In the early to mid days of 40K 5th edition I made a name for myself with my Eldar by contesting on turn five, giving way to the idea of turn five…I win!
This tactic was created out of the necessity of dealing with a flawed gaming system in that GW does not update their army books in a timely manner and they are even remotely balanced. Yes, using and old codex can coast you the game just because it is old.
My Eldar had a good amount of firepower, and while the models were generally more expensive in terms of point then their marine counterparts it wasn’t that bad.
But as time went on I couldn’t compete under the established rule set the new codexs were bringing. I couldn’t outshoot them, I certainly didn’t outnumber them, so what was left to win? Just surviving to turn five and contest all objectives while holding one was that way for me.
It helped that it did fit my sneaky-ish playstle, but there is something a bit out of whack with a gaming system where you can lose 90% of you models and still “win” the game.
As 5th edition pondered on it became more and more clear that it was a shooting game that favored imperial/marine books. I’ve often wondered, but don’t know Warhammer Fantasy well enough, if GW has separated the gaming systems so that 40K = shooting and Fantasy = assault in terms of overall playstyle.
The over the top shooting builds that came out of mid to late 5th edition only pushed my gaming evolution further, which lead to my Null Deployment ideas.
As I got into Tyranids, and army that has zero transports, no armor saves, and no diversified shooting, running into a gunline or spam army was suicide. We needed to cut down on the shooting before coming to grips with things, Null Deployment was my answer.
Now I’m at the end of 5th edition, 6th is coming in July right, and most of my armies that take the table these days have very few vehicles. Most of the builds I face just put out so many shots, my vehicles just don’t last long enough to justify the points or tactical performance. Grey Knight fortitude only made this worse…
So what am I looking for in terms of 6th edition?
Hard to say since again we really don’t know the rules, so all I can go with is the what the trends are- what GW likes = making money.
In many ways I feel like I’m coming back full circle to turn five I win tactics.
GW loves objective marker based missions. Two of the three standard 40K missions are objective based, and most of the battle missions are objective based. Objectives aren’t going away even if things change back to 4th where all the units count as “scoring”.
Turn five contesting worked because I could, optimally, spread out the objectives enough, with the one I’m planning to hold being in a remote location, and the others clustered enough to encourage my opponent to try and hold the others.
Well, what if we could use objective placement to magnify the strengths of our particular army and play style? Right now I’m experimenting on that with Imperial Guard, so that will be the example here for the post, and future posts as we explore the topic. As always find the framework and adapt for your own army and playstyle…
If your codex/army can’t compete with the current rule meta- vehicle spam and shooting, we have to ask our self what DOES it still do well? If you had to force your opponent to engage you on what your army did well what would that be?
What if we built an army based on manipulating objectives?
What if objectives were the modifier for the “good” stuff in your army?
We know IG does chimera spam well, along with melta vets and flyers. These things tend to be standard in a ‘Guard army and if you are going to build a counter for IG in your army these are the units you have to have a way to defeat.
As such, other IG units really never tend to make it into a regular game. Under the current 40K rules/meta they just don’t tend to perform.
But what if objective placement could make them perform?
What if we use objective placement as a way to kill our opponent’s models?
My IG foot list is evolving, and I have to say I like big guns. I have a vision in my mind, almost WW I like where my big guns shell the opponent for a few turns before sending in a massive wave of foot soldiers with plasma and flamers to clear things out.
The objective deployment for the battle mission from the other day is just one way to do this, consider this type of objective deployment. Say for the mission we have three objectives and I win the roll off to place two. On a side note when I’m playing around with ideas like this I always start with the best case scenario for me since it is the easiest to understand and then work my way down to the more worst off set ups like losing the objective roll off, night fight, etc.
I place my first objective in the center of the table, and then my opponent has to place 12” away. Wherever they place I then fit the third in to make a straight line- or as much as I can leading to one of the table edges.
If I take first turn I select the side of the table opposite the objectives, if my opponent wins the roll of what are they going to take? What side would you take?
I can’t force my opponent to do anything, but I can encourage them to make bad choices that seem good at the start of the game, only to turn later in the game.
Three objectives in a line encourages a tiered deployment pattern, clustering units as close as possible along the line since you win the mission if you control the objectives. From turn 1 my opponent is already winning, and even if they have to fall back or take losses they can still hold the other 1-2 objectives and contest the first one.
Now back to my IG army build for a moment…
Lots of heavy ordinance and indirect fire- three objectives sets up a line for me to drop shells on. If they scatter, and they will, there is still a good chance they will hit something, or perhaps even more than one unit.
By having the objectives in a line heading towards a corner point I’ve maximized the length of the table, deploying my guns and tanks on the far opposite corner keeping them save and out of range, yet able to keep firing indirectly.
While they are shelling away, the infantry advance, looking to take two objectives and contest or swarm the third.
Well, I don’t know if any of that makes any sense at all, as much of my thoughts are still little flashes of ideas here and there, but you can be sure much of my 6th edition tactics will be heavily based on using objective placement to magnify the strengths of my army at the time, assuming GW doesn’t take a radical departure from objective based missions…