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Water Tactics Battle Report


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#51
BaronTuman

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You realize that by "refining" Silent's system, what you've done is
-Change the terminology
-Change the fundamental defining characteristics
-Change the concept of the Beatdown/Control
-Change the tactics used by each element

What have you kept the same?!?

I've kept a lot the same. Firstly, it uses the elements to describe how a unit or army plays. Beatdown and Control are EXACTLY the same in Silents concept as in mine, the difference is that with my system its easier to determine what/who the Beatdown is.

but let's try to keep it civil, okay?

Done.

Beatdown and Control has nothing to do with any elements, or any pair of elements. It has to do, fundamentally, with which army needs to act fast to assert its victory condition, and which needs to deny the enemy's ability to do so in order to take a longer time setting up its own. If you change that to simply mean the "opposite" element, you've changed the concept completely.

Not at all if you re-read his definition of "who's the beatdown" it remains the same. While I could have put it more clearly (the beatdown is the army who is farthest from the origin) and the control is the army who is closest to the origin.

As for your challenge, I don't know much about Orks, so this is slightly difficult because two of your examples are Orks. I assume the first is something like an all-biker spacie list or a destroyer-heavy Necron list in that it's very fast and very shooty, with little CC power. And I assume the second is a lot like a footslogging 'Nid horde list. If either of those is wrong, please let me know.

You've described them exactly.

2) In Silent's original system, this would be a combination of Fire and Earth, though mostly Fire. It's offensive, mobile (though not fast), and prefers CC, all indicative of Fire. However, with the ungodly numbers it can muster, it will be able to outlast most opponents, especially if it can get into CC where its numbers will be more of a protection, and that makes it Earth-like. I will admit right now that I don't know where this would fit into my linear system. I'll come back to that later.

So, here is where Silent's system requires a full paragraph, whereas the obvious answer here is water. You've already used air, earth and fire, right?

All the other definitions perfectly match my defintions, so they can't be too different can they?

All right, my turn. Your system defines whole armies by how fast they can move and at what range they deal damage. It sounds like your system only works on homogenous armies. What about the following?

1) Blood Angels, with static long-range shooting and also fast CC units

2) Daemonbomb, with very fast units (with mid-range weapons) "dropping off" fairly slow CC units

3) A Mech IG list, with very long and very short ranged shooting

All of these are hybrids. You can determine that easily by the "with" clause at the end of them. BTW, the reason that people don't field "pure" element armies is that they are too dependant on not meeting the opposite. But, as I'm as good a sport as the next guy, here goes. ;)

1) Earth with fire elements (lava?)
2) Fire with Water elements (steam?)
3) Fire with Earth elements (lava again)

Examples 1 and 3 would actually be very similar in play. You'd have static long range (generally anti-tank) units, along with units that zoom up and shoot/bash the ba-jeezus out of stuff at close range. The Death Company and the Armored Fist units would perform (believe it or not) very much the same roll in both these armies. They are both rapid response to deal with enemy dangerous to the static shooty elements in the list.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but by your method of categorizing, all three of these armies would end up very near the center, if not directly on it.
However, these three armies will have undeniably and unmistakeably different playstyles (as well as different compositions). How can you justify a system that lumps these three armies together like that?

First you have to look at the primary component of the army. That determines generally how the army playes overall. Therfore the MechIG and the Daemon bombs will both play most similarly, run forward without getting shot up, then dump your short ranged death and hope that it's enough. This is because (or why? ;) ) they are both primarily fire based with other elements.

The BA army will stand back and shoot (primarily) and then counter-assault with anything that gets into range. This is because (or why) it is primarily earth based.

Adding other elements to an army does dilute the purity of the original army concept, and by adding equal amounts of the elements will get you closer to the origin. The difference though is that Silent recommends that every UNIT be close to the origin. This way it's not possible to out-assult the shooters, and outshoot the assaulters.

Water is not just an army with mid-range speed and mid-range offensive effectiveness. It is an army in which most, if not all, the units are flexible enough that they can act in battle in whatever way best suits the present tactical situations. I don't know how much you've followed the conversation earlier in this thread, but we discussed at length how a "conglomeration" army, made up of various different specialist units, does not act at all like what Silent described as Water in his tactica. Water has its own unique playstyle, and its own, unique unit types.

Hehehe, I guess I should have read further down before my previous statement! :P I'm leaving it this way as it helps to illustrate not only my train of thought, but also the fact that I get where you're coming from. Having origin UNITS is superior to simply having an origin ARMY. I think we're agreeing on that point precisely.

Again, I'm going to re-think my linear system, as it does seem to have at least one problem. I urge you to look at your system as well, and ask yourself if it really does match up with what Silent described. I'm not saying your system isn't interesting; I very much think it is. However, it isn't anything like Silent's system, and that's what we're interested in for the time being.

I think that any concept within Silents system can be more clearly defined in my system in a more precise and elegant way with less ambiguity. Further, it could almost be done with a simple find/replace algorythm. Simply search for "water" and replace with "origin". Then write a section detailing that water elements have low mobility and low range.

Silent's original definitions run into problems with even the most basic army archetypes. Right now Earth is overloaded, as the footslogging Orks example illustrates. Air and Fire are overloaded yet can't reliably indicate the difference between Mech Shooty armies and footslogging Close Combat armies.
What seems like Fire to one person is actually Air, and vice-versa. For a jargon or language to be truely successful, the meanings need to be reproduce-able to everybody that uses them.

Certainly I could re-define my system. There would be Earth, Air and Fire (which nearly exacty correspond to Silents definition) and add the additional element of Daffodil. Then instead of "origin" I could use "water". This would almost precisely match the previous definition, and I'm not kidding! The only difference would be the addition of the Daffodil element!

Or, I could redefine Silents "Water" to be "Balanced" or "Origin", and add a (much needed) element called "Water".

Personally, I think that the second is more logical and doesn't run the risk of people thinking I'm a tree-hugging eldar player! ;)

And to over-make the point, it'll be sad to lose the "Way of the Water Warrior" alliteration, but it doesn't really make any sense.
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#52
BaronTuman

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@BaronTuman: I've been largely staying out of your debate largely for Aidoneus's reasons, too (emphasis mine):

I'll refrain from the "is too!" repetition of my previous message and continue on. I can see why we're reluctant to change the title (and what some would therefore mistake as the basis) of the thread, but I feel I'm keeping true to the intent of the original theory and merely expanding on it.

Prefatory note: Whatever classification metaphor we're employing, it is counterproductive to assert that the units, armies, tactics, and strategies we discuss are purely one classification element or another. Only rarely will that be true.

I'll state again that it's only what is LACKING from a unit that pushes it away from the origin, making it a pure element. I even mentioned that a Terminator is probably an ORIGIN unit, whereas an Arcoflagellant is a rare instance of a pure Water unit (being infantry with only close combat capabilities).

Ok, so I thought that the Kult of Speed buggy example would be very clear.

Imagine this.
18 x Armor 10, fast, open topped vehicles in squadrons of 3.
Each one can be armed with either a Big Shoota (S5, AP5, Heavy 3, 36" Range), or Rokkit (S8, AP2, Heavy 1, 24" Range).

Now, just in case it isn't clear, the examples I put forth are Archetypes, with ONLY one unit type in them. They would not succeed very well without another element added in.

Finally, for those who are having a hard time with #2, here are the full answers...

1) Ork KOS buggy army - Air (Highly mobile, long range)
2) Feral Ork Madboyz horde - Water (Low mobility, 12" range and lots of CC capability)
3) Imperial Guard gunline - Earth (Low mobility, lots of long range shooting)
4) Khorne Bike Daemon Bomb army - Fire (High Mobility, lots of CC capability but no long range)

Earth and Air are played defensively while Fire and Water are played offensively. As I've stated before, armies like this are not common because they are seldomly effective. These are Archetypes that can be used as a basis for describing EVERY army or unit type available, even if only to say that it's "Balanced" meaning that it's got some of everything.

As to not creating a seperate thread on this, it's two fold.

1) Silent has put a lot of thought and work into this and I could in no way make it as eloquent.
2) I'm only clarifying his language. His overall concepts remain the same.
3) I'd hate to have anyone claim that this is mine. It's not. I got a lot from reading his articles, and want them to be his, but even better.
4) Hmmm, maybe it's just that I'm lazy! :P

Edited by BaronTuman, 12 April 2007 - 07:20 PM.

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#53
RolandTHTG

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Earth and Air are played defensively while Fire and Water are played offensively. As I've stated before, armies like this are not common because they are seldomly effective. These are Archetypes that can be used as a basis for describing EVERY army or unit type available, even if only to say that it's "Balanced" meaning that it's got some of everything.


Actually, while it appears that you have similar definitions for earth and fire with the other authors of this thread, you have completely flipped water and fire from what Silent originally defined/proposed them as. BaronTruman you appear to be trying to impose a definite mathematical framework upon the concepts that Silent espoused as a way of explaining general terms and strategies. You also took the four elements and assumed that they are four equal divisions of forces and can be placed into the x-y axis. I would argue that they are rather four independent concepts that can be compared to each other and mixed with each other but not defined except relative to each other. (I do realize that others, especially Adioneus, have tried to impose plots and relations upon the elements, but observe how no one is satisfied with the systems. )

Before I get into my essay I feel that I need to define a couple terms, so that others know how i am using them (sometimes different from how they are popularly used in order to get a more definite technical definition.)

Mobility - the ability to remain effective while on the move.
Tactical level/situation - the individual moves and decisions available in one turn to a individual unit - the individual battle decisions of each unit
Strategy (strategic plan)- the over all plan for the game or battle
(note that while influencing the tactical decisions, strategy does not impose them. it's ok to run that one assault unit of your army back behind cover to avoid destruction even if your overall plan is to engage in combat with the enemy. this is an example of a tactical decision that, while apparently contradictory to the strategy, allows you to retain that unit for later use in the overall strategy)

The very Idea of a water army is that it reacts to the enemy's plan, constantly seeking to thwart him. this is inherently a defensive initial mindset as you (usually) surrender the first turn in order to identify the enemy's plan. This initial surrendering of initiative allows you to then maneuver (which requires decent mobility) to ruin their plan. That is your entire battle plan - to eliminate or avoid the enemy's battle plan and prevent them from attaining victory conditions.

For an Air army the battle plan is one (in my opinion from reading these threads) that seeks to simultaneously both avoid the enemy's plan/battle conditions while imposing its battle conditions(assault or shooting, but generally not both) on specific parts of the enemy army. This once again often requires high mobility (though sometimes merely fast speed) to complete this objective. I will emphasize that this is what separates water and air. Water looks at the immediate Tactical situation to decide what each individual units response will be each turn. Air has an overall Strategic Plan that it seeks to impose on the game, while avoiding the enemy's strategic moves.

For those ready to say that All armies try to avoid the enemy's strategy, but I will say that rather Earth and Fire armies (especially pure ones - we have already noted that many armies are not 100% pure to an element) seek to minimize the enemy's strategic plan, and would love to avoid it, but accept that in order to achieve victory they will often suffer significant casualties. Earth particularly demonstrates this, with its emphasis on Outlasting the enemy. Fire by its mindset of closing with the enemy inherently accepts that it will often suffer casualties in the process of closing, but accepts this with the assumption that when they do close, they will be able to establish dominance.

Edited by TJWyrm, 13 April 2007 - 02:27 AM.

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#54
warpstorm

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Greetings all, I've been following this thread and the Way of the Water Warrior thread with a great deal of interest. I have read (and often re-read) every post so far and even gone so far as to join this forum so that I might follow and comment on it further. (I say this by way of an introduction so that you will not think that I have not been paying attention.)

It feels like this discussion has mostly bogged down over the classification, primarily of Air armies.

As I understand it, each of the non-water armies uses one method to defeat the enemy...
Earth uses it's resilience against the enemy.
Fire uses it's damage against the enemy.
Air uses it's mobility against the enemy.

I'll admit to shaving with Occam's razor, but I think it really is best to keep it simple.

Air armies, as I understand from SR's description (and my understanding based on my playing experience) have spent so many points on their mobility that they cannot hope to outclass another army with their firepower or their resilience. Their speed is their armor and their speed is their sword. It keeps them alive and allows them to damage the enemy.

This gives the clear distinction between air and water. If you can somehow keep a water army from using mobility (maybe it's all difficult terrain or something) it still has some resilience and can damage the enemy. If you do the same thing to an air army, it will have nothing. (That's not to say that water is a better or higher playstyle, just a different one.)

I have enjoyed playing Earth armies and Fire armies with my Tyranids, Air armies with my Tau and Fire armies with my Dark Eldar. I'm looking forward to trying Water with my DeathWing.
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#55
Aidoneus

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Hey they Warpstorm, and welcome to the B&C! Have to admit, I'm surprised to see this thread brought back to life (the last post was more than two years ago). :D That's fine though, as it is part of the ever-ongoing discussion of Water tactics.

I think your explanations line up very well with Silent's. I'll admit, in the past two years, I have weakened my stance against Air armies. However, that doesn't mean I yet entirely agree.

What characterizes a Water playstyle? It is tactically flexible, with units that can act in a variety of ways, and which will change their tactics to fit the situation in which they find themselves. It's about forcing the enemy to commit, and then using your flexibility to minimize the effectiveness of his action, while punishing him for taking it. You engage the enemy where he is weakest, and prevent him from bringing his strengths to bear.

Tell me, what is it about an Air army that prevents it from doing that? A Fire army can't because its units are good at only one thing: single-minded offense, and if they do not engage the enemy in their one specific way, they will lose. An Earth army can't for much the same reason, although here instead of being forced to be aggressive, the Earth army is actually incapable of it (at least, against a dug-in enemy). But what is it about the Air army, about its very essence, that prevents it from playing exactly like a Water army?

Well, what IS the essence of an Air army? It's fast, and it needs to use that speed to create "pockets of local superiority." This is a nice phrase, and brings to mind a sort of divide-and-conquer strategy. However, what does it really mean? It means the Air army uses its speed to avoid enemy offense, while at the same time trying to assert its own offense where possible, without allowing the enemy a good chance at retaliation. But isn't that exactly what the Water army seeks to do? Isn't that just another way of saying "deny the enemy his strength and engage him where he's weak"?

In my mind, a critical mistake is being made here. There is a confusion between two things: first, the element's essence, that is, what ultimately defines it and makes it different from other elements; second, a strategy that an army of that element can implement. I argue that the very core of an Air army is simply its speed, and its need to use that speed to win games. The divide-and-conquer thing is just one way for the army to do that. There are other ways. For example, an Ork Speed Freaks army is incredibly fast, and in fact has invested so many points in that speed (bikes, transports, etc), and not in other areas like resilience (more bodies, better armour, etc), that it needs to use that speed to win games. The way it does so though isn't through this sort of cat-and-mouse maneuvering, but simply to charge forward at breakneck speed and engage the enemy in hand-to-hand as soon as possible.

And this is where I see the elemental distinction of "Air" breaking down. Because you see, the first strategy is a Water strategy, through-and-through, while the second is obviously Fire. "Air" armies aren't quite so good at playing Earth, but one can certainly imagine a force designed to avoid the enemy, hide behind terrain, and generally keep itself alive through maneuvering. The point is, in all these cases the army can be classified as one of the other three elements. And the only thing pushing us to call it "Air" is just that it's fast, and that it uses that speed to its advantage. But that isn't enough to make a separate element! That's only enough to call it a "fast Fire army" or a "fast, maneuverable Water army." That is, the elemental distinction comes from the playstyle, how you use the force on the tabletop; the speed is just a tool the army uses to achieve its mission.
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#56
warpstorm

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Holy necromancy, batman! Sorry, I forgot to look at the date on the last post! D'oh! Not a very good way to introduce myself to a forum, I'm afraid.

I argue that the very core of an Air army is simply its speed, and its need to use that speed to win games.


I completely agree here.

Tell me, what is it about an Air army that prevents it from doing that? A Fire army can't because its units are good at only one thing: single-minded offense, and if they do not engage the enemy in their one specific way, they will lose. An Earth army can't for much the same reason, although here instead of being forced to be aggressive, the Earth army is actually incapable of it (at least, against a dug-in enemy). But what is it about the Air army, about its very essence, that prevents it from playing exactly like a Water army?

An Air army doesn't have the firepower and resilience to do anything else. If you take away the movement from a Water army, it can still shoot, survive some shooting or be assaulted and even assault (if something wanders close enough.)

For example, an Ork Speed Freaks army is incredibly fast, and in fact has invested so many points in that speed (bikes, transports, etc), and not in other areas like resilience (more bodies, better armour, etc), that it needs to use that speed to win games. The way it does so though isn't through this sort of cat-and-mouse maneuvering, but simply to charge forward at breakneck speed and engage the enemy in hand-to-hand as soon as possible.

Yes, but the Speed Freeks army cannot use it's speed to play cat and mouse or it will lose. The Speed Freeks army still relies on it's explosive combat prowess to win the game. The movement is just a tool so it can get there. The same would be said of my old Turn 2 assault Tyranids.

"Air" armies aren't quite so good at playing Earth, but one can certainly imagine a force designed to avoid the enemy, hide behind terrain, and generally keep itself alive through maneuvering. The point is, in all these cases the army can be classified as one of the other three elements. And the only thing pushing us to call it "Air" is just that it's fast, and that it uses that speed to its advantage.


That actually fairly well describes how my Battlesuit-heavy Tau army worked in 4th edition. The problem is, without that JSJ movement, it would be hosed. The SF army without fast movement would still be able to do some damage and take some hits. The Water Army without movement would fare even better. My Tau Battlesuit army without movement becomes nothing. It has too few Wounds to be any kind of resilient, and it doesn't do enough damage to overwhelm anything. That's air. If you take away it's single-minded obsession, it's got nothing.

As a Fire army has to inflict damage, an Earth army has to inflict resilience, an Air army has to inflict it's speed. The Water army can just do something else.
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#57
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Threadomancy is ok. I got a good read out of this. Though it left me dizzy in the end, also its past 2am here.

It helped me define a few things since I seem to have missed this thread. Its still useful. Actually makes me want to PM Aidoneus a few things to discuss on a few army selections I have problems with. (Odd problems I suppose).

Dont mind Aidoneus?
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#58
RolandTHTG

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I have to agree with warpstorm, what defines an air army is its maneuverability.

each army's strategy is dependent on succeeding in its chosen superiority

Fire - Assault/offensive
Earth - Resiliency/shooting
Water - Flexibility
Air -Maneuverability

The part that separates an air army from a water army is its maneuverability, or in cruder terms, its speed. A water army is flexible, and is always able to adapt to what ever situation it finds its self in. An air army relies on its speed to attack the enemy's weak spots and exploit gaps in the enemy's defenses in order to win. An air army may be a shooting force (tau fish of fury or warpstorm's Suit formation), an assault force (eldar) or a reasonably rounded force (my SM bike list) but in all the cases the army's biggest strength is the speed that allows the army to avoid the enemy's return blows.

That is what sepaerates a water army and an air army - flexibility vs maneuverability. Do remember that as Silent says in the original, it's hard to really use air to its fullest capabilties on the 4 x 6 table

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#59
Aidoneus

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Holy necromancy, batman! Sorry, I forgot to look at the date on the last post! D'oh! Not a very good way to introduce myself to a forum, I'm afraid.

As I said, while probably best avoided generally, in this case it's fine. Always nice to discuss Water Warrior theory. :D

Tell me, what is it about an Air army that prevents it from doing that? A Fire army can't because its units are good at only one thing: single-minded offense, and if they do not engage the enemy in their one specific way, they will lose. An Earth army can't for much the same reason, although here instead of being forced to be aggressive, the Earth army is actually incapable of it (at least, against a dug-in enemy). But what is it about the Air army, about its very essence, that prevents it from playing exactly like a Water army?

An Air army doesn't have the firepower and resilience to do anything else. If you take away the movement from a Water army, it can still shoot, survive some shooting or be assaulted and even assault (if something wanders close enough.)

I think you underestimate how much a Water army needs to be maneuverable. Not fast, just maneuverable. Against an assault force, you need to be able to move backwards and away as you shoot them down. You have invested considerable points in assault and flexibility, so you won't have enough firepower to just sit still and kill them, and since they're combat specialists and you're not you also won't have the CC ability to kill them when they hit your lines turn 2/3. Similarly, and even more obviously, against a shooty army, you need to be able to move up and assault them. The movement is part of our flexibility, arguably (and I definitely do hold this view) the MOST important part.

For example, an Ork Speed Freaks army is incredibly fast, and in fact has invested so many points in that speed (bikes, transports, etc), and not in other areas like resilience (more bodies, better armour, etc), that it needs to use that speed to win games. The way it does so though isn't through this sort of cat-and-mouse maneuvering, but simply to charge forward at breakneck speed and engage the enemy in hand-to-hand as soon as possible.

Yes, but the Speed Freeks army cannot use it's speed to play cat and mouse or it will lose. The Speed Freeks army still relies on it's explosive combat prowess to win the game. The movement is just a tool so it can get there. The same would be said of my old Turn 2 assault Tyranids.

Of course the Speed Freaks can't play cat and mouse. That's my point exactly. However, they do rely on their speed to win they game. Consider: if you took a Speed Freaks army, and moved it forwards 6" a turn like a regular horde ork army, it would lose every time. Similarly, if it rushed forward and assaulted the center of an ork horde army, it would lose then too, because it has invested so many points into speed that it doesn't have the same level of offensive potential. Therefore, the Speed Freaks army needs to use its speed as one of its main tools. Typically this will be to rush forward and engage the enemy, but against a CC army that has invested fewer points in speed, the Speed Freaks will need to use their speed to flank, divide-and-conquer, or in some other way out-maneuver its opponent.

Now, when you say that the movement is just a tool so it can get to combat, I agree with you. Despite my description above, I think it still counts as a Fire army. However, you need the caveat that it is a fast Fire army. This isn't to say it's an Air/Fire army though, because at its core it is definitely Fire, and as you yourself said the speed is merely a tool it uses to let it engage the enemy on its own terms. That is precisely why I argue that Air shouldn't be its own category, because of cases like this that show that speed is simply a tool, a means to an end, and not a strategy unto itself.

"Air" armies aren't quite so good at playing Earth, but one can certainly imagine a force designed to avoid the enemy, hide behind terrain, and generally keep itself alive through maneuvering. The point is, in all these cases the army can be classified as one of the other three elements. And the only thing pushing us to call it "Air" is just that it's fast, and that it uses that speed to its advantage.

That actually fairly well describes how my Battlesuit-heavy Tau army worked in 4th edition. The problem is, without that JSJ movement, it would be hosed. The SF army without fast movement would still be able to do some damage and take some hits. The Water Army without movement would fare even better. My Tau Battlesuit army without movement becomes nothing. It has too few Wounds to be any kind of resilient, and it doesn't do enough damage to overwhelm anything. That's air. If you take away it's single-minded obsession, it's got nothing.

As a Fire army has to inflict damage, an Earth army has to inflict resilience, an Air army has to inflict it's speed. The Water army can just do something else.

I disagree with the very concept that you can "inflict speed." I know it was probably a rhetorical shortcut, meant to convey the sort of cat-and-mouse tactic, but I really think this hits on the main confusion. You can't inflict speed, because simply running around quickly doesn't accomplish anything. The Fire army can clearly inflict offensive damage; that's obvious. The Earth army doesn't necessarily "inflict" resilience, but its resilience alone can win games. Simply park a boatload of bodies on the majority of the objectives, and if your opponent can't kill you off in the limited number of turns, you win. Water armies will typically do one or both of those in a game, depending on their opponent, due to their flexibility. But what does an Air army do to win? Speed Freaks assault (offensive), your tau shoot (offense) and scoot (defense), TJ's bikers do the same and also assault (offense), and so on. The important thing to understand is that these armies don't use their speed to win games directly; they use their speed to put themselves in the best position to use something else (usually shooting or assaulting) to win games.

For example, do the Speed Freaks need to use their speed in order to win games? Absolutely! But does simply rushing forward, or rushing at a flank, win them the game in-and-of itself? Of course not! What it does is put them in the absolute best position to use their real strength: assault. This makes them a Fire army. With your Tau, they use their speed to put themselves in the best position to use their shooting, but (as you claim) the most important part is that they use their speed to avoid incoming fire from the enemy and survive, making them arguable an Earth army. And for TJ, his bikers use the sort of cat-and-mouse flexible tactics that I think perfectly embody Water tactics.

They all use their speed as a means to their ends, but speed can never be the end in itself. There always needs to be something more.

It helped me define a few things since I seem to have missed this thread. Its still useful. Actually makes me want to PM Aidoneus a few things to discuss on a few army selections I have problems with. (Odd problems I suppose).

Dont mind Aidoneus?

I absolutely do not mind. I would love to discuss anything you'd like! Of course, I lay no claim to the Truth (with a capital "T"), but hopefully I can help you think through whatever you're stuck on.

Fire - Assault/offensive
Earth - Resiliency/shooting
Water - Flexibility
Air -Maneuverability

Might I offer up a slight re-phrasing?

Fire: offense
Earth: defense
Water: flexibility (i.e. the ability to play either offense or defense, or possibly even both, depending on the situation)
Air: ?

See, the above three cover all our bases. What's left for Air?

The way you describe Air, as using speed to attack the enemy at its weak points, is a Fire-y offense-driven mentality. A fast offensive army can not play any way other than attack (this would be speed freaks). The other way you refer to air is like with your army, the flexible approach capable of offensive assaults or defensive maneuvering, kiting, hiding, and taking pot-shots with your Relentless weaponry. This would be a Water-y flexible mentality. Lastly, although admittedly you don't see this very often, you can have a defense-driven fast list.

This last version I believe is the most hampered by the small board size. In a game where most assault units can reach any point on the board within 3 turns, and most guns can reach 80+% of the table, speed doesn't help you survive nearly as much as more bodies or better armour. However, you can imagine on a much larger board, speed would allow you to kite back, flank around, use cover, and generally survive much better than an army more-or-less stuck where it deployed.

The point is, all these lists have a mentality of offense, defense, or flexibility. Speed is simply one of, perhaps even the most important, tool they use as a means to achieve their desired end, or rather, to engage the enemy in their preferred way.

Edited by Aidoneus, 08 May 2009 - 09:13 PM.

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#60
Grand Master Iapetus

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Might I offer up a slight re-phrasing?

Fire: offense
Earth: defense
Water: flexibility (i.e. the ability to play either offense or defense, or possibly even both, depending on the situation)
Air: ?

See, the above three cover all our bases. What's left for Air?


Mobility


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#61
Aidoneus

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That doesn't work though, because Fire armies are almost always mobile, and Water necessarily is. Earth doesn't need to be, but nothing says it can't be (Plague Marines in Rhinos/Land Raiders, for example). So mobility isn't good enough.
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#62
Grand Master Iapetus

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Then would it be more accurate to use a word to describe them as fast or speedy versus mobile or maneuverable?


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#63
Aidoneus

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Same problem. After all, Dark Eldar Witch Cult is as fast as they come, but it's a single-minded Fire army. 'Nids are extremely fast, but also Fire. A flexible Biker army is extremely fast, but since they're flexible and reactionary etc. they're Water.
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#64
RolandTHTG

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But I think that what defines Air is that they require/need their mobility. It's not the same thing as speed (so speed freaks are fire) but rather the fact that they can re-deploy during the game to change targets. Aidoneus you should remember how in a couple of our games, I have started with my troops on the L side, then in turn 2-3 moved my forces to the R side of the board.

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#65
earthen

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I think fast should be left out of the equation - its useful but since speed seems to be able to be used in Air, water, and fire lists it seems like a description with really doesnt help.


Earth - Defensive Playstyle looking to whittle the opponent down and outlast through resilience + numbers (Gun line lists)
Fire - Aggressive playstyle looking to inflict damage early (Rush lists, high damage lists)
Water - A Moderate playstyle with versatility, resilience and mobility (moderate lists with agility)
Air - seeks to be "difficult to get ahold of" and mobile (Agile, low resilience, high burst damage)

Perhaps a better term to describe an air army is "Slippery" - Its probably the most common term that comes to mind at the local shop when talking about mech eldar or tau.

Edited by earthen, 10 May 2009 - 05:10 AM.


#66
warpstorm

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The thing is, Movement _is_ what defines an Air army. While other armies have it, it's not their focus. Speed Freeks, to continue your example, need their movement to get to the enemy without losing their army, but if they don't have enough assault, it won't matter.

An Air army, even an assaulty one, won't have as much assault capability, since it's spent so many points on movement. This means they have to use their local superiority tactics all the time.

Certainly, other armies have movement and even speed, but it's a tool to get them there, not their reason for existence.

-A water army without movement still has more resilience and should have either more assault power or firepower (if not both) than an air army. This is because not as many of it's points are spent on movement. It will likely have either more bodies or better Toughness/armor on those bodies than an air army.

-A Speed Freek army will have to divide and conquer against a slower Fire Army. An air army (focused on assault) will have to divide and conquer against _any_ competently built army. The Speed Freeks have spent comparatively more points on Assault than the air army, so they will be able to simply dive in against most non-assault armies. Air doesn't have that option, as I see it.

I still stand by my statement about inflicting their movement on the enemy. When I played my Tau Battlesuit army, it was the movement that made them what they were. Without JSJ, they were just a short-medium ranged weak shooting army with no resilience. Fire may have to move to get to the enemy, but even fast fire has superior assault capability. Against all but the most assaulty armies, they can use that assault capability directly. Air armies don't have that luxury.

edit: standard example of inflicting speed. Much like TJWyrm said: redeploy to suddenly have a massive mismatch of forces.

I'm not saying it's always easy to distinguish a really fast army from an air army, but I still think it's an important distinction. It speaks to how the army will play. If they have to use their movement to divide and conquer against all armies, _that_ is their method of gameplay. Playing against an assaulty air army will be different than against a fast fire army, because of what they want to do and how you have to stop them. The Air army will probably require you to clump up to avoid being killed piecemeal. The fast fire army simply requires you to slow them down long enough that they can't get to you. That may even require spreading out.

Edited by warpstorm, 10 May 2009 - 05:04 PM.

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#67
DevianID

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I think the Air hangup perhaps is more of a player mindset problem more than the fact that 'Air' is not there. For example, I am a fire player, and I accept this. Thus, when I look at certian armies or builds that do not rely on the Fire princeps, I tend to think they are 'bad' or 'sub optimal.' I also see really good earth armies as supremely boring. IE, a Necron army at 1750 with 4x20 warriors and a lord, all hiding, with 1 scarab unit for turboboosted 2+ cover saves--BORING! But I digress.

With air, the Tau JSJ is a defination that stands as proof that their are air armies. It was said that speedfreaks need their speed--i disagree. Speedfreaks are an ork army. An ork army that does not take fast elements is still pretty good, I hear. Also, it was said that if you take a speedfreak army and make them only move 6 inches a turn, they will lose. I challenge you to take any army, and reduce a stat (movement is a kind of stat) 50 to 75%, and see if you can win. Its like playing berzerkers with 1 attack on the charge instead of 4... or plague marines that are toughness 2 instead of 5. That kind of example does nothing, as you are not adjusting points to go with the change in stats.

Silent even states, fire armies can pay for mobility in place of more firepower, as the speed to initiate an assault can be an important part of a fire army. Thus a speed freak army is simply a fire army that pays for speed to ensure the furious assault charge can be initiated. If you dont pay for the speed, those points get you more assault elements, so its up to the player to determine if the metagame calls for more assault units, or faster assault units.

As for how an army can inflict 'speed' on to the enemy, imagine space marine scout bikers. They, with scout moves, can assault on turn 1--but they are not true dedicated assault units. However, because its a turn 1 charge, before the enemy has reacted, they can assault vehicles that have not yet moved, or move into flank positions for side shots. Thus, they can use their mobility to hit the enemy before the enemy has any opportunity to react, and hit targets of opportunity and weak spots in an enemy formation. Compare to the regular marine bikers--they lack the scout move, and thus can not inflict their speed in such a way. They are tougher and better skilled, thus more well rounded than the scout bikers, and can take heavy weapons (attack bike) and specialist weapons (melta/plasma/flamers). But despite all these advantages over scout bikers, they are still not air units like scout bikes, they are water units, because they lack the critical scout move.

Edit: A non-perfect way to explain air units is to say air units are ones that can break the normal movement model. Tau battlesuits can JSJ, eldar bikes can move-shoot-move, eldar vehicles can move the extra 12 inches in place of shooting, the new guard vendettas can scout 24 inches before turn 1, same with space marine scout bikes. While there are more examples of air units than these, these units exemplify what it means to be an air unit.

Edited by DevianID, 10 May 2009 - 06:33 PM.

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#68
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Radical suggestion (perhaps).

#:Air: A means to use not your speed, but forcing the enemy a lack of mobility to catch you. (A 6" movement may be enough if he cant catch you, thus grasping "air")

Y:Fire: Direct but with a twist, a definitive role to be offensive when needed, defining all offense as fire.

O:Earth: Being durable by any means, even deeps strike and using cover/blocking line of sight. (A small army can be difficult to remove if you cant hurt it.)

~:Water: The ability to react to a situation that teeters back and forth. (Thus he grabs water, not air)

T:Energy: Momentum granted in very specific ways, such as powering and focusing on single points so air, and energy=fire.

X:Shadow: Being able to trick and stop enemies plans in their tracks, different from air in disabling movement, and different from earth being able to remain on the table, but to actually. (example) stop a greater daemon from coming on by killing all their champions. = Shadow.

Maybe the problem isnt stuffing everything into 4 elements, but spreading them between phases and events among more elements.
XT= Eldar and Dark Eldar
YO= Typical Ork and Imperial Guard army.

Hope I'm not derailing the topic..

(Edit)
I suppose the elements are the obvious ones, with the "plans" and "ability of units vs specific situations" triggering more elements during the game, so enacting the element is different from making the element by creating the list.

Edited by Corpse., 10 May 2009 - 09:27 PM.

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#69
jeffersonian000

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I know we are speaking of elements; however, I'm a "Battle Cruiser" player. I strive to have the ability to kill anything I can catch, and to escape anything than can kill me. I play reactively, as its easier for me to judge a “best next move” rather than planning out all of my opponents possible moves with contingencies for every iteration (too complex) or with just sticking to a plan regardless of my opponents actions (too boring). I play to reduce my opponent's options through maneuver, taking shots to herd my opponent into situations that favor me. Water feels like the best element to describe this play-style, yet the description of Air tactics that people are using may actually apply as well.

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#70
Secondwind

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Ok I admit I skim read some of this thread as simply there is so much info and wanted to put my thoughts down before I loose focus.

My own thoughts of Silentrequiem's tactica is simple, its not how to play the game but how to simplify to analyse and define the mechanics of a complex game. This will never be perfect as every person works in a different way but it can aid in how to find your own way.

On the issue of how units are defined and the useage of "elemental" terminology.

I think that in many ways it is impossible to define a "unit" to any one role. Units change in context to their environment and army composition every turn of the game as simply said you are looking at how things interact with each other. Thus when I look at my opponents army after setup on the table I could define every units most prevailant (elemental) attribute and assign that his army a term (or element). Now all those decisions are on personal perspective and personal experience. I will then use this overall term (element) for his army to help decide my opponents objective (beatdown or control). Up until the first person starts their movement phase both players will probably have thought about the interactions of each others army in the most basic of ways.


Silent defines his army list as an example of a water army which many people agree upon, but that is only 100% certain until turn one of the game (possibly even only until the first person deploys on the table). However lets say silent uses his pure grey knight water warrior army against my army of doom. I look at his army and see a unit of power armoured grey knights in a landraider and decide they seem very flexible and watery. Lets say I get first turn and use my rigged dice to blow up a landraider and his unit of power armour grey knights come out the vehicle around 32 inches away from me. Are they still defined as water? In my opinion they have alot of water traits but right now they have changed to earth as they are out of range of my troops and thus will be trying to outlast me though this will most likely change as the game progresses further.

Now the use of the "elemental" terminology is very good in my mind as it does has a strong mental image of what a unit is capable of doing and allows for alot more nuances via imagery than many other words can do on their own.
e.g. I think of water and i get the image of many different things - Water can put out fire if you smother it though fire can evaporate water, water can wear away/move earth but earth can soak up water, water can move wind and wind can move water depending on who has more power.
The elements really emphasise the relationships of how units interact which is what will promote clear thinking and a good perspective of what to do during a game. This is constant evaluation during a game! This means every "define an army" question does not work, there are just far too many variables for this.

On the subject of Wind, I consider it very much like an extreme version of water and is much rarer however the biggest difference between wind and water is that you can catch water but not wind.
If your thinking huh? Think of a unit that has extra movement, escape mechanisms etc
For example a unit that if you assault it at the end of combat it can disengage and thus be able to move in its own turn freely like seraphim. Tau crisis suits in that they could come out behind a vehicle, shoot you and then move back behind it to deny counter shooting)

To summarise my opinion: Keep the elemental concept, elaborate the elemental traits and reinforce the concept that this is a way to analyse yourself and your opponent to help you achieve your ingame goals to achieve victory. You can not define any unit without being given the contextual battle surroundings and even then they only last until the context changes. Note while you cannot define a unit you can decide a more prevailant role for a unit which is part of how you make an army list.

Edited by Secondwind, 11 May 2009 - 12:30 AM.


#71
Aidoneus

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To everyone who keeps talking about the difference between Fast-Fire/Water/Earth armies and Air armies:

So far, I have given my examples of Speed Freaks, Bikers, and hiding Tau (though it's admittedly not a perfect example) as fast Fire, Water, and Earth armies, respectively. What you all have been doing is to agree with me on Speed Freaks, but insist that they're different from a CC-driven Air army; you insist the bikers are a shooty Air army, and that this is different from a fast Water army; and similarly with the Tau. However, in all three cases, you have not given me any more example armies.

Specifically, if a Speed Freak army is a Fire army that necessarily needs to use its speed to win, what is the corresponding CC-driven Air army? I just can't imagine a list that uses speed to get into CC to win, but does so in a way inherently different from Speed Freaks. It's easy enough to just state that such an army exists, but without a concrete example I can simply decide not to believe the claim. And keep in mind, the army must use its speed and CC in an intrinsically different way from Speed Freaks, because otherwise I'm going to say you're arguing about a mere matter of degree, and that the two armies cannot truly be categorized differently. My claim now is that such an example army does not exist.

Similarly with the Bikers. Forget the Tau for now, but you claim Bikers are in fact an Air army. My demand then is that you show me a fast Water army. My claim before was that the two are not, in fact, any different; that they typical conception of an "Air" army is really just a fast Water army. After all, TJ, would a good Water player not, given the ability, use his speed to react to enemy deployment and movements, and move to engage him where he's weaker? Sounds pretty Water-y to me! So rather than just telling me otherwise, I need you to show me otherwise with a list. And again, it needs to use its speed and versatility in an intrinsically different way, or else it will really just be another example of the same concept. And again, I stand here and deny that such an army exists.
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#72
warpstorm

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I don't know that I know a whole lot about different kinds of Air armies, but I'll give it a shot.

A CC-specialist air army might be something like an Eldar Flying Circus with Banshees and Harlequins. A lot of points on hard-to-kill transports that deliver fragile, highly effective CC specialists to a target.

Unlike a Fast Fire army, though, they can't afford to just get stuck in. They have to isolate a unit, possibly by using the Transports to block LOS/movement. They have to annihilate that unit or two, then jump back in the transports and do it again in another turn. If they can't isolate a unit, they will be hard pressed to survive the game, because if they are caught by enemy fire, they'll be dead.

I haven't seen enough Bike armies to know if they are Water or Air, and I'm not sure they are necessarily one or the other. A couple of examples of shooting-concentrated Air armies would be Tau Fish of Fury or Eldar Saim Hann. Both rely more on LOS blocking/isolation of the enemy than on devastating firepower. (As opposed to a fast SOB army that uses the speed for a devastating close-range strike, relying on the shock and awe plus their armor to carry them through.)

edit: I guess that would be my attempt at a defining characteristic for the Air army: it _must_ use maneuver to engage parts of the enemy army, whereas the Water may _choose_ to do so. I think part of Silent's definition for Air also included it using units that are more specialized, rather than the generalized Water units. Thus, bikes might be fast water (since they can shoot and assault), whereas mounted Harlequins might be CC air.

Edited by warpstorm, 11 May 2009 - 05:35 PM.

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#73
DevianID

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I agree with Warpstorm

Aidoneus, Tau battlesuits are not earth. You say that battlesuits are described as earth because they can hide, and thus not die. ANYTHING can hide behind a wall and not die. Genestealers hiding behind a wall are not an earth unit any more than battlesuits hiding behind a wall. Battlesuits are an air unit because WHILE hiding behind a wall, like any other unit can do, they can use their mobility to attack the enemy.

Also, not all bikes are water, though I agree with you that many space marine bikes are water units. Eldar bikes, with their additional move, and scout bikes, with infiltrate/scout, both do not have the resiliancy and cc ability to engage the enemy--they instead rely on their superior movement to apply their abilities, and are thusly 'air' units.

And air CC armies are pretty much defined by eldar. Seer councils, harliquins with hit and run, shining spears with withdrawl, and transports with the additional 12 inch movement ability, all deliver CC troops but do not win with pure fire, they win with maneuverability. While you can take an Eldar 'air' army that uses CC and play it as fire, the units are not 'fire' units, thus you will have less success.
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