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Blood Vow

Happiness is success... (Buddha)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dropping a Deuce • 40k Tactica

Hi everyone. I hope you're having an awesome holiday experience with family and friends... Maybe even getting in a fun game too. This evening I'd like to discuss one of my favorite 40k tactics which I often refer to as dropping a deuce. The term is an old ghetto reference from backgammon. I play a lot of backgammon - both live (occassionally) and online (often). I started playing the game a long time ago when I was a freshman in college. Just like 40k the game of backgammon uses d6 dice and solid tactics heavily rely upon positional dominance. I prefer backgammon to chess due to the element of chance and its randomness. You can't control the dice but to a certain extent you can lessen their negative impact - in my opinion controlling the board is the most important factor in the game for both backgammon and 40k. Controlling the board goes hand in hand with damping the dice... The stronger your position the less you are affected by bad dice.

Often I will talk about how positional control of the board plays the most important role in 40k. Sometimes you hear about people telling you to play the mission... These are the people you should listen to when they dispense their wisdom. I have to say it just seems like there are some people who don't understand - they always fail to grasp this simple concept. Barring kill points you want to control the most objectives so obviously having an ample number of scoring units really helps a lot. The best armies have the best scoring units. Defining what are the best scoring units is subjective... I tend to play small elite units while others prefer large cheap units. I won't say one is better than another as it really comes down to how you play them. The main point is that your scoring units are your most important units. You can win even if they are all destroyed over the course of a game but it's going to be a lot harder.

An assault army can beat a shooty army simply by controlling the most objectives and you sometimes never have to launch one assault. This is one of those concepts some people have a hard time wrapping their head around... How can an assault army beat a shooty army without even one assault? Think of it this way - everybody has at least one unit in the game they fear. It's true and often they will try to avoid it at all costs which isn't always easy to do. It could be a Bloodthirster or a Manticore. This fear can give you a psychological advantage if you recognize it. Use it to your advantage!

If you are playing an assault army you have more leeway where you can place your objectives. People playing shooty armies tend to place their objectives deep inside their deployment zones since they want to sit back with most if not all their units and shoot as much as possible. They like to roll a lot of dice and avoid any melee.

Now suppose there is an odd number of objectives and you get to place more than half of them... There's no reason not to do the same as a shooty player - place them deep inside your deployment zone. You will immediately have the advantage as this forces your opponent to come to you. A shooty army will inherently struggle against an assault army in this type of situation - they cannot beat you at your own game!

Basically what I am advocating is to play the game to take advantage of your army's strengths... Don't let your opponent dictate the game.

Dropping a deuce means that you are in the lead so you can play more conservatively which in turn puts more pressure on your opponent and they are more likely to make mistakes. You want to capitalize on any mistake your opponent makes. There is no need to take high risks if you can reach this point. This style of play is optimized by playing both strong offense and strong defense. Sometimes a strong defense is your best offense (yes you read that right).

I remember struggling against Imperial Guard back in fifth edition - it was always my worst matchup. IG is one of those armies that was poorly designed by GW - it has many undercosted overpowered units... Too many. If you follow my blog you'll know I did quite well with Tyranids back in fifth edition when they were considered the worst army. Tyranids have access to a diverse range of excellent scoring units, they are highly resilient and excel in melee plus they have some solid shooting... Still though I consider this the worst ever codex released by GW.

Learning to win with Tyranids in fifth edition has made me a better player in sixth edition. I had to go back to the fundamentals and relearn them all over again. Eventually with lots of practice I figured out how to drop a deuce with the Hive. Focus on the mission and control the table.

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