Tag Archives: tactics

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.

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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!


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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