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Blood Vow

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Thursday, April 07, 2011

DoA vs Mech

As promised here is my tactical article on how to consistently beat mech armies with DoA. The first article deals with treads - think Imperial and orks.

You have all the tools at your disposal to beat mech:

* Deepstrike with 1d6 scatter
* Plethora of melta weapons
* Jump packs
* Special Characters

Notice I listed the special characters last. They are very powerful and if you pick the right ones they will heavily buff your army but don't get into the habit of expecting them to win your games for you.

Deepstrike is what makes DoA what it is. You can reroll failed reserves and only scatter 1d6. The optimal situation versus mech is to go second but realistically you will only go first 50 percent of the time. So you have to be prepared to go first as well. Some mech players will start their whole army in reserve thinking that will deny you the advantage that comes from deepstriking - it actually plays right into your hands since the majority of your army will arrive on turn 2 (75%) while they will get at best 50 percent. If you run into this situation be smart and use cover to your advantage - don't commit your units to situations where you will pop a tank and then the next turn your opponent shoots them off the table. There should always be at least 25 percent terrain on the table so use it to your advantage. It's much better to drop in behind cover and wait a turn to launch your main offensive... I refer to this as a counter punch style of play and there is an article I posted here you can refer to for more details:


Basically you are watching how your opponent brings their army onto the table. They are reacting to your ability to deepstrike 75 percent of your army during the second turn. If you play it conservatively then on the third turn you'll be in a position to move your meltaguns into 1/2 range, pop their transports and assault the units that fall out. That's it.

The other most common tactic used by mech players is to castle their army. They deploy their entire army all bunched up together (usually in a corner of the table) relying upon their strength of numbers to react to your deepstrike. You can play more aggressively versus the castle and I've written another article here that explains this strategy in detail:


The counter punch and breaking down the castle are you two main styles of play versus mech, regardless of whether it's treads or skimmers.

Here are the best units to field meltas:

* Assault squad (2 meltaguns)
* Sanguinary Guard with Dante (3 infernus pistols)
* Stormraven (twin linked multi-melta combined with PotMS)

Mech armies that take treads (rhinos, razorbacks, chimeras, Leman Russes, landraiders, etc.) have no real defense versus your meltas other than to pop their smoke launchers and hope for the best. Each of your melta weapons that fire at 1/2 range have better than a 50 percent chance to pop a tank assuming they hit and your opponent fails their cover save - this is the best opportunity to destroy an enemy tank. Mech armies have the majority of their points tied up in their tanks so every time you pop one you are putting yourself into a better position to win. Again be careful not to trade off an expensive unit to pop a cheap transport like a rhino then get blazed down the next turn by a unit such as IG veterans armed with three plasmaguns. You want to be able to pop their transports and then immediately assault their units that spill out.

Jump Packs
Jump infantry units are inherently fast and can cover a lot of ground quickly. Superior mobility is another main advantage for DoA versus mech - once your boots are on the ground the next turn you are in a prime position to overrun the opponent. Speed kills and everything I have pointed out so far works in concert with your speed. You shoot and assault one enemy unit then move on the next turn to attack the next enemy unit. Your opponent cannot move away quickly enough to prevent you from overrunning their formation. It's easy once you get the hang of it.

Special Characters
The best two special characters for a pure DoA army are Commander Dante and the Sanguinor. They both have a lot of special rules I think were specifically designed for DoA armies. Hit and Run (Dante) means that you can leave combat most anytime and then relaunch another fresh assault. Dante also has the special rule Tactical Precision, he and the squad he is attached to don't ever scatter when deepstrking. On the one hand it's like having a pair of training wheels bolted onto a Harley Davidson, on the other hand combined with three meltas you are almost guaranteed to pop any enemy tank you want to wreck|destroy.

There are other good characters such as the Librarian, Recluisarch, Chaplain and the Sanguinary Priest. You will always want to have two Priests in any DoA army - Feel No Pain if wisely used means that your army can survive roughly twice as many wounds taken from small arms fire such as bolters and lasguns. I always have at least one Chaplain in every list because he makes the unit he is attached Fearless - that is the best deterrent versus Imperial Guard Psyker Battle Squads. I also like to field an Epistolary (Unleash Rage|Sanguine Sword) with a choppy unit of Honor Guard in a Stormraven and Furioso dreadnaught in tow. Certainly that's a lot of points tied up in one transport but if wisely played they will get back their points plus a lot more - altogether they are truly a deathstar unit and weigh in overall at a good trade off in points overall versus other deathstars. Most mech armies don't have a real deathstar so you should use that to your advantage.

So there it is. If you want to play a DoA army then the best thing to do is play a lot of games - practice makes perfect barring bad dice. If you practice a lot in a fairly short order of time you'll be ready to roll.

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