Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tactica: Pikemen Regiments of Renown


Aside from regular core choice pikemen, a mercenary general has four Regiment of Regnown pike choices to choose from: Pirazzo's Lost Legion, Ricco's Republican Guard, Leopold's Leopard Company, and The Alcatani Fellowship. On the surface they may appear to be just another pikemen unit, but each of these Regiments of Renown differ significantly and will require careful use on the battlefield. The same strengths and weaknesses of regular mercenary pikemen units apply to their Regiment of Renown counterparts as well. Pikemen units are strong against a frontal charge but are virtually helpless against flank and rear chargers, thus it is imperative to protect their flanks working in concert with other units.

Pirazzo's Lost Legion has the second-cheapest base points cost among the four units, being only more expensive than the Alcatani Fellowship in initial cost. Like the Leopard Company and Alcatani Fellowship, they are equipped with light, so it is wise to protect them from shooting. The Lost Legion is a unique unit in that it is the only 'mixed formation' unit available. The front rank of Pirazzo's Lost Legion is always armed with crossbows. Pirazzo himself is similarly equipped and carries two hand weapons for close combat. The Lost Legion makes an excellent unit to cover the flanks of an army as their crossbows will be able to engange the more lightly armored enemy flanking units at range before engaging any survivors with a wall of deadly pikes. Thus it is often best to deploy the Lost Legion in a slighty wider formation than normal to provide a few more shots each turn while still having enough pikes to provide several close combat attacks.

Ricco's Republican Guard is the 'heavy' unit among the four Regiment of Renown pike units. They are slighly more expensive than the Lost Legion, but are also more durable as the entire unit wears heavy armor. They are also the only pikemen unit with a Weapon Skill of 4, which will allow them to score several more hits against more poorly trained units. 'Ragged Ricco' himself also wears heavy armor like the rest of his unit and carries two hand weapons for close combat.

Leopold's Leopard Company is the most expensive pikemen unit among the four Regiment of Renown pike choices. They are neither the most skilled or most heavily armored unit. They are however Immune to Psychology. The unit carries light armor, while Leopold carries heavy armor as well as a hand weapon and pistol. The pistol does allows for some limited shooting, and with his high ballistic skill, Leopold does have a good chance of hitting, especially if deciding to stand and shoot against a charge. As they are Immune to Pyschology, the Leopard Company is able absorb shooting and damaging magic spells without fear of panicing as a result of losses. They also provide a mercenary general with a unit that can be counted on to face the myriad fear and terror causing units out there where less stalwart (or religiously fervent) troops might turn tail and flee. Nevertheless, it is only an unwise general who would needlessly waste such valuable and expensive troops.

The Alcatani Fellowship is a bit of an oddity among these Regiments of Renown as they do not fight in a mixed formation, carry heavy armor, or ignore psychology. What the Alcatani Fellowship are however, is cheap. It is possible to build a sizeable unit for far fewer points than any of the aforementioned pikemen units. There are however some drawbacks to the Alcatani Fellowship which a wise general must consider when deciding to employ them. The members of the Alcatani Fellowship are a poorly trained unit at weapon skill 2, being mostly farmers who decided to follow the path of a mercenary after losing their land. Similarly, the leader of the Fellowship, Roderigo Delmonte does not quite match up to the other pikemen captains in ability, having a slightly lower weapon skill, toughness, and initiative, as well as one fewer attack.

To aid potential generals who may consider employing these pike Regiments of Renown, the follow table provides a list of which armies may hire them.

May Hire May Not Hire

Pirazzo's Lost Leg All except Vampire Counts, Bretonnia
Ricco's Republican Guard All except Bretonnia
Leopold's Leopard Company All except Bretonnia
The Alcatani Fellowship All except Bretonnia

The Dogs of War are still an army of the 6th edition of Warhammer Fantasy and most would place them on the extreme low end (if not the bottom) of the power level of the various armies available, especially those that have been updated with an armybook for 7th edition. What uses can Dogs of War, specifically pikemen offer in the current environment of the game? Which armies could benefit from employing a unit or two of pikemen? First, it is worth observing that these particular Regiments of Renown will occupy a special slot in those armies that are able to hire them. Special, just like Rare slots, are always at a premium when it comes to choosing your forces for a battle and most armies will already have several excellent special units to choose from. As in a purely Dogs of War army, pikemen are a very specialized unit, that must be used carefully to maximize their effect.

I will provide a brief overview of which armies could benefit from the use of these Regiments of Renown. Armies which typically lack shooting such as Warriors of Chaos, Beasts of Chaos, or Ogre Kingdoms could use Pirazzo's Lost Legion to provide some long range shooting while being able to handle any survivors able to charge them. The Lost Legion would work very well at anchoring a flank, where they can deal with enemy troops such as light cavalry. Alternately the long range of their crossbows can be used as effective counterfire to the enemy's missile troops. Ogre Kingdoms and Beastmen armies in particular can benefit from the hiring of any of these pikemen units as they provide these armies with sorely lacking static combat resolution in the form of ranks and numbers. A pike unit working in concert with fast moving ogres on the flanks can manouver to setup combined charges on enemy units where the sheer number of attacks from both units combined with the static combat resolution provided by the pikes can be effective against all but the most elite of units.

Empire armies could effectively add any of these units although they will be competing for special slots with various Empire staples such as Great Cannons, Pistoliers/Outriders, Inner Circle Knights, and Greatswords. Nevertheless, a pikemen unit can be an excellent defenisve unit for an Empire general. Pikes can also fulfill a similar role in Dwarf armies, helping to secure vulnerable flanks.

Pikemen can also be of use in a Wood Elf army. At first glance they might appear completely out of place, but they can provide some defensive staying power and static combat resolution in an army that heavily features skirmishing units. Leopold's Leopard Company could be of use in a Forest Spirit themed Wood Elf army as they are also Immune to Psychology. Working in combination with Dryads, Treekin, and Treemen, the Leopard Company can work to setup combined attacks on enemy units.

Lastly, Orcs & Goblins could also benefit from hiring these pikemen. Again, Pirazzo's Lost Legion can provide some relatively reliable long range shooting for O&G without having to worry about Animosity. Similarly the Leopard Company is well equipped to engage fear-causing units (Orcs & Goblins are not known for theier high leadership). Given the typical size of Orc & Goblin armies, the pikemen are less likely to have to worry about their flanks being exposed.

Currently, there is little reason to use pikemen in the follow armies due either to that particular army's special rules, the availability of units which perform similar roles, or a combination of the two: High Elves, Dark Elves, Skaven, Vampire Counts, and Tomb Kings.

Hopefully the above tactica has been useful in highlighting these Regiments of Renown.

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