Monday, 24 January 2011

Rounding the Wagons 2.0

For the uninitiated, or simply forgetful, rounding the wagons is using your ability to JSJ with your XV8's and your ability to move 12" and shoot some stuff with your Hammerheads in order to either LOS block or provide cover to your XV8's.

I have a problem with this tactic: it means I have to take Hammerheads. I pretty regularly fill my heavy support choices with Tau. No surprise there. However the hammerhead just doesn't float my boat. It doesn't have the firepower or durability of an XV88 and it doesn't have the sneaky ninja potential of Sniper Drone Teams, who we will talk about next time.

Yesterday we saw how good a deal an XV8 is. An XV88 is just as good despite costing a whopping 70 points per model. I mean a TL Railgun is just better than a regular one right and SMS as backup weapons rocks when your defending a position. The rub here is what do you have as the extra system, well maybe later - I like to keep these rants readable in one sitting.

So premise is that Hammerheads just don't do it. Sub munition is cool don't get me wrong but since we have a weight of dice provided by the XV8's that your average Blackbird plasma list doesn't have they're less of an essential function. So what do we round?

Well we could use normal fish. I have no arguments with normal fish. If you want to LOS block they're your option. I suggest carefully manipulating the height of your guys and your tank and giving it a go. I mean on the neg side they make your fish even more of a target priority - as your only way of realistically gaining distant, read not in your deployment zone, objectives I don't think your fish want that attention.

In fact what if your fish don't even want to be on the board. Whether your ninja'ing or just relying on regular reserve rolls fish don't do a lot of damage per point anyway so why have them on the table? I think if your LOS blocking on your XV8's your suffering anyway and heres why.

You ever play whack a mole? You know they pop up you knock them down as fast as you can. Easy when its one or two out of the twelve or so holes. When it's twelve you aren't getting them down. You may even do what my nephew used to and just freeze up trying to decide which to whack or what I used to do and go for everything but hit too lightly and have to go back through. Or be Chuck Norris and just roundhouse the machine.

So I'm talking here about target priority. When you have fewer viable targets your decision making structure is easier. Even the worst player will make the right decision if there is only one realistic option. I mean only pro's play Zangief if SFII right?

My suggestion is to allow your opponents to make mistakes. Provide targets. Make them deceptively difficult to eliminate. Sun Tzu might have said, I mean it's so long ago who knows right, that where your enemy appears strong that is where he least expects attack. In other words he does not expect you to move your entire army in range of his guns. He has based his plan on you not doing that.

So here is what you do. Take Piranha's. Detach the drones. Put your suits behind. Now he has to penetrate multiple layers of defense. Take them and go straight into optimal range. Isolate and segment his line in other words. Don't worry your broadsides and Monats will eat his rhino based mobile reserve before he can manipulate them to his advantage.

I'm going to do a piranha review because they are a bit of an art form due to their high footprint and numerous vulnerabilities to Blackbirding.

So what am I saying here? Well don't round the wagons. It gives your opponent control of the initiative and its what people expect AND it relies on sub par unit selection or employment to function. Instead ride the wagon straight into bat country.


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