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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Combat Tactics & its Uses

Up until I started writing that big, big guide of mine, I was under the impression that everybody knew what this abilitity did, what tricks it can be used for, and why it's so powerful.

Now I'm not so sure anymore, so let's look at what it actually does for you.

As we all know, combat tactics is a special marine abilitity, possessed by everything that's even marginally useful.
The normal course of events is to pick Vulkan, trade it out for his chapter tactics, and that's it. A lot of forum goers glance at it, then promptly forget that it exists.

So what does this little thing actually do? Simple. It lets marine infantry choose to automatically fail morale checks.
"That's stupid! Marines aren't sissies! It's such an unfluffy rule. Why would you ever want to fail tests, anyway?"

Easy on the trigger, Tex.
It symbolizes the marines giving up unfavorable ground, and preparing for fresh attacks from a more optimal position.
Failing tests automatically means you'll never be at risk of holding in stupid situations. For instance, 30 boyz coming towards a tactical squad.
For some reason, someone shot down 3 tactical marines, which means a test is required.
Now, you can either take it, and risk holding, then get charged and likely slaughtered by the boyz, or you fail it automatically, fall back, and leave the orks hanging. Next turn, you can move farther back, or get within flamer range of the boyz.

This is huge.

Not only does combat tactics let you get out of 'rock and hard place'-scenarios, it also forces difficult choices on the opponent.
He or she must either shoot the marines dead with massed firepower, ignore the squad, or charge it while it's practically unharmed.
In fact, even if you're charged by something really, really killy, should a handful of marines survive, you can elect to fall back from combat, too, which opens up the big nasty to shooting and assaults of your own in your turn.
Stallers - wraithguard charging sternguard for the funny, inflicting a wound or two, and taking none in return - are typically left behind, and blown apart next shooting phase.
Unless you're charged by actual eldar or tyranids, your initiative of 4 makes escape from combat fairly likely.

"But you can't always rally!" Yes, you can. You're playing marines. You're blessed with 'and they shall know no fear.' Unless enemies are within 6 inches, and assuming you're not otherwise prohibited from testing to rally, you'll automatically do so at the start of your movement phase.

Some units, like bikes and sternguard, don't want to be stuck in for any reason.
The combo that is combat tactics plus 'and they shall know no fear' means you can avoid this for pretty much as long as you'd like - only ever committing infantry on your terms, and only when you deem it necessary.

This is why combat tactics is such a useful thing to have.

28 pinkments:

Kirby said...

I was going to write something about this...ass =p. Heading to bed now so will check in morning :).

VT2 said...

Hah. Beat you to it =P

Chumbalaya said...

Such an underrated ability. That people still overlook it boggles the mind.

Thor said...

I think so many people are so enamored with the special characters that they never really bothered to figure out what combat tactics could do. The amount of times this one ability has allowed me redeploy to gain the advantage is countless.

There are times you don't want to use it though. Smart opponents will, if possible, walk you right off the table. So if you're choosing to fail the test then make damn sure they have nothing in range they can task with following you off into oblivion.

Common sense I suppose but you'd have thought the use of combat tactics would be as well and it certainly isn't.

oni said...

Combat Tactics alone is only usful in very rare situations.

Sure I can choose to fall back and keep you out of charge range... Assuming of course you were dumb enough to shoot at me before assualting.

Once in combat if the SM's loose, which odds are they will because lets face it, they're really poor in combat, I can choose to fail, but now if I'm cought by the seeping advance I'm taking more wounds.

Sorrowshard said...

Yeah , when used well combat tactics can be a royal pain in the a** and I often forget marines can do it , its a bit of a left hook at times ....

looking forward to MoAr :o)

VT2 said...

Taking more wounds is much better than poofing instantly, like other beaten infantry.
That's assuming you want to hold.

Initiative 4 actually gives a fairly good chance of running away from other grunts (orks, guardsmen, sisters, many demons, etc.).
It's really only eldar and tyranids that make breaking off hard, but they tend to wipe squads on the charge, anyway.

"Sure I can choose to fall back and keep you out of charge range... Assuming of course you were dumb enough to shoot at me before assualting."
That's just it.

Do you shoot them to soften them up, and risk them running away, or are you gonna charge the 10 sternguard in cover while they're unharmed?

Lyracian said...

VT2 Wrote -
But you can't always rally!" Yes, you can. You're playing marines. You're blessed with 'and they shall know no fear.' Unless enemies are within 6 inches, you always regroup automatically at the end of your fall back move.

No you do not! You can only rally at the start of your next movement phase. Also you do not regroup automatically you automatically pass regrouping tests, if you are able to take them.

It is a common tactic to chase marine units off the board by staying with 6" of them once they start falling back.

Yes Combat Tactics is useful in the Shooting phase since opponent will struggle to get other units within 6" of you. However it is pretty meh in the Assault phase unless you have 3d6 fall back as your opponents consolidation move often puts them within 6".

AbusePuppy said...

>However it is pretty meh in the Assault phase unless you have 3d6 fall back as your opponents consolidation move often puts them within 6".

The real value of Tactics in the assault phase is making it hard for your opponent to stay in combat so he doesn't get shot. Assault units HATE wiping guys out on their turn, because it leaves them standing in the open to get pounded by every gun in the enemy force. Marines can more or less do this automatically (it's not as sure a thing as VT2 tends to put it, but chances are pretty decent.)

VT2 said...

@ Lyracian; that's pretty much what I meant, but I see it's worded poorly.

Fun fact: in past editions, it indeed was an automatic regroup that took place straight after finishing your fall back move.

Thud said...

But it doesn't directly kill opposing units, so it can't possibly be any good! And why would you want to fall back anyway when you have a power fist? A POWER FIST!!1 This article is stupid and so is your face! PS. Nids suck.



You've been Warseerized, suckas!

VT2 said...

Lash prince and obliterators own all space marines ever.

Farsight is the only way to make tau competitive. Firewarriors are the best troops in the game, and fish of fury can't be beaten - even by overpowered stealershock and footdar.

Lord Zorgatron said...

Don't forget Techmarines.

VT2 said...

Orks are top tier. Run all over everyone with rollas and invincible trukks, which carry the deadliest combat monsters known to man, demon, and eldar alike: the ork boy.

Deathwing and ravenwing are better than regular marines, because they have more special rules and are fearless.

Kirby said...

Just in case anyone is daft, all of those posts are dripping with sarcasim :P.

Combat tactics really comes into it's own for armies like Bikes who are likely to get into combat and will very likely fall back beyond a consolidation move, rally and pump RF relentless bolters into you.

Even if someone doesn't shoot you so you can't fall back...they're not shooting you!?!? This is a good thing.

Thud said...

Hey! I'm never sarcastic! Stop making stuff up about me!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to fix some Swooping Hawks after all the action they have been seeing.

VT2 said...

I dare go a step further, and claim that combat tactics is one of the corner stones behind biker marines.

While Thud's tending to the needs of the badass hawks, I'm gonna polish my legion of the damned, servitors, and chaplains.
I just don't get why they attract so much hatred. They're easily as top tier as ork boyz and ravenwing bikers - the best biker army in the game.

Kirby said...

It's not daring if it's the truth VT2 :P.

Lyracian said...

@Abuse Puppy
I might agree with you. If marines had a decent chance of getting away from any assault unit other than Orks.

@VT2
I know it used to be auto-rally. Can you edit the article as it really needs changing. Players returning to the game who read that will think it has not changed.

VT2 said...

I thought I did yesterday? Either it didn't save it, or I never got to it.

Changed it again now. We'll see if it sticks this time.

Thanks for catching it, guy.

Scott R said...

Do my Ravenwing not get combat tactics?

Steve said...

@Lyr
Don't they have a decent chance of getting away from Marines too? I mean, they are all I4.

Terms can't even chase after you can they?

I've always felt like it was more to be used to get away from things you weren't going to hurt anyway. Walkers and various monstrous creatures as example.

Lyracian said...

@Steve. I do not consider 42% decent. I really want at least 60% to be trying to run away.

VT2 said...

30% is 'bad.'
42% is 'decent.'
51%+ is 'good.'
60%+ is 'very good'
80%+ is 'almost guaranteed.'

Ravenwing don't get combat tactics.

Kirby said...

When it's a 40% chance of not getting squished by a Dread/MC to a 100% chance of dying to Dread/MC, it's good ^^.

Opportunity cost.

The Conservative Commuter said...

@ Lyracian:
"No you do not! You can only rally at the start of your next movement phase."

I do not believe this is correct. Regrouping indicates that it occurs during the "Movement phase," not specific to "your" or "the controlling player's" movement phase.

Furthermore, with the wording of the fall back move, it also occurs in EACH movement phase, not just "your" or "the controlling player's" movement phase, making it harder to chase anybody off the table as they will, in theory, move 7" per player turn.

king cronan said...

I agree with Lyracian. In my experience you are lucky to get combat tactics to work well unless you have a 3d6 fallback, though it is always worth a try. If you escape the initiative roll off then you have to get more than 6" away from the enemy squad, which is hard to do.

I see it as a nice little thing to try since you have it but don't rely on it.

aragorn1ring said...

I would just like to say that, many of the cases above are assuming that the unit being charged or shot at is alone. If there is a supporting unit within or near rapid fire range, it is almost always better to fall back. Even if that means taking a few extra wounds, which is not a guarantee either. The pursuing unit will not be in combat on your shooting phase and can be blown apart by the supporting unit(s). Where as if you chose to hold, you can not shoot into the CC and you would most likely eventually lose (cause marines are not good in combat) and risk your supporting unit being swept into by your opponent during a time when you may not want your supporting unit in combat. No, better to fall back and shoot the pursuing unit on your next shooting phase. This way you control the flow of the game and not the opponent. Which is kinda what every strategy game is all about anyway isn't it?

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