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Water Tactics Battle Report


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#1
Aidoneus

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Venenum gave me permission to post this bat rep here, even though neither side played Inquisitorial forces. He said it was okay because it deals with Water tactics (seems to be a fad here in OI), and because it comes from a debate I've been having with another member here in the realm of the Ordos.

I'll start off, I suppose, with a battle report. After that, I'll talk about how the Water tactics (as laid out beautifully by Silent Requiem) were used during the battle. Then, I'll go more in-depth talking about my two armies (I played both sides, to try out Water tactics more fully), and talk about how their particular characteristics allow them to be played in a more Water-ish Style (as opposed to the Air and Earth armies most people would expect from them).

Here is my Iron Warriors list.
Here is the 2000pt version of my Biker list. The 1500pt version is exactly the same, but with one less techmarine, one less multi-melta squad, and 2 fewer land speeders.

The game was a 1500pt Gamma-level Take and Hold.

I played on a standard 4'x6' board, with scattered sections of forest, a few hedges, a fence, and the broken-up ship from Battle For Macragge, the cockpit of which was the objective in the center of the table. Matter of fact, why don't I just show you? (I must warn you though, I'm still in the early stages of building my Biker list. At the moment, almost all of it is proxied using Necrons. I'll explain what's what after the pictures.)

Overall initial settup
Bikers' deployment zone
Iron Warriors' deployment zone
End of first turn, view 1
End of first turn, view 2
Left flank
Right flank
Line of Sight (LoS) denial, view 1
LoS denial, view 2
Sneaky kamikaze
Careful placement

Okay, proxies. I always feel terrible using more than a couple proxies, but it's necessary when building a new army (so I don't waste a few hundred dollars). There are 3 Chaos bikers out there, 1 with a sword and 2 without. The sword guy (far left) is my Master, and the other 2 are techmarines. All the Necron Wraiths (tall, skinny ones) are regular bikers. All the Necron Destroyers (with short, 4-barreled guns) have plasma guns. All the (3) Necron Heavy Destroyers (long, single-barreled guns) are Heavy Bolter Attack Bikes. And both the (2) Necron Tomb Spyders (low, beetle-like things) are Multi-Melta Bikers. The Land Speeder is a Land Speeder.

One last note before I begin. I played this game shortly before realizing that plasma guns on Bikers cannot shoot 24" while moving. We had a big, long debate about it over here, but long-story short, I've changed my list since then to include fewer plasma. I'm just saying that now so you'll understand that, during this game, I used the long-range plasma very much to my advantage.

Deployment:
I think IW had to set up first, if I remember correctly (this was a week or two ago, so some things are a bit fuzzy). I rolled for dusk/dawn and it ended up being a dawn assault (nightfight 1st turn).

I counted two of my bike squads as FA so they'd set up last. I knew that the bikers would probably try to set up a refused flank, since that's typical biker deployment (and good sense). My Iron Warriors set up the autocannon Havocs and both the las/plas squads in a clump in the center of their deployment zone, with the dreadnought on one side of them. The Defiler set up a bit off to the right because the bikers were starting to amass over on the left (mostly spread out, but a bit heavy to the left, and that's where the best cover was, so I knew more would end up there). That meant the Defiler would have a nice clear LoS to anything that came out from behind cover, but would be far enough away to minimize incoming fire. Meanwhile, both the Rhinos set up on the left flank, covered by the autocannon squad. The idea was that they'd run up towards the bikers and use the threat of powerful short-ranged shooting and close combat to flush the bikes out from behind their cover.

The bikers put their very last squad of bikes (Multi-Melta) on the far right flank. The idea was that they'd turbo-boost forward the first turn, getting behind the cover on the far right side of the IW deployment zone. Then, they'd pop out from behind the cover, kill the Defiler, and run over to engage the shooty block in CC just long enough to allow the rest of my army to advance (with a techmarine in each squad, the bikes can do fairly well in CC, especially against IWs with no ACs). However, the IWs saw this, and put their one infiltrating squad in the woods on the far right flank to guard against that squad of bikes.

We (I) rolled for first turn. The bikers won, and gave first turn to the Iron Warriors.

First Turn:
Dawn assault didn't help my IWs very much, as very few things had range to anything. On the left flank, I moved my 2 Rhinos foward, popping smoke on the front one (with Havocs and Lt) and using it to block LoS to the back one (with Posessed). The autocannon squad tried to shoot bikes, but couldn't see far enough. In the middle, my Dreadnought Fire Frenzied (very bad when no enemies are in LoS!) and killed 4 of the 5 members of the nearest las/plas squad! On the right flank, my Defiler moved towards the bikers and it and the infiltrating squad killed 2 regular bikers and wounded the attack bike.

During their turn, my Bikers moved up into more defensive positions (right behind terrain pieces). The only squad that did not go for cover was the bike squad on the far right flank. They zoomed straight at the Defiler! Using the techmarine's signum to re-roll missed hits, they managed to get a single weapon destroyed result (and, I think, a stun, but the Defiler ignored it). However, by taking off its battle cannon, they had done their job. Over on the left flank, my large clump of units managed to shake and weapon destroy the front Rhino, but they didn't quite have range to see the autocannon squad.

Second Turn:
On the left flank, my Defiler moved away from the MM bike squad (it had range with the reaper anyway, and it would need to engage the left flank eventually). I'm pretty sure the infiltrating plasma squad stayed put. On the left flank, my two Rhinos moved foward again, this time with the Possessed's Rhino leap-frogging ahead and popping its smokes. In the middle, the dread moved slightly forward in order to shoot the MM bikes on the right. During the shooting phase, everything that had range targeted that one squad of bikers. The bikes were lucky that so much of the weaponry allowed them their saves. I lost the attack bike and the 2 plasma gun bikers, but the techmarine survived with one wound (love those 2+ saves!) On the left flank, my autocannon shot a bike squad, but they made their saves (plasma was out of range).

All alone now, the techmarine on the right flank turbo-boosted over to the central squad behind cover. Those bikers moved very slightly to the left so they'd have LoS to the advancing Rhinos. On the left flank, all my bike squads bunched up behind cover. They shot and killed, I think, 3 of the autocannon squad, which subsequently failed its Ld test and ran away. The bikes over there also immobilized and shook the front (possessed) Rhino. That was nice, but not quite a complete job, so my bike squad in the center of the board shot the same Rhino and destroyed it, killing 2 Possessed in the wreck and entangling the rest (hiding behind the wreckage).

Third Turn:
On the right flank, my Defiler and infiltrating squad both moved towards the center of the board. In the center, my dreadnought again fire frenzied, although this time he didn't kill anyone (shooting the 1-man lascannon squad, and I made my cover saves). The rest of that clump stayed in place, still keeping the bikers pinned in place, on the hopes that my Havoc squad would make it far enough to do some damage to the tightly-packed bikers. On the right flank, the Havocs' Rhino moved forward, and slightly in towards the center of the board, so that any bike that came out to shoot it would be visible to my central firebase. I didn't get my men out because the bikers behind the forest would have simply moved back a few inches and been out of my range the next turn. Shooting phase was uneventful, as nothing was in LoS.

In the center/right flank (now becoming the same thing, since nothing was left far-right), my HB bike squad and techmarine moved slightly right to shoot at the advancing infiltrating plasma squad (making sure to stay outside of charge range and LoS from the central firebase). I had range with both plasma guns (barely) and the Heavy Bolter, and I think I killed 2 of his men. On the left flank, a single MM Attack Bike moved out from behind cover (staying within 2" of one of its squadmates) to shoot the Rhino. I figured a single twin-linked (from signum) multi-melta shot should suffice, and then I'd lose only one biker from return fire. The plan paid off, as the MM penned and annihilated the Rhino, killing 2 of the marines inside in the explosion. The rest of that squad got out towards the center of the board, so that none of the bikers on the left flank could shoot them without coming far out of cover.

Fourth Turn:
At this point, my dreadnought decided it was a good time to blood rage. He moved about 6-7 inches towards the left flank, accomplishing absolutely nothing (at least he didn't shoot his own mates again). The lone lascannon marine and the autocannon Havocs stayed put, but the full lascannon squad ventured out of cover towards the objective (they got within the 12" with just the one move). On the left flank, the Possessed had no choice but to jump out from behind their cover and charge forward at the bikes (if they had waited another turn, the bikers would never have been in charge range). Over on the right flank, the Defiler and infiltrating plasma squad both moved towards the objective (rather than engage the bikes in a 22" shooting war, the marines headed for woods in the hopes that they could, next turn, move into the woods and either rapid-fire or charge, giving them an advantage over the bikes). I think the Defiler shot a bike back behind cover on the left flank, but the biker made his save.

The bike squad on the right flank moved back in towards the center again, hoping to shoot the dismounted Havocs. The techmarine stayed in coherecy with the squad (so they could use his signum), but moved just to the right-most edge of the woods, so the next turn he could dart around and charge the infiltrating plasma squad. The bikes shot and killed, a couple of the Havocs. On the left flank, things stayed pretty much where they were, forming ranks to shoot the advancing possessed. They killed off 5 of the 6 remaining possessed, and then the Land Speeder (the only thing left to shoot) decided the Havocs were a more pressing concern, so it hovered up above the line of the trees and shot them (exposing itself to enemy fire by doing so). I think both meltaguns and the Lt were left alive, but it might have only been one meltagun and the Lt.

Fifth Turn:
What was left of the Havoc squad moved towards the bikers on the right flank, but wasn't within range of them. The Defiler moved towards the ceter of the table, and the infiltrating plasma squad moved into the woods by the bike squad (though not far enough to charge them). In the center, the las/plas team stayed where it was (no reason to go closer and risk getting hit by rapid-fire), and the autcannon Havocs moved up to join it. My dreadnought once again went crazy (4 times in one game is a new record for me!), this time fire frenzying. The beautiful thing was, he had LoS to bikers for once! He and the lone lascannon marine (who also had LoS, barely) killed off, I believe, 2 or 3 bikers bewteen them. The full lascannon team shot down the land speeder. And the plasma squad on the right flank rapid-fired at the bikers (1 plasma and 1-2 bolters could see the 6" out of cover), and killed 2 bikers there. Back on the left flank, the last remaining possessed charged into the nearest bike squad and actually managed to pull down 2 bikers with his daemonic talons. The other two bikers fled and regrouped a little ways off. The possessed wasn't close enough to consolidate into any other squad, so he just sat in the open.

On the right flank, the techmarine disengaged from the bike unit, zoomed around the corner of the forest, and got within 6" of the plasma squad. He killed one man with his plasma pistol. The squad of bikers there moved so that the HB was still behind cover, but the two plasma gunners could see the Defiler. They shot it and immobilized it. On the left flank, my squads started getting ready to move to the center of the board (and avoid LoS from the dreadnought). I did move my Master close to the possessed, but then my squads just shot the possessed before my Master could charge. Back on the right flank, the techmarine charged the unit of marines (5 left, I believe), and killed 3-4 more while taking no wounds in return (combat shield saved him from the one P Fist hit he took).

Sixth, and final, Turn:
The dreadnought moved towards the center of the board (not sure if he made it within 12" or not). The dreadnought, both lascannons, the autocannons, Defiler, and meltagun Havocs killed off the two plasma bikers in the center of the board, but the HB survived by being out of LoS. In CC, the techmarine finished off the last of the infiltrating plasma squad.

The techmarine moved behind the Defiler. All the rest of my army moved to within 12" of the objective in the center (one squad had to turbo-boost to get there). The techmarine killed the Defiler with his plasma pistol. A squad of bikers immobilized the dreadnought with plasma, and another squad along with a techmarine and the Master killed 4 members of the autocannon Havocs (bringing them below 50%).

End Results:
The IW army ended with an immobile dreadnought, a full las/plas squad in the objective, a half las/plas squad, a half autocannon Havoc squad, and an immobile Rhino. The Biker army had a wounded techmarine, a full techmarine, a full Master, two half-squads of bikers, and two full squad of bikers within 12" of the objective. It was either a solid or a crushing victory for the Bikers, I'm not sure which (too lazy to calculate against myself).



As I said, sometime later (tonight or tomorrow), I'll continue on with a look at how Silent Requiem's Water tactics played a big part in this game.

Edited by Aidoneus, 23 March 2007 - 12:21 AM.

New Year's Resolution 2007: Keep track of my wins and losses. (note: only 1 vs. 1 games counted)

-Chaos (32/6/7) -Space Marines (3/0/0) -Necrons (4/1/0) -Tyranids (17/2/1) -Inquisition (67/13/13)
Total: (123/22/21) W/L/D


#2
Crayoneater

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Water Tactica can obviously be applied to any army, I'm certain other players have mentioned it on perhaps some of the other fourms. I'm still scratching my head as to why you would like to post it here in peticular? I suppose as an example of the tactic and to disregard the army in use? Don't get me wrong, I frequent the Undivided Section as much as this area... it just seemed odd reading your battle report. Perhaps if you were to short form the turns and then add descriptions of your applied Water Tactica after each turn.

So what do you think overall after the game with the list you had created?
"Earth my body, Wind my breath, Water my blood, Fire my spirit."

#3
Silent Requiem

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Great Batrep!

It's really interesting to see Water tactics applied to another army. I won't comment too much until you've told us how exactly you feel the elemental breakdown helped/hindered. I don't want to be making assumptions or putting words in your mouth.

I suspect that I'll post a link to this Batrep in the Amicus thread.

-Silent Requiem
QUOTE
About my list; it is weak. But it fits me, and that counts for a lot more than any amount of mathammer.


Since 5th edition: 3 wins, no draws, no losses.

#4
Venenum

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The battle report in question has been derived from this thread which was split off from "the way of the water warrior".

I have approved this topic for the OI forum as I thought it went well with some of the water warrior stuff we've been seeing of late. (Don't worry, more content coming as to how this is a water tactics thread.) I also thought that the forum might benefit from some new ideas and an injection of some fresh material.

Just so we're clear: this is a one-off exception, not a rules change.

@ Aidoneus: I must say I am very impressed with the quality of the battle report. Photos and everything, wow :pinch:


-Venenum

Edited by Venenum, 23 March 2007 - 08:51 AM.

there are 10 types of people: those that understand binary, and those that do not

#5
40kdhs

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Aidoneus,

I looked at your IW and biker units deployment. You made a fatal mistake when you depoyed both of your armies the same way.

1- One army has the ability to move at least 12" per turn while another only move 6" per turn with the exception of 2 rhinos. As you can see, speed does make a difference in this game.

2- The mission was *take and hold*. There was no reason for you to put a defilier and another infrantry chao unit on the left side and 2 rhinos on the right size and 1 unit in the middle. Why.?

a- Your defense was weak and could be easily picked out. It certainly was explained why your defiler's weapon was destroyed in the first turn.

b- Because of the way you deployed your IW army, your infrantry unit on the same size as defiler constantly moved every turn if it wanted to be a scoring unit. Therefore, you could not shoot. If you stood and shot, that unit couldn't be fast enough to be near objective in the end of the game.

c- Your offensive was weak because you had no other units to back up your rhinos.
d- You knew that you would use your speed to claim the objective in the end. You did nothing to limit the casauty of your IW army.


As the result, i'm not suprised to see why your IW LOST. The truth to be told, your IW tactic was really no good.

Edited by 40kdhs, 23 March 2007 - 06:25 PM.


#6
Aidoneus

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Who's the Beatdown?

The Water tactics began before the first model was on the board. It began with me identifying which of my two armies was the Beatdown, and which the Control. (to understand what these terms mean, and why they're important to the game strategy, click the link above and read Silent Requiem's tactica).

Silent identifies a number of factors that can play a part in determining which army is the Beatdown/Control. However, most of them (comparitive skill levels, terrain, etc...) were pretty even for both sides. The biggest and most obvious determining factor was army composition.

Well, to start with, we'd better identify which of the four Elements each of my two armies was. The Biker force is clearly a mixture of Air and Water. This is because it is highly mobile, but looks to play reactively instead of proactively. The IW force is primarily Earth, but with elements of Water. This is because it has lots of static shooting made up of resilient troops, but it is also tactically flexible and able to perform more than just the one task (shooting).

Based on these characteristics, I decided the IW force was the Beatdown army, while the Biker force was the Control.

Here's another way to think of it:

Ask yourself, does either of the armies on the table, in all the current circumstances, have a clearly defined victory condition? This victory condition will probably be either "bring all my big guns to bear and blow him away" or "get into one gigantic, all out assault". If only one army has such a clear objective, congratulations, you have just identified the Beatdown.

My IW army clearly wanted to just blast away at the bikes, but my Bikers didn't have such a clear-cut victory condition. Therefore, the IW were the Beatdown.

So now what? Another quotation will do better than my explanation:

So now what?

Once you know which you are, you can plan your game accordingly.

If you are the Control, as a Water army will be most (but NOT all) of the time, you must play conservatively, emphasise victory point denial, focus on objectives, and prevent, at all costs, the opponent from setting up his victory condition. Fortunately, Water armies are VERY good at playing the control game.

If you are the Beatdown (and you will be from time to time), you have to switch gears and focus on getting your victory condition into play. The longer it takes, the less time you have to kill the enemy, which means fewer victory points.



Fighting the Four Elements

As I said earlier, my Biker list is a mix of Water and Air elements, whereas my IW list is primarily Earth, with some Water elements. So how does one go about fighting those types of armies?

I looked back at Silent's tactics for facing the elemental armies, and I was struck by how much what happened in my game mirrors what he wrote about fighting Earth armies:

The trick here is to nibble at his edges until he makes a mistake. Use terrain to block as much line of sight as possible, while taking shots at his exposed flanks. [...] Killing even a marine or two each turn while denying his retun fire will make him FEEL defeated, even though the damage is minimal.

With luck, he'll advance too flush you out, at which point you can treat him like an aggressive opponent (but weaker). If he turtles, keep nibbling, and position yourself for a last minute objective grab. You won't win big, but you should still win.

This is precisely what my Biker list did, and I think it's what won them the game.

Funny story actually. About turn 3 or so, I had gotten used to my Bikers slowly picking apart my IWs while not taking any return fire. It actually felt like my IWs were losing at that point. So I did a quick summation of VPs, and it turned out that my IWs were ahead by a couple hundred VPs by that point (from killing the squad of bikers and wounding the techmarine). Now, perhaps some of what I felt came from the fact that, while they weren't ahead in VPs, my Bikers were in a much better tactical position. But at least some of that feeling was the psychological effect from constant small losses while not killing anything in return for a couple turns.

Now, let's look at what my IW army was trying to do. I figured, with absolutely everything in the Bike army being so fast, I would mostly have to approach them as an Air army. Here's what Silent has to say about those:

Air players habitually go for the flanks, as the points they spend on mobility mean that they have less actual fighting power, so they want to take on small chunks of the opponent, rather than all at once. Keep your small army together to remove the benefit of a flanking move.

They key here is to attack the source of his movement. This will mean taking out trantsports if he is assaulty, or stunning his vehicles if he is shooty.

Ultimatey, you will want to assault him if he is shooty, and keep him out of assault if that's where he is trying to get.

There are a few different pieces of advice there, so let's look at them one at a time.

Silent advizes that the key to defeating an Air is to eliminate its mobility. "This will mean taking out trantsports if he is assaulty, or stunning his vehicles if he is shooty." Unfortunately, Silent forgot about bikes (and jump packs, but that's a discussion for another day). The thing about bikes is that there's no way to take out their mobility except by killing them outright. So right off the bat my IWs were in trouble because they couldn't do anything to weaken my Biker army's main strength.

Silent then goes on to state one of the oldest axioms in the 40k community: assault him if he's shooty, shoot him if he's assaulty. While bikes can handle themselves in CC well enough, my particular Biker list was clearly aimed more at shooting (no vet sgt.s and no dedicated assault units). Therefore, my IWs wanted to engage the Bikers in CC. However, I also knew that I was better than he at shooting, by virtue of being IWs. So really, it didn't matter how I engaged him, since I could beat him either way. The only problem was pinning him down long enough to let me engage him at all!

So I set up my shooting firebase to guard the objective and to make him pay if he tried to advance on me. Then, I set up my Rhinos with their assault squads as close to him as possible to try to rush forward and charge him. The idea here was that one of two things would happen: 1) my firebase pins him down behind cover, keeping them from running away from my CC troops, which will tear through his lines, or 2) my CC troops flush him out of his defensive position, thus opening him up to shooting from my powerful firebase. At least, that was the plan.

Then there's the one part of Silent's advice I should have followed, but I didn't: keep your units together to negate his ability to flank you and pick off individual squads. That was what cost IW the game. My bikes were able to hide from my firebase while still mowing down my CC units at range. So while my IW had them outclassed both in firepower and CC power, the bikes were able to pick their target and "shoot the assaulters."


Common Tactical Maneuvers

Pruning: I have never before done this. I've sniped before (with an earlier bike list I maneuvered so my plasma+HB could only see a techmarine, which they killed, thus taking out all 4 servitors too). But I decided to try pruning. On the far left flank, second turn, when I was shooting the autocannon squad, I had one of my bike squads "snipe" at the autocannon and plasma gun, and at the same time I had my land speeder "prune" the other 3 marines. Basically, I really wanted the autocannon and plasma gun dead, but didn't want to risk losing my land speeder to the autocannon (bike squads can take so much more of a beating). The result: I killed 3 or 4 guys, not including the autocannon, but then the squad failed their morale check and fled. I certainly wasn't disappointed, but my clever sniping/pruning didn't actually make any difference... this time.

Focus Fire: This is much more of an IW thing than a Biker thing. I basically focus-fired on any bike that stuck its head out. It wasn't so much tactically as just my guys had nothing else to do. Anything they saw, died. Now, on the side of my Bikers, I focus-fired on the advancing Rhinos. They were clearly the most pressing concern, so they got hit with everything, including the bike squad in the middle of the board, which could have otherwise been having fun with the relatively weak right flank of the IWs (inf plasma squad and Defiler). That focus-firing worked out very well, and probably was a large contributing factor to my Bikers winning, since it broke apart the IW plan to flush out the hidden left flank of bikes.

Tactical Casualties: I can think of one time in particular that I did this during my game. The funny part is, it was when my IW dreadnought shot the IW las/plas team next to it on the first turn! I was really unlucky, as both plasma shots and all 4 combi-bolter shots hit. However, the new rules state that you put down each blast separately, removing casulaties between each one. The first blast hit 4 men, and killed 3. I took out the 3 guys in the center of the squad, which meant the second plasma cannon blast only hit one man. My remaining man passed whatever saves he needed from the bolters, and ended up killing the land speeder, an attack bike, and at least one regular bike through the course of the game (He made all his Man Alone tests, and even survived the game. That man is definitely becoming an AC!)

LoS Denial: Silent Requiem never specifically mentions this, but he makes reference to it from time to time, so I'll throw it in here. LoS Denial was obviously a HUGE factor in my game. By hiding behind cover, my bikes denied the IWs their greatest strength, not to mention the use of half their army. That allowed my bikes to shoot the CC elements of the IW army relatively unmolested. Big, big advantage!


7 Habits of Highly Effective Gamers

1) The Pause: This is mostly the reason why I decided to practice Water tactics by playing against myself. I know a lot of gamers get impatient when I stand around, staring at the board for ten minutes before even starting to move anything. I, on the other hand, never get impatient with myself (at least, not while gaming). So before each turn, and oftentimes in the middle of a turn, I'd sit back and consider everything that was going on in the game. It let me see more than just 1 unit vs. 1 unit maximizing killing potential. It helped; it really did.

2) The Monologue: Okay, so I didn't really do this with myself. Not out loud at least. However, in all my games against other people, I do this. Partly it's to let them know what's going on, partly to keep track of everything myself, and partly in case they want to raise a question or correct me on something.

3) Agree LoS: I've discovered a wonderful way of doing this: sticks! I have a couple long, narrow, straight, unmarked sticks in my basement leftover from when I built a table in woodshop (they were spares for the trim you can see around my tabletop) My friends and I have taken up using them to determine LoS, since there's no worry about seeing the markings on a tape measure.

4) The Walk: Obviously, by playing both sides, I did this quite a bit. Also, the way my table is set up, half the time I'm looking at it from the side, which allows me a relatively objective view of what's happening. Seeing things from more than one perspective helps me see the big picture, which in turn helps me focus on VP denial and objectives.

5) Always Measure: I'll admit that I don't do this often enough, especially when playing myself. I have been trying to get myself to do it more, but I often forget. One thing I have picked up though, and that helped me in this game, is measuring even when you know you don't have range to a target. You've got nothing to lose by trying to shoot something out of range (provided there's nothing else that's in you range), and it gives you a very good idea of how far you are from that unit (which helps for charging, moving in to shoot, staying out of their range, etc...)

6) Victory Point Denial: This is similar to the LoS denial in theory, but in my game I think of it in a very different way. The LoS denial, I think of as letting me deal with one group (Rhinos) without interference from the other (firebase). The VP denial, I think of as not letting my IWs get ahead in VPs, which meant my last-turn objective grab was a game-winner. Basically, once the bikers got to pick second turn, the IWs were racing against the clock. They had to kill off enough of the bikes, and gain enough VPs throughout the game, that the last-turn objective grab wouldn't be enough to win back the game for the bikes. By denying the IWs those VPs, the Bikers denied them their victory condition.

7) Agree Terrain: Well, since I was playing myself this wasn't a big deal, but I have started clarifying these things with other people, and I find it helps reduce conflict and smooth gameplay later on.


Overall Thoughts

In my mind, the game went the way it did for the following reasons:

1) Dawn Assault allowed the bikers to bunker down, and kept IWs from using their shooting prowess first turn, when it would have been most effective.
2) The Bikers picking second turn, to allow for a last-turn objective grab, put them in a very good tactical position.
3) The Bikers' maneuverability and low numbers made them an excellent Control force
4) The 2-prong assault by IWs (left flank CC thrust with central firebase) ultimately flopped because all the bikes could shoot at half the IWs, without incoming fire from the other half

I was going to write an "if I could do it again, here's what I'd change" bit now, but as I wrote it I would immediately think of ways to counter the new tactics. If I had run my Rhinos up the center, the bikes still could have picked them apart without so much incoming fire from the firebase. If I had advanced everything, the bikes would have performed a massive charge (shooting on the way in), and I think they could have taken the IWs in that large melee. If I had used my infiltrators to boost my left flank instead of my right, the two bike squads on the right would have come forward and rolled up the right flank and into the firebase.

Bottom line: the terrain, mission, and second turn allowed the Bikers to be a very effective Control army, and I'm not really sure what the IWs could have done to really change that.



Anyway, there's my explanation of how Silent Requiem's Water tactics played a big role in my game. I still plan to do analyses of the two armies, and how/why they represent the elements I claimed they do. However, in the meantime, I would love to hear any comments or questions any of you might have. I'm particularly interested in hearing what Silent has to say, now that I've told the story from my point of view.

As always, thanks for reading,
-Aidoneus

Edited by Aidoneus, 24 March 2007 - 05:41 AM.

New Year's Resolution 2007: Keep track of my wins and losses. (note: only 1 vs. 1 games counted)

-Chaos (32/6/7) -Space Marines (3/0/0) -Necrons (4/1/0) -Tyranids (17/2/1) -Inquisition (67/13/13)
Total: (123/22/21) W/L/D


#7
Silent Requiem

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Wow. Fantastic summary. I'm going to link to it in the table of contents.

Seeing you break it down point by point was great, especially as you considered both armies. I don't think there is too much that I can add on the points that you addressed. I would ask a few questions though.

Did it feel any different playing reactively?
Did you enjoy the playstyle?
Some people have suggested that it might be a rather boring way to play. Do you agree?
Do you feel that any army can play reactively, or did list building play an important role?
Do you feel that an army that uses diverse specialist elements (like your IW seem to) can total up into a Water force?
Do you feel that by playing reactively you surrendered the inititive?

Questions aside, I'm very interested in your interpretation of a Water list. As I have said elsewhere, I have not played marines since 3rd, so I completely overlooked the bikes-as-troops trait. You seem to have put it to VERY good use, and you have singlehandedly renewed my interest in the army. I have also clearly overlooked the humble tech-marine. Not only did you use him to bulk out your assault power, but by teaming him with attack bikes, he contributed to your overall fire power. Impressive.

At the risk of going OT, do you think your army would benefit in having some predators (at the expense of other units), or would they simply slow you down? I'd think the long range firepower would make up for it, but I'm a bit of a tread-head. :lol:

You mention that in my look at fighting Air armies I don't address bikes. You are absolutely right of course, but that's because I have yet to figure out exactly what to do about them (or jump troops), other than "kill 'em".

Your sacrifice of a bike unit to hit the defiler has echoes of deepstriking a BC with psycannon to bust armour. It's always painful to sacrifice troops, but it does have it's place. Congrats on a very decisive move. It is a forceful reminder that while Water armies react to their opponents, when an opening appears, they ruthlessly exploit it.

I may post more once I have had some time to digest your analysis.

-Silent Requiem

Edited by Silent Requiem, 24 March 2007 - 10:51 AM.

QUOTE
About my list; it is weak. But it fits me, and that counts for a lot more than any amount of mathammer.


Since 5th edition: 3 wins, no draws, no losses.

#8
Aidoneus

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Excellent questions Silent! Let me address them individually:

Did it feel any different playing reactively?

Well, this is not the first time I've played reactively, but yes, it always does feel different. My IW list there is by no means my first. I've played IW for most of my 7 years in the game, and for a good portion of that time they were the stereotypical sit-and-shoot IW power army (not cheese, power). However, for the past couple years now I've been playing more up-close, and more mobile. With that comes a certain degree of reactivity, as my army does not dominate enough in one aspect of combat to allow me to ignore my opponent's plans.

Now, keep in mind, to me, playing "reactively" does not mean not having a battle plan at the beginning of the game. What it usually means is that my plan is more dependent on terrain, scenario, and the enemy's army, and less fixed in stone for every game my army plays. Also, if my plan starts to not work, the versatility of my army allows me to improvise, which I think is a trait unique to Water armies (or at least, armies with Water elements in them).

Did you enjoy the playstyle?

I definitely enjoy playing reactively, as I define it, more than I used to enjoy playing my Earth IW or Fire WE or 'Nids. I think it actually started when I got my Necrons. With the IW and WE and 'Nids, my biggest challenge was completely maximizing the efficiancy of my list, and once I got them on the table they just sort of did their thing. But with Necrons I made a more versatile list, and then had to pay very close attention to what was going on in the game. I loved the tactics and improvisation, and more importantly, the wonderful variety of games I played. So I changed my IW around to play more like that, and I don't think I'm ever going back. B)

Some people have suggested that it might be a rather boring way to play. Do you agree?

Not at all. Now, keep in mind, every player is different, so perhaps it would be boring for some people. Not for me though. Here's the thing, when playing an Earth or Fire army, you do the exact same thing in every game. With an Earth army, the most strategizing you typically have to do is deciding what order to shoot his units. And the most strategizing a Fire army has to do is balancing the benefit of hiding behind cover with the speed of moving in a straight line when rushing forward to charge the enemy. Ultimately, both of those playstyles offer little challenge and even littler change. That's why I enjoy Air and Water armies the most. They not only allow, but force, the player to be constantly thinking and planning, and that makes the game much more stimulating.

Do you feel that any army can play reactively, or did list building play an important role?

List building certainly plays a role. WE are the perfect example. I don't think it's possible to play them any way except Fire. Everything blood rages, except daemons, and those are only good in CC anyway.

Now, sometimes a given army composition can choose to play one of several ways. My Biker list could play Air equally as well as it played Water. I just would have runn my whole army up one flank, trying to completely overwhelm whatever enemy is on that flank and then "rolling up" the enemy lines. Another good example is a Lysanderwing list. If the termies all deep-strike it's a shooting-based Fire army (IMO), but if the termies deploy regularly, and the player plays reactively, its almost completely a Water army.

So, I guess what I'm saying, is that to be a Water army, you need both an appropriate army composition and a corresponding playstyle. If either of those two factors is missing, the army is something else, but not Water.

Do you feel that an army that uses diverse specialist elements (like your IW seem to) can total up into a Water force?

It's interesting you should ask this. This is something I've been thinking a lot about whilst writing up this batrep. I think I'll cover this more fully when I talk in depth about my IW army. The short answer would have to be, yes it can, but just because it has diverse elements doesn't automatically make it a Water army. Perhaps if each assault unit ran next to a shooting unit, and they operated together as one, that would make for a Water list. But the way I played my IW army in this particular game, it actually performed much more like two separate armies: one Earth and one Fire.

As I said, I'll talk more about that later.

Do you feel that by playing reactively you surrendered the inititive?

Absolutely not. However, I need to make one thing clear: when I say I played reactively, that doesn't mean I didn't have a plan of attack with my Bikers, it means their plan was designed in "reaction" to the IW list. What I mean is, my "reactive" playing was my hiding and picking at flanks. It wasn't actually a reaction to anything that happened in-game, it was a reaction to the simple fact that he had too much firepower for me to deal with any other way. So, by hiding the way I did, I forced him to charge his usually-reactive CC elements forward to me. Once the Rhinos started charging forward, the Bikers were in control of that game, and I would think that means they had the initiative.

Questions aside, I'm very interested in your interpretation of a Water list. As I have said elsewhere, I have not played marines since 3rd, so I completely overlooked the bikes-as-troops trait. You seem to have put it to VERY good use, and you have singlehandedly renewed my interest in the army. I have also clearly overlooked the humble tech-marine. Not only did you use him to bulk out your assault power, but by teaming him with attack bikes, he contributed to your overall fire power. Impressive.

Thanks. :blush: As I said, my realization that plasma can't fire at long-range while the bike is moving has made me re-think a lot of my list, and at the moment I've having some difficulty settling on an approach I like as much as I liked the one I used in this game. But overall, I've definitely fallen in love with bikers and with techmarines on bikes (which are legal, no matter what some people try to claim!) The techmarine especially is very Water-ish, I think. He has powerful CC, powerful shooting, helps the overall army, is fast enough to be maneuverable, and is resilient. In other words, for 141pts (techmarine, bike, full harness, frags, combat shield), you get absolutely everything you could ever hope for! :wub:

At the risk of going OT, do you think your army would benefit in having some predators (at the expense of other units), or would they simply slow you down? I'd think the long range firepower would make up for it, but I'm a bit of a tread-head. :blush:

I don't think tanks would work in my army, but I'm sure a similar army could be made in which they would work well. The problem with tanks is that they can only move 6" and shoot, whereas the rest of my army moves 12" and shoots. Also, I personally really hate losing 150+pts to a single shot (last game I played with Necrons, my opponent killed my Monolith not just the first turn of the game, but the first SHOT of the game! :( ) I do use the land speeders for two reasons: they are just as mobile as the rest of my army (arguably more, since they can jump cover), and they're only 80pts each, so I don't hurt too much from losing one.

Edited by Aidoneus, 24 March 2007 - 06:33 PM.

New Year's Resolution 2007: Keep track of my wins and losses. (note: only 1 vs. 1 games counted)

-Chaos (32/6/7) -Space Marines (3/0/0) -Necrons (4/1/0) -Tyranids (17/2/1) -Inquisition (67/13/13)
Total: (123/22/21) W/L/D


#9
Aidoneus

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Defining the Four Elements

For the purposes of my discussion here, I'm going to assume you've all read Silent Requiem's description of the four elements. If you haven't, a quick tap on the link above would not go amiss. Keep in mind though, Silent and I have slightly differing views on some of the elements (Air and Water mostly). We still have pretty similar concepts, but there might be a couple things I say that don't entirely square with his definitions. Just keep that in mind.

I'm not exactly sure how to do this. I guess I'll start by talking about the individual units, and then I'll go into more general comments about the army as a whole. I'll start off with my Biker List.

Here is the 2000pt version of the list. The 1500pt version that I used is the exact same, with one less techmarine, one less multi-melta bike unit, and two fewer land speeders.

HQ


Master:

Movement phase: Bike standard, i.e. the best you'll find in 40k. His ability to move so far allows him to keep behind terrain as he moves around the board, to keep up with my units, and to move far enough to engage enemy units pretty much wherever he want to.

Shooting phase: Bike Standard. The combi-bolter is not a bad gun, but it's nothing special. On just the one model it's more of a, "Meh, why not?" type of thing.

Assault phase: Best in my army, but not overly powerful compared to other HQs. The I5 is certainly nice, as opposed to the techmarines' I4.

Special rules: Auspex. While it doesn't do much most of the time, every now and then he can get a unit of bikers to fire upon some unsuspecting infiltrators who got just a bit too close. More importantly is Rites of Battle, which helps a great deal, as I don't take vet. sgts.

Role: CC and Ld support. Mostly he's there for the Ld, and because he has to be. However, when an enemy's CC unit gets close, or I decide to charge in, he's probably the best assaulter in my army, and that's where he can help protect my more shooty bikers.

Cost effective: Yes (otherwise, would he be in my army?). Rites is a big help. Although I don't make use of his CC abilities often, when I do need them it's very nice to have this guy around.

Personal comment: Honestly, if not for Rites, I would have taken a libbie on a bike with Fury. But Rites is valuable enough that this guy is my HQ of choice. I never field a Spacie army without one.


Elites


Techmarine:

Movement phase: Bike Standard.

Shooting phase: Excellent. The techie has a mounted combi-bolter, a flamer, a linked plasma pistol, and a bolter (though that never really gets much use). Also, because of the harness, he can fire one of his to harness weapons at the same time as his combi-bolter, making for some downright nasty anti-infantry firepower from just the one model. However, to be really effective with his own guns, he has to be relatively close to the enemy. He also has a signum, but I'll cover that with his Special Rules.

Assault phase: Very good. He's only I4, which makes him slightly less dangerous than my Master, but in addition to his power weapon attacks he also has 2 power fist attacks. The combination of I4 power weapon and the 2 power fist attacks is very powerful.

Special rules: Artificer armour keeps him alive longer. Auspex is a nice little treat. He does have Blessing of the Omnissah, but it really never gets used. The best special rule he has is the Signum. He uses the Signum mostly to make my multi-meltas twin-linked (bike-mounted, T-L multi-meltas are actually good!). And the best part is, if that hits, he can use the signum to re-roll another shot. I use it a lot to save my bikers from plasma overheats, which is even better than an apothecary because not only do I not die, I probably will hit as well!

Role: Various supportive tasks. This is my jack-of-all-trades. He mostly runs with the multi-melta squads, but as you saw from the batrep, he doesn't mind detatching and going to take care of smaller threats by himself. Certainly, if I ever decide to go for CC, the two techmarines and the Master basically carry the army (that and the sheer number of T5 models).

Cost effective: Absolutely!

Personal comment: :blink:


Troops


Heavy Bolter Bike Squads:

Movement phase: Bike Standard.

Shooting phase: Very good. With everything able to fire at 24" (except plasma :pinch: ) they can stay safely out of charging range while still being very effective shooters. And if anything comes close, rapid-fire makes the shooting even more intense. These are my main anti-infantry squads, and are designed to be able to handle any type of enemy infantry.

Assault phase: Poor. I opted to leave out vet sgts and spend the points on more bikers. What this means is that without the IC backup, my actual squads are fairly weak in CC.

Special rules: None.

Role: Main battle unit, anti-infantry.

Cost effective: Yeppers.

Personal comment: A good, solid mobile firebase. I couldn't ask for anything more.


Multi-Melta Bike Squads:

Movement phase: Bike Standard.

Shooting phase: Very good. Very close to my Heavy Bolter squads, but obviously geared more for anti-tank work. They also do well at anti-MC or character hunting. One nice thing is that these are the guys who get backed up by the Techmarines, which makes their shooting that much more effective.

Assault phase: Poor. Same as HB bikers.

Special rules: None.

Role: Secondary battle unit, anti-tank.

Cost effective: Uh-huh.

Personal comment: While I generally like the HB squads better because they're more effective at range, having the two MM squads in there is necessary to deal with enemy armour.


FA


Land Speeder:

Movement phase: Bike Standard, but can go over terrain, so is even better.

Shooting phase: Very good. With 7 anti-infantry shots at 24", the land speeder can do some damage. It's about enough to be an effective harassing unit by itself, or it can help augment the firepower from my bike squads.

Assault phase: None. It's a tank. I guess it's nice that it can only be hit on 6's, but it also always counts as having moved more than 6" when in CC, so those sort of balance out. Best to just avoid CC altogether with this guy.

Special rules: Skimmer. Y'all know how that works.

Role: Harassing fire / augmenting main battle units' firepower. Can also be a good distraction or sacrifice because it's cheap, yet still relatively scary.

Cost effective: Of course.

Personal comment: No rational Spacie player should ever leave home without at least one of these. And with my particular army, it fits in even better than normally.


So how do the army play as a whole? Well, certainly it's versatile enough to go with several different plans. Becasue all of its unit move so fast, it can use that speed to isolate and eliminate flanks or otherwise separated enemy units. It can also cover-hop, using LoS denial to deny the enemy a good shot, while at the same time sniping with its decently long-range firepower. And although it doesn't generally prefer this, it can handle itself all right in CC (certainly the ICs can, and the bikers serve as just a lot of T5 bodies to overwhelm enemies, since my speed lets me strike all at once).

So what element does that make me? I think we can eliminate Earth and Fire right off the bat. I'm obviously not built for resilience, so there goes Earth. And while I can use my speed to create local superiority, I by no means have enough offensive power to overwhelm an entire army, so there goes Fire as well. That leaves Water and Air.

Now, this is the part where Silent and I disagree a bit. He's explained his distinction between Water and Air to me, as have several other people, but I continue to be skeptical. For all anyone says, to me, an "Air" army just seems like a fast Water army playing Beatdown instead of Control. The reason I bring this up is because I'm going to contend that my army is completely equal parts Air and Water, but I don't see it as actually a mixture of two different playstyles. It is a Water force, through and through, but one that uses its incredible speed to take control of the battle away from the opponent.

Now, what exactly makes this an Air/Water list? Let's look at a couple quotations...

Air overview: An air army wants to out manoeuvre it’s opponent, and is characterised by high mobility. Good Air armies are very fast, often at the expense of numbers.

Movement phase: This the bit where Air armies try to win. They get to choose where and when they hit you, and will choose a time and place that limits any counter attack.

Shooting phase: Unlike Fire and Earth, there is no strong tendency for Air to go shooting or assault, as both are well represented. Good Air armies do tend to specialise in one or the other, however.

Water overview: Unlike the other elements, Water fights reactively, responding to the plan of the enemy. Whereas the other elements try to dominate a particular phase, and “inflict” their plan upon the enemy, Water has no plan other than to defeat the enemy’s plan. Good Water armies use well rounded, generalist troops.

I could go through the phases, but there is no point, as a Water army requires an opponent in order to truly define itself.

My army acts like an Air army in the following ways:
-Everything is very fast
-It uses its speed to engage the enemy only in places and times where it has local superiority

My army acts like a Water army in the following ways:
-It is capable of many styles of combat
-It has no consistent, pre-determined plan of action, but instead crafts its plan based on the present situation (including enemy forces, opponent's style, terrain, objective, etc...)

My army acts like both an Air and a Water army in the following ways:
-While it prefers shooting, it is capable of both shooting and CC (within the same units, not specialists of one next to specialists of the other)
-It chooses quality of troops over quantity

Of the two armies that took part in the game I played, this was by far the more Water-like. I'll refrain from making any more comparrissons for the time being, since I haven't yet talked about my IW army in detail.

As always Silent, I love hearing what you have to say about all this. After all, you came up with the elemental classifications, so anything I say is merely my interpretation of what you meant. It certainly helps my understanding, and probably others' as well, to here you give your input about all this. I'd especially be interested to hear what you say about my Air/Water issue, since we still disagree about that.

Anyway, I'll probably have the IW post up tomorrow. Probably. I'm going back to college tomorrow afternoon (I'm on spring break now), so I may not get around to it for another day or two. We'll see.
New Year's Resolution 2007: Keep track of my wins and losses. (note: only 1 vs. 1 games counted)

-Chaos (32/6/7) -Space Marines (3/0/0) -Necrons (4/1/0) -Tyranids (17/2/1) -Inquisition (67/13/13)
Total: (123/22/21) W/L/D


#10
number6

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Aidoneus,
Thanks for your detailed and very insightful posts! There's so much here to talk about that I'm certain I'm going to miss covering something that is currently swirling around in my head. Hopefully, SR will continue to prompt you for more comments. ;)

Now, keep in mind, to me, playing "reactively" does not mean not having a battle plan at the beginning of the game. What it usually means is that my plan is more dependent on terrain, scenario, and the enemy's army, and less fixed in stone for every game my army plays. Also, if my plan starts to not work, the versatility of my army allows me to improvise, which I think is a trait unique to Water armies (or at least, armies with Water elements in them).
[...]
I need to make one thing clear: when I say I played reactively, that doesn't mean I didn't have a plan of attack with my Bikers, it means their plan was designed in "reaction" to the IW list. What I mean is, my "reactive" playing was my hiding and picking at flanks. It wasn't actually a reaction to anything that happened in-game, it was a reaction to the simple fact that he had too much firepower for me to deal with any other way. So, by hiding the way I did, I forced him to charge his usually-reactive CC elements forward to me. Once the Rhinos started charging forward, the Bikers were in control of that game, and I would think that means they had the initiative.
[...]
My Biker list could play Air equally as well as it played Water. I just would have run my whole army up one flank, trying to completely overwhelm whatever enemy is on that flank and then "rolling up" the enemy lines.

I find myself considering this extremely fine distinction you posit between "Air" and "Water" styles, and why you therefore feel like there may, in fact, be no true distinction.

If I understand you correctly, a "pure Air" army is an aggressive army, while a Water army isn't (necessarily) aggressive at all; it's more of an opportunist. In my mind, all Air armies are opportunists. By (SR's) definition, they have invested so many points into mobility resources that they generally do not have the firepower, manpower, or assault power to evenly match up to any opponent (that isn't also Air itself, presumably). If I correctly interpreted what you wrote beforehand, that actually matches your biker army exactly. The only advantage it had over the IWs was superior mobility. In fact, your batrep and subsequent explanation could almost be a textbook primer of how to play a shooty Air army like mech Tau. So from the standpoint of the tactics you employ, I would argue that you weren't especially, or necessarily, Waterish. Any decent Air army has to measure the capabilities of it's opponent and look for ways to exploit those capabilities. Of course, any army should do this, too, so I would say this isn't an especially defining characteristic of any elemental style. Air armies just happen to have the speed required to take advantage of any opportunity the instant it is available. Speed is always a defining characteristic of Air, but not necessarily of any other force. I do draw a distinction between speed and mobility. As SR argues in his tactica, GKs are mobile, but they are definitely not fast.

Rather, the distinction I would draw between Air and Water armies is the level of specialization within the units, something you address very convincingly. I agree that your bikers are reasonably competent at both shooting and close combat. They project a large and mobile threat space onto the board, just like GKs and other Waterish units do and should. However, as you admit, you sacrificed close combat power (in the form of vet sgts and powerfists, for example) in order to focus more strongly on shooting. As SR argues, specialization is a hallmark of the other elements -- Air included (as you quoted, even) -- but not of Water. So while your bikers were decent at close combat, they were hobbled slightly by the purchasing options you selected. As you noted, a list isn't all that defines an army's Elemental characteristics, but it can't be ignored. No Khorne army will be a successful Earth army. :ph34r: You definitely tooled your list up to favor shooting over close combat. Close combat was something you would be willing to engage in, but only if you had no other choice. Most bike units weren't really strong enough to stand on their own in a close combat; it seems very likely that they would have required brother units to help them out, tying up a relatively large section of your army.

I guess, in the end, I do think you have a point, in that Air and Water armies can look awfully similar to each other. But I think this says more about the adaptability of a true Water army rather than the somewhat broader capabilities of a marginally specialized Air army. And in the realm of drawing fine distinctions :wink:, I personally tend to believe that your biker army more closely fits the description of an Air army as opposed to a Water army.

Not that this matters one whit outside the realm of philosophical discussion. If anything, it just goes to show that few of us employ a "purely elemental" force or play style. Hybridizations are going to be the most common. Perhaps it's the degree of mixture that we should be discussing? Your series of posts here, Aidoneus, appear to be doing that most excellently. I look forward to further developments, and possibly disagreements, too. :wink:

+++ EDIT +++
Another thought has occurred to me along the lines of mobility and unit specialization. I still think your bikers are primarily Air units because the purpose of their mobility is to take maximum advantage of their shooting capabilities. (If it was to take maximum advantage of their assault capabilities, the result would be the same: still an Air unit.) That is, you have the units constructed and the tactic of moving-to-shoot-at-opportunities firmly in mind before the game, regardless of opponent. That strikes me as an Air-style way of approaching the game. Specialized units use their speed to take maximum advantage of their specialty upon isoloated pieces of the enmy. Or, as SR puts it, to enforce areas of local superiority. :wink: In this sense, playing "reactively" means just reaciting to enemy deployment and movement in a way that you can create those areas of local superiority, thanks to your superior speed.

A water unit, however, is mobile just because it should be. If it was static, it would be incapable of reacting to any opponent, any battle situation. Speed would definitely help, but it's not a requirement. Just being able to move towards or away the enemy while still being able to affect the enemy is all that actually matters. Water units don't shoot because that's what they're best at. They shoot because, at this specific juncture in the game, tactically-speaking, that's the best option available. So they move to take maximum advantage of their shooting capabilities ... for now. Later, the same unit might move in a way to maximize its assault capabilities. And the choice to assault would be not because that's what the unit is best at doing, but because that's the superior tactical option for this specific, current situation. In this sense, playing "reactively" means actively reacting to current battlefield situations and changing tactical gears whenever it is suitable to do so. Because the units' capabilities are very evenly balanced between shooting and assaulting, the choice of doing one or the other -- or both -- depends entirely on the opponent and what s/he shows up with and does. It is certainly possible that a Water army will spend the entire game playing the Air style as you eloquently demonstrated yourself, but that would only be because that is the best strategic choice against one specific opponent for one specific battle, not because that's the best way to play the Water army.

There is not one "best" way to play Water, merely the confidence that you can do anything well enough that some part of your capabilities will outmatch those presented to you by your opponent. Against opponent A, my Water army might have superior firepower, but inferior mobility and assault power. Against opponent B, that situation could be entirely reversed. (And, of course, other combinations are possible.) Water is all about balance, it is the one style who's specialty is to have no specialty. It will be very good at everything, superior at nothing, save in some small, unique ways when measured against individual, specific opponents.

Edited by number6, 26 March 2007 - 03:03 PM.

RIP Warhammer 40,000: 21 Sep 1998 - 24 May 2014

#11
Aidoneus

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You bring up some excellent points Number6. Let me see if I can address them all.

If I understand you correctly, a "pure Air" army is an aggressive army, while a Water army isn't (necessarily) aggressive at all; it's more of an opportunist. In my mind, all Air armies are opportunists. By (SR's) definition, they have invested so many points into mobility resources that they generally do not have the firepower, manpower, or assault power to evenly match up to any opponent (that isn't also Air itself, presumably). If I correctly interpreted what you wrote beforehand, that actually matches your biker army exactly. The only advantage it had over the IWs was superior mobility. In fact, your batrep and subsequent explanation could almost be a textbook primer of how to play a shooty Air army like mech Tau. So from the standpoint of the tactics you employ, I would argue that you weren't especially, or necessarily, Waterish. Any decent Air army has to measure the capabilities of it's opponent and look for ways to exploit those capabilities. Of course, any army should do this, too, so I would say this isn't an especially defining characteristic of any elemental style. Air armies just happen to have the speed required to take advantage of any opportunity the instant it is available. Speed is always a defining characteristic of Air, but not necessarily of any other force. I do draw a distinction between speed and mobility. As SR argues in his tactica, GKs are mobile, but they are definitely not fast.

First off, when I talk about "Air" and "Water" styles as separate things, I'm referencing Silent's tactica. I myself view all those characteristics as part of both elements, save for the speed, which does not apply to all water armies. (On a side note, speed alone cannot define an Air army, because Daemonbombs, 'Nids, and other fast armies can be very clearly Fire forces) Actually, just as you have argued that my Biker list (which I consider Water) is actually Air, I would turn around and argue that what you consider Air in general is actually Water.

You say that an Air army does not dominate any particular aspect of battle, so they must use what assets they have (in this case, mobility) to avoid the enemy's strengths and engage his weaknesses. That is what you were saying, is it not? I couldn't fully engage the IWs in either assault or all-out firefight, so I had to use my assets (small numbers, speed, decently-powerful mid-long range shooting) in order to deny him his victory condition and, simultaneously, to engage him on my own terms. But Number6, is that not the textbook definition of a Water force? Seeing the enemy and the tactical situation, and forming/changing your tactics to best fit those circumstances, seeking to engage his weaknesses and avoid his strengths (as opposed to Fire and Earth, which seek to avoid their own weaknesses and engage their own strengths)?

So yes, I agree with you that my force is a good example of a shooting Air army. However, I also consider it a good example of a fast Water army. In fact, I go so far as to say that those two are one and the same, and you will never find an example of one that is not the other as well. (you could say that a list like mine, but with no CC at all would be such an example, but I would argue that all that is an example of is bad listbuilding, and not a distinct element :wink: )

Rather, the distinction I would draw between Air and Water armies is the level of specialization within the units, something you address very convincingly. I agree that your bikers are reasonably competent at both shooting and close combat. They project a large and mobile threat space onto the board, just like GKs and other Waterish units do and should. However, as you admit, you sacrificed close combat power (in the form of vet sgts and powerfists, for example) in order to focus more strongly on shooting. As SR argues, specialization is a hallmark of the other elements -- Air included (as you quoted, even) -- but not of Water. So while your bikers were decent at close combat, they were hobbled slightly by the purchasing options you selected. As you noted, a list isn't all that defines an army's Elemental characteristics, but it can't be ignored. No Khorne army will be a successful Earth army. :wink: You definitely tooled your list up to favor shooting over close combat. Close combat was something you would be willing to engage in, but only if you had no other choice. Most bike units weren't really strong enough to stand on their own in a close combat; it seems very likely that they would have required brother units to help them out, tying up a relatively large section of your army.

I disagree that Water cannot somewhat specialize. True, they cannot afford to specialize very much, because that would limit their tactical flexibility. However, every army specializes to some extent.

Take Silent Requiem's sample 1000pt list for example. He has a Brother Captain with Psycannon, two squads of 6 Grey Knights each (both have 1 incinerator), and 2 land raiders. Tell me, is his list completely balanced, or does it specialize a bit in either CC or shooting? The answer, it should be clear, is that he specializes in shooting. Sure, he has enough CC power to deal with an assault when he needs to, but he obviously has more shooting power. (LRs have no CC ability; the BC, by Silent's own description, isn't worth much in CC; and the two squads of PAGKs are pretty balanced)

I don't think I have more specialization that Silent's list; not by much at least. Certainly, I don't think you could contend that adding a power fist vet sgt to each of my squads would be a radical enough change to make my list into a completely different element, and at that point I would have a near-perfectly balanced force.

Not that this matters one whit outside the realm of philosophical discussion. If anything, it just goes to show that few of us employ a "purely elemental" force or play style. Hybridizations are going to be the most common. Perhaps it's the degree of mixture that we should be discussing? Your series of posts here, Aidoneus, appear to be doing that most excellently. I look forward to further developments, and possibly disagreements, too. :wink:

It's true that this is mostly philosophical, but given that I'm a philosophy major, that doesn't diminish my interest in the slightest! :D I also agree that we need to talk more about CC/Shooting specialization in the elements. I still plan to talk about that in my IW post (coming soon, I promise!). I think after my IW post I'll add in one more "official" post to this thread, dealing specifically with my thoughts on specialization and hybridization. In the meantime, I probably won't say too much about it.

+++ EDIT +++
Another thought has occurred to me along the lines of mobility and unit specialization... That is, you have the units constructed and the tactic of moving-to-shoot-at-opportunities firmly in mind before the game, regardless of opponent...

A water unit, however, is mobile just because it should be... Water units don't shoot because that's what they're best at. They shoot because, at this specific juncture in the game, tactically-speaking, that's the best option available. So they move to take maximum advantage of their shooting capabilities ... for now. Later, the same unit might move in a way to maximize its assault capabilities. And the choice to assault would be not because that's what the unit is best at doing, but because that's the superior tactical option for this specific, current situation... Because the units' capabilities are very evenly balanced between shooting and assaulting, the choice of doing one or the other -- or both -- depends entirely on the opponent and what s/he shows up with and does.

...Water is all about balance, it is the one style who's specialty is to have no specialty. It will be very good at everything, superior at nothing, save in some small, unique ways when measured against individual, specific opponents.

Okay, I just now noticed your edit while I was replying, so I haven't had a lot of time to consider all of this. I'll say right now that this is, by far, the best explanation I've seen so far as to why an army like mine isn't Water, or at least not purely so.

I guess I find myself unsure as to how well this theory can apply to a real game. Certainly, GKs (PA or T) fit the bill, as do properly equipped Tyranid Warriors and bike-mounted Techmarines (as well as other units too, I'm sure). However, I imagine (remember, this without too much forethought) that not all that many units in 40k can truly be this completely versatile. Tactical squads cannot (bolters can't maintain move-and-shoot unless the enemy wants them to), nor can CSMs, nor an jump-pack units I can think of, nor (to give a xenos example) anything save Pariahs in the Necron codex.

I find myself concerned that under your definition of Water, convincing though it sounds, only a select few armies can actually be Water. And I don't just mean only half the armies out there; I mean only GKs, Deathwing, Biker Spacies, Tyranids done right (though they'd be a weak Water list, for reasons I gave in the other thread), and... and that's honestly all I can think of. Nothing else really has the ability to either move and shoot at 19+ inches and also to engage in CC with equal ease. Can the element of Water really be that limited? Practically every army can form some kind of Earth army and some kind of Fire army. Not all of them, mind you, but most of them.

I guess I'll have to think about this one a bit more before I respond in any particularly meaningful way. I must say, you bring up excellent points, and you've given me a lot to think about.


[sigh...] at this rate, I'm never going to get my IW post up... :P
New Year's Resolution 2007: Keep track of my wins and losses. (note: only 1 vs. 1 games counted)

-Chaos (32/6/7) -Space Marines (3/0/0) -Necrons (4/1/0) -Tyranids (17/2/1) -Inquisition (67/13/13)
Total: (123/22/21) W/L/D


#12
Silent Requiem

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Not going to add much here (yet) as I don't want to interfere with the Aidoneus/number6 debate. But I would point out that both Tau and Eldar can field troop units that have a 18" assault weapon. Whilst Tau are clearly lacking in the assault phase, I'm pretty sure that a couple of Eldar Water lists exist, all quite distinct from each other. I've also spoken with someone who has built what he feels is a 1k sons Water list, and while my Chaos is rusty, can't noise marines take an assault weapon for their basic troops?

That said, I do take your point that not all armies can be Water armies under number6's (really rather excellent) definiton, even if I would argue that they are not as limited as you suggest. However, I don't think it follows that the exclusion of some armies from the "title" of Water army is necessarily a bad thing, or that it invalidates the definition suggested.

Whilst playing any of the elements has a distinct philosophical side, the correct tools are necessary to translate philosophy into action.

Seeing as I'm posting already, I'll add that I see Air as a specialist force using mobility to bring it's specialism to bear, whereas Water is the generalist, using mobility to bring whatever is appropriate in the current circumstances to bear.

That begs the obvious question, "So you've gone from saying Air is a fast Water army to saying Air is a fast Fire army?" I feel that the answer is a resounding "No". While Air is similar to Fire in the use of specialist troops, and the desire to quickly overwhelm the enemy, there are a number of distinctions.

Fire seeks one indiscriminate exercise of power, or failing that, as few as possible. Air seeks out a series of small, descrete engagements. Fire says "Give me the first turn, starting within charge/rapid fire range of your whole army, and I won't need a turn two". Air says "Spread yourself out and I'll have a guarenteed 4th turn win". Fire is specialist beatdown, Air is specialist control.

Anyhow, I've said more than I intended. :wink:

Go back to what you were saying.

-Silent Requiem
QUOTE
About my list; it is weak. But it fits me, and that counts for a lot more than any amount of mathammer.


Since 5th edition: 3 wins, no draws, no losses.

#13
number6

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I'm wary of starting any actual "debate" here, especially as you've indicated that you have one or two more "official" posts to add to the thread, and also because you've indicated that you want some time to consider. So what's my point here? Two of them. One: To acknowledge your thoughtful response and let you know that I don't address it in full to avoid completely hijacking your thread topic. Two: I can't help myself sometimes, and I just gotta say sumpin'. :D

You say that an Air army does not dominate any particular aspect of battle, so they must use what assets they have (in this case, mobility) to avoid the enemy's strengths and engage his weaknesses. That is what you were saying, is it not? I couldn't fully engage the IWs in either assault or all-out firefight, so I had to use my assets (small numbers, speed, decently-powerful mid-long range shooting) in order to deny him his victory condition and, simultaneously, to engage him on my own terms. But Number6, is that not the textbook definition of a Water force? Seeing the enemy and the tactical situation, and forming/changing your tactics to best fit those circumstances, seeking to engage his weaknesses and avoid his strengths (as opposed to Fire and Earth, which seek to avoid their own weaknesses and engage their own strengths)?

So yes, I agree with you that my force is a good example of a shooting Air army. However, I also consider it a good example of a fast Water army. In fact, I go so far as to say that those two are one and the same, and you will never find an example of one that is not the other as well.

I absolutely concede that your biker army is very close to being Water, and that you play it strongly informed by the precepts Silent Requiem outlined. What I like about it, actually, is that it is such a great blending of Air and Water. But if one is required to label it with a single elemental description, I believe "Air" fits more strongly because the army units, and tactics you intend to employ, are the same for each and every game, for each and every opponent. (I.e., "snipe, shoot, and swoop".) It's fortunate in that, being space marines, you have a basic statline that will serve you well in assaults, should the need arise, but that is not a tactic that I inferred you intended on using except in emergency. For many reasons (from extreme low numbers, lower even than a pure GK list at the same points level, to forgoing upgrades that would more evenly balance your units out), assaults were to be avoided, because that was a relative weakness of your army. The points you spent were, by and large (but not entirely, of course), spent to maximize mobility, speed, and firepower at the expense of resilience and assault power.

Contrast this with good Water units, which may not particularly excel at any of the chief aspects of the game (mobility, firepower, assault power), but neither are they slouches at any of those aspects. Any one specialist unit will equal or completely outclass a Water unit in one or even two of those primary aspects, but never in all three. Similarly, an entire specialist army (e.g., Fire, Earth, Air) can equal or completely outclass a Water army in one or even two of those primary aspects, but never in all three.

When thinking about your biker army, one needs to ask: Can another army equal or outclass your biker army in all three of those aspects? Specifically, those same aspects that appear to be the strengths (and weaknesses) of your army? Mech Tau, other Space Marines and Chaos Marines (e.g., biker, mech, Ravenwing), and several Eldar builds all spring to my mind, so I would argue that your army is specialized enough to not actually be Water.

I want to add that, similar to the way the same army can be Beatdown one game and Control the next, some armies will more strongly resemble a particular element when matched up to some opponents but a different element when matched up against different opponents. This slippery, chimerical aspect is actually the defining characteristic of Water armies, and the primary reason why I think they're so difficult to pin down and grapple with, both on the field of battle and philosophically. Even against another Water army (thanks to minor variations that will always be present), a Water army essentially looks like one of the other three elements once it is compared and contrasted with its opponent. For the Water general, successfully identifying the element your opponent "makes you become" is half of the battle (as it were).

In a way, what I am saying is similar to what you have been saying (vis-a-vis, "there is no Air and Water, only Air/Water"), only ... tangential. (Language is failing me here.) You will never see a Water army on the field. You will only ever see Air, Fire, and Earth. However, true Air, Fire, and Earth armies cannot change gears like a Water army can. (Not most of the time, at least.) A mech Tau army will not be able to play Earth style, no matter who it faces; it is Air, through and through. But against those mech Tau, a Water army should look like an Earth or Fire army. Against many 'nids armies -- Fire armies -- the same Water army should look like a shooty Air army or a resilient Earth army. Against an Earth army -- IG, perhaps? -- the same Water army should look like a Fire, or perhaps Air, army (referencing Silent Requiem's previous post on the differing nature of Air/Fire specialization).

The traditional Elemental Oppositions don't really work here, as we don't have four primary elements defining our unit capabilities, which I think gets to the heart of the problem you have had identifying your biker army's style. However, if we think of the Elements in the symbolic sense, and the approach the Elemental Warrior takes, philosiphically, with their approach to unit composition, list building, and battlefield intelligence, it makes great sense. Air and Earth appear to be clear opposites, fragile but fast units attempting to erode a solid mass. Fire and Water even oppose, if only because Water has no choice but to be the opposite of the Fire army in every way. (If it isn't, it is dead!) Of course, the exact nature of that opposition will depend on the finer details that define the Fire opponent. A hallmark of Water armies, small variations will create exploitable distinctions.

Man, this is a lot more involved than I initially thought, and promised! Sorry about that. I hope it makes some coherent sense. More importantly, I hope it didn't derail everything you're doing in this thread. Please feel free to ignore it in the interest of getting your through-line out, and come back to it later, should you be so inclined.

Edited by number6, 26 March 2007 - 10:03 PM.

RIP Warhammer 40,000: 21 Sep 1998 - 24 May 2014

#14
Aidoneus

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...Please feel free to ignore it in the interest of getting your through-line out, and come back to it later, should you be so inclined.

Wow. Thanks to both you and Silent Requiem for fantastic disussion here! I think I am gonna have to take your advice here, and ignore these last two posts (and a more in-depth look at your second-to-most-recent post, #6), until I get the last 2 "official" posts up. Just know that I'm not forgetting you.

And Silent, please oh please don't feel like a third wheel here! This is your elemental breakdown, and your tactics. Not only that, but you continue to provide excellent insight to our discussion. So while I am going to put this particular conversation on hold (only for a day or two, hopefully), when we do get back to it, I most certainly want you involved.

Cheers for now boys,
-Aidoneus
New Year's Resolution 2007: Keep track of my wins and losses. (note: only 1 vs. 1 games counted)

-Chaos (32/6/7) -Space Marines (3/0/0) -Necrons (4/1/0) -Tyranids (17/2/1) -Inquisition (67/13/13)
Total: (123/22/21) W/L/D


#15
Aidoneus

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Tell you what, I'm not gonna go through all the individual unit descriptions here. I don't see that they help very much. Instead, let me give a somewhat different unit-by-unit breakdown that might be a bit more helpful.

Lieutenant:
-Battlefield Role: CC support for a Rhino squad
-Level of Tactical Flexibility: Reactionary or offensive CC (not much)
-Elemental Type: Fire

Possessed:
-Battlefield Role: CC where needed
-Level of Tactical Flexibility: Reactionary or offensive CC (not much)
-Elemental Type: Fire

Min/Max Squads:
-Battlefield Role: Shooting
-Level of Tactical Flexibility: None
-Elemental Type: Earth (they're in cover whenever possible)

Infiltrating Squad:
-Battlefield Role: React to enemy deployment and early movement
-Level of Tactical Flexibility: Pretty good. 2 plasma, a bunch of bolters, and a powerfist make them able to handle most anything
-Elemental Type: Water

Autocannon Havocs:
-Battlefield Role: Heavy shooting, anti-tank and anti-large-infantry
-Level of Tactical Flexibility: Deciding shooting targets (i.e. virtually none)
-Elemental Type: Earth

Special Weapon Havocs:
-Battlefield Role: Short Range shooting + CC where needed
-Level of Tactical Flexibility: Not bad. They must be at close range, but they can handle CC or shooting, and they're good against lots of different unit types
-Elemental Type: Water/Fire

Defiler:
-Battlefield Role: Mainly template-throwing, variety of closer-range roles if needed
-Level of Tactical Flexibility: Somewhat flexible. It prefers one role, but is capable of several others.
-Elemental Type: Honestly, I'd call this Water (only because there's no IF)

Dreadnought:
-Battlefield Role: General support
-Level of Tactical Flexibility: Very good
-Elemental Type: Water


The army is made up of pretty much equal parts Water, Fire, and Earth units. However, does a mixture of different type units make for an overall Water list?

Honestly, the more I look at this list, the less I think it's a Water list. It's versatile, and it has the capabilities to react to different enemies and different situations, but that does not make it a Water list.

I thought of an interesting analogy earlier. I'm sure it'll sound absolutely crazy, and probably incoherent, when I write it down, but I'm gonna try anyway. Just bear with me.

Imagine you have some sort of irregularly-shaped container. Let's just say, for the sake of our analogy, you have a plastic sand castle mold. Now, you want to fill the mold, as best you can. You have two choices of things to fill it with: various irregularly-shaped blocks, or water. If you put the blocks in, they can fit all right. Shake them up a little bit, and some of the bumpy parts might settle into the cavaties of the mold a bit better, but they still won't fill the mold completely. However, if you put the water in, it will conform to the shape of the mold completely, and will fill the mold perfectly.

In this example, the sand castle mold is a given tactical situation; the irregularly-shaped blocks are an army that acheives versatility by combining different specialist units; and the water is a force that acheives versatility by having all of its units be versatile. While both armies are capable of conforming to the situation, the mixed army is less able to do so because, in the end, each of its units is ultimately inflexible. Sometimes the units' abilities will better match the situation than others, just as you might imagine irregular blocks might fit into some molds better than others. In the Water list, however, all the components are equally flexible, so it can fit into any situation equally well. (I'm not sure if the analogy is really good, but it sounded moderately insightfull in my head).

Number6 made an absolutely wonderful point about how every unit of a Water list should be able to deal with both CC and shooting equally well. It's not good enough for some units to do one task and some to do another, because then the army as a whole will not be able to fully adapt to situations. For example, in my list, the 4 static shooting units are not able to do anything other than sit and shoot, just like the possessed aren't able to do anything other than charge into CC. Sure, the one might be doing one thing while the other does the other thing, but if my shooting units get assaulted, or my possessed are facing down hordes of enemy CC specialists, there's nothing either of those squads can do to in those situations.

I still maintain that Water armies can be somewhat specialized. Silent Requiem's army clearly is more powerful at shooting than at CC. If I added power fist vet sgts to my Biker list (making it clearly a Water list), it would still be more powerful at shooting. In fact, I would argue that Water armies should be slightly (emphasis on "slightly") more powerful at shooting than at CC.

Think of it this way: when you're out of CC, you have many more choices than when you're in CC. When you're out of CC you can move in any direction, shoot any squad within range, and charge any squad within range. However, if you are in CC with someone, you have absolutely no choices; you can only sit there and hit that one unit. Water armies thrive on choices because those choices give them the ability to adapt to situations. So yes, while a Water army absolutely needs to be capable of fighting CC at a moment's notice, I think it should always start out shooting first, so as not to commit itself to a plan of action prematurely (which would make it a weak Fire army for that game).

Back to my army. It may not be Water, but it is capable of reacting to opponents. This flexibility allows a player to use Water tactics, despite the list not actually being Water. I've played the list 3-4 times now, and it hasn't acted the same way in any two of those matches.

For example, the infiltrators. Before my enemy is done deploying, I have absolutely no idea what they're going to do. It's only after I see where he is, and from that deduce what he plans to do, that I decide what role my infiltrators will be playing, or where they'll deploy. I've used them to guard flanks (like in the batrep above), to put pressure on enemy Earth units, to hold objectives early-game in hopes of luring my opponents in, and so on. Also, once they're on the board, the rapid-fire rules allow them to move and shoot, which lets them move to deal with new or moving threats. They are also pretty solid in CC, so I have no compunction against firing once with the AC's pistol and then charging in at an enemy shooty unit who ventured too close. All that is very Water-like, even though my army as a whole in incapable of such Waterish flexibility.

One last thing before I call it a night. I mentioned earlier, in response to one of Silent's questions I believe, that an army made up of specialist units could potentially work like a Water list, if the differently specialized units worked together. Do I still think there's any truth in that, despite what I've been saying these past few paragraphs? Well, certainly one can imagine a shooting unit and a CC unit walking together. As the enemy approaches, both squads move backward while the shooty squad shoots. At last, when the enemy is weakened, both squads charge forward and assault. What is the difference between this situation and one large squad doing the same thing? Is there a difference? Can those two specialist squads really act like one well-rounded squad?

Honestly, I don't know. I'll be honest, I've been awake for far too long now, and I need to go get some sleep soon before I collapse on my computer. I'll go ahead and end my "official" posts there, as I think anything I was planning to cover still is going to be covered better through discussion. I'll end tonight by positing that last question to anyone who's reading.

Other than that, Silent and Number6, I promise you that I will read over your last couple posts a few more times and respond to them sometime in the near future. I've got some interesting ideas I've been kicking around for the last couple days, and if I can get them all straightened out and set down adequately, they should provide for some interesting conversation. Hopefully... ^_^

Edited by Aidoneus, 27 March 2007 - 04:23 AM.

New Year's Resolution 2007: Keep track of my wins and losses. (note: only 1 vs. 1 games counted)

-Chaos (32/6/7) -Space Marines (3/0/0) -Necrons (4/1/0) -Tyranids (17/2/1) -Inquisition (67/13/13)
Total: (123/22/21) W/L/D


#16
Aidoneus

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I thought of an interesting analogy earlier. I'm sure it'll sound absolutely crazy, and probably incoherent, when I write it down, but I'm gonna try anyway. Just bear with me.

Imagine you have some sort of irregularly-shaped container. Let's just say, for the sake of our analogy, you have a plastic sand castle mold. Now, you want to fill the mold, as best you can. You have two choices of things to fill it with: various irregularly-shaped blocks, or water. If you put the blocks in, they can fit all right. Shake them up a little bit, and some of the bumpy parts might settle into the cavaties of the mold a bit better, but they still won't fill the mold completely. However, if you put the water in, it will conform to the shape of the mold completely, and will fill the mold perfectly.

In this example, the sand castle mold is a given tactical situation; the irregularly-shaped blocks are an army that acheives versatility by combining different specialist units; and the water is a force that acheives versatility by having all of its units be versatile. While both armies are capable of conforming to the situation, the mixed army is less able to do so because, in the end, each of its units is ultimately inflexible. Sometimes the units' abilities will better match the situation than others, just as you might imagine irregular blocks might fit into some molds better than others. In the Water list, however, all the components are equally flexible, so it can fit into any situation equally well. (I'm not sure if the analogy is really good, but it sounded moderately insightfull in my head).

Had an amusing thought. In the given situation, we can easily represent Fire and Earth too. Fire would be a sword, and it would slice through the mold. Earth would be a large lead weight, and would crush the mold. You see, both Fire and Earth armies ignore tactical situations (for the most part) and just do what they always do. They don't need to "fit the mold" by conforming to the tactical situation, but instead just assert their own victory conditions to the best of their ability.

A good example of this is a game I played with my old IWs (of the sit-and-shoot variety). I was playing a Clease mission againt a well-rounded Chaos army. I think maybe 2-3 of my units stepped out of my deployment zone the whole game, and even they didn't go very far. However, by the end of the 4th turn I had completely wiped my opponent off the board. My comment at the end was something to the effect of, "Objectives aside, if you're dead, I win anyway." This, to me, was a very Earth/Fire mentality.

I still need a bit more time to collect my thoughts for a full-length post, but I just thought of this and I felt like sharing. ;)

Edit: One quick off-topic note here. I just made yet another attempt at a good Waterish Biker list. I finally figured out the solution to my plasma problems. It's been staring me in the face all along: Chaos! Chaos bikers have mounted special weapons, which is perfect for my needs. Oh, but it gets much, much better than that. Come on over to my thread in the Chaos Undivided section and see what you think. Two questions: Is it good? and, Is it Water?

Edited by Aidoneus, 28 March 2007 - 05:06 AM.

New Year's Resolution 2007: Keep track of my wins and losses. (note: only 1 vs. 1 games counted)

-Chaos (32/6/7) -Space Marines (3/0/0) -Necrons (4/1/0) -Tyranids (17/2/1) -Inquisition (67/13/13)
Total: (123/22/21) W/L/D


#17
number6

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Had an amusing thought. In the given situation, we can easily represent Fire and Earth too. Fire would be a sword, and it would slice through the mold. Earth would be a large lead weight, and would crush the mold. You see, both Fire and Earth armies ignore tactical situations (for the most part) and just do what they always do. They don't need to "fit the mold" by conforming to the tactical situation, but instead just assert their own victory conditions to the best of their ability.

A good example of this is a game I played with my old IWs (of the sit-and-shoot variety). I was playing a Clease mission againt a well-rounded Chaos army. I think maybe 2-3 of my units stepped out of my deployment zone the whole game, and even they didn't go very far. However, by the end of the 4th turn I had completely wiped my opponent off the board. My comment at the end was something to the effect of, "Objectives aside, if you're dead, I win anyway." This, to me, was a very Earth/Fire mentality.

I still need a bit more time to collect my thoughts for a full-length post, but I just thought of this and I felt like sharing. ;)

I'm going to do my best to avoid another essay until you've marshalled your thoughts. :D But, FWIW, I don't think your analogy is totally whacked. Rather, it's insightful. It takes a lot of explaining, but, like Silent Requiem's elementalism, it does make slippery concepts graspable.

In the context of your comments here, your sand castle mold analogy, your batrep, your previous comments about the scarcity of true water units (and armies?) if "my" definition of Water-style is in play, and your comments along the lines of unit specialization (i.e., "every unit and every in 40K is specialized to some degree"), I find myself considering the Water army as a conglomeration/coordination of specializations that balance. Because you are right: by and large, 40K is a game where specialization beats generalization. Most armies reward unit specialization and punish unit generalization. The Eldar are an excellent example; every unit has a clear purpose, and to attempt to diversify Eldar unit's capabilities and roles on the battlefield will meet with failure. Even Space Marines -- perhaps the army most capable of taking on any of Silent Requiem's Elemental styles -- reward specialization over generalization. I myself constantly harp about the need to specialize IST and dreadnought units for DH armies. (E.g., ISTs should not mix special weapons and they should largely attempt to perform just one or two primary tasks. Dreadnoughts should be specialized for long-range armour-hunting -- TLLC/ML -- or short-range infantry suppression, assault support, and possible armour-busting as a bonus -- AC/DCCW.)

The reason is that for most units and armies, spending points to generalize means that, in any given situation, some of those points will be going unused. A standard, common space marine tac squad with a lascannon, plasma gun, and vet sgt with a power fist is a fairly Waterish unit, in my mind. It has decent shooting, mobility, and assault powers, and is capable of tackling very nearly any enemy unit. And yet, any choice the player makes with that squad will sacrifice some part of the squad's capabilities. If it moves, it can't shoot as far nor can it fire it's heaviest weapon. If it assaults, it can't shoot at all. And if it stands still, the significant chunk of change invested in the vet sgt and power fist is going to waste. So yeah, the tac squad is, in a limited sense, "Waterish". But in the broader sense, it isn't. If a unit sacrifices effiencies/capabilities just to maintain flexibility, just in the process of doing it's job, then it isn't really, truly a Water unit. Water units should always maintain full capabilities regardless of what it chooses to do.

I guess what I'm saying is that in many cases -- most cases? -- investing points to make a unit Waterish isn't a good idea. At some point, you will have spent so many points across your army to generalize it -- to make it Waterish -- that you will have sacrificed overall capability on the altar of supreme flexibility. That is, you will have bought tactical flexibility at the expense of making your army less capable than virtually any other army bought for the same number of points; it will be no more potent than a more efficient, specialized army bought for far fewer points. Most armies thrive on specialization, and I would argue that all armies -- including Water armies -- thrive on efficiency.

I've been somewhat concerned that Silent Requiem's excellent tactica -- and the cornucopia of fruitful discussion it has generated -- might be leading people to think that the Water style is The Superior, Best Style. Honestly, I think that, many times -- most times? -- it isn't. (There is absolutely nothing wrong with playing Air, Fire, or Earth. For one thing, they work! And while Earth may not be to Silent's taste -- or my taste or your taste -- two of my regular game buddies play nothing but Earth, regardless of army, and have a blast. To each his own!) As Silent said earlier in this thread:

Whilst playing any of the elements has a distinct philosophical side, the correct tools are necessary to translate philosophy into action.

For many armies, those tools just aren't available. Or upgrading the tools to make them into Water units is actually so expensive as to be suboptimal. Assuming competitiveness is of paramount importance, one must construct a list with efficiency in mind and run with it. For most armies, "efficiency" equates to "carefully considered specialization". For Water armies, however, "efficiency" equates to "basic, vanilla, no extra frippery".

And this leads me to yet another attribute of "true" Water units: Water units can't be (over-)specialized. It just isn't possible. They will have a limited selection of upgrades available, none of which will tip the inherent balance of capabilities too far in any one direction. A true Water army should have that Waterish flexibility based largely on the units selected, as opposed to the upgrades purchased for those units. If we accept this, then yes, I would have to agree that there are very few true Water units in the game. GKs would have very little company in this category.

However, I don't see this as a problem, because I do tend to believe that, while there may be very few true Water units, I do believe that there can be very many Water armies. It's all about the coordination of specialties. Again, I would like to suggest Eldar as a fine example. They don't have to be specialized Air or Fire (or Earth?) armies; a balanced selection of aspect warriors, etc., can provide the Eldar general with the flexibility to meet any foe, stand up to any challenge. The difference between this kind of Waterish Eldar army and the Waterish Daemonhunters army built around Grey Knights (that started this whole mess :() is that, for the Eldar, Waterish capabilities are handled from above, across the entire battlefield, as an overall strategy that informs coordinated tactics between specific units. For the DH player, Waterish capabilities are expressed by the units themselves, and the DH general is free to make decisions on a unit-by-unit basis, coordinating units -- or not -- as each game turn's activities dictate. To run with your analogy, the Eldar player is carefully choosing which little blocks to fit into the nooks and crannies of the castle mold to maximize the fit -- probably changing them around every turn, too, creating a Waterish ebb and flow across the entire game table. The DH player merely has to pour the water out. The in-game decisions are played out at a different level.

Edit: One quick off-topic note here. I just made yet another attempt at a good Waterish Biker list. I finally figured out the solution to my plasma problems. It's been staring me in the face all along: Chaos! Chaos bikers have mounted special weapons, which is perfect for my needs. Oh, but it gets much, much better than that. Come on over to my thread in the Chaos Undivided section and see what you think. Two questions: Is it good? and, Is it Water?

Once again, I have broken my own promise of brevity and written out an entire novella :P, so I'm done for now. I've looked at the list, and all I can say is: I don't know. ^_^ IMHO, few of the units, individually, appear to be Water units. But unlike with the biker list that started this thread, I do get the sense that you won't need to come to the table with a pre-made tactic that must be employed every game, so it seems more Waterish to me on that level, the army level. I'd be very interested in seeing it in action against a variety of foes.

Edited by number6, 28 March 2007 - 01:01 PM.

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#18
Wolf's Bane

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Edit: One quick off-topic note here. I just made yet another attempt at a good Waterish Biker list. I finally figured out the solution to my plasma problems. It's been staring me in the face all along: Chaos! Chaos bikers have mounted special weapons, which is perfect for my needs. Oh, but it gets much, much better than that. Come on over to my thread in the Chaos Undivided section and see what you think. Two questions: Is it good? and, Is it Water?


Hmmmm How a good battle will be this Chaos Waterish Bike Army against a DH Waterish Army (I mean, playing both with the Water Style)

I would like to see a report of this two armys faced!

I would like too to have more activity in this thread 'cause I consider it a brilliant thread with two very intelligent men discussing between them but I'm afraid my level is much lower than both of you.

The only thing I can say is I'm collecting my new DH force right now (I have a lot of things still to paint) but when I'll have all the work done I will try to put in practice all the techings of out friend Silent's Requiem. Maybe in that moment ... I will have walked all the road I need to discuss in your level!!!
Keep faith!
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We'll keep the Daemons where they belongs to!! and We'll keep the Emperor's research!!

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#19
Aidoneus

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Hmmmm How a good battle will be this Chaos Waterish Bike Army against a DH Waterish Army (I mean, playing both with the Water Style)

I would like to see a report of this two armys faced!

I would love to play that game! Unfortunately, I don't really know any Ordos players in my area (apart from occaisional allies into Spacies armies). Now, if Silent Requiem or Number6 lived nearby, we could have some wonderful games! Unfortunately, I know Silent doesn't, and I have a feeling Number6 doesn't either. Oh well, c'est la vie.

By the way, Wolf's Bane, all three of us "regulars" here encourage everyone to contribute. Please don't think just because we think and write about this a lot that that somehow makes anything you say less valid. We're all just folk here. Sometimes it's nice to get some new opinions into a conversation. ;)


Well, there's a huge amount here to discuss, so I'm going to try to do this methodically, if at all possible. First off though, I want to ask something: why are we discussing all this here instead of in the original thread by Silent? I guess some of these topics were inspired by things I said about my game, but this discussion has become general enough that I might be better placed in the general thread, especially since that one (being a sticky) is more likely to stick around for furture players to read.

Okay, on to the content. From what I've just re-read, I picked out three main topics that I want to discuss at more length:

1. Slight specialization in Water units/lists
2. Combining specialist units to make a Water army
3. Relations between the elements


Slight Specialization in Water Units and Lists

I don't want to talk yet about taking various specialist units and using them to make an overall balanced list. That's the next topic. Right now, I'm talking about actual "Water" units, and about armies made up entirely of Water units.

Every unit is better at either shooting of assaulting. Which they are better at may be obvious, or it may depend on the enemy they are facing. While terminators may do better shooting 'Nids than assaulting them, against Necrons they will do better assaulting. I'm not talking about this kind of imbalance either, as it's the nature of Water units anyway, and there's really nothing that can be done about it.

However, what about those "Water" units that honestly do prefer one aspect of combat over another. They'd have to still be quite capable of engaging effectively in firefights or CC, but they're slightly better at the one than the other. A good example of this might be one of my biker units (attack, 2 specials, 1-2 regular, and a vet sgt w/ power fist). These guys can definitely do well either in CC or shooting, but they do better in shooting.

Can a Water unit truly be a Water unit if it specializes like this? I say yes, but only under two conditions: it must still be capable of effectively engaging in the other kind of combat as well, and it has to specialize in shooting. The first condition is obvious, but why include the second? I covered this slightly earlier, so let me just quote myself:

Think of it this way: when you're out of CC, you have many more choices than when you're in CC. When you're out of CC you can move in any direction, shoot any squad within range, and charge any squad within range. However, if you are in CC with someone, you have absolutely no choices; you can only sit there and hit that one unit. Water armies thrive on choices because those choices give them the ability to adapt to situations. So yes, while a Water army absolutely needs to be capable of fighting CC at a moment's notice, I think it should always start out shooting first, so as not to commit itself to a plan of action prematurely (which would make it a weak Fire army for that game).

And just as this is true of each Water squad, I would imagine it to be true of an entire Water army. An army with more of its parts out of combat has more tactical choices available to it than an army with more of its units in CC.


Combining Specialist Units to Create a Water Army

Simply put: must a Water army be made up of Water units, or can it be a conglomeration of different specialist units which, when combined, can be flexible and reactive?

I suggested earlier that, while such conglomerative armies may be tactically flexible, and may be able to play reactively, that is not the same as saying they are a Water army. I asked the question, is it possible for a conglomerative army to play Watery, if they coupled every shooting unit with a CC unit? Let me explore this a bit more.

First off, I think I should further explain why a normal conglomerated army cannot function as a Water army. If the units are dispersed, they will each be facing a different set of enemy units (as well as terrain features, etc...). Because of this, the different units will have to work at least somewhat independently. Thus, the Fire units will act as tiny Fire forces, the Earth units will work as tiny Earth forces, and so on. In this case, any unit that prefers shooting will avoid CC as much as possible, in the hopes that a CC unit will come take care of the CC. This means the army does not actually have complete flexibility, and cannot truly react to every situation. Also, if the situation calls for CC (say, if you're facing down IG), none of the shooting units can really contribute, and in that case you're not operating at full capacity. (and the same would be true if the situation reversed, and shooting were preferable)

We can somewhat see an example of this in my IW army. Although it is varied enough to be tactically flexible, it generally prefers to shoot rather than assault. Usually, the CC units will sit back, and rush to assault only when the enemy is close enough to assault me the next turn. This is the case even when a more forward, CC-focused approach might fit slightly better (against Tau, for example). In the few cases where this approach simply won't work, the IW army is capable of other strategies, true, but nothing like a Water list. Take the batrep in this thread for example. A Water army would have moved forward as one, all the units shooting as they made their approach for charging. My IW army, on the other hand, basically split into two forces: those capable of charging forward and those not. It was because my advancing left flank had no shooting power that I lost the game, a problem I would not have had if I were using an actual Water army.

The question is: is there any exception to this general rule? My thought was running squads in tandem, essentially treating the dual squad as one larger unit. A good example of this might be Eldar, where one unit of Dire Avengers walks around with one unit of Striking Scorpions. Together, these two units can move aruond the battlefield and engage in any kind of combat needed. Would such an army work?

The answer, as far as I know, is, "I have no idea!" I've honestly never tried it. Based on theory, I'd say such a list would be inefficient. At any given point, either you're wasting the price of the shooting unit or you're wasting the price of the CC unit. One would imagine (and corroborate through actual games) that the army's efficiency would be much better if each specialist unit were off doing its specialist role the whole time. In a vanilla spacies army, for instance, the devs should be shooting the whole game, the assault squads should be charging the whole game, and the tac squads (non-specialists) are the only ones who do not have a specific goal to accomplish. However, that being said, my theory doesn't always hold true, and I can find no terribly convincing reason why two small specialist squads are any less efficient than one slightly larger, more expensive Water unit.

An adequate example of this would be the new Dark Angels combat squads. Say you have a 10-man tac squad with lascannon, flamer, and vet sgt w/ power fist. Overall, while the unit has strong Earthy overtones, it can pass reasonably well as a Water unit. Now, consider what happens if you split the squad into 2 combat squads (one with vet sgt and flamer, the other with lascannon) and ran them next to each other. One would be shooty, and the other more-or-less CC (it's not a perfect example because they're force-fed bolters, but work with me a bit here). Even though each of those combat squads is somewhat specialized, running them next to each other is at least as efficient and flexible as running them as one large squad. Isn't it?


Relations Between the Elements

Okay, this goes a bit more outside of our previous topics of conversation, but is tied in in some ways. Basically, as with any good system of categorizing, the various elements must relate to each other somehow. Perhaps they have similarities, perhaps one element is strong against another, perhaps there are some overlaps, etc... I would like to examine these relationships further in order to get a better understanding of the elemental system as a whole, and each of the elements separately (not to mention, we might be able to figure out some good gaming advice).

First off, here's the section of Silent's original post that describes the various elements.

Are there any obvious similarities between any two elements?

Fire and Earth:
-Both try to assert their plan, rather than react to or deny the enemy's
-Both pay far less attention to objectives than Air or Water
-Both tend to specialize in one area of combat (Earth generally goes for shooting, while Fire goes for CC)
-Both benefit from taking first turn

Fire and Air:
-Fire beneftis from speed, while Air is almost completely defined by it
-Both look to overwhelm the enemy on some level

Fire and Water:
-I honestly can't think of any

Earth and Air:
-I can't think of any

Earth and Water:
-Both tend to prefer shooting, although obviously to radically different degrees

Air and Water:
-Both use mobility to react to enemy deployment/movement
-Both need to use LoS/VP denial to survive against more offensively specialized armies
-Both concentrate a lot on objectives
-Both benefit from taking second turn

(there is one similarity I refrained from mentioning, and that was elitism. Given Silent's descriptions, 3 of those 4 types generally prefer elitism. This concerns me, as majority opinion among 40k players favors lots of bodies, but that will be a topic for another time. For now, I disregarded it because I don't feel it actually links elements' playstyles to a significant degree)

As you can see, in my mind at least, Earth and Fire tend to be closely connected, as are Air and Water. This, I believe, mostly boils down to a difference between the Earth/Fire "inflict" mentality and the Air/Water "deny and react" mentality. So while army composition might differ between the sets of "similar" elements, generally attitudes towards things like objectives, first turn, enemy deployment, and so on should all be pretty much the same.

You'll notice there was also similarities (although much slighter ones) between Fire/Air and Earth/Water. I find this slightly harder to explain. Perhaps there really are no significant connections going this way. However, I feel like there really is something here, I'm just unable to pin it down. Perhaps someone else might have a thought on that? Certainly, if this were the case, we could make the claim that Water and Fire are opposites, as are Earth and Air. That seems, for some reason, right to me, but again, I can't explain why. Any thoughts on that?

My next question is, are there any areas of overlap between elements, mostly in terms of army composition?

Certainly I think that Air and Water have a lot in common, as both need mobility (though Water doesn't necessarily need speed), and both usually have a decent amount of both shooting and CC (though Air doesn't necessarily need to).

Air and Fire can also have similar compositions, as both make use of speed (though Fire to a lesser extent, and without the need for maneuverability).

I can't really think of any compositional similarities between Fire and Water, or anything and Earth. If any of you can, please let me know.

Lastly, is any one element strong against any other element? That is, taking into account a large number of sample games involving a large number of opponents and lists, all with approximately equal skill, would one particular element, when paired against one particular other element, tend to win more often than not? Now, obviously I have absolutely no access to this kind of information. I doubt such information exists, as the elemental theory is Silent's own creation and not a widely-known or accepted way of categorizing armies. So we're going to have to rely on theoryhammer here.

Personally, I don't think there are any such relative strengths. I think certain elements are better at certain scenarios or with certain amounts/types of terrain. But, looking back, I haven't noticed that any one element does unusually well against any one other element. If any of you think otherwise, by all means explain to me why.


I think, overall, the elemental system as outlined by Silent is, at the moment, rather vague. Now clearly, Silent did not realize people would be analyzing his system so intently, as he was mostly concerned with writing a tactica for just one element (Water). However, I feel that now that we are analyzing his system so much, we should work together (including Silent, of course) to better define the elements and their compositions and playstyles. If we can do that, I think a lot of our little debates will be easily resolved, and we'll have a much easier time understanding the game from this perspective.

I mentioned this before, but I'll say it again now: we really should be having this conversation in Silent's original, stickied, thread. We've gone way beyond the confines of my armies or my battle, and the topics that we're discussing really should be read by other people trying to understand what Silent wrote in his tactica.

There, I've finally caught up to the discussion! :ermm: I officially invite Number6 to stop his "little" posts and get with the real, lengthy debates! And I officially invite Silent Requiem to stop being a modest onlooker and come give us a piece of his mind! :) And finally, I officially invite anyone else who was crazy enough to read this far to say anything, anything at all, that they thought of while reading this. I'm always looking for fresh opinions.

Thanks, as always, for reading,
-Aidoneus

Edited by Aidoneus, 29 March 2007 - 04:59 AM.

New Year's Resolution 2007: Keep track of my wins and losses. (note: only 1 vs. 1 games counted)

-Chaos (32/6/7) -Space Marines (3/0/0) -Necrons (4/1/0) -Tyranids (17/2/1) -Inquisition (67/13/13)
Total: (123/22/21) W/L/D


#20
RolandTHTG

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(there is one similarity I refrained from mentioning, and that was elitism. Given Silent's descriptions, 3 of those 4 types generally prefer elitism. This concerns me, as majority opinion among 40k players favors lots of bodies, but that will be a topic for another time. For now, I disregarded it because I don't feel it actually links elements' play styles to a significant degree)


I can't really think of any compositional similarities between Fire and Water, or anything and Earth. If any of you can, please let me know.


Actually I can think of a very specific earth-fire (ground fire :blink: ) similarity (considering that I still have nightmares about facing it). Your infamous 105 model 1500 pt nid list. While it was fast, it's primary advantage was too many models for us to kill before they reached the lines. Another ground fire would be a conventional (old school) Ork list, with massive mobs of boys marching straight at your lines.
You're elitist fire comment is obviously from playing chaos so much, which has inherently easily elitist assault units.


I like your break-down of the similarities of the differences between the army styles, even if a couple of your comments are predicated upon having followed the entire discussion ('on some level' and 'to radically different degrees')

Edited by TJWyrm, 30 March 2007 - 02:17 AM.

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#21
Aidoneus

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Actually I can think of a very specific earth-fire (ground fire ;) ) similarity (considering that I still have nightmares about facing it). Your infamous 105 model 1500 pt nid list. While it was fast, it's primary advantage was too many models for us to kill before they reached the lines. Another ground fire would be a conventional (old school) Ork list, with massive mobs of boys marching straight at your lines.
You're elitist fire comment is obviously from playing chaos so much, which has inherently easily elitist assault units.

:lol: Yeah, I forgot about that. Only played that list once, but it was so much fun! And it was 151 models! Geeze TJ, get it right! B) Honestly though, I'm not sure how to classify that list. It's weird.

Here's the thing: In Silent's original thread, he talks about how Fire armies have "specialist" units that prefer to overwhelm opponents on a one-on-one basis, which makes me think automatically of elitist assault forces such as Chaos. However, he also mentions (just at one point) that Fire armies often have high model counts. These seem to be somewhat contradictory descriptions to me, as anytime you have a high model count you're clearly not looking for a one-on-one fight.

I like your break-down of the similarities of the differences between the army styles, even if a couple of your comments are predicated upon having followed the entire discussion ('on some level' and 'to radically different degrees')

Oh right, sorry if those were slightly cryptic.

The "on some level" bit in the Fire/Air comparison refers to the fact that Fire tries to move as one mass and overwhelm the entire enemy army all at once, whereas Air tries to flank or by some other means isolate a part of the enemy army so that they can overwhelm just that section before moving on to do the same to other parts of the enemy's army.

The "to radically different degrees" bit in the Water/Earth comparison refers to the fact that Earth armies tend to specialize a great deal in shooting (for various reasons that Silent covers in his original thread), whereas Water armies tend to be overall very balanced, but usually have a slight lean towards shooting for the tactical flexibility it affords (as I went over earlier in my last post).

Is there anything else I was vague or cryptic about? I try not to be, but obviously it's hard for me to tell, as I can almost always understand what I'm talking about. :blush:
New Year's Resolution 2007: Keep track of my wins and losses. (note: only 1 vs. 1 games counted)

-Chaos (32/6/7) -Space Marines (3/0/0) -Necrons (4/1/0) -Tyranids (17/2/1) -Inquisition (67/13/13)
Total: (123/22/21) W/L/D


#22
number6

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Now, if Silent Requiem or Number6 lived nearby, we could have some wonderful games! Unfortunately, I know Silent doesn't, and I have a feeling Number6 doesn't either. Oh well, c'est la vie.

Find your way to Wisconsin sometime, and I'll happily be your punching bag for a few games. :rolleyes:

Well, there's a huge amount here to discuss, so I'm going to try to do this methodically, if at all possible. First off though, I want to ask something: why are we discussing all this here instead of in the original thread by Silent? I guess some of these topics were inspired by things I said about my game, but this discussion has become general enough that I might be better placed in the general thread, especially since that one (being a sticky) is more likely to stick around for furture players to read.

It's my fault. I apparently had a lot of thoughts inspired by your initial analysis and spat them out here. Made sense at the time! Sorry to have made everybody suffer through that.

However, what about those "Water" units that honestly do prefer one aspect of combat over another. They'd have to still be quite capable of engaging effectively in firefights or CC, but they're slightly better at the one than the other. A good example of this might be one of my biker units (attack, 2 specials, 1-2 regular, and a vet sgt w/ power fist). These guys can definitely do well either in CC or shooting, but they do better in shooting.

Can a Water unit truly be a Water unit if it specializes like this? I say yes, but only under two conditions: it must still be capable of effectively engaging in the other kind of combat as well, and it has to specialize in shooting. The first condition is obvious, but why include the second? I covered this slightly earlier, so let me just quote myself:

Think of it this way: when you're out of CC, you have many more choices than when you're in CC. When you're out of CC you can move in any direction, shoot any squad within range, and charge any squad within range. However, if you are in CC with someone, you have absolutely no choices; you can only sit there and hit that one unit. Water armies thrive on choices because those choices give them the ability to adapt to situations. So yes, while a Water army absolutely needs to be capable of fighting CC at a moment's notice, I think it should always start out shooting first, so as not to commit itself to a plan of action prematurely (which would make it a weak Fire army for that game).

And just as this is true of each Water squad, I would imagine it to be true of an entire Water army. An army with more of its parts out of combat has more tactical choices available to it than an army with more of its units in CC.

This makes eminent sense to me. I do find that, for most games, I usually look for ways to shoot at enemies before trying to engage them in assaults. Not true for everyone -- I much prefer to run pell-mell into assault with Necrons, IG, Tau, and similar, for example -- but against the average army -- which I would say is a MEQ army -- getting in as much shooting before committing to assaults is required.

What I find shooting does is cover for a lack of speed and a lack of resilience (where "resilience" equates to "staying power"). I'm always outnumbered, sometimes by as much as 3 or 4 to 1 -- I would imagine lots of DH players are! -- so assaulting is often quite dangerous even in situations where my troops will clean up. There are only so many 3+ saves one can make against a (relative) horde of enemies, especially when those enemies are MEQs (or better). Several rounds of shooting not only leaves tactical options on the table (very Waterish), it also helps ensure that our close combat prowess will actually prove decisive when the moment arrives to exercise that tactical option.

In this sense, shooting is "default" only because it is also "decisive". It is the best tactical option, at least until your enemy's numbers have been reduced down to a manageable size.

Combining Specialist Units to Create a Water Army

Simply put: must a Water army be made up of Water units, or can it be a conglomeration of different specialist units which, when combined, can be flexible and reactive?

I suggested earlier that, while such conglomerative armies may be tactically flexible, and may be able to play reactively, that is not the same as saying they are a Water army. I asked the question, is it possible for a conglomerative army to play Watery, if they coupled every shooting unit with a CC unit?
...
My IW army ... basically split into two forces: those capable of charging forward and those not. It was because my advancing left flank had no shooting power that I lost the game, a problem I would not have had if I were using an actual Water army.

The question is: is there any exception to this general rule? My thought was running squads in tandem, essentially treating the dual squad as one larger unit. A good example of this might be Eldar, where one unit of Dire Avengers walks around with one unit of Striking Scorpions. Together, these two units can move aruond the battlefield and engage in any kind of combat needed. Would such an army work?

The answer, as far as I know, is, "I have no idea!" I've honestly never tried it. Based on theory, I'd say such a list would be inefficient. At any given point, either you're wasting the price of the shooting unit or you're wasting the price of the CC unit. One would imagine (and corroborate through actual games) that the army's efficiency would be much better if each specialist unit were off doing its specialist role the whole time. In a vanilla spacies army, for instance, the devs should be shooting the whole game, the assault squads should be charging the whole game, and the tac squads (non-specialists) are the only ones who do not have a specific goal to accomplish. However, that being said, my theory doesn't always hold true, and I can find no terribly convincing reason why two small specialist squads are any less efficient than one slightly larger, more expensive Water unit.

This is a difficult question. I'd love to have more discussion about it from other voices before saying much more about it. But I'm starting to think that my own assertion earlier on -- using Eldar as the example -- is not so solid. I think we're starting to agree about what distinguishes true Water units from units that are merely Waterish. I also think it's fair to say that an army primarily composed of Water units can be successfully employed as a Water army. But where is the dividing line? How much is nature (unit and list composition) and how much is nurture (overall tactical approach), to use another analogy?

My next question is, are there any areas of overlap between elements, mostly in terms of army composition?

Certainly I think that Air and Water have a lot in common, as both need mobility (though Water doesn't necessarily need speed), and both usually have a decent amount of both shooting and CC (though Air doesn't necessarily need to).

Air and Fire can also have similar compositions, as both make use of speed (though Fire to a lesser extent, and without the need for maneuverability).

I think these are valid comparisons, and, in fact, have already been thinking along these lines. Your army list and batrep here definitely reinforce the Air/Water similarities. I would say that Air only ever has strength in either ranged firepower or close combat power because it's that specialization that truly distinguishes Air units from Water units. To be effective, they must employ their specialty, overwhelmingly, on small pieces of the enemy. Water armies never have to worry about things in quite that way. Move, shoot, or assault ... it's all dependent upon the current enemy being faced. And oftentimes that kind of decision-making is made individually, at the unit level. Air units and entire Air armies have those decisions pre-made before the game even begins, before the opponent is even determined.

I can't really think of any compositional similarities between Fire and Water, or anything and Earth. If any of you can, please let me know.

I think at least one similarity exists between Water and Fire. Both of them require mobile units, but not necessarily fast, speedy units. Water requires mobility because it needs to keep it's tactical options open for as long as is possible. If you sit still, that's impossible. Similarly, Fire units must be able to get to the enemy in order to inflict its will; impossible if forced to stay put. In both cases, speed is definitely helpful, if it's available, but neither is it truly a requirement. So a good way to defeat both types of armies is to inhibit their inherent mobility. Anything you can do to control the movement choices of the Water or Fire army will go a long way toward being able to beat them.

I would say that both Fire and Earth share the capability to overwhelm entire armies all at once. The difference is that your typical Earth army does so from long range with heavy firepowr, while your typical Fire army tries to do so up close and personal, in the assault phase.

Lastly, is any one element strong against any other element?
...
Personally, I don't think there are any such relative strengths. I think certain elements are better at certain scenarios or with certain amounts/types of terrain. But, looking back, I haven't noticed that any one element does unusually well against any one other element. If any of you think otherwise, by all means explain to me why.

I don't think so, anyway. If one element, or a couple of elements, truly were dominant, it would weaken the analogy altogether.

I think, overall, the elemental system as outlined by Silent is, at the moment, rather vague. Now clearly, Silent did not realize people would be analyzing his system so intently, as he was mostly concerned with writing a tactica for just one element (Water). However, I feel that now that we are analyzing his system so much, we should work together (including Silent, of course) to better define the elements and their compositions and playstyles. If we can do that, I think a lot of our little debates will be easily resolved, and we'll have a much easier time understanding the game from this perspective.

I mentioned this before, but I'll say it again now: we really should be having this conversation in Silent's original, stickied, thread. We've gone way beyond the confines of my armies or my battle, and the topics that we're discussing really should be read by other people trying to understand what Silent wrote in his tactica.

Well, if I ever come up with anything like that, I promise not to put it here, then!
RIP Warhammer 40,000: 21 Sep 1998 - 24 May 2014

#23
Wolf's Bane

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Now, if Silent Requiem or Number6 lived nearby, we could have some wonderful games! Unfortunately, I know Silent doesn't, and I have a feeling Number6 doesn't either. Oh well, c'est la vie.

Find your way to Wisconsin sometime, and I'll happily be your punching bag for a few games. ;)


I'm going to Chicago on Octuber (8th to 14th) and I would like to visit the Battle Bunker there. I think Wisconsin is not very far from chicago, doesn't it? :P
Keep faith!
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#24
Aidoneus

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I'm going to Chicago on Octuber (8th to 14th) and I would like to visit the Battle Bunker there. I think Wisconsin is not very far from chicago, doesn't it? :)

It depends where in Wisconsin. I'd say Chicago isn't more than an hour or two of driving from the southern boarder of Wisconsin, but Wisconsin's a fairly sizeable state, so the northern parts would be a full day's drive. Actually, Ohio's not too far from Chicago either, relatively speaking. About 7 hours of driving. The sad part is, that Chicago battle bunker is the closest sizeable GW location I know of.
New Year's Resolution 2007: Keep track of my wins and losses. (note: only 1 vs. 1 games counted)

-Chaos (32/6/7) -Space Marines (3/0/0) -Necrons (4/1/0) -Tyranids (17/2/1) -Inquisition (67/13/13)
Total: (123/22/21) W/L/D


#25
number6

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I'm going to Chicago on Octuber (8th to 14th) and I would like to visit the Battle Bunker there. I think Wisconsin is not very far from chicago, doesn't it? :D

Hmm. Remind me when the dates arrive. Chicago ain't too difficult for me to reach. :wub:
RIP Warhammer 40,000: 21 Sep 1998 - 24 May 2014