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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Army Building/Composition: Duality

Well we’ve got a follow-up comment from what power Thousand Sons squads should take from Syko515. I’ve rebutted in the actual thread on H-O and you can see the post on 3++ here but I’d like to point out something of a failure in army composition stated by Syko515. Remember, army composition is your army make-up and in this instance, list building. Focusing on general list building here rather than focusing in any way on a Tzneetch army (or Thousand Son squads specifically) but with examples back to them. Let’s see what Syko515 has to say about anti tank (their full post can be found here btw):

“as far as poping tanks go, there are 3 slots for heavy, fast AND elite, that all have units capable of blowing up tanks, use them.”

That’s all fine, dandy and true but this is the exact same reason Fire Warriors and TL-MP suits don’t work for Tau. If you have clear dedicated anti-infantry and anti-tank units which have little cross-over, your opponent will be able to pick and choose their targets and eliminate what is most dangerous to them. A mech list will drop your Terminators/Tri-Las Preds/Bikes or put forward units they can sacrifice. Whilst it may not seem like much, 3 more ‘anti-tank’ units could be vital to breaking open your opponent’s cute plastic tanks.

On the flip side, when pitted against a horde list your Terminators/Tri-Las Preds/Bikes are woefully inefficient in dropping hordes (hell even Thousand Sons are) and you’ll simply be swamped. Changing Bolt of Change which gives the unit some anti-tank out for Doombolt which improves the unit’s anti-infantry ability even though it already has a lot of AP3 shots is counter-productive. Let’s look at this concept more broadly.

I’ve covered army composition before in my Armies in 5th articles here and here. Key concepts raised when creating your army are duality and duplicity. Duality is important here and hypothesises units that are able to damage multiple enemy unit types effectively (I.e. tanks and infantry) or to a degree of effectiveness where they aren’t useless (I.e. Dakka Preds are excellent anti-infantry but can in a pinch attempt to shoot at tanks) are better than units who have singular roles. Whilst some units like Broadsides are very, very good at their singular role, they are not always the correct choice (Broadsides are also capable of putting out 4 S5 shots each). Extrapolating this to unit upgrades such as heavy or special weapons and you want your units to be as multi-purpose as possible whilst not minimising their effectiveness in any particular area. Back to the Thousand Sons example…

Thousand Sons are pretty effective anti-heavy infantry due to rapid fire AP3 shots. Whilst they aren’t great horde busters in terms of point cost, they are some what effective at it. Adding extra shots (Doombolt) obviously improves the Thousand Son’s particular role which they are already designed to do but adding an anti-tank shot (Bolt of Change) gives them more ability to affect the battlefield through their ability to engage multiple enemy unit types. They also aren’t losing out significantly in their primary role unlike say Pathfinders replacing Markerlights with Railrifles.

What this boils down to is your army has a much higher damage potential across units through saturation. Whilst you might have the same amount of anti-tank in a list not utilising the concept of duality, the army utilising duality has more damage potential as it can be spread across units and there is less drop-off as units die/get disabled.

5 pinkments:

Anonymous said...

In addition to completely ignoring the benefits of duality, Syko clearly doesn't "get" the CSM codex either. Where exactly are these AT units in FA, elites and heavy? Turn 2 unreliable drop melta suicide terminators? Pass. Overpriced, under melta-d Raptors and Bikes? Pass. Battlecannons and WD=useless demo cannons? Pass. That leaves Dreads, which are decent but not great in MM or crazed gunman configs and oblits, which are the best unit in the book, but are a little overpriced and can't do everything. More than any other codex (except irks maybe) CSM need anti-tank from their troops and HQ

Kirby said...

*faint* ^ he's back!

Heinz said...

Although I now agree that bolt is the superior choice - What is your opinion on warptime for the sorc?
Perhaps it's because my opponent at the time was horde orks, but my tsons always ended up in assault where warptime came in handy - esp when the ork dreadnought joined the party - for re-rolling the meltabomb plant.

Anonymous said...

Warptime is the 2nd best option, but it's not turning them into an assault unit. Against a real CC squad, they're toast, and against marines, those 3 wounds let your opponent combat tactics away and shoot you next turn. Plus, you need the AT from BoC

Kirby said...

What GWvsJohn said. It's a fine 2nd spell but expensive and it's like PFists on Tactical Squads, it's not going to make them effective at what they suck at, it's going to make you feel they are better in combat than they are and it's points you could use elsewhere.

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