The 9th Age Tactics
General tactica related to The 9th Age. I won't be spitting out rules themselves here, the rules are free you can read them yourself.
Before the Game Begins
I know when to magic: the biggest note for the pre-game sequence is that your spell selection takes place after you know A: your opponent's list B: the deployment type C: the secondary objective D: the terrain and E: your deployment zone. Don't let your opponent talk you into putting your spells into your list, that's bullshit. Not only do you get to know all of this but the player who chooses deployment zones chooses their spells first. Usually you'll know what spells you want when you know your opponent's list, but if your opponent goes full out pyromancy you know healing water won't be too useful. Note that this includes what path your wizard is using. Sure path restriction is still a thing, but you don't have to pick which paths your wizard knows until this step of the pre-game sequence.
Deployment and the First Turn: Whoever didn't choose deployment zones deploys first (moral of the story, you don't want to choose deployment zones) and unless your opponent is entirely melee focused you want that first turn. So unless the deployment type is Counterthrust or Marching Columns you will be dropping your entire army for that sweet first turn. Going first means you can shoot and magic blaster first, meaning you can dampen or outright cripple key offensive units for your opponent before they can do too much damage to you. You may think that being able to deploy knowing your opponent's positions would help, but usually your army's deployment positions will be pretty static baring terrain features, and movement during the first turn will usually cover any positioning needs. Yes, games can still be won or lost in deployment, but that is usually due to mistakes made during your deployment, not your opponent out smarting you somehow.
Charging and Movement
Charging 101: You declare a charge, your opponent declares a reaction, repeat for each unit you want to charge with. Sounds easy enough, but a lot of thought needs to be put into this. First, line of site (LoS) is drawn from the corners of the unit you want to charge with and can be to any part of the target's unit boundary. This means that you can charge a unit even if they don't have a model within LoS as long as the unit rectangle is within LoS. Second, the maximum charge distance is Adv+12". Third, there must be space for the charging unit on the target. If there is already another unit occupying the entire flank, you can't charge into it. Be smart about which unit you charge with first and you don't need to declare all charges on a target simultaneously, you can swap around targets to box an opponent in with smart charge order. However, all charges are rolled and moved simultaneously after all charges and reactions have been declared.
Charge Reactions 101: There are three reactions to being charged with a few notes. The big one is that all reactions are resolved when they are declared (right after a unit declares a charge against them, not when the chargers are moved).
- Hold: no big things, the unit sits there and takes the charge. A unit that is already engaged in combat must declare a hold reaction.
- Stand and Shoot: The unit fires upon the unit that charged it as long as the charging unit is within the front arc, the charging unit is farther away than its adv rate, and the charged unit has a shooting weapon. A unit can only declare one stand and shoot reaction, but it can be against any charge, so you could declare a hold then stand and shoot a second charging unit.
- Flee: The unit flees in a straight line away from the charging unit, all units that declared charges against the unit may immediately attempt to redirect the charge. If the fleeing unit comes into contact with a model that also declared a charge against it, it dies. Units that are already fleeing can only make a flee reaction. Each charging model can only attempt to redirect once, even if the second target also flees.
Movement Phase 101: For all the things that aren't charges. First things first, rally any fleeing units you have. The only big doodly here is that units at 25% of their starting health pool or less are considered decimated and halve their discipline (round up) for rallying. If a character is in the unit or a general is giving them his presence, you can still use the character's unmodified discipline to rally. If a unit does not rally, it continues to flee. Fleeing is a 2d6" move in the direction it was going, extend the flee distance if necessary to clear any impassable terrain or unit boundaries. A fleeing unit can move through enemy units, but each model makes a scary dangerous terrain, and moving through friendly units forces a panic test for the friendly unit.
Besides that movement phase is pretty straightforward. You can advance or march, but you have to pass a march test to march if an enemy unit is standing firm within 8" of the unit. Don't forget you can advance at half speed backwards or sideways. It isn't much, but sometimes 2" to the left is all you need to deny your opponent an objective. The movement phase is entirely in your control and simply put, games are won and lost in the movement phase.
My Robe and Wizard Hat
Magic and the phase is largely covered in Paths Of Magic but we'll cover the order of operations and dispelling here. Both players get the same number of dice for each magic phase (for casting and dispelling) but the active player gets veil tokens and can convert them into more dice, so the dispelling player will always be at a dice disadvantage. So as a reactive player, you will want to pick 1 or 2 spells that you don't want your opponent to cast and blow all of your dice on those. On magic lite lists it will be easy to shut down their one or two spells, but against magic heavy lists you'll only be able to stop one, maybe two spells. If your opponent doesn't have any trump spells, spread your dice out and go for a consistent low magic phase, you get to see if the spellcasting succeeded and the total before you declare an attempt to dispell and how many dice you'll use. Generally, you'll want +1 dice on the average roll to stop a spell (casting total divided by 4 plus 1 die). Prioritize your dispells, your opponent will almost always have more dice than you and sometimes just throwing all of your dispell dice at one scary spell is the safest choice.
Pretty obvious and straightforward. The parts that aren't obvious are usually specific to armies and as such are covered on their page.
The big note here is that combats are dealt with as engagements. So a monster combat of 5 units is treated as one thing, cycle through the initiative and start rolling. The rest of close combat stuff is better relegated to tips and tricks.
Smaller things that relate to general gameplay that don't deserve their own page but do get a mention.
For the Love of God Play Faster
Not a big thing for casual play, mainly for tournaments or just best practices to not have a game take 7 hours. How to speed up your play
You Underestimate My Power
Characters on scary mounts can be a menace to your flanks. If they get a good position on you that's it right? Well all you have to do is commit a decent sized unit with at least 4 ranks and challenge that sucker with the unit champion. You'll have flipped the fight in your favor and threatened your opponent's 700+ point character with a unit half that cost. How does this work? Well we expect the champion to get slaughtered. A monster mounted character is getting mounts attacks, their attacks, stomps, probably 14ish hits. But in a duel all of those hits have to be allocated to the dueling champion. So that monster just did 1 health of damage and hit the cap of 3 overkill (probably). But that deep unit with 4 ranks got 1 for charging, 1 for a standard bearer, 3 for ranks, and maybe 1 or 2 for a cheeky flank. Do the math with me, you just won combat 5+ to his 4. That cowboy now has to make a discipline test or flee. So what's the point of all this? Well besides the holding a monster in place for a turn (all game if you have a means of resurrecting the champion) you also put that monster in a situation where you can kill it with a good pursuit.
A dart is a unit in a formation to not have any full ranks and a long, narrow profile. Usually seen in cavalry or large infantry like ogres and trolls. Games are won and lost in the movement phase. With a narrow footprint you can squeeze darts through small gaps in the battle lines to control objectives and threaten flanks. Usually cavalry and large infantry are best for darts because they lose the least amount of effectiveness for not having full ranks.
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