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Movement and positioning

tactics movement positioning

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#1
KurganFr

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Hello,

 

I have been playing 40K and other games for many years, but one thing I am consistently terrible at is movement and positioning. I understand the general principles but somehow never manage to make them work, whether it be with my Ultramarines, my X-Wing models or my Battlemechs. No amount of watching battle reports is helping. Here are some examples:

 

Principle: deploy your heavy support in positions from which they have a commanding view of the battlefield, i.e. where they have lots of big juicy targets that they can shoot without moving.

What happens: my heavy support units get obliterated on Turn 1 by the big juicy units they were designed to kill.

 

Alternative principle: deploy your heavy support in positions where they have a single lane of fire. This will provide them with protection and lock down an area of the battlefield.

What happens: the enemy never goes anywhere near my heavy support units, which therefore do nothing of note during the battle.

 

Principle: focus fire on a given priority target until it is dead.

What happens: once a priority target is damaged, my opponent moves it out of the way (intervening units, cover, etc.) so I cannot finish it off. Later in the battle, it comes back out and causes me lots of issues.

 

Principle: make good use of cover.

What happens: I try to deploy my units in strong cover. They spend the rest of the battle where they started because there is no other cover within movement range. Moving them out would mean spending a turn in the open, during which they get obliterated.

 

Principle: defend your heavy support units.

What happens: if I put a unit in front of my Devastators, the Devastators cannot fire on anything. If I put a unit nearby, the enemy just kills the Devastators (in shooting or close combat) and my guarding unit does nothing.

 

I would be really grateful if someone could explain what I'm doing wrong.

 

Thanks.


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#2
CardinalVirtue

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It's hard to say for sure but it sounds like you may be thinking too much of making individual units work and not enough on the whole army? To use your devastators as an example, if you're using them to lock down a single fire lane, the idea is to force the enemy into that fire lane, whether that be from pressuring them with threading units from a flank or simply tank shocking them into position. Alternatively if you deploy them in a commanding location with a view, use a librarian to buff them defensively so they don't get shot off the board. That kind of thing.

#3
WarriorFish

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I agree with Cardinal, sounds like you might be neglecting to think of your unit's position within your army? No unit operates alone - putting them in a good spot with cover is useful, but much depends on nearby units (and even afar!).

 

For example by placing your Devs in cover you're making a statement to your opponent that is basically "these guys aren't moving from here", as in most cases they won't. So it's important to get good firing lanes for them otherwise they'll struggle for targets. They'll also be a target themselves, so nearby units to support will help. You can't fully prevent something like deep strike etc, but you can mitigate it. Have units able to see each other so they can offer fire support.

 

Unit combinations work well too, Devs will be prime targets for assault - but such units might think twice if there's a Dreadnought nearby for example. Having other units covering the same role also helps for redundancy, as a single unit doing something is more of a target for it. Last but not least target priority is always worth considering, both in what you shoot (remove higher threats first) but also what your opponent will want to shoot. Devs may be a high priority but what if something was closer and more dangerous for example?


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#4
Captain Idaho

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If you have to place your heavy support units in a position that will see them targeted by the enemy, you need something else the opponent can't ignore. Consider the likes of Land Raider assault forces or Drop Pods to act as a "distraction".

If you choose a particular fire lane that shields the Devastators (or any other units for that matter) consider how you are going to force opponents into that channel. If an objective is covered by them that's the most ideal method. However, consider it thusly - would you move in that fire lane if you don't have to?

Probably not. As such, the distraction method is usually the best bet.

#5
GreyCrow

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Hey Kurgan !

 

First of all, you've come to the right place! Second of all, my predecessors on this thread have made very valid points worth keeping in mind.

 

I like the fact that you seem to reason with principles to guide your actions. Very Ultramarinish ! I've got a set of principles that you will get to enjoy quite a bit and will most definitely help you on the battlefield, as they have helped me tremendously.

 

Will add a very brief description of the logic behind each principle.

 

Principle 1 : For every enemy a unit can shoot, these enemies can shoot the unit down. It's always preferable to avoid exposing one unit unless absolutely needed, as it implies that this unit is exposed to return/counter fire.

 

This is pretty much what you've experienced on your heavy support squads. Always use this principle to keep in mind that the opponent will react to the most priority threat. Cover is always misleading in tabletop games, as we tend to picture it as laying ambush with only the gun barrels pointing out. The game mechanics tell a different story, with people standing up and a piece of wall just happens to be in the way :P

 

Principle 2 : For every unit that you deploy, you are revealing more and more of your strategy to the opponent. If a unit's presence on the battlefield does not yield to advantages both immediate and long lasting, you will benefit more from holding it in reserves, then deploying it where and when most appropriate.

 

This will help conserving your forces and giving you some flexibility throughout the game while not revealing your entire strategy to the opponent. Even Heavy Support units!

Think of the following : You keep your Devastators in reserves and in a Razorback (yes, I went there), and once the game has developped, you deploy them when and where it will hurt the most, using your range advantage and now seeing where the enemy has committed his forces.

 

After all, what is wasting 2 turns of Devastator firepower if they are wiped Turn 1s usually, right?

 

Principle 3 : Don't roll dice unless absolutely needed. If you do, ensure that your strategy is minimally reliant on the outcome of said dice.

 

This is why 2+ rerollable is what is looked at by competitive players. In other words, just make sure to base your strategy so that bad dice rolls are not going to give you a hard time.

 

Principle 4 : Your units are only tools to lead you to victory... And a good craftsman always knows which tool to use for which job, and preserve them over the longer run.

 

Don't expose your units when not needed. It's better to avoid risking getting shot at than throwing a unit with a terrible probability of doing damage.

 

Principle 5 : Always strike to find the good balance between combined arms and volume of bodies. You need enough variety but also enough resilience for each of your 'arms'.

 

In a nutshell; you will gain from presenting different kind of threats to the enemies and this increases your available arsenal. By different kind of threats, I mean vastly different ways and means based on unit strengths, such as :

- Infantry : Small visual profile, limited weapon carrying capabilty with short range, best operated in confined environment where they can operate without being shot at

- Vehicles : Larger weapon capabilities, very resilient to small arms fire, higher speed. Best used in environment where armour, speed or range gives them immunity to infantry

- Air : Faster moving with high payload, but little survivability against dedicated weapons. Best used in cavalry role while minimizing exposure and maximizing fire concentration

 

Principle 6 : Directly from Sun Tzu, "First, look to render yourself immune to defeat, then look to exploit your opponents' weaknesses".

 

No army is immune to defeat, but if you make it the hardest ever possible (concealment, counter units, etc) for the enemy to come and kill your units, you're offering him many opportunities for him to make mistakes.

Example : I recently won against a Tau friend by only deploying 15 Marines on the table Turn 1, in deep cover and line of sight blocking element, and giving him the first turn. He ended up frustrated at my avoidance tactics and forgot my reserves. He dropped his Dakka Broadside unit in a position out of cover, primed for getting shot at by my two Vindicators that came out of reserves on Turn 2.

 

___

 

It's just a few to begin with, and some of them might seem simple, however they are very interesting to keep in mind at all times during a battle! I can guarantee that you will see many benefits remembering these principles, and soon enough you will start to visualize new arrays of tactical opportunities on the fly !

 

And it's okay if they are simple! Did you know that the word "principle" comes from the latin "principio" which means beginning ? ;)


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#6
KurganFr

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Thank you all for your advice, and especially GreyCrow - merci beaucoup! I will print out your principles and have them beside me when I build my first army list for 8th edition and play that game.

 

One issue that I frequently have, especially in Battletech but also in 40K, is that if I do not finish off a priority target in one turn, my opponent will move it out of the way where I cannot get to it, forcing me to shift my units to other targets, then they bring the original unit back out a turn or two later and cause trouble. How do you keep pressure on a particular target?


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#7
GreyCrow

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Thanks ! Hope you Enjoy this !

(Please ignore The weirdly placed caps. On a broken Autocorrect that is trolling me)

Try these principles small scale, as they apply to all points values. Will allow you to get familiar with The Logic and at small points values, you have less need for diversity as described.

Will help you save a lot of time and money! :D Which can make sure that your 8th ed army has The teeth It deserves :)

__

On to your question : It's basically part of the bigger question : How to deal with an enemy unit ?

You have two sides of the coin :
- The violence leading to removal of the board
- The perceived upcoming violence leading to controlling some behaviors

In real life military strategy, a few observations yield to The fact that forces only apply violence when one (but preferably both) of the following conditions are met :
- There is an absolute need to apply violence (as in no other alternative available given The current conditions)
- The cost of applying violence is no bigger than The benefits of applying It (as in you can safely delete The Target without any significant impact on your forces)

As such, we observe militaries evolve from attrition warfare (as in I Win If my relative losses are less than your relative losses over a period of time) to decisive warfare (as in I Will only fight battles that I am able to win so emphatically that There is no possibility for me to lose, and my losses will be so irrelevant that I don't care)

Putting pressure, as you can see, is actually not always a good solution, because you will force your opponent to act and become violent.

On the other hand, limiting violence and setting up the opponents' réactions in a way that they will be tempted to act, and If they do your losses are minimal and they're in a position where they're exposed to a decisive action by combined firepower, then you have already won.

N'en déplaise à Bonaparte, defence is actually the best offence :P

Or, rather than using The confusing word defence, let's call this strategy!

Short version :
- Don't go out and kill what you don't need to kill
- Don't ever need to kill stuff, rather make your opponent have to kill your units (this is the pressure part)
- Make sure that if he tries, he will fail or invest significantly more ressources than it is worth
- And when he does, make sure that it is easy for you to kill him in return

In a synthesized conclusion : make It hard for him, make It easy for you ;)
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#8
KurganFr

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That makes a lot of sense. Thank you again. I will do my best to apply these principles in 8th edition and let you know how it turns out.


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