Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Two-Point Terrors

Elves And Orcs
HOTT offers the possibility of a wide range of armies, and allows you, via the magic of its points system to match them against each other in nominally equal combat. But as any wargamer knows, no points system truly produces armies that are truly 'equal'. Take an army made up entirely of Blades, for example. Against an army of, say, Spears it's always going to be at an advantage with a +5 to their +4. But against an army that's entirely mounted you are no longer playing to the Blades' main strength; they +5 vs Foot.

There is a temptation in HOTT, though, to build armies with a range of troop types, and to go for 'character' types - Heroes, Magicians, Behemoths - with as many of the points as possible. This often creates smallish armies with a powerful punch, although sometimes that power can be brittle. After all, your Hero is good, but is vulnerable to the obligatory enemy Hero. The game can boil down to pitting your Hero against theirs after ensuring that you have more support.

There is a trend, though, towards armies that are, to use a local phrase, Two Point Terrors (TPT). These are armies that include none of the high-value character elements. Instead they contain nothing but 'normal' 2AP elements. Set up correctly these can be tricky opponents. Firstly they will often outnumber their foes; a problem with having a Hero or two in your army is that unless you fill up on Hordes as well your battle-line will shorten. A TPT will have twelve elements, giving a respectable line of troops. Secondly the army is resilient; there are no elements that are going to give your opponent a big win. The army has to be ground down, element by element. And this leads to its third strength; it can win a war of attrition. It can generally match an opponent element for element and even afford to trade elements on that basis. A TPT can win by sheer dogged persistence.

Not all 2AP elements work well in a TPT, though, and you have to get the mix of troops right. So what makes for a good TPT? Firstly, don't have too many troop types. Don't go for a couple of each element hoping it will make the army versatile. It might, but whilst you can try most things you'll be good at none of them. About three types troop-types are quite sufficient. Of course you do need variety. For reasons given above an army made up of one troop types isn't going to work very well. Secondly, they need to be the right troop types. For true resilience you should avoid the brittle ones - Warband, Knights and Beasts. Obviously all troops have their vulnerabilities, but these types are particularly prone to Win Big Or Die Big syndrome. Flyers are a possibility, but no more than a couple. And the difficulty of coordinating them with the rest of your line makes them less attractive. However the existence of aerial elements in HOTT means that you do need an effective counter. In lieu of Flyers that means Shooters. They may be killed by mounted, but their usefulness more than offsets this.

My favoured TPT army is four each of either Blades or Spears, Riders and Shooter. This gives me a solid centre to blunt high-powered enemies, a rough-going capability, a counter for aerials and mobile troops to exploit flanks or gaps. I have used such armies in tournaments and, whilst they are hard to win with they are also hard to defeat. Victory often comes from just allowing your opponent to smash themselves repeatedly on an army that just won't give in.

So next time you play HOTT, why not consider the humble 2AP elements, and see if you can be the terror of your table?


  1. I'm putting together a TPT consisting entirely of Spears elements (using the troopers from GW's old Nightmare Legion set). Sure, it won't be versatile, but it will look cool. And in a big battle, it will be just one command, alongside a shooty command of 7 or 8 Shooters, 1 Artillery, 1 Lurker and 1 Magician.

    1. I ran an all Spear command in a 72AP big-battle once. It was matched against more Spears - looked spectacular.

  2. Good thinking. The nearest I have is an army of ten riders and a magician (based on the Flamebringers from a Moorcock Elric story).


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