No Retreat! No Mercy! No Surrender!

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We all have our own preferred play style for 40K, beyond army selection. I personally like to hang back, play my opponent’s game, maybe even take some serious losses to the point where they victory for them is all but assured, and then at the last moment slip in and take the prize from them. Sneaky Eldar. That said sometimes this isn’t possible at all, especially if you are playing a non 5th edition codex.

Some of the 5th edition army builds/netlists out there are at the top of the heap because those codexes play to the strength of the core rules in the big rule book. Cheap and plentiful scoring units, multiple small units to shoot with, resilient vehicle with threatening gun, etc. It’s not so much the skill in these lists to win, as opposed to leveraging the best of the rules in your favor, and in truth what general wouldn’t want to do this. But this isn’t war, real life, or anything other than a toy game, and what if you really want to play space bugs or undead robots. How does your 3rd edition book even try and compete with the top heap 5th edition builds?

Can it?

I’ve often talked about how one should play the mission, almost ignoring the opponent, only dealing with units when they cross into preventing you from dealing with the mission. This is true for the most part, but against the top of the 5th builds with an older codex things have to change.

Before I can “play” the mission I have to destroy my opponent’s army- let’s look at this from the perspective of my Necron Destroyer list.

3 X 5 Destroyers
3 X 10 Warriors
1 X 10 Immortals
1 Lord W/ Veil + Pulse

1750, nice and compact and actually a lot of bots given the cost of the units, lots of T5 also which is nice, but I’m getting off topic.

I step up to the table and my opponent is playing BA razorspam- 3 preds, 5+ razorbacks, and a land raider with termies inside. Lots of vehicles, lots of shots, and lots of cheap scoring units. Let’s say mission is capture and control to make it really hard for me, worst case scenario.

While I’d like to hand back shooting, zipping around, porting in and out with VOD as my warriors advance to play the mission, I can’t do that. 3 auto cannon, 13 las cannon, and 5 plasma shots will make quick work of my list, and that isn’t counting the guys inside the boxes.

I have to be bold, go all out, and full attack. When two lists like this match up, it is going to come down to who blinks first. I’d take first turn if I can, set up center as far forward as I can, and go for a crippling first strike with my destroyers and immortals. If I’m lucky on that first turn I’ll take out three razorbacks with the destroyers and stun a pred with the immortals. Turn two I need to continue pressing the attack, focusing on blasting my opponent’s list rather than focusing on the mission. If I’m still alive and not phased out by turn four then I start switching over to the mission. What if my opponent sets up first turn? Well, in the case of Necrons vs. BA spam I’m also setting up center and trying to seize first turn, 1 in 6 odds are actually pretty good. If I fail, I get blasted off the table turn one, but in many ways that is getting it over quickly.

Non 5th edition armies NEED to deliver that first strike, working on bringing down the 5th armies to the same level, and then switch over to the mission. I wish things could be on equal footing or at least “fair” but the gulf of old vs. new ‘dexes is still pretty wide.

Know when to play the mission, when to play the army, when to switch from one to the other…
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