Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Biggest isn't always best

Morning all, no painting update this week as a) progress has been glacial and b) I spent the weekend away.

Today though I want to talk about the use of points-heavy models and why they're sometimes not all they're cracked up to be.

Last week I played a 2000 point game against an imperial guard army with ultramarine allies. Now aside from the fact I really don't like smurfs, I think my opponent made a big mistake in his army selection. The army facing me had a fortress if redemption at its heart (Andy always takes this with his guard). Not only that, but the fortress had been upgraded with a void shield (which we agreed covered only the missile silo not the whole building), and the remote fire upgrade to allow anyone in the tower to fire the silo missiles or the twin lascannons without venturing into a different part of the building. Consequently I was faced with a full guard command squad joined by a smurf captain in the tower, who's BS of 5 would make the missile silo nasty indeed. Now the fortress itself is costly enough, and the upgrades make it an even more significant points investment. 

The threat it posed therefore was far greater actually than any other unit in his army, and I made it high on my list of targets, particularly since those missiles would be ignoring armour saves for a lot of my army.

Cue the centurions, now it's no secret at my club how much I love these guys, and they showed why again here. I almost always take imperial fists chapter tactics, which means they can re-roll failed armour penetration rolls and glancing hits, and add +1 to the building damage table. Needless to say the lascannons brought down the tower in the biggest way possible, killing all inside bar the guard commander and the smurf captain.

On his first turn, the krak storm missiles spoke, and though as I forgot to take my jink saves (4+ for turbo boosting!) I lost almost an entire bike squad to its shooting. It had to go, and on turn two, an attack bike popped the void shield covering it and the centurions repeated the trick, smashing the silo to rubble and killing most of the missile team on top.

In two turn then, my unit had virtually destroyed the heart of the guard strategy, for what should have been a half unit of bikes. 

In a similar vein, I played in a game last year where my strategy revolved around using a squad of terminators in a land raider redeemer to press my opponent back into his deployment zone allowing me to claim the relic. Needless to say his melta filled drop pod landed in my lines and blew up the raider before I even had a turn.

Both of these examples highlight the dangers of focusing an army on one particular unit in order to achieve the win, with the destruction of that unit making a huge difference to the chances of the army. Now Andy actually managed to pull off a draw in the end, but his job was made much harder by relying on such a point sink from the start, and similarly my game involving the land raider I just didn't have the models left to compete once I'd lost the raider, which also left the terminators stranded.

So in conclusion then, we need to be very careful when choosing a list that the points balance of an army isn't weighted too much towards a single model or unit, and whilst the fortress usually does Andy proud, opponents equipped to deal with these things (and with the advent of stronghold assault we all should be) are capable of ruining a strategy very quickly indeed.