Sunday, March 22, 2009

Regimental Review: Crossbow Regiments of Renown

This will be part of series of Regimental Reviews mainly for Dogs of War units, but I may expand it for other armies and units.

Regimental Review: Crossbow Regiments of Renown

When it comes to crossbows the Dogs of War player has two primary choices among the Regiments of Renown, namely the Marksmen of Miragliano and Braganza’s Besiegers. A third option would be Pirazzo’s Lost Legion, as they are a mixed unit of pikes and crossbows. As with all Regiments of Renown, their generally superior abilities also come at a high price as you could easily hire twice the number of normal mercenaries, and in many cases this would also be better. Enough about the normal mercenaries for now, let’s dive right into these regiments!

First up are the Marksmen of Miragliano. They are the best crossbowmen and best overall long range missile unit available to a Dogs of War player. The major difference between the Marksmen and other crossbowmen is that they are all BS4 and are led by a captain level hero, Maximilian Damark who has a BS of 5! What does this translate into? As those who dabble in Math-hammer will tell you, this means you will hit far more often, and with the solid strength of 4 for crossbows you will also wound quite a bit. The Marksmen can open up holes in enemy lines with a few turns of concentrated shooting. Place them on the flanks and watch them pulverize enemy fast cavalry and other light armored units. With the crossbow’s superior range, you can also safely engage enemy missile troops such as handgunners, longbowmen, and even other crossbows. While longbows and crossbows all have a 30 inch range, the Marksmen’s superior skill should mop up most enemy units in short order and cause panic tests. Be wary of other high BS shooters that the enemy player might bring to bear, especially if playing against any of the Elf armies. A nice tactic to increase the impact of the Marksmen is to have one of your Hireling Wizards cast the spell Portent of Far on them. The re-rolls to hit and to wound granted by this spell will lead to many more enemy casualties and will hopefully open up a hole in the enemy’s battle line.

Everything sounds pretty good so far, right? So what disadvantages do the Marksmen have? The minimum unit you must hire gives you 9 Marksmen plus their captain Maximilian. Also included in this minimum size unit are a standard bearer and musician. All of this will cost you a whopping 180 points. For this price you could purchase a unit of 22 regular crossbowmen. While having a standard bearer can help tip a combat in the Marksmen’s favor against any lightly armed and armored units that might be rushing the flanks, it becomes an almost free 100 victory points against any of the high powered heavy cavalry or elite infantry units which can dominate the game in today’s Warhammer environment. The Marksmen can handle virtually all depleted light units in combat that survive their missile barrage on the way in. In this situation having a captain level hero is a definite plus. As mentioned above though, don’t expect them to survive against any serious combat unit.

In order to really have an impact with the Marksmen you will have to hire some additional troopers beyond the minimum required size and this is where the points cost of the unit quickly adds up. A unit of 15 or so Marksmen is generally the optimum size and will cost 235 points. When choosing the Marksmen you will have to weigh the potential damage they could cause along with the points compared to what the same amount of points in regular mercenary troops could accomplish. One thing you can be sure of is that the Marksmen will attract a lot of the opponent’s attention. You will need to adequately support them with units such as duelists or light cavalry that can either intercept of redirect serious threats heading for the Marksmen. However, an opponent may focus too much attention on the Marksmen which may open up some opportunities for the rest of your army to get into position for favorable engagements. As with virtually all missile troops, the Marksmen are fragile and will still die in droves should the enemy start dropping template weapons and magic on them. They have some limited protection in the form of light armor but it would be foolish to rely on that, thus it’s highly inadvisable to use these troops recklessly.

While the Marksmen can be devastating missile troops, let’s not forget about the other crossbow equipped Regiment of Renown, Braganza’s Besiegers. As you can probably infer from their name, this is a more defense oriented crossbow regiment. The Besiegers are slightly more expensive than the Marksmen, coming in at 185 points for the minimum size unit that you must hire. As with the Marksmen both a standard bearer and musician are included in this price. The drawbacks of having a standard bearer in a missile unit were already discussed above so they don’t need to be repeated again here. Like all Regiments of Renown you also have a captain level hero, Braganza, who does provide a BS5 shooter along with some solid combat support should the unit get charged by an enemy. There is no difference between a Besieger and a regular crossbowman as far as their stats are concerned. What separates the Besiegers from other missile troops is that they pack on the armor. All of the Besiegers (including Braganza) wear heavy armor and also carry a pavise which provides them even more protection from missile fire. Unfortunately, the pavise does not work in close combat so the Besiegers must rely on their heavy armor to see them through.

The Besiegers may lack the skill of the Marksmen but they can act as reliable counter missile troops as they will be able to shrug off S3 bows and even crossbows fairly well. Black powder equipped troops will be more effective against the Besiegers heavy defenses but with their shorter range, they will expose themselves to fire from the Besiegers before they can even get their first shots off. One notable exception are Skaven Jezzail teams which can comfortably sit outside the Besieger’s range and pick them off with their powerful guns. Interestingly, the Jezzails also use a pavise although they lack the heavy armor of the Besiegers. The Jezzails may even blow themselves up while shooting. The Besiegers make an excellent you to anchor one of your flanks as they can weaken most flanking units and have the ability to hold up against these typically lightly armed units. As with the Marksmen however, any of the elite units in the came that can get into combat with the Besiegers will almost certainly break through them. Again, this is where having a standard bearer can be a hindrance.

The final crossbow equipped Regiment of Renown is the hybrid unit of Pirazzo’s Lost Legion. As far as stats are concerned, both the pike and crossbow equipped troops of the Lost Legion are the same as their regular mercenary counterparts. Their uniqueness lies in their mixed formation. You have the ability to shoot up incoming units while also being able to engage the survivors with numerous pike attacks. While the initial investment in the Lost Legion is relatively inexpensive at 160 points, you will want to greatly expand the unit to maximize its effectiveness. A unit of 21 deployed in a 7x3 formation provides you with a decent number of shots while also ensuring that you have ranks and numerous pike attacks to engage enemies with. As with the other two crossbow Regiments of Renown, the Lost Legion lend themselves to holding down flanks and obviously offer the best combat potential of the three units. They don’t carry much armor though so be wary of needlessly exposing them to enemy missile fire.

So how do these units stack up against their regular mercenary counterparts? As mentioned above, using Regiments of Renown is always a gamble as their cost is simply so much more than regular mercenaries. That said, they can perform well in the right situations, if used with caution, and as with all units in your army, supported as part of the battle line instead of being left to deal with enemies on their own. Compared to Regiments of Renown you can generally get double the amount of troops for the same price. In many cases this is also preferable as you normally wouldn’t bother taking a standard bearer in a crossbow unit. The best bet is to try out all of these units in some friendly games and see how they work for you. Maybe you’ll find that they work really well for you!

Hopefully the above article has given you a good overview of these Regiments of Renown.



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