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arka0415

Is the Freeguild General + Handgunner combo actually good?

20 posts in this topic

arka0415    29

I'm trying to decide whether to arm my Freeguild with Crossbows, or with Handguns. Handguns, according to most of the guides online it seems, are the competitive choice.

However, they have only a 16" range and must stand still to shoot with any effectiveness with the Freeguild General's buff.

It seems like a halfway decent player could force you to move every turn, by parking units at 17" every time. Either they make a 17" move + charge (not hard in AoS) or they out-range you.

In fact, the only way Handgunners will get their stationary shooting bonus is if the enemy deliberately parks a unit within 16" range and doesn't charge.

With this in mind, how are these guys actually useful?

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The thing is you can't look at them in a vacuum. Sure 16" range and losing +2 to hit by moving doesn't seem like the best but that is only a part of the terrifying Freeguild Synergy Train.

 

If someone is going to be investing heavily in Handgunners it's reasonable to assume that:

A) They will have a Celestial Hurricanum properly placed so that the +1 to hit covers all relevant units

B) Said units will also be positioned properly so that they can get the +1 to hit from the State Troop Detachment/Freeguild Regiment battalion.

C) With the aforementioned battalions there will be a good few chunky blocks of Freeguild Guard that (when armed with Sword and Shield) are one of the best and most point efficient chaff units in the game.

 

These units will make things very hard for an opponent to be able to directly engage with the Handgunners in combat without taking a few turns of their withering fire. Even if they do finally break through they'll still have to suffer one last volley thanks to the Pipers.

Add to this that Free Peoples units are very unlikely to have any losses due to Battleshock (with the aforementioned things in place they'll be rolling two dice, pick the lowest, any roll of 1 or 2 means no one flees, and most likely with a re-roll), and longer ranged support from the likes of Cannons or Helstorm Rocket Batteries, and pretty decent magical support.

All in all it makes for a pretty daunting force to go up against. Is it unbeatable? No. Is it a bleeding edge, tournament winning meta-buster? Not quite but it's had some decent showings lately.

When comparing to Crossbows they can only compete with Handgunners if they don't move and have the General's buff on them. Even then they fall short if you're going up against stuff with a decent save as the guaranteed -1 Rend on the Handgunners is absolutely crucial to pushing through the damage.

That being said Crossbows are a better choice if you're putting them up against hordes as weight of attacks will be more important. But against everything else, and from a "Take All Comers" non list tailoring standpoint, Handgunners are the best overall choice. 

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ledha    83

they suffer against direct ranged attack (sylvaneth and their kurnoth hunter will laugh at most of the freeguild army)

 

however, a full melee army will CRY

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WAAAGHdogg15    20

The problem you have described can be used to your advantage...

If you face a player who is afraid of coming within 16" that can work heavily in your favour in an objective based game. Instantly you have created a 16" 'no-go zone' allowing other units of yours to take advantage of that space. The threat of those hand gunners then isn't necessarily the damage they do but the possibility of the damage they could do. A well placed unit creates space denial which can be one of the best strategies in AoS. As usual, it comes down to having a well balanced list. If your opponent does stand off you and respects the 'no-go zone' do you have the tools elsewhere in your army to take advantage of that? I suspect this would mean a hard hitting combat unit or a very mobile unit that could go objective grabbing.

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swarmofseals    297
4 hours ago, WAAAGHdogg15 said:

The problem you have described can be used to your advantage...

If you face a player who is afraid of coming within 16" that can work heavily in your favour in an objective based game. 

This is a great answer. When people theorycraft their lists, I think they tend to zone in on combat stats and forget at how fundamentally the objective game changes game dynamics when compared to playing purely for kill points.

In a kill point game, yeah, your opponent can just keep out of range of your handguns and maybe hammer you with superior range. With objectives though, if you position your handguns well then your opponent will HAVE to come into range. If they keep back, you get an edge in board control. If they come at you, you get to pour fire into them. 

The more I think about it, the more I feel that large model count armies with a focus on defensive efficiency are an interesting counter to the monsters and monstrous infantry/cavalry metagame. Mortal wounds are just not efficient against bulk cheap troops, and with numbers you can play the objective game better than your opponents. The main problem with this is that horde armies are so cumbersome to play with and will often mean you won't have enough time to finish your rounds in a tournament setting. This latter bit is a real problem.

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Aezeal    200
23 hours ago, ledha said:

they suffer against direct ranged attack (sylvaneth and their kurnoth hunter will laugh at most of the freeguild army)

 

however, a full melee army will CRY

Is the damage output point for point from hunters better than that of buffed handgunners? You can take points for a hurricanum and general into account for the handgunners.

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arka0415    29
On 2017/6/12 at 1:22 AM, SpiritofHokuto said:

The thing is you can't look at them in a vacuum. Sure 16" range and losing +2 to hit by moving doesn't seem like the best but that is only a part of the terrifying Freeguild Synergy Train.

 

If someone is going to be investing heavily in Handgunners it's reasonable to assume that:

A) They will have a Celestial Hurricanum properly placed so that the +1 to hit covers all relevant units

B) Said units will also be positioned properly so that they can get the +1 to hit from the State Troop Detachment/Freeguild Regiment battalion.

C) With the aforementioned battalions there will be a good few chunky blocks of Freeguild Guard that (when armed with Sword and Shield) are one of the best and most point efficient chaff units in the game.

I don't have a Hurricanum yet (still using my old collection with new Handgunners) but it sounds like a sweet unit. I'd like to convert one in the future!

I've heard from a lot of players that the State Troop Detachment isn't legal, so I'd taken it out of my lists. Do you think it's still allowed?

8 hours ago, WAAAGHdogg15 said:

The problem you have described can be used to your advantage...

If you face a player who is afraid of coming within 16" that can work heavily in your favour in an objective based game. Instantly you have created a 16" 'no-go zone' allowing other units of yours to take advantage of that space. The threat of those hand gunners then isn't necessarily the damage they do but the possibility of the damage they could do. A well placed unit creates space denial which can be one of the best strategies in AoS. As usual, it comes down to having a well balanced list. If your opponent does stand off you and respects the 'no-go zone' do you have the tools elsewhere in your army to take advantage of that? I suspect this would mean a hard hitting combat unit or a very mobile unit that could go objective grabbing.

I play Tau in 40k, so I know a bit about the space denial tactic, but... Tau have far more range than Handgunners. In AoS, it doesn't look like you can camp one objective with a ranged unit, and area-deny another, since chances are there is more than 16" between two objectives. Or do you recommend sitting off the objective and denying it so neither player gets it?

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Yes the Celestial Hurricanum is great asset to Freeguild and GA: Order armies in general.

As to the legality of the State Troop Detachment, for casual play I doubt anyone will call you out. For tournaments and the like it will depend on their own house rules. Officially it's perfectly legal as although it references the warscrolls from the compendium PDF, Games Workshop's own rules state that you can use any published version of a warscroll that you wish. So that means that you can satisfy the requisites of the battalion with compendium warscrolls at your discretion.   

 

Edited by SpiritofHokuto

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MrCharisma    227
On 2017-5-22 at 5:36 PM, Robzilla said:

I'd go with this:

http://www.greenstuffworld.com/en/textured-rolling-pins/135-Rolling-Pin-Hobby-Roller-Cobblestone.html?search_query=Cobble&results=7

 

I can't attest to the results of this one, but I have three of those rolling pins (temple, runic and paving) and they are amazing. Absolutely worth every penny. 

 

11 hours ago, SpiritofHokuto said:

Yes the Celestial Hurricanum is great asset to Freeguild and GA: Order armies in general.

As to the legality of the State Troop Detachment, for casual play I doubt anyone will call you out. For tournaments and the like it will depend on their own house rules. Officially it's perfectly legal as although it references the warscrolls from the compendium PDF, Games Workshop's own rules state that you can use any published version of a warscroll that you wish. So that means that you can satisfy the requisites of the battalion with compendium warscrolls at your discretion.   

 

...except a few of the units required for the State Troop Detachment don't have points in matched play. 

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ledha    83
16 hours ago, Aezeal said:

Is the damage output point for point from hunters better than that of buffed handgunners? You can take points for a hurricanum and general into account for the handgunners.

the important thing here is not the dmg output per point, it's everything else

Kurnoth hunter have a 30" range, and can teleport from wood to wood, so you can resume it by having infinite range because you'll nearly never be able to hide from them. They can throw their bolt to the handgunner while staying out of range the whole game (even if you have a double turn), firing with full efficiency while your 6+ save 18" range handgunner need to stand still to be efficient.

Kurnoth hunter have a 3+ save (cause they will always be in a forest) reroll 1 (cause your ennemy will always have a treelord ancient as a general), have many wounds, and sylvaneth can heal them or even bring them back from the dead. You'll never reach them, and IF you reach them, you won't do enough dmg to them. Meanwhile, each wound will kill 1D3 of your guys.

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WAAAGHdogg15    20

I'm still confused about why the Kurnoth hunters are shooting at the handgunners if there is a highly mobile/well armoured unit challenging for objectives or a assassination unit in their face about to take them out... or both.

As spiritofHokuto mentioned in the first reply to this topic, you can't look at this in a vacuum. Nobody is saying (I hope) that the handgunner combo is a hard counter to Kurnoth hunters. The skill of list writing, if you are most worried about that sort of opponent, is to build a list around that handgunner combo which will have answers to a hunter heavy Sylvaneth list. 

Lets remember also that Kurnoth hunters have (in my opinion unfairly) become a dirty word in AoS and there are worse (or at least as bad) builds out there (mooclan, ruck, Skyfires, Stormcast lightning chariot etc). If the limitations of the hangunner combo means that you feel there is no army you can put them in that will allow you to compete with those builds (assuming that this is your aim) then the answer to your question is no, it's not that good and you need to devise a different list.

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Aezeal    200
4 hours ago, ledha said:

the important thing here is not the dmg output per point, it's everything else

Kurnoth hunter have a 30" range, and can teleport from wood to wood, so you can resume it by having infinite range because you'll nearly never be able to hide from them. They can throw their bolt to the handgunner while staying out of range the whole game (even if you have a double turn), firing with full efficiency while your 6+ save 18" range handgunner need to stand still to be efficient.

Kurnoth hunter have a 3+ save (cause they will always be in a forest) reroll 1 (cause your ennemy will always have a treelord ancient as a general), have many wounds, and sylvaneth can heal them or even bring them back from the dead. You'll never reach them, and IF you reach them, you won't do enough dmg to them. Meanwhile, each wound will kill 1D3 of your guys.

That is all nice ofcourse.. but in the end the Hunters need to be worth their points and my opinion is that shooty hunters don't deal enough damage unless they try to assassinate characters --> I run mine as melee now.

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I've had some experience of the Freeguild Regiment Battalion (I finished second from bottom at this year's SCGT??).

You're going to struggle to get a Hurricanum in a 2000pts list as well as that Battalion, unless you want to take minimum sized units of the Freeguild Guard (which, at just ten models, are pretty hard to find a use for).

That said, you could still fit in a meaty Handgunner unit, and easily get them hitting and wounding on 2s. But they do die easily to anything that out ranges them, and once they're down below 20, they become much less appealing.

There are lists out there though (pretty much all Handgunners!) but for me, it's such a lopsided and ultimately unfulfilling army when you go down that route, that it's not for me.

 

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ledha    83
12 hours ago, Aezeal said:

That is all nice ofcourse.. but in the end the Hunters need to be worth their points and my opinion is that shooty hunters don't deal enough damage unless they try to assassinate characters --> I run mine as melee now.

i really want to know what shooty unit around 160-200 pts is better than them

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3 hours ago, ledha said:

i really want to know what shooty unit around 160-200 pts is better than them

Skyfires backed up by a Tzaangor Shaman out-threat (based purely on movement+range) and out-damage them. Even without the Shaman they're better, but kicking up the mortal wound likelihood to 33% really hurts Kurnoths.

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ledha    83
8 hours ago, SpiritofHokuto said:

Skyfires backed up by a Tzaangor Shaman out-threat (based purely on movement+range) and out-damage them. Even without the Shaman they're better, but kicking up the mortal wound likelihood to 33% really hurts Kurnoths.

3 shot who have 1 chance on 3 to do between 1 and 3 hp, and very few chance to do something without the mortal wound will have a hard time to threaten a unit with 15 hp with a 4+/3+ rerolling 1 save who can be healed and even bring back to live.

The kurnoth have a better firepower (twice the number of shot and doesn't need mortal wound to dent the skyfire and their poor save) and standing power as well as mobility (teleporting nearly everywhere > 16 movement range). Only insane dice rolls could save a unit of skyfire vs one of kurnoth hunters.

And skyfire are one of the best and cheesiest unit of the game. Them and kurnoth hunter are head ans shoulder above the rest

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I think both handgunners and crossbow are viable. 

If you are going to use crossbows you need a large unit 30-40 size. Get the buffs from the hurricanum (+1 to hit) and the general (+1 to hit & +1 to wound if they stand still) to create a damage output monster!!! 

I run a unit of 40 - 80 shots (double shot when standing still) with an average damage output of 24 wounds against saves of 4+ and 33 wounds against saves of 5+.  Range 20" is great!!  you can create a real area denial zone on the board.  

The double shot only works when the unit is at 20 or more models, and that is why I have a unit of 40.  With the general stately banner (i.e. roll 2 dice for battle shock test and choose the lowest), the order allegiance (re-roll battle shock tests), and the units banner (rolls of 1 ignore battle shock)  this unit rarely runs away, so you should always get a double shot off! 

 

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arka0415    29
On 2017/6/13 at 9:15 PM, MrCharisma said:

...except a few of the units required for the State Troop Detachment don't have points in matched play. 

State Troops have points in the compendium, but they were "replaced" by Freeguild Guard. Since the FAQ says that units whose warscrolls have been replaced are not legal in battalions, that would indicate that the State Troop detachment wouldn't be legal I guess.

 

11 hours ago, Hugh Halligan said:

I think both handgunners and crossbow are viable. 

If you are going to use crossbows you need a large unit 30-40 size. Get the buffs from the hurricanum (+1 to hit) and the general (+1 to hit & +1 to wound if they stand still) to create a damage output monster!!! 

I run a unit of 40 - 80 shots (double shot when standing still) with an average damage output of 24 wounds against saves of 4+ and 33 wounds against saves of 5+.  Range 20" is great!!  you can create a real area denial zone on the board.  

The double shot only works when the unit is at 20 or more models, and that is why I have a unit of 40.  With the general stately banner (i.e. roll 2 dice for battle shock test and choose the lowest), the order allegiance (re-roll battle shock tests), and the units banner (rolls of 1 ignore battle shock)  this unit rarely runs away, so you should always get a double shot off! 

A squad of 40 Crossbowmen sounds strong, but it's not a legal unit size- Crossbowmen are 10-30. 30 Crossbowmen would still be strong I think!

How often do you think those extra 4" come into play though?

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Oh really i do not have the ghb to hand but I am sure you are correct. I have only ran 40 in the last 2 friendly games I have played. I have played with 30 and it is still strong but you are at high risk at losing your double shot bonus if you lose 11 models.


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The extra 4" is very strong. It gives you a threat range of 25" which mean you have the option for a first turn shot or drop deep and create a large threat zone on the board.  I normally set up quite wide the unit so most of the board is within range.  

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