A couple weeks ago I saw a post on one of the many Warhammer 40k Facebook pages where a player was complaining about his Defilers and how poor they were doing. He described as they charged into a "Smash Captain", didn't kill it, and died in return. Many of you may be thinking "Well duh!" and that was my first reaction. This led me to writing this post on how to set yourself up for success.
First off, this is a lot harder to do than you might imagine, mainly because your opponent is trying to set you up to fail. Secondly, because you might have an unrealistic idea as to what is actually going to happen when you charge a Defiler into a thunder hammer wielding psychopath with a storm shield.
This all starts from the second you begin to build your list. As you are doing so you need to be acutely aware of how your army functions when you lose certain aspects of it. Lets take a look at an excellent example, LVO winner Brandon Grant. Brandon had a Castellan Knight backed up by a metric shit ton of Catachan Guardsmen, a massive squad of Bullgryn, and a couple Wyvern. Turn 1 Brandon lost his Bullgryn and turn 3 his Castellan. A ton of people were counting Brandon out of the match, however he knew his list could flood the table with bodies, and thanks to some seriously good calls on target priority, his opponent didn't have enough anti-infantry firepower left to kill them all.
|It might be small, but it's powerful|
Moving on from there, we come to the part where we look ourselves in a mirror and say "That Defiler can't kill a Captain with a stormshield, even with Daemonforge." Knowing what your units can and can't do is critical. Spend time figuring this out, even come up with scenarios on your own and roll some dice to see what could happen. Does a 5 man Berserker squad kill that Smash Captain? Most of the time. Does that Defiler kill a Rhino? He can with Daemonforge. Knowing these match ups will help guide you to make smarter decisions during a game, and all you have to do is fuck around with some dice by yourself for a while.
I have to emphasise one thing, and that is DO NOT base the effectiveness of a unit based on what it did that one time. We all have those moments when something crazy awesome happens and those are super fun when they happen, but don't get caught up in the moment and forget that that is not going to happen every time.
Brandon knew he was going to lose the knight, it wasn't a matter of if, it was a matter of when. He was able to delay it a turn by good deployment, and another turn on some lucky dice. All the while he was making decisions for the late game as though he had already lost the knight. Do you know what Guardsmen can't do? Survive Eldar Jetbike shooting. What does a Castellan do better than shoot down fliers? Shoot down Jetbikes. So lets get rid of those Jetbikes. Come turn 3 this is now a game of "Can Alex kill enough Guardsmen with Eldar fliers?" Alex tries, but Brandon manages to keep enough bodies alive and score enough points to win the game 33-29.
I hope you can apply some of these ideas to your games to make you a better player.
I'd like to give out a huge thank you to Brandon Grant who took a couple minutes out of his day to cast with me about his game and his list.
Until next time, keep them dice rollin.