All those chariots! Nobody plays chariots, right? But that visual spectacle of putting not just a few token chariots on the table, but literally dozens. I can't resist the exotic appeal of such an army. It's colorful, and in terms of playing style feels completely different from any other army.

So that's how I think: Is there a strong historical narrative or historical interest I have in the army and the period? Or is there something so exotic and alien about the army, conveyed visually, that makes it appealing? If either of those is true, then I'm interested. Within those bounds I'll do my best to craft the most tournament competitive army I possibly can, leveraging every advantage the rules give me, but it all starts with what is historically interesting to me about the army in question.

I care about "A" list versus "B" list versus lesser list, because I care about competition and it matters to me that we are tournament gamers. But I care about history more. The trade-offs between these competing interests are what gives our take on the miniatures hobby the unique and appealing character it has. In that regard I hope we'll never change. We need everything that Scott and Bill bring to the hobby, but we need everything that Frank and Derek and Ewan bring as well.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 7:46 pm    Post subject:

Mark’s probably right that I have spent too much - I mean, ample - time thinking about the list. The core hasn’t changed in forever, and the constraints of the list explain some of the choices:

* if I buy shields for any loose/close cav, I have to buy for all. So the only shielded elements are the generals. At 2000 points I do buy a unit of the Reg EHC guards, and I would love to have those here but not to the point where I would sacrifice anything.

* having 3 SHC-fronted units has been critical on occasion: in similar vein to the Byzantine comments on dealing with enemy LC, these are the ultimate support to my (sucky!) LC in terms of tilting the missile-fire exchange, so they have to play both that role *and* shock troops

* the CinC has only a single bow-armed crewman and cannot be upgraded. Because he’s a general, he has to be in the front rank of a mounted unit. So as part of an elephant unit he seriously weakens it. [And yes, being a single element allows for some sneaky tricks with elephant-proof LC: join at the rear, immediately get placed in the front rank, can be a real shock to opposing mounted who were looking forward to running off LC B. The heavy troops combine well with the LC in this list.]

Mark correctly identifies the weaknesses. I would seriously reconsider taking this list again next year even if it had not won and prompted my desire for a change: the lack of control over terrain, and the preference of terrain setters to use a lot of it, makes this list much much less viable. Having to dig Bill’s Tepanecs out of a table covered in woods was scary stuff: I got relatively luck to face both a Mongol that didn’t out-scout me and a Moldavian whose knights rolled down, both of whom wanted to fight in the open as much as I did! I have more experience than probably anyone in the NICT with fighting SHC in woods and similar silliness - chasing Swiss LI through the woods with the HC is a favourite memory - but it’s never a good plan, and the loss of the terrain-placement part of the game severely hampers this list. [Terrain probably also helps artillery. Greg H has about a five year headstart on the rest of us in that particular realm!]

In general this is an extremely powerful list against mounted opponents, including elephants. The SHC are vulnerable to good K, but the volume of missile fire and the potential for elephant-disorder mitigate a lot of that. Top-rank enemy LC are now a LOT better than mine, but mine usually have better friends and are a lot cheaper. My elephants generaly beat up others because I fire more and fight better, especially after round 1; Burmese are an exception but when was the last time you saw a burmese elephant? There are very few target units that can’t avoid matchups they don’t want: the one compulsory MI unit is about it. The army is pretty good against dual-armed missile/combat foot (LTS, B guys or Japanese or similar) which has been good for them over the past few years: the one-two of SHC and El means that you can pick which troop type is being shot depending on the incoming fire (bows? SHC. Crossbow? El) which includes MesoAmericans on anything like a sensible table, and the morale of the strike force is good. The one loose-order cav unit is a blessing against barbarian LMI because it is the only unit that can pin them from 140p. Of course that didn’t help me against Eric Turner’s !#(&^%$ Spanish a few years ago when everything was set up correctly and the damn IrrA HTW LMI roll +6 twice in a row… …not that I have memories or anything.

It’s bad against pike - that tends to be a low-scoring draw. It’s probably bad against Byzantines now that they get all the fancy gizmos and extra figures. Knight/LB armies are a very tricky dance and can again end up low-scoring. Otherwise, it’s a pretty tough army and for whatever reason it really fit well with my play style. [OK, I know some of the reasons: (1) I hate irregular light cav and irregular support troops in general and (2) this is not an army that tries to win across the board, so I am forced to avoid one of my key play-style weaknesses which is trying to win everywhere - winning big in one spot is enough, and this army does that.]
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 7:50 pm    Post subject:

One list-historical note: when the Sassanid list was being written, it had a minimum 10, not 7, elements of the noble loose cav. That small shift in a reduced minimum made the list playable, to me - otherwise (again, to *me) you end up with too much expensive but marginal HC and too little to pay for the light troops. Of such small things are A-list armies made.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:39 am    Post subject:

Mark Stone wrote:
All good points by Todd and Scott. However I'm an empiricist and I stand by my view. Show me in recent memory a Meso American army that has finished first in either the Nationals or Cold Wars.... Yeah. Thought so.


A few thoughts as well later.

Here is the last 20 years of Aztec/Tepanec play by me

1995 - NICT - 1st - 20 people
1997 - NICT - 3rd - 22
1998 - Mini - 1st - 16 - Historicon
1998 - NICT - 2nd - 20
2000 - Mini - 1st - 10 - Historicon
2002 - Mini - 1st - 14 - Historicon
2003 - NICT - 3rd - 18
2008 - NICT - 5th - 24
2010 - Open - 2nd - Historicon
2011 - Mini - 1st - Cold Wars

2 other local tournament wins as well during that time period.

After 2003 I painted KoSJ and played them for a few years and in the last 2 I have tried to figure out Abyssinian. I was away from them from some time as I tried new armies.

I am painting my own copy of Tepanec in 25mm so I don't have to borrow Bill's.

On your exotic colorful note - I share in thei as well - it is what drew me to Aztec/Tepanec in the first place 30 years ago. It is what also drew me to KoSJ and Abyssinian.

Todd

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2015 8:05 pm    Post subject:

So now a little self critique:

Quote:
Mark Stone – Early Polish

CinC 2E Ir B SHK/EHK L,Sh -196
Sub 2E Ir B SHK/EHK L,Sh – 136
2E Knights Ir B SHK/EHK L,Sh – 124
2E Knights Ir B SHK/EHK L,Sh - 124
2E Knights Ir B SHK/EHK L,Sh - 124
2E Knights Ir B SHK/EHK L,Sh – 124
6E Ir C LC Jls,B/B - 79
6E Ir C LC Jls,B/B - 79
4E Ir B LC L,Jls,Sh – 89
4E Ir B LC L,Jls,Sh – 89
8E Ir C MI LTS,B,Sh – 153
9E Ir C 1/3 LHI 2/3 LMI Jls,Sh – 124
4E Ir C LI S,Sh – 49
6E Ir C LI B ˝ Sh – 55
6E Ir C LI B ˝ Sh – 55


A bit of background here. Frank Gilson, Dave Stier and I have a running email discussion going back many years over what the best knight army is. More specifically, Dave has had great success running Sicilian Hohenstafen throughout the entire course of WRG 7th -> Warrior, but always running EHK. So the question has been more focused on is there an SHK army that is better than Sicilians?

One direction to go is more shooting-heavy. We see this with 100 Years' War English and Early Burgundian. Frank and Dave have had particular success at Cold Wars running 100 Years' War English.

The other direction to go is to focus on quality skirmishers and light cav in particular. A few years back I took note of what Dan Woyke was doing with Wallachians, and evolved it a bit. Chris Damour and I won Cold Wars with it that year, Dave refined it further for 1600 points and won the Nationals that same year.

So now the question became: is there a better knight army than Wallachians? Because Wallachians has a few limitations:
* You can get SHK, but really only 2 units;
* The SHK you can get don't give you one of the key advantages. Specifically, they can't be backed by EHK or HK to give you the pike-killing dismount of SHI 2HCW backed by JLS.

So in search of the SHK/EHK combination paired with quality light troops, we started looking at the Polish lists. Later Polish is just too awkward. There are some required troops that you really don't want to have to buy, and on 1600 points the numbers don't work out well. Early Polish, on the other hand, works well.

There's not a useless or wasted unit on this list:
* 6 units of lancers, all SHK in the front;
* An LTS, B unit that serves as a solid frontage holder against cavalry armies, and an elephant killer against such armies.
* A barbarian foot unit that can capably hold terrain, and situationally threaten pikes or elephants.
* The ever useful light infantry with bow;
* One unit of shielded LI with slings, to be used where you are concerned about density of enemy shooting driving back your light troops;
* Bow-armed light cav that may not fight rank and a half, but is cheap and plentiful;
* 2 units of Lithuanian light cav who do fight rank and a half, and have the morale to take consider taking a waver in the face of 2CPF prep shooting in order get off a charge you really want.

So what are the downsides? Plenty, it turns out.

For an army with this much scouting, it doesn't actually hold very much frontage. Against opponents with equal or greater scouting points, I consistently found myself stretched thinner than I wanted to be (Huns, Wallachians, Mongols, Nikephoran Byzantine). The only army I felt comfortably matched up against was... Early Polish.

Also, it hurts that this is an entirely irregular army. Partly this is related to the first point. Given their maneuverability, regulars always project force in a wider area than their irregular counterparts, and thus hold more frontage. Partly it's just the awkardness of maneuvering irregular light troops. The Lithuanians, in particular, were a real problem. They can't counter back in skirmish, because they only shoot 40p. They can't turn around and run away, because the only move 40p after turning around. Frequently they can't even get into skirmish, because they have to have a target that is, or could be, within 40p. And the non-Lithuanian light cav just isn't aggressive enough without the ability to fight rank and a half.

The Wallachians, by comparison, solve all of these problems. Their light cav is almost all rank and a half. The Mongols give them a nice balance of regulars and irregulars. And the limited number of SHK doesn't really hurt because you have the overall maneuverability and control to get the SHK where they need to be (and Irr A HK is nothing to sneeze at).

So Early Polish was an interesting experiment, but ultimately a failed experiment that doesn't suit my playing style.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 5:03 pm    Post subject:

Next up for review:

Quote:
Scott Holder – Early Byzantine
CinC 2E Reg A/B EHC L, B, Sh PA - 207
Sub 2E Reg A/B EHC L, B, Sh P – 137
2E Reg B HC L, Sh - 76
2E Reg B HC L, Sh - 76
2E Reg B HC L, Sh - 76
2E Reg B HC L, Sh - 76

2E Reg B LC Jls,Sh – 46
2E Reg B LC Jls,Sh – 46
4E Skut Reg C HI/MI LTS,Jls,Sh – 106
4E Skut Reg C HI/MI LTS,Jls,Sh – 106
4E Skut Reg C HI/MI LTS,Jls,Sh – 106
4E Skut Reg C HI/MI LTS,Jls,Sh – 106

4E Reg C LMI Jls,D,Sh - 90
4E Reg C LMI Jls,D,Sh - 90

4E Reg C LMI B ˝ Sh – 66
4E Reg C LMI B ˝ Sh – 66

4E Psiloi Reg C LI S,Sh – 42
4E Psiloi Reg C LI S,Sh - 42
4E Psiloi Reg C LI Jls,Sh - 42


Not an "A" list, but a deceptively strong list. There are several ways to win with this list:
* Get the Skuts into something they can kill. Fighting in two full ranks, HI in the front, with JLS, there is a lot they can kill (some elephants, lots of irregular foot, Meso-American foot, any cavalry). And there isn't a lot they fear (they don't beat pikemen straight up, but they aren't necessarily afraid of them either).
* Shoot something into submission. With 64 figures of dense shooting, this army has a lot of potential to do damage to opponents who are vulnerable to shooting. Elephants, cavalry, and irregular LMI are all good targets. Also, the LMI JLS,D,Sh has the ability to go up in the face of dense enemy shooting and win the exchange against B / LB / CB armed troops, by virtue of shooting shielded.
* Out maneuver an opponent and exploit exposed flanks or overlaps. The entire army is regular, and while the Skuts are slow everything else is at least 120p tactical move. An army with a lot of irregulars, particularly a lot of irregular foot, can easily find itself out maneuvered and over-extended.

There are some significant downsides:
* The lancers just aren't that tough. They need a flank to hit, or a target softened up by shooting.
* Many opponents will be equally maneuverable, and cover more frontage by using cheaper troops. This list is pretty expensive, and doesn't cover as much frontage as one would ideally want.
* Not enough light cav. It is worth finding the points to get some more light cavalry. Against non-shooting opponents they hold space better than LI, and they are really needed to offer a meaningful threat to enemy LI. Also, scouting points are hugely important in the deployment game right now, so enough LC has become almost essential.
* The Skuts, while sturdy, can be killed by careful combined arms tactics and an army with more light troops. Think of Alexandrian Imperial, or Wallachian, or even my Early Polish, where a bigger line of light troops screens off all but the end unit in the Skut line, and a well-placed combined arms attack goes in there (pikes and elephants charging together, mounted and dismounted knights charging together, etc.).

Current list rules make the entire roster of Byzantine lists worth revisiting. This isn't the strongest of those lists, but it's still very playable and worth thinking through. It's no longer a dismiss out of hand list.
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