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8th Ed. The BEST close combat units in all of Warhammer.

Discussion in 'Other Armies Discussion' started by NIGHTBRINGER, Sep 27, 2020.

  1. NIGHTBRINGER
    Slann

    NIGHTBRINGER Second Spawning

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    The goal of this thread is to list, analyze and compare all the best close combat units of 8th edition WFB. We can begin by listing the best close combat units (from any of the army) and once we have compiled what we feel is a complete list, we can analyze their performance and make adjustments.

    Guidelines:
    • focus only on non-character units, as an analysis of characters is better left for a separate thread
    • consider the units on their own, without character support (i.e. if you feel the Gutstar unit is not viable without its characters, then don't list it)
    • the focus is purely on close combat efficiency, regardless of core, special or rare categorization or troop type
    • consider the unit's close combat power in relation to their points cost (overcosted units need not apply)
    • for a unit to qualify, they should be able to beat most other units of equal points value in close combat
    • units capable of winning combat in a wide range of circumstances should be given priority over units that only perform well under a very narrow range of circumstances (i.e. getting the charge)
    • consider the units fielded in their very best setup (size, weapon options, magic standards, formation, etc.)

    To get us started, I have two units in mind; in fact they were the inspiration for this thread. In brief:

    Skullcrushers of Khorne (Warriors of Chaos) [with ensorcelled weapons]
    • 1+ armour save, 3 wounds a piece
    • each models puts out an impressive 6 WS5 attacks at S5
    • S5 Stomp
    • fast movement and even deadlier on the charge
    K'daai Destroyer (Chaos Dwarfs)
    • boasts an impressive 6+d3 WS5 attacks at S7
    • S4 auto hits every model in base contact
    • S7 Thunderstomp
    • T6 and forces enemies to reroll wounds caused by non-magical attacks
    • 4+ ward save
    • M9

    So what units can you think of that are worthy to be included in the category of best close combat units?

    Updates:

    Our complete list of units competing in this experiment:
    • Skullcrushers of Khorne [Ensorcelled weapons]
    • K'daai Destroyer
    • White Lions of Chrace [Banner of the World Dragon]
    • Chaos Warriors [MoN, Halberds]
    • Arachnarok Spider
    • Demigryph Knights
    • Mournfang Cavalry [Ironfist, Heavy Armour]
    • Black Guard of Naggarond
    • Witch Elves
    • Har Ganeth Executioners
    • Hell Pit Abomination
    • Beasts of Nurgle
    • Savage Orc Big'Uns [AHW]
    • Chaos Trolls
    • Soul Grinder [MoN, Daemonbone Claw]
    • Hammers

    Procedural rules utilized:
    • Combats will be treated as ongoing. So no charge bonuses for either side.
    • Fear tests will be assumed as being passed
    • Unit sizes will be adjusted to create the fairest possible balance in terms of points (obviously, single entity monster vs. monster matchups will be uneven)
    • Each unit will be stuck using their overall best loadout, even if it is sub-optimal in a particular matchup. For example, Ensorcelled weapons are the best option for Skullcrushers in most situations, but not against the Banner of the World Dragon due to ensorcelled weapons being magical. While Skullcrushers would be better off not upgrading to Ensorcelled Weapons in this matchup, they will be forced to do so. This is is partially to avoid problems of counter picking, and the resultant doubling of the number of match calculations I would have to make.
    • Unit formations will be optimized within the normal/typical range we find them on the battlefield. No unit will be narrower than 5 models wide and no unit will be wider than 10 models wide (horde).
    • Partial wounds will be carried forward from one round of combat to another (i.e. a Hell Pit Abomination could be sitting on 4.2 wounds going into a subsequent round of combat).
    • For the purpose of calculating combat results, partial wounds of 0.4 or lower will be rounded down and 0.5 or higher will be rounded up.
    • abilities that are in effect for the first round of combat, but not charge dependent (i.e. hatred, Choppas, etc.) will be incorporated into the calculations for the first round.
    • units losing combat and requiring a break test (or Daemonic Instability test), will be assumed to roll a "7". Meaning that if they required a roll of 6 or lower to pass, they will be assumed to have broken from combat and lose the contest right there and then. Units requiring a roll of 7, 8, 9 or 10 will be assumed to have passed their break test and the combat will move onto the next round.
    How unit formations are selected/considered:
    • the goal is to make things as fair as possible for both sides, so I try to take on the viewpoint as the general of each unit. In a contentious matchup I'll flip back and forth between sides, playing devil's advocate.
    • the key aim is to ensure that no one side gets the opportunity to "counter pick" their unit formation (unit width) against the other unit's formation. So for example, if a unit of Chaos Warriors were to be fielded 5-wide, I wouldn't field an opposing unit of Savage Orcs 7-wide if it gave them an unfair advantage (meaning that the Chaos Warriors would be better served going 7-wide themselves, or vice versa).
    • when a matchup looks fishy, I'll run alternate scenarios to see if a victory was arrived at simply due to how the unit formations were selected.
    • in the case of a Monster, the opposing unit will always be placed in the most advantageous formation, because in game terms, there is nothing the Monster general can do about it
    • similarly to the point above, if a unit is completely fixed on a unit formation, regardless of the formation chosen by their opponent, then they are allowed to do so. For example if a unit of Witch Elves is best played as a Horde, regardless of the formation chosen by the opposing unit, then the Witch Elves are fielded as a horde (and the opponent in the best formation to face that horde)
    • obviously I can't test every combination of opposing unit formations, but I try my best to make it as fair as possible. I also rely on you guys to give me feedback in the event that you come across something that I had not considered.
    • usually, wider formations seem to work best, but there have been rare exceptions. Sometimes, I'll even post these "alternate scenarios" so you can see how events change based on variations in unit formation. For the purposes of the tournament though, only the result from what I think is the fairest representation of the matchup is used (unless there is significant feedback indicating otherwise)

    Some limitations of our experimental model:
    • our implementation of break tests (units are assumed to roll a "7") effectively treats stubborn models with leadership 7 or greater as unbreakable. This makes stubborn more impactful than it should be and consequently it is also unfair to units that are genuinely unbreakable but still get penalized for being unstable
    • some models (Trolls or Arachnarok) really need to have their general within range. Having the units fight in 1 vs 1 matchups in a vacuum really disadvantages these units. In our tournament, the instant they lose a round of combat they are assumed to break and be run down
    • models breaking from combat are treated as being caught and destroyed by the pursuers
    • certain advantageous rules are not accounted for, such as causing Fear/Terror, having impact hits, movement value, swiftstride, etc.
    • certain disadvantageous rules are not accounted for, the negative effects of frenzy, K'daai's Burning Bright rule, Trolls' stupidity.
    • Styles make fights. The types of units within our field of competitors will have a direct effect on how well any one unit fares. For instance, having a lot of heavily armored troops would favor Trolls but hurt Witch Elves.
    • Different units function better or worse at different point values. A unit may lose against their opponent, but defeat that very same opponent at a different point value.

    Our betting favourites for the units to come in first and last place can be found HERE and the final results for our picks can be found HERE (spoilers)


    MATCHUP Calculations

    Skullcrushers of Khorne
    K'daai Destroyer
    White Lions of Chrace
    Chaos Warriors
    Arachnarok Spider
    Demigryph Knights
    Mournfang Cavalry
    Black Guard of Naggarond
    Witch Elves
    Har Ganeth Executioners
    Hell Pit Abomination
    Beasts of Nurgle
    Savage Orc Big'Uns [AHW]
    Chaos Trolls
    Soul Grinder
    Hammerers

    Final Standings and Stats (spoilers) - Page 1 and Page 2
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2021
  2. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    Ooooooooooh

    Good choice of questioning. I like the rules also. Let me have a think about it.

    So it's basically best in terms of:

    1) value of unit versus points value
    2) Versatility
    3) (obviously) Killing power

    Right?
     
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  3. NIGHTBRINGER
    Slann

    NIGHTBRINGER Second Spawning

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    Yup!

    Basically, the unit should be able to kill most other units of equal points value in close combat. The more matchups they can win (and by a bigger margin) the better!
     
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  4. Imrahil
    Slann

    Imrahil Thirtheenth Spawning

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    I like this! I won't be participating due to my lack of knowledge from WHFB.
    But I will be reading along with interest ;)

    Grrr, Imrahil
     
  5. airjamy
    Troglodon

    airjamy Well-Known Member

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    Think i can list 2, one of our own, one of the enemy!

    White Lions of Chrace with the Banner of the World Dragon are really quite good. They have high I, S6 attacks, with a 3+ save against shooting and a 2++ against any magical attack. This is one of the best units to anchor a battle line around IMHO, and wins most front to front fights while not being that expensive. It being impervious to any character wearing a magical weapon, or magical attacks of any kind makes this unit from strong to broken IMHO, and no competitive High Elf lists should leave home without The Banner of the World Dragon, and this unit wears it best.

    In our codex, i actually think Skink Skirmishers are the strongest non character units! For their points, i think Javelin Skinks are just fantastic. Every time they shoot they force an opponent to take 2-3 saves no matter their toughness, and with their javelins they always get a Stand and Shoot even if you parked them 1 inch before the opponent to charge block them. If you compare them to other chaff it is where they truly start to shine. Against things like Dark Riders or Outriders, they easily win the 1v1 due to the amount of shots they put out, and due to the fact that the enemy can never really charge you because of their stand and shoot. And against other chaff, those 10 WS2 S3 attacks might even hurt as often you are fighting first with their I4! They are not that durable with their T2, but their 5+ save and their 6++ parry makes them tougher than you might think in a chaff fight. So often my opponent notices that their shooting against skinks does nothing due to their -1 to hit skirmisher trait. Then they charge in with their 5 outriders, i kill like 3 with stand and shoot, and come out on top in combat, leaving them free to roam the rest of the battlefield. They are my warmachine hunters, monster hunters and chaff hunters, the only thing the rest of my army has to deal with are the big infantry units (and even those don't like it when they have 3 units of Skinks harassing them, with their own chaff already dead and buried!). If you then consider that Skink Skirmishers are core.. they are one of the strongest units in the whole game.
     
  6. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    Interesting.

    @NIGHTBRINGER I think we may need "Best of" categories, as I agree that Skink Skirmishers are definitely in the top five chaff/chaff handlers, but they are absolutely mahrlect against any combat unit. So well worth their points, but not in certain circumstances.
     
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  7. airjamy
    Troglodon

    airjamy Well-Known Member

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    Aren't they just #1 chaff/chaff handlers? I can't think of another unit that is on that level for that amount of points, and then considering that they are core, gotta love it.
     
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  8. NIGHTBRINGER
    Slann

    NIGHTBRINGER Second Spawning

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    We shall add them to the list. The Banner of the World Dragon is one of the most broken items in the game. I would gladly field it in any of my four armies if I had the chance!

    Skink Skirmishers are definitely a top tier unit in warhammer, but they are very far from a top tier close combat unit. This thread is looking merely at the best close combat units, and not top tier units which are good for reasons other than close combat. Skink Skirmishers are a great disruption unit and can lay down some effective ranged fire, but they are an awful CC unit.

    For a unit to qualify, it needs to be able to beat most other units (of equal points value) in close combat.

    I think those categories would be best handled in separate threads. Things like "best chaff unit", "best shooting unit", "most versatile unit", etc. are all great topics, but I feel they are completely incompatible with the focus of this thread. Here, I'm hoping to assemble the absolute best of the best in terms of close combat, and then analyze their potential strengths/weakness and pit them against one another in a math hammer battle royal! Ideally I would hope that we could collectively come up with a top 10 list (maybe even an ordered list) of all the best CC units in all of Warhammer.



    Okay, so far our running list of best CC units is comprised of:
    • Skullcrushers of Khorne [Ensorcelled weapons]
    • K'daai Destroyer
    • White Lions of Chrace [Banner of the World Dragon]
    Let's keep them coming! It would be nice to start our discussion with around 10-15 units.
     
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  9. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    Okay, so @NIGHTBRINGER definitely Chaos Warriors, Mark of Nurgle, Halberds needs a slot here. Their cost, with the -1 to hit, definitely makes them one of the broken units.
     
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  10. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    And the Arachnarok Spider needs to be on here I think.
     
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  11. airjamy
    Troglodon

    airjamy Well-Known Member

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    Ah, i totally did not see the CC part, considering that skinks are ofcourse not the best. Considering that, i think Demigryph Knights are very good for their points. They will lose to every unit in the list already in a 1v1, but seeing that they are a lot cheaper, i still really like them.
     
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  12. NIGHTBRINGER
    Slann

    NIGHTBRINGER Second Spawning

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    Okay, so far our running list of best CC units is comprised of:
    • Skullcrushers of Khorne [Ensorcelled weapons]
    • K'daai Destroyer
    • White Lions of Chrace [Banner of the World Dragon]
    • Chaos Warriors [MoN, Halberds]
    • Arachnarok Spider
    • Demigryph Knights
     
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  13. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    I think Black Guard of Naggaroth need to be on it. Always Strikes first, Eternal Hatred (ALWAYS re-rolls to hit), Murderous Prowess (re-roll to wound scores of 1). WS6, 2 attacks each. I believe they have Halberds as well.

    (I did consider Witch Elves with additional hand weapons, they're just too squisy as no armour and Executioners are good, but I think Black Guard come out on top)
     
  14. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    And OK Mournfang Cavalry needs to be on there. I don't think any other Ogre unit has the damage potential like they do. (Both with and without the charge, which i'm assuming you have some clever way of calculatting)
     
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  15. NIGHTBRINGER
    Slann

    NIGHTBRINGER Second Spawning

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    That's a good one! Those guys definitely belong on the list. What equipment setup do you feel is the best? Great weapon + heavy armour?

    I must admit that this choice has me a bit perplexed. I actually had to look these guys up.

    The two attacks a piece is good, but hardly game breaking. Eternal Hatred seems somewhat wasted on them as with I6 and ASF they will usually re-roll misses anyways. Eternal Hatred would only kick in against enemies of I7 or greater or in the case of the enemy also having ASF. For defense, they only have a 5+ armour save and offensively they only have a mediocre strength of 4 (and that includes their strength bonus from their halberds). And they cost a mighty 15 points each. In my opinion, anything with armour is going to blow through these guys with ease.

    Witch Elves, at only 11 points, seem far more scary. They sport 3 attacks each, ASF + I6 and although they are only S3, those attacks are all poisoned. No save, but they are 4 points cheaper than Black Guard. As an aside, they are one of the few non-character units that beat the K'daai Destroyer in combat! Of course, their weakness will be the same as the Black Guard... enemy armour!

    Har Ganeth Executioners also seem better in my mind. Same save as the Black Guard and in exchange for 1 attack and re-rolling misses, they gain S6 and Killing Blow at a still impressive I5. These guys will do much better against highly armoured opponents, but not as well against lightly armoured opponents (as compared to Witch Elves or Black Guard).

    That said, units have surprised me in the past, so let us put the Black Guard on the list, but I'd suggest that we throw the Witch Elves and Executioners into the mix as well. It's always fun finding hidden gems that I might have prematurely dismissed otherwise.


    So that leaves us with:
    • Skullcrushers of Khorne [Ensorcelled weapons]
    • K'daai Destroyer
    • White Lions of Chrace [Banner of the World Dragon]
    • Chaos Warriors [MoN, Halberds]
    • Arachnarok Spider
    • Demigryph Knights
    • Mournfang Cavalry [GW, Heavy Armour]
    • Black Guard of Naggarond
    • Witch Elves
    • Har Ganeth Executioners

    How do people feel about adding the following to the list?...
    • Hell Pit Abomination (Skaven)
    • Beasts of Nurgle (Daemons of Chaos)... or is there a better Daemon unit to consider?
    • Savage Orc Big'Uns [AHW]
    • Chaos Trolls


    I can't think of anything that significant for Beastmen, Bretonnia or Lizardmen. Tomb Kings could put forth the Necropolis Knights, but I don't think they will fare that well against the others on this list (especially without the Rhamhotep upgrade). Vampire Counts have Blood Knights, but they really need the charge. Grave Guard with GWs and the banner of Barrows are also pretty good, but likely fall a bit short. I also can't think of anything for the Wood Elves, Wild Riders are great for their cost, but they only really work on the charge. Treemen are solid, but I think their abilities are below that of the heavy hitters on this list.

    Any other ideas? @Killer Angel @Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl @Lord-Marcus @Scalenex
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2020
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  16. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I do not really have any other ideas.

    You covered all the bases. The only thing on the list that Lizardmen can really handle without magic is Arachnaroks. You can theoretically bring them down with a bunch of Kroxigor (the hard part is getting the Kroxigor in combat with the Arachnarok and avoid all the orcs and goblins.

    River Trolls might get an honorable mention. They are pretty tough for Lizardmen given the penalty to hit with our low weapon skill. River Trolls are not very threatening to high WS armies though.
     
  17. Killer Angel
    Slann

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

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    The problem is: armies as Lizardmen of Tomb Kings rely on buffs and magic (especially TK), which are out of the contest.
    Bretonnia and WE units can be effective, but we need to factor in the ability of the player to position said units to get the charge, which, again, is not included in the contest.
    The same can be said for dwarves: to remove a unit of Ironbreakers with a Rune of Stoicism is not so simple... but IB usually need to work along with a buffed Thane.

    There's simply no way, for many armies, to field "naked" units that can go in cc with things as K'daii destroyer or White Lions with the BotWD.
     
  18. NIGHTBRINGER
    Slann

    NIGHTBRINGER Second Spawning

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    That's a good point. Many units need that boost to be truly effective but as you say that's beyond the scoop of this particular discussion... especially as all of the units on this list can also be boosted by magic and many can be enhanced further with character support too!

    What do you think of the possible inclusion of Beasts of Nurgle? I've never played with or against them, but I've heard they are pretty solid.
     
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  19. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    I don't know about the Beasts, but I think a Nurgle Soul Grinder needs to be on the list...

    It has ridiculous stats (T7?!?) and a 4+, 5++, -1 to hit and special rules for being grabbed by it's claw.
     
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  20. NIGHTBRINGER
    Slann

    NIGHTBRINGER Second Spawning

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    Solid unit, but we already have Chaos Trolls on the list. The only significant difference between the two is that River trolls are -1 to hit in CC, but cost 45 points as opposed to the Chaos Troll who weighs in at only 35 points. I don't think -1 to hit in combat is worth 10 points. Overall, I think the comparatively larger unit of Chaos Trolls would win out, but I'd be willing to swap them out if people feel differently.


    Added to the list. I'm assuming that you feel that the Daemonbone Claw upgrade (at 10 points) is the optimum close combat build?
     
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