Tuesday, 5 October 2010

All Along the Watchtower.

Righty. Going to start with Scenarios, and I'm gonna dive in the deep end. Watchtower. This scenario is irritatingly one sided. However I'll talk you all through how to make the most of it. Basically bring an army like WoC. But anyway.

For those of you that haven't worked it out yet, Watchtower revolves around a Watchtower. This means the first thing you should know is the rules for buildings, inside and out. So I'm gonna talk you through that.

First off, and this is important. Only one unit can be inside a building. I know a lot of you are going "duh", but some of the things I have seen... In addition, if you wish to leave a building, you must have at least one model in your back rank touching the building. That means you basically just place the unit next to the building. All nice and clear so far, yeah?

Irritatingly, anything template oriented (magic and shooting) does D6 hits on a unit inside a building. For cannons, great. For plagueclaw catapults, boo! However you pretty much have to grin and bear it. Bolt Throwers and the like hit one model.

If you are shooting from within a building, you have a 360 degree Line of Sight. You always measure from the closest point of the building, even that little griffon on a stick tied to a weather vane poking out the side. If you're shooting at troops within a building they're in hard cover. Sup.

Ok combat. Ugh, I hate fighting in buildings. The extra fun part is that you can only assault it in your turn, because you move out after combat has been fought. Also, you can only hold or stand and shoot. You each pick 10 models to fight, who get "step up", meaning you always have 10 models to fight. You get no charge bonuses. The unit in the building is always steadfast. The only CR you can get in a building is a Musician and kills.

If the defender loses he leaves the building and you can move in. If you lose then oh well. You don't have to take a rout. A lot of people forget this, it's important. There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief. However hopefully you guys are starting to see why this is such a fun scenario for me. Especially against WoC and High Elves and stuff.

Ok, now we all know how to work a Watchtower.

So, how to win at Watchtower? Ugh. Basically the scenario revolves around one person starting with a core unit of 20 or less models in a Watchtower, which goes in the center of the board. The other person 5/6 times goes first and has to try take it off them. The winner is whoever has the Watchtower when the game ends. There's a random game length thing thrown in there too, just to make it even more "super fun".

So, tactics. Ok, first off, whether or not you want to attack or defend. Well, most often you'd want to defend. However, myself for example, against WoC, I actually find it easier to attack in watchtower. Here's what I can say.

If your army has kickass close combat troops with high LD, who can butcher face in CC (White Lions, Chaos Warriors, Temple Guard) then you want to start with the watchtower. You hold turn one, move out turn 2 and move your big elite unit in. If you're chaos warriors put your hardest to shift unit (MoTz with hand weapon and shield?) in the watchtower at the start of the game, and laugh as they try to get rid of it. Your tactics on the defense are just stop people going near the watchtower. If you're nowhere near being budged by turn 4, there's a good chance you've won. Armies like this do really well in Watchtower.

If you're on the offense, then you should set up your biggest, hardest, most groundpounding unit opposite the watchtower, and charge it in the first turn. From there, your goal is to cordon off the tower, so they can't interrupt the sacking of their objective. Ideally, you want to have it by turn 4. You never want to be not attacking the tower. It is the only victory condition, remember that.

If you play a shooty and magic heavy army, then this scenario (on offense) doesn't change your tactics much. What you need to do is shoot and magic them out the building, while not letting any units get near the tower. Sounds hard, in reality it's quite easy. You do need something to take the tower with though. For me that's usually slaves on turn 3 or 4. But for armies like this, watchtower is very very hard. Your big goal is to get the unit out of the building and get one of your units in it turn 4. That means you have 3 turns to get the unit out the building, in addition to making sure they don't leave and put another enemy unit in it. Starting to see what kind of army this scenario favours? However, it's doable, you just need to pour a lot of firepower in to the tower. I find magic works best, especially spells like Plague.

On the defensive it's not much better. You get to start with a unit in the tower, which you usually lose by turn 2, and are then playing offensive. It's really not good, which is why against most armies I opt to play the attacker. Because it's easier to play "Take the tower" than it is to play "Lose the tower then take the tower". So play aggressive if you can.

If you're playing a horde army with no real big hitters, against an elite army, just ragequit. Seriously. Nah, I have no experience with hordes in watchtower, so I don't feel I should give any. But I can't think of any decent horde armies anyway. No offense goblins. You'll suffer all the problems of the shooty army described above.

So general tips and tricks for Watchtower...

  • As I'm sure you've picked up by now, try and take the Watchtower on turn 3 or 4. It gives your opponent less time to try and get it off you.
  • This scenario you really can ignore the flanks. Just try and control the center of the board, and act as some kind of blockade so your opponent can't "relieve the siege" on his tower. In your endo.
  • With that said, try and set up long ranged units far away from the tower, so if your opponent wants to deal with them, he'll have to basically take his unit out of the game. This is an easy game for artillery, it goes unmolested pretty much.
  • Random turn limit sucks. Luck can decide this scenario. Ending on Turn 4 isn't cool, or enough time for a game.
  • Magic is usually the best thing for clearing tough infantry from a tower. Dreaded 13th is ace for this. So are other similar spells.
  • This scenario is heavily stacked towards elite armies.
  • You don't get ranks in the building, and can only place core units of up to 20 models in there. This doesn't mean you can't move your core unit out and replace it with 30 grave guard with the drakenhof banner and your general.

So there we go folks. Hopefully this provided some insight. Again, I had to cut the length down, but hopefully you all learned something about watchtower. My tactic is Turns 1-3 establish board control. Turns 4-6, take the tower.  Of course you should be assaulting the tower turn 1, but it shouldn't be your main interest.

Hope you guys enjoyed the article.


  1. I find that from a Skaven point of view, this mission pretty much calls for a decent sized Stormvermin unit. You will not be able to dig out much of anything with Clanrats, and will be quickly defeated if you have clanrats in the tower.

    I have been including a 20 man SV unit in my non-MSU army for precisely this mission and they behave admirably.

    The big problem that Skaven have with this mission is that the unit in the building does not get Strength in Numbers. That means that you are testing on at best Ld7 for any break test you are called on to make. I have been running a unit into the building and keeping my Seer and BSB outside to provide the Leadership and a re-roll.

  2. See that's why I prefer to attack. You don't have to take break tests if you lose combat. And in my MSU army I usually just stop anything going near the tower with my army, and just magic and shoot the crap out of whatever's in the tower.

    I do still need to hold it, but I try and keep them away as long as I can. It's not easy. What you said about 20 stormvermin isn't a bad idea, but realistically any good assault unit is still going to butcher them (High Elf specials, WoC anything, Lizardmen, Daemons etc). So my opinion on that is it's kind of like pissing in the wind.

    Thankfully most people are more than happy to oblige in letting me be the attacker. I get what you mean with the Stormvermin but I still think it's a lost cause. You get 10(11) S4 attacks, you take 20S4 attacks back, or more. From most good assault units anyway.

    I personally prefer putting slaves in the building, and not getting them in till turn 3 or four. Most people can't kill 20 models in 2 rounds of combat. Again, WoC, Swordmasters, Temple Guard/Saurus etc can go die in a hole. T.T

    Idk, for skaven this scenario is hard. We don't have a good combat unit that can hold a building.

  3. I agree, I just meant once you move the unit in Turn 3/4, it is nice to use the Stormvermin then.

    When you have dealt with the opponent's elite troops, then the Stormvermin can hold against most other core better than clanrats. Unfortunately clanrats cannot stand against lowly swordsmen or spearmen, but stormvermin can.

    I have had a couple of games where my slaves in the building take some shots and fail the panic because my Seer has blown his head off casting spells, and then I need the SV to take the tower back on T5+

  4. This mission so bad an imbalanced it seems out of place with the other relatively balanced missions. When I did my review of the missions on my blog I left this one out because I assumed so few people actually play it. If you were playing a pick up game against someone and you rolled this one would you actually want to play it? I would just re-roll.

  5. @Nikephoros - Yes. I think you have to play this one, otherwise the shooting and magic armies will dominate. This mission is the equalizer to a great extent on Close Combat focused armies.

    Archnomad is right in how a shooty army tries to deal with this, but it is still not the easiest thing to win. I do not even want to think about trying to dislodge a 20 man Chaos Warrior unit from the building, or worse case a couple of them, while I have knights rampaging through my shooting units.