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WFB: So You Want To Play Fantasy? List Building Pt. 3

9 Minute Read
Jul 26 2010
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Mr. Black here with the finale of our list building series. Now it’s time to solidify our units and fine tune our armies!

Alright class, it’s been a long and arduous journey that brought us here but we’re nearing the end, I’m sure by now you all know why we’re here and what we’re doing so let’s jump right in!

*For those just joining us here is Part I and Part II.

A Quick Recap of the Lists
Warriors of Chaos

  • Sorcerer Lord of Tzeentch, Dispel Scroll, Black Tongue, Lv. 4 Wizard Upgrade
  • Sorcerer of Death, Infernal Puppet, Lv. 2 Upgrade
  • Warriors of Khorne x20, Full Command, Duel Hand Weapons
  • Warriors of Tzeentch x20, Full Command, Sword and Shield
  • Marauder Horsemen x5, Flails, Throwing Axes, Musician
  • Marauder Horsemen x5, Flails, Throwing Axes, Musician
  • Chaos Trolls x6
  • Chaos Trolls x6
  • Hellcannon
  • 2197/2500

Dark Elves/Cult of Khaine

  • Crone Hellebron
  • Death Hag, Cauldron of Blood, Battle Standard Bearer
  • Witch Elves of Khaine x12 -x6
  • Witch Elves of Khaine x9 -x1
  • Harpy Coven
  • War Hydra
  • War Hydra
  • 1790/2500

~Is The Army Big Enough?
There is something to be said for army size, and having enough units will directly effect the amount of tactical flexibility you have once you’re on the field. Sure, you can just stack four or so big nasty units into your 2500 and call it a day, but in doing so you’re giving your opponent the advantage that he now only has four targets to go after, and will most certainly outnumber you.

Remember, those big units may be scary in their own right, but it just takes one bad combat and they will be fleeing home like crying children.

As for the two lists we currently have only the Warriors of Chaos really suffer from this problem, as the Cult of Khaine has some ten units already and even though they are small the individual units are Stubborn and can dish out an impressive 24 attacks each… Meanwhile the Warriors have a stiflingly small four main units.

Immediately this problem needs to be rectified, and there are two ways we can go about doing this; we can either add another unit of Warriors, thus bringing our threatening units up to five, which to me is the threshold as far as “blocks” go, or we can add in a few cheap Infantry blocks to bulk our army out. In the end this will depend on individual choices, but I will make special note here that one issue I see come up a lot with new players (and even some older ones as well) is that they disregard the cheap choices in the army book in favor of “more killy!”. Do remember that even if a unit isn’t that great in combat it can still create upwards of +4 to combat from ranks and banners alone, before any wounds are caused.

That being said, I believe one or two units of Chaos Marauders will be a great addition to the army:

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  • Marauders of Khorne x20 Great Weapons, Musician, Banner
  • Marauders of Khorne x20 Great Weapons, Musician, Banner

I am at a divide here as now the Khorne units strongly outnumber the Tzeentch ones, but in the case of the Marauders the benefits of Tzeentch simply did not compare to those of Khorne and I cannot justify spending the points. I also opted not to include a Chieftain in either unit, simply because I wished to leave a small amount of points over for final list tweaks and do not view the one extra attack he gets as worth the points. The unit is meant to be cheap and expendable, cut cutting corners is a must.

I chose Great Weapons over, say, Flails due to the likeliness of combat spilling over into a second round, and during those proceeding rounds I’d prefer to deal some real damage, not the puny S:3 hits Flails would give me after Round 1. Again, the unit is meant to deal damage, soften the enemy up, and then most likely die, if they can’t do all those then I have no need for them.

Warriors of Chaos

  • Sorcerer Lord of Tzeentch, Dispel Scroll, Black Tongue, Lv. 4 Wizard Upgrade
  • Sorcerer of Death, Infernal Puppet, Lv. 2 Upgrade
  • Warriors of Khorne x20, Full Command, Duel Hand Weapons
  • Warriors of Tzeentch x20, Full Command, Sword and Shield
  • Marauder Horsemen x5, Flails, Throwing Axes, Musician
  • Marauder Horsemen x5, Flails, Throwing Axes, Musician
  • Marauders of Khorne x20, Musician, Banner, Great Weapons
  • Marauders of Khorne x20, Musician, Banner, Great Weapons
  • Chaos Trolls x6
  • Chaos Trolls x6
  • Hellcannon
  • 2481/2500

~What Am I Missing?
Now it’s time to check over the entire list you have created and see if you notice any blaring holes. If you’ve followed the list-creating method I have outlined then the solution to most problems should be found in your list already, and if so, that’s fantastic. But even after adding everything you believe is a necessity you may run across a few snags. Let’s look at some of the potential issues in the lists we have created thus far:

Dark Elves/Cult of Khaine

  • Crone Hellebron
  • Death Hag, Cauldron of Blood, Battle Standard Bearer
  • Witch Elves of Khaine x12 -x6
  • Witch Elves of Khaine x9 -x1
  • Harpy Coven
  • War Hydra
  • War Hydra
  • 1790/2500

The most obvious one here is we’re still a good 700 points from our cap, so we get the fun task of adding in more units. Before we get to this however let’s take a look at just what our main focus is:

1. Get Witch Elves into combat
2. Have Stubborn Witch Elves kill everything in combat
3. Move to next unit

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It’s a pretty simple concept, the only issue is it relies on one important fact: We want our Witch Elves to be able to deal enough damage and be Stubborn should they suffer heavy loses. Given that the Cauldron of Blood only gives that benefit to units within twelve inches we’re left with two options: Cluster our forces together, thus ensuring that not all of them will be on the front-line, or spread them out and leave some outside our Stubborn bubble.

Nether of these options is suitable for me, so the only logical choice is to add another Cauldron of Blood, thus allowing us to spread our army out, allowing for a wider front and thus more tactical movement choices.

  • Death Hag, Cauldron of Blood

Another thing to notice in the Witch Elf list is while we have a large potential for attacks we have little in the way of armor negation. Sure, we can deal a massive amount of wounds via Poison and re-rolls, but the odds of that significantly hurting a 3+/6+ Warrior of Chaos army is low. We already handled this a small bit by adding a second Cauldron (which can bestow Killing Blow onto a unit each turn), but we still need more.

Lucky for us there happens to be a Khanite unit created specifically for this task: the Har Ganeth Executioners. Two solid units of these S: 6 WS: 5 killers will be more than enough to put the hurt on any high armor units we come across, and they fill a much needed role in the army. So, by adding two units of Executioners and a second Cauldron of Blood, where do we find ourselves?

Dark Elves/Cult of Khaine

  • Crone Hellebron
  • Death Hag, Cauldron of Blood, Battle Standard Bearer
  • Death Hag, Cauldron of Blood
  • Witch Elves of Khaine x12 -x6
  • Witch Elves of Khaine x9 -x1
  • Harpy Coven
  • Har Ganeth Executioners x20, Musician, Banner
  • Har Ganeth Executioners x20, Banner
  • War Hydra
  • War Hydra
  • 2500/2500

Upon adding those last little bits I’m ready to call that list done. We had to cut a musician from one of the Executioner units for the sake of points, but such is the way things go once we get down to the gritty bits of finalizing our lists. All in all the list still suffers from a lack of Magic Defense, but with careful use of Dispel Dice we can minimize the damage to us as we make our way into combat, and without any spells to cast our entire Magic Phase becomes one big Dispel Phase, removing any pesky Remains in Play spells that are causing us trouble.

All in all, we’re created a fluff appropriate list that still packs a huge bite, capable of tearing most opposing forces to shreds!

Now, for the Warriors of Chaos…

Warriors of Chaos

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  • Sorcerer Lord of Tzeentch, Dispel Scroll, Black Tongue, Lv. 4 Wizard Upgrade
  • Sorcerer of Death, Infernal Puppet, Lv. 2 Upgrade
  • Warriors of Khorne x20, Full Command, Duel Hand Weapons
  • Warriors of Tzeentch x20, Full Command, Sword and Shield
  • Marauder Horsemen x5, Flails, Throwing Axes, Musician
  • Marauder Horsemen x5, Flails, Throwing Axes, Musician
  • Marauders of Khorne x20, Musician, Banner, Great Weapons
  • Marauders of Khorne x20, Musician, Banner, Great Weapons
  • Chaos Trolls x6
  • Chaos Trolls x6
  • Hellcannon
  • 2481/2500

Looks pretty full right? We only have 19 points to play with, so isn’t this list pretty much done?

If you said yes then you’re ignoring the entire point of this section- Just by filling in your quota of points doesn’t mean your army is complete. It’s important now to step back and be willing to make changes, should you see a glaring flaw in your plan!

Looking at the above list, it’s rightly scary and can handle most threats I could think to send against it, but I do notice two issues. One, our General’s leadership is only Eight, which is nothing to write home about, and two, we have no Battle Standard Bearer. The above issues means that if any of our units lose by even two Combat Resolution we’ll flee on anything but a six, meaning we’re below the average of 2d6! And that’s not even counting on the fact I have two Stupid units that may blunder off if they fail a Leadership Test!

As much as I’d like to believe I’ll win every fight I live by the doctrine “Expect the best, prepare for the worst”, so for me this lack of battlefield leadership is a large chink in my armor!

The first step in fixing this is to add a BSB, but as you know we’re out of points. Meaning we have to remove something to fit the necessary Exalted Hero into the list, and upon looking over what we have the most logical choice to me would be the Chaos Sorcerer of Death. Yes, he’s nice, but we already have a powerful spellcaster in the army, and I’d rather not remove a whole unit for one character. Yes, it limits our casting options, but we still have a potent wizard for our casting and dispelling needs.

That being said, we remove the Sorcerer and add:

  • Exalted Hero of Khorne, Battle Standard Bearer, Halberd, Juggernaut of Khorne


The BSB is important and you want him well protected, this is accomplished by giving him the Juggernaut thus granting him a 1+ Armor Save as well as opening his hands up to allow a Halberd, meaning this nasty Hero will be dishing out five S: 6 attacks each round plus three more for the Juggernaut (including his Stomp!). There is also a secondary benefit in giving him a mount in that, should the need arise, he can march off to a different part of the field to reinforce units there.

The last thing I want to do it take a look at our Sorcerer Lord… We had a potent combo in the Infernal Puppet and the Black Tongue, but now that our secondary Sorcerer is gone we’ve lost 1/2 of that combo, and in doing so I just don’t feel including the Black Tongue is worth it- It’s still good, but I’d rather use the points elsewhere now (and some of those points did indeed go towards the BSB).

So, looking at the overall Leadership issue, what can we do? Well, luckily in the 8th Edition we have access to new and powerful magic items, particular to our problem is this one:

  • Standard of Discipline: Unit has +1 Leadership but cannot benefit from the General’s Inspiring Presence

Note that it states the unit cannot benefit from the General’s Leadership, other units still can. So we can park our General in that unit and thus grant Ld: 9 to all units around him. Seems like a good fix for our problem so I’ll stick it on the unit of Tzeentch Warriors who will be accompanying the Sorcerer Lord. After these modifications I find myself with five points remaining, and there just happens to be one new item of that cost which I love: the Charmed Shield.

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Warriors of Chaos

  • Sorcerer Lord of Tzeentch, Dispel Scroll, Charmed Shield, Lv. 4 Wizard Upgrade
  • Exalted Hero of Khorne, Halberd, BSB, Juggernaut of Khorne
  • Warriors of Khorne x20, Full Command, Duel Hand Weapons
  • Warriors of Tzeentch x20, Full Command, Sword and Shield, Standard of Discipline
  • Marauder Horsemen x5, Flails, Throwing Axes, Musician
  • Marauder Horsemen x5, Flails, Throwing Axes, Musician
  • Marauders of Khorne x20, Musician, Banner, Great Weapons
  • Marauders of Khorne x20, Musician, Banner, Great Weapons
  • Chaos Trolls x6
  • Chaos Trolls x6
  • Hellcannon
  • 2500/2500

And there we have the completed Warriors of Chaos list, we have a bunch of units capable of dealing a large amount of damage while retaining enough defense to take as much as they give. We have deadly artillery and fast cavalry to handle any flanking threats. All in all I’m satisfied with the overall capabilities of the army, it fits my play style and I get to use all the miniatures I wanted. I have an army that is visually and thematically appealing to me as much as it is effective, and in the end it is that combination I aim for.

~Well class, we’re all done, semesters over. I hope you have all enjoyed the article series and hopefully walked away with some new ideas when it comes to Fantasy list building. 8th Edition is here and in full swing and it’s going to be those ready to adapt to the changing times who will benefit the most! I hope the above guides will grant you some insight, but now the rest lies with you. Get out there, make some lists and throw down! – Mr. Black

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