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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The wisdom of the ages.


Understand these basic principles, contained in large chunks of sacred text.

Shooting: allows your units to reach out some distance, and damage other units. The main benefit of shooting is that the target doesn't get to hurt you in your own turn. You shoot, they remove dudes - that's it. Since marines aren't efficient at combat, this is the preferred method of damage-dealing for most players, and the marine army as a whole.

Combat: combat is a very brutal affair, and more often than not ends with a whole unit vaporizing. It's the quickest way in the game for inflicting massive damage to the opponent's army. Unlike shooting, targets assaulted potentially get an attempt to hurt you in your own turn - sometimes before you're allowed to swing at them. Marines can deal out heavy damage in combat, but the volume of attacks is low, and dedicated assault units cost a lot more points than shooting units.

Scoring: forumitis tells you the game is all about troops. He who has the most troops will always win, right? Wrong. A legal army requires precisely two troops, and to win capture the draw or loot counters, you must hold ONE objective, and contest all others. If you can achieve this, you win. Holding two, three, or more objectives has absolutely zero effect. Hold one, contest all others - you win. You can stack tactical squads on four loot counters, and thus have no points left to kill the enemy, or you stack the mandatory squads on one, and use your fast, mobile, killy units to contest or kill the enemy.

Killpoints: hated by everyone, because they supposedly make the game less fun. Bad players take as few units as possible, thus making their bad armies horrible in the process, for if you have twelve units versus his four, you can focus fire from three of yours against each one of his, and most likely take them out quickly. Thus, killpoints are not a concern. Good armies fielded by good players have lots of killpoints. Scrubs will say your rhinos are 'free' killpoints, but they don't understand how durable vehicles truly are, or that when their expensive uber units are eating fire from your sternguard bolters, meltaguns, flamers, and heavy flamers, they're typically going to die.

The game: you're playing a game. The point of any game is to decide a winner and a loser. This is the same thing in every single game ever made, including sports. A winner, and a loser. Playing the game is fun - that's why you agreed to play it in the first place - but playing is even more fun if you play to win, then end up being rewarded with it after a challenging and engaging game. The forums you've gone to have poisoned your mind. There truly is no shame in winning consecutively, or in bringing your A-game to the table. In sports and most other games, people will be insulted if you bring a scrub attitude, and blame your loss and horrible play on 'just wanting to have fun,' or 'being fluffy.'

Taking the initiative: this isn't the rule of the same name, but something you do with your army. When things look bad, and you're operating from a weak position, what do you do? The first instinct is to hunker down somewhere. This is a bad idea, because it doesn't solve the problem. What you need to do is identify the threat, why it's a threat, and come up with a simple way to neutralize it. Superior firepower? It hurts, because you have fewer units than most armies. Neutralized if it cannot be brought to bear; block fire lanes with armor, spread out, flank and pincer. When you actively work against your opponent, controlling more and more of what he does with your actions on the field, you take the initiative from him, and thus end up in control of the flow of battle. Force reactions and hard choices, and you take the initiative.

The zone: when a marine infantry squad is within 12 inches from the enemy, the squad is 'in the zone.' This is where your army excels, but also where it's most vulnerable. While in the zone, bolters become twice as effective, and meltaguns are suddenly active. This is where you deal the most damage, but also where you potentially take the most damage. Special care and consideration must be employed to ensure you get the drop on the enemy. You want to be the one unleashing rapid fire, not he. For anti-tank duty, it's almost mandatory to get in the zone. The deeper into it you are, the more powerful your army becomes, with melta gaining extra dice for penetration, and all kinds of flamers becoming active.

While a whole bunch of these may sound simple to some, they really aren't. With them out of the way, we can finally move on to the marines themselves, and start looking at some details.

Next up, gear and stats.

5 pinkments:

Kwaet said...

I can't wait for the article on Running!

Auretious Taak said...

[quote]Scoring: forumitis tells you the game is all about troops. He who has the most troops will always win, right? Wrong. A legal army requires precisely two troops, and to win capture the draw or loot counters, you must hold ONE objective, and contest all others. If you can achieve this, you win. Holding two, three, or more objectives has absolutely zero effect. Hold one, contest all others - you win. You can stack tactical squads on four loot counters, and thus have no points left to kill the enemy, or you stack the mandatory squads on one, and use your fast, mobile, killy units to contest or kill the enemy.[/quote]

You forgot to mention winning by wipe out. It is entirely possible to win with no scoring units at all (such as Fenrisian Wolf Troop choices only in a space wolf army). Whilst Vanilla Marines don't have this option, it is something to remind people about when you minimise the troops and tool up elsewhere. Troops are universally crap compared to other choices within a respective codex, so taking2 minimum sized units and losing them does not have to mean you've lost as you can still table your opponent. Some Tournaments may make it that in objective missions even tabling opponents you'd still need at least 1 scoring unit left alive so that should also be examined here. :)

VT2 said...

Dark eldar warriors, kroot, grey hunters, imperial guard veterans, and battle sisters all disagree with that statement.

Some troops are very, very good, but many books just never seem to get any of them.
More on troops later.

This set of articles assumes you play 5th edition, and not MyWarhammer40k, or INAThammer.

Polymorphine said...

LOL, INAThammer.

Amazing read so far. Looking forward to the rest.

Thor said...

I like the start of this and eagerly await more.

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