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40k Deep Thought: How to Score

5 Minute Read
Jun 20 2014
By now we’ve all acknowledged the changes to the game. Now, how do we plan to score?

     Hello all, John here, I’m the new guy at Bell of Lost Souls. I’m also known as Jifel on a couple of 40k websites and forums, and I’m here to talk about taking objectives in the new 7th edition. For more articles on 40k, especially Tyranids, feel free to visit my personal blog at Knighthammer 40k.
Scoring – A History
      One of the most talked about changes in 40k is the fact that everything scores, and the introduction of Objective secured. When I began playing in 4th edition, all infantry units scored, and troops were rarely seen outside of the 2 minimum required for the Force Organization chart. Now, there were a few troop heavy builds but the majority focused on killing power and scoring with other units such as Devastator marines. Then 5th edition came along, and troops became the only method of scoring in the game. Troops were all the rage, as they could score from inside their transports. The most popular armies were a collection of metal boxes with minimum troops inside, which would just flat out onto objectives late game to secure victory for the Imperium. Next was 6th edition, which kept the scoring mechanic fairly similar to before. The major difference was that troops had to disembark to score.
     However, in 6th edition a mindset began to grow. Instead of taking a lot of scoring units, why not just take a few scoring units, and then have a lot of points left to kill your opponents scoring units? I won many games by killing all of my opponents troops choices and preserving at least one of my own. Unfortunately, killing all of your opponents troops is no longer a guarantee of victory. Every unit now is able to claim objectives, but troops gain objective secured to compensate for this, and now claim objectives even if there is another unit nearby.

So, is it better to take objective secured units or to take enough firepower to clear off objectives for your own “normal” scoring units?

This is the main question I see in listbuilding in 40k today.

The Argument for Objective Secured
     The majority of Objective Secured units are not going to deal as much damage as their counterparts in Elites or Heavy Support. Most units will be better off in your backfield, protecting your own objectives and making sure your opponent has a very difficult time contesting those objectives. If your opponent can’t take out your objectives, then you are guaranteed to have a very close and winnable game. The Tervigon, for example, is a very hard to kill unit that will often have Objective secured. It is ideally used for camping one of your own objectives, and with good terrain will be nearly impossible to remove (not to mention the masses of gants that surround it). Likewise, an Imperial Guard blob is much better suited towards holding down the fort than it is capturing objectives in your opponents deployment zone. But, once your own home objective(s) are secured, how should you take midfield and your opponents objectives? Fast Objective secured units are incredibly valuable because of the potential for late game objective grabs. This is hardly a new concept, but Necron Warriors, Eldar Jetbikes, and the various deepstriking troops are now insanely valuable because they can take objectives with ease from non-troop units. However, if you overload on Objective secured units without much killing power, you may not be able to remove enough models to have room for your own scorers. Mobs of scoring models, like Guardsmen or Orks, can easily prevent the enemy from going anywhere near an objective to claim or contest it.

The Argument for Minimum troops
     “Unbound” lists have been almost universally banned by the 40k community, which means every list will have at least two troops choices. Another viable strategy is to hold back your own objective secured units and take your own objectives, while focusing on killing everything in front of you while jumping on a few objectives outside your own deployment zone. Riptides for example have the firepower to kill troops and the speed to grab objectives, meaning they are still a formidable unit. Flying Monstrous creatures, likewise, are deadly to infantry and can drop down late game to grab or contest. There’s a long, long list of units that can kill troops, and many more that are durable enough to make it upfield onto objectives. If your Imperial Knight is taking an objective, there are few units that will want to get up close and contest that objective. Also, what is important is that it is now easier than ever to protect troops that you will be keeping in your own deployment zone. With a Comms relay, any army can keep troops in reserves as long as possible, and with Aegis Defense Lines and Bastions, you can hide your troops where they are tough, or impossible to kill. A few objective secured units, hidden well, can take your objective and leave the downfield lifting to your big guns.
The Best of Both Worlds
     Although not every army has this option, there are a fortunate few armies that have units with both Objective Secured, and the ability to roll downfield and provide some killer firepower. Just about everyone on the Internet has recognized that the Wave Serpent may be the best balanced unit in the game. Objective Secured, murderous firepower, great speed and some amazing durability, but not very expensive. Land Raiders, when taken for the right unit, are also Objective Secured, and can present a huge problem for enemy armies. They’re large enough to take an objective and prevent denial units all by themselves, and tough enough to resist almost all attempts to destroy them. If you’re lucky enough to own a unit that can both “super score” and deal damage, then you can compete with some of the toughest armies out there. For the rest of us, however, list building means you need to make a conscious decision: Do you want to bring a lot of Objective secured units, or do you want to protect a few and focus on killing your enemy?
In Conclusion
     The style of your list is ultimately up to you. Both of the styles above are viable with the right list, and it’s possible that your codex will favor one style over the other. Tyranids, for example, do not favor builds that focus on fast scoring units. My army is currently focused on a few tough objective secured units to stay at home, and a lot of fast FMCs to go take out my opponents units. Eldar or Necrons, however, are very well suited to have a lot of Objective secured units. But, every unit can score now, and that means every army will have options on taking objectives.
     How do you plan on taking Objectives in the new 7th edition? Will Troops become the go-to unit for all armies? Let’s hear it!

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