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 Witch Hunter Tactics

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Opheliate
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PostSubject: Witch Hunter Tactics   hunter - Witch Hunter Tactics Icon_minitimeMon 8 Apr 2019 - 10:26

I have a special fondness for the Witch Hunter Warband, but I've always felt that I do not properly understand the warband, the rules, and how to play them.

When I first started playing them in Mordheim, my tactics was the following:
- Get all starting heroes
- Henchmen was flagellants only

This resulted in a warband that had the following pors and cons:

+
Strong in melee

-
Expensive
Few models
Pretty much only melee centred

After a while, I began to think differently. The flagellants are good, yes, but on the other hand, the wardogs are also a very good pick for starting warband, as they are strong, and they are CHEAP!

At the same time, I needed some warriors who could offer different tactical options than "Rush and kill", which is mainly what flagellants and dogs are good at. Enter Zealots. Zealots with spears.

Now, my witch hunter warband pretty much always use the tactics described below:

HEROES:
Leader with close to medium ranged combat (melee weapon, pistol/crossbow pistol)
Witch hunters with mainly melee, one with crossbow
Warrior Priest, melee centred

HENCHMEN:
One or two flagellants
At least two Zealots with spears
Three or more wardogs

The general tactics this enables is the following:
The Heroes can move about the centre of the warband, making up the main force.

The Flagellants and wardogs take a flanking role, drawing aggro. The wardogs' fast movement allows them to re-position and aid the main force if they need.

Zealots with spears around the main force, protecting and intercepting the heroes from arrows and chargers, getting first strike.

At the same time, the crossbow wielding witch hunter can pick off long ranged targets, and can act as a sniper when deployed in buildings.

The captain, and other heroes with pistols/crossbow pistols, will pack a mean punch on the charge, but will also be a threat in medium range, possibly picking off targets that come too close or fail charges.

Hopefully, this means that my warband will either always strike first (spear-walling Zealots), strike hard on the charge (pistol-wielding heroes, flagellants), flank and overwhelm (wardogs), and, if opportunity presents itself, get the occasional situational ranged pistol-kill.

At least, this is how I am going to play them this time around.

Other thoughts or experiences with the Witch Hunter warband? I have not described the Warrior Priests' role, as it all comes down to what spells he gets.
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Von Kurst
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PostSubject: Re: Witch Hunter Tactics   hunter - Witch Hunter Tactics Icon_minitimeTue 9 Apr 2019 - 1:24

Hmmm...

I used to take zealots when I started playing, not really sure when I stopped. But I did abandon them a long time ago.

I do
Witch Hunter Captain
Crossbow, pistol, sword and heavy armor

Witch Hunters with swords and pistols.

Warrior Priest with maybe a hammer.

As many flagellants as I can afford and whatever money is left over on dogs.

The Captain shoots things. Everybody else fights.

Then the Witch Hunters will get better. As they get better they get crossbows and better pistols. One might get a blunderbuss. They generally stop intentionally seeking melee. (Including the one with the dueling pistols and blunderbuss.) Without access to strength skills, the Witch Hunters do not last once engaged in melee by an enemy melee hero.

Once a flagellant has become a hero, the Witch Hunters and the Captain concentrate on shooting things and producing income. The Priest and the flagellants kill things, often helped by dogs.

I tend to concentrate on Hired Swords in the mid-game as they are better at nearly anything than henchmen. So I will keep the maximum number of flagellants but dogs will be phased out.

I suppose it depends on the rules you play by, but I would avoid spears for zealots (much like I would avoid zealots.) Unless your opponent is dwarfs, orcs, saurus or other humans it is unlikely that a zealot would strike first in our combats as they are likely to attract attacks from enemy heroes who are experience farming (and likely to have an initiative advance) or skaven, vampires and stupid elves.

Back when we played spears as 'always strikes first even if charged'. Everybody who could had a spear, so buying one for a WS2, I3 henchman was a poor option. Given that most of the things that are slower than I3 are T4 and often come with S4...

My Mid game roster usually has 6 heroes (unless I have been terribly unlucky). Everybody has the best weapons and armor that I can afford, plus lucky charms and rabbit's feet.
If I am campaigning in the City of Mordheim (which doesn't happen that often as I prefer Lustria or Khemri) I will have been trying to manipulate my rolls in exploration to take advantage of all the cool stuff Witch Hunters can get from the Exploration Chart.

Henchmen
I have 4 Flagellants. Usually 2 with flails and 2 with big axes (because I have 2 flagellants with big axes.)
0-2 dogs. At this point the dogs are just there 'cause they are cheap and fast, but not really necessary.

Hired Swords
I have usually hired an elf ranger (1st), a Tilean Marksman, a Thief and an Arabyan Merchant for maximum income (and access to cheap stuff) and then an ogre or a pit fighter.





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Opheliate
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PostSubject: Re: Witch Hunter Tactics   hunter - Witch Hunter Tactics Icon_minitimeTue 9 Apr 2019 - 8:32

That's some good points.

In our group, we play as the Spears always strikes first, no matter Inititative. Luckily for us, everyone in our group focuses more on fluff and fair play, and hate cheesing. And we also play strict WYSIWYG, so if your warrior is armed with a spear, you'd better have a model with one. NOTE: This also pertains to slings, and getting skaven models with slings is a HASSLE. But even so, our fair-play stature means that no-one would ever use the "all slings skaven warband" Very Happy

One thing I never thought of were Hired Swords for the Witch Hunters. I'm glad you brought it up, as the Witch Hunters low warband numbers would mean that I would HAVE to take a few Hired Swords to balance things. I guess a Halfling Cook and an Ogre Bodyguard are a good start.
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PostSubject: Re: Witch Hunter Tactics   hunter - Witch Hunter Tactics Icon_minitimeTue 30 Apr 2019 - 14:27

I tend to take all 5 heroes, as much pistols as they can afford to make up for the low stats. Then 2 hounds and 3 flaggelants
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Opheliate
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PostSubject: Re: Witch Hunter Tactics   hunter - Witch Hunter Tactics Icon_minitimeTue 7 May 2019 - 7:58

How about the crossbow pistol, though? I have never really tried using it, as it seems to not be that effective when you look at the rules and cost. It is a unique weapon for the warband, though, so it feels wrong to not use it. Anyone has experience using it?
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PostSubject: Re: Witch Hunter Tactics   hunter - Witch Hunter Tactics Icon_minitimeTue 7 May 2019 - 17:39

I avoid it with Witch Hunters as the pistol is much more prevalent in the Warhammer fiction, Robert E. Howard's stories and, well, history. Add to that not one Witch Hunter model that ANYONE makes comes with one. And it has silly fiddly rules, which have never really caught on with the group.

That said I use the Tomb Robber HS all the time and his record with it is abysmal, but the one time it worked he got a hero from the rival warband. That was a win.

I also use it on the Halfling Thief in the old Halfling warband from Mordheimer. On a high ballistic skill, low strength hero who would have to waste a skill advance to gain pistols, its really useful. But again has hard to follow rules that have to discussed nearly every time it gets used in my group. (Most folks just use it as a pistol with no prepared shot rule.)
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PostSubject: Re: Witch Hunter Tactics   hunter - Witch Hunter Tactics Icon_minitimeTue 7 May 2019 - 19:06

I’m a fan of the crossbow pistol and generally get one for my captain in preference to pistols. I like the range and the perceived threat it presents to hand-to-hand opponents. While he rarely takes anyone down with the pre-combat shot, it does seem to discourage chargers. I wouldn’t bother giving one to anyone below BS4 though.
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PostSubject: Re: Witch Hunter Tactics   hunter - Witch Hunter Tactics Icon_minitimeTue 25 Jun 2019 - 22:41

How it's been running in my mini campaign so far is my buddy Jeff has done the following:

Armed all heroes (except Priest) with Xbows to lay down a hail of fire
2 Flagellants w/ Flails
3 Warhounds

Rushing forward to pin down the first line of skaven under Xbow fire, and then moving in with his heroes to finish off my poor ratkin with pistols. First two games? It's worked pretty darn well.

Now all of his heroes had at least one roll on the advancement, and 3/5 of his heroes have new skills...and his Flagellants are now WS4...on top of S/T 4. Pretty scary with flails!
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PostSubject: Re: Witch Hunter Tactics   hunter - Witch Hunter Tactics Icon_minitimeWed 26 Jun 2019 - 15:40

At least Jeff didn't get a Flagellant hero jocolor
His chances for this hero would have been better if, for the first two games, he'd have skipped the two flails and the third warhound for a third Flagellant - but don't tell him that What a Face
Just hope Jeff doesn't find out that, after the (probably) mandatory Trick Shooter and Quick Shot, he could give ALL of his heroes Wyrdstone Hunter and wouldn't have to win one more game to win the campaign king
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PostSubject: Re: Witch Hunter Tactics   hunter - Witch Hunter Tactics Icon_minitimeThu 25 Jul 2019 - 1:41

Opheliate wrote:
getting skaven models with slings is a HASSLE. But even so, our fair-play stature means that no-one would ever use the "all slings skaven warband" Very Happy

Don't tell your Skaven player then, but it's SUPER easy to model slings on any skaven model with a little bit of green stuff.

It's what I've done anyway.
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PostSubject: Re: Witch Hunter Tactics   hunter - Witch Hunter Tactics Icon_minitimeSat 27 Jul 2019 - 3:26

Go ahead and tell them. Then beat them anyway.
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PostSubject: Re: Witch Hunter Tactics   hunter - Witch Hunter Tactics Icon_minitimeTue 30 Jul 2019 - 18:00

There are also companies that sell packs of loose 28mm scale slings you can just glue to other skaven models. That's what I did, when I bothered modelling slings on. Slings, like daggers, throwing knives, & lucky charms, are small enough to be popped inside a pouch or pocket, so can really slip through all but the strictest WYSIWYG...

Also, I suspect you've got to be incredibly lucky or against a truly hopeless opponent to win just by sling-spamming.
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PostSubject: Re: Witch Hunter Tactics   hunter - Witch Hunter Tactics Icon_minitimeWed 31 Jul 2019 - 19:34

It's all about them diving charges!!

Slings in my lists are all about utility and opportunity. They're cheap enough that everyone can have them, but I don't rely on them, they're for shots of opportunity as I move up the field and into position. I prefer drowning them in melee and of course, getting off those diving charges with skaven high I.

But I also don't tend to do very well with them, but I don't care I think I have the most fun playing with them than I do any of my other warbands.

My favorite ranged weapons are poisoned throwing daggers [shurikens!] with knife-fighting heroes.

I just wish that Skaven had a cheaper way to get poison like so many other lists do. It's so...Skaveny.
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PostSubject: Re: Witch Hunter Tactics   hunter - Witch Hunter Tactics Icon_minitimeSun 4 Aug 2019 - 18:48

Ah, poison might be skaveny, but is it the right clan? The rulebook list is for Clan Eshin, & who knows what Clan might have been supplying their poison, or refusing to supply it because Clan Eshin were growing too powerful? The back-stabbing nature of Skaven is also a lot of fun...
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