Never underestimate the power of a good outflank- attacking and striking your opponent where they are weak, using that flank attack to grab the pulse of the game, take control, and secure victory for Khorne…or whoever you are fighting for…
In this tactics talk let’s take a look at the idea of setting up a flank attack, along with what you will need to make it happen, and then what to do with the momentum should you gain it.
Not every game of 40K will warrant it, nor will it work against every codex/army build- but you should be aware of what it can do and file it away in your 40K toolkit for future use should the tabletop conditions arise.
So what is a flank attack?
Simply put, it is a tactic where you put a large portion of your army either on the far right or left side of the game table/deployment zone and have them swing around on that side and attack the rear portion of your opponent’s army.
In doing this you hope to move fast and attack a lighter guarded part of the table so you can not only overwhelm weaker units, but also force your opponent to commit more models to defending against your attack which provides more tactical room for your other models and mission goals.
For the sake of an example I’m going to talk about the units in my Berserkers of Skallathrax Chaos Space Marine army as an illustration- see what you have in your own codex and 40K collection that could also work in the same way.
In order to attack your opponent’s flank you need both fast and resilient units, combined with enough mass to really make it a threat- a wave serpent with some fire dragons hitting the flank is an annoyance, six of them is a serious problem.
In my army list it is my Chaos Lord on a juggernaurt, spawn, maulerfiends, and a heldrake that work as a group to attack the flank- this is like 70% of my army, leaving only some ‘zerks and Chaos Space Marines in rhinos to win the mission.
All of those flanking units are FAST moving, can ignore or navigate terrain and don’t really have any shooting attacks (other than the drake) so they can run in the shooting phase without losing anything. Despite not being bikes, skimmers, or FAST vehicles, the group moves quite fast and has some hard hitting assault power.
When I deploy, I put the rhinos and Chaos Space Marine scoring units in the center of the table, then if I am deploying first or second, either I also deploy in the center (going first since I don’t know where my opponent is going to deploy) or on the right/left side of the gaming table if I am going second- depending on where my opponent is stronger.
Notice I said STRONGER- which means I want to attack the side they are stronger with in terms of models and units, NOT weaker. I want to tie up the most models, the most units, and the biggest aprt of my opponent’s army- getting them to shoot, feed additional units, and eventually grind me down in the assault forcing them to waste game turns dealing with my flank attack, so my mission scoring units can focus on well, the mission.
Of course the KEY is being able to lose those models and units in your flank attack without getting upset, or faltering in the attack- even if you get blasted on turn one you NEED to keep pushing- every shot going into your flank attack, every glance or tactical decision by your opponent is focused on them and not your mission scoring units- this is how you use a flank attack, but more importantly how you control the flow of a 40K battle.
Here are some pictures below from a big 40K battle with some very impressive units on both sides- check out my models in the series and see if you can spot the flank attack in action.