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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

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Back to Basics: The right tools for the job

Hi lads and ladettes,

Last night I learnt a valuable life lesson that I wish to bring to you all to consider.
Sometimes in life, you get to a situation where the following saying applies:
"It is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail" - Law of the Instrument

I found this out first hand last night attempting to cut some PVC pipe with a hobby knife.
Long story short, hobby knife + PVC pipe = hospital trip.

So enough rambling, what did that teach me? WTFudgemuffin is that supposed to represent? -->
Uhh, its a Kirby, with a hammer? Kirby's blog, hammer reference in the intro. You do the math.

It taught me that improper application of a tool can lead to pain and anguish, and a result that is not what I wanted.
It also taught me to go and buy a damn Pipe Cutter.

Big deal, you say. Well, often in our little 40k Universe and Blogosphere, we get caught up in the "everything is a nail" methodology. I am going to use my beloved Orks as an example.

I have many things to deal with on a game-by-game basis. Each of these requires appropriate applications of the tools at hand to deal with.

A good example list for me to work with is my 1750 list I took last year:
Warboss, PK, etc
Big Mek, KFF
7 Nobs, Painboy, things, Battlewagon with Rokkits and a Kannon
4 20 man boyz with PK Nobs
2 Deff Dreads
6 Kans
I ran this list at a tourney* here in Aus and did fairly well against lists that should have beaten me. Why? Because I used the correct tools at the correct time.

For instance: I played a game vs a Nid army with 4 MCs, including a Hive Tyrant and a CC Carnifex.
What tools do I have to use in this army?
When all I have is a PowerKlaw, every problem looks like I should charge it
While this is basically the answer to everything with the list above, the application of the tool is what makes the difference. I have the answer to a big nasty CC Monster, and that is a PowerKlaw in a 20 strong mob. Why? The bodies can take the hits. Would it more more effective to use the Nobstar or the Killa Kans? No on both counts, as while they have the potential to cause more damage, the damage received will be much more significant. Knowing this, I was able to try and apply the forces where they are needed to remove threats.

Now, as this is supposed to be a Back to Basics post, I need to explain this simple concept that all players need to do.

Before every game, reassess what your opponent has and what you have. You need to look at what the counters for his/her army is and work out your ideal matchups, unit for unit, if need be. It may turn out that the idea for you is to charge with 3 squads, or to "dance" around just out of charge range.
Now that you have a plan, you need to look at what your opponent needs you to do in order for his best unit-by-unit matchups.
So now you have 2 battleplans. The one you want, and the one you don't. This may seem like a lot of work, and it is, but in order for you to fully utilise your tools (even if they are one faceted like my list above).
To make things really confusing, you now need to build a 3rd battle plan. This is the "Plan B" you might call it. They managed to get their battle plan to work, what now? If you lose your only long-range anti-tank, or as happened to Purgatus (of YTTH and now his own blog fame), your only meltagun when you have lucked out getting a Dual-Landraider list, what do you do? This battleplan, applying it and making it successful is the telling difference between a mediocre list and player, and a top tables list and player.

Finally, one thing you should do is to check your tool kit to ensure that you have not been missing a use of a tool. For instance, our hammer has 2 sides.

It has a whacky side and a pully side. 2 uses. This tool is much easier to understand --->

Look at the squads/models/combos that your army contains and consider inventive ways to utilise them, that are out of the box. Sometimes it is a logical duality - Missile Launcher armed Long Fangs can deal with armour and infantry. Sometimes it is not obvious - Pathfinders come with a Devilfish perfect for hiding Firewarrors in, and Crisis Suits behind.

Many of these combo's are known and openly spoken about, but some are coming to light as players try to explore the depths of codices. I expect most codices still have something squirreled away in them that has not been pieced together yet. 

* I know that this list is seriously lacking in, well, everything. It was designed as a fun list that had a hidden tough heart, and it proved itself going 8/55 in the event. I even beat a reasonable BA AV13 spam list, by applying my tools (tarpit boyz squads and non-scoring units) to his advance and stalling it while maintaining control of 3/5 objectives.

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