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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dear GW: How to not write an Article

WHAT WAS GW THINKING? This is a good example of a bad article that should never have been posted on the GW site. Take a look at it for a moment, this is little more than some general suggestions on what they tease in the tag line as "ways to kill an angel". This is little more than trying to plug some key products to make more sales. Look at the first one talking about Dark Eldar. Pimping bikes or giving good advice? Pimping bikes is my vote. GW should consider that many newer players would visit their site more often and pay attention more if there was some articles of substance. In the past they have done a great job producing some top notch work then other times they just spew crap in an overrated LL Bean online advertisement.

How to deal with Blood Angels or rather any army like them. Mainly a deep striking list is what is common in their features. Be they marines that use drop pods, jump packs, flyer's or any other means of getting to the field quickly, use shock to your advantage and maintain that grip to win their games. The key to these lists is to understand first how to break them.

First Turn

If they win the roll and choose to go second, one of your best options it to castle. What is a castle. That is boxing in your army instead of spreading out. Making it harder to get to your army in a very specific part of the board and creating a greater risk for deep striking. Drop pods are the hardest to deal with a castle because if they scatter into your army they won't mishap. Your only hope is that they scatter off the table for a mishap. On the other hand any other means could make a unit scatter off the table, land in scenery and making them take tests for dangerous terrain by jumping into it or landing on your unit.

This intimidates some newer players as they won't take the risk of the loss of a great and valuable unit. Others throw caution to the win and play their luck. So, the next layer of the castle comes into play. The disposables of your list. Decide what is important and keep that to the very edge of a table edge, place a unit(s) that you are willing to throw away making any victory they create a hollow one. For example, if your playing IG use conscripts or a cheap line unit with a flamer to buffer an area. Placement is key here as you want to keep them far enough away from your valuable targets like armor that their melta guns (which is a favorite of most deep striking marine lines) to get the extra dice to their penetration roll. Instead make them take a chance they may not hurt your vehicles or be forced to shoot at the disposable unit(s).

The Double Castle

The double castle is a unique thing that I have suggested in the past to players to deal with deep striking armies. Split your forces in this case of being forced to go first. Spread out your army into two parts, keeping important units balanced between the two.  Use the disposable units to buffer your important units while you setup a crossfire that keeps them off balance. They too have to split their army to go after yours and they have to work harder due to the fact that not all your eggs are in the same basket now. They are forced to split their thinking which can throw off their game plan.

It's a TRAP!

Admiral Ackbar had this quote dead on. Make them feel that they control the game, that they have your castle in hand. Plan to hold some units in reserve perhaps to react by placing some expendable bait out or perhaps nothing at all. Holding all in reserve by going second can be a gambit. With nothing on the table, they are either forced to land in a safe spot and figure out what your doing or take a risk and get close. If they get close focus fire and punish one unit at at time, remove it from the table. One less unit is one less problem, a unit reduced is still a unit that can be a threat. When you place out of reserve, setup your units to get the best shots or rather the most shots and to avoid making themselves a target, again if possible keep an expendable unit near to lure them away from a prime target. A smart player will see this and avoid it, this is the point where you accept that they are a loss and continue to punish them for their actions with concentrated firepower.

Also, when you hold all in reserve, if your list allows for some method to include some type of bonus to reserves like an Astropath, Pheromones or some other advantage is not a bad investment if you feel that it is important to your army build. For some lists, the idea to delay an army can also be very painful in the case of IG. By simply having a Master of the Fleet a player may choose to not deep strike and will setup their army another way. In this case if you let them go first, they setup, you could hold all in reserve, now they have to waste two turns moving around hoping they get into the right spot. Then you have the remaining turns of the game to focus on the goal of the mission.

Deployment can set the tone for a game and adapting your army against your opponent can also help make or break a game. A little luck with the dice can't hurt either. I will try to come back later and develop this in a second article giving some army specific ideas on how to clip the wings of an angel.

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