Kirb your enthusiasm!


"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

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Back to Basics: Close-combat anti-tank 2

We've got another guest article incoming from General Smooth relating to close combat as anti-tank. The first article done on this in the Back-to-Basics series can be seen here. Smooth looks to expand upon a few points not really mentioned and give a better overall understanding of how this might be useful. All my comments in blueand thanks to BroLo for some help too =D (like the tank surrounding reminder).

Bedwetting, David Bowie and assaulting vehicles.

Hi Kirby,

First I hear you is one of them Psycho – ologists. I have no desire to spend the rest of my life wetting my bed by your weird head whoodoo that you do do so well, (you remind me of the babe), so in the interests of my nocturnal hygiene may I firstly say I am a big fan of your blog and I think its great. Seriously I do!

I just wanted to follow up one of your articles with some thoughts. The article that I wanted to follow up is your article on close combat against vehicles.

The one point that was barely touched in this is the effect of hitting in your opponent’s turn. These are free attacks you would not otherwise get against tanks. Yes you have to stun them in your turn but in comparison to shooting you get x-1 for charging free attacks. This is a huge efficiency. Ok ok this is somewhat a rehash of shooting versus close combat against infantry but its something which should not be forgotten.

However something which is unique to vehicles is if you manage to stun/immobilise the vehicle in your turn you hit AUTOMATICALLY in the next round. Ok so this isn’t big headline stuff we all know that. Well actually it should be headline news. AUTOMATICALLY! So versus shooting this is already 1/3 more effective AND against their rear armour. The numbers to destroy the vehicle go up significantly when you factor in the second round of close combat. Remember also you lose charging bonuses and even if you don't stop the vehicle from moving, you quite often force your opponent to move to avoid those automatic hits if the unit is powerful enough. Whilst this doesn't bother many vehicles (fast skimmers), more static vehicles really dislike being forced to move again.

Want more reasons to charge a vehicle. Another biggy big big which makes the opponent’s turn of close combat great is that a stun, or even shake against non transport vehicles, in their turn is so sweet. Why? because they can’t move or shoot until the end of THEIR next turn. That’s right in their next turn (the one after your next turn) they can do (and I recommend you say it like this to your opponent in a school yard fashion) noth – thing. Alternatively you could wear baggies pants shuffle from side to side singing you can’t touch this. (........) Oh yeah and when it is your turn you are free to ignore the tank and go about your business again even with the unit that assaulted the tank.This is more important. Summary: if the vehicle stays in combat for whatever reason, you get two bites at the apple. If you are able to further damage it in the owner's assault phase, you've essentially had 'free damage' against it and depending on the vehicle suppressed, this can greatly alter your movement and target priority for the next turn.

Ok, ok, one major downside is that you may be exposed to counter attack. However attacking a vehicle can be a good form of defence too, if you do it right. No really, I’m Irish but I’m not drunk.

Vehicles are big. Check √
They block line of sight. Check √

If you line your models on one side of the vehicle you should be able to block line of sight or at the very least get a cover save to the other side of the board. This is especially true if you are using a flanking unit to attack the vehicles, which is often the case. Blocking line of sight is easier with tracked vehicles (particularly Imperial ones in nature) and best done with a smaller unit. Ask 20-30 Orks how awesome that cover is when a template lands on them.


If you are afraid of what’s in the vehicle, block the exits! And if you get a 5 on the damage table against a transport vehicle feel free to excuse yourself to the toilet or in the interest of hygiene, around the corner and roll around on the floor laughing. Remember to get all the giggles out of your system before returning to the table as laughing in the face of your opponent isn’t a very nice thing to do! And not mention the literal rolling around on the floor...bloody Irish. Blocking exits is particularly important against vehicles with assault units which do not have assault ramps (*cough Wave Serpents*). Also, a tank which isn't suppressed can still tank shock through units to break out of this but if you plant other vehicles in front of the surrounded tank...stuck! Furthermore, remember units can still emergency disembark and if you don't have a huge sea of models surrounding the tank, they can still disembark in a ring around your guys (remember this with explosions as well but in the crater). This can be overcome by ensuring not all of your models are bunched up against the tank by spacing them out.

Now speaking of the soft centre in the vehicles, some thing which should not be forgotten if you are charging with a unit which has more than one  model is the multiple assault. If you charge a vehicle and an infantry unit and remain in combat with the infantry in your opponents turn, your guys are safe against counter shooting and involved in a cc of your choosing. Of course you need to pick your opponents well.  

This can be a very effective tactic against recently dismounted troops. Particularly so if you have a flamer weapon or two. Line your flamers so the troops are between you and the tank while the other troops you have a straight line to the tank (remember your assault rules!). Flamer the tank even though it may not be able to damage it – remember the rules say you have to hit cover as much of the tank as possible – and all the infantry in between are hit too! Now don’t forget if you nominate the tank as the target and don’t hit the tank with your template you automatically miss against the infantry. In your assault phase you are free to charge the tank and the weakened infantry unit if they are still around and keep your unit safe from counter fire. There are a number of factors to consider though so keep your wits about you (don't flamer a Terminator squad + LR with 10 Guardsmen....please).

Anyway some thoughts. Comment away!

Sincerely yours
General Smooth

PS kudos if you got the labyrinth reference. Jennifer Connelly rocks.

Some good thoughts to be added to the Basic series which were not covered in the original article and look at close-combat anti-tank in a more positive light. Remember though, whilst being able to stay in combat gets you multiple chances to hit, shooting has had more time and is often more reliable and versatile in slowing mech. Close-combat anti-tank is a great supplement to your army and will really punish static lists or players who don't move but it is generally best considered a supplement.


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