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Force Selection for an Ulthwé Army

Submitted By: DanBZ Date: October 8, 2006, 08:00:00 PM Views: 2765
Summary: The key to select any force is to exploit its strengths and minimize its vulnerabilities. Craftworld Ulthwé is no exception. To take an effective Ulthwé force, you need to do two things: know how to equip Guardians and Seers, and find other units to fill the roles normally filled by Aspect Warriors.

The Guardians


The mainstay of an Ulthwé army is Guardians, namely the elite Black Guardians.  The Guardians that occupy the required Troops choices on the Force Organization Chart are upgraded to Black Guardians for free, and receive either an extra point of WS (Storm Guardians) or an extra point of BS (Defender Guardians).  Since this benefit has no extra cost and is only available to certain squads, it is a good idea to make both of your Black Guardian units large, to suck this benefit as dry as possible.  A large unit of Defender Guardians and a large unit of Storm Guardians would be a good addition to a well-balanced force.  If you want to make your army predominantly firepower based or predominantly close combat based, you would take both units as Defender or Storm Guardians.  In addition to your two Black Guardian units, it is also a good idea to take a few smaller units of Guardians as support.  Small units of Guardians can fill quite a few roles.  Ways to equip your Guardians are explained below.


One kind of unit is a large unit of (preferably Black) Defender Guardians, somewhere between 15 and 20.  These units should be moved as close to the enemy as possible, to get a large number of shuriken catapult shots off.  The large volume of fire means that even more heavily armoured units can take several casualties, just don't try it on 2+ armour saves.


The second type of Defender Guardian unit is a smaller unit of Defender Guardians, about 10 or so.  It can be used to provide a little extra gunfire for only a few points.  It can be used as a "utility" unit, one that would provide a variety of roles when they are needed.  For example, it could distract that deadly assault unit, it could provide the last few bullets to make a squad take a Morale Check, or it could act as a bodyguard for vulnerable units such as Dark Reapers, War Walkers, and Support Weapons.


Before I finish talking about Defender Guardians and move on to Storm, I should cover one common dilemma when selecting Defender Guardians: whether or not to take a Heavy Weapon Platform.  A large unit may work better without one, since it will often utilize Fleet of Foot to get to the enemy faster.  But since bigger units work well as Black Guardians, it might pay off to take it with the extra BS.  It really depends on how you use the unit.  On the other hand, a small unit works very well with a platform.  If it is staying back guarding something, it will be useful to have the unit shoot something before a unit arrives to destroy your vulnerable units that are being guarded.  If you are the defender, rather than the attacker, and you are waiting for the unit to get charged to you can counter charge with your assault units, it may be useful to use the unit to destroy a few extra models.


There are three common unit types for Storm Guardians.  The first one works best with Black Guardians.  It is a large unit of between 15 and 20 Storm Guardians.  It is capable of charging, and doing quite well against, almost anything that doesn't have Toughness of 5 or higher, armour save of 2+, or any nasty close combat unit with Initiative of 6 or higher.  It is best not to give grenades to such a unit, as this will cost a lot of points.  Don't give them special weapons either, since you will want to use Fleet of Foot to get as many models into base contact as possible.


The next two unit types are both smaller squads, of around 10.  One is a unit with two flamers and plasma grenades, and the other is a unit with two fusion guns and haywire grenades.  The first unit is meant to assault dug-in troops in cover, namely poorly armoured ones.  The second unit is a very good tank-hunting unit.

The Seers

Warlocks in Guardian Units

Since Ulthwé has such good access to Warlocks, it is imperative that you give your Guardian units the right Warlocks.  Different unit types require Warlocks with different weapons and different powers.  The large Defender squad needs a Warlock with Conceal, to protect the unit as it closes in.  The only weaponry he really needs is a shuriken pistol.  Embolden is another power that works well with such a unit, so the unit is less likely to run from where it is needed in the thick of the fighting.  The smaller Defender unit can do very well without a Warlock, but if you want to give it one, give him a shuriken pistol and either Embolden and Conceal, if you have extra points to spare.


The large Storm squad needs a Warlock with a witchblade, either a shuriken pistol or a close combat weapon, and the Enhance power.  This power gives the unit a WS and I of 5—which is quite deadly for basic troops.  The cover assault Storm squad needs a Warlock with two close combat weapons (or a witchblade if you have extra points) and the psychic power Destructor, for three flame templates in a squad.  The tank hunting squad needs a Warlock with a singing spear.  He doesn't need to have a power, but Conceal and Embolden both work well with that unit.

Seer Council

Ulthwé also has a special unit, which is why it can have so many Warlocks.  This unit is the Seer Council, an HQ unit of Farseers and Warlocks.  Having multiple Farseers in a unit gives the unit access to a lot of psychic powers.  A Seer Council must include at least 2 Farseers, and in larger games, it can be a good idea to take a third, but more than three is too expensive.  It is also a good idea to take several Warlocks in a Council.  A recommended number is around twice the number of Farseers in the unit (not including the ones in the Guardian squads).


Farseers have four psychic powers available.  Eldritch Storm is not a particularly useful power to take, especially against armoured opponents, but one thing helpful about it is the forced Pinning test.  Mind War, when combined with Augment (more on this later), can be a powerful way to snipe squad leaders, heavy weapon troopers, or Independent Characters.  Guide is good for strengthening your firebase.  Fortune can increase a unit's survivability (a valuable asset in an Eldar army), and when it is cast on the Seer Council, the Council becomes one of the most resilient units in the game.  These powers become even more useful when combined with the Warlock power Augment.  Available only to Ulthwé, it doubles the range of a single Farseer power on a successful Psychic test.


What powers should you take for your Council?  It depends on its role.  Seer Councils can be versatile or specialized.  The versatile Seer Council would include one Guide, one Mind War, and one Fortune, to be used at opportune times in the battle.  Such a Seer Council would have to be deployed near the centre of your army, so it could affect almost every unit in your army.  The different powers would be used on whatever unit needed them the most.  The other option would be to specialize your Council.  For example, all of the Farseers could have Guide and they would be deployed by your firebase, and work from there.  Or they could be loaded up with Fortunes and stand by your front line, protecting units in the thick of the fighting.  The Warlock powers, however, should be the same for most Councils.  There will be one Warlock with Augment for every Farseer, and possibly one more in case one Warlock fails a test.  It is also a good idea to give one Warlock Embolden, to prevent your Council from suddenly running away.


Your Seer Council can fill another role other than support: it can also be an effective close combat unit.  If you give one of the Warlocks the Enhance power, a Council full of Witchblades can be deadly.  This is generally only a wise decision if the Council is small, or if you don't have very many other close combat units in your army.  For example, you might take Howling Banshees, but decide that you don't want to take Striking Scorpions to save on Aspect Warrior slots; you could use your Council to deal with high-Toughness, low-Armour troops.  If you wan to give Witchblades to your Council, it is best that you mainly only give them to Farseers.  Witchblades are expensive, and your Seer Council is already a huge points sink without them.
More information about seers can be found at

The Support


As effective as Ulthwé is, it does have a weakness.  You can't have more Aspect Warrior units than you have Guardian units.  This is actually not a severe handicap, especially in large games, since you should be taking two, three, or even more units of Guardians.  In a large game, you are often going to still have enough points for at least two Aspect Warrior squads, and possibly a third.  In a smaller game, more of your points might be taken up by your Guardians and your Seer Council, s you will have fewer points to spare.  In a game where you know what army you are facing, this is even less restricting, because you can pick the Aspects that are most effective against that army.  In a tournament or other kind of set-list game, you will have to select your force more carefully.  The question you should ask yourself is: I already know what the roles of my Guardians and Seers are, but which roles am I going to fill with Aspect Warriors and which ones am I going to fill with other units?


For example, Guardians are not as effective as other units at destroying armoured opponents, such as Space Marines and Necrons.  You decide that you are already going to take one versatile anti-armour units as the Wraithlord, and one of your Aspect slots is already filled by a unit of Howling Banshees, but you want one more unit.  Do you use up another precious Aspect slot by taking Dark Reapers, or do you take a unit of War Walkers with starcannons?  Another example is if you need one more anti-tank unit.  Do you take Fire Dragons, or Vypers with Bright Lances?  You have to choose this very carefully, especially if this is a set list that must be useful against anyone.  I will list below which units, not including Guardians and Seers, can fill which roles :

Units that can fill most roles depending on equipment:

Vypers, War Walkers, Falcons, Wraithlords, Support Weapons

Anti-light infantry:

Warp Spiders, Striking Scorpions, Swooping Hawks, Dire Avengers, Rangers, Jetbikes

Anti-heavy infantry:

Howling Banshees, Fire Dragons, Dark Reapers, Avatar


Fire Dragons, Wraithguard, Shining Spears, Fire Prisms

Rapid Strike:

Warp Spiders, Jetbikes, Shining Spears, Swooping Hawks


Striking Scorpions, Wraithguard


Rangers, Swooping Hawks, Support Weapons


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