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Friday, September 3, 2010

Unit types, part 2.



A lot of people assume armor is easy to deal with. A lot of people also get rude awakenings when it becomes obvious that glancing, non-AP1 hits cannot destroy vehicles, and that you have to focus fire to down even a mere rhino.

Of course, the meltagun will destroy any and all armor when it's within melta-range, but can you guarantee delivery within 6 inches before the second turn is up?
Most of the time, the answer is 'no.' That's wny we'll look at how you deal with armored targets effectively, efficiently, and smoothly at range.

Light armor
: this is the most populated of all categories. Light armor has relatively weak defenses, but is usually inexpensive to field, and sometimes pack devastating firepower - a powerful gun, wedded to a lightly armored chassis. The large majority of vehicles you'll encounter are light armor - the classic sign being side armor 10 to 11. A lot of light armor is also open topped, and if it happens to be armor 10 in addition, this makes it vulnerable to bolters. Some vehicles (predators) have silly high front armor for such cheap vehicles, but still meet all the other qualifiers for light armor.

Dealing with light armor is very straightforward, but still not all that self-explanatory. As with almost all vehicles, side shots is the way to go. Because light armor is weak, you can easily penetrate it with most of your anti-infantry - however, these weapons aren't AP1, so a single penetrating hit doesn't guarantee anything. You want to land more hits, yet shoot as few units as possible against them. Units with autocannons, assaultcannons, plasma, multiple missile launchers, and even massed heavy bolters easily chew through light armor, and hits from lascannons reliably become penetrating hits, while direct hits from demolisher cannons tend to destroy them. Because light armor is usually transports, and transports carry cargo, it should be a priority to get rid of light armor before melta suicide squads - or worse - are dropped into your lines.

Heavy armor: this is where things get hard. Heavy armor is more costly than light armor, but almost always more heavily armed, tends to sport strong armor in all facings that matter (real dreads, eldar tanks), or be almost untouchable from the front (Leman Russ, hammerhead). Because these are actual tanks, they have really big guns, and really big guns tend to hurt a lot. Even if you destroy their really big gun(s), many are studded with smaller guns, so can still hurt you quite a bit. Due to their heavy armanent, and the fact that all those guns actually cost points, the controlling player wants to sit still and shoot at full effect - alternatively move slowly, and shoot at full effect. This fact is actually a very powerful weapon. During deployment, setup so heavy armor gets to pick between bad fire lanes, no line of sight, or isolated positions. No matter where it's placed, your life just got a little easier.

Since heavy armor actually has real armor, frontal attacks are not recommended. All Leman Russ variants are front armor 14, as is the battlewagon, while the hammerhead is front 13, and almost always has a 4+ cover save. Sides are typicall strong, too, with armor up to 13,but more commonly being 12. Because of this armor, most of your anti-infantry is no longer effective, and since heavy armor's big guns have a much longer reach than most of your guns, you're likely out of range, as well. As ever, side shots are your friend. Autocannons and krak missiles are still effective, while lascannons have a fair chance of penetrating hits from the side, and a dramatically reduced chance from the front. Demolishers don't particularly care about the silly high frontal armor, but their range is a lot shorter than weapons commonly found on heavy armor. It's worth noting that hunting dreads sometimes tend to combine the pleasures of fighting elite infantry with those of trying to take out heavy armor.

Very heavy armor
: land raiders. The monolith.
Armor 14 in all facings, and a big, fat threat against your army, thanks to the carried elite infantry. Massed lascannons can sink a 'raider, but it's not likely, and it laughs at your krak missiles. The trusted autocannon can't even scratch it, because of being only strength 7.What it all boils down to is, you need melta to slag these. There are no ways around this fact. If you can't deliver melta against the land raider, it will deliver its cargo right where you don't want it. Because land raiders are such a big investment, not to mention carry such important things, players tend to take two or none, and stack rhinos and other light armor around them. Deal with the light armor like a pro, then deliver melta against the land raider(s). If you lose a unit in the process, that's usually an okay price to pay. Then there's the monolith. The great pyramid itself isn't killy at all, but immune to the melta-rule. You can either try to land a demolisher shot on it, hose it with lascannons, or ignore it. Moving in behind it reveals weak, wimpy necron warriors, that - when killed - make the opponent approach critical phase-out totals.

The lesson learned from this post? Autocannons are much more useful than you thought.

Next up, a topic that's very dear to my heart, and the hearts of all marine players out there.

12 pinkments:

Chumbalaya said...

Autocannons, missile launchers and meltas. The bestest around.

Marshal Wilhelm said...

I concur :D

Move-blocking needs its day in the sun ;)

For me, what you have said all makes sense, although 12 months ago I think I would have tried to down the Raider instead of the Rhinos.

Using vehicles [even puny ones like Speeders and Piranhas] to stop the baddies is something I'd have not gotten on my own.
You're doing what? Why? That's nonsense! Play 40K properly!

VT2 said...

I could make a separate little post on move blocking, and why it's so nice and funky, but it feels like I'm stealing everyone's thunder =P

Sage said...

More like Missle Pods, Railguns, and Fusion Blasters. And Marshal, Piranhas are Tau's only reliable method of Melta, can turbo-boost to ignore melee, and if you have enough points, 4+ Cover Save ahoy.

Marshal Wilhelm said...

VT2
You don't have to claim it as your own, you can even attribute it to whomever taught you.

For me, it changed Tau. I don't think I am silly but it still never was in my mind to do such a thing.

Dudes reading 3++ will have another edge on their gaming buddies. Which is what you want.
"Jimmy, why are you so cool and winny?"
"I drink Pinkazade as supplied by 3++. It is full of ftw+ that hydrates the mind and rejuvenates even the most jaded" *impossibly bright smile*

Kirby said...

lol Wilhelm.

There's already posts on 3++ about blocking anyway. Check the How To page or search Blocking in the google function.

Kirby said...

Oh and I'd again want to split the categories up here into light, medium and heavy.

Light generally being transports with AV10-11, medium generally being your gun-boats and AV11-13 and heavy being the battle tanks AV13+. Medium strength and rate of fire is required to deal with previous two groups but it's more important to suppress the medium tanks than light tanks whilst heavier anti-tank such as meltaguns/railguns/etc is require to slow the battle tanks (heavy).

Marshal Wilhelm said...

;)

I agree with 12-13 being medium. I don't think I would include 11 though.... I guess 11 comes from Vindi & Pred side AV.

If a link was included in this article to Move blocking, I think that would help, or a mention, etc.

Allowing extra turns of shooting is just as valuable as pure shooting, imo.

Auretious Taak said...

Not just move blocking as examined on 3++ but also the article on Suppression Fire is invaluable tied in with Move Blocking. :)

VT2 said...

Medium isn't really necessary, since all light can be hurt by stuff in the sides.
Heavy is heavy for a reason, and when you kinda need to bring out kraks and lascannons if you want to stand a chance, or mass autocannons.

And by sorting all the kinda lightly armored vehicles into one category, you give them all the same threat rating, plus point out that light armor carries deadly stuff.
Means new players don't go focusing all their fire on supposed medium vehicles (hellhound) when there are light vehicles (chimera) around.

Kirby said...

I think it also comes down to tank roll.

Chimeras can fall into the light or medium category based on armor but slip into medium based on weapon loadouts. Wave Serpents are transports with medium armor but run around with 2 heavy weapons, etc.

Kirby said...

er role*.

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