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Friday, July 9, 2010

Back To Basics: Part 2: Shooting



I've had a couple of busy weeks in RL so this article has been on hold for a little while. I've wanted to do an article on this for a little while now so let's hope it isn't total fail. For this episode I want to take a little look at the shooting phase. Again, it's at a pretty basic level and looks into shooting in reasonably fine detail.
Kirby has done some fantastic articles in his 'basics' series (Part 3and 4 are some of my favourite articles, but for some reason the series is not in his 'useful articles' list) and I hope everybody remembers Stelek's NECMOD series over on YTTH. I'd recommend them to you all if you've not read them yet, but I will hopefully be summarising some of the points from part 3 and 4 of Kirby's basics articles.

Shooting is something I completely (and I mean completely) failed at when I first got back into the game. I still make some stupid mistakes - ask Kirby, I'm sure he remembers the incidents with the Land Speeders and the Predators - but as the song goes, I got by with a little help from my friends.

Shooting starts before any dice have been rolled... and I mean the ones for mission and deployment. Get your opponents list and have a look. A good look. This is really not done enough and I'm guilty of it as much as anybody. Have a think, what is going to ruin you day and do it quickly? It needs to be killed and early.

I was having a chat with somebody I'd consider an 'e-friend' a little while back about his game (using Orks - *facepalm*) vs CSM. He stated to me how he was pleased that'd he taken down 2 Daemon Princes shooting in turn 1, but then the CSM Oblits ripped the heart out of his list and continued to punish him for the rest of the game. I asked why he chose the Princes for first turn shooting and he stated he knew they were nasty. I then asked if they could hurt him at range/in transports (no) and if they could've been dealt with a little later in the game (yes). I stated to him the oblits had the ability to de-mech him and ruin his day (which they did) and so should've been a higher priority turn 1. If he'd have dealt with them turn 1 and the Princes turn 2 would he have won? Who knows... but he'd likely have had more of a chance. Target Priority IS important!

One of the most difficult parts though, is deciding how to deal with said threat. You need to be realistic in what you can do which comes down to knowing your own list. If you have nothing that can reliably take down AV 14 at range, don't make a Land Raider top of your priority and throw all of your str 8 weapons at it (less pew pew and more ping ping). You're better off crippling the support and thinking of something else to hold-up the AV14 (see blocking). With deployment and movement you should be lining up those shots you want and avoid blocking firing lanes. If you can, try to get 2-3 targets in your sights for shooting, but don't sacrifice a good shot at 1 for average shots at 2-3 (regarding cover and armour facing).

So you know what you want to shoot and you're all lined up ready to roll some dice... but where to start? I'm sure many people won't think much about this and will start on one side of the board and work their way across so they don't forget anything. This isn't the worst way of doing things - at least you fire everything, which is more than I can say for some of my opponents - but it is certainly not the most effective way of doing things.

One of the finest pieces of advice I've ever been given is 'shoot what has the fewest targets first'. Inevitably some of your units will only have one target as an option. But remember, transports should count as 2 targets as if you open them up, you can shoot what is inside. Always keep your target priority at the forefront of your thinking, but there is no point in busting something up when it is the only target available to another one of your units. And always think what each one of your units has to offer, including the ability to assault.
I've got a very basic example. I don't completely expect this to ever occur in a game but it helps me show my point so :P. Let's take a look.

So for some reason the Chimera with the melta Vets has found it's way to the top of your target priority list - let's say it's on course to mess up your Terminator's ride. The sentinel is meh, but you don't want him to bust up your ish (family freindly remember Chumby)! So first off, let's look at number of targets. The speeder (out of MELTA range btw) only really has one. Even if the chimera is opened up, it is unlikely he will be able to see the troops to shot them with the melta and will be out of range for flamer action. He cannot see the sentinal due to the BLOS terrain. The Crusader squad has multiple options, shooting and/or assaulting both the Chimera and the unit inside should it go up in smoke. The Laserback can shoot the chimera, potentially the squad or the sentinal so 3 potential targets.

A little while ago, I'd have shot the crusader squad because I heart MELTA, but this is duh! You'd waste the speeder shot and possibly the bolt pistols, which could be going into Veterans. But, ALWAYS remember, you may not want to shoot the Vets, nobody likes their victims running away before you're finished with them.

So now let's use my friend's rule of shooting the unit with the least number of targets first. So the speeder has just one target so let's use him first. He shoot's and misses. I always roll 2s to hit with my melta weapons so this isn't surprising! Next up we'll go for the crusader squad as they just have 2 targets. Pew Pew! and the Chimera goes up in smoke! W00t! The squad get out of the rear hatch and are really pooping their T3 pants. Now the laserback shoots the sentinal and despite scoring a penetrating hit, just rolls a 2 on the vehicle damage table (Boooo!). At least he's not going to duff me up next turn. Assault phase comes round and my crusader squad assaults the newly emerged vets.

Did that work out better than my übern00b way of doing it? Well, I'm not going to lie, in this situation it probably didn't. But... it could easily have done so. Several times I've genuinely face-palmed because of the order in which I've shot my units! A couple of missed hits or some wasted dakka can make a big difference and a little amount of thought prior to rolling dice can really go a long way.

So, we're at the end of part 2 of Back to Basics, I hope it was worth your time. Comment away!

p.s. I promise I won't keep you waiting as long for part 3.

p.p.s. Who am I kidding, who 'waits' for this kind of rubbish?

9 pinkments:

Kirby said...

GOod post BroLo but an amendment:

shoot your pure anti-tank first more often than not. In this example the Speeder falls as only really prodiving anti-tank whilst the Crusader squad could shoot at the unit/assault it effectively, too.

What this allows you to do is use your units with duality to target anything that pops out. Prime examples of this are Crisis Suits & Hammerheads. WHilst they can do great damage to mech, having your broadsides open up a transport and them creaming the squad with a pie-plate is very important. Same with opening a transport and then dropping a flamer template on them.

Not sure if you were going to cover this later... Keep it up! <3

Anonymous said...

This is called killhammer. Target priority is the most important part of it.

grav said...

This is an easy example with a unit having a single target.
The difficulty comes when the speeder would have 2 tagets and you'd have to mathhammer in a couple of second the best odds for a significant result.

Like av12 @ melta-range or av10 @ long-range, what are chances to pen?

Do all this for # of units times targets and you can see why most people say kcu it and just start shooting.

As a rule of thumb I start with the unit that has the least choices first, unless I have an almost guaranteed kill with another unit.

Messanger of Death said...

Hope the house hunting went well. In the next few days I'm going to sit down and try and compile a bunch of basic tactics/strategies for BnC. Try and get some of the other competitive thinking gamers involved.

<3 diagrams :)

Messanger

Brother Loring said...

@Kirby - I'm not sure if I 100% agree with you, but I'll say yes as it's your blog :P. It's obviously very dependent upon what your target priority is and what you want to use those AP1/2 weapons for. I thought about templates about 30 mins after I tee'd up the post but couldn't face going back and editing through blogger. I

@Anon - never heard of killhammer... but it's now in my dictionary.

@Grav - I can't say I've ever performed any kind of math-hammer table-side, but it's not too difficult to have a rough idea of what you can achieve (I was always pretty good a t maths at school... so maybe it comes easier for me). It is a very basic example and like I said it's unlikely to be so simple in a game. But I have (on several occasions), shot with one unit only to destroy stuff that is the only potential target of another - so it is important. I'm not a fan at all of the 'guaranteed kill' option as it can screw you as above. The melta shot into the Chimera may be considered a 'guaranteed kill', but it's not the best option IMO.

@MoD - Unfortunately not great - ho hum! Keep an eye on Mind War FTW (but Sshhh... don't tell Kirby). I'm going to start doing some BT reviews over there alongside my 'work' here. Maybe you'd like to join me/us?

Messanger of Death said...

@ BroLo - there is an article on Killhammer over on the BnC. It is an attempt to create a forumla for target priority.

Messanger

Messanger of Death said...

http://www.bolterandchainsword.com/index.php?autocom=ineo&showarticle=440

There it is :)

Brother Loring said...

Wow... and I thought it was just a bit of a theory... but somebody has made a formula for it....really???

It's an interesting read, but I think it complicates things a little too much. In all honesty I don't lurk into BnC's history too much... maybe I should.

Thanks for the linkie!

The_King_Elessar said...

Yes indeed, good article BroLo.

As ever, I accept any Guest Submissions, and consider every request. lol

In fact, I should go to sleep, but I have an article to type to auto-post tomorrow while I'm at work...

I have a BnC account, though I'm not really a fan. Too narrow a focus. I like to dabble.

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