Category Archives: Tactics and Techniques

ETC2013 getting to 5th place

So, as I may have mentioned (every 5 minutes or so), team Ireland got its highest result to date at the ETC this year.  More than a few people were surprised (delighted?) that we reached 5th place so I thought I’d spend today’s post talking about the team and what worked for us.

irl serious

So firstly there’s the guys who have to take the punishment. Everyone has a term for them: bid lists, shields, prey lists, put forward lists etc. Basically if you lose the bidding roll off, who do you nominate? This year my shield guys were Necrons, and Eldar with Tau allies. They did their jobs magnificently with scores of 61 and 57 across 6 games, showing that even with a full set of choices of counterattack our opponents were only able to draw on average with them. Good job fellas!

The next three were our counters/finesse lists. Tyranids, Daemons, and Imperial Guard with Chaos Marine allies. These lists were generally used as counters to armies that the opposing team had bid, and there’s quite a bit of effort needed to find the right matchup for them. With the right pairing they can do serious damage, in the wrong one they can end up in bad place! I found it impossible to get a good matchup for everyone in every round, but as long as two of the three were good then I knew we could still do well in the round aggregate.

The final three were our all rounders, nasty lists that can take on almost anything. Here we had Chaos Marines with Necron allies, Tau, and Grey Knights. The strategy with these guys was just to avoid the small number of potential bad matchups and use them against whatever our counter lists weren’t able to handle. Here we were relying more on player skill and army strength rather than good bidding to get ahead. These guys really delivered. Our Chaos Marine and Tau players both finished both in the top 5 of all players in the ETC (also both were top player in their respective armies), and our Grey Knight player also finished ahead of the curve.

Practicalities aside, the ‘secret’ ingredient for us is team spirit. As anyone on the team will attest, everyone did a fantastic job of supporting each other and everyone worked well as a unit. I never heard a single complaint when anyone had to face a bad matchup so that others could get good ones. Simply put, everyone completely understood the joint effort required to win a round.

irl silly

The final point I’ll add is that we really do strive to play fair with our opponents and ensure that both sides have a good set of games whether we win, lose or draw. I think it’s the right thing to do, but also it has a psychological benefit for the team as we don’t end up totally stressed out by needless arguments throughout the day. I really hope that it’s something we can keep as a core value of our team now and in the future.


ETC2013 the view from the top

So my last two posts have been about the overall meta at ETC2013, and today I want to take a quick look at the top 3 countries and how they compare to the overall meta.

As a quick refresher the top performing armies were:

  1. Tau
  2. Eldar
  3. Necrons
  4. Chaos Space Marines
  5. Chaos Daemons
  6. Tyranides
  7. Space Marines
  8. Dark Angels

Whereas the most popular armies were:

  1. Necrons
  2. Chaos Space Marines
  3. Tau
  4. Grey Knights
  5. Imperial Guard
  6. Tyranids
  7. Chaos Daemons
  8. Dark Angels

Germany got the top spot (familiar territory for these guys!).

Germany

They ran with:

  • Tau
  • Grey Knights
  • Necrons
  • Chaos Space Marines
  • Chaos Daemons
  • Tyranides
  • Orks
  • Dark Angels

So this includes 6 of the 8 top armies (they left out Eldar and Space Marines), and 7 of the 8 most popular armies (they avoided IG, which was the biggest underperformer of the popular armies).

Spain came in second,

spain

and their team comprised:

  • Tau
  • Grey Knights
  • Necrons
  • Chaos Space Marines
  • Chaos Daemons
  • Eldar
  • Imperial Guard
  • Dark Angels

Again they had 6 of the top 8 armies, leaving out Tyranids and Space marines. They also brought 7 of the 8 most popular armies, just leaving out the Tyranids.

Poland were third

poland

and they brought:

  • Necrons
  • Chaos Space Marines
  • Tau
  • Grey Knights
  • Imperial Guard
  • Tyranids
  • Chaos Daemons
  • Dark Angels

This also has 6 out of the 8 top armies (similarly to Germany they left out Eldar and Space Marines), and interestingly all of the most popular armies.

So the top three countries all brought 6 of the 8 top armies (though not the same ones) and all brought 7 or more of the 8 most popular armies.  There is a big overlap in that all three countries brought Chaos Marines, Dark Angels, Daemons, Grey Knights, Necrons, and Tau.

So, what does that mean for the army rankings I described previously? Well firstly it shows that picking the top 8 armies is not necessary to win, and places more weight on my caveat that just going on army rank is a simplification that needs to be tempered by the roles needed or the team – and the skillsets of your players!


The Road to 6N

In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a tournament, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire… The Six-Nations-Team.

Latest intelligence reports that Team Six Nations has been sequestered to a farm (possibly The Farm ) for a training weekend.

Our sources indicate that each will be pitted against the other using ETC missions to stress test their performance and matchup potential.  We are awaiting further updates…


Retrospective

Borrowed from Faeit212...

With 2012 now done and dusted, I’m taking the opportunity to highlight some of the greatest hits of WarHamSandwich.  In particular I’m homing in on the articles that have retained their relevance even with the many changes from 5th ed to 6th ed.

So, happy new year my friends, and check out some of the greatest hits below:

2013 will see plenty of new topics, and of course the updating of some old favourites for 6th edition.

Best wishes and a Happy New Year to you all!


Merry Fleetmas

I already gave you some basic rules for how to pick which dice to reroll for fleet, but they are specifically for charging in the open.  Charging through terrain means 3d6 drop the highest, which means more complexity in terms of which dice to reroll.

For your benefit dear reader, I’ve gone ahead and worked out the optimal rerolls, but they do require a more clunky set of guidelines than last time.  A key distinction here is that when you make your initial 3d6 roll I’ve called the lowest die the min, the highest the max, and the middle one the mid – the best choice for a reroll depends on what you got for min mid and max in your first roll.

Without further ado, here’s what you need to get the most out of Fleet in terrain:

Range Reroll all 3d6 Reroll lowest 2d6 Reroll Lowest D6
3″ 111 Not 111 Never
4″ 111 or 112 All others 122
5″ max<=2 All others 123, 133, 223
6″ All others max>=4 mid=max=3
7″ max<=3 All others max=4, mid=3 OR 4
8″ max<=3 All others mid=max=4
9″ max<=3 All others max=5, mid=4 OR 5
10″ max<=4 All others mid+max>=10
11″ max<=4 All others max=6, mid=5 OR 6
12″ No 6s One 6 Two 6s

This probably seems a bit impenetrable at first, so here’s a few notes on reading it.  The range column is the range to your target, the three other columns are the conditions for a given range that you would reroll 1, 2, or 3 dice.  For example, say you are 3” from your target, if you roll triple 1, then you should reroll all three dice, otherwise reroll the lowest two dice.

As another example, say the range is 10”, if the highest of your dice (i.e. max) is 4 or less then reroll all three, if the sum of the highest and middle dice is greater than or equal to ten then just reroll the lowest 1d6, otherwise just keep the highest die and reroll the lowest 2d6.

Happy fleeting my friends!


Dealing with Cron Air

Flyers in general, and necron flyers in particular, have really got many players worried and/or frustrated.

Nevertheless, a crucial weakness of pure flyer lists is the requirement to have units on the board at the end of every game turn. If the vast majority of the armies points are in flyers that can’t come in until turn 2, then killing the few ground units they have in turn 1 gets you an auto win before a single flyer enters play.

However, wiping even just a handful of units in turn one is not an easy task; especially so if your opponent is hiding them well. So far, some Daemons lists have excelled at this, since half the army deepstrikes in on turn 1 and can focus in on the enemy’s hiding spots.

What I’ve been pondering, is how an Imperial Guard army might achieve that difficult turn 1 wipeout. I think the key to this is captured in the quote:

Infantry win firefights. Tanks win battles. Artillery win wars.

The plethora of excellent artillery choices lets you drop devastating pie plates from afar, and even on units that you can’t see – thanks to indirect fire.

The inclusion of Gunnery Sergeant Harker lets you infiltrate a veteran squad, which can be placed with the right firepower to mop up the remains of a unit post-bombardment.

In case it doesn’t go to plan, I’ve included 3 vendettas to take on flyers that do make it in to play, and a Master of the Fleet to slow down the rate at which those flyers come into play.

So here’s the list:

HQ – 80
Company Command Squad (80)
Company Commander; Master of the Fleet.

Troops – 445
Veteran Squad (150)
Gunnery Sergeant Harker; 3× grenade launcher; Veteran Weapons Team (heavy bolter).

Platoon Command Squad (295)
Platoon Commander; Heavy Weapons Team (autocannon).
• Infantry Squad: +1 Sergeant.
• Infantry Squad: +1 Sergeant; krak grenades.
• Heavy Weapon Squad: 3× autocannon.
• Heavy Weapon Squad: 3× autocannon.

Fast Attack – 420
1 Vendetta Gunship (140)
sponson heavy bolters.

1 Vendetta Gunship (140)
sponson heavy bolters.

1 Vendetta Gunship (140)
sponson heavy bolters.

Heavy Support – 805
1 Ordnance Battery (420)
• Colossus
• Colossus
• Colossus

Manticore Rocket Launcher (160)

1 Ordnance Battery (225)
• Griffon
• Griffon
• Griffon

Detachment: Fortifications

Other – 100
Aegis Defence Lines (100)
Quad Gun.

1,850 points

As an added bonus, I think it will scare horde infantry lists; which are also gaining popularity in the tournament scene.


IG and me

I played my first 6th ed tournament, using a combo of chaos marines and imperial guard. The format was escalation from 1000 to 2000 over 5 games with a 250 point uplift from round to round.

I brought a list that tried to include a bit of everything: flyers, deep strikers, flying monster, jump infantry, artillery, fortification etc.

Overall they were decent but definitely suboptimal lists, so I won’t bore you with the breakdown – but I did take the time to reflect on my games and come up with a list that is more evolved.

So 1750 points will get you:
Imperial Guard

HQ
Company Command Squad
Company Commander; Astropath; Master of Ordnance; Master of the Fleet; camo cloaks.

Elites
Guardsman Marbo

Troops
Platoon Command Squad
Platoon Commander.
• Infantry Squad: +1 Sergeant (melta bombs); flamer; krak grenades; Heavy Weapons Team (heavy bolter).
• Infantry Squad: +1 Sergeant (melta bombs); flamer; krak grenades; Heavy Weapons Team (heavy bolter).
• Heavy Weapon Squad: 3× autocannon.

Platoon Command Squad
Platoon Commander.
• Infantry Squad: +1 Sergeant (melta bombs); sniper rifle; krak grenades; Heavy Weapons Team (missile launcher).
• Infantry Squad: +1 Sergeant (melta bombs); sniper rifle; krak grenades; Heavy Weapons Team (missile launcher).
• Special Weapon Squad: 3× demolition charge.

Fast Attack
1 Vendetta Gunship
sponson heavy bolters.

1 Vendetta Gunship
sponson heavy bolters.

1 Vendetta Gunship

Heavy Support
2 Hydra Flak Tanks

Manticore Rocket Launcher
pintle-mounted heavy stubber; camo netting.

2 Hydra Flak Tanks

Fortifications
Aegis Defence Lines
Quad Gun.

Since chaos is in flux right now I’ve left them out of the list That said, with the new chaos codex coming out this week you can expect to see more from me on the IG+CSM combo in the near future.


Size matters

One of my earlier posts talked about the importance of estimating range, and some techniques to help you guess distances on the fly.  Naturally I’m not the first nor the last person to have considered this part of the game, and I thought it might be useful to share some of the better articles I’ve seen on the topic.  Hopefully you can find an approach in the mix below that will help you on the field of battle:

http://waraltar.onthestep.net/2011/07/pythagoras-and-you.html

http://kirbysblog-ic.blogspot.com/2011/02/back-to-basics-eyeballing-distances.html

http://blood-claw.blogspot.com/2010/12/are-they-in-range.html

A further piece of work on my ‘to do’ list is to publish the dimensions of some fairly standard tabletop stuff.  This will help by giving some references on the board that you can use to estimate distance.  I’ve started here with standard base sizes:

When I get the opportunity I’ll add the dimensions of some common vehicles, e.g. Rhino, Landraider, Chimera etc and put them all up in a single document in my Resource section.

That’s all for now; I’ve been travelling round the world for the past while, but that should calm down from this October onward – so hopefully I can get back to a more regular update schedule!

PS if anyone has the time and inclination, then please do post up any vehicle dimensions that you know in the comment section, and I’ll collate them.


Going the distance

Starting with the simple stuff.

For the game of Warhammer 40,000 the normal play area is 6′x4′, more usefully in inches 72″x48″.

Most of the game activities revolve around actions that depend on distance (e,g, moving, shooting, assaulting) and these actions almost always have distances that are 6″ or a multiple thereof (e.g. 6″ moves, d6″ run, 12″ rapid fire etc). So, before the game starts, it is useful to imagine the tabletop in 6″x6″ squares (so the playing area will be 12 squares wide by 8 squares deep).

This grid will guide your judgement of distance

This will help gauge weapon ranges, how long it will take to get from point A to point B etc. It won’t give accurate results, but it will give you a ballpark, and will let you know if something is definitely impossible. It’s inexact because a) you’re guessing, and b) most of what you do will be diagonal – so the orthogonal distances that square counting gets you won’t be right.

To overcome A requires experience, good spatial reasoning, and some practice (ie set up a tabletop and guess the various ranges, measure and see how you did).

To overcome B I’d suggest the following – imagine the rectangle that has one corner on your starting point, and the opposite corner on your end point. Add the longest side of the rectangle to half the shortest side and you will get a good approximation of the true distance.

So when assessing the battlefield, consider the deployment zones, terrain, and objectives – imagine your 6″x6x grid and start to consider what you can do, not just in this turn – but right through to game end. Just as an example, say at turn 2 you want to decide which units to send to which objectives; it is easy to underestimate how long it will take to get there – the grid will let you know if reaching that point is possible at all within the time available. For example a footslogging unit walking on turn 1 in a dawn of war scenario will not be able to make it to the opponents edge of the table even if they go in a straight line with no obstacles – unless they forego shooting for running.

Before the game starts, and during every turn, look at distances and consider them in terms of game turns to get there, or ranges required to shoot there, etc etc. Look at your opponent’s position and do the same to gauge what he can do, and what he may be going for. Don’t forget to use legal measurement to check your estimates during the game, for example movement and range after declaring shooting (yours and your opponents!)

Now stop reading this, and go practice eyeballing the tabletop.


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