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Are Objective Secured units always the right choice?


Hey everyone, Reecius here from Frontline Gaming to discuss Objective Secured (ObSec) in terms of how tactically important it is in games of 40K.

First of all, what is ObSec? It is a rule available to the Combined Arms Detachment (CAD) and Allied Detachment in the main rulebook, both of which can be used to build a detachment with almost any faction in 40K. It is also available to Gargoyles in the Tyranid Skyblight Formation.

The rule states that units with it (typically troops) can only be contested by other units with ObSec. It also transfers onto dedicated transports. What this means in practice, is that these units can be uber-scoring units that can take objectives very efficiently.

In a game where taking objectives is the objective of the game in most instances, a unit that is better at taking and holding them is, clearly, coming in with a big advantage. But is it as big of an advantage as we all think?
The reason I bring this up is due to the fact that I have been playing a lot of Tyranids and Orks lately. Hey, I love a challenge, and those two armies are certainly challenging to play! But, the creativity it forces out of the player is fun and it has forced me to look at the game in a different way. With my Nids, I have settled on a Nidzilla list with only 2 units of minimum Deep-striking Rippers as troops, and nearly all of my other points dumped into pure offense (I do take a unit of 2 Venomthropes as they are an incredibly good defensive buffing unit). I have found that while ObSec is great, the benefit of scoring Monstrous Creatures which add more offensively, is better. I find that they simply smush enemy ObSec units and then take the objectives over their lifeless corpses. Plus, deep-striking, Fearless Rippers that are now ObSec themselves are pretty incredible!

I have found the same thing with my Orks. Their troops struggle without support due to Mob Rule. They really need a babysitter to function efficiently. They also really want more HQs, and ways to mitigate leadership. As a result, I have been finding that I am becoming less and less concerned with ObSec and more concerned with specific benefits such as ways to make a unit Fearless or reroll leadership, or get more HQs and Heavy choices in the list over looking for ways to get ObSec units in my lists. I am finding myself gravitating more and more to the Ork specific detachments as while they do not have ObSec, they do offer some benefits that are pretty incredible such as the Fearless Bosspole in the Ghaz Relic section or the extra HQ slot in the Ork Horde detachment. Those I now precieve as actually being more beneficial in some of my lists.


What I have found is that I win games more consistently when I find ways to make lists that are flexible and mitigate the specific weaknesses of the army even if that comes at the cost of less ObSec units.

Conversely with my Marines, I cram in maximum ObSec units because basic Marines and Scouts are awesome units on their own. I lose nothing maxing out on these incredible troops and so hey, why not really take advantage of ObSec? Rhino rush and Drop Pod Marines are most definitely going to be winning tournaments for that exact reason.

Whether or not to emphasize ObSec units in your list comes down to the faction you play and the list you are building. It is easy to fall into the trap of believing that you have to maximize ObSec units in your list when in reality how you play the game is far more important. If your opponent has 18 ObSec units to your 2, but you kill all of theirs or prevent them from ever getting to objectives to utilize their advantage, who cares? To that end, if you can build a list that does those things reliably but leaves you with few ObSec units, you will be winning more games than you lose.


What do you all think about ObSec? The Bee's Knees or simply another tool in the complex tapestry of a good list?

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70 Comments

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    2. Many many many games in fact. Almost 1 a day.

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    3. Oh yea he is also a tournament winning competitor.

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    4. Oh and he runs the largest 40K events on the West Coast.

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    5. Something definitely wrong with some readers today. Nova, this is not dakka or warseer.

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    6. Anything else you'd like to add? I fi didn't know better i'd say you fancy him lol.

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    7. It wasn't even that harsh a comment and its been pulled? So much for free speech...

      I could understand if he was being slanderous or hateful but..?

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    8. He's kinda my 40K hero I guess you could say.

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    9. Sorry natfka, I'm actually on team zero comp with Reece and it's a inside joke, that's why I put the smiling winking face and the "lol"

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    10. Lol, sorry nova. I didn't catch that.

      Things degenerate quickly sometimes in the comment sections and the next thing you know someone is confusing free speech with saying anything they want anywhere they please.

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    11. hey no worries I understand, and for the record Reece is a great player, though I can honestly say hes never beaten me lol( we've only played once)

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    12. Rixus Mar, you'll sleep tonight being more clever than when waking up: http://xkcd.com/1357/

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    13. "someone is confusing free speech with saying anything they want anywhere they please."

      Isn't that the very definition of the word?

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    14. @Aurelien: Insinuates i didn't know that already - i don't get it?

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    15. I'M SORRY, I THOUGHT THIS WAS AMURICA.

      but yeah, citing freedom of speech because someone deleted your comment on a 40k blog site is pretty deluded.

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    16. "but yeah, citing freedom of speech because someone deleted your comment on a 40k blog site is pretty deluded."

      Technically he was citing it over someone else's comment being deleted. Plus the question 'why was this deleted?' Is not always an unreasonable one.

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    17. Rixus, that is not the definition of the right to free speech as is laid out in the constitution.

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    18. I'll need to familiarise myself with this American Constitution...

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  2. Interesting viewpoint. Which armies do you currently think do better without focusing on ObSec? Is obsec more of an advantage in maelstrom of war where you might only need to contest an object with a obsec unit to count as controlling it and cash in your vp?

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    1. Hey Thors,

      IMO for what it is worth, armies with weaker troops tend to not care so much about ObSec. If you have good troops, then hey, you got a double benefit.

      In most games we've played, ObSec has only occasionally been a big benefit, honestly. I lost one game because of an ObSec Drop Pod, and in Maelstrom it has been beneficial but often, when expose that ObSec scoring unit to grab an objective, you may lose it shortly thereafter. You have to expose it to get the point, so it is a mixed blessing.

      Ultimately I think you should just write the list you want to play and focus on playing it well, not being too concerned with ObSec.

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    2. would cheap meatshield units with no upgrades, or say allied cultists, assuming they are cheapest spammable tactical unit to use in this regard, be beneficial if you did a mix of ObSec and regular fun list. so you invest in a few cheap units from an allied section and also whatever you want with the other 90% of the points left. i'm imagining say an army consisting of Marines using flying stuff, backed up by elite stuff, and being supported by cheap meatshields protecting the better stuff in the list, moving the cultist up into gun range would choke the enemy firepower, or be washed away in a wave of cheap models. would be unbound or a combination or such but do you think this could be a valid tactic that see's regular use?

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    3. Hey, while tactically it sounds like a fun way to play, you would lose ObSec due to the primary being unbound.

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  3. The state of the game: the most dakka wins 9 times out of 10.

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    1. Yeah, shooty armies do have an advantage, for sure, but assault armies can still get it done. We use a lot of LoS blocking terrain, and that makes a tremendous difference.

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    2. Depends on where you play, like Reece said. Pretty much every game where I play is city fight with 8+ large ruins with random craters or patches of forest. Odd for me to hear shooting is so big when there is so much cover around, but a lot of battles I see in battle reports are planet Q ball by comparison

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    3. If you have less daka. Place objectives in Center. try take table side were he was going to Set up his gunline.
      Ruin is Plan.
      Now you have coinflipp. If he has to walk into the Center you just hide or reserv and catch him when he goes forward.

      If you get wrong side demand night fight and Run Full speed ahead on 1 side. Try to flank him so his Army is blocking himself from supporting.

      The most shooty armies usually suck at CC & have Bad saves.


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    4. trygons allied into army needing "pop-up" attacks. while enemy focussed on trygons and other niddy stuff rampaging [likely also to be dead, either nids or enemy] distracting enemy from main army. can ally now and as long as far away can be done.

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  4. So you figured out that killing youre opponent denies him the objectiv.

    Wow!!!
    Guess what everything scores now.

    Why the hell would you even consider troops like SMs or scouts that usually dont kill stuff.
    You only need to score 1 more objectiv than youre opponent. So if he has more troops just kill them.

    Its a wargame. War is about killing!Killing stuff was always the best strategie. Or you Run away all game. On a restricted table were some opponents shoot you down anyway.

    Just Spam the killy units
    sternguard and hammernators all the way!

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    1. What? I can't even...

      WHAT!?!

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    2. Some hasn't played nurgle spawn yet.

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    3. Sounds like unbound is the way to go with that logic...

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    4. you could spam the cheapest unit/s in the game and simply win a war of attrition. why use expensive stuff when you can steamroll over the enemy, works/ed well enough for orks and other Horde lists/army's in the past......inlcuding real life in some cases....

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    5. Oh yeah, please use all the hammernators and sternguard you want, my trukk boy spam will enjoy it :)

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    6. Im not a tournament player, but i get the impression from listening to podcasts that playing to have one more objective than your opponent doest do very well competetively

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    7. Guys.
      Its very easy.
      Say SM vs SM
      Same Army vs same Army.

      1 guy take 2 extra SM squads fully kitted out. The other guy take vindicators instead. 5 SM cost almost as much.
      What do you think will happen?

      Vindicator kill those SM in 2 Turns. Yes you can hide or run or but then the vindicator scores objectives or flatouts.

      Very very easy. To grasp.

      And that was the reason it was changed to the FOC System in the first place. To limited the only ubber unit list.

      And no One will spam mass troops or a huge horde Army. Caus you lose vs any Elite CC units. Munch munch slowley killing all youre stuff.

      If you dont belivee. Play Test it with 3 SM squads vs 2 SM squads and vindicator or even a dread. 5man ofc.

      If you still think troops win games youre just retarded.

      ObSec. Only benefits units that have to get close and Personal anyway.

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    8. Every army I play I use at least 4 troops units. 2 squads and a vindicator dosent make an army so claiming that's better than 3 squads is nonsense. The whole point of objective secured was to make the new missions more dynamic, as they force you to move and adjust at gain the points you need to win the game. Just flattening your opponent is one way but I've found in our games even then I can gain enough victory points to make it a close game. Calling people retards is offensive at best anyway not least just because they may not agree with your narrow view of a game. There's something to be said for playing the game in the spirit it's intended to be played in and everyone involved having fun. I can't imagine most people enjoy playing against you if this is the way you think.

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    9. yes. Seb i am personally offended. i have a Disability. you should choose your words wisely in the future. [to some, i am seen as a retard, to others i am a borderline genius] so sorry but using Retard isn't the best term to use....personally i'd use the term "inept, or better yet incompetent"

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    10. btw seb my 200+ marines armed with anything from plasma cannons to melta guns would vaporize that lone vindy one turn. so you'd be left with two tactically inflexible units.

      Sqaud = could refer to anything including tac squads

      note: you said two squads and a vindy v 3 squads but failed to mention what it could contain.....which is tactically or strategically inept. therefore i could take 3 maxed units of devastators or sterny/vany [vets] and make short work of the vindy..

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    11. Seb your problem is "1 guy takes 2 extra SM squads fully kitted out."

      You don't fully kit out your troops. Ever.

      You get a shit ton of cheap troops and make it so that vindicator can't possibly blow them all up.

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    12. Well said Xeno. Tactical squads are amazing, never play without at least 3 10 man squads.

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    13. troops win games. always have always will. I'm a exno and my troops always do all the damage my elites and heavies are faints. "oh you unloaded into my MC nice work i just took 3 objectives and killed two of your troops."

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  5. I've not played many games of 7th yet so this was a helpful article, thanks!

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    1. I have been thinking of using empty ObSec drop pods to land on enemy objectives. At best, they score me VPs and at worst they force my opponent to move around them or waste a turn shooting them off the board, leaving my meat and potatoes units unharmed.

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    2. Everything has crackgrenades. Its not hard to kill a pod.
      Also they scatter.
      Maybe if it was BA dedicated Landraiders..... I could Work.

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    3. Because a single thrown Krak Grenade, a weapon that literally can't even explode a vehicle in one shot, will totally get rid of a drop pod -_-

      And did you not even read my point about wasting a turn of enemy shooting on the pods?

      I know you're trolling but jesus, it's such a poorly argued troll, I just had to bite.

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    4. I've been hit buy the dead drop pods before, it works well. you need to worry more about MCs and elite units that don't care about armor. like fire dragons or devo squads. but if nothing else they do pose a good distraction. it won't win a game on it's own but it's sure as hell annoying. more so when my fast xeno army as to back track to deal with them.

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  6. I'm trying out a CSM rhino rush list with maulers and heavy firepower. My other test list is a ton of zombies. :)

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    1. mix both. spam cultist/zombies, or spam killy stuff backed up by some "meatshield" zombies. might work better than a single/double list.

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    2. Plague marines are still gross. I just won in a game of Carnage! against Tau, Crons and Nids. Nurgle bikers, plague marines and zombies with Typhus as the warlord. Also don't underestimate the value of massing cultists to draw aggro while say 20 zerkers Kharn and and unmarked Sorc run upfield invis'ed or deepstrike in with gate to infinity

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  7. I have noticed myself gravitating towards more ObSec units in the lists I build as well. I think those of us who focus more intently on ObSec do so because we are used to having to take troops to score objectives, like in fifth and sixth. Subconsciously we already have the established pattern of "more troops = greater chance of winning" because of this, and now it is too easy to fall into the habit of "obsec = old pattern of thinking still valid", which I imagine would allow the brain to free up processing power for other things (that's why we have the cerebellum at all, to record frequently used patterns so the cerebral cortex isn't overloaded).

    Psychology aside, I think armies like tyranids and orks benefit the most from unbound since no restrictions means you can load up on stuff that will improve synergy and staying power without worrying about restrictions. Just my two cents on the matter.

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    1. If this hadn't followed that disjointed, nonsensical rant by seb I'd say this was rubbish. However it seems a bit more rational by comparison. However you are still wrong on a number of things.
      1. ObSec is almost always the way to go in maelstrom of war missions not because it's 'what we're used to' bit rather because being able to objectives is awesome
      2. Tyranids are ridiculous in maelstrom games because they have some of the best troops in the game and can take unprecedented numbers of them. Unbound would completely ruin that. Similar for orks but I haven't seen them in action yet so I'll withhold any speculation.
      3. More troops had never meant more likely to win. That I know from playing the previous CSM dex against the previous Tau codex. Tabling your opponent is and always has been the most foolproof (if more difficult) way of winning.

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    2. Ian Eagle. I'm guessing you haven't played with Tyranids or Orks since their new codexes right? Best troops in the game? That almost makes me laugh my ass off. 2 things I believe you are forgetting. Instinctive Behavior and Mob Rule. Both are crippling to basic troops choices in both codexes. That's why the strongest lists with both so far are minimal on troops taken.

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    3. Mob rule isn't crippling, and sticking a large blob of orks on an objective makes it pretty damn hard to move them off and at the sizes of units you run in ork troops you're not rolling morale saves until roughly the same number of bodies are off the table anyway. Tyranids get the same benefit of having a lot of bodies you need to clear from an objective, although working within synapse range is harder to compensate for than mob rule.
      They're both armies that rely on numbers to a great degree with most general lists anyway, and both assault armies that are designed to push down the table and over objectives. For a pretty reasonable point cost in either army you can put 100+ wounds worth of bodies on the table with objective secured to work through, and if you take shootas the change in mob rule allows you to go to ground with your mob on an objective to give yourself some cover saves.
      Troops are the core of both armies, and both have considerable tools that can't be ignored that are capable of dealing with the biggest threats that present the most danger to large blobs of troops. Some armies don't have great tools for dealing with the large number of wounds you can throw onto the table in the first place.

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    4. @Ian Engle: "abling your opponent is and always has been the most foolproof (if more difficult) way of winning."
      Well sure, but tabeling is actually an optional rule now. My group actually tried a few games where Tabeling would only gain you some extra VPs rather than win you the game (when playing Maelstrom). Our reasoning was that you are doing your objectives, you are winning on points, meaning you did what needed to be done, even if you died in the process. We though this was a very "Dark Millennium" thought process.

      But if tabeling = win then yeah it's the best way to die, but make sure you CAN table them... if not you'll be sorry you didn't capture those objectives.

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  8. move in rippers after DMC/MC's rip enemy new one. then stroll onto objectives. win game. nice tactics [if following the above order, if for example DS rippers early or first/main assault fails due to good shooting, could turn out different]

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  9. ObSec has it's advantages for sure. I have had close combats happen on top of objectives, and was gaining points from my tactical missions because I had ObSec (Nothing in the rules prevent scoring while locked in combat)

    But at the same time I have found Unbound armies to be very good too, playing a Heavy Support heavy list with Long Fangs/Devestators/Centurions giving me so much High Strength shots that I shot off any enemy of the objectives, and strolled in there with my Centurions.

    Brilliant thing withe those kinds of lists is that once you have no missile launchers left, the Stgs or bolter dudes can start running around achieving other tactical objectives, and will often be ignored since there is still all that missiles left.

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  10. Try wiping 3-4 15-20 strong Plaguebearers with shrouded, FNP & an AP2 Etherblade from objectives in cover. Absolute feckers. They don't have ranged weapons so can go to ground with impunity easily providing 2+ cover saves, deny that and they have a 5++ to fall back on and failing both of those there's a 5+ FNP.

    While trying to deal with those, add in Soulgrinder hassle from afar, Plague Drones & Beasts incoming on your forward elements...and then another 'Bearer blob perhaps, and Nurglings randomly deep-striking in without scatter (thank you, icons! Grrrr) topped off by a Great Unclean One.

    A disgustingly durable force to be pitted against.

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    1. Heh. You used disgusting to describe a nurgle unit. It made me giggle XD

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    2. As my avatar will make obvious, I love my daemons of nurgle - lots of Plaguebearers, a squad of Plague Drones, a Soul Grinder and a Great Unclean One. The latter two are insanely hard to kill in their own ways. I also like allied Chaos Space Marines that are marked of Nurgle.

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    3. Not to mention daemons of Nurgle can use their defensive grenades to blind people now.

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  11. Strange that you write this article, just as I rewrite my army list..... Freaky coincidence. I play GKs and I have written two alternative lists replacing my strike squads with either purifiers, or interceptors. I've used interceptors before, but not a whole army of them, and I've never used purifiers, so my reason for doing so is more to see what they play like/ how effective they are. I did this because my basic strikes get Obsec but, 9 times out of 10 the whole squad on the objective gets destroyed anyways, so I thought why play basic troops? Lets see what the other stuff can do. This is still a legal army btw.

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  12. I'm CSM player and run Slaaneshi themed army.
    Be'Lakor, Biker Lord, 2x Bikers squads, 3x rhino with Noise Marines[Doom Siren's], Maulerfiend. For backfield objectives I have Obliterators, Havocs with AC's and Noise Marines with Blastmaster. If I have points left I may add Beldrake for some torrent fun but I experienced that NM with Doom Sirens does it better for me.
    This list does it good for me in Malestorm missions as I have enough ObSec units as well as 'in your face' threat.
    Last tournament I've field this list for first time and finished 6th out of 18 players and I have to admit I'm nowhere near to be competitive player.

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  13. I agree. OS is good, buit at the end of the day even if you are playing maelstrom, if you are running around for points by turn 3 you will have almost nothing left aganist any decent army. OS has to be mobile and decently resistant both in morale and sheer thoughness/AS; it can be a good icing on the cake; but a good army without any OS units, with only some mobile scoring, will actually annihilate any OS- obsessed army. I mean it is a WAR game- objectives are not the ball in Blood Bowl.

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  14. Just ran orks with double 10-man grots as only troop the other day. Game went smoothly.

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  15. I think it's completely hilarious that he steals Reece's work from frontline gaming, posts it on his site, for more clicks.

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    1. Given that Reece replies to comments on these postings, I am not seeing your evidence of theft.

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    2. You did see the author list his name in the first paragraph, right? I smell a troll.

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  16. I think you need OS in the backfield. If you don't an outflanking unit is going to score, especially with malestrom missions. Other than that, I guess i'ts how you play your list.

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