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40K TACTICS: What Not To Do – A Primer

4 Minute Read
Apr 13 2011
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Hello all, Jwolf here. First, let me say I like losing games. Not because losing is fun, but because I require reminders of basic truths and losing helps us to remember them. I’ll come back to this in a moment, but I want to speak about the other end of the spectrum a bit first.

Congratulations to Tony Kopach on being the first Adepticon 40K Champion under the new 2-day format. Tony went 8-0 and fought through some very tough competition on day 2 to win it all. Tony won the first NOVA Open last year, is 16 years old, and undoubtedly a solid competitor (his record is 15-0 in GT play for the two events). More importantly for my purposes, Tony reliably reacted well to the circumstances of the games I saw and played to win the missions. While this might seem like the simplest of things, it is in the handling of these simple things that make or break us in tournament play. Which makes an excellent segue into what not to do in tournament play.

I lost in the 4th round of the Adepticon Championships to Andrew Ferris and his Ghaz Ork Band.

Andrew’s List (more or less)
Ghaz
Big Mek, KFF
9 Burnaboyz
6 Tankbustas, 3 Hammers
5 Meganobz, Trukk
12 Trukk Boyz, PK Nob (x4)
Looted Wagon
Battlewagon, Deffrolla, Red Paint
All Trukks have Reinforced Rams, Red Paint, and Rokkits

My List

Straken, Meltagun, Lascannon, Officer of the Fleet, Bodyguard, Medic, Master of Ordnance
Lord Commissar, Powerfist and Camo Cloak
Platoon
PHQ – 4 Flamers, Chimera w/ Hull Heavy Flamer
P1 Melta, Power Weapon, Meltabombs, Commissar with Power Weapon
P2 Melta, Power Weapon
P3 Bodies
HWT 1 Lascannon x3
HWT 2 Autocannon x3
EDIT Veterans, 3 Meltaguns, Shotguns, Carapace, Powerfist
Valkyrie, Multirocket Pods
Hellhound
Armored Sentinel with Autocannon
Demolisher, Hull Lascannon
Manticore
Hydra

Andrew played a solid game and beat me soundly. The deployment was Dawn of War. The mission objectives were… The board looked something like this:

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The thing in the middle is a building / ruin. Green are trees, other colors are rough terrain of one sort or another.

Andrew won the roll off and elected to deploy nothing and have everything enter play on turn 1.

I deployed as follows:

That is Straken and the two Heavy Weapon Teams in the central area of trees.

This is a bad decision for several reasons. First, it gives Andrew a single target to move towards. Second, it commits me to a location (Straken being there indicates that I mean to fight there). And lastly, because it commits me to a course and I am reacting to my opponent instead of forcing him to commit and capitalizing on his decisions. More on that in later turns.

Andrew moved all his Trukks and his Battlewagon in a staggered line straight towards the position I had committed to. This is what I expected (why else commit?) and I moved in what percentages told me was a good counter.

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And of course I failed to roll a 3+ for the skimmer dodge of the Battlewagon, the Valkyrie went under the Deffrolla, and the Battlewagon cleared the way for the Trukks to explode into my deployment zone. Out popped Boyz who used Ghaz’s 6” Waaggh to reach out and touch most my vehicles. Andrew had some excellent luck in the charges and damaged every vehicle, all of which had moved fast.

The rest of the game played out in Andrew’s favor. I certainly didn’t feel out of the game at this point, but I needed luck that I didn’t get and Andrew made no significant errors that I could capitalize on.

Here is how I should have deployed:

This would leave Andrew with no clear indication of which direction of where to take his Orks to get to me, and force him to use at least a Trukk of Boyz towards each team (and put at least one of them out of the KFF).

If Andrew sends a Trukk at each team, I go after each flank and refuse the center. If he ignores one, it gets to shoot or run towards objectives. If he commits to a flank, I can go hard to the other flank and take more potshots to thin him out. The main point is, Andrew held his army off the table to get me to commit. I took the bait, reduced his uncertainty, and then further shifted the odds against myself by reinforcing an already potentially bad decision. Whenever possible, get the opponent to commit to a position that you can focus all your strength against. Andrew did this successfully and I did the exact opposite; thus he played well and I did not.

I’ll be in the comments thread and interested to hear your thoughts on both this game, and your own philosophy regarding deployment. -Jwolf out

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