Right – deployment. This is perhaps the single most difficult part of 40k to talk about yet along with movement, the most important to get right as they are the areas you have the most control over and thus how you can dictate games without relying on dice.
Matt and myself over at 3++ is the New Black have been doing a series of articles to help others with their play against Tau; this may seem counter intuitive as it’s always been one of my main loves but we’re all about improving your average level of play and since people seem to be struggling with Tau lately, we’ve been placing a bit of a strong focus on how to play against the blue fishheads. Onto the deployment stuff…
I keep saying this but the more you remove dice from the game, the more you will win consistently. Now Matt has done an already excellent post about what to think about when deploying against Tau so I’m going to be looking at a few of the principles I look out for as a Tau player to help deploying against Tau (as they are one of the Internet bugaboos currently). This can be applied to any old army but is particularly important here – you just need to extrapolate what is happening and against what type of army you are playing against.
The easiest way for me to address the issue of the complexity of deployment and describing it boils down to this – where do you want your army to be end of Turn 1? End of Turn 2? End of Turn 3? Don’t try and think beyond that until you are able to do those three turns (particularly 1 and 2). Following that, flip it to your opponent’s side – where does your opponent want to be end of Turn 1? Turn 2? and Turn 3? etc.
Example 1 – Deploying the Aegis
STOP DEPLOYING YOUR AEGIS WHERE YOU START. Remember Matt and our Vassal game? Where was the Aegis? Midfield. What did it do – saved an extra 16.67% of wounds on Khorne dogs as he was able to move up to it during the game and consolidate behind it not mention he had Scout.
What we see below is a Tau army deployed on behind an Aegis when it has first turn and Scout moves for Pathfinder squads.
The Aegis needs to be roughly 6-12″ further up; even if the initiative is stolen, you’re still getting the benefits of the Aegis 90% of the time and when it’s not stolen, your army is in a better position game long and importantly, it’s harder to hide elements of your army range wise. Those Pathfinders for example either need to expose themselves outside of 4+ cover to have a more effective threat range or are a static 36″ threat. If they do Scout over the Aegis and you’re seized upon, well now the problem is compounded.
Let’s see my resulting deployment…
And we see I have stayed out of range of his 36″ weapons including the Markerlights and Broadsides. Further to this – my Markerlights are on more mobile platforms which can move and shoot at full BS and therefore my heavy weapons (i.e. Broadsides, Sniper Kroot or if I had other Pathfinders) can snap fire at a normal BS rate. Given this is an objective game and I have two Riptides and three Jetbike units, I haven’t given up board control but have gained first strike by a poor placement of an Aegis line.
Put it where you want to be Turn 1 and more often than not, push it a little bit further up so you’re not limiting your movement Turn 2.
Example 2 – Controlling Where the Battle is Fought
This is from the most recent tournament I attended against a Space Wolves player who was reportedly very good in 5th edition. He won roll off and gave me first turn – normally something I wouldn’t be amiss against except the layout of this terrain meant whoever went first would be able to maximise some very solid LOS blocking walls. I choose table side and picked the side where the walls were easier to access. Whoever controlled these walls, controlled the game. If I did, I could JSJ to my heart’s content around them with little to no regard for the opponent until he get close whilst if he got them, I’d be forced back away where the majority of objectives were and have a harder time to bring all my firepower to bear on the Thunderwolves and Grey Hunters.
By giving me first turn, I was immediately able to take those walls and dictate the game.
Let’s look at the pictures…
Oh and the Long Fangs at the back should have been placed more forward. 36″ gets you just to the doorway of those walls and they are 15 Marines the Tau don’t really need to deal with right now thus further compounding the issue of Tau controlling those walls.
Example 3 – Using Ruins & Spreading Out
Here’s an example of a solid deployment though with a couple of mistakes. Matt mentioned in his previous post to take ruins away from Tau – he’s generally looking to reduce their cover save and avoid opportunities to hide specific models from barrage blasts however, they are also a strong way to protect against Riptides as it limits the number of people which can potentially be hit. Let’s take a look at what this player did well and could have done better…