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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Back to Basics: Part 3: TANK SHOCK!!!1!

Well, as Kirby said, the guest authors need to step-up their game this weekend and this is my first contribution. Maybe if Taak gets off of his ass and sends me the final pic from our 4-way (no laughing!) I can finally get that batrep posted.

So, for part 3 of 'Back to Basics' I thought I'd try to start answering some of the questions/points that arose in part 1. Most were posted by Mr Pink himself, but there were a few others discussed. The first topic we will cover is the mighty Tank Shock.

Tank-Shock (RAWR)!

This isn't something I do a great deal, but it's a very useful tactic for several reasons. We'll start by looking at the rules governing a Tank Shock.

1) First of all, a tank shock needs to be declared, sacrificing normal movement.

2) Pivot the vehicle on the spot and declare the distance you plan to move (a minimum of 6.001 inches must be declared i.e. combat speed and above).

3) Move straight ahead until the distance declared is reached or contact with an enemy unit is made.

4) If an enemy unit is contacted, they must take a morale check, falling back if this is failed.

5) If the morale check is passed, the vehicle is let through. If any of the models in the target unit will be under the vehicle at the end of it's movement, they must be moved. They must be 1" away from the vehicle AND must remain in unit coherency. Movement of models must be made by the shortest distance possible.

Death or Glory!

If a unit has been tank-shocked and passes it's morale check, one member that finds itself in the vehicles path may take a pop at it. The model may make a single attack (no matter what the profile of the weapon used is, it's just a single shot/attack) at the vehicle, which automatically hits. If he manages to stun/immoblise/destroy the vehicle then the vehicle halts in front of the Glory-Hunter! If not, say good-bye to him, no matter how many wounds or what save he has.

So, why would you tank-shock?

1) Breaking - Plain and simple, you want the enemy to run away. Tau, Orks (outside of mob rule) and Nids (out of synapse), among many others are perfect candidates for this. Even regular marines will fail this test about ~30% of the time. Once they start running, you sit alongside them and escort them off of the battle field.

2) Bunching - Got yourself plenty template weapons? Then this should be your staple. When tank-shocking, the enemy must move their guys by the minimum possible distance - so no shuffling the whole unit to maintain spacing. Sometimes it takes one or two Tank Shocks to achieve some real nice bunching but when it's done you should be getting a good number of models under those templates. But... remember the template can't cover ANY of your stuff, so think about the movement of your vehicles.

Example 1 - You can see, even with effective model placement by the ork player, the number of models hit by a flamer can greatly increase (4 to 6 to 8) with a couple of well placed Tank Shocks.

3) Breaching - This is a tough one to achieve well, but needs to be mentioned. When you're facing a wiley opponent who's been reading 3++ you may need to think a bit about how to break those lines of bubblewrap. If he's doing it properly, then this will be almost impossible, but if he's like me and making a half-arsed attempt, then you should be able to get around it.

If you are able to get more than half of your vehicle past the enemy line, the shortest route possible will leave the wrap behind your tank. If you have an assault vehicle you can then disembark behind the bubblewrap and assault the valuable units behind. But you need to consider a couple of things before attempting this.

Firstly, make sure you can breach the line, displacing the tank-shocked unit behind you. If not and they do not run they form a semi-circle around the front and sides of your tank (which tend to be where the exits are on your assault vehicles) and prevent you from disembarking. Adding to this, his unit will be able to wrap your tank entirely and then you risk having to make an emergency disembarkation (not fun!). Secondly, make sure there is also sufficient space behind the unit to perform this, otherwise you can't get out and again, the same can occur above.

Example 2 - With a space behind the bubblewrap, the Black Templar player was able to breach it and disembark the terminators ready to assault both units of suits. Note: This is NOT how to bubblewrap properly! Quite the opposite.

Example 3 - With a poor estimate, the Land Raider Crusader could not breach the Kroot wall with a full 12" movement. The Kroot then wrap around the front of the LRC, meaning it is unlikely that the passengers will be able to disembark. If the vehicle is destroyed in the following turn, there will be problems for the Templar player.

4) Contesting - (okay, so I ran out of B words) - A tank-shock late in the game can most certainly make or break the game for you. Eldar are the King of this with their fast, skimmer transports. An 18" tank-shock range is a huge advantage for last turn objective contesting. A well aimed and ranged tank-shock can land you immediately on an objective and if it doesn't make your opponent run away, it could place you on the objective and clear your opponent from the 3" range. The absolute least you'll gain from it is a contested objective and that beats a lost one!

Example 4 - The Serpent tank-shocked onto the objective and because they were fearless, did not run. Due to good positioning by the ork player in preparation for such a tactic from those tricksy elvses, the orks have managed to remain contesting the objective rather than losing it altogether.

So how does Death or Glory affect things?

I want to mention this from both sides of the table. From an attacking point of view, death or glory can only be performed by models that find themselves in the path of the vehicle, so take time in lining up your vehicle, do your best to avoid those melta weapons and if you're AV10/11, power fists. Str8 vs AV12 only survives about 25% of the time and he's a precious commodity, so may be worth a shock.

From the other end of the table, think about this tactic when you're moving units. Place those high str weapons in places where you can minimise tank shocks without having a good death or glory attempt. Your meltas/fists should find themselves at the front of the unit and preferably at the corners with narrow faced units.

Example 5 - Because of poor positioning of the Imperial Fists, the Chaos Rhino was able to clip the edge of the squad with minimal risk (Str6 krak grenades). In the 3rd Picture, the meltagun and powerfist models were placed at the front edges of the squad so and tank-shock into the squad must pass one of these two models - good luck!

Well... that was longer than I expected, so I'll end it there. Whilst looking for a piccie for this post I came across this post by Dverning. It's main subject is template weapons, but does mention tank-shocking for unit bunching so go have another read!

Thanks for sticking aound... see y'all later for my initial thoughts on Warmachine.

Edit: Oh... and any more suggestions for Tank Shocking will be very much welcome. As per usual, this is NOT aimed at the experienced audience, more for those getting started.

Edit again: Shameless Plug: Messanger's Blog! Get your BT article sorted so I can get on with mine :P

21 pinkments:

brent said...

Great article. Keep them coming!

Kildash said...

As a fairly long-term eldar player, i am already familiar with the uses of tank-shock of course. Still, it's a fun article to read, and a great one for relatively new players who so commonly disregard tank-shock. I'd like to add a few ideas that i've done in my time:

1) Some players will, especially on city-tables, place only the heavy-weapon guy in a place with line of sight (for example, the only one standing beside a buidling instead of behind it like the rest of his squad. In cases like these, a good tank shock pushes that one guy behind the building. He can DoG, but with eldar tanks you need a 5+ or worse to pen, and even then you haven't stopped it, so most people will just accept to move the heavy weapon behind the building. However, that weapon is out of the fight for a few turns. Most likely, the player will shoot the skimmer that tank-shocked him when it's his turn. Wether or not you die doesn't matter, he then has to spend his next turn moving back in position, and since its a heavy weapon its not shooting that turn either. (a good target for this kind of tank-shock: lascannon/ML-combat squads)

2)pushing things away a few inches... sometimes, you can't kill that one unit coming for your objective, pathfinder squad or whatever that's important to you fast enough. Tank shocking correctly can push a unit a few inches in a direction of your choice, as long as you position well and are decent enough at estimating ranges. Yes, this will be rare, but it can mean the difference between a win and a draw, or even a loss. Tournament players take note!

3) More of a tip than a situation. Any army can do this, but especially armies with lots of cheap transporst (ergo, chimeras, rhinos,...) can do this well. Yes, death or glory can kill your tank, but if you're tank shocking one of those deadly yet NON-fearless hammer units people love to use (Thunderwolf-lords grouped up, TH/SS-terminators to a lesser extent, all tooled-up Vanguard vets with/without shrike...) then you really shouldn't care if your 35pt-transport is at risk of dying. There's a 1/12 chance that a Ld-10 unit will run. It's not great, but its a 1/12 chance that the enemy's 400+ pt unit will run and your 35pt-transport is all it took. If they DO take their Leadership test, then who cares? Either they have to move back a bit (remember point 2), and you've got them blocked if done properly ( It gets better when they try a Death or Glory and fail. So lets conclude this last point. There's three options in this:

-The hammer unit takes its Ld, and moves out of the way. You've got them blocked (just move up something else like a land speeder to extend the blockade)
-The hammer unit takes its Ld, and does a Death or Glory attack. Either they kill your tank (but DoG without modifiers is extremely risky, especially with expensive models from a hammer unit like wolf lords and vanguard vets), or their hammer unit drastically loses power, and you return to situation 1: the remaining models are blocked.
-The hammer unit fails its Ld-check and runs. Either you have something else nearby to escort them off the board (which is great), or at least the hammer unit runs away from your army for a turn (which is also invaluable in buying yourself time)

As we can see, the possibilities of tank-shock are endless. All these situatiations are reasonably rare, but there's so many situations in which tank-shock is useful that almost every other game will bring one up. Keep your eyes open, and keep in mind what matters most. DoG is over-rated except with melta-weapons, so the idea is: if there's no meltagun in it, shock it!

Scott R said...

I play a Razorspam TL-LCx3 with 2 plasma, 1 melta in the squads, 2 vinds, an HQ squad in a HB Razor, full tac with lascannon in a Rhino, and a squad of vets with ccw/bp and a melta also in a rhino.
Should I paint up some flamers and add them in instead of the plasma rifles in the three 5 man squads (to capitalize on the fact I have 8 tanks that can tank shock).

Tachikoma said...

maybe "borrowing" instead of contesting?

Brother Loring said...

@Scott.... It's difficult to say without seeing a proper list. There is room for flamers in most lists, especially ones with lots of hulls. Works for Sisters, works for BA.
You can send one of us a list and we'll post it for you with some advice. My e-mail will be up tomorrow, Kirby's is already up and probably the better option.
But it sounds like you've got the idea.

I'll get back to the rest of you tomorrow, my eyes are going all blurry. Except Tachikoma... it was turn 7b, contesting :P

pika-power said...

Interesting. I was under the impression that when the vehicle was 'let through', the models were moved aside. Meaning in the second diagram, the bubblewrap line would not be displaced to the back, but would be displaced to either side. I didn't realise they only had to clear the ending point.

Kildash said...

yup, pika-power, that's a very common error. Keep it in mind, cause it's a big difference! ^^

Messanger of Death said...

"Get your BT article sorted so I can get on with mine"
I'll get it done soon. I promise lolz. Scribbling ideas down right now. Then you can go through and snowmobile them.

Another shameless plug:


Scott R said...

command squad 3rd co. 210 105 points base, 1x pf +25, 1x pw +15, melta +10, apoth +20, comp. champ +25, standard +10, option of Reclusiam standard is 5 more points. 210

force commander 3rd co. 130 pair of lightning claws+30 130

tactical squad 3/1 100 90 base, 5 man squad, melta gun+10 100
tactical squad 3/2 125 5 man squad, melta gun, vet sgt with powerfist 125
tactical squad 3/3 105 5 man squad, plasma rifle, 105
Tactical squad 3/4 210 90 base, 75 ten man, multi-melta, melta gun, vet sgt with power fist 210

Veterans Squad (generic) 3/1V 165 3x power weapon, melta gun, 9 vets total 180
3rd Company chaplain 115 100 base +15 plasma pistol 115
Techmarine (generic) 3/I 90 plasma pistol, servoarm 90
Razorback (twinlinked Las) 3 85 stm bolter 85
Razorback (twinlinked Las) 3 85 stm bolter 85
Razorback (twinlinked Las) 3 85 stm bolter 85
Razorback (HB) 3 55 50 base, stm bolter 55
Rhino 3 40 stm bolter 40
Rhino 3 40 stm bolter 40
Vindicator 3 135 stm bolter, dozer blade 135
Vindicator 3 135 stm bolter, dozer blade 135
TOTAL : 2000

What would you take out and add in, keep in mind I'm playing DA.

Kildash said...

Small question, Scott R... why is this thread getting hijacked by you? Just send kirby an e-mail if you'd like him (and us) to discuss a list. No offense, but this isn't very polite.

Brother Loring said...

Don't worry Kildash, I asked Scott to post it, but there all of our contact details are available in the 'About Authors & Blog' in the top right.

@Scott - Myself or Kirby will get a post up for you soon, keep your eye out.

@Pika-Power - As Kildash says, the unit are ignored unless the tank ends on top of them. The important sentences are...
i) If the test is passed, the unit will simply let the tank move through, as if it was not there.
ii) If some enemy models in the enemy unit would end up underneath the vehicle when it reaches it's final position, these models mush be moved out of the way, by the shortest distance, leaving at least 1" between them and the vehicle and maintaining unit coherency.

@Brent - Thank you! Keep up that good fight you're fighting sir!

@Kildash - Some excellent comments/additions. I've used tank-shock for all sorts of reasons and you've just added a few to my repertoire. It's just incredible useful to know that you can shift units to increasse/devreas distances between you and them and adjust their positioning (which is all important as we looked at in part 1. I do agree with DoG being over-rated, but sometimes is DoG or losing a game!

Thanks for the comments, keep them coming!

Messanger of Death said...

I linked back here for your Loring <3

There are e-cookies if anyone can find the dirty references in my post.


Scott R said...

@kildash-- I asked about the utility of including flamers (template weapon) in a Mech SM list to capitalize on the possibilities of tank shock, which I thought was relevant to the original post.
He asked for my specific list, I provided it. Kirb is welcome to delete my post now that he has the list.
No intention on my part to hijack the discussion of template weapons vs tank shock to some other topic.

@Kirb/et. al- any thoughts on the usefulness of tank shock to bunch your opponent when using weapons that scatter and are high enough strength to damage your own tanks (other than: be really really careful...)

Scott R said...

For instance, other considerations aside, would something like a Griffon or a Shadow Weaver be a better back up for a mech heavy army than demolisher cannon or D cannon?

The_King_Elessar said...


My fav tank shock of all time was probably Turn 2 Shocking a unit of Plasma Cannon Devs off the board with a Serpent. El oh el.

Kildash said...

just a simple tank-shock there, TKE... it's fun, of course, but as long as you haven't seen 10 vanguard vets with jump packs, thunder hammers and storms shields (x10!) along with Kayvaan Shrike run off the board, you haven't really lolled yet ^^

Cyklown said...

Well, don't use eldar support weapons for your template love.

I'd imagine that either a guardian storm squad loaded for bear, or one of the two Heavy Flamer vehicles for eldar would be a better bet.

Harder to protect and deploy, but better payoff and it's a much more worthwhile return on the points. Either way you're using your FOC slots to a better advantage anyways. Mind you, I wouldn't count your Guardian flamer squad as a troops unit for the purposes of fielding enough scoring units.

Kirby said...

Great article BroLo. Now put these articles out 7 times a week and some filler and you can take over from me :P!

@Cyklown; what are Eldar support batteries? lol

Kildash said...

Maybe they're like extra power packs? you know, to keep our 2x fire prism and falcon's engines throughout EVERY game, because you need them in EVERY game ^^

Cyklown said...

God, wouldn't it be nice if they retired that unit and made something useful with the same name?

Y'know, eldar Vehicals ALL squadron now, and for the cost of a HS slot you can upgrade them all with a gun that fire's on it's own and gets dragged around on the vehicle.

Anyways, moving away from the bad stuff: Guardian flamer squads, warlocks and fire dragons: is that some sexy heavy flamer access, or what?

Nathan said...

Good article, and pretty basic. Just looping back to the Ork discussion. You tank shocked with two vehicles and then flamed with heavy flamer; essentially using 3 vehicles to get 8 heavy flamer hits for a grand total of 5-6 dead Orks. Now all your vehicles are in range of assault.

And even if you combo up heavy flamers in there, they don't all fire at the same time, so I'll remove casualties from the places the remaining templates will fire. So you get diminishing returns.

It also assumes all your vehicles were less than 12" away from my Orks (or 18" in the case of BA), which would put them in my threat range in the turn prior, so I probably would've shot the landspeeder LAST turn.

I still fail to see how this tactic is the Rock to my Orks' Scissors.

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