BEHOLD the GLORY as fortifications are taking their place in the meta.
One interesting trend we’ve seen starting to pop up in the meta here and there is the use of fortifications. These heavy emplacements have been largely unused in competitive play since 8th came out. Now however they have started to come into use and seem to be making a place for themselves in the meta. Lets look at how and why.
Showing Up For Game Time
For most of 8th I haven’t noticed anyone using fortification at events, however all that changed
when the Fire Nation attacked at LVO. I’ve already written about my favorite list from the event. This list featured the use of an Aquila Strongpont, the first time I’d seen one used in an event. Still, the list remained a bit of an anomaly. Since then however I’ve seen fortifications popping up here and there at events. Most recently at the local event we covered this last weekend the final round top tabled featured a Nid list with an Imperial Bunker. So why are fortifications suddenly starting to show up?
The Anti Alpha Strike
The main use behind taking fortifications is to counter enemy alpha strikes. Fortifications provide a safe haven for valuable units to hide in during the early rounds of a game, preventing the enemy form getting the jump on them. While they are not indestructible, they are pretty hard to kill. Take for example the Imperial Bunker with T8, 12 wounds and a 3+ save. The Aquila Strongpoint is T10 with 30 wounds and a 3+ save. Both can absorb some serious punishment and wasting that kind of firepower on them can seriously hamper the enemies ability to kill the unit within.
Moreover their sheer size means that they provide you with a ready made LOS blocking unit. You can hide a whole army behind an Aquila Strongpoint. Due to their special rules you also can’t prevent the units inside from shooting by tieing them up in close combat, so even that Alpha Strike is blocked.
Better Than A Tank
While people have used vehicles, such as Rhinos, to hide their troops against an alpha strike, fortifications offer some major advantages. The main advantage of the fortification is the fire points. While most units hiding in vehicles cannot affect the game, a unit in a fortification can fire out, thus allowing it to hurt the enemy while being kept safe. In addition as noted above the fire points rule allow the embarked unit to fire event if enemies are within one inch of the fortification, meaning that you really do have to kill the fortification before you can stop the unit inside from shooting.
No Size Restrictions
Another great advantage of Fortification is that they can hold units that can’t normally be in transports. Now while only infantry models can enter fortifications, there are no other limits. Moreover models, like terminators or Ogryns that normally count as two or more models in a transport just count as one in a fortification. This means that large units of say terminators that normally could not get in a non Forge World transport can fit in a fortification, and units like Inceptors that normally can’t get in any transport can shelter in a bunker. Come to think of it, a unit of five Inceptors in a bunker seems pretty mean.
Access For All
As discussed above one of the armies seen taking fortifications was a Nid list. This means that even armies that cannot normally take transports, or only have expensive ones (Like Custodes) can take advantage of fortifications. This can provide some much needed protection for vulnerable units that can’t get it otherwise.
Build Your Walls Up High
So with all these advantages are we going to start seeing more fortifications? I certainly would not be surprised if that is the case. Now I don’t think that every army can benefit from fortifications. Assault armies may not gain much, but a properly built army can certainly gain advantage by taking one. The fact that they also take up a detachment may limit their use. Still, I think at this point the cat is out of the bag, fortifications are good, and we will keep seeing more. So build up your walls or fire up your siege drills because there is no escaping them.
Do you think fortification are going to leave their mark on the meta? Let us know, down in the comments!