Games are won and loss many times on a very simple factor. The survival and effectiveness of troops choices. Even in my two games yesterday, it was the durability and effectiveness of troops choices that won and lost both games. In the first, I could not kill his troops, even though I had been trying for a several rounds, and in the second, my opponent, really did not attempt to take out my troop units until the last two rounds of the game. So lets take a more in depth look at these tactics and some of their advantages and disadvantages.

The Words of Faeit is a new weekly post, dedicated to my thoughts on the strategy and tactical side of the game. They are not to be written in stone as "No plan of operations extends with certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy's main strength" (or "no plan survives contact with the enemy"). Quoted from Helmuth von Moltke.


We all know this part, two thirds of all standard games include objectives. Tournaments are no different on this, as most objectives will require you to do something with your troop units.

Lets get this out of the way, by troop choices, I mean any of your units that are considered scoring. Most 5th edition codexes have excellent and durable choices when it comes to scoring. A change up of HQ, and often you can get some elites or other into the scoring category.

Example: Grey Knights for example, can have the ability to make d3 units scoring via Grand Strategy. Purifiers make an excellent choice as one of these units, because of their weapon choices and being fearless.

Disable and Destroy
This is a tactic or system of target priority, that I take to the battlefield. It really helps my way of thinking on the tabletop, and prevents scenarios that become impossible late game situations where you cannot get tough troop units off of objectives, or cannot kill those last few survivors for the kill point.

Disable
This is a threat priority and comes first. These are the things on the tabletop that are going to destroy your army. It comes down to knowing what your enemy can do, and what needs to be shot or assaulted first. Normally it is a unit or two. Disable this unit. Move out of their way, disable their transports, break their leadership, or wipe them out. Do something quickly with these units so that you can move on. Even throwing a sacrificial kill me unit in front of them.

Do not get too carried away with this, not every unit out there needs to be disabled. Immediate problems only, and not every unit that has a lascannon or four is your immediate threat. Immediate threats are classified as "this is going to wipe out most of my army", and often come in the form of assault terminators or other hammer units"

Destroy
Start this round 1 or 2. I prefer at the beginning, but hey, round 2 is fine. Start killing those troop/scoring units. Disable any immediate threat and start working hard on killing those units that can win the game for your opponent. Its time to start thinking of the last round. If they are in transports, have a 2+ save, it just might take that long to kill them. Do not forget to start doing this, or late game it will be too late.

Throwing your elite forces into the often weaker troop selections, or bearing your heavies down upon them, often means overkill, but in this case, these units need to be destroyed quickly and efficiently.

So its simple, Disable immediate threats, and Destroy your opponents scoring units. In case of kill points, substitute scoring units for anything that are easy kill points.

On the reverse side of this. Do I have at least a couple scoring units that are going to be hard to take out, and yet be effective during the game. If your entire army is MSU, and you are not marines, this could very well be a problem. Throw your 5 man Dark Eldar Warrrior squads in AV10 vehicles, and watch how quickly you have no scoring units at the end of the game.

Taking six 5 man Dark Warrior squads spread out in 6 vehicles is a tough one to keep alive. I keep seeing these units as the only troop choices dark eldar are taking, and its getting almost funny. I say that, because it is an extreme example of rock paper scissors. Heavy shooting lists, Marines, IG, hell even Dark Eldar, are going to shred these lists. Hey, if you get lucky, your opponent might not have any shooting ability and you might be able to out maneuver and keep something alive.

Don't get me wrong, these units are OK to have in your lists. However you must have something is far more efficient at staying alive. This means 10 man units, or even a single 20 man warrior squad in your lists. Give that 20 man unit a 50 point haemonculi and have them moving through cover on the board and hey.... durable with lots of firepower. After having that durable couple of units in your list, its good to throw down some extra small units of 5.

Marines: Yes you. One tactical combat squadded with 2 units of 5 men are much more durable. I prefer a little more durability than relying on 5 man squads, but hey you take a lot of these and technically have 12 combat squadded tacticals running around.

Good players will often start targetting your scoring units early in the game. Sometimes its because they are often weaker and more vulnerable targets, but often because these units win games and need to be destroyed. Its your job, to make sure that something in your lists is durable enough to be alive in round 5 or 6, or even that 7th round of the game. In 2000, or 2500 pt games there is a lot of things on the table.

Two examples:
Yesterday I was able to get in two games.

The first, it did not matter that I kept hitting that strike squad with 3 rounds of earthshaker cannon hits. The last two would not fail any cover save they were running to. This was tactical on my opponents side, and he kept them alive (and rolled well enough). His other scoring units were durable enough that I was not able to stop them at the end, while mine ended up getting assaulted, and obviously wiped.

The Second Game. I was able to effectively hit my opponents scoring units fast, and start wiping them out early. Mine on the other hand, were pretty much ignored until the last two rounds, and at that point it was far too late for my opponent to do anything about them, even though he threw everything he had at them. I also had no concerns either that he would, even with anti infantry storm ravens and dreadnaughts. My scoring units were just too durable for him to take out.

I am sure I missed something, on this. While the topic is the same I hope I was able to get into a little more detail, and what I did not hit, I will hit at a later time.

5 Comments:

  1. As an old third edition rule player (and even older) I have noticed that the tactics for the game have slowly evolved with the rule set, mainly depending on the missions that are played. I don't have a chance to play much, but I like your tactics talk and hopefully this helps the next time I play. It has also made me re-think my lists.

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  2. How about some ideas for Tau players since "durable" and "troops" do not currently exist in the current codex. I know your talking fifth edition, but there's got to be something besides "shelf the Tau till new codex comes out"

    Sorry about the rant, just tired of getting swept by Blood Angels :-p

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  3. Archon, the best Tau army list I have faced (which I lost to), was an all vehicle list. It was disgustingly tough to break.

    It was at the beginning of 5th edition when I first came back to 40k, so its been awhile since I have seen an army composed like that. It was durable though.

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  4. As another Tau player I can echo the sentiment of "durable troops" as one of our major weaknesses.

    Regarding mech tau, while I have had fun playing that, the lack of good weapon upgrades (the devilfish longs for a multi-laser) makes this typ of list lacking in firepower, and very expensive (an tau transport is 80pts with no upgrades).

    Hopefully we will get a few more options in our next codex....

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