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, December 15, 2011

Threat Ranges - the 24" bubble

This is a topic about threat ranges... obviously. If you're not sure on what they entail, use that link. 40k has a lot of really long ranged weapons. 48" isn't all that uncommon and when deployed in the centre of a pitched battle deployment zone, there's no where you can hide (unless they cannot see you). Ranges beyond 48" are also quite common and having those units in opposite corners gives great field coverage where they will always be able to shoot the opponent. However, not all guns have ranges this long and a common range seen used in many armies is 24". This is a very important range as mission design generally lends armies to starting 24" apart - it's where most assault threat ranges max out without additional support (i.e. scouting, assault transports, etc.); it's where rapid fire weapons can start to shoot at the opponent, etc.

48" deployed centrally can reach nearly the whole board.
Despite this, many people believe 24" range guns are bad because let's face it, if your opponent has all 36-48" guns, particularly if they are mobile (which in this edition, they commonly are), they are going to be able to shoot you before you shoot them. However, this isn't to say they are going to be able to shoot you all game without reprisal - the reality is they will often only get an extra turn or two of shooting against 24" ranged weapons, even if they are trying to avoid being shot. Why? Because once those 24" guns reach midfield, their threat ranges extend to nearly every corner of the table. In smaller games this is not as important but in larger games where there's only so much space for so many units to take up, this means the 24" guns are going to be in range once they reach midfield. Let's observe.

Here we see a Blood Angels Razorback deployed 12" in, roughly in the centre of the board. The two Marines are providing us with the 24" bubble.

Here the Razorback has moved 12" into midfield and we can see now how that 24" bubble encompasses quite a significant proportion of the board. Furthermore, we can see the four Marines at the corners of the bubble representing the threat ranges of future moves (12") - only the extreme corners of the board will be escaping the reach of that single Razorback next turn.

Blood Angels obviously have a massive advantage here with Fast Transports though. So let's look at a unit which can only move 6" and shoot.

Even with the 6" move, the majority of the board is being covered by the Hive Guard. There are greater swathes of the board they cannot reach (and thus why T-Fexes are regular and good choices for Tyranids so those corners can be hit all the time) from midfield but they aren't exactly going to be crying for targets. Add in the construct of multiple units to these examples and the whole board is very likely going to be covered - this leaves your opponent no where to hide from your 24" guns. What these pictures show is singular units may be able stay out of range from 24" based units in midfield, but trying to keep a whole army out of range? Impossible unless you're running a tiny amount of models (which generally has its own issues).

It is generally only going to take one to two turns to reach that point in midfield depending upon the deployment type and movement speed available to your units. Even on the way in, 24" ranged units will still often have targets as opposing armies would need to deploy a minimum of 30.1" away from those units to avoid being shot first turn (36.1" against fast moving units or 39" away from transports carrying 24" assault guns). There's only a finite amount of space on the board and whilst 24" firepower can be LIMITED, it is generally very hard to stop consistently for more than a couple of turns.

Impact on Play

So, what does this mean playing with and against 24" based armies? Well you obviously need to understand the above construct and the importance it places on the centre of the board. As the user of such an army, you need to get your army there ASAP if you're facing another army which can smack you around at range, particularly if they are highly mobile. Deploying in a refused flank position with such an army can allow your opponent to remobilise themselves to the opposite side of the board and have more turns to shoot you. This is bad. Remember, it should take you a maximum of two turns to start getting most of your units into that 24" range (Dawn of War can obviously delay this).

On the other hand, playing against such an army means increasing the amount of time the majority of their army is out of range from the majority of your army. If their whole army is in range of a couple units but they've delayed a significant part of their army getting to midfield, well that's a nice trade-off. Otherwise you need to ensure their whole army isn't going to be able to bring all their firepower to bear early on. Whilst in theory, 24" armies can get all their guns aiming at you on Turn 2, you should be ensuring some of them are still going to be out of range by being on the opposite side of the field. Use any speed advantages you have here to ensure this happens or any other delaying tactics available to you (blocking, locking units in combat, forcing terrain tests, etc.). Don't walk into the teeth of their firepower - if their whole army is 24" ranged based and every unit has multiple options to shoot early on, you've done something wrong in your movement.

Each army is going to be playing to their strengths and the 24" army generally lacks a big early punch against a wiley opponent who can minimise this (unless they need to be in that range as well). This is made up for by the strength of their guns when they do come into range and the fact that 5th edition is often played within the centre of the board - this is where many objectives are placed for example. In objective based missions, your opponent will sooner or later have to come to you to claim/contest those objectives. Having an army which is stronger in those situations can offset being outshot in the beginning turns but having an army which is stronger in long-ranged shooting can render the opponent's strength in midfield moot later in the game (i.e. they are for the most part, dead). In this it's a pretty decent game of balances with each army having advantages against the other which can offset their disadvantages. Of course, most armies are going to have a mix of said units with an underlying theme (i.e. Grey Knights have lots of 24" based weapons but back this up with long-ranged platforms such as Pysflemen; Imperial Guard have lots of 48" based weapons but back this up with short-ranged/midfield units like Meltavets, Devildogs, etc.) so these concepts need to be applied in part on both sides of the coin for most armies.


24" ranged weapons/units aren't always going to be in range. Your opponent is going to try and take advantage of this. However, getting these units to midfield is generally going to see them threatening most of the board, particularly if there are multiple units capable of doing this. Whilst it can be a liability and it does offer your opponent tactical opportunities to minimise the firepower you can throw at them, it's not a bad weapon which is going to be out of range more often than not (contrary to popular Internet belief) and utilising these weapons does set you up for a strong finish as you are already holding midfield and forcing your opponent to move you off.

As always, there are pros and cons to everything you choose to do but 24" weapons have plenty of scope to impact the game when utilised correctly.

Follow us on Facebook!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...