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Blood Vow

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Part V. Cavalcade • Welcome Back to hte Land

So this is the 5th installment of teh series. If you are following this then maybe you can guess where I am going with this multi part series of strategic articles.

I think at this point it's important to define the terms STRATEGY & TACTICS.

When you build your army list you want to craft it such that you can implement your strategies. Some armies have multiple strategies such as eldar & Space Marines. Chaos daemons can also be built such that they have various strategies. Other armies are best at a single strategy and often these are the strongest. You should choose your strategies such that they are easy to acheive if you want to win a lot.

Your tactics evolve and are played out based upon your strategies....

Strategy > Tactics

Here is a simple example that illustrates strategy versus tactics and how they are coupled. Suppose you have a basic Space Marine army and you are playing a mission that features holding multiple objectives. Your strategy is to start off shooting with some movement towards the objectives. You don't want to over commit your army early so that you can see how your opponent reacts and then make adjustments if necesary. So you start off playing conservatively. By midgame you want to have put youself in a position to be able to hold the majority of the objectives for the win while also being able to contest the other objectives. You must decide by midgame which objectives will be the easiest to hold and which objectives you can contest. Obviously the more objectives you can hold the better your chances of winning. By the endgame you should be either holding the objectives you have chosen or be in a position to take & hold. Random game adds an element of surprise and against a good opponent you may have to take some chances.

A mechanized Space Marine army will rely upon tactical squads in rhinos or razorbacks to move forward and grab objectives. Assault terminators riding in Landraider Crusaders or Redeemers will clear the objectives so the tactical squads can then hold them. These are your tactics. It's all simple on the surface but by playing conservatively and not over committing during the early game you will have several means of acheiving your goals. Landspeeders are an excellent choice for contesting objectives but they are also quite fragile. If you protect them in the early game there are better odds they will still be around by the endgame to contest.

Armies such as eldar and Space Marines are inherently shooty. Eldar are also highly mobile while Space Marines are mobile. The tradeoff is that Space Marines are tougher and can sustain more damage. Both armies tend to be limited in numbers but have many specialist units that excel in specific roles. Tactical Marines are a Jack of all Trades but by splitting these units into combat squads they become more specialized. A top tier army can crank out massacres while a mid tiered army can just win. I was talking to a friend this evening and he said the basic value in playing meta list is it will perform well based upon it's track record as proven by the many people who win with it. The meta list will perform well against most any army so it is more forgiving if you make some mistakes early in the game.

I am not a proponent of meta lists but I do respect them. To me the main problem with any meta list is that other good players also know what to expect and can counter them. I prefer armies that are seldom seen by the specific build. Your opponents may mistakenly identify them as a meta list and expose themselves at some point in the game by making the wrong decisions based upon their incorrect evaluation. Of course some meta lists such as mechanized IG are so strong they can force a win due to their inherent strengths regardless of early mistakes. If you do decide not to run a meta list this can make you a better gamer since you have to think outside the box. If you can lull your opponent into a false sense of security into the midgame then you will have the opportunity to grab the initiative during the endgame and deny them the win.



TheKing Elessar said...

I am of the opinion that a solid balanced list vs another solid, balanced list will (almost) NEVER result in a Massacre. Only a vast gulf in luck/player skill can see this outcome. A VAST gulf.

Terminus Est said...

Well this would seem to be true. I think the classic example is the Take & Hold mission. One have one objetive in your deployment zone and your opponent has one in his. If both armies are comparable in overall strength and both players are of equal skill it should be very hard to acheive a win. Like I said though this is a classic example and I have found you rarely if ever see so simple a mission in a tournament. Big tournaments tend to have multiple objectives (primary, secondary & tertiary) and more often than not the objectives are not directly related to each other. For example the primary might be to hold the most objectives while the secondary is kill points and the tertiary is to destroy the opponebnt's most expensive HQ. So if two solidly balanced armies face off in a tournament and the opponents are of equal skill then it can come down to who better utilizes the strengths of their particular army and does not expose their weaknesses. This to me is all about properly executing your strategies via your tactics. The player who is more familiar with his list and his opponent's has the better the chance to win. If you are playing in a tournament that utilizes pure Swiss pairings each round then most likely the best players will not face off until the last round and a minor/major victory could be enough to secure best overall or best general. Sure there is always the chance that a top player wins by a small margin in the second game and then ends up winning the tournament by massacring a middling player in the last round (out of three) but I would rather be on the top table going into the final round and take my chances there. One solidly balanced army can massarcre another and the mission objectives can play a big part in this even if both armies are balanced. Rarely do you see that many mirror matches, at least that is the case for me based upon my experience as a tournament player. It just always seems to work out that way to me.


Laen said...

I'd have to agree with you GBF. I am an "Out of the Box" type player and see so many gems that could just throw your opponent off for enough time to secure the victory. More recently I have wanted to focus on the massacre capable "Out of the Box" armies. I'm build a Chaos Marine list that does not use any daemons and no lords. It does have one Sorc with the staple Lash.. If you'd like to take a look at it's current state here is a link.


Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I feel that meta lists, while decent, will often crumble to the unexpected element. There is always the Luck factor though... if someone is rolling 1s th whole game.. well.. its just one of those days.. But .. ohhh here is a pretty good example I read about on another forum talking about an Ork tactic to hopefully crush IG Blocks. You have said Ork squad in the back of a truck or wagon.. its the one with the death rolla.. you have to tank shock into the block with it. Supposedly.. this pushes past a few of the ranks of IG and into the heart where the HQ is. Now the truck blows or doesn't. In either case you can have your boys assault from any direction(from what I read) so you can have them assault through the front(since it is open topped, is this right?) if the truck blows up.. you have a clear path in as well.. So, you assault the HQ. Take out the HQ and you are able to assault the rest of the IG with out them being Iron hard to break... it went something like that.. It was a really good read I think it was at TauOnline.com

Anyway.. Maybe that is obviously what would happen but I had never heard about it before.. It was interesting...

Jezzzz.. another essay.

I'm enjoying this series! Keep it up man!

Terminus Est said...

Hi Laen!

I took a look at your CSM list. I like the standard predators. I have a good friend who plays SoB with inducted IG. He has quite a few IG heavy weapons squads (HWS) with lots of autocannons. Autocannons are great versus rhinos, razorbacks and even chimeras. You can pen rhinos and razors while glancing the front armor on chimeras. Their main strength is versus infantry. Anything that can force a lot of wounds is dangerous. About your Chosen , do they have a rhino? I think it's a good investment to put them in a rhino. 4x plasma is great for killing stuff like terminators but 4x meltagun is obviously great for destroying armor. You might want to consider 2x melta & 2x plasma so your Chosen will be more versatile. You see a lot of mech these days. It looks like you were originally using Havoc missile launchers (HML). HML are great! I would keep them as I think they are one of the best options in the CSM codex. The HML combined with the three predators will rip through hordes. Remember that HML can reroll their scatter since they are twin linked. I like that you are taking one lascannon in each troop. This is the best way for your army to wreck/destroy enemy transports. It's all about getting rid of enemy transports as quickly as possible! I see the lash sorceror as filling primarily a defensive role in your army as you can lash backwards an enemy unit that is closing into assault range. Of course you can always lash them forward as you plan to do some you can rapid fire a unit with two squads then assault them with the Slaaneshi squad (plus firing their bolt pistols). That's like 50 S4 shots followed up with another 30 close combat attacks. I have always been a big fan of power fists too. Power fists are a great equalizer and one of the best options available to Marines in general. I tend to run as many power fists as possible.


Terminus Est said...

I was just thinking you might want to run with a flamer in the Slaaneshi unit since they are an assault squad. You can use the sorceror to bunch up the enemy unit so you can get the template over what is left of the enemy unit.


Laen said...

Hmmm lol sorry for taking over your topic. I agree completely. I had originally intended for the Chosen squad to be a static gun point. But adding two meltas and a rhino could boost their usefulness and that is never a bad idea.

The list has changed many times and will a bunch more! Thanks for the support of the HML.. everyone says they rock.. I will just need to drop one of the Preds to fill out those extra tid bits in the list to give it some more focused punch. I was worried that the HML wouldn't bring as much firepower to the table as the pred.. so I opted for the pred..

I'll also add that flamer to the Slaanesh unit, good thinking!

My thoughts behind this list is that CSM are already pretty strong in melee.. they can take a charge like regular marines can give the charge.. so.. I figured.. what the hell .. why not gun line with them.

The list will most likely only ever go to 1500 though. When I break into the 2000+ I will run them with my splinter scout force and IG force I'm planning to build under the banner of Alpha Legion.

This project is going to take awhile to finish and I kind of want to play ASAP.. so I'll be picking up a force much like your nid list. Small model count. HUGE output. Reminds me of a rocket.. its there it gives a punch but it burns out.. That or Eldar... But the rumors are saying a new Eldar codex is coming so I kind of don't want to invest to deeply into something that might have their rules changed. Another army I'm really looking forward to releasing is the new Dark Eldar. I hear their entire line is being remade. Or maybe ravenwing.. but I kind of only want one loyalist SM army.. and I am pretty sure that will be either Angels Sanguine Or a Space Wolf army based off of Dragongaze.

Holy cow! I should just be emailing you lol! Again, I am so sorry for hi-jacking this.. Anyway, back on topic!

P.S. I'm getting my nid codex today if there are any left in the store! Booooya!

Magilla Gurilla said...

This is a very good post GBF. I think that both you and King Elessar have hit the nail on the head. If two players are both playing solid lists (that fit their style of play) then most of their games will be very close. A good case in point is my buddy and me who have been playing each other for awhile. Quite often we will tie or have a very minor win; this is because our well rounded lists don't get blown of the table even when we do lose.

Keep up the posts on tactics, I personally have been enjoying them.

Terminus Est said...

@ Magilla - I think if you can play a lot of games versus another good player with the same armies it will inevitably help you to play your own army better as you are forced to learn it inside and out. It's hard to win these games by a big margin over time but a win is still a win and you cherish these. It's good to stick with the same army over time and refine it.

@ Laen
Here is my 1000 point CSM army list I use for team tournaments:

Winged Lash Prince
5x Plague Marine/power fist & 2x meltagun - rhino/extra armor
5x Plague Marine/ same as above
5x Khorne Berzerker/power fist
Landraider/extra armor

A very basic CSM list that takes advantage of what is best in the CSM codex, their troop choices. It's got the lash prince and Nurgle Marines. They are both tried and true units. No oblits. It's definitely lash spam though. What's missing from the equation is the other army for the team. Suppose you just double up, 2x everything. At 2k points you might start to see some it's power. Lash is still one of the most potent powers in the game and it is a game changer. Some armies can counter lash but you will find that most do not. Lash is both offensive & defensive. A lot of people simply dimiss lash but it can beat them down. Okay so you've got mech. Great then I will pop your transports first then lash you. Next is six solid troops. Sure they are all min maxed but that just makes them that much stronger. The Nurgle Marines are the core and the Berzerkers are the hammer. It's a completely mechanized army. I understand this build inside out. I know what it can do and I know not to overcommit early on.

This was the army I wanted to run last year at Adepticon but my team decided to go with the Waaagh. This year will be pure Grey Knights. Grey Knights have some of the best troops in the game. People tend to underestimate them too but they can get it done.

It's all fun! : )


Laen said...

Agreed GBF! Grey Knights are an amazing army. I read up on them quite extensively and found through many batreps that the "Way of the water warrior" tactic guide on B&C is well written, old, but very effective with a shooty army that can move. I'm going to delve into the nid codex and see if I can actually pull this off with nids.. Man that would be extremely annoying fighting against an army that swarms, shoots about 200 shots at you and refuses to commit to a charge unit mid/late game.

It all depends on the range of said assault weapons... hmmm "Batman! Tot he army list building room!" (Bat sign spins in view, screen fades to black)