Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Support and You

A recent discussion came up with my normal gaming group about how to properly support units. While it was a new conversation we all soon realized that it was something that we all have thought about before, but never talked in depth about. We all have differing opinions about how to best support key units in our armies, but the over arching theme of supporting each unit is something we all can agree on.

I’m going to talk about a few of the different key support roles and how I think they can be used on the table. Keep in mind that these are just a few examples and how I would use them.

First off there is the ’Distraction’ tactic. This style of support can come in the form of a deep striking unit or a unit jumping out from a hidden deployment (such as from inside a Land Raider or a dreadnought in a Drop Pod). The ways these units support the rest of your force is by drawing your opponent’s attention away from your key units, and they are far more dangerous than your normal troops. Making your opponent deal with these units gives the rest of your army the time they need to get into position to win the game. Hammer units make great ‘distraction’ units, as they are a force that must be dealt with and they are also very hard to kill.  In my Space Wolves army I like to use Thunder Wolf Cavalry for this role because they are hard to kill and I am able to get them into the enemy's face quickly. I deploy them as far forward as possible, and in cover if that is an option. Doing this gives them the ability to strike quickly and be able to survive my opponents first shooting phase if I’m not going first.

The next type is the ‘Covering Fire’ support role. This support role comes in many different forms, from long rage fire support to two units working in tandem to provide each other covering fire. The key to this support role is mobility and range. If you are able to have both it gives your units much more flexibility, but that’s not always an option. Another advantage with covering fire is the ability to take away your opponents cover saves. When you have multiple units that can target the same enemy unit but use different firing lanes to do so, it makes it more difficult to assure a cover save for your opponent. For this role there are a few different units that I use. First is Long Fangs for long range cover fire. I tend to deploy them on opposite sides of the table and equip them with missile launchers, that way they are able to cover a large portion of the board from a safe location. For mobile cover fire I like to keep my Grey hunters close together. By doing this it gives me the ability to either assault with 2 units or rapid fire with one unit and assault with the other.

Another pseudo support role is to have a sacrificial unit that is placed before the enemies to tempt them into making the moves you want. A small unit of troops in a vehicle or a fast moving unit makes a great sacrificial unit, as you can maneuver them quickly into position. Sacrificial units should be cheep in points, the more points this unit costs you the more it hurts when you do sacrifice it.  The idea with sacrificial units is that the enemy will strike them first and wipe them out, leaving their unit stranded, which gives you time to either counter attack or unload mass amounts of fire into them. IG is best known for the latter due to their ability to out shoot almost every other army in the game.

 Each of these different styles forces your opponent to react to you, and that can put the control if the game in your hands.  Games are often won by the player who controls the pace of the game, and forcing your opponent to react to you is one of the best ways to do that. What are some of your favorite support tactics and the units that you find work best?


Max said...

I do a version of the distraction tactic with my Guard army. Since almost everything can outflank thanks to Al'Rahem and Valks I set up a few units on the board to tempt my opponent in that direction. Then my reserves come on and suddenly I'm very strong in other parts of the board that the enemy has hopefully been ignoring.

JTaylor said...

The Valks have added a great support unit to the Guard's already great repertoire. The new codex's of 5th edition have brought variety to what was once a static 'stand and shoot' game.

Max: What do you fill the valks with? I normally see either vets or convicts dropped from them.

Max said...

Well, that depends on if it's a Valk or a Vendetta. If I'm running my Al'Rahem list there will be a Vendetta that will be carrying a special weapon squad- nice and cheap, doesn't distract from the Vend's gunboating duties and allows it to score at turbospeed. If need be, a command squad will jump in one instead.

If it's a Valk, vets and command squads all the way, usually loaded up with plasma, melta or (in rare occasions) flamers.