The skill of March Blocking is really important in Warhammer Fantasy Battle. For masters of the Fantasy Battle game, the ability to stop your enemy from march blocking is maybe even more important.That's why I love this post on the Battle Reporter Forum from member Darthweasel.
(Sigmar: This article was written for Warriors of Chaos that are particularly prone to enemy march blocking tactics. The principles of the article can however be equally applied to many other armies).
The Warriors of Chaos rely on two areas of the game in search of victory; magic and close combat. With only the Hellcannon and Marauder Horsemen providing range, the vast majority of the Warriors success is found in base to base combat.
Unfortunately, the skilled opponent is quite aware of this and therefore seeks to keep the Warriors from getting into that highly desired status of the carnage and devastation of melee combat. One favourite tactic is to deploy plenteous march blockers.
These annoying units, often as little as one flyer sneaking around behind Chaos lines, can cause havoc with even the best battle plan. Their mere presence inside that 8” halo slows the Chaotic advance to a half-speed crawl. This is bad for Chaos as every turn outside of close combat, even if they are not taking casualties, is a turn the opponent has won.
Furthermore, it is rare for Chaos not to be under fire in those turns it takes to cross the field. Waves of arrows, cannonballs, stones, and magic come at them, reducing their already slim numbers and therefore their expected advantage once they reach combat.
A single Wood Elf Great Eagle, for example, which costs but 50 points, can easily cost the Warriors of Chaos the use of over 1000 points for an extra turn or two simply by preventing them from marching.
It is an important facet of the game, therefore, to learn how to deal with march blockers. Fortunately, the Warriors of Chaos have a wonderful tool for doing just that. Costing just 30 points, having a secondary role within the army, and the definition of expendable, that unit is the Chaos Warhounds.
That would be to block the march blockers.
Simple terrain realities often means there are only one or two locations where march blockers can land to serve their purpose. Many, though certainly not all, march blocking units have quite limited capabilities in combat and instead rely on finesse, speed, and agility to accomplish their purposes. That means even squishy, pedestrian combat units like the Warhounds present a genuine threat to them. They simply need to be used in a new way.
Let us assume you have a unit of Dragon Ogres, a block of Marauders, a block of Chaos Warriors, another marauder block, and a unit of Knights in a battle line in the order stated above running from left to right. The idea is to have the center of your battle line pin the enemy in place while your fast moving wings collapse their respective flanks and begin rolling up the opposing battle line.
Your opponent, being a self-absorbed individual of evil who does not comprehend how the world is an infinitely better place if you win than it is if he wins, decides to foil this plan by slowing your wings with march blockers.
He will, by definition, have very limited places to place those march blockers. He has to get them within 8” of the target units. Once his assigned march-blockers do that for even as little as one turn, they have achieved their objective and are therefore expendable. They have already bought the time they paid for.
It is therefore incumbent upon the Chaos player to prevent them from stopping you from using your speed. Enter the Warhounds.
With their movement of 7”, they can move as quickly as your Knights and Dragon Ogres. That means they can keep pace with them.
Using the rule that enemies must land at least 1” away, you can therefore position your wonderfully cheap 30 point Chaos Warhound units 7-¼” behind or to the side of your flanks, as the need of the moment presents, and leave the march blockers no place to land that will allow them to march-block your key units.
In truth, since you do not really want to get your wings too far ahead of your core units that will be doing the pinning, you might even be better served to use them more centrally in your army. This might allow your opponent to march-block your wings, but your center will be able to move ahead the full 8” per turn, which will allow them to pin your opponent’s center as quickly as possible while still leaving your wings in position to flank any enemy unit that tries to flank your center.
You could lead your army into battle with units of warhounds 7" ahead of your main battle line. Should your opponent choose to land between your Warhounds and key units, you simply charge them. You should win the combat more often than not which will not only give you a few victory points, it will often allow your Warhounds to charge again next turn and possibly draw an enemy unit out of position, thus again multiplying their roles.