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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Armies in 5th: Basics Part 6: Assault



Sorry for delay in posting recently. Assignments again! At least Roland posted something *pat*. I have a 2k Space Wolf list I need to put together for an e-mail which I haven’t gotten around to, sorry Lunch but you’re not forgotten.

Well we’ve covered everything but the assault phase, so here we are! The assault phase obviously relates directly to the shooting and movement phase. If you’re not in range to assault or have killed the opponent with guns, well you’re not assaulting are you? Now I prefer shooting for the most part. Whilst assaults can often have infinitely higher damage potential (I.e. 4A each. Not many guns have 4 shots) you are also opening yourself to damage during your own turn so this trade-off needs to be considered. In the immortal words of Time Splitter 2; always outnumbered, never out-gunned. However, combat is an essential part of the game so we will look at it and I do have combat armies because nothing is more fun than rolling 60 dice =D! So before we get into this, let’s look at special assault moves which makes 40k even more special and chess-like.

Jump-Shoot-Jump (JSJ) is very important for some armies (Eldar & Tau) as they allow you to either avoid giving cover to your opponent or bring your shorter ranged guns to bear whilst not advancing upon your enemy or you can ‘strafe’ between covers depending on the squad’s footprint or distance between cover. For these armies you need to plan your 2nd jump in your movement phase. It’s pointless to have this extra mobility if you get caught in the open. Make sure to use this 2nd jump to avoid combat as well or if the unit can be sacrificed, use it as a blocker. Essentially units with this ability (or something similar) need to be considered as units with two movement phases so all the same understanding needs to be applied here as well.

Other than the obvious of making sure you are in assault range or don’t shoot away your assault target in the previous phases, assaults need some careful planning. The most obvious of this is the involvement of Independent Characters and/or multiple units. Since we are all well rehearsed in the rules of ICs in combat now, we know how to pick them out. Remember their specific assault rules as well as the normal assault rules (closest to closest, must maintain coherency whilst every model must get into BtB if possible, etc.). To gain the most out of these rules you must organise your squads in the movement phase. If your PFist is first in line to assault, it’s not going to be able to pick out the IC. Same if you’ve kept your whole squad close to your target squad but wish to assault another squad. These processes need to be planned out before the Assault phase.

The obvious advice from this tidbit is keep your PFists and other special combat weapons which you might like to allocate, in the middle of the pack. Here they are unlikely to not be able to reach their target but can still allocate their attacks to different targets if needed. The same with your ICs (again remember their specific rules) but make sure they have a clear path. ICs do NOT get to fight if they are not in BtB. If you don’t want them to fight, put them further to the back or behind models so their path is longer. If you want your unit to assault multiple units which are spread out you’re going to need some very specific movement and without fleet or a large early move, it’s unlikely to happen. Units really do need to be very close for you to multi-assault with one unit and opens yourself up to more attacks. Even doubling the amount of attacks FW can put on you is doubling your risk of losing models. Sometimes it’s not worth it. On the other hand, sometimes it is.

This brings us to targeting in combat. We’ve already discussed targeting ICs but what about in multi-unit combats? As a rule of thumb, target everything against a single target which is the most likely to take significant damage. This is likely to generate a lower Ld test for the opponent’s squads when the assault phase ends (assuming they are still locked in combat). A prime example would be guants and an TMC in combat with a GH squad. Whilst attempting to target the TMC with a PFist is laudable, the majority of your attacks should go on the guants. Not only are you more likely to cause damage and limit incoming attacks but due to Fearless, the TMC is likely to suffer more No Retreat! wounds.

Building on our multi-assaults, what happens when we assault with multiple units? This is key for armies with little close combat ability, a spread of close combat ability or no super units (I.e. 5 men-BA FC charges). This allows you to get multiple special weapons in and apply them where you would like but also opens them up to easier reprisal (less models to go through). This is essentially an extension of applied arms at range but in combat.

Overall, I still prefer ranged combat as you can only be damage but your opponent’s assaults or ranged weaponry but taking the fight to the enemy often gives you the initiative. When you do this though you need to make sure you are maximising your chances (duh) and plan your assaults well in advance. Leaving your assault units out to dry isn’t fun. By combining and focusing your attacks you can minimise the damage your units suffer whilst maximising the damage you do (No Reatreat! FTW. Poor Orks).

5 pinkments:

The_King_Elessar said...

Nothing about attempting to make Assaults last until the end of the enemy's Assault phase, to avoid reprisals? Otherwise very good, as usual.

Chumbalaya said...

Multi-assaults are a great way to dilute your overall strength so you're more likely to get your opponent to hold so you don't get shot up.

Assault is fun.

MagicJuggler said...

The other thing that wasn't mentioned is how to negate the ability of the opponent to send models into the fray by Defenders React.

You cannot move in base-to-base with a model unless you are assaulting that unit. Defenders reacting may not declare new assaults.

So by tank-shocking a horde in the center, and attacking one of the flanks, you can drastically reduce the amount of return-attacks you face from a horde, or theoretically isolate hidden weapons.

The other thing is how if a model is in base-to-base with only one enemy unit, it *must* attack that unit. When running Orks, I either bring small teams of Meganobz, Nobs, or Warbikers provided it doesn't detract from Loota support, and use them to "pull" attacks away from the more fragile Orks; inversely, one can use regular Orks (or Grots even!) to pull Powerfists away from your Nobz.

Kirby said...

All good points. Don't ask me why I didn't include them...must of been the wine! Will update post or make a new one today.

Chumbalaya said...

Good call Juggs.

Toss me some of that wine, Kirbs, I'm starting to remember things again!

Melee >>>>>>>>>>>>>> Brawl

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