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Blood Vow

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Friday, January 07, 2011

The Counter Punch * Tactics for DoA Armies

I'm going to discuss how to use the classic counter punch tactic to your advantage when playing against other assault oriented armies.

Counter punchers are slippery, defensive style fighters who often rely on their opponent's mistakes in order to gain the advantage whether it be on the score cards or more preferably a knockout. They use their well rounded defense to avoid or block shots and then immediately catch the opponent off guard with a well placed and timed punch. Thus, fighting against counter punchers requires constant feinting and never telegraphing a punch for the counter puncher to generate a good offense from. To be successful using this style they must have good reflexes, intelligence, punch accuracy, and good hand speed. Here are some boxers that excelled as counter punchers:

Marvin Hagler, Evander Holyfield, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Pernell Whitaker

If you think about it there are a lot of armies that feature some assault units. They will probably be a mix of shooting and close combat but there are other armies that are purely dedicated to assaults. No army can win as fast and as big as an assault army. This is because of the multi charge - basically when it's to your advantage you assault multiple units with one of yours - there are very few shooting units that can split fire, Long Fangs and Imperial landraiders immediately come to mind but typically it's only one shot or at best three. If done properly an assault unit can engage two to three units and destroy them all in the initial charge. Also remember that you get to assault during your opponent's turn if you have units still locked in combat. Nothing in the game is as powerful as the assault and Blood Angels are one of the best, if not the best.

I play locally versus a lot of gamers that like to field deathstars - nob bikers, wolfstars, etc. If it's a deathstar I have probably fought it. Having played so many of these type of games I have learned a thing or two how to consistently beat them. Initially I had a lot of problems versus wolfstar but stuck with it and now feel confident when I face off against them. Note that this tactical article is not intended as a primer for building an army or even individual units. The intent is rather to demonstrate how to use your movement phase to beat other assault armies. I mention deathstars in general because for a lot of gamers this what they fear most.

DoA armies are highly mobile. They lack long range shooting unless you opt to field a Stormraven. I think one Stormraven is all you need. The Stormraven provides a mobile weapons platform that can also serve up some really nasty assault units such as the Furioso. As such it's a fine addition to any DoA army if properly integrated into the list. Last night I had a good game versus Speed Freakz - three battlewagons and a large squad of nob bikers lead by a warboss. One battlewagon was carrying a squad of mega armored nobz lead by Mad Doc Grotsnik and the other two both had large squads of Slugga Boyz. All three battlewagons had deffrollaz. We were playing a sample mission from Bolter Beach II - killpoints for the primary win condition and Pitched Battle for deployment. The xenos army is really an elite army, not a typical horde.

I decided as usual to hold everything in reserve. One of the advantages to playing DoA is you can reroll failed reserves for your jump infantry units. As such by starting with everything off the table you can see how your opponent deploys and then bring in your reserves where you need them. I have found that playing against other assault armies often my opponents will commit to some basic mistakes while deploying and during their first couple of movement phases. They have nothing to set their sights on and they don't know what to do. Instead of playing aggressively as you should with an assault army they tend to sit back and wait. This is one area where the Stormraven can be a big boon for you. If you can cripple one to two enemy transports carrying nasty assault units then you have gained the initiative and can dictate the game. This is where the term counter punch comes into play. You draw out your opponent's forces, dodging a few errant blows, then move in for the kill. It's all about making sure your army charges the opponent, not vice versa. A squad of Blood Angels assault Marines with Furious Charge are roughly three times as dangerous as the same squad receiving a charge. Space Wolves are the best army to take a punch in the face since they've got Counter Attack but this is obviously not the case for Blood Angels. So what you want to do is lull your opponent into spreading out their units then come in hard and fast, taking out entire sections at a time. No other army can do this better than DoA. You're highly mobile and dominate in assault. Combats tend to go very fast and are often decided during the initial charge.

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