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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tactics: Destroyed by a Horde, what do I do now?

Ask any person who thinks they know the whats-what and whos-who of Warhammer and they will tell you that you can never lose to a Horde Army.
But you just did.
Here is your razor, go slit your wrists, or even better, wouldn't want to waste a blade, go take up UNO.

The thing is, many many people lose to Horde armies and don't know why, and then the codices that can run  a true Horde are labelled as "cheese", OP, and are ridiculed.

VIC5 was asking today about this, and he kind of got a response worth listening to... then Abusepuppy came along and actually made some sense.
However, as a long time Horde player (no, seriously) I can give you a pointer or 2 on how to wreck my army.
Please excuse me for this, but this will be my first true attempt at a Tactics article and I hope that it all comes together.

We have the following phases of the game to assess in how to beat a Horde Army.

1. Deployment
2. Movement
3. Shooting
4. Assault
5. Their turn

Let's check these out from both sides of the fence. I will be taking a Ork list like:
Warboss, Big Mek (Force field), 7 Nobs, 180 boys
... and a Space marine army like this (list 4). My Orks list isn't a full blown Horde, but is more akin to what you will actually see in a horde list, 80 boys, and some toys.

1. Deployment
Well, you simply roll off and take first turn. WRONG
You give them the first turn. Why?
Well simply put, their army is too big and to slow to redeploy, at all. They have to hope that you do the stupid thing and deploy in a manner that suits their attack. This is nearly always going to be the middle of the board, so DON'T deploy there.

This is how much space 180 boys takes up, and this sure as hell isn't 2+ coherency.

You can see here why you want to deploy 2nd.
I have now effectively removed 1/2 of his army from the equation.
This is critical to your battle plan.

2. Movement
You know what he is going to do, charge madly across the board at full tilt, trying for cover as much as possible.
So what do you do?
You need to bubble wrap to ensure that his Charges are not effective.
You also need to ensure that your firelanes are clear and effective.
Minimize your movement to maximise your shooting.

3. Shooting
Focus on a unit, break it, then move on.
Once they get to your lines, we will get to play some more.
Always focus on the threat unit, closest unit, and do not stress about it getting to your lines. IT WILL.
Your job is to stop it eating everything when it gets there.
You cannot kill a horde in the shooting phase. There just isn't enough bullets.

4. Assault Phase
Yeah, assault.
Once you have whittled things down, you get to charge them.
If you dont, this happens:

Red X indicates a fallen brother!
5. His turn
During his turn, you need to ensure that you are reacting to his movement and shooting. He wont hesitate to come screaming at you, and wont stop doing crazy things on the off chance they work, as with weight of dice, probability wins, and crazy shit happens.

Rinse and repeat
You have to outmanouver, outshoot, and out think a horde player. It's not usually hard, they are severly limited by the flexibility of their units.

I am not certain I have really helped out too much with me basically beating myself on Vassal... but here are some more tips to look into.

Tip 1.
A flamer is whatever.
2 flamers is better.
4 flamers makes me sad.
When you are using flame weapons, you need to focus on the squad to remove, break it, and let it go.

Tip 2.
Charge. If for no other reason than to deny them the +1 Attack.
On a marine squad, its largely irrelevant whether you charge or not most of the time. Against a horde, however, you are denying 20-30 attacks. You will lose, but hopefully not until their assault phase, when you then get to bring the weight of fire against them, bringing them to under 10 models, and charging in again.

Tip 3.
Tank Shock.
You can only death or glory with a model that is being displaced. Tank shock through pleb troops before flamering them, if that's your thing.

Flamey Flamey
Tip 4.
Horde's go against the norm, and your normal guns usually aren't around in the quantity needed to sort them out. You need to funnel the enemy where you want them. this sounds odd, but it means that you can take apart their army logically and not have to deal with the entire force at once.

Tip 5.
Divide and conquer.
I spoke about this in deployment above, but it is something that never fails to amaze me about players. They get beaten by being swamped and wonder why.
Superior numbers is superior numbers. Tanks, AV, whatever, I don't care. You will die to the maths.
If you do not split their forces, you will lose. You can also put out a bait unit on your other flank and draw them away from your lines.

Tip 6.
You don't get hero points for killing the squad to the last man/ork/bug if you don't have to. With orks, if they run they are at < 50% and aren't coming back. Let them go.

Tip 7.
Sweep the flank.
Changing the attack vector on a slow army confuses and destroys it.

At this point I have sacrificed 10 marines and have totalled 1/3 of his army, with the rest bruised or too far away to do anything. Fair trade.
Tip 8.
Get behind their lines. Even if it a suicide charge, having to turn and deal with a scout squad has cost me more than one game, just for the loss of 6 inches movement.

I am sure more people will have tips, and I ask that you put your knowledge down here.

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