Saturday, 14 January 2017

40k - the road to competence!

Dave the Imperial Tactician

Greetings all - It must be a New Year, I have all these interesting ideas buzzing round in my head about things I can do with the blog, and this year I'm trying to get my life more in order, so everything is set out with drafts ready to publish at the appropriate time, I've even set up a draft post for my review of the year and am adding to it as I go along so I don't forget stuff!

Still, nevermind all that, here's another new feature for the blog (have you noticed new header pictures for regular features?) and this one relates to tactics!

Now it's no secret that my results in the closing part of last year weren't exactly stellar. Added to which I got trounced in my first game of the new year and last night I did something really, really stupid in a game of bloodbowl that seemed to act as the trigger for the whole game collapsing around me in a stinking orcish heap.

So, what am I going to do about it?

Well, quite simply, I'm going back to first principles.

But what are they? Well, here's my view.

1. Know your army

This is a key part of being successful in the game - you have to know what your army is capable of and what each part of it is designed to do. Now I went through this sort of process a few years ago when I started the Iron Fists, but over time and with the change to the kind of lists I'm using, I think I've forgotten some of it, so I'll be starting again, learning how to use the Dusk Knight Space Marine army I have and learning it in depth. It certainly helps that I've got quite a lot of marine stuff so won't be short of choices.

To start with, I'm going to work with just a CAD - I think that formations are the way I want to work with marines going forward, but they're intended to add to your abilities, and it's the core of those abilities that I want to understand.

On that basis, look for regular posts on this topic from me as I play games and re-learn things. I'll be looking at using as many of the different units as I can, including basing forces around scouts and tactical marines, making the most and best use of drop pods, flyers, and the more expensive and glamorous choices in the codex.

2. Know what you have to achieve

This means a lot more than it used to - maelstrom missions and cards have brought in a whole new swathe of potential requirements for you to achieve during a game, and you'll need to have answers for them all.

Let's not forget either, that as another blogger I was reading recently pointed out, wiping out your opponent completely doesn't actually happen that often, and so you'll rarely win games by killing your opponent's units (though destroying key units can certainly help).

For this section, I'll be doing thorough reviews of the tactical objectives I use with my various armies, looking at what kind of objective it is, what units are most likely to be effective at achieving it and using that information to make a list of key inclusions into a list.

3. Know how you are going to achieve your objectives

This point does flow from the last, but is more concerned with the theme of the list you are trying to create. Do you want to focus on aggression and destruction, or resilience. Does it focus on innate mobility of its elements or is it more static and looking to generate board coverage.

The second element of this part is also deployment - something I have had my issues with recently, putting units and objectives into cover simply because I wasn't thinking properly about how I was going to use it. Deployment requires your units to be mutually supportive and influences your entire game strategy in most cases, so getting it right is key to getting on the front foot in games. It's no coincidence that you see winning players thinking about their deployment.

4. Putting it all together

The last, crucial part. It's all very well designing the perfect list, but if you deploy in the wrong place you'll lose, equally you could deploy the forces you have in perfect support of each other but if you haven't thought about how to achieve your objectives you'll lose.

It's not so simple as remembering all the above points though either, since sometimes (often) you'll be forced into a compromise, should you deploy to counter an opposing threat and keep units alive longer into the game to influence things later on, or do you go for the throat early, making such a decisive impact on the game that your opponent can't recover?

Conclusions

Well I certainly don't have all the answers, but I'm hoping that by building myself some small forces and really learning the strengths and weaknesses of the units within them, that I'll be able to help myself to make better decisions in the future during my games, and turn those narrow defeats and draws into wins.

I'll see you on the tables!
TBE