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Friday, April 20, 2012

Back-to-bascis: Pulling Punches in Close Combat

Hi all!

Jason C here and I've been wanting to write an article on the concept and tactics of staying in combat for some time, and numerous night shifts have given me the time to do so!

I play a number of 40k armies - marines of many colours, tau, eldar, necrons etc... But by far I enjoy playing my guard the most. I run a mech-hybrid psyker list (you'll see two of my recent games vs Kirby's blood angels on here) and vs assault armies, it can be pretty devastating. At Cancon this year I was in first place for battle points right up until the last game, where I played a space wolf Logan/longfang/pod support list.

Having a little chuckle, my chimeras advanced up the field, blasted half his force away, killed his priest, and dropped the leadership of his wolf guard to ld 4.

Logan then single handedly won the kill point mission.

His wolf guard passed their leadership, with a reroll from Logan being close by, and then proceeded to stay locked in combat with my infantry/tanks for the remainder of the game...

So how does this happen? I know many people understand if I am in combat I can't get shot at - but I don't generally see people applying this as well as they could.

Firstly, the concept. Damage results vs a vehicle do not count for combat resolution, with the exception for walkers. Using the Logan example, my opponent after attaching Logan, put his highness as far back as he could, brought his fists/hammers into combat with my chimera, and his standard/non power weapon guy into combat with my command squad.

Importantly, anyone that my squad could reach in combat with counter-charging was also in combat with my chimera. My guardsmen punched them, he punched my chimera, and we drew combat. Consolidate, then kills my veterans in the following turn, netting another consolidate move, and a further move/assault/rinse/repeat. Note the meltagun in the wolves squad would not shoot at the chimera, since the point is to assault the vehicle.

This is the basics. Squad can't be shot, since locked in combat. But how else can this be achieved?
A second example from a friendly game, where an opponent did the following using an independent character to pull his punches.

The inquisiton squad is just in range of the veteran guardsmen – note the position of the independent character (coteaz in this case). The inquisition assault, the guardsmen cannot reach the character, and though the inquisition unit maintains coherency, without counting coteaz the inquisition models are not within 2 inches of a model in combat. Alternatively, if you used an independent character that wouldn't win combat by himself, it would not matter if the guard could reach him – as the crusader and death cults could not fight either way (they need to be within 2 inches of a member of their unit who is in base to base). This is a very simple method for pulling your punches – as the unit can draw the combat, and wrap in to wipe out the guard in the guard turn.

This may be basic for many veteran players... But I still don't see it happening even in fairly competitive levels of play. Consider the many other ways you can do this - whenever possible, hit vehicle and infantry, pulling your punches. Consider jump infantry, with the ability to do this 18 inches from the centre. Focus on stunning/immobilising your opponents vehicles so you can access areas in your opponents deployment where you can not be targeted. Consider your opponents ability to counter attack.

Pulling punches correctly, particularly versing armies like my pride and joy guard with little counter attack ability, will win you games - you just have to work out the best method of doing so!

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