Monday, February 7, 2011

"Alfred von Schleiffen" List

I recently ran across an interesting set of articles for my military history class on the creation and military ideas about the infamous Schleiffen Plan of WWI. During this period in history, field armies consisted of massive hoards of troops. As a rough figure, the German army consisted of slightly less than one million men, and this was on the smallish side. To the German Field Marshall prior to WWI, Alfred von Schleiffen, a frontal assault simply didn't cut it, because it allowed the enemy to fall back (allowing for inconclusive battles), and the casualties that resulted in an all out frontal assault were simply unacceptable. The German military doctrine of the time stresses outflanking and encirclement of the enemy in order to achieve a decisive battle in which the enemy is completely annihilated. Now, this isn't all that earth shattering.

The part where this method of attack sets itself apart is in the way it goes about its flanking maneuver. The forces deployed against the enemy's front were to be incredibly weakened to the point where it could only just mount an effective frontal attack. The rest of the army goes around the sides of the enemy in hugely concentrated and powerful masses. Finally, the German high command was willing to substitute, say, a river as an encircling "front."

Now, how does this relate to 40k? Nobody plays a million man army, not even 'nid players throwing down an army composed of only gaunts in an Apoc game. Very simple: you throw down a hard hitting unit that can't easily be gotten rid of. (I'm thinking termies with FNP...) Then you send the rest of the army in a flanking maneuver (deploy and move up the side; it gives you a guarantee that your troops are on the board). Use your fast vehicles, and remember: rhinos are your friends!

Dante: 225 pts
Librarian w/Termy armr and SS: 145 pts

x10 man Terminator Assault Squad with TH/SS: 450 pts
Furioso Dread w/ Blood Talons: 125 pts
x2 Sanguinary Priest w/ x1 power fist, x1 Termy armr and PW: 160 pts

Sanguinary Guard w/ chapter banner: 230 pts
x10 man Assault Squad w/ x2 meltaguns, PF, DROP JP's, Rhino (w/ dozer blade): 255 pts
x10 man Assault Squad w/ x2 meltaguns, PF, DROP JP's, Rhino (w/ dozer blade): 255 pts

All the termies go together (Assault squad, Priest, and libby), and simply march toward the enemy, running forward. (What else are ya gonna do in the shooting phase?)
The rest of the army blitzes forward, with the rhinos popping smoke, turbo boosting, running into cover (yay dozer blades!) and doing everything possible to not get blown away. The dread is gonna (try) and keep up, and run. However, since he is so slow, I think he might peel off fairly quickly and box in units trying to run from the termies. I'm thinking I might deepstrike Dante and his boys to smack something irritating like devistators on top of an objective in the back field.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

On Shooting

Those of you who read my earlier article on the assault phase may be wondering how I view the shooting phase. Clearly, no army will succeed without attempting to claim the maximum benefit from each phase; therefore, I am introducing my combat doctrine as it associates with the shooting phase.

To me, the shooting phase has a lot to do with supplemental attacks, a support for the assault phase. In my opinion, there are three main uses of shooting: 1) A way to crack open vehicles (and get at the units inside!), 2) A way to sufficiently weaken assaulty units to a point where you can safely assault them, 3) Templates, because who doesn't like dropping pie plates all over the place?

1) A way to crack open vehicles, especially transports
I'm fairly sure everybody here understands the concept of melta. I'm a big fan of getting within that cozy zone of 2D6 on the penetration roll; it makes cracking raiders SO much more feasible. In any event, this just makes sense for an army of my operational outlook. Being a primarily assaulty army, we can pack an enormous punch against other armies, given that we can get into the assault with their troops. As a side bonus, when I get close enough to roll 2D6 on the pen roll, it gives me a good chance for my Blood Lance to actually travel far enough to hit its target.

2) Weakening assaulty units
We've all run across them. Units that can absolutely break face in close combat, such as lightning claw or TH/SS termies, TW Cav, Sanguinary Guard, genestealers (due to their high initiative and rending claws), and other units you don't want to throw your dedicated assault units into because of guaranteed high losses or total unit destruction. The answer: dakka. Force any unit to make enough saves, and they will eventually fail one (or hopefully more!). So, volume of fire is important here, but it is important not to get carried away and cut yourself out of an assault phase. With the enemy weakened, you may now go about total wreckage quite happily.

3) Templates, because killing one at a time just isn't cool enough
Orks, nids, and whatever happens to be in front of your vindicator suffers from blast templates. Orks and nids are very vulnerable, for the most part, due to large numbers of troops (ie. even with scatter, your gonna hit SOMETHING), and with their generally poor saves you can kill off large quantities of the ones you hit. Not that space marines can't get hurt from this too; in fact, one of my favorite things to do is flame my opponent's marines after he disembarks from a vehicle.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes my thoughts on shooting in 40k.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Total DOA List

My latest BA list, enjoy.

Commander Dante: 225 pts (an absolute MUST have for this list because of his precision strike rule)
Librarian w/ jump pack: 125 pts (Unleash Rage, and Blood Lance/Might of Heroes)

Chaplain w/ jump pack: 125 pts
Sanguinary Priest w/ jump pack, power sword: 90 pts

Sanguinary Guard w/ chapter banner: 230 pts
Assault Squad w/ 10 men, 2 meltaguns, powerfist, infernus pistol: 250 pts

Vanguard Veterans w/ 10 men, 9 lightning claws, sarge lightning claw (free!), jump packs: 450 pts
Vanguard Veterans w/ 5 men, jump packs, x5 storm shields, x3 power fists, sarge power fist (15 pt discount), meltabomb (x1): 355 pts

And thats the army. 34 marines, no transports.

Unit formation: Dante, Chaplain, and Priest go with the Guard. (I WOULD put the priest and/or chaplain with the claw vets, but that takes away heroic intervention) The Libby goes with the Assault Squad.

Here's how it works: Get your reserves in, re-rolling for them if you need to, and place them near your enemy. Place your SS/PF Vets first, placing them directly on top of a vehicle, meaning that if you scatter, you can still assault. Of course, if you get a direct hit, you can always shift your unit two inches as allowed by deep strike rules. This garuntees an assault on the first turn you come in, which is key. Second, place your other Vets group in a similar way. Either place them next to a group of soldiers that MUST die, or wait to kill whatever comes out of the vehicle (if its a transport). Either way, keep them fairly close to your other vets squad. Next, place your assault squad in a position that the libby can blood lance, and the meltas can get down and dirty. (also try and keep this close) Finally, place Dante's unit onto the board. As you may have noticed, this unit carries all the buffs. With your army (hopefully) fairly close together, this means that you will hopefully extend these buffs to most, if not all, of your army.

Comments: This army truly depends on getting a large portion of your reserves into the game at the same time. This is going to be the most dangerous time for your army, as things might not work out as well as you had hoped in this respect. Obviously, you will need to compensate when not all your units come in at the same time, but, take consolation in the knowledge that this is army is a close combat monster. Pop those transports any way you can, and then let the claw Vets multi-assault the juicy units inside. This army really does need to fear the template weapon however, so, make sure you eliminate as many of those as possible when you first come in.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Shooting vs Assault

As a Blood Angels player, you probably have a good idea of my thoughts on shooting and assault. Specifically, that shooting is an auxiliary to the assault. Allow me to explain how I think shooting and assaulting stack up.

First of all, you need LOS for most shooty weapons. So if you are playing something with a LOT of terrain, a clever player can essentially neutralize enemy shooting (and their own in the process). Also, you can't shoot into an assault.

Second, shooting just doesn't get the job done. Assuming you have a group of 10 tactical marines across from some 'zerkers (also a 10 man squad). Your within 12", so you decide to rapidfire with your bolters. Standard 3+ to hit, 4+ to wound with a total of 16 shots (because your sarge and special weapons guys are being excluded from this example). In total, this gives you a 33% chance of wounding a model, and a 22% chance of killing a model. This translates to roughly 3-4 dead 'zerkers (on average). That's gonna be a lot more attacks coming back your way, because they are going to move up, shoot with boltpistols (likely killing a single model), and then assaulting. This gives them 4 attacks each on the charge, bringing the total attacks to either 24 or 28, depending on how many died. The tac squad is responding with a meager 10 attacks in return. Guess who wins that one...

Third, I haven't seen any special rules for shooting, other than markerlights or equivalent. Great, you can increase your ballistics skill. On the other hand, one of your models isn't shooting that turn.

Why does assaulting rule? First, you don't need LOS. You just move up, charge in, and get bloody.

Second, assault guarantees results for either you or your opponent. Eventually, one group of models will die, and the other group will seize the day. Unless you have some of the rare special rules that allow you to leave combat whenever, your models stay in combat until either you or your enemy is dead. Translation: results.

Third, assault has lots of different rules. First, offhand weapons, chapter banners, and assaulting each give a free attack. However, there is no way to increase the number of shots you take. Sweeping advances and fearless wounds also take a huge toll upon the enemy, something shooting isn't able to incorporate.

In conclusion: assaulting is far more dangerous than shooting. Shooting certainly has a place, (softening deathstar units, popping transports, avoiding getting locked in combat with dreads, etc) however, it doesn't have the mass killy capabilities of assaulting.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas List Special- and a Question

Yeah, its been a little while since my last post. Sorry, real life can be... well, you know what it's like. Anyway, I haven't gotten in very many games, which stinks. I have, however, managed to put together and revise my army list yet again. After having my vindicator singled out and blown to bits by every lascannon my opponent had, I decided to take an alternate approach yet again. My problem is that my opponents run way too much anti-armor, and I run way too little armor. Nobody likes loads of rhinos running toward you with angry troops, so, they bring enough las, plas, and melta to stop the "rhinospam" dead in its tracks.

I've been wondering how I would do if I ran without any vehicles whatsoever. Think about it for a minute. Every las, plas and melta my opponent spent their points on is now FAR less useful to them. So without vehicles, my opponent doesn't really know how to react. (Hopefully) I also decided to get some of those special characters. After all, they are incredibly deadly. As of now, my list:

Commander Dante: 225 pts
Librarian, w/jump pack: 125 pts

Chaplain w/ jump pack: 125 pts
x2 Sanguinary Priests w/ jump packs and power swords: 180 pts (total)
Sanguinary Guard w/ Chapter Banner: 230 pts (Sidenote: chapter banner is perhaps the best 30 points you could ever spend! +1 attacks on all friendly units within 12" is very nice)

Scout Squad (x10 men) w/ 8 sniper rifles, missile launcher, power fist, locator beacon, x10 camo cloaks: 230 pts
x2 Assault Squad (x10 men) w/ x2 meltaguns, powerfist, infernus pistol: 250 pts each

Vanguard Vets (x5 men) w/ jump packs, x5 storm shields, x3 power fists: 310 pts


THE PLAN: Infiltrate with the scouts, pray they survive until turn two, and start bringing in reinforcements via deep strike. I'm not really expecting the scouts to fare so well, but may as well do what killing they can sniping. Hopefully, they can pin groups like devastators or tac squads hiding in the back, or anything not inside a vehicle. With the beacon, I have the opportunity to set down troops a bit closer to my opponents than I otherwise normally would feel comfortable doing. Stuff like my Vets, who would love to heroic intervention and eat a nice juicy tank the first turn they land.

Anyway, this leaves me in the awkward position of being 75 points too many (1850) or too few (2k) for most battles. So, what to do with the points?

Option 1: Buy Scout Squad
Buy a 75 point scout squad with no extra modifiers whatsoever, and use it as a "speedbump" unit to protect the 10 man squad, outfitting it with 3 combat knives and two shotguns. They would infiltrate in front of the other scouts. Assuming the enemy moves their entire army to attack my 10 man scout squad, speedbumping some cheap scouts might be a good precautionary measure to ensure that my expensive scouts stay outta trouble, and keep the beacon operating. At the moment, this is my favorite option. This puts me at 2,000 points exactly.

Option 2: Upgrade the Vets
Buy more stuff for the vets. Purchasing three more soldiers, a power fist for the sergeant (cheaper than normal, don't know why I didn't see this earlier), and a meltabomb would make this unit even more fearsome. On the downside, they cost a whopping 385 points for 8 guys. On the plus side, 4 power fists and a meltabomb is probably enough hate to get through a land rainder. This puts me at 2,000 points exactly.

Option 3: Skimmer
I don't like this option at all, but I could pack along a skimmer and deep strike it with the free heavy flamer upgrade, and multi-melta upgrade for 20 points. This would give me a grand total of 1995, so I would probably buy a meltabomb for the vets just because.

So what do you think? Which option is best? Am I missing something obvious?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Totally Re-done Army List

I decided to make a total overhaul of my forces in order to make it as deadly as possible, to make it as flexible as possible, to add more scoring units, and to use my "Sledgehammer" tactics. The basic plan of this build is to break my tactical squad into combat squads. The one with the missile launcher will camp on my objective, while the other combat squad will go with my captain in the back of the razorback. The bikes and vindicator will "sledgehammer," with the vindicator providing cover for my assault company, honor guard, furioso librarian dreadnought, and regular dreadnought. Coming behind this group, at a much more leisurely pace, will be my razorback, followed by my terminator librarian and terminator company. Finally, my land speeder will simply hide on the back of the board making a nuisance of itself.


Captain w/ power sword: 115 pts
Librarian in terminator armor with storm bolter: 130 pts
Honor Guard w/ jump packs, chapter banner, hand flamer, infernus pistol, power fist: 240 pts

Terminator squad (x5 troops) w/ x4 chainfists: 220 pts
Furioso Librarian Dreadnought: 175 pts

Tactical Squad (x10 troops) w/ missile launcher, flamer: 170 pts
Assault Squad (x10 troops) w/ meltagun: 200 pts

Razorback w/ twin-linked lascannon: 90 pts

Land Speeder w/ multi-melta, typhoon missiles: 100 pts
Scout Bike Squad (x6 troops) w/ x3 grenade launcher: 160 pts

Vindicator: 145 pts
Dreadnought: 105 pts

GRAND TOTAL: 1850 pts

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sledgehammer of Sanguinius!

Whats big, armored, and shoots a strength 10 large template? You guessed it, a space marine Vindicator. But since I play Blood Angels, I get a speed bonus as well. After losing to a regular mech space marine army by four kill points, I came to the conclusion that I need something big and angry, and capable of flattening a land raider with ease.

My response, as I'm sure you already guessed, is a Vindicator. However, nobody in my club has ever played a vindicator while I was there to see it. So, naturally, I looked online and found some good tips on youtube. The general consensus was that vindicators are NOT linebreaker units like the fluff would have us believe. Most vindicator tactics involved luring enemies within range of your wicked demolisher cannon, and hiding behind rocks.

However, I would like to challenge this line of thinking. First of all, I would like to point out that a large pile of rocks confers the same cover-save on your vindicator (or any other soldier for that matter) as does a group of soldiers. The biggest pros of terrain are that you can A) hide out of sight, and B) not confer a cover save on the enemy. The biggest pro of using a "meat-shield" is, of course, movement.

Personally, I don't think a vindicator hiding on the back of the board would be all that effective against shooty armor, like preds, that aren't going to be on the forefront of the battle. My solution is to use a meat-shield. Now, the first thing I'm going to want to look at is the speed of the unit I want to choose. I want quick units because with the extra six inches of movement that my vindicator enjoys, I don't want to waste them. The second requirement is that my fast unit must take up enough space to actually confer a cover save. Finally, they must be a cheap unit that I don't much care about.

Therefore, bikers make the PERFECT vindicator meat-shield. Plus, once I get in range, I can run my bikers out of the way, giving me a clear shot on the enemy target of my choice. However, I wouldn't run these guys too far ahead of the vindicator, as scatter could end up working against you.

The way I am thinking about running this set up is to run about 6 scout bikers, and upgrade a few of them with the grenade launcher. This would be about 160 points of scout bikers, which could do some template damage of their own on the way in.

Please let me know what you think! Have you tried this before? Does this sound absolutely crazy?