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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

Friday, October 29, 2010

BA Jump Pack Army Woes: Gameplay and Tactics

I mentioned recently I'd do an article highlighting some Jumper army tactics. If we are hark back to my How To post on the boys in red falling from the sky we'll find the post looks more at army building and why the units were taken rather than tactics. It's time to remedy some of that! Below are two e-mails in from Ashton which highlight a player's plight using this list but before we go there I thought I'd a few more general comments on the Jumper style lists. Orginally I was a huge fan of pure Jumpers over Jumpers w/Devs (Blood Hammer) but I now lean in the other direction. This isn't to say the Jumper list is bad or the Hammer list is always better, I just feel the Hammer list covers up the one main weakness of the Jumper list in ranged firepower but has its own issues to deal with (less combat power, two wings and deployment). However, I now also believe Sanguinary Guard should be a mainstay in most Jumper lists. Whilst I don't feel this is necessary as much at lower point levels, once we hit 1500+ and are running pure Jumpers you really do need a hard-hitting squad which can be relied upon to finish off squads. Enter Sanguinary Guard. Whilst not always necessary I find it simply works its way into my builds now. We can thank some bloke named GWvsJohn for kick starting this here :p.

So let's look at Ashton's e-mails! Un-italicised comments in the e-mail are by Ashton himself relating to list, just so no-one is confused!


First off thanks for your reccomendations on my 1250 escalation list. I am 4-0 with it after the changes you suggested. Having the 5 hk's and the 2 dakka preds brings a ton of fire power!! I am starting to ge some nasty looks now at the LHS when I pull this list out, I think I may put it away now unitll the tourny starts ;)

Any way I am emailing you because of my jump list. I have probably ran 12-15 games with it now and have only managed 1 win, some close losses have been in there as well. My biggest frustrations have been orks, and sw's and mechdar. I have run several variations on the list that I started with, it was basically your jumper list w/ Sang Guard added in by dropping one lib and 1 priest. I have ran multiple variations of it with Dante, The Sanguinar, 3 VV's, 1 VV, 4 troops, 3 troops, I have combat squaded I have started on the table, I have reserved and deep striked, just about everything I can think of I have been trying and I have yet to find a synergy that works.

Usally the turn my VV's and HG(melta) arrive is the turn my opponent craps his pants, lots of tanks get popped, and baddies get tied up by the VV, but then after that I really seem to loose it with my troops, and things crumble. I am starting to feel that maybe jumpers would work better at 2500 so that more hammer units can be brought, but that means more hammers from my opponent as well.

So if you had a few minutes, what are some of your thoughts on actually running a jump list. I have been finding from alot of people on the interwebs and at LHS saying that jump lists arent effective, I dont think it is that they arent effective, I honestly feel like people dont know how to run them correctly, hence the frustration with them. What are your thoughts?

I know you are busy, and I saw your post about an upcoming BA jump article, but I thought it might help if I show you the current jump list I am running.

Libby w/ JP and Shield and Blood Lance, attached to HG
Libby w/ JP and Shield and Snaguine Sword, attached to SG,
I would really like to unleashe rage, but I dont think the re-roll to miss from the master work sword would combine w/ the preferred enemy benifit...

2 Sang priests w/ jump packs
I do feel a bit of a loss of the third preist, but it isnt too bad, I would rather have the punch from he SG
1 Sang Guard w/ PF
I would like the banner here for the extra attack, and combine that with the Libby and two str10 attacks and this unit has been hitting hard!

RAS x 2 with 2 melta, 1 PF and 1 HF
RAS x 1 w/ 1 melta 1 Power Sword and Melta Bombs
I have been treating the 5man squad as a support, clean up crew or objective holder, they kind of run around the back field till needed

x2 VV SS x 3, LC, Glaive, Power Weapon, PF
Jury is still out on this configuration, I have only ran this set up 2 times, definetly more killing power, I havent seem to have lost too much survivability, 1 or 2 are still around come the end of the game. But the original load out that you had I found that they did a great job of tar-pitting things, but not enough killing, there have been times where I needed them to finish up cause I needed help elsewhere. Perhaps running one "killing squad" and one "tar-pit squad" might be a viable option too...

Like I mentioned in my previous e-mail, fighting other Space Marine type armies is a real bugger for me in addition to orks.

By the way, on a personal note, I too am going to school for pyschology. I am 3 semesters away from having my BA in pysc, and I am planning on moving on to a masters program to get my LCSW, and have begun some of the applications programs for a few master's programs. Congrats on completing your thesis, I am sooo looking forward to mine as well!!


First off, glad the escalation army is going well. Send your fellow club members here and I'll make them all good lists so you can give each other evil kenevils (how does one spell that word?)! Congrats on nearly finishing your BA - Psych as well! Australia does it oddly so I get to do more theses than the usual person elsewhere in the world...w00t but hopefully I will get published by early next year and can start my PhD in a couple years or so. It sure is an interesting field (and makes blogging + e-drama a great case study...I mean...bollocks). Anyway, 40k...

First I wouldn't be too miffed over only winning once in 15 games. It takes at least 30+ games to get to grips with an army and it sounds like you are playing a variety of opponents which obviously makes this a bit harder. You've highlighted the biggest problem with Jumper army lists, or any assault based list really. Momentum. This is one of the biggest issues for Orks, if you can tie up their chargers or accept a charge and not break for an extended period of time, well they have a hard time recovering. Whilst your more specialist units are able to keep the momentum going after their initial charge due to higher attack numbers, BA as an assault army rely on getting the charge for S/I5 as this makes their plebs (ASM) actually half-way decent in combat. So you've noted that when your VV/HG drop in your opponent generally trembles in their boots which is fair enough, they hit hard. What you need to be able to do is support those units after their initial charges and therefore get them out of combat. This is where combat squads come in. More often than not combat squad with Jumper armies and then you'll have little 5 man squads of S/I5 men running around. This can help you with your anti-tank as you'll have mobile meltaguns and being tarpitted.

What this means is your army has to stay together. Whilst having a 5 man squad kitted out for anti-tank/infantry is great to send on a backfield mission which you don't expect them to survive, the rest of your force needs to stay relatively intact which is why Blood Lance and VV are so important for a pure jumper list. The obvious counter for this is castling and bubble-wrapping which these counter. What keeping your force together does is allow you to focus your whole army on one section of your opponent's army whilst they've had to spread out somewhat to avoid multi-charges by VV or Blood Lance dropping half their army. This is obviously beneficial in regards to FNP/FC bubbles but also for momentum as your units can support each other.

Here's where Sang Guard come in. I design VV to be tarpits. Why? Because of super units. There are no invuls in this army outside of VV and since VV are designed to assault bubble-wraps and backfield units on the drop to tie them up, equipping them to be anti-super units works as well. What this means is they aren't a hard hitting squad and I would lean away from making them so except at 2500. I also generally run Honor Guard as meltagun platforms because they can take 4. Which leaves the majority of the run of the mill combat ability to ASM and whilst S/I5 is good, it could be better. And here we have Sang Guard. They synergise perfectly with the Jumper force and bring combat reliability against tough targets. Putting combat weapons on your priests is also a great way to buff your damage output for ASM squads. WS5 and a lightning claw or power weapon can put out those extra attacks you need against tough targets but be careful not to get hit back yourself!

So key points:
  • drop together to take advantage of Blood Lance and VV
  • combat squad to maintain as much mobility as possible
  • maintain momentum by charging squads in subsequent rounds; don't let your units get bogged down for more than a turn or two (VV should be able to deal with bubble-wrap squads in two turns if an ASM squad charges the turn after they drop)
  • use Sanguinary Guard in particular to finish combats to ensure mobility
In regards to your list Ashton I think aim for a 2nd SG squad. I'm not sure where the HG squad is or what points (looks like 1750 w/o HG, 2000 with) but I think dropping some upgrades off the VV (i.e. LC + Power Weapon) and Honor Guard if there is any should squeeze you the points. If no Honor Guard and at 1750 you could also drop the extra 5 man ASM squad but leaves you a bit tight on scoring. A quick run of math can get you this at 2000:

Libby, HG w/3x mguns, 2x Priests, 2x SG w/PFist, 3x 10x ASM w/double melta, PFist, 2x 5x VV w/glaive, 2x SS. So to grab some points can drop an ASM to 5 men and put some more SS on the VV and infernous of the SG and perhaps combat weapons on the Priests.

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