Sunday, December 22, 2013

Rohan Month: Why You Don't Need To Take Eomer

Hello readers,

My good buddy and fellow admin Glenstorm made a post the other day which talked about why you should always take Eomer if you field Rohan. Please read his post before continuing - it's not only a great decomposition of the heroes in Rohan, but also a well-written piece from our team's longest-running Rohan player (my first convert to the game's first team he ran).
Glenstorm's analysis is sound, but there's one piece I wish to contest: you don't always need to take Eomer (yeah, I know, it's kind of the thesis of the post). I'll only make this exception in two cases and then show what army list I'm looking at building for Rohan - more to come on this army list soon.

1) You leave Eomer (any version) at home if you plan on skirmishing for most of the game

Let's face it - without spears and standardized F4 D6, it's hard to go toe-to-toe with civs that have them. Rohan's strengths come in its ability to skirmish with other armies from a safe distance. 8" thrown weapons can be very dangerous, given enough distance. In the hands of cavalry, thrown weapons are even more powerful, giving normal Riders of Rohan 18" of range before moving and Eorl the Young has 20" of range before moving. Against foes with S2 bows, this can not only eliminate a turn of archery potentially, but can also be devastating to their archers (all D5 or less). It's important to note that the cheaper version of Eomer can skirmish and isn't a bad option for a supporting hero - I think that Eorl is a better option, but Eomer can support him well.
While I consider Wood Elves and Dwarf Rangers to be better skirmishers than Rohan units because of their 3+ Shoot value, Rohan's strength in skirmishing comes from the mixture of cavalry archers, longer-range throwing weapon infantry, and archers who can benefit from Stand Fasts from a safe, elevated distance. Only Sons of Eorl and select named heroes do not have the option for ranged weapons, and Sons of Eorl are blissfully fast and powerful on the charge (not to mention riding D5 mounts). As more and more armies are coming to our tournaments with less emphasis on archery and more emphasis on melee combat, an army that can skirmish well can slant the weight of numbers in their favor pretty quickly.
2) You leave Eomer (the really expensive version at least) at home if you want to ally in another hero

Rohan's heroes are limited: though most can be D7, a great many are capped at F4 and the rest can only get to F5. With the exception of Eomer, Knight of the Pelennor (KotP), none have either 3 Wounds or 3 Fate points, making them a soft bunch if they ever get trapped in close combat (and not that likely to win against enemy F6 heroes or monsters). Allying in a hero to help them in combat - like Aragorn or Gimli - will cost a lot - too much if you try to keep someone like Eomer, Knight of the Pelennor in your army. Alternatively, auric heroes like Gandalf the White are great for keeping Rohan units from dying to S3 or S4 archery, as well as protecting units in close combat by knocking their foes to the ground, removing their ability to wound. Try including much in your army after Eomer and Gandalf are in your army...
(Picture is of riders soon to be converted into Sons of Eorl, discussion has nothing to do with them, :P) Maybe you're one of those people who plans on running just Rohan heroes in your army, so you think this point doesn't apply to you. It may not, but consider the combos you can run if you choose to take weaker Rohan heroes instead of a single power hero: for the same cost as Eomer, KotP and a Captain with shield and heavy armor, you can buy a weaker, cheaper Eomer and Theodred, mounting both of them and giving them shields and bows - both are D7, both can skirmish with a cavalry force, and both have 3 Might points. You'll also be more resilient against spell-casters, though your total Fate points will be less. Alternatively, you can drop the mounts and the bows and take Eowyn - choose to pay a little more, and you'll have a cheap F5 D5 hero with an additional bit of Might, Will, and Fate (not to mention 3 heroes to lead your warbands for just over 200 points).
3) Army List:

The army I'm planning on building (I've got the riders and I'm looking at getting the Royal Guards, the rest I'll borrow from the voluminous piles of Rohan guys owned by our club members) is detailed below, showcasing some never-before-used-in-tournament-and-maybe-ever heroes with some interesting synergy possibilities:

The Descent from the North (Warbands, Kingdom of Rohan)

*Eorl the Young - 90 points
*Gamling with Royal Banner of Rohan - 100 points
Theoden with heavy armor - 70 points
4 Riders of Rohan - 52 points
4 Riders of Rohan with throwing spears - 60 points
3 Sons of Eorl - 66 points
5 Rohan Royal Guards - 50 points
5 Warriors of Rohan with shields - 35 points
5 Warriors of Rohan with shields and throwing spears - 45 points
5 Rohan Outriders - 35 points

603 points, 34 units, 13 bows + 6 throwing spears (+4 from riders with bows already counted), 3 heroes, 7* Might

This army is built to skirmish - more than half the army has ranged weapons of some kind and about one-third of the army is mounted. The army relies not only on Eorl the Young getting some Might points for free via his Legendary Hero rule, but regaining Might once he runs out via the Royal Banner of Rohan (RBoR). It's important to note that in order to use the RBoR-Legendary Hero combo, you need to run in warband style - Gamling and Eorl the Young couldn't be in the same army in LOME.

This list gives you mobility and opportunity for surprise. I've thought about upgrading the captain to Erkenbrand and then increasing the Fight value of the Riders of Rohan to Fight 4, but not only would this require dropping at least one rider (or a bunch of throwing weapons), the purpose of the Riders of Rohan isn't to become shock troops who charge the enemy much - that's the job of the Sons of Eorl and Eorl himself. Their job is to harass and skirmish - the whole point of fielding this army in the first place, right?

Theoden is an interesting inclusion: I've debated about whether to keep him in there or replace him with Erkenbrand and upgrade my riders with throwing spears into Redshields (F4 anyone?), but for now, I'm going with the aged king of Rohan. Why? In part because I own the model (though I might use it as a conversion), and in part because he's a bit more resilient than Erkenbrand is, what with 2 Fate points and all. The largest driver, though, is that no one really uses Theoden, because he's not an efficient use of points - if you pay 70 points for him, Eomer gives you 2 Will points for 5 points more, while Theodred gives you the equivalent of 1 Will point more for the same price...not really worth it to have the old man from a competitive perspective.

But I own the model. So for now, the king is here to stay. Thematically, I see Eorl the Young bringing other kings of small fiefdoms down with him from the north. These kings, desirous for peaceable lands of rolling fields, are represented by Theoden. So for now, we'll see where this takes us.

Hopefully you saw the game that Glenstorm and I played with a portion of this list. I'm hoping to get some gaming in with Rohan soon, but I'm taking off for Christmas break soon and will be gone for a bit. When I get back, it's back to work on Goblins, as they recently got a kennel of puppies to play with (see this post for a sneak peak).

Until later, Merry Christmas and happy hobbying!

1 comment:

  1. Very good write-up - I look forward to seeing how the heavily mounted force works out! I'm always a bit worried when engaging teams with spear support, but I'll be very interested in seeing how you run the team. It seems pretty solid.

    And I'll be tagging back to your post a bit in my write-up analysis on Rohan's heroes, as you did a fantastic job of helping to analyze the different roles that Rohan heroes perform to augment the strengths and weaknesses of their civ. :)