The Shooting Screen
Skirmishers are harder to kill off at range with ballistic shooting then normal rank and file. In general skirmishers are relatively low point cost. By getting your opponent to shoot at your skirmishers not only will this lower the damage he may cause, but, you will also keep your more valuable troops alive.
In the picture below you can see the more costly outriders are screened by empire archers. This protects the outriders from the dark elf shade’s repeater crossbow fire. Giving the unit a solid turn of full strength firepower.
Flank charges are not once what they use to be. However, they are still vastly important for some of the older armybooks. Skirmishers flee using the closest model center to the center of the charging unit. This means you can easily get an enemy unit to be put in a rather bad position if they choose to charge your skirmish unit. And if they don’t charge it buys you one more turn of not having to face that unit in combat. This really only works with non immune to psychology skirmishers. Sorry Tzneetch flamers you’re already good enough!
In the picture below you can see some Fleshounds who have to charge the skirmish Skaven globadiers or they will be doing nothing this turn. But once they do, they open a flank up to the Clanrat unit. The Clanrats would probably not stand much of a chance vs fleshhounds in the front. However, they can handle them in the flank with little trouble.
Utilizing the skirmish rules combined with the there must be room for your model rules you can protect units flanks from some of the nastier large flyers. Knowing that units have to charge the closest visible skirmisher you can set up situations where they either charge your skimishers or force them to move again. Again this is used with skirmishers that have the ability to flee charges.
In the picture below the Stardragon wants to eat the flank of some Templeguard with a Slann. However, the skirmishers have been placed in such a way that he can’t charge the templeguard. The Stardragon decides to charge the skirmishers instead. The closest visible skirmisher though is no where close to the templeguards flank. Making the Stardragon pursue way behind the Templeguard keeping them safe from it for 2 more entire turns.
~Here are just some of the ways skirmishers can effectively turn the tide of battle. Skirmishers make excellent meat shields for expensive elite troops from shooting. They can also give you the upper hand in the movement phase. How about it BoLS readers? Have skirmishers made it into your fantasy list lately?
Jordan Braun is a leading Warhammer Fantasy player; with over 15 years of experience. He owns every army but his favorites are Tomb Kings and Empire. Recent awards include GW Circuit Champion in 07, GW Ardboyz Champion in 08, Baltimore GWGT Best General 08, Colonial Best General 09, Battle on the Beale Best General 09, BoLScon 2nd Overall 09, Sooiepalooza Overall 09, and many more.