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Monday, August 8, 2011

Advantages of Mech: Re-mobilistation

We all know mech is super strong in 5th but there are many reasons to why this is so beyond being amazingly durable. One of them is of course mobility and compared to normal infantry, vehicles are less affected by terrain (being slowed only 1/6th of the time) and can move faster. Considering how important the movement phase is, this advantage is obviously huge. There are corresponding advantages for foot lists of course but we won't look at them in this post but rather focus on the mobility advantage mechanised armies have. Specifically this post looks at re-mobilisation.

In gaming terms re-mobilisation is the ability to move some or most of your army from one part of the board to another. Mechanised armies can do this very well as everything can move 12", even through terrain. Whilst there are some mech units which do not do this as well (Walkers, Leman Russes, etc.) and some which do it even better (Fast, Skimmers, etc.), the ability to move your army quickly from one spot to another is massively advantageous in a game where movement dictates a lot of the options you and your opponent have in subsequent phases/turns and where the missions emphasise the ability to capture and hold objectives outside of your deployment zone.

Being able to reliably grab objectives on the other side of the field is obviously very important and mechanised lists can do this very well. This mobility principle can be applied to certain deployment tactics as well. Let's imagine a standard five objective board where the objectives are evenly laid out across the board (1 in the centre of each quarter and 1 in the centre of the board). No side has more objectives and everything is symmetrical, yay. Most armies have three broad options when they deploy:

  1. refuse flank (deploying all on one side)
  2. line deployments (spreading out across the deployment zone)
  3. split fire bases (two flanks with no centre)
There are obviously huge variations on these but they give you a broad scope of things. See pictures below for better examples and note, the models are just an example of an army, not a indication of proper deployment of said army. They are a pictorial example ONLY.

Again, these are just some visual examples for people and are obviously very general. However, you should hopefully be able to see the advantage mech armies would have in deployments 1 and 3 (refuse flank and split firebases). Why? There is a large transverse of board which can and often needs to be, covered to ensure the army fights at maximum strength for as long as possible. This is done through re-mobilisation and is very effective against slower armies or armies which you currently have a movement advantage against (i.e. you have more mech than them, fast infantry is tied up in combat, etc.).

Let's paint a picture. It's a five objective game and you've split your army in two in a split firebases deployment against Tyranids. Tyranids are slow but death to stationary vehicles and have a hard time holding objectives against mech. As the game goes on the Tyranids are about to overrun one of your firebases and not being an idiot, the player has units between the two separate parts of your army. Movement is your best friend at this point and you have many options in which to go all of which should be dictated by the objectives. By re-mobilising before the Tyranid army can start hitting stationary tanks or tanks en masse, you move them all 12". What this re-mobilisation does is limit the effectiveness of opposing firepower/combat against your vehicles and still maintains you some degree of board control. Whilst you may have sacrificed the portion of the board where your firebase used to be, rather than letting those units/vehicles be destroyed or fight a battle of attrition, you've maintained the advantages a mech army has and looked to win the game through the mission parameters rather than blasting your opponent to hell and back.

I see far too many people go for the latter option. Sometimes it's good to stay still and shoot (i.e. small unit remaining) but more often than not sacrificing your shooting to maintain your army is much more important - particularly against lists which are much slower and/or vulnerable to tank shocks. Remember as well, leaving a single unit behind/moving it slower is an excellent way to ensure the rest of the re-mobilising units get away as safely as possible. It's all about maintaining as much of your army as possible and whilst losing firepower due to movement sucks, having all that firepower available next turn is obviously much better.

The same concept of re-mobilisation can be used in reverse. If you fail to re-mobilise on a single flank, your opponent got hot dice and wiped that flank out or you didn't have anything on said flank, you can use the speed of mech to bring force to bear, or simply units to hold objectives, to that flank quickly. Slower armies such as Tyranids or Loganwing will have issues doing this thanks to their slower, terrain dependent movement. They can still do it, it just takes more time and that's where mech armies take the cake in terms of flexibility on the board. You can take one turn to move a full 12" and be able to escape foot units and move to another area of the board. Foot units take a minimum of two turns to do this unless they get a 6" run roll. 


When all is said and done, mech armies have advantageous over foot armies. It's the case of 5th edition and something everyone needs to be aware of. Just because mech is really survivable though doesn't mean you should sit there and take a beating. One of mech's biggest advantages is the ability to pack up and move en masse quickly. When the opponent is closing in you should strongly consider this or even moving slowly and still firing. Don't sit there and let your opponent potentially run over your mech as even lots of S4 attacks will hurt stationary tanks. In the end the ability to quickly re-mobilise gives mech armies a lot of deployment options on top of the movement options against slower lists. Even against other mech lists, forcing your opponent to move with you means you can force them to fight where you want or to spread out to engage you. The faster you are, the more options you have in this regard.

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