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Blood Vow

Happiness is success... (Buddha)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Parallel Processing Part 2

The Ard Boyz preliminary is literally just around the corner now. I'm sure lots of people are busy buying new kits and assembling them. Strangely enough a good number of my friends won't be playing this year due to other prior commitments. At first I also had a commitment but that was cancelled so now I can play... w00t !!

Last year was my second time playing in Ard Boyz and I didn't even manage to make it past the preliminary round... My dice decided to give me the proverbial shaft during the last round... Pitched Battle for deployment, I got to go first and my three landraiders could not pop one rhino over the course of the first two turns. :'((

So this will be my third year to play. I have my army I'm planning to bring fully designed and am assembling the few models I need to complete the list. The year before that I made it all the way to the finals in Chicago and I'm proud to have made it that far... Especially since I was playing Blood Angels using the old PDF codex. In fact I was the only person at the Chicago Battle Bunker with a Blood Angels army. This year I'm going to bring Grey Knights as I feel they scale up quite well at 2500 points plus I have found the new codex to be very competitive.

This is the second article in this series. The first was meant to be more on the humorous side with a few random bits of wisdom sprinkled into the mix. This article takes a turn to the more serious side - I would like to discuss my overall strategies for winning at competitive tournament such as Ard Boyz. Ard Boyz is not one of my favorite tournaments due to high level of douchebaggery I've witnessed over the past two years but still I can't help but want to rise to the challenge.

How Can My Opponent Beat Me?
I ask myself that very question at the beginning of each game while I'm reviewing my opponent's army list. I've found that often when I go into a game feeling it should be an easy win I often manage to end up losing. You need to seriously think about how can your opponent beat you and then figure out how to counter those elements. Lots of playtesting really can help a lot - you should playtest the missions ahead of time versus a wide array of armies... fully mech, hordes, small elite armies, etc. Playtesting provides you with invaluable experience that cannot be gained by simply perusing the internet or showing up unprepared with some killer internet list that is highly touted as unbeatable. Winning is just as much about knowing your opponent's strengths as it is your own. Knowing how to stifle your opponent's army coupled with executing your own game plan spells victory. There is no team in the NFL that ever won a Super Bowl that got there simply by playing it by ear over the course of a season - they practiced the hardest and studied all of their opponents.

I'm very serious at the beginning of a game and spend a lot of time deciding how I should deploy my army. Deployment is one of the most important aspects of winning. If you deploy poorly then versus a good opponent you've just dug yourself a hole and you're going to have to climb back out before you can inflict any major damage while they are pounding you. I want to deploy in such a manner that I have a good shot at hurting my opponent's biggest threats first while also protecting my own... This strategy goes hand in hand with asking yourself how can your opponent beat you - use the deployment of your army to deny your opponent while at the same time putting yourself into a good position to exploit their deployment. It doesn't matter either whether you go first or second if you deploy well.

Often I like to use reserves to both protect my best units and then later bring them in to catch the opponent off guard. For example in a recent game with my dark eldar versus Grey Knights I held my Voidraven in reserve so I could get a clear unobstructed shot at one of my opponent's psyflemen since they are a major bane to mechanized dark eldar. My Voidraven came in on the second turn and I proceeded to destroy a psyfleman just as I had planned. Reserving the Voidraven also protected it from first turn enemy shooting which is always crucial versus any army that can throw multiple high strength shots at paper airplanes.

A lot of players don't like to use reserves or are unfamiliar with it's most basic mechanics. Reserves has entered a higher dimension with the advent of fifth edition and some armies such as Blood Angels Descent of Angels (DoA). I can't count how many times I've read batreps where the BA player deployed their entire army on the table then spent the first two turns moving forward to reach the enemy lines all the while getting strafed... Really it just doesn't make any sense at all. They say that a 5++ cover save (Shield of Sanguinius) will protect them and that deep strking is too much of a risk. The DoA special rule means your jump infantry only scatters 1d6" versus 2d6" and there is +1 for your reserve rolls... Roughly 75 percent of your army should arrive on the second turn. So you can either blast away with all your meltas at basically point blank range or spend a couple of turns getting shot up to pieces. Just look at Vanguard veterans with their Heroic Intervention special rule - obviously this unit was designed specifically to deep strike. There are many other armies as well that have their own special rules to greatly enhance their reserves. Most of the armies I play can take advantage of using reserves. Remember that using reserves allows you to circumvent the normal deployment rules.

I have discussed thinking about how can your opponent beat you and deploying your army - including the use of reserves. The next article in this series will discuss shooting.

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