Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Erratica - my 50th Blog Post

Just a rambling post today, I've had a cold, bad enough to keep me from the FLGS, but not bad enough to keep me from work at the office.

1.  Saw that GW published "as January" FAQ updates for the 40K rule book, orks, dark eldar, and spacewolves.  Nothing really there of note, except that - as suspected - immobile skimmers CANNOT JINK.  I ran into this in a few games in the past in 7th edition...most recently vs Tau.  Another good one to remember is that infiltrate cannot be conferred on independent characters during deployment/scout moves by joining a squad/unit that has it.  The only other thing was that hammer of wrath hits on vehicles/walkers are vs the facing unless immobilized.  I did make a shortcut to the FAQ page on my i-phone, just for reference during games.

2.  I'm a rulebreaker of sorts.  I have to confess.  I was pondering list changes last night, and realized on re-reading Stormraven rules that I'd been putting two marines more into it than capacity.  Jump pack death company.  Capacity is 12 marines...or 6 jump pack marines...Not that it has been a game changer, but I'd always appreciate it if you think I'm doing something wrong to tell me.  So now I either need to drop two death company marines, or drop all the jump packs and add more DC...I think I can re-balance the DC to be 10 in number, by dropping some PWs and the jump packs.  But I like the jump packs because in some games I might not want to deploy in the Stormraven...the jump packs give them more mobility, and hammer of wrath.  So...regardless, something has to change. (Update - yep, created a revised list with 6 DC, should work pretty well, but who knows...the extra points allow other upgrades too.)

3.  With the cold has been a sort of malaise.  I should be painting more.  Right now I'm running low on the older GW-named paints, and I'll need to re-stock.  We are also running low on ArmyPainter red primer...regardless, I have two rhinos and the Baal Predators in progress.  As soon as these are done, I'll finish painting the DC unit.  After that, the order may be tactical meltagun/multimelta marines, Stormraven details, command squad, sanguinary guard...lots of stuff.

4.  As part of the issue, I have not yet had a real, ready game in the 40K league.  I have until mid-march to get a game in, and right now I'm 0-1 (based on the "loss" posted two weeks ago).  I've got to start getting games scheduled and just get to them. I'll need to get 1 or 2 games in each week to get them all in at this point.  Right now (or as of last night) hardly any games in my Division had been reported...So right now, my Eldar opponent may be leading the division (1-0), I'm in second (0-1), and everyone else is plain 0-0.  Some of the other divisions are posting more games, with the other "Crossroads" division having each player with about two games played at this point.  I'm sort of glad I'm not in that Division, it has some awesome players!

5.  Tactica - I always laugh a bit when some guys post "tactica" which ultimately just boils down to a review of the codex, and rants about what they think are the better units.  Unit reviews and wargear reviews are not actually tactics.

Tactics are the applied small unit approaches that you can detail out in order to achieve a particular mission or function.  For example, saying that a blood angels tactical squad armed with a flamer, combiflamer, and heavy flamer is great, is not tactics.  However, detailing out that to eliminate a key light infantry unit (such as tau pathfinders) from ruins, by attacking it turn 1 with a drop pod containing the same blood angels tactical squad, including positioning the tactical squad so as to get cover from the pod from later enemy reaction fire, is a tactical approach.  Frankly, I'd always love to see descriptions like that.  So, please, don't confuse codex reviews with tactica...as further penance - here is a larger tactical discourse - for lack of a better source, I'll call it the "Drag and Drop" tactic:

  • Mission or function:  Attacking a OPFOR who has deployed on a broad front, with a goal of isolating a section of front, and setting up the assault for the following game turn.  
  • Types of units required: Mobile or deployed screening elements to create the isolation, and follow-on / assault elements to push forward with the attack.  
  • Strengths / Timing: Establishing the isolation turns 1-2, creating the assault opportunity turn 3 and on.  You can select which flank to focus on.  
  • Opportunities / Benefits: You are providing LOS blocking elements to increase unit survive-ability to preserve them for the assault.  You are effectively splitting the OPFOR's forces, and potentially controlling the table center.  
  • Weaknesses:  You can be countered by the OPFOR's mobility, and can be susceptible to massed blast / artillery fire.    

The Drag elements are the ground elements (fast vehicles) and such that can get out and create the immediate isolation / LOS blocking needed.  Like a drag race they zoom out into position on Turn 1, with the fast rhinos capable of going as far as 18 (or more) inches to get in position when including movement in the shooting phase (flat out).

The Drop elements are jump pack or other fast assault units, either deployed on the table and advancing swiftly up behind the screen, or coming in from reserves to do the same thing.  The goal for them is to counter assault, not be assaulted.  For blood angels, getting the assault move is the most important aspect of their lethality.  You need the isolation (visual and physical screening) as a means to preserve the assault elements from enemy fire. You need to keep the assault elements within 18 or so inches of your screening units too, so they can in fact counter assault if your screening units become assaulted.  

Here are rough two sketches to illustrate the concept (below).  I've been developing with this idea for over time, first with Ultramarines and now Blood Angels.

The example here is not that simple.  The OPFOR has about 5 mechanized infantry units and a supporting artillery unit in the sketches.  I'm using about the same amount of units, but some are as combat squads.  The biggest thing is using a wall of "cheap" vehicles (rhinos and pods) to create a wall, screening my infantry from reaction fires (creating cover saves or blocking LOS completely).

In my sketches, the OPFOR actually is counterattacking into my units, rather than staying put as a gunline.  The OPFOR is advancing towards the objectives and firing as reactions, but by the end of turn 1 I already am able to control three or so objectives and am already assaulting forward with the "Drop" units.  If the OPFOR had similarly fast units to the Blood Angels (like Eldar bikers or Wraithknights, or had Imperial knights, etc), the concept gets a lot more complicated and dangerous, as the Darg and Drop Units themselves could become tied up and eliminated.  

The overall concept, if successful, then allows me to clear the right and pivot left as we get toward the end game.  Overall, you may consider that this is just a variant of a flanking attack, but I think the Drop units give it more speed when coupled with the Drag units as a screen.


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