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The Movement Phase: Analysis of a Game in Progress

move The Movement Phase: Analysis of a Game in Progress

Here’s a rare opportunity to talk about movement by taking a look at a game in progress that is in a paused state. I thought this might be worth doing because it gets away from the usual Army Building advice and focuses instead on the impact of the Movement phase on deciding the game. This is a Vassal match that is frozen in place at the end of Tau’s turn 3 – for the initial battle-report of how the game got to this point click here.

One player – Kirby playing Tau – would probably like the game to be won in the Shooting phase. The other player – me playing Deamons – would like the game to be won in the Assault phase. The result is I expect this game will be won or lost in the movement phase. Read more »

Turn Zero: the Most Important Turn

A lot of people in the game have, at various points, complained about some turns being super-important. For example, complaints about turn one alpha strikes are pretty common now with Razorspam and have also gotten hate in the past over Leafblower, etc. There is also a recurring theme of the game being all about the final turn rush to contest objectives with tank shocks, etc, with all the maneuvering, etc, of earlier turns being nothing but a setup for that last one. However, I don’t think either of those are the most important turn, even my thoughts on the validity of those complaints aside, because there is a much more critical point of decisions.

That point is turn zero, the choices you make before the game starts. Whether or not to take first turn and where to deploy are of critical importance and a poor or even merely mediocre choice there can spell the end of a what would otherwise have been a fairly even matchup before it begins.

Once the game type and deployment has been determined and, assuming you win the roll-off to pick first or second, you have a big decision to make: whether you want to deploy and go first or not. Now, there are some general guidelines that you can follow for this one that will, more often than not, guide you through it- go second in objective games, first in KP- but that misses out a lot of very, very important nuances. Differences in the board’s terrain can alter the value of picking various sides to take advantage of them or deny the enemy their use. The relative engagement ranges of the two armies are also very important- if you can predict where the enemy will have to deploy against you in order to be effective, going first gains a lot of value.

The elephant here, however, is the actual deployment itself. How you deploy your army is, no overstatement, probably the most important single decision you will make during any game. A poor deployment especially can be absolutely backbreaking as you attempt to get your units into position from where they started and struggle to deal with the enemy’s army (assuming they deployed correctly.)

One of the most common offenders here is the “all in a row” deployment, which is very common with new players. It’s very simple: you take all your units and you spread them in a big long line across most or all of the deployment zone, and then, if your enemy is smart, you lose, because they stick their entire army into one section of the board, focus fire on you, and wipe you out piece by piece. The lesson here is pretty simple: don’t spread out past the point where parts of your army can support each other.

Another common mistake is reserves. With the way reserves work in 5th edition, if you don’t have reserve bonuses, you do not want to put significant fractions of your army in reserve. There exist situations where it is the right choice, but 99% of the time it is not. This means you don’t want your whole army off the table, you don’t want half your army off the table, you don’t even want a third of your army off the table. You maybe have 1-3 units- and not major firepower-contributors- held back for some fancy job or to ensure they don’t die before getting their shots. Doing anything more than that is simply setting yourself up in the same situation as our last example: the enemy gets to use his/her whole army against you, but you only get to use part of yours. Such lopsided battles are the very opposite of what you want to be happening, and forcing them on yourself is simply not a thing you want to do.

There are innumerable other mistakes that can be made during the deployment phase of the game, both large and small. Going first is especially perilous in this regard because you have to not only try and predict where the enemy will deploy and how to counter it, but also worry about having the initiative seized from you- and this is another common failing, the assumption (when deploying) that you will automatically go first when deploying first. Seize the Initiative exists for a reason, and that reason is to temper the possibility of an alpha strike against the danger of setting yourself up with no defenses. Misjudgements in the enemy’s plan are a close second, and misjudgements of how engagements will go (“My Grey Hunters can probably take his TH/SS.”) or how the game will flow (“And then on turn 3 my Carnifexes assault his tanks and…”) or what parts of the board will be important (for objectives, lines of shooting/retreat, etc.)

My point here isn’t to try and illustrate every way to deploy right- or wrong- because not only is that a herculean task even given the lengthy articles I normally write, but also because it will be highly dependent on the matchup and thus not really something that can be stated in broad terms. Blood Hammer will not deploy the same as Nidzilla will not deploy the same as BA Razorspam will not deploy the same as SW Razorspam will not deploy the same as any other army. My point is that you shouldn’t just roll the die for going first, grab a random part of the board and start laying dudes down- and all too often this is what I see. It’s good to have a general outline of a game plan for your army, but before things begin you need to look at your opponent’s army list and think about how it’s going to interact with your own and with the mission and what that means to you.

The beginning of a game can be kind of harried, just like any time- the other guy wants to put his toys out, you’ve got noise going on everywhere, you want to get the game started also, you’re trying to hammer out terrain, make sure you understand their list, etc, etc. But it greatly benefits you to step back and think long and hard about what your deployment is going to be and why you’re deploying that way. Look back after the game is over and consider how your deployment affected the choices you ended up making and what choices it forced on you. Did your Leman Russ spend the whole game trying to get a good shot at the enemy? You may have deployed it into a poor position.

Deploying correctly is one of the hardest things to do in the game because you only have one chance at it and its effects are very non-obvious- it always feels like other factors (enemy movement, terrain, etc) were responsible for the results of your deployment, but in truth these things are often foreseeable and a good deployment can mitigate or eliminate them as factors. Good generals can win the game even before it starts simply by virtue of how they deploy, and this is something that largely bypasses the dice rolls that can control many other phases, much like movement.

Crynn’s Corner – The Movement Phase

Crynn’s Corner – The Movement Phase.

Hello all you aspiring master 40k generals and hello to all those whom in their own eyes have already achieved this state of enlightenment and now cast themselves high above the minions at their local gaming club. I greet you all as equals because essentially you all (including myself) paint tactical war dollies for fun.
I want to go back to one of the fundamentals of 40k that I think is the most miss understood and perhaps the hardest to fully grasp, the Movement Phase. It is by far the most complex part of the game and the phase that opens up the most amount of choice as to how we can influence the game as a player, little to no dice involvement, just a general and his army. The movement phase is where everything is setup for the proceeding phases, fire lanes are drawn, units find cover, get into range with their weapon, line up assaults/multi assault, blocking etc. The list is huge. I see many generals with great target priority and lists tweaked and twisted to get the most out of every point only to see them make slight errors in the movement phase that can cost them games.

The more I play 40k the more I become a firm believer in one thing…

‘What separates the good 40k players from the great ones, is mastery of the Movement Phase’
Alongside this is correct deployment but I will leave that to another time.
What makes the movement phase so difficult to master?
Unlike every other phase in 40k the Movement phase is built on an analogue system instead of one based on whole numbers. By this I mean units are able to move in any direction they please, the game is not a tile based system and whilst movement distance is capped by ‘x’ amount of inches, within that lone restriction you are relatively free to go wherever you want to go. You can stand on one side of a piece of terrain 11.5 inches away from a unit knowing you can rapid fire at it and unless they roll a ‘6’ when going through DT they will not make combat with you or you can finish 12.7 inches away and lure them into a charge that is impossible. Unlike every other phase where the results are generally governed by dice this is the phase where you have the most ability to (and this is key) ‘skew the dice in your favour’. By this I mean create circumstances that are the most beneficial for yourself.
I want to take you through a number of questions you should consider asking yourself whenever you start your movement phase. It is by far the longest phase in my turn because in it I have to think about each phase that follows. I have laid these questions out to show what phases they will directly effect.
Movement Phase
– Do I need to start going for objectives?
– How must I move in order to not get models caught on each other or blocking each other?
– Is difficult terrain going to slow me down too much to the point where the unit will not be able to have its desired effect this turn?
– How damaging is it for my unit to fail a dangerous terrain check, is it worthwhile risking?
– How far can each unit move and still remain within the range of bubble and aura effects that I need?
– Do I need to move any models with negative buffing effects up towards the enemy to get them in effective range? (most common being a psychic hood)

Shooting Phase
– Can/should I move to get weapons into range/rapid fire range?
– Can I move any units to be able to fire at a weaker facing on enemy vehicles?
– Can I move units to remove cover saves from any enemy units?
– Have I placed certain template weapons in the right spot to maximize their effectiveness on the enemy unit I will target?
– If I destroy a target with a lucky shot will certain other units still have a viable target?
– Am I placing units far enough away or close enough to take advantage of or minimize the effects of night fight?

Assault Phase

– Am I close enough to assault/will an average result on a difficult terrain test see this unit make combat?
– Have I set up my models correctly to execute a multi-assault correctly or optimally?
– Have I moved the unit so that the resulting assault sees certain models fighting the models I want them to fight? (E.g. Independent characters not being close enough to the PF Sargent to be hit by them)
– After the assault that I am planning to win will an average consolidation move allow half or more of my models to consolidate into cover? (something very few people think about)

Enemy Player’s Movement Phase

– Can I move my units so as to force his unit to move and lose firing ability E.g. forcing a predator to move due to not having a viable target or not being able to see with all its weapons.
– Is it in my best interest to block any of his units such as a land raider or perhaps throwing a unit 1 inch from a paladin unit so that they can’t go through or around it and must combat it this turn and lose much needed movement?
– Have I moved in such a way that hasn’t left a flank of my army exposed or vulnerable for a fast moving enemy to take advantage of?
Enemy Player’s Shooting Phase
– Have I gained cover saves on all possible models where needed?
– Can I block LOS to any of my models from weapons that will harm them whilst still allowing my unit to shoot at an appropriate target
– Have I left important vehicles out of melta range if my opponent was to throw a transport at me and deploy melta from it?
– Have I left models out of rapid fire range.
– Have I spread my models out enough to mitigate the effects of any blast or template weapons?
– Do I need to spread the units in my army out further to minimize the effect of ordinance weapons if they scatter off their intended targets?
– Are certain models far enough away from the board edge so as a failed Ld test doesn’t send them running off the board?
Enemy Player’s Assault Phase
– Have I moved my units in such a way that forces his assaulting units to take difficult terrain checks and reduce their initiative for going through terrain?
– Have I left myself open for a multi charge?
– Are my Independent characters and special combat weapons (such as powerfists) in the right places so that I may move them once assault takes place to the most optimum spot in combat?
– Are my IC’s in places where they are protected from an incoming assault?

These are some of the question that I consider when moving models in the movement phase. A lot of the time you will find that fulfilling one criteria may mean you are unable to fulfil another. For example, you may want to hit a vehicles side armour giving you better odds of destroying the vehicle however to do so would mean taking your firing unit out of cover. At this point it just comes town to weighing up the odds for yourself and deciding on the best course of action, but just considering whether to lower their armour or keep your cover save is important in itself. Indeed this is a lot to take in and consider all at once, no doubt we all make mistakes and sometimes there is no correct answer it is merely a matter of preference. However I believe most players do not realize all that is achievable in this phase of the game, some of the most subtle changes in movement can mean the difference in a vehicle having 3+ cover or no cover at all.

Over the next few articles I want touch on some of these questions I feel that are less commonly addressed by players in order to show players how to get more out of their movement phase. Of course if anyone has any preferences on what specifically they would like me to write about whether it be maximising covers saves, blocking units or even tricks like sling shotting or setting up multi charges feel free to leave suggestion below and I will do my best to accommodate any requests in my follow up articles.

I hope you have found some of these points or ‘questions’ interesting and perhaps you will now actively think about certain things when moving your models that you did not previously.


Old Stuff Day: Warhammer Fantasy Battle Movement Basics

Right folks. This is an article about the movement phase. Definitely the most important phase of WHFB. This is where your games will be won and lost. Yeah, big talk. Big decisions. As a note, this is the phase that differs most from 40k, of the big 3.

So, movement. Huh, well, I’m gonna need to break this down. For now, we’ll cover remaining moves. “Remaining moves? Isn’t that a weird place to start?”

Not really, it’s where the majority of your movement will be done to be honest. So, what is the remaining move phase? Well, if it’s not a charge, a flee or a doomwheel (or the like) then this is when it will move. This is the phase for general, all inclusive, utility movement.

So let’s cover the basics.

Your unit moves up to it’s movement characteristic in a straight line. See, this stuff isn’t so hard. This is a tactic commonly employed by armies like WoC and Orcs and Goblins.

This was a revolutionary invention, allowing units that otherwise had to struggle with square movements to get about in a much easier manner. This is when you keep one front corner of a unit still, and move the other. Erm, the rulebook explains it better. Basically if you’re tilting to a slight angle, you’ll be doing this. It’s commonly used to get into position when marching up to the enemy to pound his face into the back of his skull.

This is something your troops can do all the time (unless they’re a war machine or chariot). It doubles your movement. You, like I say, can always do this unless you’re within 8″ of an enemy or a flyer, in which case you need to pass a leadership test. You can combine this with the wheel, but not the reform, or the swift reform. An interesting note. If you attempt to march within 8″ of an enemy and fail your LD test you count as marching. Even if you then elect to not bother moving. Also, if the enemy unit within 8″ is fleeing it doesn’t impede marching.

This is when you turn a unit about on its centre point to face any direction. Basically a pivot. But in addition, while doing one you can change the ranks to any formation you wish. Like I say, you have to keep the centre point the same. In addition, none of your models can move more than twice their movement stat. No reforming across the table for you sir! This is what you do after combat is engaged, either that or you do it swiftly. Since swift reform became available, I rarely find myself performing a reform. Which brings us nicely to this;

Ah, one of my favourite rules in 8th edition. It’s very very underused. what this does is, if you have a musician and pass a leadership test, allows you to make a reform and then still move. In addition, you can shoot. “Shit batman, does that mean my handgunners can do this?” No, you count as moving sadly. However it does mean troops like, i dunno, Dark Elf crossbowmen can. In addition, take the army TheLieutenant played against myself with in my battlereport. He played in his big blocks. He should have marched up in units 2 ranks deep (so 10 wide), and as he got close, swift reformed back into position? Why? It reduces the number of template hits I do to him. Very nice rule, very underused. Be the guy that uses it.

Ok, so now we know the basics of movement.
Putting them into practice however… Well, we’re gonna talk about something very near and dear to my heart. Redirection, blocking, general irritation, whatever you wanna call it.

This changed in 8th edition. It changed a lot. First I’ll outline what used to happen. You have your big, nasty, stupendously powerful unit. Let’s call it Killsaw. Killsaw can go through your army like a chainsaw going through an egg. However you have a cheap unit that costs you 2% of your overall army cost. Let’s call it Clive. What you used to do is place Clive at an angle so that Killsaw couldn’t move forward past Clive, and it had to charge Clive. Clive would flee out of range and Killsaw would be left high and dry. Clive was usually fast cavalry, so could constantly do this.

However, in the current edition Killsaw can take a leadership test to charge a new eligible target, which makes redirects a little harder, in that you have to do it the hard way. You have to hold, then they either turn around or overrun. You need to make it so that both options put them in an irritating place to be. For example, in my battle report against High Elves I had it so that if he overran he’d be out of position, but if he reformed I could just run another redirector in at an awkward angle, which would pull him (very slowly) out of position.

Here we see the rats pulling the White Lions out of position into the slaves.
Either that or out in the open for shooting.
Other options include putting your redirector at an angle so that if they don’t overrun they get flank charged, regardless of what way they face. Basically, these days, it just buys you a turn of movement, sometimes more. It’s a great thing to do in a shooty army, and I’d advise they should all take quite a few redirection units. Another way to do redirection, and this requires more resources, but against deathstars it’s viable. You need to make it so that the only option they have after combat is overrunning. It’s doable, especially if your redirector can fly or is a skirmisher. After that you need a second redirector 6.1″ behind your first redirector. So they charge, kill redirector 1, and overrun into redirector 2. Buying you another turn. Like I say, it’s not always preferable, but there can be times it’s advantageous.

You’ll notice I said 6.1″. This brings us nicely to the bad of redirection. Panic. Yeah, it screws my army over big time. What’s the problem? Well if a unit (i.e. your redirector) is destroyed in combat (which it should be) then all your units within 6″ need to take a panic check. Now with a general and BSB nearby it’s not too big a deal, but it’s still inconvenient. Especially if your general gets dwellers’d. But for most armies this isn’t a problem at all, as LD7 and LD8 is the standard. Not my army’s LD5.

Hope you guys enjoyed the article.

Force Application: getting the most out of your army

Another general article concept. Joy. Time and time again I see individuals spread their armies out. There are certainly times to do this but there is also a way to do this. We’ve briefly discussed mech-training (aka the choo-choo train) before but we’ve never really applied it to an army and the tactics it entails. Let’s therefore see what we can do.

Quickly recapping what mech-training is: using one vehicle to provide cover to multiple vehicles of yours. Whilst cover is pretty easy to provide for infantry in 5th edition, finding cover for Tanks and MCs isn’t always a walk in the park. Therefore the ability to generate your own cover (I.e. smoke launchers) or use your own army to provide cover for the rest of your army can greatly improve your army’s survivability. However, this does bunch your tanks up and there are abilities/spells/weapons that demand you not do this (I.e. Manticore, Blood Lance, etc.). But what does this mean for your offensive potential and gameplan?

The defensive abilities of concentrating your army, especially mech, should be obvious now. Mech can also provide extra “offensive” defensive capabilities through blocking. Check out the How To on that. Above and beyond this though, it stops your army from being split. This is one of my major issues with hybrid BA and the like. Again, splitting your army has it’s place and merits but for the most part deploying in a nice shiny little line across your deployment zone is drop dead stupid. No punches pulled. Check out this picture of an IG v IG battle I pulled from Vassal whilst watching a game (names withheld).

I have no idea what’s in the chimeras and I believe the dark green (Cadian?) IG went first. If going second however, they would receive a pummelling but the Tan IG allowed the Cadian IG to get away with it by not focusing their strength on one side of the board (again no idea what’s in the Chimeras but Tan deploying on the side of the Hydras would have been good). We’ll ignore the bad terrain *looks at huge open gap in midfield*. Again, focusing your strength and training your mech can be problematic against specific armies but you have to have the skill to acknowledge when this is true. This comes back to the articles recently written for this blog by Kirby and Puppy (that really is a good article Puppy…).

So what does focusing your strength/firepower really do? First off it provides saturation. If you have so many guns in a localised area, your opponent is unlikely to be able to neutralise them (much like mech saturation). If your opponent is spread out like the Cadian IG are, focusing your firepower allows you to make a concentrated push in an area where they able to bring less of their guns to bear on you. This is where deployment can play a huge role in game development and the ultimate winner. Therefore, by focusing your strength/firepower in a localised area, you are able to break open your opponent’s lines and control that section of the board. Against an opponent who is also focusing their strength, it comes down to who manoeuvres better or has the appropriate tools for the job. A quick example is wiping out squads. Whilst putting 25% causalities on 10 units means one or two may be likely to run, that same firepower could wipe out those same squads. Whilst the spread of fire may cause more damage in the end due to Ld, you know what you’re getting when a squad is dead.

Let’s look at the anti-thesis of focusing your strength , dilution of firepower. Continuing on from the example just given and the Vassal picture I dropped. If the tan IG had deployed all in the top right, the Cadian IG would have been unable to bring their full firepower to bear, forcing him to move. The Tan IG would of then had a much higher chance of surviving in tact, particularly since he had 4 AV14 facings to ping S7 off. The tan IG player would of then been in a much better position as all of his army could of reached the Cadian army and opened fire, especially since he had more mobility in the Vendettas and it was a non-objective game.

So when is it viable to split your army? Often when you are fast (such as Eldar/DE) and there are two separate capable natural covers and both sections of your army are capable of supporting each other. This is like running two separate detachments, your firepower isn’t being diminished by lining up across the board as the detachments can support each other but you’re still gaining as much cover as possible. This can also force your opponent to split their deployment or movement, or attempt to neutralise one section. If you’ve got the appropriate movement or firepower you can handle both situations and it also leaves your other ’detachment’ open to side shots. This is very important when deploying long ranged units. Placing Hammerheads/Prisms/Russes in opposite corners is going to give you side shots if the opponent moves into midfield and demands they focus some attention onto said units or suffer those side shots.

Overall, focusing your strength is very important. The more spread out and diluted your army and firepower becomes, the easier it is for your opponent to exploit gaps and breaks in your army. Whilst there are appropriate times and places to spread out (don’t for example forego an objective to focus your firepower, cover your bases), especially against a lot of blasts or multi-hit weapons, focusing your strength & firepower allows you to get the job done when and where you need it. This also means spreading out your firepower in your army composition. Having heavy hitting units is good but if all units are capable of anti-tank, losing your best anti-tank is much less of a blow. A lot of this comes with practice but it’s easy to practice moving your vehicles at home to get as much cover as possible. Set up a board and practice deploying against a ridiculous gun army or assault army and see how your deployment changes with it. You’ll notice an improvement in your ability to move your vehicles and get them cover but also reduced thinking time as you have been through situations like this before.

Above all else remember: focus fire!

Armies in 5th: Basics Part 4: Movement

Here we are back again. We’ve now covered building your army and target priority in varied detail (whilst nearly skipping over deployment) so let’s look at movement. Movement, beyond deployment and army composition, is the most important part of Warhammer 40,000 because as the player you have the most control over it. Very rarely do you have to roll dice (and thus rely on randomness) for you to be able to move. This is why difficult terrain is…well difficult. It throws a spanner into your works and why being able to generate your own cover (through 5th edition rules or shenanigans) or move through cover more effectively (dozer blades, move through cover, flip-belts, etc.) is so valuable.

Like deployment, going into every trench and forest of movement would take forever, something I don’t have but unlike deployment some more general guidelines are feasible here. Firstly as mentioned in the previous article, make sure you keep your firelanes open. This varies from army to army and what is out on the field at the time. For example it’s easy to keep a turret of a Predator, Wave Serpent or Lemun Russ firing as it can see over most other tanks but sponsons or hull mounted weapons generally can’t. Infantry also generally have their LoS blocked by tanks but skimmers can often allow infantry to shoot under them (but be shot in return), etc. This is where deployment can make or break armies (i.e. having infantry with heavy weapons on the ground and not being able to see anything compared to in the ruins) and why you need to predict what you are going to need and where. Whilst it is obviously impossible to predict everything, after practice you should have a better understanding of how the game will unfold. The better you are at this, the better you will be as a player (i.e. T4, multiple wound models deploying on the other side of the board of a Vindicator; if the Vindicator player predicted this and based his next moves on it, he now has an advantage, if the other player put his MW models in-range of the Vindicator he also has an advantage, etc.).

So again it comes down to knowing your army and your opponents. What guns do I want firing next turn? Am I likely to blow up tank A and therefore be in a position to damage whatever was in the tank? Is what is left in the tank a threat and do I therefore need to deal with it? Are some of the questions you need to ask. Being able to destroy a transport and its occupants is the coup de grace so to speak and the best way to destroy clumped infantry is with blasts or templates. Templates are often short-ranged and thus you need to understand this during your movement phase and be able to move those templates up (an Immo spam army takes advantage of this principle to the hilt). At the same time this might overextend your army on a unit that doesn’t need destroying or can be delayed, keeping your army together (for the most part) is more valuable than destroying a single unit though some armies are much more capable of spreading out (such as Eldar) whilst losing little in board control or tactical flexibility.

This brings us to blocking. Blocking is a skill underutilised by many and in fact is often ignored, until their single LR gets blocked for 90% of the game and doesn’t go anywhere. Whilst this is most easily done with fast and small speeders early-game against ‘super units’, it can be used at any point. At any point you can clog up clear terrain with a tank or spread out a unit in front of your other units to create a “bubble”. You can throw units or tanks into the face of your enemy to sacrifice them and slow your opponent. This boils down to loss and gain. Not often is losing a Rhino game-breaking but slowing a Nob Biker squad for a turn is. This gives you another turn to mobilise or shoot and as Tau well know, this wins you games.

Another important concept of movement has been called ‘cho-cho training.’ I’ve given an example previously but essentially it is gaining cover as much as possible for the majority of your armor with the lead tank artificially producing cover (either through terrain or items). To give as much cover as possible to the majority of your units (both mech and non-mech) requires thinking. Cover increases the survivability of your units by 50%. That’s huge. If you can play the whole game with cover, your opponent’s shooting needs to be twice as effective to do “normal” damage. You can do this for free; sounds good to me. This relates back to my first point as well, if you can do this and let your units behind the original unit still shoot, you’re increasing your defense for very little drop off in offense. With infantry units make sure to hide your regular guys and leave heavy weapons in the open. This makes them more likely to have clear LoS (and thus not provide cover) but still have cover from the majority of the unit being in cover. Whilst such options as these sound great, your opponent will (hopefully) be attempting to deny you cover whilst gaining as much cover as possible themselves. By taking such weapons as Manticores or Blood Lance you can reduce vehicle walling and force your opponent to adapt.

This is a quick point as it relates to assault (obviously a different topic) but you need to set up your assaults in the movement phase. Are you assaulting something behind a screening unit, inside a transport or dead in front of you? Are you planning for multi-assaults and are there ICs involved? All of these factors are important to you in the MOVEMENT phase because there are very specific rules you must follow during the assault process (i.e. closest model to closest model). This can involve blocking assault lanes (but keeping fire lanes open) with vehicles, placing hidden PFists in the middle of the squad so they can target ICs if needed, etc. I’ll go over this more in the assault section but remember assaults are setup in the movement and if you screw it up…your assaults can fail.

So now that we’ve covered a few basic concepts (LoS, cover, blocking, etc.) what does movement allow us to do? Obviously it gets us closer for short-ranged weapons and assaults but it also allows you to move into midfield and take advantage of terrain. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, 5th edition often revolves around midfield. This is due to objectives, the importance placed on short-range weapons (not much beats a meltagun in tank popping), the ease of cover (angles get taken away, look at a soccer goalie) and the increased movement speed across armies (i.e. mech + Run!). You’ve got to venture into midfield or wipe your opponent out in most games, so you have to account for midfield. This is your “ultimate” goal. Whilst getting into your opponent’s backfield can often disrupt their own plans, it will also leave you overstretched unless your whole army can do so (i.e. jumper armies, pods, eldar ,etc.). So whilst you are keeping fire lanes clear, maintaining trains for cover and thinking ahead for blocking and assaults, remember your ultimate goal of maintaining midfield. More often than not if you control midfield, you win the game.

Tyranid Codex Review – Part 1: Hive Fleets

One of the most convoluted parts of 8th edition army building with new books so far has been keeping in mind specific stratagems, trait bonuses and warlord traits for each <insert special collection of war dollies organisational description>. What I have found quite beneficial is to list them with each other and then take a look.

Read more »

So Kirby Wants Me To Bloody Write Something…

This man. I will gladly offer a pound of flesh if
someone can conjure me a machine to get to one of his gigs.

 Disclaimer: This is a rant. While it does cover some (very) important points, and some very good lessons as to playing 40k, it reads like a train of thought, or a conversation I would have with myself. Probably because I finished writing at 1:30am, and have been listening to a lot of 60s-70s rock. Just a word of warning.

Then write something I shall. Ok, fine Kirby. I’ll write something monumental, it’ll change most people’s opinions of the game as a whole. Whole mythos and religions will be founded on what I say here today. Or I could go on another semi coherent rant. Considering it’s 1am, I’ll let you guys decide what it is I’m doing.

So you’re probably wondering what this article is about and you’re not the only one. Well, it’s about being good at 40k, and why I’m a better Warmachine player than I am a 40k player. Despite the fact I’ve had maybe 50 games of Warmachine in my life, and well more than that of 40k. So, I have some explaining to do I imagine. Well, let me lay out 3 very simple rules of “being good at 40k”. If you follow these 3 guidelines I promise you your gameplay will improve. Hell, it sort of ties in with Kirby’s eyeballing distance article. This is my personal 40k gospel in one easy checklist. Ok, so these 3 rules:

1) The most basic, learn to predict outcomes. Now, you wont be right. Hell, you might be completely wrong, but having a basic idea of what will happen if you shoot X at Y is vital to the game, at least if you’re playing competitively. A few basic examples would be 8 Lasguns at a Fire Warrior. How many wounds do I do? I hope to god you said 1. 24 S5 BS4 shots at a unit with T4 and a 3+? Yes, 2.6666667 wounds (also see why fire warriors are awful). Yes guys, mathhammer. Now, an important (very important in my opinion) point to consider in regards to mathhammer is not to overuse it. Do not build armies designed around it, do not complain if you roll off the expected results, because rolling odds is actually an expected result (there are exceptions, feel free to complain if you fire 11 melta gun shots and they all fail to hit or wound).

Now, I know most of you know this, and I’m going to write an article on it at some point anyway, but it’s important. People hate on mathhammer a lot, which is just ignorance. Being able to tell whether or not you’re better firing your Lascannon at a Razorback or a Predator is a big thing (however, there’s a lot of other factors that come into this, say the predator has 3 lascannons and the razorback has a heavy bolter, you’d be better going for the predator, even though math says go for the Rback, which is why mathhammer =/= jesus). Right, preachy rant over guys, learn expected results, it’ll help your gameplay.

2) Placement. Which actually narrows down to the MOST IMPORTANT RULE OF 40k. I cannot stress how important this rule is. In fact, I’m going to quote it for you.

“When any part of the target model’s body (as defined
on page 16) is obscured from the point of view of the
firer, the target model is in cover. This is intentionally
generous, and it represents the fact that the warrior,
unlike the model, will be actively trying to take cover
(as well as the smoke, explosions and flying debris that
are mercifully absent from our tabletop battlefields).”
“At least 50% of the facing of the vehicle that is
being targeted (i.e. its front, side or rear) needs to be
hidden by intervening terrain or models from the
point of view of the firer for the vehicle to claim to
be in cover. If this is the case, the vehicle is said to be
obscured (or ‘hull down’). If a squad is firing at a
vehicle, the vehicle is obscured only if it is 50%
hidden from the majority of the firing models (do not
count models that cannot hurt the vehicle).”

Screw having fun, I have a cover save. This is the most important rule of 40k. See if you want to win, this is massive. Careful unit placement to ensure all units that can possibly have cover have cover as often as is physically possible (she sells sea shells…) is essential. See if you don’t? Why not? Does what you’re going to accomplish by not giving yourself cover outweight a 50% increase in survivability (for tanks). Is there a way you can give yourself cover while accomplishing your desired goal? Is there a way you can perhaps swap the roles you had given 2 units for this turn (i.e. one does one’s job, one does the other’s) for the safety of cover? Perhaps it would reduce the chances of you succeeding (see point one) but by how much? Worth a 50% gain in survivability?  For infantry, it’s not “as” essential, depending on what you’re fighting against.

If any of you know ComradeCowboy, when
he says he plays like a gentleman with a top hat
and monocle, I imagine something like this. Except
not this awesome, as this is of course, Mick Jagger.

Hopefully you see what I’m getting at here. There are very very very few scenarios worth giving up the safety of cover. Cover is easy to get in 40k, and you should try to maximise the amount of cover you get every game. When you deploy, hell, before you deploy, look at good places to get cover. Don’t forget about them as soon as the game’s underway either (like I do).  A final note I feel should be covered in this rule. If you’re against heavy firepower (say razorwolves or a gunline IG list) then deploying a tank behind terrain is worth the chance of immob for a 4+. Obviously this is vehicle dependant, and indeed, situation dependant, but as a by and large, take the risk. Man, 1/6 readers are going to be pissed at me. (:

3) Evaluate threat ranges. Not during deployment, not while you’re moving, constantly. You should look at a chimera and see a 42″ multilaser bubble, 18″ melta bubble (from the hatch) and 14″ flamer bubble (and an additonal bunch of bubbles, but you get the jist). When you see an ork infantry squad you see a 12″ threat bubble. However, other factors come into this. People tank shocking your guys closer, or in the case of that ork example, a Waaaagh! This is a huge part of the game people only give a basic nod to during gameplay. Evaluating these threat ranges is massive, and eyeballing distances is a massive part of it. This is also the section I’ll be explaining why I’m better at Warmahordes than 40k (in my opinion).

Bit of background. I play Circle in Warmahordes. In my army I have 9 models that can move enemy figures. Every model in my army has some form of movement shenanigan. I can move every figure in an opposing force. I can deny charges, and I can cause you to bottleneck yourself. See, I can play with threat ranges. As I can move your models about, I can put them to the tippity toe of their threat range. Then just leave them. After that, they’re no longer a threat. And if I want something, I will have it. I’ve once moved an enemy warbeast (a scythean, if anyone’s interested) 18″ to come into threat range of my feral (who ripped it in half). Why is this important? Well, if you can imagine having that kind of power in 40k. It’s why lash was so feared with infantry lists, when you get right down to it. Can you imagine if lash worked on vehicles? Can you imagine if you had it in the quantity my army has it in Warmahordes? You could rip people out of cover, spin them round and spend the day shooting exposed AV10, while putting their best weapons (melta) far out of range.

You see, when I play Warmachine, because I got into it for the game, and have been playing recently, I have no preconceived notions. I joined it very much an experienced wargamer, and learned to play as such. I’m constantly evaluating threat ranges. I have no “baggage” or bad habits like I do in some GW systems, whether they’re clinging on from past editions, or from past experiences. In warmahordes, I have a basic set of rules, which I follow to a tee. When I try this in 40k, I don’t have nearly as much success. The main one though, is for some reason I just don’t look at threat ranges when I’m playing 40k nearly as much compared to when I’m playing Warmahordes. This is why I believe I’m a better Warmachine player.

So, I’ll give you a cookie if you can name all the bands
the people in the pictures belong to.

Because when I’m playing Warmachine, it’s all that’s on my mind. Movement is the most important aspect of this game. I know that I want my rhino to be 23.5″ from that tank, so I can top hatch melta it when it comes close, but for some reason I can’t grasp it the same way as I do when I’m playing Warmachine. So, a top tip for playing 40k? Look at threat bubbles. Constantly. It’s something I’m forcing myself to do. I’m breaking out of a bad habit (not doing it) and my gameplay is dramatically improving. People’s weaponry is out of range a lot more, my weaponry is just in range much more, I’m almost always in melta range when I want to be, my assaults almost never fail, their movement is blocked. Seriously, this is where you win games.

Threat Ranges, Cover, and Movement.

Happy Kirby? Yup =D.

Cancon Battle Report 2 – Eldar vs Chaos Space Marines

Following Game 1, I went into Game 2 1-0 and the dream was still alive…


My list can again be seen here while my opponent’s (Dean) list included 2 19x Bezerkers, 2x Sable Claws, three Chaos characters including a Sorcerer, 3x3x Nurglings, 3x3x Mortar Renegades, 10x Renegades and 2x Company Commanders (Dean also runs the Blog for the Blood God). The Sable Claws and Bezerkers are obviously the work horses of this list and given I have many flyers, the Sable Claws are pretty important targets while those Bezerkers could ruin my day pretty quickly with whatever they touch in combat. I do not have a lot of infantry in the list so I will need to be wise about my placement to seal off deep striking assaults. The Sable Claws though do have a very large footprint. There is very little shooting in the list though (9 mortars and the Sable Claws). Dean choose Death by a Thousand Cuts, Big Game Hunter and Recon for his secondary objectives and I choose Headhunter, Behind Enemy Lines and Recon as mine. Mistake made here which we will go into.

This is an excellent game example of how you can lock yourself in combat though, so keep your eyes peeled for this.

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Craftworlds Codex Review: Troops: Guardian Defenders

When only the finest graduates of Underwater Basket-Weaving school will do to protect your homeworld, you need Guardian Defenders.

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