(AKA Fantasy on a Budget)

Welcome to the first part of this article on (hopefully) ‘building a somewhat reasonably well functioning warhammer fantasy army for a somewhat reasonable price.’ Let’s face it rising costs of ammunition, the current economic crisis facing Cadia, donations to the black ships and imperial tithe all take their toll these days…

Generally the best way to save on €£¥ is by getting something online or from a FLGS with a discount. Some things only GW stores can do like help you to paint, offer insights and ideas on how to arrange your force. By all means support them for the day to day stuff, but if you’re getting £200-300 of minis in one lump that 15-20% FLGS saving means an extra unit or monster for example. Just remember that unless you’re hyper sad and hate GW (then why are you playing Warhammer?) there isn’t a lot of logic in ordering a £20 kit at 15% off then add postage only to save yourself 50p!

A common theme I’ve noticed is that often 2 battalions are much better than the sum of their parts. This is often due to the odd amount of men in a particular unit, for example 8 knights is a bit useless – not enough to make 2 ranks, and 8 is too wide by itself, or 16 dwarves, where 4×4 is from a bygone era, so you’re really looking at 5×3 with 1 extra. In these instances 2 battalions would gets you 16  knights which makes 3 units of 5 or a unit of 5 and a unit of 10.  There’s a few oddities like that which mean you have to think long and hard about if you would be happy using these ‘prebuilt’ armies. Sometimes it is better to create the whole thing from scratch. Generally speaking unless you use all but the cheapest or ‘free’ unit in the battalion you’re better off buying the stuff you want separately. So if you would use everything except the ‘free’ unit get the battalion, that free unit might be useful sometime and it’s ‘free’!

So in a similar vein to the ‘40k on the cheap’ article I will present some army lists, usually based off the battalion and  where possible the current starter kit (in 2013 that’s isle of blood). Without further ado:

Bretonnians

Somewhat complex and slightly more expensive due to the dated army book and requirement for both a general AND a BSB.

A battalion, BSB, damsel and a trebuchet (the big money sink) will set you back £127 and will net you 1000pts, another £96 for a 2nd battalion and 2nd Trebuchet (seriously £36 for a 90pts model?!) will get that up to 1500pts and you’ll still have a spare Pegasus knight and damsel on foot.

The lists:

1000pts

Lord on Pegasus, sword of battle, dawnstone, enchanted shield

Paladin BSB on barded horse, warbanner, virtue of duty

Damsel on horse w/barding, channeling rod

8 Knights of the Realm, Full command, standard of discipline

16 bowmen with musician and braziers

20 Men-at-Arms with Full command

Trebuchet

Basically lord roams around and stabs weaker things while being hard to kill, paladin tanks up with the KOTR for +4CR (+ranks, + charge + wounds), the rest support. Archers, MAA and Trebuchet provide  support.

1500pts

Lord on Pegasus, sword of battle, dawnstone, enchanted shield

Paladin BSB on barded horse, warbanner, virtue of duty

Damsel on horse w/barding

8 Knights of the Realm, Full command, standard of discipline

8 Knights of the Realm, Full command

10 bowmen with musician and braziers

10 bowmen with musician and braziers

10 bowmen with musician and braziers

40 Men-at-Arms with Full command

Trebuchet

Trebuchet

Here is an example of the odd battalion numbers working out with 2 of them, the 2x 16 archers can now be used as 3 x 10 archers (or 10,10,12). Basically it’s ‘more of the same’ 2 columns of knights with lots of ranged support. Definitely not optimal, but cheap and not useless.

 

High Elves

I show 2 ways of doing this – one is to get the Isle of Blood, swap the skaven for high elves or just get 2 lots of IoB high leves and make 1000pts as follows (having a spare griffon, reavers and mage):

1000pts Dual IoB

Noble on Griffon, with Lance, heavy armor and enchanted shield

Mage lvl2 w/Channeling Staff

5 Reavers w/bows

20 Seaguard w/ full command

20 Swordmasters w/ full command

Small, compact, you’ll still have another mage and 5 reavers over and supposedly the griffon is not that good. It doesn’t have any long range support and only 2 reasonable units.

1500pts IoB + Battalion

This is a little more interesting – by combining the battalion and starter kit you get more versatility and arguably a better army. The griffon noble is generally considered a poor choice but still this is about making do with what you can get.

Noble on Griffon, with Lance, heavy armor and enchanted shield

Mage lvl2

5 Reavers w/bows & musician

20 Seaguard w/ full command (10 from IoB and use 10 converted archers/spearmen from battalion)

10 Swordmasters w/ full command

8 Silver Helms w/FC and Shields

10 Archers w/lt. armour & musician

20 Spearmen w/FC

1 Tiranoc Chariot

This has 2 solid blocks, archers, some speedy elements and magic. It’s not going to win tournaments but I think it’s a decent generic force to start with. The 8 knights suffer from the weird number syndrome but the rest is fine.

 

Skaven

Ditto – 2 ways of doing Skaven at the moment, but this time dual IoB is the better route. Skaven really need to expand past  core to get their overpowered er… fun & crazy  stuff, but the core in this will last upto 2000pts so get this then expand up with the mad stuff.

1000pts Dual IoB

Chief w/ warlock augmented weapon, enchanted shield

Chief BSB – warbanner <- converted from the 2nd chief

Level 1 Engineer with Ironcurse icon

40 clanrats w/spear+shields + poison orb mortar

40 clanrats w/hw +shield + poison orb mortar

4 Rat Ogres, 2 packmasters

 

1000pts IoB + Battalion

Chief w/ fencers blades

40 clanrats w/spear+shields + poison orb mortar

40 clanrats w/hw +shield + warpfire thrower

20 Plaguemonks w/FC

4 Rat Ogres, 2 packmasters

6 giant rats 1 packmaster (REALLY? WHHHHHHHY?)

And that’s it – really it is worse than dual IoB, since you’re basically paying 2x the cost of the IoB skaven for 20 plaguemonks and some rats. 

 

Dark Elves

Due to be redone soon-ish but as of 19/8/13 here we are:

1000pts

Needs a battalion, sorceress and a hydra. Yes a hydra in 1000pts … dark elves are that dirty…

Sorceress – level 1, tome of Furion

20 Corsairs w/ FC

16 Repeater Crossbowmen w/ musician

12 Spearmen w/shields & FC

5 Cold One Knights w/FC & Warbanner

Hydra

Yes it’s got a hydra.  The 12 spearmen aren’t much use unfortunately and 16 crossbowmen is a little weird. Would it really kill GW to have 10 of one and 20 of the other? Anyway it has enough core for upto 2k. It does get a lot better with another battalion…

1750pts 2 battalions, sorc & hydra, convert a cold one to a master

Master on Cold One w/ heavy armour, shield, sea cloak, heartseeker

Sorcoress Lvl 2 w/ seal of Ghrond

10 Repeater Crossbowmen w/ musician

10 Repeater Crossbowmen w/ musician

10 Repeater Crossbowmen w/ musician

20 Corsairs w/ FC

20 Corsairs w/ FC

20 Spearmen w/shields & FC

9 Cold One Knights w/FC & Warbanner

Hydra

Obviously not the best 1750 list, probably too much core whereupon you’d want more nasty stuff – drop the spearmen and seal of ghrond for another hydra? This is a case where 1 battalion on it’s own isn’t really worth it due to the odd amount of spearmen and crossbowmen. If you could assemble them all as spearmen for example a block of 28 would  be better.

Lizardmen

An example of a battalion mostly done right – a nice round 20 saurus and 10 temple guard with a dozen skinks. The 8 cold one riders is a bit iffy but still a fair bit nasty (again magic horse number 8 syndrome) . Adding a skink shaman (now available in plastic) and 2 salamanders (or 1 bastilidon if you want to avoid finecast/metal or like big dinosaurs) we get;

1000pts

Skink Priest Lvl2 w/wand of Jet

20 Saurus Warriors w/FC

12 Skink Skirmishers

10 Temple Guard w/FC & Warbanner

8 Saurus Cavalry w/FC

2 Salamander Packs OR 1 Bastilidon w/Lazer

Realistically the cavalry should be 10 in number if taken at all, and 10 temple guard is nice but no slann  to guard and  lack of numbers mean that it’s not really optimal. 

To expand to 1500 we add some dinosaurs and give the temple guard a hitty character;

1500pts

Skink Priest Lvl1

Gor-Rok

20 Saurus Warriors w/FC

12 Skink Skirmishers

10 Temple Guard w/FC & Warbanner

8 Saurus Cavalry w/FC

Stegadon

Stegadon

2 Salamander Packs OR 1 Bastilidon w/Lazer

It now has 2-3 big dinosaurs, gor rok is tough and should add to the survivability of the temple guard in melee. Another option is of course a 2nd batallion – it ups the TG to 20, 3 units of 5 cavalry and so on but doesn’t leave room for the heavy hitting dinos depending on your points value. If you did go the dual battalion route then you could combine the 16th cold one rider with some temple guard bitz to get yourself a scar vet ‘cowboy’ (make him AS1+ re-rollable) for added shenanigans!

Wood Elves

In this instance you  undoubtedly are better off with 2 battallion boxes straight away. Everything else is finecast/metal and thus not as budget-able. In addition WE are quite dated now and difficult to handle, but it’s not likely that these plastics will be redone any time soon so it’s (probably) a safe investment!

1 battalion, 1 spellsinger and 1 box of dryads nets you;

1000pts

Spellsinger lvl2 w/wand of jet

Branchwraith w/cluster of radiants  <-convert a dryad to branchwraith – add extra spites and branches etc

11 dryads w/branch nymph

12 dryads w/branch nymph

8 glade riders w/musician

10 glade guard w/musician

10 glade guard w/musician

Suffers from the 8 cavalry and 12 infantry configuration, ideally go 2 battalions and a waywatcher noble instead to get:

1500pts

Waywatcher Noble w/Hail of Doom Arrow, Elynets Brooch, Extra Hand Weapon

20 Glade Guard w/ Musician (can make 2x 10 if preferred)

20 Glade Guard w/Musician (ditto, so you could have 4x 10 archers for maximum target-ability)

12 dryads w/branch nymph

12 dryads w/branch nymph

5 glade riders w/musician

5 glade riders w/musician

5 glade riders w/musician

6 Waywatchers <-convert from excess glade guard (use the leafy cloaks and such as well as excess dryad branches)

Much better with many small units of glade riders, ideally the glade guard are 4x 10, the hero and waywatchers get in position to wage guerella warfare on enemy units. Only when the enemy is really weakened hit them with dryads and a flank/rear charge of riders. For wood elves you win by movement moreso than any other army.

 

Dwarves

Again an old book and the battalions are a little odd but still good value – especially with 2 of them.

 First up 1000pts with 1 battalion, 1 runesmith and 1 thane BSB. You could potentially convert these heroes from the 2 excess warriors that you have making it a neat 1000pts in a box. Potentially the cheapest starter on the go!

1000pts

Runesmith – great weapon with +1 to hit +1 attack runes, +2 armour save runes

Thane BSB – ancestor rune standard

15 Warriors w/FC

15 Longbeards w/FC and Rune of Battle

16 Thunderers w/Shields and FC

Cannon w/Rune of Forging

Solid enough but compact and heavily out numbered by everything. Theres only 2 things to shoot with which makes it a bit hard to spread the firepower. Things improve with another battalion though:

1600pts (an odd number but you can always take less stuff e.g. drop the BSB)

With the extra battalion the thunderers become 32 in number so they can be 3 units of 10 which gives more options. Alternatively you can make crossbow men – longer range, though not as accurate.

Runesmith – great weapon with +1 to hit +1 attack runes, +2 armour save runes

Thane BSB – ancestor rune standard

20 Warriors w/FC

20 Warriors w/FC

20 Longbeards w/FC and Rune of Battle

10 Thunderers w/Shields and musician (or crossbowmen)

10 Thunderers w/Shields and musician (or crossbowmen)

10 Thunderers w/Shields and musician (or crossbowmen)

Cannon w/Rune of Forging

Cannon

Obviously suffers from the blandness of having a lot of the same units but gives you a lot of solid units. To shake things up you could merge the 2 units of 20 warriors into a horde and make organ guns instead of cannon. 60 warriors is probably too many if you want to add more interesting units like hammerers, but budget wise it’s the best out there!

 

Orcs & Goblins

Firstly if you want an all forest goblin, all savage orc, all night goblin or all whatever themed O&G army DO NOT GET THE BATTALIONS. They only have generic vanilla orcs and goblins(which are still cool!) and forest goblin spider riders. Moreso than any other army you need to think ahead about how you are going to proceed since there are such a variety of models available and a relatively large number required. This is a horde army. However if you are happy with the contents then 2 battaions and a shaman will net you a nice 1000pts:

1000pts

Orc Big Boss on Boar w/Enchanted shield and Ogre Blade <- convert from boar boy

Orc Shaman – level 1 w/ dispel scroll

40 Goblins w/FC and spears

30 Boyz w/ extra hand weapon and FC

9 Boar Boyz with FC, Spears, shields and warbanner (boss goes ‘ere)

10 spider riders – short bows and musician.

Not really much except the move up and krump them hard until they die approach. However if you were to splurge a little beyond the 2 battalions and shaman to 20 black orcs and a black orc boss you get 1500pts with arguably better use from the battalion.

1500pts

Black Orc Big Boss w/Enchanted shield and Ogre Blade

Orc Shaman – level 2

40 Goblins w/FC and spears

30 Boyz w/ extra hand weapon and FC

10Boar Boyz with FC, Spears, shields and warbanner

5 spider riders – short bows and musician.

5 spider riders – short bows and musician.

5 spider riders – short bows and musician.

5 spider riders – short bows and musician.

20 Black orc boyz w/ shields and FC

Still a lot of spiders and not many of the cool special units. As mentioned think long and hard about planning your O&G army before committing to the battalion approach. Also if you wanted to do night goblins you could try ebay/craigslist/etc for the 6th edition battle for skull pass set which came with about 60 night goblins, a hero and a couple of shamans and is relatively cheap.

The Empire

One of the most versatile armies, the empire has a lot of good fluff, a variety of models, nice forgeworld support and is strong on the battlefield.

1 batallion, the general kit and a box of demigryph knights should be about £100 and get you arguably the best 1000pts of these example lists!

1000pts

Captain – heavy armor, enchanted shield, sword of striking, potion of strength and luckstone on barded warhorse

20 Halberders w/FC and shields

10 Handgunners w/musician and marksman w/repeating rifle

8 inner circle knights w/full command

great cannon

3 demigryph knights w/FC and warbanner

If you’d rather go the mass troops / double  battalion route it nets you a nice 1500pts with better use of the knights (10/5) and using the spare for a general (but no demigryphs Q.Q)

1500pts

Captain – heavy armor, enchanted shield, sword of striking, potion of strength and luckstone on barded warhorse

20 Halberders w/FC and shields

20 Halberders w/FC and shields

10 Handgunners w/musician and marksman w/repeating rifle

10 Handgunners w/musician and marksman w/repeating rifle

10 knights w/full command

5 Reiksguard Knights w/FC and warbanner

great cannon

great cannon

In this instance the core is pretty solid though you might want to make a horde and potentially use some handgunners as detatchment add-ons. 5 knights won’t do a lot on their own so you might want to demote them to add to the regular knights instead. Still with 2 battalions you have more options than with just one. In addition remember that the halberders can be assembled swordsmen and that the handgunners can be crossbowmen instead. Ditto the cannons can be assembled as mortars if desired. If you can really really get lucky you might manage to find some of the old 6th edition empire starter sets which have spearmen, handgunners and a cannon in it and are probably cheap. Not very likely though.

Tomb Kings

Finally tomb kings – beautiful models , cool fluff but hard to use. Not as dominant in the magic phase as they used to be, with fragile core troops they are not for the faint of heart!

The buy in for 1000pts is a bit like bretonnians – you need 2 characters the general and a wizard to animate the army, and also like bretonnian trebuchets, the tomb kings casket of souls is basically mandatory! This will probably be the next fantasy army I collect though it is not as cheap as dwarves, wood elves or the empire lists.

1 battalion, 1 casket of souls, 1 liche priest and 1 herald/tomb prince gets you:

1000pts

Tomb Herald w/blade of battle, enchanted shield and potion of speed

Liche Priest Lvl2 w/opal amulet and wand of jet

3 Chariots w/full command and banner of swiftness

8 Skeletal Horse Archers w/musician

10 Archers w/ light armor

10 Archers w/ light armor

20 Warriors w/light armor and spears, FC

Ark of the Covenant…. er … Casket of Souls

Solid enough like most batallions, but the 8 horse archers is a bit weird, I realise like all the other cavalry that comes in multiples of 8 that they’re on sprues of 4 but if you had 10 it would be loads better. Since most of the characters are paid for,to go to 1500pts is a bit different, indeed it would probably be more efficient to buy this straight out as you wouldn’t need to get the prince/herald separately as there’s one in the big monster kit.

So 1 battalion,a  liche priest, 2 necrosphinx kits and a casket of souls gets you a good 1500pt list with some heavy hitters and a spare prince/herald from the necrosphinx kit as well as some extra skeletons and bitz (so if you were feeling skillful you could convert up the liche priest aswell!) You would also have spare 8 cavalry and another unit of 3 chariots in addition to a prince/herald on foot from the necrosphinx kit – combine with some skeleton warrior bitz and you could have a BSB – add all that on to go to 1750 and beyond.

1500pts

Tomb prince on Warsphinx w/enchanted shield, sword of strife and dragonbane gem (haha!)

Liche High Priest w/book of ashur (has to come from lord allocation to no infringe the 25% heroes)

10 Archers

10 Archers

20 Warriors w/ light armor, spears and full command

5 Skeletal Horse Archers w/musician

5 Skeletal Horse Archers w/musician

Casket of souls

Necrosphinx

The Liche is a bit excessive but to fit into 1500 he has to be a lord in this list in order to fit everything in. You could potentially swap the liche to a hero and the prince to a lord by juggling points around. To expand to 2000pts see the above notes for 1750pts and then add what you want!

 

I hope that helps someone. I’m not an expert on fantasy by any means so if there’s any glaring errors, or if you can make a better cheaper list then please leave a comment or contact me via bookface. Eventually I’ll get around to the remaining fantasy armies – Vampire Counts, Ogres, Beastmen, Daemons and Warriors of Chaos. I might need to borrow a few army books to do them!

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Author: Alex Barbor View all posts by

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