There’s been a lot of chat recently about special characters and tooled up lords dominating the game, and more specifically a return the 5th edition where characters could win games by themselves and troop choices mainly turned up to prove to the opponent that you were vaguely interested in a good scrap.
In the 6th edition rule changes it was a lot more combat orientated, models could fight corner to corner and large blocks of infantry were king. Obviously there are exceptions to this rule, like wood elves, where very little fighting can occur, but generally speaking a character or ‘standard’ cavalry, i.e. not chaos chosen knights tended to bounce off a good rank and file unit.
I tend to disagree with the statement at the beginning. Characters are not too tough and there isn’t really a return to herohammer. I’ve seen quite a few special characters and tooled up characters turn up to a fight only to have their unit broken in combat and for them to be run down before swinging that very expensive and nasty sword. Put them in a non-combat unit, such as a mage or shaman and suddenly they tend to lose line of sight or don’t have the range on the spells they’d get being in a unit capable of looking for a fight.
It is common to see characters hanging around by themselves, but more often then not, these characters tend to be high toughness chaos lords or have an ability or item that helps against shooting, magic, wounds or a combination of all 3. Again, get into combat and you’ll have three ranks, outnumber and banner, for a total of 5 combat res even if you don’t get any attacks back. Its unlikely a character is going to kill 6 combatants by himself, unless again, he’s tooled up for the job, but he probably wont be as he’s spent so many points investing in protection to have the ability to move around freely in the first place.
I fought against a high elf army the other day with Teclis. To start with he was in a unit, but as soon as a unit that can provide him enough protection would sooner be in combat where a lot of his magic will be nullified. He moved out to protect himself and bam warp lightning frazzles him. Seven hundred victory points please. Ok so I got lucky, but if that had failed, some hard-hitting skirmishers were making their way across to him very very fast.
So this isn’t a definitive list of how to use a character, and by no means is it trying to be. It’s merely trying to show that characters aren’t the big ass hard boys people make the out to be.
Maybe I talk from strength as I have three armies where characters can be good but cheap. My chaos army, even at 2000 points only has one sorcerer, one exalted champion and a third hero choice; usually another exalted champion and they can pull their weight when required. My lizardmen tends to be lead by a saurus oldblood with two skink priests, hardly a recipe for uberness and finally my skaven is sometimes led by a grey seer, but more often than not, a cheap chieftain along side a warlock engineers and plague priest. I just can’t justify the points cost when they die having not clawed nearly enough back to equal or exceed their cost.
Fighting armies with lords and special characters hasn’t yet been a problem as my troops have been far more numerous than they should maybe have been and I have a lot more choices tactically.
Only once or twice have I seen these amazing characters turn a game, and even then it was circumstantial.
I’ll continue to take my troop choices thank you very much.