Friday, 29 September 2017

The lesson learned - It never hurts, to..ooh look, a bee!


Greetings all,

Welcome to another episode of 'a lesson learned', a regular series where I take an element of one of my games and analyse what happened in detail to try and learn some tactical lessons to use in my games going forward. Today's article focuses on the art of distraction.

Last night's game from where this lesson originates was a biggy - 3,000pts of my Dusk Knights against a 3,000pt Ynnari (Aeldari/Harlequins) list. Technically I was 71pts under, as I forgot to deploy one of my units of scouts, but never mind.

(Oh, and just in case you were wondering about the result, 21-2 in my favour, though you wouldn't have believed that if you saw the table because just about everything on both sides was dead).

Still, enough gloating, let's get on with the lesson shall we - I appear to have gotten a bit distracted...

To really understand this lesson and how important it is that I've learned it, you need a bit of background. Since 8th edition dropped I've been quite successful with the Dusk Knights, only losing two of my games, the first to a really good Nids list and the second to Ultramarines with a pair of Leviathan Dreads and Roboute Guilliman. However, I've struggled to fill out my 2000pts in those games, I get to about 1,700 and I'm happy but then I get stuck as to what else to take. I usually end up taking a squad of vanguard veterans with a couple of jump pack characters and that's my lot. I love the unit's abilities, but very rarely do they actually achieve anything, they've been shot at by Tau Stealth Suits, Primaris Aggressors etc and every time they die without really doing much, the only occasion when I've really been successful with them was when they ran amok with some Ork Lootas.

That depresses me a bit, especially since I'm really proud of the paint job on them, but with a higher points limit last night, I again included them - this time I took a squad of 8, kitted them out with some plasma pistols and a mix of combat weapons, figuring they should be able to dish the hurt on some T3 Eldar. Oh boy how wrong I was - the plasma pistols and combi melta from my Captain bounced off Yvraine's 4++ invulnerable save, at which point, the squad was set upon by:
-The Yncarne
-Yvraine
-One squad of 8 Dire Avengers
-A Wraithlord
-An Autarch with reaper launcher
-A squad of 4 Dark Reapers with Exarch

It looked a little bit like this:

With a pair of storm shields in the unit, they were able to soak up quite a bit of that firepower, though the Dark Reapers eventually took them down and the Yncarne killed the librarian in combat. The Cataphract Captain however was a real thorn in my opponent's side for the next couple of turns, and it turns out that he had drawn the Hold the Line tactical card, which that one guy was preventing. By the time he eventually died, I had other units in my opponent's deployment zone and despite holding onto the card for 5 turns he never scored it.

So, despite once again not really killing anything, the Vanguard were a massive facilitating force in the game, allowing much of the rest of my army to close on the Ynnari relatively unmolested, thus taking out their units in a more piecemeal fashion rather than having to face them all at once.

Vanguard kills: 0
Value of having a threatening unit providing a distraction for your opponent? Priceless.

I've certainly learned my lesson, and never more will I underestimate the value of a unit that draws fire from my opponent, even if they don't actually manage to kill anything in return.