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

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Board Control and Dark Eldar

Gonders' Miniature Painting

Why is board control important in Warhammer 40,000?

Simply put, the game's common objectives in seizing/defending ground and killing the enemy are all indirect or direct forms of board control. After all, you're playing on a limited playing field, however unrealistic this is, you have to accept this and use this to your best advantage.

Some things that influence board control:

Objective placement
Movement ranges
Movement methods
Weapon threat ranges (threat ranges in general)
Close Combat
Unit placement

Board Control with Dark Eldar is relatively easy and hard at the same time. They have the mobility to threaten anywhere on the board, yet are generally fragile so cannot expect to do this for long. In any case let's move into each category with specific Dark Eldar examples.

Objective Placement: The "Just as planned" Factor.
Units: All

Simple - Place the objectives intelligently and you dictate where you want the fights to happen after deployment. It really is that simple. The little things such as placing more objectives on one side, in cover or wide out in the open can change the way the game unfolds a lot.  In NOVA style missions this has a lot less bearing on you the individual and more on the tournament organisers. As NOVA objectives are set placements to ensure equal spread across the board, ensuring the terrain doesn't advantage one side of objectives over another is very important (i.e. top part of the board has objectives in cover, bottom part has objectives in the open).

Movement ranges: The "Holy crap, that is quick" Factor.
Units that fall into this: All

Thankfully, nearly everything in the Dark Eldar army has access to the Dedicated Transport section of the book, moves 12" in one phase or another or can come out of a Webway Portal. Add in many units often have the ability to move up to 36" and Dark Eldar are the most mobile army in the game. This is vital to keeping the foe on their toes, giving them no "safe haven" to claim as their own. Yes, some units lack Fleet, but this just means you gotta devote yourself a turn of regular running to ensure the pressure is on and more readily hold the enemy in tatters before you can enjoy a ripe kill. Hellions, Jetbikes, and Beastpacks EXCEL at this more than Skimmers IMO due to occupying more space on the board and being capable of built-in multi threats (i.e. assaults and shooting).

Movement methods: The "I don't care, I'm getting to you anyway" Factor
Units that fall into this category: Beastpacks, Jetbikes, Hellions, Harlequins, anything coming out of a Webway Portal

Recently I have begun using the ever popular Beastpacks in my army lists, and they're a major boon in versatility in Dark Eldar board control. This is thanks to their huge assault range and ability to soak up shots. This means they can cover a well entrenched area or an apparently weak flank very easily and allows you to react and adapt to new battlefield conditions in a grand way. They are of course vulnerable to tank shocks but the are a scary unit nonetheless.

I also have begun to use a small squad of Harlequins (mostly for fun) who have the obligatory Shadowseer but also the more "substandard" choice of taking a Death Jester. Why? Veil of Tears doesn't protect you from an opponent who WANTS to get close-in with a Dark Eldar list (SW/BA/Nids) and the Shrieker Cannon gives you some opportunity shots at light AV (Better than Fusion Pistols in some cases, though I still have one in my particular unit in case of Walkers).  In any case, the major boon these clowns give to the Dark Eldar army is that they *completely* ignore terrain. IMO, this is huge. And don't forget they have Hit and Run with a high initiative, so if you gear these guys "enough" but not "overboard" (AKA: Don't give them all Kisses) you can use Hit and Run to glorious possibilities.

Speaking of bouncing around, Hit and Run is basically why Hellions are on this list. Jump Packs with Fleet + Hit and Run the same turn after dishing out a good dent on a enemy unit, bouncing to Cover with little to no repercussions is very dangerous for your opponent. Particularly if they get that Strength drug roll and getting 2 Pain tokens under their belt quick (Feed off some small units/leech off from Haemonculus starting with them). Add in the Baron to make them much scarier.

Jetbikes are in for their access to Jump-Shoot-Jump tactics, which help increase their threat range. This can end up nearly as effective as fast platform multi-meltas from Imperial books. Importantly, this takes you out of charge range from most transported choices in the game, so it helps a ton. Sure, you can be shot, but Skilled Rider is there for you, so land in terrain and get your Cover Save vs the angry return fire.

Weapon threat ranges: The "Don't touch me!" Factor
Units that fall into this category: Transport+Unit, Scourges, Jetbikes, Hellions

In reality this is simply Movement ranges + weapon range. Jetbikes are in here as said before: The Jump Shoot Jump tactics make their Heat Lances have among the best 2D6 melta range you can get in WH40k.

Scourges because they have Shardcarbines/Blasters/Haywire Blasters + Jump Pack Movement, effectively being able threaten targets 36"/ 42" (Haywire Blasters) away after moving. That's pretty a pretty significant retaliation/"no fly" zone. And not many armies outside Tau have the capabilities to simply bounce in on targets to pull this off.

Hellions fit in again due to Splinter Pods, if you aren't charging with them they can shoot with a threat range of 12" + 18" (30") and fufill the role of an arguably more survivable Venom abite with a shorter range.

Shooting/Close Combat: The "Let's get work done" Factor
Units that fall into this category: All

Shooting and Close Combat limit enemy board control by reducing their units on the board, obviously, but other ways these can help you if you can't kill the enemy:

Lock them in Close Combat - Not only do you have the chance to kill said unit but the opposing unit can obviously not move or shoot during their phase. If you add in Hit and Run units like Hellions and Harlequins, you can lock your opponent in combat and escape said combat as well. Combats can often force your opponent to move their army as well. Whether to clear fire lanes or move away/closer to the fight depending upon the outcome and how it affects their army as a whole. Either way, you're affecting their movement and how their army operates.

Shooting Lanes - Putting it simply, no one likes shooting down a Sniper's Alley and Dark Eldar are very capable of moving and firing to full effect.

Vehicle suppression - Immobilizing/Shaking/Stunning vehicles may be better off for you than killing enemy vehicles. They are effectively terrain you can use to your advantage and often cannot fire back. With the amount of darklight weapons Dark Eldar have access to across a lot of units, this is a great way to hurt mech armies. Against infantry lists of course...well suppression is a lot harder (pinning) but you will often have a mobility/durability advantage with your own tanks and can tank shock for a different type of board control.

Unit Placement: The "You shall not pass!" Factor
Units that fall into this category: All

Simple - The 1" rule, Tank Shock/Ramming, and knowing your enemy can't go ontop of your units. Just don't allow them to go there and use blocking to your advantage.

Terrain: The "Terraforming R Us" Factor
Units that fall into this category: N/A

Simple - This should be examined pre-game and up to YOU to figure out how to limit your opponent's movement capabilities while increasing your own. This is perhaps one of the most important and hardest to explain factors in determining a loser. Note, not determine a winner but a loser. Deployment is one of the easiest phases to screw up and it's very hard to recover from a poor deployment. Whilst you may have no influence over terrain, understanding its interaction between the two armies on the tabletop is very important.

Kirby's bit

Board control has two sides of the same coin. Control early or late. Armies which excel in midfield are very good at at controlling early and looking to maintain that control throughout the game whilst armies like Mechdar look to roam around like crazy pointy ears (with obvious thought behind such movement) and look to control/contest later in the game. Dark Eldar are very good at both of these with some excellent combat and midfield units (Beastmasters, Hellions, etc.) but are highly mobile with the ability to contest objectives 36" away. Depending upon your army make-up, how you control the board as Smurfy has outlined above will greatly differ.

Follow us on Facebook!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...