Warhammer Fantasy Tactics (Win the most Important phase of the Game)


I’ve been researching and thinking about Warhammer Fantasy Tactics for many years now. I first started playing Warhammer during 4th edition over 20 years ago.  That said I’m not an expert, and for many of those years mostly just participated in the hobby by painting, not playing the game itself.  Although, I have always found time over those 22 years to day dream about Warhammer Tactics.

Warhammer Practice Makes Perfect

During the beginning of 8th edition I got really serious about playing a ton of games of Warhammer Fantasy Battle.  I enjoyed playing a variety of armies, and even won a tournament (though mostly on soft scores). I know from this experience that practice makes perfect, and keeping a journal of what you have learned after each game is an important way to help you grow as a competitive gamer. I now take playing Warhammer Fantasy far less serious then i did in the past, but this has left me wondering, can you be a casual player, and still win games consistently? 

Warhammer Fantasy Tactics

If you want to win games of Whfb then you need to understand how to dominate the movement phase.  Many will say that a game of Warhammer is won in the combat phase.  However, in truth, the game is usually won by the player that dominates the movement phase, and is  therefore able to pick the combats they participate in.

Movement Phase: 

To dominate the movement phase you need to be able to anticipate were  units will be moved several turns ahead of time, and employ some of these strategies.

Distracting units: Most beginners look pass using smaller distracting units when they first start playing Warhammer.  Most beginners want to use big, hard hitting units to smash their opponent, much like Hulk smashes opponents of the Avengers. But if you really want to dominant in the movement phase you need to use small, cheap, manuervable units like the Warriors of Chaos warhounds, or Lizardmen skinks, or various fast calvary.  These units can help you devert or distract your opponents combat units allowing you to pick your fights on the battlefield.  These samller units simply get in the way of opponent units often fleeing, or just sacrifcing themselves to allow you to move your other troops into a favourable position. This is the most important  Warhammer fantasy tactic to practice.

Tarpits: You can also use tarpit units like Skaven slaves to simply tie up your opponents combats troops, again allowing you to pick your fights, and move your troops into a positions they can be successful in.

Scare Tactics: by deploying a large scary monster or deadly warmachine early on one section of the board, you can often influence where your opponent deploys there army.  This allows you again to influence their movement, hopefully constricting their manoeuvrability, and forcing them into fights that don’t favour them.

Just keep in mind that these Warhammer Fantasy Tactics will take planning and practice, but if you can use these units to help you control the movement phase then you should be able to win in the combat phase.

Magic Phase + Shooting Phase:

Destroy distracting units: often times you will have a chance during the magic phase to destroy your opponents distracting units, allowing you to gain the upper hand during the movement phase. Do not pass up this opportunity!

Concentrate fire: From the first turn of the game you should be thinking about which combat is going to be the most important combat of the game.  This will usually be a combat which takes place on the flank.  So if you win the combat you’ll be able to sweep across the board attacking the flanks of your oppoents units. So the idea here is that you concentrate fire on that one unit, so that it is depleted by the time you attack it, and you’ll be able to quickly move into position to win the other combats.

Also, if your opponent has brought fire power of his or her own, then it is best that you try to eliminate it before anything else.  Gain the upper hand in the shooting phase, and you’ll be more likely to dominate the movement phase.

Combat Phase:

Seek and destroy: Using chariots and small sized heavy calvary units you can often times destroy your opponents small distracting units in the combat phase, although some are harder then others to catch.  Always remember your opponent has the option to flee, I’m sure they’ve done some reading on Warhammer fantasy tactics too!

If you don’t have a lot of shooting yourself then you need to make sure that you have units that can get across the table and quickly and destroy enemy warmachines and shooting.

Gaming Goals:

I would suggest writing down a primary and secondary goal for each unit in your army.  Using the ideas discussed in this article assign a task to each of your units.  Whether that is a unit to distract your opponents combat units, or complete a flanking manuver make sure you know the role of each unit in your army.  You can see an example of this in an upcoming article here.

So can you be a casual player, and still win games? Although I have had less success on the battlefield as a casual Warhammer fantasy player, I know I can improve.  I just need to remember the different roles of my units, and keep in mind the Warhammer fantasy tactics in this article.

Photo Credit: @MrArocena



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