The all powerful Initiative

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  • The all powerful Initiative

    In all my battles (I own 6 armies) there has been a consistent theme: the unit with higher initiative wins combat.

    Essentially, combat units are very killy. Because of this, the unit that strikes first wins combat the vast majority of the time.

    There are many possible solutions, here are a few examples:

    1. All troops need to re-evaluated for initiative changes. This stat is arbitrary in many circumstances. Arbitrary and all determinative in combat is a bad combination.

    2. For example, some troops are initiative 2 for no real reason (GW said so back in the day). Change them to initiative 3 or 4.

    3. Charging could grant troops +1 initiative

    4. Calvary charging could grant troops +2 initiative.

    Here is an arbitrary example: Saurus Warriors. Lizards and raptors are incredibly fast in nature. However, GW arbitrarily gave this unit initiative 2. Now, they are almost unplayable. Charging with a unit of raptor riders and getting massacred before striking is the norm. However, wouldn't lizards and raptors be incredibly faster than humans. I don't care if the game is realistic at all. I am just pointing out that it is arbitrary and all determinative in combat.

    All the units need a re-evaluation of initiative.

    The post was edited 1 time, last by Mattall ().

  • What always bugged me about Initiative in 8E (and now T9A) is how an elf with a short sword gets to hit a charging knight with a twelve-foot lance first...and if the knight survives the elf then runs back in front of the lance so the charging knight so the knight can get his charge bonus.

    What the... heck? ?(

    Unless all elves have reflexes like the Flash, that should be outright impossible. And even if they do, they shouldn't be suicidal enough to go back to be hit by the lance.

    IT MAKES NO SENSE.
  • Vulcan wrote:

    What always bugged me about Initiative in 8E (and now T9A) is how an elf with a short sword gets to hit a charging knight with a twelve-foot lance first...and if the knight survives the elf then runs back in front of the lance so the charging knight so the knight can get his charge bonus.

    What the... heck? ?(

    Unless all elves have reflexes like the Flash, that should be outright impossible. And even if they do, they shouldn't be suicidal enough to go back to be hit by the lance.

    IT MAKES NO SENSE.
    It is a well known fact that elves have a VERY strong sense of fair play. :)
  • ewar wrote:

    I have never found your premise to be true - toughness and save are far more important than initiative IME. And I play armies with both high and low initiative (SE, SA, UD).

    Having said that, I would have no problem with chargers getting +1I.
    It is true, but only for that rare moment..
    when incredibly low initiative meets piss poor weapon skill combined with the armoured resilience of wet cardboard that the magical trifecta of orcish magnificence occurs and this becomes apparent. Outside of that yea totally.
    AVOIDANCE FAILS 28% OF THE TIME FOLKS. -SE
    Undying Deathstar Construction Inc.
  • ewar wrote:

    I have never found your premise to be true - toughness and save are far more important than initiative IME. And I play armies with both high and low initiative (SE, SA, UD).

    Having said that, I would have no problem with chargers getting +1I.
    What, toughness and saves? This is incredibly wrong.

    Combat units now strike with a huge number of St 5 and St 6 attacks. Many units have armor piercing. Monsters thunderstomp infantry. Toughness 3 or 4 is inconsequential, and armor saves of anything less than 1+ are not very good.

    Toughness and armor are by far the least important factors in combat.

    The most important factors are initiative, strength and number of attacks. Dishing out 30 St 5 hatred attacks before your opponent is the key to winning combats now.
  • I'd say T and Ld. are the God stats in the game ATM.

    Leadership for mortals, because it affects all phases and if you panic or break, no stats can save you from giving up points (hence the ubiquitous BSB).
    Toughness, because it affects all phases and mitigates most damage (but not all).

    Saves is a very broad term, but ward saves are especially important since they have the fewest counter-play options.

    Initiative is important for smaller units that depend on inflicting maximum damage with every model (ie. cavalry) but is almost meaningless when it comes to large blocks. IMO it's the least powerful stat, which is best proven looking at the cost of AHW's on most units.
  • Leadership for sure and I'd say strength is the third 'god stat' since it directly effects both defensive stats at once.

    Mattall wrote:

    What, toughness and saves? This is incredibly wrong.

    Combat units now strike with a huge number of St 5 and St 6 attacks. Many units have armor piercing. Monsters thunderstomp infantry. Toughness 3 or 4 is inconsequential, and armor saves of anything less than 1+ are not very good.

    Toughness and armor are by far the least important factors in combat.

    The most important factors are initiative, strength and number of attacks. Dishing out 30 St 5 hatred attacks before your opponent is the key to winning combats now.
    Well this is actually incredibly right, and wrong too. Strength vs toughness is inversely proportionate with initiative only mattering IF it is accompanied by high [enough] strength to matter..

    I mean since my earlier attempt at comedy relief didn't work out.
    AVOIDANCE FAILS 28% OF THE TIME FOLKS. -SE
    Undying Deathstar Construction Inc.
  • Under the view Initiative rules all, then this would mean Elven combat units would destroy all before them. However, this is not true in practice. While Elves might dent a unit of Warriors, making it through some of their armour, the warriors will then strike back plowing through the lacklustre elven resistance. Units like Dwarven warriors can hold up very well against high Initiative assault and have the ability to outgrind higher Initiative Elves or humans. Even if the Elves have strength 5 or 6 they will still struggle to beat Dwarves or Warriors in combat.

    Initiative comes at a premium in price and unless they wipe out their opponent they are going to take casualties in return.

    It would be good to see some change for lances to add a bonus for Initiative when they charge this making heavy/medium cavalry more destructive on the charge.
  • Are you kidding. At S5 and S6 dwarves and warriors get crushed if they go second. Wounding on 2+ or 3+ and getting no save or 6+ and parry save if they have it.

    If we are talking about hordes of S5 or S6 infantry and MI that are S5 or S6 with 8-10 models. Initiative is everything. Even S4 Ap1 qualifies if there are enough attacks.

    Do the math on 30 executioners or 8 minotaurs with AHW or 30 swordmasters or 8 once-chosen wrath halberds. I3 units or lower units just get crushed. No way you can fight that when you take 20+ wounds first.

    Initiative is the most important stat as long as the unit can do basically 20+ wounds to anything. Most armies have these hitty units and they aren't deathstars, 8 minos is only 700 points.

    Top level players will tell you initiative is the most important factor on elite units because they all can dish out damage because they are elite for the most part.
  • 9thageAwesome wrote:

    Initiative is the most important stat as long as the unit can do basically 20+ wounds to anything. Most armies have these hitty units and they aren't deathstars, 8 minos is only 700 points.

    Top level players will tell you initiative is the most important factor on elite units because they all can dish out damage because they are elite for the most part.
    Im sorry, but did I read this right? Initiative is the most important stat if all your other offensive stats are really high, so it really comes after strength, weapon skill and attacks, and not the most important stat at all?
  • To simplify, most elite units offense is so much better than their defense which makes initiative the main determining factor of who wins.

    Take each of the units I mentioned above they wound themselves on 2+ or 3+ and you don't get armor or maybe 6+.

    When you do the math on killy units 90% of the time the one with the higher initiative wins because offense stats are so much more prevalent and higher than defense. You see tons of S5 and S6 but few T5 and T6 except on monsters. Tons of multiple attacks but very few models with more wounds than attacks. Very few things have more than 4+ armor in combat which almost doesn't matter agaisnt S5 or higher.

    The post was edited 3 times, last by 9thageAwesome ().

  • wow.... so much simplyfication... much awesome :D

    guys, i would agree initiative is the most important stat on elite, high dmg, low resilience units... thats a lot of factors playing into it. Its not THE most important stat of combat... its just very important in comba for certai units. as soon as you are out of combat its pretty unimportant. ^^
  • Mattall wrote:

    There are many possible solutions, here are a few examples:

    2. For example, some troops are initiative 2 for no real reason (GW said so back in the day). Change them to initiative 3 or 4.

    What troops are you talking about? The Initiative 2 troops I know have I 2 for a reason: T4, good save, better strenght being the most common.


    3. Charging could grant troops +1 initiative

    Ok, I think it would be a good change.


    4. Calvary charging could grant troops +2 initiative.

    Totally agree, cavalry need some buff in the charge. It doesn't make sense to me that orc boar riders or equitanian horsemen strike after most infantry.


    Lizards and raptors are incredibly fast in nature.

    No, they aren't. Lizards are slower than warm blooded relatives, rats, cats, etc. We don't know much about raptors in nature. By the way, real velociraptors are 1-2 feet tall (45 cms), they are cute, not scary.

    However, wouldn't lizards and raptors be incredibly faster than humans.

    • Lizards wouldn't be faster than human. They are coldblooded, which means they have to warm up with sunlight before moving eficiently. Their reflexes depend highly in the atmosphere temperature. If the air temperature is about 20º they would move almost as fast as a human (never equal or faster). If the air temperature is 0º even a little girl with a knife could defeat a big lizard. Their methabolism is slow compared to human's. A lizard consumes less calories than a human but has slower movement/reflexes. Comparing a lizard to a human would be like comparing a ferrari to a solar car, the ferrari would win the race and consum much more fuel.


    • About raptors, it depends if you are taking fiction jurassic park, or real dinosaur ones. The jurassic park ones are really fast, no doubt about it. For the real ones, (I would better take a deinonichus [6 feet tall 2 meters tall] than a velociraptor [1-2 feet tall, 45 cms tall] as a reference) there is a bit of controversy about them beign cold or warm blooded. The race adaptation and height they have fits more with warm blooded living things. Furthermore there are no livin thing that is as big, fast and coldbloded like jurassic park raptors. In conclusion if they are big and fast they are warm blooded and should enhance their initiative, but lose the coldbloded rule.

    I don't care if the game is realistic at all.

    OK, forgot about the 3 last pharagraphs I have written :D
    Photos of models/armies from ETC 2017:

    Cool models seen at ETC 2017

    The post was edited 1 time, last by skrak ().

  • Paperplane wrote:

    9thageAwesome wrote:

    Initiative is the most important stat as long as the unit can do basically 20+ wounds to anything. Most armies have these hitty units and they aren't deathstars, 8 minos is only 700 points.

    Top level players will tell you initiative is the most important factor on elite units because they all can dish out damage because they are elite for the most part.
    Im sorry, but did I read this right? Initiative is the most important stat if all your other offensive stats are really high, so it really comes after strength, weapon skill and attacks, and not the most important stat at all?
    Like 9thageawesome already explained few posts before this one, you just had missed the point. Sure Initiative isn't the strongest attribute for stuff like high elf archers, but you need to take into account what sort of units the said unit is fighting. Here we can see that the high initiative is actually a really strong attribute for the archers, because usually stuff like warhounds etc are send to take them down and if the archers get to strike first, the archers will win the combat. VS any real combat block, it doesn't matter a thing whether the archers have Initiative 3,4 or 10 as they won't go through the armour.

    For elite units, the one with the highest initiative usually wins. Elite units are usually rather small in size, so when shooting and magic are taken into account, the unit with lower initiative probably already loses attacks when models start to die in combat. That makes the higher initiative in a way a defensive stat as well (the less attacks your opponent can throw, the less models you will lose). Ward saves are really useful on elite models, as elite vs elite fight usually means no armour saves (stuff like knights still get to roll for armour), but only few units have it. Higher initiative and ward save on elite units are IMHO the 2 strongest attributes.
  • NinzieQT wrote:

    Paperplane wrote:

    9thageAwesome wrote:

    Initiative is the most important stat as long as the unit can do basically 20+ wounds to anything. Most armies have these hitty units and they aren't deathstars, 8 minos is only 700 points.

    Top level players will tell you initiative is the most important factor on elite units because they all can dish out damage because they are elite for the most part.
    Im sorry, but did I read this right? Initiative is the most important stat if all your other offensive stats are really high, so it really comes after strength, weapon skill and attacks, and not the most important stat at all?
    Like 9thageawesome already explained few posts before this one, you just had missed the point. Sure Initiative isn't the strongest attribute for stuff like high elf archers, but you need to take into account what sort of units the said unit is fighting. Here we can see that the high initiative is actually a really strong attribute for the archers, because usually stuff like warhounds etc are send to take them down and if the archers get to strike first, the archers will win the combat. VS any real combat block, it doesn't matter a thing whether the archers have Initiative 3,4 or 10 as they won't go through the armour.
    For elite units, the one with the highest initiative usually wins. Elite units are usually rather small in size, so when shooting and magic are taken into account, the unit with lower initiative probably already loses attacks when models start to die in combat. That makes the higher initiative in a way a defensive stat as well (the less attacks your opponent can throw, the less models you will lose). Ward saves are really useful on elite models, as elite vs elite fight usually means no armour saves (stuff like knights still get to roll for armour), but only few units have it. Higher initiative and ward save on elite units are IMHO the 2 strongest attributes.
    While this is all true, saying that initiative is the most important stat is just straight up wrong. If the requirement for one stat to be good is that all the units other offensive stats are high, that stat is not the most important. For Initiative to be worth anything at all against elite units you at least need a high strength value, making strength a more influential stat.

    Maybe I did miss the point but arguing that initiative is too strong and is the only factor that decides combat seems to be backwards if the problem is units wiping other units before they can strike. Someone has to hit first, but maybe it shouldn't be allowed to do an average of 20+ wounds in one round of combat.

    The post was edited 2 times, last by Paperplane ().

  • 9thageAwesome wrote:



    Do the math on 30 executioners or 8 minotaurs with AHW or 30 swordmasters or 8 once-chosen wrath halberds. I3 units or lower units just get crushed. No way you can fight that when you take 20+ wounds first.

    Initiative is the most important stat as long as the unit can do basically 20+ wounds to anything. Most armies have these hitty units and they aren't deathstars, 8 minos is only 700 points.
    Just doing the math for beastherds:

    8 Minotaurs with paired weapons against 50 Wildhorns with paired weapons (but -1 Initiativ so they strike last). Both units gets primal fury:

    Round 1: Minos makes 20 wounds including impact hits and stomp. Wildhorns makes 10 wounds. So 5 Minos vs 30 Wildhorns.
    Round 2: Minos makes 13 wounds including stomp. Wildhorns makes 7,25. So 3 Minos vs 17 Wildhorns.
    Round 3: Minos makes 7,5 wounds including stomp. Wildhorns makes 5. So 1 Mino vs 10 Wildhorns
    Round 4: Mino makes 2,5 wounds (no stomp). Wildhorns makes 3,5. So 7 surviving Wildhorns.

    So 680 points of Minotaurs is ground down by 600 points of Wildhorns. This assumes of course that the wildhorns doesn't break, but as they are stubborn and will usually have a BSB nearby this isn't unlikely.

    Against a similar amount of Longhorns the Minos win easily when going first and the longhorns win if they go first - so I guess the lesson is that when two units, that can effectively delete each other in one round of combat fights against each other, the one that hits first wins (rather obvious). But if you hit a unit you cannot delete with one of these glasshammers you are in trouble.

    To me that is however a rather trivial point - and a far cry from Initiativ being "all powerfull".