Warhammer 40K: Bad Deployment Kills

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Fritz here… For many of us the “game” start at the first turn of action- moving, shooting, and assaulting our way through the mission, but what about

How you position your starting units is KEY to victory- correct deployment means setting up your units in such a way that they not only support each other and make thing a bit easier for the mission goals, but at the same time they also make it harder for your opponent to win the game.
Good deployment ensures that before the game even starts you already have an advantage.
Let’s look at a recent game that I was able to win just based on my opponent deploying incorrectly (love you Bishop!).

Doing it Wrong – Tyranids Vs. Dark Angels- Secure & Hold

Three objective points on the table placed randomly and whoever holds the most at the end of the game with their scoring units win.
With my Tyranids I’m running a pretty standard swarm list – lots of gaunts, tervigons and trygons.
Dark Angels are running terminator groups with storm bolters and an assault cannon, a land raider, and Sammael on his land speeder.
I deploy first, everything out in my deployment zone, packed tight since there are not real templates for me to worry about in the DA units, with the idea of all my units big and small supporting each other.
My plan is to move out to the center of the table with my mass of Space Bugs and then keep the Dark Angels buys with my big bugs (which are expendable for the mission) and take the objectives with the smaller bugs who will add a little shooting here and there and not much else.
Keep the Dark Angels busy butchering my big scary bugs (tervigons & trygons) and I’ll be ok.
Dark Angels then deploy Sammael out along with the land raider and a terminator squad inside, as the remaining Dark Angel squads enter reserves to deepstrike in with the Deathwing assault.
Tyranids start turn one and advance, moving and running pushing me to the center of the table.
The Land Raider and Sammael put out some shots, as the terminator groups deepstrike in all around my Tyranids putting out some wounds and killing some gaunts, followed by the rest of my Tyranids swarming all over the terminators shooting and assaulting them, drowning them in model bodies and buckets of dice taking them out.
Leaving only the Land Raider which pushes forward and consumed, and Sammael zipping around the table to little effect, and game with the Tyranids holding all three objectives.

What Happened?

Now let’s switch sides and analyze what in my opinion the Dark Angels did wrong, as there is no way they should have lost this game- the space bugs should have been the ones slaughtered to the last man (bug).
The game was lost of deepstriking in the terminators- by landing all around me they were only able to get off one turn of shooting, which while was impressive was not enough to really stop anything, and then I was on them shooting and assaulting.
The first step is realizing the advantage the terminators have over my army- not so much with their 2+ armor save since I can bypass that by shooting 60+ guants at them, but rather the range and dice of their storm bolters and assault cannons- they can wound and kill large parts of my army, and any of my units with them- big and small bugs alike.
Dark Angels needed to try and take turn one and deploy everything out as far forward in their deployment zone- form a line of terminators with Sammael and the Land Raider. Get all those guns on the table- remember just because a unit has a “special” rule that allows it to do something different (Deathwing
Assault) it doesn’t mean you HAVE to use the rule- in some missions it could be an advantage but no in this one vs. Tyranids.
Dark Angels needed that first turn to get forward moving and running to the center of the table. Tyranids would be out of range turn one, but I would still have to move forward.
Turn two the Dark Angels measure out the maximum shooting range and as needed move backwards from the center of the table heading back into their deployment zone shooting with everything in the army. Focus on killing the small bugs and the tervigons. Ignore the Trygons since their threat is in the assault, and the terminators could handle that.
By moving to the center and then backpedaling with the units the terminators and land raider can keep moving and shooting forcing the space bugs to eat two or three rounds of shooting to make their numbers more manageable.
BIG difference in having to take three rounds of shooting to make contact with the terminators, over having to take just one with the Deathwing assault rule in effect.
From there, since the Dark Angels do have a smaller model count, plan on holding one or two objectives, and contest the third if needed (or second) with Sammael on the speeder- using his mobility for a last minute grab since the Tyranids could not match or counter it.
Would have been a VERY different once sided game.
Deployment can and does often make or break a game.
  • Me

    Did you paint that Trygon in the first image? It looks sweet (in a scary kind of way)!

    • Actual there is no “paint” on that Trygon or any of the Tyranids in the pics. Primed them white, then hit them with the now old sepia wash, followed by a purple wash, and then a red and yellow wash for the claws and tongue.

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        I have a friend who painted his Legion of Everblight models in a similar way.

  • mighty_pirate

    One thing I love about GK: Start with your entire army in reserves – There is no correct way for your opponent to deploy.

    • Respectfully disagree. An opponent can actually herd you to where he wants you to pop in and create shooting galleries. Yah you can keep em guessing but then you pop in piecemeal, and if you go second and they are horde they can spread out and really make life difficult.

      • ReveredChaplainDrake

        More to the point, you’re essentially voluntarily piecemealing in.

        Deep Striking is great for placing brutal but otherwise short-ranged units somewhere close and uncomfortable (e.g. Combi-Grav Sternguard, XV-8 Suicide Squads). Do it with your whole army, and suddenly you’re at the mercy of more luck than I’d be comfortable with.

        • mighty_pirate

          Reserve of 3+ isn’t too risky. Teleport homer & your not scattering after the 1st. Plus in Apoc you can always take a Damocles for reserve reroll. I seldom get less than 3/4 in on turn 1, shooting & assaulting immediately. The only real concern is massed overwatch.
          Worthwhile risk for your opponent having to make deployment guesses/sacrifices.

  • I feel bad for the nid guy, virtually no decent terrain, he lost before he started lol. Don’t need tactics against nids if yer shooty.

    • Benjamin Tull

      Except, uh, the Nids player almost tabled the Marine player…

      • Not the point. Was making an observation on the cover. A good nid player will usually win regardless of cover, just had to laugh as being good was the only way he could win on that bare table.

        • Benjamin Tull

          Nice save.

          • Cuz u know me so well faceless person lol

    • Hoennboy

      did… did you read the article?

    • Hoennboy

      did… did you read the article?

      • Orodruin

        Space Marines aaaaaaalways win!

    • ReveredChaplainDrake

      At least there were assault routes that can let you retain your Initiative on the charge without assault grenades on that table.

      • fait nuff, but if yer shot up on the way you wont get an assault anyways.

        • ReveredChaplainDrake

          And that’s why Tyranid lists are heavily geared towards shooting. Because you’re not gonna’ be assaulting anyway.

          For that matter, that’s why *Eldar* lists are so geared towards shooting. With such a diverse codex capable of hard-tailoring to kill anything, Eldar are 40k’s thermometer race. You can always tell what the most abusive mechanic in the game is by looking at what good Eldar lists run. And they’re not running melee…

        • ReveredChaplainDrake

          And that’s why Tyranid lists are heavily geared towards shooting. Because you’re not gonna’ be assaulting anyway.

          For that matter, that’s why *Eldar* lists are so geared towards shooting. With such a diverse codex capable of hard-tailoring to kill anything, Eldar are 40k’s thermometer race. You can always tell what the most abusive mechanic in the game is by looking at what good Eldar lists run. And they’re not running melee…

          • Yah its really sad that nids gotta go so shooty but the most successful nid lists seem to have a bit of everything, flyrant heavy lists aside, and manage to look fluffy still While eating marine face lol. I personally try to give horde armies mucho cover when able.

  • Jamie Nasmyth

    Its an interesting piece and made me think about how to play Deathwing, I tend to use the special rules like Deathwing Assault and I think this is why I have lost a couple of times because of this.

  • Chronosmaximus

    Damn, how can you play on so lousy tables? They look terrible.

    • Bryan L. Nuri

      wow… judge much? don’t be a dick

  • petrow84

    Judging from the units’ size, it was roughly about… say, 1000-1500 pts, right?
    9-10 Storm bolters are not much use against an oncoming wave of gaunts (suppose, ACs fire on the big ones with split-fire). An average of 9 gaunts will fall off, if standing in the open, so it takes 2 whole turns for 500+ points of terminators to wipe off a single 15-figure-strong unit, which can be respawned.
    And also, he could follow the tactic you suggested by using DWA, by simply deploying the termies on turn 1 onto the objectives.

    • ReveredChaplainDrake

      Gaunts don’t have to die to storm bolters. They die when they inevitably assault, lose a few to overwatch, kill nobody, and then get butchered, often because everything short of Fire Warriors hits and / or wounds them on a 3 and kills them waaaaay more often than not. This is especially true of small broods, particularly those that Tervigons spawn out (or the survivors of a Tervigon explosion) who often times will not even be able to survive their own assault. They will literally kill themselves. And that’s all assuming that the synapse web is still standing after turn 2. If it’s not, whoo-boy…

      This is why Termagants are immeasurably superior to Hormagaunts. They’ll still get liquefied after killing nobody in close combat, but your opponent has to assault them to shut them up. And assaulting them means leaving their objective and / or cover behind, and nearly always charging through the cover between your units because the charging through cover mechanic is the daftest, most unrealistically exploitative core rule since consolidation into unengaged enemy units.

      • petrow84

        A fair point, but I didn’t mention to assault them either. That’s a job the big guys will do for you.
        Quite on the contrarty; as you said, they are far more dangerous when simply shooting at you.

        You must shoot them down, because they can literally block your ways with their own body by simply placing the before / around your units, so you have to shoot / assault yourself through to get to an objective.

        And as I saw, there was no Belial in the list, so the list must’ve been unbound – hence, even a lowly bug could grab the objective out of the hands of the emperor’s finest…

  • Joe 40k

    This from a guy who claimed on his youtube channel that GW was going out of business because their profit was only 10MM.

  • ReveredChaplainDrake

    It always takes some grand mistake to lose to Tyranids. It’s when your opponent *doesn’t* screw up that things get dicey.

    If it were me with the Dark Angels, I’d huddle up 24″ away and steadily back off, bleeding your synapse creatures off the board. When your crippled army goes into Picking-Their-Noses Mode, I proceed to mop up at leisure. Sure I’d pretty much concede all the objectives as you came at me, but dead Tyranids hold nothing.

    • Haighus

      Sammael has a teleport homer, so I don’t know why he didn’t just deepstrike close to him, and deepstrike into a huddle 24″ away with no scatter. As Deathwing can auto-arrive turn one, they would go exactly where you want them, and get the special rules (twin-linked and split fire) and be 24″ away (a little closer for the lead terminators) due to the teleport homer. Seems like it combines both strategies to me.

  • Loar

    why did he take Sammy, an expensive 200 point model that has a ton of his points sinked into a tax for being able to take ravenwing as troops, but then he runs terminators and a land raider??? Maybe I missed it in the article but what did he even run as his troops then? Besides some deployment mistakes it seems he has some fundamental list building issues going on as well.

    • Honourblade

      My thoughts exactly. Why not Belial if he was taking Terminators? If he wanted a land speeder, there are cheaper options in that codex. Don’t get me wrong, a Land Raider is tough to crack, and some lists don’t have the firepower at that level to deal with one, but in a low points game, it should always be boys over toys. Could have bought a 10 man Tactical squad (or a 5 man Termy squad and a dakka Predator (if he wanted a tank) for that many points, and might even of had change left over.

  • Shiwan8

    Tyranids won because of the opposing codex. Not really because of the faulty deployment though that merited to the win also.