Common Squads

Posted by on October 20, 2010

Under request from outside sources I put together this post about our thoughts about the number of common squads in an army.  It is my personal opinion that some common squads are very useful in large numbers, but for the most part common squads can stand on their own very nicely.  Some people say that commons are all built to go in hordes and uniques are meant to go solo when, frankly, if several certain commons were unique, nobody would say you need more of them.  With some people it seems as if it is just because there are common that they must buy more and not because they work well together at all.  I admit that most commons are a good in numbers because of order marker freedom and cheap cost, but I certainly don’t think that you should never use a common squads just because you don’t have two of them.  Some common squads are specialists (shades, Templar knights, most kyrie, grok riders, etc.) and are usually best in small numbers.  I think that two (and sometimes three) is a good temperate number for a squad that you are going to base your army around in a 500 point game (double that for a 1000 point game).  More than that (in my opinion) can be dangerous for the following reasons.


Lets face it, there are sooo many figures that specialize in taking care of squads and lots that have powers off to the side mostly to take care of squads.  Tor-Kul-Na can just run over any small or medium squads you throw at him, Zelrig is a common squads owner’s worst nightmare, Major Q9 will just mow down most any squad forces you throw at him while your attacks just bounce off him.  Even the extremely buyable wyrmlings are very point efficient at destroying squads.  This is not anti-squad doctrine, it just means that you should pick the squads you want and don’t go overboard with the numbers.


HeroScape is very much a game of strengths and weaknesses.  One army is only good relative to the army it is facing.  Strategies will only work against the same kind of people.  When you pick too many of the same squads, one figure in the enemy’s army that is strong to your squad’s weakness can do way more than its point value in damage.  For example, the Death Chasers of Thesk are pretty darn helpless to range.  An army containing too many of these can taken on almost single-handedly by Major Q9.  However, abstain from too much of this squad and buy maybe two, then add a Frost Giant of Morh and an agent squad, effectively countering the weakness presented by the rest of your army.  The more variety of weaknesses you plan for the better.

Don’t get me wrong, HUGE numbers of Drones are never a bad thing.  Several squads are made for large numbers and my point is mostly that most common squads can survive on their own too.  Many or few, that’s your prerogative, but as for me, I think the more variety that works well together the better.  Fewer weaknesses that way.

Last modified on October 28, 2010

Categories: Strategies and various other helpful thoughts on HeroScape

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36 Responses to “Common Squads”

  1. Kaiser Cat Says:

    To be fair…Zelrig isn’t actually a perfect Common Squad antidote. And Q9 mows down heroes just as easily as squads.

    More to the point, when people talk about huge numbers of common squads, they still aren’t talking about making them your entire army. You can use 4 squads of fourth mass and you still end up with 220 points left over. In tournament play, it is generally accepted that you should use at LEAST 3 copies of a common squad, although there are a few exceptions (Microcorps, Nagrubs, and Armocs.)
    I’ll go ahead and highlight some uses for common squads.


    One reason Hero armies are considered to be non-competetive is that they are stupidly hard to coordinate. In the end, a Hero is only one figure. You have to use the one figure. If an opponent surprises you with a flank, you can send some of your common squaddies that you have in reserve to go deal with them. Even if the hypothetical hero is within range of the flank, he still leaves his area, and an important figure goes un-assualted, or height is lost, or the enemy can advance. Common Squads lose efficiency in this scenario, but they can still exert their presence on whichever section of the map they’re standing in. Bottom line: Squad hordes can cover large sections of the map at the same time. Heroes cannot.


    Even the mightiest heroes can fall with one bad die roll. Nilfheim, Jotun, Su-Bak-Na…any hero can be killed in a few turns with bad luck. Why? Because they can take more than one wound from an attack. No matter how many wounds you put on, a single attack will only destroy ONE squad member.


    Heroscape is a game of luck. The more attacks you get, the more squad members you can kill and the more wounds can be dished out on a hero. If your first attack of a round whiffs, you can still make more attacks. A hero whiffs his first attack? End of turn. In addition, the more attacks you make, the more likely you are to get a really lucky roll, or have your opponent make a horrible one. Now, the obvious argument to this is that there are some very powerful heroes who CAN make many attacks. Those heroes are considered top-tier…which only helps prove my point. The more attacks you roll, the better off you are. Period.


    Heroes rarely bond. Squads bond with heroes. Bonding is arguably the best ability in the game. Nuff said.

  2. Abweichen Gleiche Schatten Says:

    In response to Kaiser Cat:

    A well stated argument cat. I think I made it clear in my article that I don’t think it is useless to buy all squads in some situations and I stated that I have no problem three of a squad in a 500 point game. I also stated that I am not against squads. A minor point of the article was that some common squads are good in singles and would make their way fine in the world if they were unique. I also think you didn’t understand me completely. I think the best army is not an army with no squads :), but one with multiple smaller amounts of different squads backed up by heroes. For example, instead of four bugbears; two bugbears, two death chasers of thesk, and a goblin cutters. You have less weaknesses and more room for strategy. The Bugbears form your hard core, the orcs form a screen with a punch, and the goblin cutters for interesting situations. Add maybe some Agents or some phantom knights for some anti-range with some heroes at their backs and you have a very strategy flexible army and if they have someone that most squads just can’t bring down, like Q-9, instead of losing point value trying squad him to death, use a hero that he is weak against (Frost Giant, Iron Golem, etc.) and then march your army past his rotting hull. Nuff said. 😉

  3. Sorrowsworn Reaper Says:

    It is true, your argument certainly has a point, but one thing you may have overemphasized on is the multi-attacks issue. You must realize that while Q9’s 3×3 special attack is capable of severely damaging most heroes, his fairly low attack can be rendered useless against high defenses. My point is, most squads have 3 or under defense. Very likely to kill 2 of 3 with that. However, take a hero’s 4 or 5 defense. Q9 will only hit about 1 of 3 times unless he rolls very well. Q10 is even more like this. His Machine Pistol attack turns low defense to dust, but is totally nullified by most heroes fairly high defense.

  4. DrAwsm Says:

    Which is why we don’t see any bonding heroes with multiple attacks. That would just be plain broken. However, bonding heroes generally have an above average attack, or a special ability to help compensate. Charos, for example, bonds with the Greenscales, his attack of 5 is about average for heroes, and he has Counterstrike and Flying. However, his counterstrike only works well against low attack figures, not necessarily heroes or squads.

    Another example is Braxas. She bonds with Greenscales, and has flying as well, but she has a different power. She can melt squads easily, making her similar in the meta-game to Q9. And even though she can attack a small patch of squad figures and easily melt them, she can only do it once.

    Nilfheim may bond with Greenscales AND has multiple attacks, but he can’t attack the same figure twice. Therefore, if he is engaged with a squad figure, but can’t destroy it with Ice Shards, then he has a wasted attack that turn. Likewise, he may be able to destroy it with his normal attack, but it is still only one attack that turn. If he CAN destroy it, he may have another engaged, so he could still waste his attack that turn.

  5. Kaiser Cat Says:

    Krug bonds, and he has multiple attacks. Same with Sir Hawthorne, Othkurik, and Nilfheim. Alastair MacDirk and Eldgrim have overextended attack. Moltenclaw and Mimring can hit multiple figures per turn, and Braxas can target multiple figures. All of them bond. None are broken.

  6. Fen_Hydra Says:

    * shudders at OM management involved in (quote ofAbweichen Gleiche Schatten)two bugbears, two death chasers of thesk, and a goblin cutters(quote) *

    If you only have 1x-2x of several different common squads, you will have difficuld OM management and be losing attacks.

    Say you have 1 squad of Death Chasers and 1 squad of Horned Skull Brutes.
    Your opponent kills a Death Chaser. Now for each OM on them, your amount of attacks is decreased. Then they kill a HSB. Now an OM on them rewards less attacks.
    Say you have 2 squads of Death Chasers.
    Also, your OM management is very tricky.
    Your opponent kills a Death Chaser. You still get maximum attacks per OM.
    Your opponent kills another DCoT. You still get maximum attacks per OM.
    Your opponent kills a third DCoT. You still get maximum attacks per OM.
    Also, OM management is extremely easy.

  7. He Who Knows Says:

    You’ll have to take that one up with Scatten. He has temporarily disappeared, to where, I know not. He’ll be back by Sunday or Monday, probably.

  8. Abweichen Gleiche Schatten Says:

    Fen Hydra,
    The point of your comment is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. As you said, I advocated two Death Chasers of Thesk, not one. Which is exactly what you advocated……Interesting. If you meant to advocate for huge amounts of the same common squad, here is my answer. To believe the latter view you have to except that HeroScape made a lot of useless figures. Who is going to buy large amounts of shades, grok riders, knights of weston, minions of Utgar, quasatch hunters, templar knights, Einer’s kyrie, Ullar’s kyrie, and etc? Some common squads are either way too expensive or way too specialist to get tons of. Another thing I have talked about is your lack of variety. Here is an example: let us say you have an army of Bugbears. Sure, put your order marker on one and you can move any of them, but what if your opponent has an army that happens to be your army’s weakness, such as snipers? You get mowed down while your lumbering toward them and your adversary (with any luck at all) beats you easily. Then you decide that you want a sniper army yourself and go to play someone else. Well that person has a phantom knight army which presumably wipes yours out. Now you want a phantom knight army and go to play yet someone else and they have your original army of Bugbears, which will take yours out any day of the week. HeroScape is a game of weaknesses. Figures are only good relative to the figures they are facing. More variety throws your opponent, sort of like a time out in sports, as the same strategy won’t work for your whole team and you patch up your own weaknesses. It gives you depth. Certain squads go together, like the Horn Skull Brutes and the Goblin Cutters. Goblins and phantom knights go well with pretty much all melee squads to act as screens or range hunters. I think two is usually a good number (In a 500 point game) of the same common squad on a normal basis. That way you have extra points to spend on heroes to complement your squads, unique squads, and common squads that are made for special jobs and meant to be on their own. If you just want to only pick a single squad type army and hope to heck your opponent does not have your army’s weakness then your better off playing Rock, Paper, Scissors. Less wasted time that way. I am discontinuing this debate, as I have got pretty much got exactly the same objections twice and I can’t keep looking back here all the time. A pleasure debating with all of you!

  9. IHA Says:

    MInions and knights useless? LOL.

  10. He Who Knows Says:

    Morbid Mounted Monks! Minions useless? Where in the blazes did that come from?

  11. IHA Says:

    Here, the post above yours. *eyeroll*

    To believe the latter view you have to except that HeroScape made a lot of useless figures. Who is going to buy large amounts of shades, grok riders, knights of weston, minions of Utgar, quasatch hunters, templar knights, Einer’s kyrie, Ullar’s kyrie, and etc?


  12. He Who Knows Says:

    Wait, what? You kind of lost me there. I don’t see what you’re saying.

  13. Sorrowsworn Reaper Says:

    @ IHA
    Now I can see having a friendly debate-in fact I encourage it-but really there is no reason to be rude or obnoxious. (e.i. ” *eye roll*)

  14. He Who Knows Says:

    Hate to be picky, reaper, but it’s ‘i.e.’. 😉

  15. He Who Knows Says:

    Oh, wait a minute. I think I get you now. Your saying that HeroScape didn’t make a lot of useless figures? Maybe not a lot, but they sure made some.

  16. IHA Says:

    I just don’t understand how you think minions and knights are useless. Knights are one of the best squads in the game, and minions aren’t shabby either. By the way, that last paragraph was a quote from Schatten’s post a while ago.

  17. IHA Says:

    Oh, and Schatten, I bet a whole bunch of PK’s would have a decent chance against equal amounts of bugbears. I’ll playtest it and let you know.

  18. Abweichen Gleiche Schatten Says:

    I don’t believe there are useless figures in HeroScape. I said that if you believe you have to get three of each squad the minions cost WAY too much for a 500 point army. Even two is alot of points. I think every figure in HeroScape has its place, especially the minions, just that some are better in smaller quantities. I’m sorry if I have not made that clear. And on Phantom Knights against Bugbears, of course anything can happen but statistically the Bugbears have the advantage in a maul-out, though the Knights could usually get the first attack and vie for the better ground……….. My point was just that if you make your whole army one squad there will always be a different squad that is strong where yours is weak, kind of like rock-paper-scissors. Theoretically, the Snipers beat the Bugs because of range, the Knights beat the Snipers because of strength to range and better stats, and finally the Bugbears beat the Phantom Knights because of better stats. (Maybe that is a more interesting way to do rock-paper-scissors: Bugbears, Snipers, and Knights. You make a fist to represent a Bugbear{barbaric chaps}, a pistol for a Sniper{as if you pretending to be a cowboy}, and a knife-hand for the knights! 🙂 ) You took my comment completely out of context. I was saying that anyone who was against what I was advocating for would have to believe that there are useless figures. I don’t believe that.

  19. IHA Says:

    Yeah, I don’t think the E.I (Einar Imperium) roll their eyes, and anyways, you wouldn’t be able to tell anyways, because of their masks. . . (j/k)

    Oh, and I don’t think that minions are useless in large quantities, a very popular army that has won tournaments is 3x Minions, Zelrig, for 515. It’s even more obvious for knights, because they have proven records at tournaments, including GenCon. Look it up.

  20. He Who Knows Says:

    Personally, I haven’t palyed with the minions since I don’t have them, but from what I hear, they are pretty good. Still, you should never make an army out of kyrie with a move of five and one range unit. If Zelrig goes down, You are sitting ducks while the KMA pick you off. You need variety.

  21. IHA Says:

    Oh yeah, and knights are pretty crappy unless you have at least 3 squads. Look in the competitive armies section of HSers, or even start a new thread there.

  22. IHA Says:

    Actually, they have a move of four. *wink* They have a defence of six though, so at least a few should make it there, and then the Krav are screwed.

  23. He Who Knows Says:

    the thing is, its not worth it. If only a few survive, wouldn’t you want to spend yourself on something that would last a bit longer? I mean what if you have two opponents?

  24. IHA Says:

    Then you should take Atlaga as well, to give them a decent move, and wait until your enemies are beating the crap out of each other before you jump in. Or, you could just bring someone to counter the Krav, e.g the EOV, because they (the Krav) are the Minion’s worst nightmare.

  25. He Who Knows Says:

    Interesting advice coming from someone who labels himself “I Hate Atlaga”. 🙂 What does EOV stand for? I’d throw in Q9 instead, whoever he is. He is the Krav’s worst nightmare. (Attacks them nine times in a turn.)

  26. IHA Says:

    Elite Onyx Vipers. And as to my username. . . Let’s just say it’s complicated. *wink*

  27. He Who Knows Says:

    😉 = ; and )

  28. Fen Hydra Says:

    This is the simple truth:

    1 or 2 of a common squad is bad.

    3 or more of a common squad is good.

    On the subject of Minions:

    Their high point cost is because they have a very high defense, and basically an attack of 4 that gets extra bonuses from glyphs/height.

    Restated for clarity:

    1 or 2 of a common squad is bad.

    3 or more of a common squad is good.

  29. He Who Knows Says:

    No. Large numbers of drones or something like that is great. But don’t just buy a ton of common squads just for the sake of it. I mean, there’s no variety. You cannot make an army out of one thing. An army of Minions would get slaughtered. AN army of 4th would usually get slaughtered. Which ever way you go, you need more kinds of figures.

  30. Fen Hydra Says:

    So, I take it that you would find it easy to beat:

    4th Mass x6
    500 Points

    with a random assortment of no more than one or two copies of multiple squads?

    More of an army like that (4th Mass) could win a tournament.

    For example, try testing that against:
    Marro Stingers x2
    Zettian Guards
    Krav Maga

    I gurantee that without purposely cheating/changing dice rolls, and playing strategically, the 4th Mass would beat the other army 11 times out of 10.

    Or try it against:
    Minions x3

    Once again, the squad masses will prevail, although this time more like 9/10 times.

  31. He Who Knows Says:

    Reaper and Schatten had a showdown about this very thing. Reaper played with something like 6 or 7 4ths, While Schatten had one of the worst armies there was (I can’t remember what was in it. Schatten won.

  32. Fen Hydra Says:

    Try the experiment again.

    If you ask anyone on, you will find that more than 99% of people would agree with my statements.

    For that game, my only opinion is that either a) there was some really weird dice rolls going on, b) the map was stacked in one person’s favor, or c) the 4th mass army used extremely bad strategy.

  33. He Who Knows Says:

    I’m sure almost everyone else would agree with you. The fact of the matter is this. As soon as someone sees that a squad is common, they immediately start coming up with armies for anywhere to 3 to 8 of the same squad. This is not necessary. If you have the points left, and your army is stable enough, by all means go ahead and get some more. An army of drones and the hive would be great. But you can’t have an army of 4th and realin. It just doesn’t work. It might be fun in a casual game, But when trying to beat the hydra, Q9, kelda, Syvarris, and all those other good guys, they will be swept away. In an army, of course. There are some seriously over-rated figures in HeroScape. The 4th is one of them. Realin is another. Are they good? Yes. Are they so good that they are one of the best figures in the game? No. That is what people seem to think. They always use these two. You practically have to ask for an army without these figures to get one. Peace.
    (An opinion or two on the non-HeroScape stuff would be appreciated too 🙂 )

  34. Fen Hydra Says:

    If you glance at the table, you should notice which figures are on top.

    Also, this person is very experienced and has gone to Gencon and performed well.

    Just as an afterthought, I wasn’t necessarily saying that the 4th were amazing, they’re just a good example of a common squad.

    I’ll just also mention that Syvarris and Kelda aren’t very good.

  35. He Who Knows Says:

    I don’t consider Syvarris or Kelda the best, but Kelda is probably my #1 pick for a healer.
    That’s what I’m saying, figures are seriously overrated.

  36. IHA Says:

    spider-poison won the GenCon main event one year.

    Also, I’m going to go start a thread about this debate on HSers. Go check it out. It’ll be in the competitive armies section.

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