Tuesday, June 8, 2010

a breif tactical guide against nids



Hi there, in my recent conversations with Ray, I was saying how anythingbutones is really lacking some tactical content. I think mainly this is due to the nature of our game that we do not power-game. We are professionals at what we do for a living; we have vibrant lives and beautiful girlfriends. We are not your average geek-freak. BUT…. Nonetheless I think it is crucial we explore some of the ins and outs of 40k with some of our own experiences.

This time, I will talk a little bit about the combat philosophies behind playing against Tyranids as they are the army that I play against most. Please note, I ain’t claiming to be a gaming guru so if I am wrong, take a chill pill… You will get over it. I promise… J

As a space wolf player, I am very used to being outnumbered. Get used to it, learn to work with it, learn to love it as this is the way of the space marine. Lets face it, 40k is about creating and defending the options available for your units to execute on the playing field. If you lose a unit, you lose a set of options available for that unit and hence also to your army. How well you make use of these options depends on the way your list of units mutually support each other. Realistically to win at 40k is to preserve your units; keeping them alive so they can do more in the game.

Against nids, to win or break is governed by your deployment. There are a few reasons for this:

  • As sw fighting nids, chances are their initiative is higher than mine. Any foolish assault can yield horrible outcomes
  • Generally, space marines are better at shooting. Heavy weapons need to be stationary to shoot so an optimum vantage point for these units is very important during deployment
  • Nids are very fast. Their combat motive is to come to you. Let them do so while utilizing the distances the nids must travel to get to you as a killing field

The way I play it is to create tiers of defenses for the nids to cut through instead of leaving a big concentration to be gangbanged. Usually to do this, you want to funnel your opponents into your fire lanes. I do this with tanks. Since my grey hunters do not want to be out in the open, they will camp around ruins near objectives so that frees up my rhinos with double storm bolters to act as a mobile wall. There are many benefits to this as having only 6 turns to a game; the enemy must waste 1 turn to shoot/assault these rhinos. Sporting double storm bolters and also having the chance to explode on the nids is a huge benefit often overlooked not to mention it’s wreck could also become difficult terrain. In short, you need to micro manage the nids into chewable bite sizes.

Next topic to cover is the mutual supporting edges your units give each other.

I will start off with my vindicators and whirlwinds. The bottom line is since these units have a difference of range, the vindicator must be ahead of the whirlwind. And the vindicator must always shoot first being the stronger weapon. Whatever the demolisher cannon fails to kill, the whirlwind will mop up. Even against armies with better armor than nids, you still want to take weapons that use the large pie blast template. 40k being a game of chance, you force your opponent to take saves. With enough saves forced on your opponent even the strongest units will start taking wounds. Another reason to keep these units apart is the characteristic of a nid rush is usually a whole tide capable of multi-charging. Do not risk the chance of losing 2 units together if at all avoidable.

Dreadnoughts must always be around tactical squads. Many fluff driven players are mistaken in thinking dreadnoughts are super tanks able to take a lot and walk away. Basically they are beefier terminators with AV12 that can shoot heavy weapons and assault. In CQC, the tactical squads must take the blunt of the charge first. After the initial wave is absorbed, the dreadnought joins combat with a powerfist to mop up the unit or to further diminish the enemy squad. Being initiative 4, they are not too good 1 on 1 in CQC. Try to avoid the dreadnought being isolated as they are very very easy targets to kill.

HQ choices should be area control units. Some units CQC beasts but that doesn’t mean they should lead the charge all the way to the other end of the table but remain in close support range of your troops. I have said before on this blog that 5th ed. 40k is all about controlling the mid field. My rune priests are designed for this duty further digesting the tyranid tide into smaller pieces.

Finally in respect to target saturation, after all my games I always ask my opponent if they thought anything was especially scary. The best answer you can possibly get is “NO” . The reason for this is simple; you do not want anything glaringly powerful as they will often be the target of high priority. My trainings as an architect also echoes this thought as the strongest most enduring buildings are not the top of bottom heavy structures but buildings with the structural integrity to “share” the bulk of the load.

With all respect to the players that support and vouch their game to their named chapter heroes, you are treading in dangerous waters. Like a building, once the main beams are located and destroyed, the rest will also crumble.

Another more eye catching reason not to take named characters in below 2000 point games is the cost of these units. I try to run my lists as plain as can be. Some people argue decking out units with a macabre of wargear. I personally do not feel this is needed as all unit entries in the codex’ are inherently good at something if used properly. The key is to figure out what unit is effect against which unit and fielding them accordingly.

They say “knowing is half the battle” , Sun Tzu’s Art of War says “ If you don’t know yourself and don’t know your enemy, you will lose all the time; if you know yourself but not your enemy, you may win half the time; if you know yourself and know your enemy you will win ALL the time. Lets hope there is merit with Sun Tzu’s words in 40k.

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