Thursday, January 05, 2012
Here is my first in a new series of tactical articles that will transcend specific armies. The first article is dedicated to two very specific types of dedicated assault armies - horde versus elite. I'm talking about armies that must win the game in the assault phase. These armies can have a good contingent of shooting but push come to shove must win by out slugging the opponent.
Horde armies such as Orks and Tyranids have mechanisms set in place that make their large blocks of units fearless during the beginning of a game. Orks are fearless if their number of models is greater than 10 while Tyranids use synaspe. A large horde unit such as Ork Boyz or gaunts that are fearless will bleed wounds versus an elite dedicated melee such as Khorne Berzerkers due to the No Retreat rule. This is one of the basic drawbacks to a horde unit. On the other hand if the horde unit was not fearless then there are high odds they would swept after losing a combat to an elite dedicated melee unit. There is a balance in this aspect as the large horde unit is cheap for the points while the elite dedicated melee unit probably will cost more points.
Not being swept means that the horde unit has a chance to lock the elite unit for a turn following the initial charge. If the horde player can then charge the elite unit with another unit they have negated the charge bonuses associated with the elite unit. Take Death Company as a prime example—on the charge they are at least three times as good as receiving a charge. It is what it is.
At one time Tyranids were better than fearless prior to fifth edition. For example in third edition for a mere 10 points a brood of gaunts could upgrade one model to Ld10—this was before fearless was in effect for 40k. To me this was a broken mechanism and has been addressed with the newer ruleset.