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I am really not certain exactly what a killer army is but I have some experience in facing armies commanded by tough opponents. The armies chosen by these killer generals shared some common attributes with enough variation for me to attribute the term "killer" to the commander rather than to the army. Be that as it may, there are a number of armies that are favorite tournament contenders in the world of Armati.

The most common attribute is a high initiative rating. With a higher initiative rating than that of the opposing army, one can more readily recover from mistakes as well as take advantage of an opponent’s mistakes. In general, an initiative rating of 7 or better defines most of the armies that seem to be most successful in competitive play.

It is possible to game competitively with a lower initiative rating. If so, the commander of such an army can’t make the one mistake generally permitted higher initiative armies. This quality may be compensated for by a larger number of heavy divisions and occasionally by a significantly larger number of light divisions. For instance, Marian Roman is not uncommon at tournaments. Although it has an initiative rating of 6, it also has 6 heavy divisions allowing comparable tactical flexibility. However, Trajanic Roman with an initiative of 7 and 5 heavy divisions is seen more commonly and enjoys greater success. Of some interest is that a fight between Trajanic Roman and Marian Roman armies is one of the most even matches in Armati.

The second attribute is number of divisional commands. A good rule of thumb is that the combined number of heavy and light divisions should total at least 8 and preferably 9. The best armies have at least 5 heavy divisions and 3-4 light divisions. A lower number of heavy divisions can be compensated for by a high initiative rating more readily than the reverse. The Mongols are the best example of this with only three heavy divisions, five light divisions, and an initiative of 9. However, the Huns with an initiative of 8, two heavy divisions, and six light divisions do not do even remotely as well. This may change with the new evade as a skirmish mechanism rules and I am very interested in seeing how Hsiung-Nu with 1 heavy division and 7 light divisions as well as Timurid with 4 heavy divisions and 5 light divisions do. To date, a missile army has had 12-14 archer units. Hsiung-Nu can field 29-31. Against most armies, hit probability is one in three so look out here comes Chi-Chi.

As a rule, combined arms forces do better than single weapon forces. Look for armies with a reasonable number of heavy infantry, reasonable quality heavy cavalry, good skirmish capability, and a good mix of shock and archery units.

One needs heavy infantry to use as a moving terrain piece, to anchor a flank, to shelter cavalry from archery, or, sometimes, to soak up archery casualties. They are also useful for luring obligatory charging units into unfavorable melee situations. One prefers a frontal value of 6 or better but with the new impetus rules for units organized in greater depth than usual, paired infantry with a frontal value of 5 is acceptable and cheap thus providing a maneuver base and driving up the breakpoint. Protection value of +2 is nice but not critically important.

I try to have at least three and preferably more heavy cavalry units in my army. Shock cavalry is best with an FV of 5 or better and should be bow armed if possible. An archery protection factor of 2 is nice as protection rating of 1 heavy cavalry is vulnerable to SI archer screens for the reason that they only take three hits. One hot turn and ouch, ouch, ouch! If you buy a veteran, generally, it should be cavalry. If your high FV cavalry are subject to obligatory charge, they must be kept in a second rank with a friendly unit blocking their charge. LI is great for this as is LC. However, the LI can be used as a barrier by the opposing force and LC can cause routed into tests if sufficient space is not maintained between the ranks. Bow armed heavy cavalry are not subject to obligatory charge and can help win the melee by attrition. Just one BP, let alone more, can yield the victory in a cavalry melee. The 5 frontal value is not mandatory. Speed makes frontal value 4 heavy cavalry almost as useful.

SI bow are very good for causing similar attrition as well as for soaking up enemy archery. Be careful to protect SI divisions from enemy LC as these just run them down. Rob le Roi, the king of skirmish infantry, puts them, off to one side and slightly to the rear of his main battle line. Trying to get at them has frustrated me in many a game..

LC or LI are necessary to shield flanks from wide ranging enemy cavalry or light troops and to threaten the enemy flanks in the same manner.

With these precepts in mind, I think that there are only three killer armies ranked in order from most deadly to less deadly. Nikephoran Byzantine, Trajanic Roman, and Mongol. The differences are so minute as to be almost unremarkable. I feel very comfortable with any of these armies facing any of the others and confident against almost any other army. Ummayyid Arab causes some difficulty to Nikephoran Byzantine. Mongols give Nikephoran Byzantine a better match than does Trajan. Marian Roman is a very close match for Trajanic Roman. Seljuk Turk gives Mongols fits. The book is still out on Hsiung-Nu and Timurid. Biblical Nubian, Sertorian Spanish, Early Frank, Dacian, and Later Roman (Western Empire) are all sleepers.


Subodai probably is full of kumiss Bahadur

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