[Archive] Effectiveness of Hobgoblin Archers?


So I have 40 of these guys, and am seriously considering taking all 40 in my regular 2k points games as they are fairly cheap as hobgoblins go, plus they can help to protect my flanks with a reform or other ideas.

But heres the thing, taking into account law of averages of the dice roll…if I have 40 shots with my archers…at half range and long range? What are my chances to hit and wound?

Half, which is a very poor 12 inches, I will be hitting on 4’s. The possibility of these EVER being in half range for the bows they use is slim.

So let’s say I need 5s on average, but have two scenarios. I need 4s to wound for scenario 1 and 5s for scenario two.

How effective would they be?


they are not very effective at all at killing things…
they do the thing that hobgoblins do best… die…
thankfully their bows are like painting big bullseyes on them…
your opponent cannot resist killing them… so more orcs and dwarfs should arrive unscathed…

Arrer boyz are superior… for one point you get +1T, +1Ld, light armor and a choppa…
still the models are olde and impressive… and they are core…
field them all in MSU of ten, two on each flanks… they might kill the odd light cav coming for your machines…
they will never make thier points back… but they are a heck of a distraction…

Uzkul Werit:

I would argue in favour of the Hobgoblin Archers not because they’re better at shooting than the Orcs but they don’t take up that vital Special slot that the Orc Archers do. And they’re far cheaper in points.

Plus, the Orc Archer models really are that bad.


well they are not that cheaper… uno pointo… which is well paid for…
the special slot is the biggest reason i dont use arrer boyz…
but that doesn’t mean i would take hobgoblin archers…
i’d take more vanilla hobbies instead…

for more effective mid range shooters try Pirazzos Lost legion or Barazangas Besiegers…
RoRs… special choices…


Taking those situations into account…

Basically I am looking for the random math in this. If anyone has a ballistic missile probability calc for fantasy, I’d love a link.

So lets say I am over half range. 5’s to hit…with 40 shots I may make…a little under 1/3rd? So…12 maybe?

Then with that…say against toughness 4…(most common annoyance) 5s to wound…so…maybe 3-7 wounds?

I am terrible at calculations for random die rolls, but if anyone has formulas I’d love em.

Basically…how viable is it? A rain of 40 arrows is impressive yes…hitting and wounding is another matter, and that;s what I am looking at. Just how EFFECTIVE it will be with die rolls?


With your numbers there, you are looking at 4.44 wounds (no rounding between rolls, gives a much more accurate probabality).

For calculating dice rolls it is pretty easy.

Multiply the number of attacks/shots by

1/6 for 6s (or divide by 6)

2/6 for 5+ (1/3 or divide by 3)

3/6 for 4+ (1/2 or divide by 2)

4/6 for 3+ (2/3 or multiply by 2 then divide by 3)

5/6 for 2+

Thommy H:

Okay, here’s some mathhammer then:

5+ to hit with 40 shots:

5+ = 1/3 chance, so out of 40 you’d hit with (40/3) = 13.3… dice.

5+ to wound = another 1/3 chance, so you’d wound with (13.3/3) = 4.4… dice.

That’s sheer law of averages though. It looks pretty lame, but it’s the same as human archers or orc archers, but they’re a Core unit that cost 5 points each.

If you can get into close range instead, you’re going to hit with an average of 20 dice, which will translate to 6 wounds.

Pick your targets sensibly, and use missile fire to disrupt rather than to destroy - this is WHFB, not 40K. If anything, a unit of 40 models isn’t really the best way to use that many bow-armed figures: you’re better off seperating them into multiple units so you can use them to cause as many panic tests as possible and keep several enemy units pinned down.

EDIT: Damn, Cornixt beat me to the answer.


Hmmm…interesting. So out of 40 shots I will gain about 13 hits on 5s and 4 wounds on average, and I may wound 1-2 guys. Ugh.

Doesn’t seem much worth it when looking at that.


If I need 4s to hit…that’s roughly 20 hits…then 10 wounds against toughness 3…or 6 wounds for toughness 5 as Thommy H mentioned.

So yeah, I think the rule of thumb here is to pick targets carefully and use these to force panic checks or guard the lines. If I can have these guys up on a hill, great.

However, 40 hobgoblin archers CAN be given shields and light armor…and If I reform them just at the right moment into two large blocks with full command, it double their effectiveness and can actually be thrown at the enemy to tie them up alongside some sneaky git flankers. Seems like a good idea in general to me.

So…the rule of thumb seems to be : Meat Shield. hehehe

Besides, I LOVE the hobgoblin models. I really do. I love throwing out my hunchbacked slaves to die in droves. So much fun.


uggghh… how to make this useless model worse… give it CC toys…

you sir cannot be helped…



Errmm…okay…that was kind of uncalled for…

The tactic does have a use, or have you not seen the reform tactic of tomb king skeletal archers? Yeah, they kind of suck, but I don’t care, I want to use the models. ~Shrugs~

Apoligies that I have seemed to have somehow offended you.

Thommy H:

Yeah, I have to agree with metro_gnome that you have to focus on what you actually want your units to do in order to get the best out of them. If you’re in a situation where your missile troops have to reform to withstand a charge, then you’ve already lost the battle. Similarly, if you’re trying to get a cannon fodder unit out of something with bows…well, you’re wasting points - a unit can either be used simply to get killed, or it can be used to do some killing: doing both is just going to land you in trouble.

Keep your hobgoblin archer units small and plentiful rather than in a huge block. That way you can cover the battlefield in multiple fields of fire - rather than using those little Strength 3 bows to kill stuff, you should be using it to fence enemy units in and make them think about where they’re advancing. A unit (of any size or type) is going to think twice about marching across an open battlefield if it puts him in LOS of three bow-armed units. One massive unit can just be avoided.


Hmmm…methinks others are misunderstanding. How to illustrate what I meant.

Let’s say you have a few lines. So my normal deployment is like this,.


W= Warriors With Handweapon, shield, armor

Now, the line of thinking is thus if I have no hills. Note the key word of hills



I then have a hobgoblin archer line that acts as both a shield for my main units and that can also fire at my enemies and harass or attain shooting objectives that I deem nessecary. Also, if I roll poorly on Animosity and hit a 6, which I do not want…they won’t get tangled in my own units and hamper my movement for my chaos dwarfs.

Now…that taken into account…at most I MIGHT get 3 turns of shooting if I am lucky with my earthshaker cannons. Also, note that since I am closer I would probably only need 4s at least at SOME point in the turn phase, so I might actually wound better.

SO we take that formation…and do the following on turns when I suspect they will charge.


Line looks like this now


The reasoning behind is that I sacrifice the hobgoblins, and use my Chaos Dwarf Warrior units to hit the flank. I only want the hobgoblins to hold the front and allow me to flank if possible. In this instance, I might actually use GWs for my Warriors, as I almost never do because they die too easily for CR with only a 5+ compared to a 3+ save.

Again, these are just thoughts and tactics. Yes, I know hobgoblins suck, but regular Warriors aren’t much better. Low initiative, 1 more point of save with a hand weapon shield, str 3…and very low chance to wound.

I’m used to playing with poor cc troops, I play VC as well and take mostly skeletons and pretty much nothing else. So I’m looking for advantages in Combat rez and movement and flanking. Keep in mind I will also have two units of 10 Hobgoblin wolf riders on the field, so that will also help.

Again, this is taking into account there is no hill. (I.E. not a list for a tourney)


but why are you using hobgoblins?
this is an olde 6th ed goblin tactic… and at 3 points this was shunned by most of the gentry… tho i used it…
its not worth it at the new 4 points… nor hobgoblin five… and certainly not 7!
7 point models as meat shields??? Ye gods… better 'ard gobbo stikkas at 5 than 'ard hobbos at 7…

do it with Arrerboyz… T4, LA and Choppas will make them last…
and they are on larger bases so they they will block more fire…
and miraculously they are cheaper…

the only thing hobgoblin archers have going for them is multiple small units…
Hobgoblins MSU in groups of 10 with Bows and nothing else…
its the only way they work… and even then… barely…


Most often missle armed troops will get you a few kills here and there they will very rarely be the deciding factor.

Uzkul Werit:

They can be handy against Fast Cav, only generally are lightly armoured and you only need one wound or two to cut down on their effectiveness. Which is all that the Hobgoblin Archers will be doing anyway. Take ten and mark them near your war machines. This is what they excel at: a cheap bodyguard for the big guns.


I usually recommend 10 to 20 of them in units of 10. They can scare fast calvary away from bothering you, and provide some defense to your war machines. 40 is too much, and 200 points (that’s like 9 Bull Centaurs). Though I still believe they can be useful, and I like night goblin archer models so it’s all good.

Cheers, :cheers



Hobgoblin archers are worth their points- not because of the damage they inflict, but because you have no other choice.

Hobbo Archers are the only ranged infantry in the CD list that can reach out to 24". This fact makes them worth taking simply so that you can hurt enemy missile troops, who will rarely be kind enough to come within 12".

Using shields and light armor could be useful- not for melee, but for protection from ranged fire. Instead of 5pts with no save, you get a 7pt unit with a 5+ save. This upgrade just about pays for itself on paper. However, there are several issues- the most notable one being that many armies have S4 ranged fire. This is going to put lots of little holes in the armored archers, and they’re not going to make their points back.

In fact, they’re harder to kill than Orcs- once in melee, against a S3 attack, T3 4+ is better than T4 6+. Thus, these armored archers would survive longer than their Orc equivalents- and wouldn’t take up a valuable Special slot.

However, there is one role in which the aforementioned upgrades could be useful- as support for a melee unit. Specifically, you put a unit of 10 armored Hobbo archers (only 70pts) next to a unit of CDWs. They can shoot and shoot and shoot, and then when the CDW unit gets charged they can maneuver in and hit the enemy flank. While it is true that you could take 10 naked archers and 10 naked hobbos for the same cost, those naked hobbos are just free CR for the enemy once they get into combat.

I wouldn’t advocate it, however the option is certainly there, and when used correctly could be a very effective tool.

However, in Warhammer, you need role specialization- specifically, don’t give your melee troops ranged equipment, and vice versa. It is difficult to make this crossing-over work, but if you can get it to work, then more power to you.

PS, Metro_Gnome, there are ways to respond to something you disagree with other than flaming.


i disagree with the point that once you reform your missile troops to fight in combat you have already lost. I have won many a game by reforming dwarf thunderers into combat blocks and fighting with them rather than shooting.