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Tournament Level Armies?!?!?!
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Todd Kaeser
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 11:04 pm    Post subject: Tournament Level Armies?!?!?!

I thought this would be a nice thread to post armies - and maybe a list/core used by them to present armies that are capable of winning a tournament and the reasons behind your choice.

any takers out there?

Todd

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Ed Kollmer
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:11 am    Post subject:

I would be a "taker'
However, "tournament army" and "Ed Kollmer" have never been in the same paragraph.
Matter of fact, Ted F talked me out of Carthaginian army back in 6th ed. because he felt that I won't do well with it.
However again, I would like to get my armies to be more tournament level.
I relie on you and others of my army research group to come up with a list for me.
Your Andalusian list that you made for me, I still have and look forward to using it at the next time I play it.
Presently, I am making a list for Holy Roman Imperial to use against any HYW theme army.
I would post it if you think it would be beneficial to eval the army and sharpen it against all comers.
Ed the Rash
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Mark Stone
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:57 pm    Post subject:

I'll post some specific lists for commentary when I have a moment, but just off the top of my head here are the possible "A" lists that come to mind:

* Han Chinese
* 10 Independent States
* Khmer
* Ming Chinese
* Mongol
* Timurid
* Alexandrian Imperial
* Seleucid
* Later Carthaginian
* Sassanid Persian
* Nikephoran Byzantine
* Knights of Saint John
* Italian Condotta
* Wallachian
* 100 Years War English
* Early Burgundian

-Mark

* Swiss
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Mark Stone
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:02 pm    Post subject:

Rather than kick this off with an example army list, I figured I'd run through my rationale for why I think these armies are good, or at least have strong potential.

For starters: Han Chinese

1. Versatility. Lots of different ways you can buy the list to emphasize any of its many qualities. Just telling your opponent you're playing Han doesn't narrow it down all that much for him. Do you have an infantry army of sturdy and potentially dangerous regulars? Do you have a skirmishing army with lots of shooters? Are you going to confound him with the complexities of chariots? If so, light chariots, heavy chariots, or a mix? Each plays differently. Or, are you going to assemble a bunch of Irr A loonies with a modicum of support troops and come screaming at him?

2. Chariots. While chariots don't beat a lot of shock troops straight up, chariots are tough to rout, project unease, and become immediately dangerous to anyone who is tired, disordered, or both. Light chariots in particular pose some real problems. They beat pretty much any light cavalry, and unlike light cavalry they can charge anything, so your opponent must be carefully about inadvertently exposing line troops to the light chariot threat.

3. Halberdiers. Yes, Reg B LHI CB,2HCT is expensive, but these guys are highly maneuverable, can get themselves out of trouble with a counter or retirement, represent a real shooting threat, especially to cavalry, and are surprisingly sturdy in hand to hand combat. With care they can hold their own against either pikemen or elephants.

4. Dense shooting. Between the CB and bow troops on this list, you can actually put together a large number of 4-to-a-stand shooters, and really concentrate fire on vulnerable points in your opponent's line. Given that most of your shooters also have a hand-to-hand weapon, you have the ability to quickly exploit a good up roll in shooting.

5. High morale. Lots of A and B class troops, meaning you make the overwhelming majority of counters and waver tests. This can really frustrate an opponent who finds himself having to take you apart in detail rather than count on the cascading effect of a single success.

Overall this list plays like a Meso-American list backed by real mounted troops. That's a potent combination.
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Todd Kaeser
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:22 pm    Post subject:

I would love to have Ewan on this as well, but I'll chime in about the Han....

I don't think the Han is an "A" list - more "B" quite frankly.

It doesn't have the punch necessary to kill things IMO.

Even though I run it I also don't think Knights of St. John is an "A" list either - more "B" as well. The knights are hideously expensive - and it is tough to get more than 4 units. The 2HCT Marinarii are excellent, but 3 units and the army really struggles vs. Pike and shooting armies.

The rest of the KoSJ are so fragile being C and D class troops that a little misfortune and the army can easily crumble - and that is also with the Marinarii as well being C grade.

And CB truly SUCKS - it is such a poor factor against anything but SHC - it can't shoot away lights, nor do any real damage consistently to infantry. There are some Bow in the list, but not enough compared to the CB.

Fun army to play with, but not an "A" army IMO.

I'd love to see a Han list to see if it could compete.

Todd

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Todd Kaeser
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:39 pm    Post subject:

Mark Stone wrote:
I'll post some specific lists for commentary when I have a moment, but just off the top of my head here are the possible "A" lists that come to mind:

* Han Chinese
* 10 Independent States
* Khmer
* Ming Chinese
* Mongol
* Timurid
* Alexandrian Imperial
* Seleucid
* Later Carthaginian
* Sassanid Persian
* Nikephoran Byzantine
* Knights of Saint John
* Italian Condotta
* Wallachian
* 100 Years War English
* Early Burgundian

-Mark

* Swiss


I would think of "A" lists from your group -

Seleucid
Alex Imperial
Sassinid Persian
Early Burgundian
100 Years War
Nikephoran Byzantine
Khmer
Ming/10IS

adding:
Sicilian Hof.
Ghaznavid


A-/B+ - on the cusp, but a few too many weaknesses or something lacking

Mongol - tough to pop an enemy - lack of punch if it can't find a flank
Late Roman (list soon to follow shortly from me)
Han - great troops, but not enough bang to punch through an enemy. Tried it myself numerous times as have many.
Later Carthos
Timurid - not enough points to get everything you need.
KoSJ - morale (see past post)
Wallachian
Tepanec - in the right hands a tough nut to crack and has some punch with Irreg A


Swiss is a "B" list at best as is Condotta

Todd

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:53 am    Post subject:

Late Roman #32 Imperial Warrior

CinC 2E Reg A/B HC Jls,Sh + PA - 187
Sub 2E Reg A/B HC Jls,Sh + P - 117

2E Eq. Illy Reg B LC Jls,Sh - 46
2E Eq. Illy Reg C LC Jls,Sh - 42

2x 2E Eq Sag Reg C LC B,Sh - 42 (84)

3x 6E Legionary Reg C MI 2/3 HTW,Jls,D,Sh 1/3 B,Sh - 138 (414)

4x 4E Auxillia Reg B LMI Jls,D,Sh - 106 (424)

6E Auxillia Bow Reg D LMI B,Sh - 82

3x 2E Leg Lanciari Reg C LI Jls,Sh - 26 (7Cool
2E Leg Lanciari Reg B LI Jls,Sh - 30

2E Clibinari Reg B EHC L,B,Sh - 100

Total points - 1604
Scouting 32 Scouting

I know Late Roman has the obvious weakness of Knights - keeping it from being on the "A" list, but it has so many strong points.

I also know this list has been run in a variety of ways (due to the flexibility of the list for sure) and here is my iteration on it.

The CinC and Sub have to be HC Jls,Sh - yuck, but such is life. PA to help inspire troops near the legions most likely and in a pinch they can hit a flank.

The strength of the army is the Legions - 3 units of them is a nice strong core. The Bow in the back rank add some serious shooting 16@2 is immensely stronger than 12@2. I believe they have to be at least "C" grade as they can't be mixed C/D and being B in such large units is very expensive. I think they have to be 6E units as well to hold off heavy horse. 4E units are too fragile.

The Auxilia are often in the same 6E format and for this I don't agree. Sure, they would give off a lot of missile fire, but the points needed take away from the coverage you also need. Reg B allows for countering and they also can fight pretty well on their own. Rough terrain should be theirs and as B they can also hang in the open. Yes knights, but most other mounted is a risky venture into B grade shooters with Jls.

The 6E Bow unit is a staple of the list and should be kept IMO as well. Relatively cheap shooters.

The lights are excellent. 4 units of 2E LC and 4 units of LI Jls,Sh should be able to win the light war or at least hold their own.

There was even enough points to get a 2E unit of Clibinari to add a little flex.

Many have tried to run 4 units of them - they don't have the punch needed as regs and EHC isn't as fearsome as heavier horse. They are a good follow up unit when the Legions hit or they can help the Aux.

If you want Irreg cav then a unit of Germanic Ir B HC L,Sh is also a choice for 79 points.

With the new setup rules they can push the center board and at 32 scouting won't be too far away from that. There are 160 figures with either D or B in the list to win the shooting battle and enough HTW to win the fight. Morale is above average overall.

A-/B+ army overall,

Todd

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:34 pm    Post subject:

On Late Romans:

The two problems here are the lack of frontage covered and the lack of lance-armed cavalry.

Your legions cover at most 14 elements' frontage on a table that is 40 elements wide. That's less than half; closer to 1/3. Nor can they chase anything down. So with any number of armies I'm simply going to screen off the legionaries and hunt down the rest.

Because you have only one unit of lancers I can charge any and all of your light troops with impunity. I will catch and kill some, and at some point I will expose a flank on a high value target.

So I don't consider this more than about a B- army, and I'll note that nobody plays it in tournament play any more. Romans went permanently out of favor once all lancers could fight rank and a half, and even the Roman rules don't bring them back into play balance with the rest of the field. To get good troops (HI and/or multiple weapons) you have to get really expensive troops, and then you never cover enough frontage. And the lack of quality cavalry is a problem for all but Patrician Roman, and at that point you might as well be playing Byzantines.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:16 pm    Post subject:

A list versus B list:

I mostly agree with Todd's assessment. Some of my candidates are at best marginal for "A" list material. Good catch on Ghaznavid, by the way. I had forgotten that one, and it is absolutely a top tier army.

Regarding Wallachians: It's last year's NICT champion, and the winner at Cold Wars two years in a row. I think you have to consider that an "A" list performance.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:19 pm    Post subject:

I am assuming you would agree with Sicilian as well being an "A" list army???
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:06 am    Post subject:

Todd Kaeser wrote:
I am assuming you would agree with Sicilian as well being an "A" list army???


Grudgingly. I agree that it's an "A" list in the hands of Dave Stier. I myself could not coax that level of performance out of the army. I just can't handle the complete lack of SHK.

That's one of the reasons I switched to running Wallachians (which I am not running at Cold Wars this year). Wallachians has all of the advantages of Sicilian, and several virtues missing from Sicilian: some SHK, some Irr As, more aggressive light cav, regular light cav with Mongol rules, better anti-elephant troops via Mongol dismounts....
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 1:42 am    Post subject: Sicilian Hohenstaufen

Having personal experience with the Hohenstaufen army...the lack of SHK is a real problem. That alone does hold the army back from being an 'A'.

Also, Reg C LMI B,Sh is useful, certainly...but many shooters can now also get some kind of hth weapon (Longbowmen 2HCW, as an example). These foot archers are also inefficient in the modern sense, required to entirely have shields and be C morale when half shielded base D morale shooters are what we see for loose order.

Various versions of Wallachian or Later Polish accomplish much of what Sicilian Hohenstaufen is attempting but with better options.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 5:52 am    Post subject:

Frank is right to mention Later Polish. That's another candidate for an "A" list army. As Frank says, many of the same virtues of Sicilian Hohenstafen, but with SHK and a few other gimmicks. I played Jake Kovel in a ferocious matchup in the NICT when he was running Later Polish (maybe 5 years ago?) and it gave me a new respect for the army (and Jake).
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Todd Kaeser
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 1:33 pm    Post subject:

Another scary way to look at it is this: we are discussing about a dozen armies that are "A" worthy and capable of winning tournaments. Why would anyone take a "B" list army (why take a knife to a gun fight?) to an NICT? That dozen is about 4% of the army lists available... So 96% of the armies are not winnable according to the "limitations" that are frequently discussed on the forum.

Maybe we have an event where these dozen or so armies are restricted as they are the prototypical "killer" armies????

Just playing devil's advocate here.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 5:15 pm    Post subject:

I have played lists in the NICT from outside the elite lists. Sometimes it is historical interest and/or something I find romantic about the army, and sometimes it has some esoteric troop type or game mechanic that I'm interested in exploiting. Both Tim Brown and Derek have also chosen unusual lists based on a clever gimmick.

And at Cold Wars I frequently run lists just for the fun of it, as I will be doing this year. Further, we have the theme tournament, which brings out many otherwise overlooked armies. Finally, the Mini brings out a different mix of armies because not all of the "A" list armies work well at 1200 points.

But to Todd's point, it would be interesting to experiment with some alternate formats. We used to run more formats - anyone remember the "Dogs of War" tournaments?
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