Ossiarch Bonereapers – Spears VS Swords

The following is a discussion based on probability theory (often called dice-theory in wargaming circles) which compares the performance of different weapon options for both the Mortek Guard and the Deathriders; both units from the new Ossiarch Bonereaper army for Age of Sigmar


Mortek Guard – Greatblades

First lets consider the Greatblade weapon option that you can take for one in every 10 warriors of Mortek Guard. Below you can see a table comparing the results of taking Greatblades in units of different sizes for both Spears and Swords forming the majority of the unit. Remember for each group of 10 models, one is a Greatblade. So for 40 warriors there are 4 Greatblades in the unit.

I’ve chosen to compare two extremes of save for the total damage dealt (since greatblades, spears and swords all deal 1 damage).

You can see that with Swords the difference is almost impossible to see between taking Greatblades and not taking them. Whilst the Greatblade gets no Nadirite bonus for 6s rolled on a “to-hit”; it has a better wound roll (3) which makes up the difference.
With spears the Greatblades rending starts to make an impact, however even so the difference is again, quite marginal; however there is a slightly greater gain for the Greatblades over using them in a unit of swords. This is simply reflecting the rending giving the Greatblade a slight bonus in combat.
Overall there is a benefit to having Greatblades within the unit, however the difference is by no means night and day. It should be noted that in the maths above its assumed that all models make it into close combat. Clearly when pairing Greatblades with spears one will have to have more care for the position of the Greatblades within the unit as they will only have a range of 1 inch, compared to the 2 inch range of the spears.


Mortek Guard – Spears VS Swords

Now for one of the most often asked questions regarding Mortek Guard – Swords or Spears?! Again I’ve prepared a table of results:

This table is a little more complicated to read, so to make it a little clearer below I’ve summarised the data into four graphs. Each graph refers to a specific save value for the target of the attacks

So at first glance we can easily see that when the number of warriors is the same, swords will always have a greater chance to deal more damage than spears. This is the effect of a whole unit having a -1 rend on the swords compared to the spears which have no rending, but otherwise near identical stats to the swords. Indeed as the save value of the attacked unit improves the divide in number of wounds landed between swords and spears increases, with swords very clearly in the lead when in large numbers against a high save target

However its not a totally clear call. If you look at the numbers and at the graph you can see that when the number of warriors holding spears is greater than the number of warriors with swords, the spears tip the balance quite quickly into doing more damage. Now as Mortek Guard with spears and swords have the same point cost, the only variable we have left to play with is the range. Swords only have a 1 inch range, whilst spears have a 2 inch range. As units get larger it can become less practically possible to get all warriors into close combat range. Thus the inch difference in reach can become quite important in the actual game.

Now at your local game tables these stats might vary in how well they impact your game. If you regularly play against big spread out enemy units with very little terrain then you might well find that its very easy for you to get 40 warriors into close combat range with only a 1 inch reach on their weapons. So swords would be the best choice. However you might fight smaller units and on tables with a more dense covering of terrain. Suddenly those speares with their extra reach start to come into their own. So some local variation might take place for you.

In conclusion I would say that whilst swords always have a greater potential to cause more wounds than spears, the practical nature of using them in the game means that spears start to come into their own as the Mortek Guard increase in number on the table.
If you want a rough dividing point where one might switch form swords to spears I would say at 30 warriors. For units of 10 or 20 its very possible that you will get all units into close combat range with only 1 inch of range. Therefore the bonus to rend is far superior to another inch of reach that you might not ever need. Once you’re up to 30 or 40 models you’re into a scale where that extra inch of reach is going to start making a growing difference in the number of models that can contribute to each round of combat.
Of course keep in mind the nature of your opponent as well. An opponent with lots of high save targets that are spread out is going to really benefit taking swords against; meanwhile if they are armed with mostly 6 save models; the extra reach of spears is going to be more important – especially since such armies tend to be larger so landing more hits is more important than the power of each hit.



So we’ve tackled the Mortek Guard, but there’s one more where the debate of spears or swords arises, the Deathriders.

So this one is not as tricky to read as before (and doesn’t fit into a chart as easily). What its showing is actually rather sad in a way because swords are beating spears in every tier. Even on the charge when the spears get to cause two hits on a 5 and 6, the rending of the swords still keeps them above the spears. The rending just makes a huge difference in maximising what the swords can do with the attacks they make.
Again we see that same pattern that in order to get the most out of spears its going to be with big units where not every model will easily make it into 1 inch range to contribute to combat.
Importantly the charge bonus that spears get only just levels the playingfield with swords. So in order to maximise the potential of spears you really want to be retreating and charging as often as possible. Otherwise you want a large unit so that you really are using all of that 2 inch range on the weapons to get every warrior into battle.


Overall its a shame that GW didn’t manage to give spears and swords a bit more division in their overall performance. It’s also strange that, since spears featured so heavily in the artwork and early photos of the army (and honestly look darn impressive on the models) that they’ve actually turned out quite the underdog in anything but massed forces.
That said the differences here are quite marginal and I’d wager that on the tabletop they would be very hard to reliably see.

SKAVEN Battletome!


Yes yes it is here now! The might of the Great Horned One shall spread throughout all the Realms, all shall bow grovel to the might of the Skaven!

Review of the Battletome

My first impression of the tome was “oh gods this paper is heavy” and yes the pages are thick with ink! Brilliant colour on every single page, from decorative edges to full page and double page artwork spreads as well as army photos. GW’s photography studio has excelled themselves yet again in making photos that are as dynamic and epic as the sweeping artwork GW still fills their books with (although sometimes it highlights that GW really needs a few more models of things here and there when you can spot the same 3 stormfiends every time they appear).

The lore and story is well setout and, like many current Battletomes, they focus on a quick telling of the history of Skaven from the early days in the Age of Myth through the Age of Chaos and into the current times of the Age of Sigmar. The Myth age setting lore is, as for many, quite light on detail; representing the various histories and pasts lost to the Skaven over the vast generations. The short details leave a lot of room for further writing and fleshing out and for fleshing out ones own backstory and clan to fit into the realms. There’s also tantalizing hooks placed here and there – the mysterious fate of Clan Shrykt who built a new gnawhole and collapsed it in on itself behind them, their destination unknown; or that Clan Tichritt (a fallen Clan now) once held Chronomatic weapons of great power. Just two of the potential hooks that might one day be developed and evolved upon.
There are also many neat stories telling of creative plagues; unique machines and even skyfleets of stolen airships. Ideas that might spark the imagination of eager converters within the hobby; or which might one day appear here and there as future weapons and models released by GW official (though I’m sure the dark minds of their master crafters have got even more nefarious ideas to sculpt up for us). Plus fans of the mighty and cunning Thanquol will be pleased to know he features with his own short story!

From the general background things get more specific, focusing on a page for each of the Great Clans (Skyre, Eshin, Moulder, Verminous, Pestilens and Master) which set the scene. Though Skyre and Pestilens are the clear poster-child factions of the current age (likely bolstered by Pestilens own Battletome to begin with and by Skyre having quite a few newer kits and variety in the current range). Others are certainly not left without, but I’d wager we’ll see more of clans like Moulder as and when GW can update some of the older sculpts such as Rat Ogres*.

From clans to units the next big segment goes into some lore and history on the various units and weapons of the Skaven; giving some flavour to the various units and weapons of the army that gamers can directly buy and field on the tabletop.

Following is glorious page after page of photos of models from the GW painters and army displays, joined by several good and quick painting tips for various specific Skaven elements such as teeth, fur and warpstone.

Finally there’s the rules for the army; rules that you build either a clan focused army around one of the great clans, or a motley united force of Skaven pulled together by a powerful leader. Whatever your choice you can find it here and the single Battletome shines for being able to combine sub-armies whilst also letting them viably compete with each other for their own unique flavour. I will not go into any detail in the balance or numbers, there’s going to be endless reviews and arguments and battles that will appear over the coming months that will hammer out the winners and losers from the balance pass. Suffice it to say Skaven will never be a full beginners army; with many abilities that can outright kill themselves as much as their foes Skaven will need a careful hand to guide them to victory. I will say that its fantastic to see that they’ve retained almost their entire line from the Old World days; though also they’ve lost a few parts here and there. One I’m honestly glad to see gone are Skaven Slaves, for whilst they fit the lore really well (and they are very much still part of it); they were always both overpriced (as they never went full plastic) and so highly numerous whilst being the epitome of a chaff unit. The kind you’d spend hours making only to remove most of them each game pretty fast. Even in the old days most just fielded Clanrats so to have slaves gone and Clanrats the lowest of the biped rats is a good thing in my view.


If we consider this the first tome then Skaven are off to a good start with a great foundation to build upon. I fully expect that in the coming years we’ll see more stories like Skaven Pestilens which add to the lore and history of the faction. We’ll certainly see Thanquol weaving his mad plots and schemes and see the rise and fall of many a Skaven plan. Whilst some of the detailed depth has been lost from the Old World, Skaven have honestly retained almost all of their original character, they are still maniacal, scheming, cowardly, crazed rats. They still stab each other in the back as much as they stab their opponents and other races; they still strike from the shadows and, if the Hammerheld Herald is to believed, they still don’t officially exist!


Carrion Empire 

If you’re checking out Skaven right now then you surely can’t miss that Carrion Empire also launches this weekend. A duel battle kit featuring mad rats and madder cannibals with a new leader for both armies as well as a steep discount on the models within. A great selection for starting off your Clan Skyre or for bolstering your other clans with Skyres powerful war engines such as the famous Doomwheel!

If you don’t want to get the box I strongly recommend scouring your local store or ebay for the book that comes with the box. The Carrion Empire booklet isn’t huge, but gives a fantastic setting (and several themed battleplans for use against Flesh Eater Courts) and adds to the overall lore of the Skaven in the Mortal Realms.


* It should be noted that a selection of models including ogres, engineers, packmaster, warpfire throwers and globethrowers were updated with the Island of Blood boxed set in the last age of the Old World. However whilst those kits are still found on ebay (hunt around you can still find unbuilt ones); they’ve not made it into the current age (although teasingly the globethrowers do appear in the codex in a few photos).

Black Library Novella Series 1

A book review of the new NOVELLA series by Black Library.

Recently Black Library published the first ten books of a new run of novellas which span their range of worlds. From the dark and polluted ruins of the Underhive of Necromunda, to the vast magical peaks of the 8 Realms of the Age of Sigmar, these books take you on a wild series of adventures. They are a nice length for an evening read each and whilst they don’t have the length of a full novel, they still have room to develop characters and give you far more flavour of the worlds they take part in.

The Bloodied Rose by Danie Ware – Sisters of Battle (40K)
Steel Daemon by Ian St Martin – Imperial Guard (40K)
Auric Gods by Nick Kyme – Custodes (Space Marines – 40K)
Spear of Ultramar by David Annandale – Horus Heresy (prequel to Siege of Terra series)
Dreadwing by David Guymer – Horus Heresy (prequel to Siege of Terra series)
Wanted: Dead by Mike Brooks – House Escher (Necromunda)
Warqueen by Darius Hinks – Dark Oath (Age of Sigmar)
The Red Hours by Evan Dicken – Sigmarites (Age of Sigmar)
The Bone Desert by Robbie MacNiven – Gotrek Gurnisson (Age of Sigmar)
Heart of Winter by Nick Horth – Scourge Privateers (Age of Sigmar)

As you can see there’s a fair smattering of stories from the fantasy and the futuristic. Some are clearly tied to major recent publications and soon to be publications, such as Horus Heresy and Gotrek; whilst others are more free form stories set within their respective worlds. As they are shorter books I will provide a short summary review for those I’ve read below.

WARQUEEN by Darius Hinks. This is a powerful story that presents a fresh angle on worshippers of the Chaos gods and focuses on the lesser known Dark Oath factions. Brave and mighty barbarian tribes that worship the Chaos Gods. If any reading have ever read any of the Conan stories/comics or seen the various films (esp the classic with Arnald) then the Dark Oath feel lifted right out of the Hyborean age. Whilst with more trust to magic than your average Cimmerian, they are still akin to that classic warlike wild image. These are not crazed nor mindless characters and they retain a stronger sense of their humanity and emotions.

Within this story is war, betrayal and discovery. Follow a mighty warqueen as she seeks to unite her people under a single banner, to forge them into a single army that can carry them beyond the plains they have warred over for generations in the Age of Chaos. To bring them into the Age of Sigmar and make them a threat for all the world to fear. I would say of all those I’ve read thus far this is my favourite of the series.


HEART OF WINTER by Nick Horth. This story is cold. Not just from the frigid lands in which it takes place, where biting winds, ice slick surfaces and frostbite are around every corner; but with the characters that fill the story with their taste for blood, slavery, betrayal and revenge. Aelf pirates without equal, who are the literal scourge of the high seas. Those who have a passing understanding of the Old World (or who have been playing Warhammer Total War 2) will recognise some mighty icons from the past appear again within the Realms as a mighty Black Ark features prominently in this tale.
Of interest this story also ties strongly into the development of the Realms and the Age of Sigmar and is perhaps one of the stories that is the most “recent” in the time line. Whilst it does not focus upon those golden warriors from Sigmar, it does show how their society and the new Order is going. Giving us an idea of the rebirth, the rebuilding and the political shifts that are taking place within the Realms. It’s a view of the world generations beyond the end of the Age of Chaos; where only aged Aelves might remember the Cursed blight that was upon the land. This adds greatly to the story and makes it a fascinating read beyond the development of the background of another faction. Those who are fans of the Daughters of Khaine would also find this story of interest, for its not just scourge Aelves who inhabit the bloody pirate strongholds. Places of slavery, death, blood and fighting attract those piests and worshippers of the bloody God of Murder.

WANTED: DEAD by Mike Brooks. Necromunda lends itself well to the short story market and this tale does not disappoint in the least. We see the classic Necromunda battle between Houses Escher and Goliath, but things are not always so simple as the might appear on the surface in this dark, dank world of the Underhive. There’s also a tale of love woven into this and of loyalties which are fine additions to the lore of Necromunda, where betrayal and selfish interests can often appear to rule much of the action. It adds to the rich tapestry of the world and shows that the Underhive, for all its lack of education and structure, is possibly one of the most varied settings in the 41st millennium.
We also get a sense of how individual each gang within a Great House is, how they are almost alone as they carve out their own little corner of the Underhive and defend it to the last against any competition.


THE BLOODIED ROSE  by Danie Ware. Welcome to the world of the Sisters of Battle, women monks of a powerful militant order who are bound to serve the one true Emperor of Mankind and protect humanity from the threats of the heretic, the mutant, the xeno and the corrupt. The story here touches at the very foundation of the war of mankind vs the darkness of the universe and follies of the long forgotten past of mankind when they originally spread through the stars in ages past.

The religious element is woven into this story well and builds a fantastic mental picture of the churches and religious order of the Sisters. Of how they worship in battle, of how prayer and unity with their sisters armours them against the darkness of the universe and how those dark forces might see to corrupt and tempt them.

The story starts off building a fantastic sense of mystery, touched with the edge of horror. Carrying the reader forward eagerly with page after page as one seeks to uncover the truth of an abandoned settlement and the dark forces that have led to its twisted, macabre end.


If you are interested in reading these stories and others in the series, then they are up for sale now. At £3 each for print or digital, or if you get them direct from the Black Library website there’s a £3 discount if you get the whole series of 10 in one go (digital or print). The price is well worth it and this series makes the fantastic in-fill whilst you’re waiting for that next reprint of Inferno Classic or the upcoming New Inferno issue 2

Print Collection

Digital Collection

Inferno – the Classic Era

A review of the reprints of INFERNO by Black Library

Last month Games Workshop started doing print on order of the first run of 5 issues of their classic Inferno series magazine. This was run biomonthly from 1997 to 2004 and features short stories from all the worlds of Games Workshop of the time – Warhammer Classic, Warhammer 40K, Necromunda and others – as well as comics, artwork, cutways, maps and other similar content.

As such they are a fantastic eye into the grim dark worlds that Games Workshop has created, giving you a touch of flavour and adventure as well as a bit more background.

These are high quality reprints made identically to their original versions, even down to the page of advertisements, addresses, prices and even the questionnaire on the last page of the first edition. It’s all here 100% authentic in beautiful black and white (within the pages) as it was when it was first hot off the printers all those years ago.

I was originally on the fence and found it hard to find much info on these and the stories they contain, however as GW was selling them at £5 each and £25 for the set I figured I’d take a leap and give them a try, esp since searching around Ebay showed that the original copies were selling for around those prices anyway. The first series of 5 has now finished its order run (sorry I didn’t get mine till the last days so couldn’t write this any sooner); however they are planning to return to print the entire series from start to finish. Each coming as a set of 5 for a month on print on demand (which is typically pretty fast turn around).

I couldn’t be more pleased with these, high quality printing and some great material and background to really immerse yourself in the lore and settings. The stories are well written and fun adventures. Note that some do appear in later collected editions (eg the Necromunda Story “The Demon Bottle” Also features in Status Deadzone collection), however others are fully stand alone and have not been reprinted by the Black Library. The comics, cutaways and other content have also, again, mostly never been reprinted outside of Inferno.

The stories are well written and have all that punch and wild fun that one would expect from adventure stories set within grim dark settings. From tales of Space Marines against Monstrous first generation Tyranids (the classic Screamer Killer and the old “Alien movie” style hormagaunts); to demonic incursions into the Underhive of Necromunda through to swords and spells as adventurers quest for ancient magical artifacts in dark caves (who also features a barbarian who sounds like he’s right out of the 80s Arnold Schwarzenegger era of films – accent and all). Some of these one off stories stand alone, others are the very early days and adventures of some heroes who later became big names in their own right, such as the mighty Gotrek and Felix!
The authors are wide ranging, some who have come and gone others who have remained with Games Workshop and Black Library for decades – Andy Jones, Jonathan Green, Gav Thorpe and so many more.

The comics vary in their styles of the artist and in what they are conveying, from short one offs to longer running series such as Obvious Tactics. Again another great way to look into the dark world of the 41st Millennium or the deep gothic mystical world of Fantasy.


If you were on the fence before I’d encourage you  to take the leap and get into this series if you can, even if you only pick up a few direct from Games Workshop. Quite a few are still lurking around on ebay and other secondhand book stores – so if you’ve missed the start its not too late. Meanwhile anyone who already has a collection with a few gaps this is a perfect situation to pick up those issues that you missed out on.

Skaven Pestilens

A book review of SKAVEN PESTILENS by Josh Reynolds

This is a special book for me as it was not only my first foray into the blighted world of the Skaven, not just my  first look at the proper lore and world of Age of Sigmar, but my  first ever full Black Library book that I read. Having spent many years as a Tyranid fan and a fringe fan of many other armies (ergo not fully invested), I’d never really delved deep into the lore of 40K nor the Old World of Fantasy Warhammer.

So from the get go I should say that I really recommend this title!

Within you discover the filth infested, back stabbing world of the Skaven of two Pestliens Clans as they fight over their conquest of a city that crumbles as their rotting blighted powers and war engines tear it to bits. The very ground beneath this vast city being burrowed into by the skaven as they feast on the flesh of the vast living wyrm that forms the foundations. Yes this is a war on the move and the mental images and descriptions that Josh creates are as epic as Age of Sigmar can aspire to be. Vast cities built atop even greater wyrms that wander a vast open plain, the various cities warring with each other and the twisted blights of Chaos that have crept into the world during the Age of Chaos.

Into this we have the Skaven as they seek something a relic from the Old World that was, but they are not alone. For into this destroyed city march the shining beacons of the Stormcast, come to cleanse the great beast and free the peoples of the city and awaken the great Realm Gate nestled in a temple built atop its head. However even their might is not enough to overcome the thick smoke and plagues of the Skaven, allies have to be found not just from the released captives of the city, but also from other races. From an old and ancient race that comes not just to fight the blight of Skaven and Chaos, but with their own motivations and ideals as well.

This is a book filled with magic and battles and Josh expertly balances the forces involved and the heroes that arise within each army. We see and get a fantastic flavour for the races involved and see the personal aspirations of characters as they seek to achieve their various objectives.

The only real criticism I have after reading is that I wish it were longer. I would have loved to have read the beginning of the war when the city was first under siege and the Skaven arose to fight the peoples of the wyrm; and I would love to read more of the story after the events in the book. I really hope that Josh gets to return to the world of the Skaven as he’s got a good talent for writing about these dark, twisted, slightly (if not totally) mad rats.

As I said at the start this is one book that I’d strongly recommend reading, though as noted just below in the links, I’d also recommend that you grab a copy of the Legends of the Age of Sigmar since you can then also tip into the worlds of two other major races as they awaken and throw off the shackles of Chaos invasion; leaving behind the Age of Chaos and bathing in the blood and light of the Age of Sigmar.

I recommend getting this book as part of the Legends of the Age of Sigmar: Omnibus 1 as for the same price as the book on its own, you get a selection of other great novels focusing on the Fyreslayers and the Sylvaneth.

Also available on Amazon and other good book stores.

Tales from the Underhive

A book review of the TALES FROM THE UNDERHIVE by various.

Books in the series:
Death’s Head by Josh Reynolds
Burned by Darius Hinks
Emp-Rah’s Eye by Guy Haley
Scar Crossed by Nick Kyme
Once a Stimm Queen by Robbie MacNiven
Dirty Dealings by Rachel Harrison

As this is a series of short stories I’ve decided to review them as an overall block instead of one by one. With the range of authors and styles presented there’s a little bit for everyone and each author puts their own twist on the grim gloomy world of the Underhive of Necromunda. The toxic, radioactive industrial wasteland that exists beneath the great industrial machines and megacity of the Hive above. These stories focus on short adventures by gangers as they attempt to survive within this hostile environment. Showing how some prevail and some fail against betrayal, cunning traps, the twists of fate and of love, the lust for greed and to escape and more.

As each one is short they take only around 10-20mins or so (on average) to read and thus present a neat bit of flavour to the Underhive. You don’t need much background to get into them, just a general awareness of the dark gritty world; yet if you know more you can see some of the links to the greater Warhammer 40K world. Each of these stories also follows a different gang, giving you a taste of the difference between the primitive Ratskins, the light and agile Eschers and the heavy, stim heavy Goliaths and others.

I found these enjoyable and a nice quick read and more than worth their price. That they are easy to get into without much background awareness makes them an ideal item for those new to the setting and for long time fans.

Buy now on Black Library as a set of 6 with one free
Also on sale as individual stories and on Amazon Kindle store.

Dice Theory – Witch Aelves VS Deamonettes

Here we can see maths theory taken into an expanded example where we test out a battle situation using two different types of equipment on Witch Aelves for the purposes of seeing the variation in how they perform on the tabletop. Remember these tests are only guides to performance and are not guarantees of performance. They make some major assumptions in order to make the maths simpler and more easy to digest the results.

Assumptions made:
1) No auras, command abilities, spells or other effects are applied to either side. These are the bare bones basic abilities of each unit (Fanatical Faith Rolls for Witches are included as they are a constant through each turn).

2) The test assumes that all models from each unit make it into combat. This is not always realistic nor possible (esp in the early phases of combat when there are the most number of models). However it does give a general idea of who has the greater chance of winning in any round of evenly pitched combat.


Witch Aelves with Duel Daggers

30 Witch Aelves VS 30 Deamonettes
Round 1

To hit =((4/6*(30-1))+5/6)*3 = 60.50
To Wound = 3/6*60.50 = 30.25
Deamonette saves = 2/6*30.25 = 10.08
Remaining Deamonettes 30-(30-10) = 10

To hit = (2*10*3/6)+(((2*10*3/6)*2/6)*3/6) = 11.11
To Wound = 3/6*11.11 = 5.55
Witches Saves = =(5.56*1/6)+((5.56*5/6)*1/6) = 1.70
Remaining Witches 30-(6-2) = 26

Round 2
To hit =((4/6*(26-1))+5/6)*3 = 52.5
To Wound = 3/6*52.5 = 26.25
Deamonette saves = 2/6*26.25 = 8.75
Remaining Deamonettes 10-(26-9) = 0
30 Deamonettes VS 30 Witches
Round 1
To hit = (2*30*3/6)+(((2*30*3/6)*2/6)*3/6) = 35
To Wound = 3/6*35 = 17.50
Witches Saves = =(17.50*1/6)+((17.50*5/6)*1/6) = 5.35
Remaining Witches 30-(18-5) = 17

To hit =((4/6*(17-1))+5/6)*3 = 34.5
To Wound = 3/6*34.5 = 17.25
Deamonette saves = 2/6*17.25 = 5.75
Remaining Deamonettes 30-(17-6) = 19

Round 2
To hit = (2*19*3/6)+(((2*19*3/6)*2/6)*3/6) = 22.17
To Wound = 3/6*22.17 = 11.08
Witches Saves = =(11.08*1/6)+(11.08*5/6))*1/6) = 3.39
Remaining Witches 17-(11-3) = 9

To hit =((4/6*(9-1))+5/6)*3 = 18.5
To Wound = 3/6*18.5 = 9.25
Deamonette saves = 2/6*9.25 = 3.08
Remaining Deamonettes 19-(9-3) = 13

Round 3
To hit = (2*13*3/6)+(((2*13*3/6)*2/6)*3/6) = 15.17
To Wound = 3/6*15.17 = 7.85
Witches Saves = =(7.85*1/6)+((7.85*5/6)*1/6) = 2.4
Remaining Witches 9-(8-2) = 3

To hit =((4/6*(3-1))+5/6)*3 = 6.5
To Wound = 3/6*6.5 = 3.25
Deamonette saves = 2/6*3.25 = 1.08
Remaining Deamonettes 13-(3-1) = 11

Round 4
To hit = (2*11*3/6)+(((2*11*3/6)*2/6)*3/6) = 12.83
To Wound = 3/6*12.83 = 6.42
Witches Saves = =(6.42*1/6)+((6.42*5/6)*1/6) = 1.96
Remaining Witches 3-(6-2) = 0

Witch Aelves with Bucklers

30 Witches with bucklers VS 30 Deamonettes.
Round 1
To hit =((4/6*(30-1))+5/6)*2 = 40.33
To Wound = 3/6*40.33 = 20.17
Deamonette saves = 2/6*20.17 = 6.72
Remaining Deamonettes 30-(20-7)= 17

To hit =(2*17*3/6)+(((2*17*3/6)*2/6)*3/6) = 19.83
To Wound = 3/6*19.83 = 8.5
Witches Saves =(2/6*8.5)+((4/6*8.5)*1/6)= 3.78
Remaining Witches 30-(9-4) = 25
Wounds from bucklers = 8.5*1/6 = 1.41
Remaining Deamonettes 17-1 = 16

Round 2
To hit =((4/6*(25-1))+5/6)*2 = 33.67
To Wound = 3/6*33.67 = 16.84
Deamonette saves = 2/6*16.84 = 5.61
Remaining Deamonettes 16-(17-6) = 5

To hit =(2*5*3/6)+(((2*5*3/6)*2/6)*3/6) = 5.83
To Wound = 3/6*5.83 = 2.92
Witches Saves =(2/6*2.92)+((4/6*2.92)*1/6)= 1.3
Remaining Witches 25-(3-1) = 23
Wounds from bucklers = 2.92*1/6 = 0.49
Remaining Deamonettes 5-0 = 5

Round 3
To hit =((4/6*(23-1))+5/6)*2 = 31
To Wound = 3/6*31 = 15.5
Deamonette saves = 2/6*15.5 = 5.17
Remaining Deamonettes 5-(16-5) = 0

30 Deamonettes VS 30 Witches with Bucklers
Round 1
To hit = (2*30*3/6)+(((2*30*3/6)*2/6)*3/6) = 35
To Wound = 3/6*35 = 17.50
Witches Saves =2/6*17.50+((4/6*17.50)*1/6)= 7.78
Remaining Witches 30-(18-8) = 20
Wounds from bucklers = 17.5*1/6 = 2.91
Remaining Deamonettes 30-3 = 27

To hit =((4/6*(20-1))+5/6)*2 = 27
To Wound = 3/6*27 = 13.5
Deamonette saves = 2/6*13.5 = 4.5
Remaining Deamonettes 27-(14-5) = 18

Round 2
To hit = (2*18*3/6)+(((2*18*3/6)*2/6)*3/6) = 21
To Wound = 3/6*21 = 10.5
Witches Saves =(2/6*10.5)+((4/6*10.5)*1/6)= 4.67
Remaining Witches 20-(11-5) = 14
Wounds from bucklers = 10.5*1/6 = 1.75
Remaining Deamonettes 18-2 = 16

To hit =((4/6*(14-1))+5/6)*2 = 19
To Wound = 3/6*19 = 9.5
Deamonette saves = 2/6*9.5 = 3.17
Remaining Deamonettes 16-(10-3) = 9

Round 3
To hit = (2*9*3/6)+(((2*9*3/6)*2/6)*3/6) = 10.5
To Wound = 3/6*10.5 = 5.25
Witches Saves =(2/6*5.25)+((4/6*5.25)*1/6)= 2.33
Remaining Witches 14-(5-2) = 11
Wounds from bucklers = 5.25*1/6 = 0.88
Remaining Deamonettes 9-1 = 8

To hit =((4/6*(11-1))+5/6)*2 = 15
To Wound = 3/6*15 = 7.5
Deamonette saves = 2/6*7.5 = 2.5
Remaining Deamonettes 8-(8-3) = 3

Round 4
To hit =(2*3*3/6)+(((2*3*3/6)*2/6)*3/6) = 3.5
To Wound = 3/6*3.5 = 1.75
Witches Saves =(2/6*1.75)+((4/6*1.75)*1/6)= 0.78
Remaining Witches 11-(2-1) = 10
Wounds from bucklers = 1.75*1/6 = 0.29
Remaining Deamonettes 3-0 = 3

To hit =((4/6*(10-1))+5/6)*2 = 13.67
To Wound = 3/6*13.67 = 6.83
Deamonette saves = 2/6*6.83 = 2.28
Remaining Deamonettes 3-(7-2) = 0


Tabulated results from the testing:

witches and deamons

In the table the unit highlighted in bold wins the combat.

What we can see from these results is very interesting. In the first situation where the witch aelves have an extra attack they are able to win combat in just two rounds when they make the first attack on the opposing force. If they were to gain an extra attack from their aura (being within 8 inches of a hero) there could even be a chance of them wiping out the entire Deamonette force with a single round of combat and some lucky rolls.
Meanwhile on the receiving end of attacks the witches with double blades crumble as their native +6 save doesn’t manage to save many of them, even when combined with additional +6 Fanatical Faith saves.

When we come to bucklers though we see a different series of patterns. The most striking is that the witches with bucklers win both situations of when they attack first and when the opposition attacks first. They are slower, however, to kill the Deamonettes when making the initial attack and, whilst they have a higher save, the greater number of attacks hitting them in rounds 2 and 3 take their toll, though the difference isn’t much (26 in the first and 23 in the second).

What this shows is that the most reliable all round choice for Witch Aelves, when faced against a unit with a high number of attacks and a weak save, is the Buckler version of them. However it also shows that if the Witches with Double Daggers makes the first strike then they are able to win the combat in one to two rounds. This would leave them ideally suited to following up those two rounds of combat with further actions; whilst Buckler equipped Witches take one to two turns longer (depending on if they attack first or second). Four turns is a long time in a game, considering that could be 5 turns into the game (assuming the first turn lost to positioning models ready for the charge). That makes the bucklers weaker on the alpha (first) strike, but durable and able to at least tar-pit and hold the line otherwise.
The results also suggest that if a hero was within 8 inches, and thus Witches get one extra attack, the performance would increase quite significantly for both forms of witch. Indeed it would speed up nearly all results by one round, thus speeding up combat and surviving more witches.

This shows that the buckler is must certainly the most all round good and versatile. Able to handle itself well and survive in either attack or defence rolls. The Duel Blades is a trickier beast and superior only when its making the initial attack.
Furthermore keep your heroes close, that +1 attack is going to be a major deciding factor in if your unit sweeps past others and has turns and models left to remain a threat; or gets tangled up for what could be half the game.