Sunday, 3 October 2010

High Elf Hordes, some horde banter, by TheLieutenant.

Hey folks, Archnomad here, bringing you a guest article from a friend of mine TheLieutenant. It's about hordes. Personally, I've never used hordes, only played against them. They're too big and clunky for my playstyle. However my friend here has used the High Elf Spear Horde, and has some thoughts on it. So here's what he wrote. From here on out, until further notice, it's TheLieutenant speaking.


Hi, I’m The Lieutenant. Been a friend of Archnomad's for a while now, and he asked me to do a guest blog since I’m the only person in our group who has used a Horde(The fact I’m an English Lit student probably helped too). As such, Horde is the topic to which we’ll be turning our attention today.

Horde is, at face value, fantastic. Ten wide frontage, bonus rank of attacks.
I’ll admit, when I first saw it, I danced a little at the thought of a unit of 50 HE spears, getting 50 attacks. Also, with command and a 25pt banner, that unit is exactly 500pts, Core for 2k taken care of in one swift, not so subtle move.

Plus, with Life magic as good these days, they’d be T7! Fantastic! Just what I need, a big anvil unit to soak up casualties, which can just be Regrowthed if there’s no better target.

Of course, life seems to exist purely for the purpose of crushing my most dearly held dreams.

The horde was…not good. A fifty strong squad is big, but it doesn’t do its job of taking casualties, because people were most unsporting, and instead simply shot up(and magic-ed. And Repeater Crossbowed, which frankly deserves a special mention) my elite units which I had sneakily positioned to counter-charge any charge on the spears. Not happy.
The spearmen unit was far too big to be manoeuvred effectively. It had no ranged attack, and could be safely ignored by the enemy, except to cast spells(I’m looking at you Final Transmutation) which could kill off twenty or so models for little effort. Also, its not even that good in combat. In 8th ed, combat is entirely done on kills. Ranks and numbers count for precisely naff all, by my count, and the spearmen couldn’t kill anything. Yet, my small, elite, punchy units of White Lions and Swordmasters couldn’t safely go off by themselves, because they needed the weight of numbers in the spearmen unit to safely do well in combat. It was, in essence, an anvil like I’d thought. Something big and weighty, which dragged my army down like an informer who’s been reintroduced to his former comrade’s hospitality, including a diving trip, sans any of the traditionally vital accessories.

I can only speak from experience, I haven’t tried using a horde with any other unit yet(Although I’ll admit the thought of 10 wide, 3 deep White Lions gives me a flutter). I can’t speak for other armies as well. But hordes don’t work. A unit ten wide is just too unwieldy to function, and it’s likely to be so expensive that you end up having to work hard trying to keep the blasted thing alive, as opposed to it seemingly being a hugely survivable unit through weight of numbers. The bonus attacks don’t have that much effect either, since the only units you can afford to have hordes of generally won’t be punching that hard. 51 attacks from my spearmen, going first and (generally) re-rolling misses sounds hard. Course, in practice, you’re NEVER going to get all of those models in combat. And if you do, some will be dead. And S3 rears its ugly, yet pathetically weak head, in this situation too. Life Magic generally has too many better targets for bonus Toughness and Regrowth, especially with HE.

So, hopefully this has been an informative guest blog. Thanks for reading, and goodnight!


So there we have it folks. Some real life experience from an actual horde user. Just before we end tonight, I'm going to say some quick words on my thoughts on horde. It's not all bad, because I have seen TheLieutenant play and it's turn 6, where he has 5 spearmen left. 5 Spearmen, that represent a whole 500 points. But to be honest, hordes are so clunky, and so easy to stimmy with small cheap units. And then you flank them big time with your own big hitters and giggle as they don't get their supporting attacks. So yeah, hordes folks.

Give big thank you to TheLieutenant for this article. I also hope you enjoyed it.


  1. Couldn't agree more. Hordes look nice but aren't worth it. Could be doable with cheaper armies like Skaven and re-forms but you'd have to be very careful with movement/charging.

  2. Horde formations are just a way to cheat kids into buying a ton of models at once.

  3. Ok some you guys have seen me play half a game at least and i will say that where as for alot of armys it may be true, hords can work a do work when used properly. An example of this is my hord of saurus. The Lieutenant mentioned the hammer and avil tactic and where as high elves T3/S3 is not so up to the task S4/T4 is.