By SneakyDan since he is too lazy to put it up himself
6th Edition from a Sneaky Perspective – Dan's enlightenment in 6th.
So, it has come to this. Its been a goddamned long time since I've sat down and contributed anything of value, and William does so love to nag me about it, that I thought I'd start with some back to basics style articles, but focused on sixth edition. These won't be a blow by blow teach-me-to-hammers guide, more my own thoughts laid out on paper as I rediscover some tactical acumen regarding that most serious of hobbies, toy man soldier dollies. I'm actually relearning my Tau at the moment, so some serious soul searching about what I have to get my head right about is a good place to start.
Deployment, Target Priority, and Firelanes – How to lose the game before you have even started.
One of the most common things I run into in the tournament scene, be it new netlist tourney-virgins, or long-time middle of the pack happy-brothers, is the REAL basics of the game. Some people can get along on dice luck, and reactive play - that's okay, but you need to formulate a plan as the game begins as to what you are going to do, how to achieve, and most importantly, stymie your opponents attempts to do the same. I'm going to throw out a bit of my own skull-drek regarding some very simple topics, that will hopefully give people a heads up.
Deployment and Fire lanes, or how NOT to butt*$%& yourself before the first shot is fired.
A biigggggg problem. I have previously covered basic deployment. I'll get around to rewriting that for 6th shortly, a few things have changed, but the principles are the same.
If you army loves to shoot, but your opponents wants to get in close and either shoot or assault, you want to be far away. That means you either want to go second, or be mobile enough that you can reposition, or have some tarpits you can use to slow people down.
If your army loves to assault, then you want to go second as well, but you REALLY want to pick the table side that has the heaviest cover. So you can deny it to your enemy, and run pell mell towards them.
If you have a lot of hulls, you need to have room to place them, without borking your own mobility. If you have a lot of foot, you want to have enough stuff to hide your frontrunning units behind, without slowing down your heavy hitters.
Now deployment, can dictate the course of the game. Doing things that are unexpected, can throw your opponent, and put them on the back foot. Doing things that are STUPID however, can put you on the back foot, and leave you to play catchup.
When you are deploying your army, be quick, concise, and effective – it helps to LOOK like you have an excellent plan. If you have concerns about what your army can/cannot see, iron them out prior to handing over, so your aware of what your opponent can damage. Vice versa, make sure its clear what your opponent can/cannot see, so you can protect your vital bits without being unpleasantly surprised.
Fire lanes are something that sounds SO stupidly simple, but actually takes practice to learn. You are not lining your units up to take shots at things they can already see( unless you have first turn, and your relying on the odds to keep you firing first) you are lining up your firepower to deny your opponent options. Its easy as hell to say “Herp derp, my fangs are going to hit your tank!” It becomes harder when its “If I move this unit around this corner, I can hit your tank… but then next turn your going to obliterate me with that plasma filled chimera. Well crap.” Every time you place a unit, think about its potential to cause damage, as well its potential to disrupt enemy movement – the combination of the two wins games. The mobility afforded by extra flat out moves for everybody in 6th makes this so much more efficient – being able to fire upon an enemy unit, and have a rhino in place to block that same unit if your dice fail you, means there is less lost on a poor round of dice.
Another example – if for instance your enemy brings a deathstar in the form of jumpers/raider terminators etc, then you would create firelanes that cover the closest assault vector for those units. Force your enemy to be in range of as many guns as possible, if his unit has to assault. Wraiths and the like are hard to remove, but if they have to move through your entire armies worth of firepower to get to your gooey centre, they shouldn't ever get there.
Whoooooooo boy. Can of worms. What steps does one take when ascertaining the correct target for ones Imperial Guard standard flashlight?
Target priority, simplified, is the ability to choose targets based not only on how scary they are, but how efficiently you can kill them, and how important they are to the overall game outcome. Troops are less of a worry in VP missions, yet are an absolute priority in scoring missions (you know, like, all of them.) I'm going to try to be concise here, something I'm not known for.
How friggin annoying is that unit, and how much damage can it do?
Things like scarabs, turbo boosting bikes, necron chariots, tzeentch screamers, that damned Storm Eagle… All of these things have different abilities, and yet to different armies, their priority scales massively. You have to look at the unit in isolation, premeasure its damage range, and work out whether or not you kill it this turn with fire, or simply move back/sidewards/upwards, and focus on other more pressing targets. If you can simply absorb the firepower the unit has (Say, rifledreads into a terminator list(People still play those right?)) then there is a fair chance it has low target priority, unless it looks pivotal to your opponents army. The shiny new DA vengeance salvo banner is pretty cool, until you precision shot it out of the way. Then your just facing a bunch of tactical marines. (Okay, so they were tactical marines before, but they did bolter stuff really well)
What have I got in my army that can effectively deal with that unit?
Now that you've registered it as a threat that cant be dodged/absorbed, what is the best way to deal with it? Would plasma vets be super effective vs that chaos spawn tide? Probably, but they aren't going to wipe it out. However, plasma vets behind a wall of flamer toting guard blob, with power axes, is probably a different story, and can have a markedly different output. That Doom scythe IS kind of close to my manticore batteries…. maybe these autocannons should hit that this turn. Maybe my vendetta should come in in hover, and hit with all its lascannons.
What happens if it doesn't work as I planned?
Do you have a contingency plan? You should by now have worked out what you have to kill, and what best to kill it with? So what happens if roll three 1′s to pen, vs that Doom scythe that you were trying to kill, and it jinked one of them?
Well for starters, in that example, the doom scythe is now jinking, so you did succeed. It can no longer decimate a long line of bullshit, with tesla being less effective to boot. Keep in mind the goal of your original target priority – if those long fangs were a threat because there was 5 missiles pointed at your very important unit of marines in the open, they are now FAR further down the scale that there is only 2 missiles left. Keep your disappointment at less effective fire at a minimum, and then move to the NEXT unit you have that was effective in removing that type of target. If you have reduced its effectiveness, you are now free to move onto the next level of the priority ladder, and start again.
I find it easy to do target priority, on a scaled basis. First, identify threats, then check ranges (denying via movement where possible), recall your scale, and move to the next phase. Eliminate targets to the point where they are destroyed, or ineffective, and always have a back up option if required. I know a lot of people will find the above post common sense, but a lot of newer players get caught up in “SHINY, CHARGE!”
Hope this has been of some help.