Thursday, July 24, 2014
Objective Secured Troops - How Many Are Enough (updated 7-27-14)
So far it's looking like the major events will still be using objectives from the Eternal War missions so objective secured (OS) is a big deal. The Maelstrom missions with tactical objectives seems promising but a lot of tournament players have said it needs some work for competitive play such as eliminating cards that can't be scored. There are also tactical objectives you can score in theory but probably won't ever happen. I played my first game (2 vs. 2) using the Maelstrom mission this weekend—my team scored the vast majority of our victory points the first two turns racking up a big lead then slowly fell behind and couldn't close the gap. My team's armies weren't all that well designed for Maelstrom though while our opponents' were much better suited for it (Space Marines vs. Tyranids). Also I was more focused on eliminating enemy units I deemed the highest threats opposed to scoring tactical objectives and as the game progressed it became nigh impossible to secure objectives in the enemy deployment zone (e.g., Tervigons spawning gants to gain positional dominance).
I realized this type of format really helps armies not deemed top tier become more competitive—it's really good for the Hive Mind and they are very good at adapting to change. I do think with a lot of the big events featuring multiple primary goals there is definitely a place for the Maestrom missions and it will make games more fun to play as opposed to what we are used to traditionally playing. For example I personally like how Reecius has incorporated this into his BAO mission format.
Now that the vast majority of units score the question is how many OS are needed? Is it possible to get by with only two OS units with dedicated transports (i.e., four total)? If this is a reliable number (or even three) it will open up some new possibilities for designing our army lists.
From a Space Marine perspective I think drop pod armies are going to be very competitive and we will start to see more of them. A lot of armies struggle to eliminate four or more drop pod units over the course of a game—assuming of course they are not all dropped right at the enemy door step. Mixing in bikes with drop pods gives the army mobility which it needs to deal with fast enemy armies.
Here are two OS units I have found competitive for this type of army:
5x Marine - special weapon
Sergeant - combi weapon - meltabombs
This squad is roughly 150 points. You can select the special weapon and combi weapon based upon what works best with your overall army.
5x Biker - 2x grav gun
Attack Bike - multi-melta
Sergeant - combi grav - meltabombs
This squad is roughly 200 points. The grav guns and multi-melta provides anti tank so you can take plasma weapons for your tactical squads. Obviously a bike mounted Chapter Master is your first choice for an HQ so the bike squads count as troops. The HQ, two tactical squads and two bike squads totals around 950 points providing the core for your army.
You can exchange one tactical squad for a Sternguard Veteran squad. A five man squad with four combi meltas, heavy flamer, meltabombs and a drop pod is 210 points which is a great deal for what you get and brings the core cost up to around 1000 points—so there are still a lot of points left over - you could easily work in a Centurion Devastator squad, Thunderfire cannons, Stormtalons, etc... There is a lot of flexibility here for higher point games.
So while these examples are based upon Space Marines the same type of philosophy can be applied to other armies. There is a need for durable scoring units that can get to where they need to be plus some overall mobility. I do find this to be somewhat of a challenge for pure Tau armies unless they use the Farsight Enclave supplement (i.e., Crisis Suits as troops) or field some Devilfish. Eldar should have no problem on the other hand.
The game has changed more than some first thought with the release of seventh edition and players are still adjusting. The Maelstrom missions has breathed some new life into the game so we must adapt. The game is more dynamic now with the focus on destroying high threat enemy units on the decline. A well designed tactical army should be able to compete with the old deathstars that for so long have dominated the game.