Monday, January 10, 2011
Breaking Down the Castle DoA Style
Recently I posted a tactical article how to play against other assault armies using the Counter Punch method. You hold your army in reserve and watch how your opponent deploys to find a weakness you can exploit. Focus big chunks of your army on separate enemy units to quickly destroy them using your mobility. DoA has a lot of advantages versus other assault armies and the Counter Punch method can be very effective... However what do you do if your opponent is prepared and castles (turtles) their army? Castling means that a player is deploying all their units close together to support each other rather than spreading out. I often refer to this as Circling the Wagons... this is how western pioneers fought native Americans as they forged their way across the country. Castling is an excellent defensive tactic versus dark eldar - dark eldar players also use the Counter Punch method. Another way to express the Counter Punch is the term Divide and Conquer so you can think of it that way as well.
If you can beat a castle as well as counter punch then you are well on your way to winning a tournament. You will have an arsenal of strategies to unleash and can fight any type of army on your own terms. Breaking down the castle requires advanced tactica. More than ever you are relying on your uncanny ability to precision deepstrike coupled with your mobility, heavy meltas and close combat prowess. I wrote a tactical article last year about using peripheral movement to beat a castle. Most players who deploy their armies in a castle use a table corner - this means that literally they have put themselves into a corner with no way out. At best they can fight on two fronts - forward and to the side - there is nowhere else for them to go. You have to exploit this as it's a great opportunity and easy to take advantage of this type of defensive deployment. Most likely one side of their castle will be a weaker front than the other. You can focus the bulk of your army versus their weak side while your strongest units attack their strong side. Peripheral movement means that you are dropping in your units to box in the enemy and cut off their movement - no one is going to roll out their tanks when they know an assault squad loaded with melta and power fists are waiting right around the corner! By boxing in your opponent you are controlling their movement, they are very limited as to where they can move. Often when a player castles they will use some of their vehicles to form a shield wall. These tanks are not moving much and are easy killpoints. Shoot the tanks and charge straight in. If you can multi charge the opponent's tanks and some infantry there are good odds your assault units will be locked in combat the following player turn, meaning that your opponent won't be able to shoot them.
What you want to do is hit the enemy lines with two waves. The first wave makes the initial contact with the enemy line destroying as much as possible in their path and locking up enemy units. The first wave ties down the opponent depleting their counter tactics. Vanguard veterans are obviously a fine choice for your first wave. I always equip mine with meltabombs now so that they can multi charge enemy tanks and blow them up. My Vanguard veterans are my best shock troop - they come in hard and fast wrecking much havoc, disrupting the enemy. Your second wave should be your best assault units such as a unit of choppy Honor Guard and dreadnaughts charging head first out of your Stormravens. Your second wave is your five fingered death punch - they will get off the charges where you need them the most to destroy the rest of your opponent's army. The second wave should be your most powerful assault units because they have to reach the core of your opponent's castle and break it down. One reason why I like to take the Sanguinor because he transforms one of your sergeants into a super hero - as such all my sergeants are equipped with either thunder hammers or power fists and a stormshield. They are death incarnate and suddenly that assault they are leading has just become a veritable power house. As such this unit is most often featured in my second wave. Stormravens are also a great choice to feature in your second wave. I run one and it carries a Furioso plus a killy Librarian with his choppy Honor Guard. The Stormraven can also plink off shots as it heads into battle moving flat-out and using the Power of the Machine Spirit to destroy enemy tanks with it's twin linked multi-melta.
So in conclusion here is how to break down those castles:
> Break your army into two waves:
* First wave is your shock troops,
* Second wave is your strongest units.
> Box the enemy in by surrounding the castle on two fronts.
> First wave hits first popping tanks and locking the enemy down in close combat.
> Second wave hits last destroying the remainder of the opponent's army.
NOTE - It's very important to use intervening terrain to cover your army. Drop in behind whatever cover is available. Sometimes if there is little cover them you'll have use your first wave to cover your second wave. Locking enemy units in close combat is a great way to create some cover.
Play smart and play aggressive. Don't throw away units needlessly if at all possible. You need ever unit you've got to inflict the most damage possible. If you use these tactics you'll find they work well and with some practice it will become quite natural.
Happy hunting !