This article will discuss the use of hordes and their usefulness, where it starts and where it ends. Before we can dig into the depths of hordes and their use we first have to explore army composition in general. In this edition the percentages opened our eyes for things we never imagined to be possible, 2 Chaos Lords or 6 Goblin (3 of them Night Goblin) Warbosses in one army for example. But due to all the goodness it presents we don’t see the forest anymore, all the shiny trees are in the way. That’s why I advise to start with the core, that’s the thing that’s most important at least 2 sturdy blocks of core. Once I got that I move onto a general, some more core and then fill it up with what I like/want in my army. You probably think this is logical, but a lot of people don’t do this and end up with an army not beefy enough to sustain damage.
But let’s get on-topic and discuss the use of large blocks and especially hordes. The definition of a horde according to “Merriam-Webster”:
a political subdivision of central Asian nomads
a people or tribe of nomadic life
a teeming crowd or throng ; swarm
Now we know that a horde is a swarm you get the idea. According to me a block of core (in 8th edition) should be at least 30 strong, to get the most out of your attacks and ranks. If 30 is my norm, my horde is 50, I know that this 2/3 increase of the unit but it is worth it. Because when you field your guys 10 wide you get to fight with an extra rank, meaning 1st rank, 2nd rank support, 3rd rank support (and 4th if you have spears and didn’t charge). The chance that you get all 10 guys in the first rank in combat is slim, 7 is the number you will see more often, but still then you got 7*3=21 attacks (possible more if you have 2 attacks base, or a champion). Not only that, but you are likely to have more ranks (you got 4). The downside is the large footprint of the unit, it’s a unit-affecting-spell and template magnet. But since you got a lot of guys you can take some casualties and need a lot of losses before you lose 25%. And once you have lost a sustainable amount of model use your musician to make a swift-reform and go 6 or 5 wide à more ranks.
What troop types are suitable for a horde? Well that differs on taste, but what I find is that models up to 12 points per model are suited for a horde (perhaps in a quantity of 40 once nearing the 12 points). But there are of course some models that extend tremendously and are almost designed for hordes.
Goblins: WOW big surprise, small guys can’t do a lot, but small guys with 20+ attacks hurt, there got to be some 6’s in there. Downsides, low leadership and armour saves.
Skaven: The ultimate horde army, same as goblins but slightly more effective, they are cheaper and get higher LD due to their ranks. Downside low armour saves.
Orcs: Very nice, brutal, hard combat units. With shield and/or spears they are amazing, S4 (in first round of CC), T4, WS4. Downsides, low armour save and low initiative.
Chaos Marauders, probably THE best unit in the in game. With a certain build that is… Give them flails and the Mark of Khorne, (in a unit of 30 they are 6 points per piece if the unit gets bigger less due to the Mark.) A basic lay-out, WS 4, I4, frenzy (2 attacks in first rank) and S5 in first round of CC. I call this build the “Meat grinder”.
There are of course many more that are suited very well… (Gors, Empire halberdiers, Skeletons (VC & TK), Zombies, Ghouls, men-at-arms.
And many many more which I haven’t delved into yet. You can of course try yourself and unit size and choice of unit is always something personal.
Another nice feature of hordes is that when you start losing a lot of models and your ranks get touched, you just need to combat reform back to 5 files and you got the double of your ranks, meaning you probably are steadfast, and there is not a thing as nice as being steadfast, that’s what makes tiny models (goblins and skaven slaves) viable. Because it doesn’t matter if you lose 8 slaves to that ogres as long as you can get at least 1 wound on them you are grinding them down on the long term because you aren’t going anywhere. Another nice feature is that you can use big inexpensive units such as 60 slaves or goblins to tie up your opponent, just throw it in front of their hardest hitting unit you couldn’t hurt anyway and he will be fighting it for a while, all the more time for you to finish the rest of his army and come out ahead in victory points.
If you liked my article, got any comments, want to ask me something or whatever else let it know ;-)
BTP correspondent from the Netherlands