Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Duct Tape Tactics: Improvised Grenades

Sometimes in a game, you find yourself wanting or needing to pull a maneuver off that you might not have the right assets on the field to do properly. Be it a restriction on what your Codex offers, what units you have in the area, maybe your list didn't have the right unit, or simply that you and your opponent have laid waste to each other and there simply isn't much left to do the job. 

This is where some Duct Tape Tactics come into play. 
Because we still have a job to do, even if it won't look professional.

In this edition of Duct Tape Tactics, I'll be going over a few ways to get around the fact that you want to assault something in cover but don't want to be hindered by the reality that you don't have assault grenades.

Fix 1: Pinning Weapons fix is pretty straight forward. Put some wounds on the target unit with some Pinning weapons and hope they fail their check. If a unit is assaulted while Pinned, the assaulting unit does not suffer any penalties to initiative for assaulting into cover. Same effect as having assault grenades. Obviously, if the target has good leadership, this one is going to take a few tries. Thankfully, you can force multiple Pinning checks in a single turn.

 Check your tool box:
Barrage weapons are Pinning.
Sniper weapons are Pinning.
Lots of other weapons have Pinning, look around in your Codex and your army list.

Fix 2: Make 'Em Go To Ground
Ok, so maybe we didn't bring any Pinning weapons, maybe they are busy/out of range/destroyed/etc, or maybe our target automatically passes Pinning checks. Well, we can still Pin our target so our would be assault unit won't be penalized for assaulting into cover. 

Going To Ground is functionally identical to being Pinned. Main difference is that it is voluntary and not dependent upon the enemy unit failing a leadership test. 

In my opinion, there are two main ways to get an opponent to Go To Ground.

A) Put a significant amount of wounds on a squad. So many wounds that they have to Go To Ground to have a decent chance to save enough of those wounds to survive. The amount of wounds needed here increases dramatically based on the target's armor save. Ten Ork Boys trying to save ten wounds on a 6+ armor save is pretty slim. Going to Ground for a 4+ cover save sounds much more possible.

B) How many wounds do you have to put on Tactical Marines? Or even Terminators? Well, the Tac Squad will have a very high threshold, but the Terminators have no need to Go to Ground from sheer volume of incoming wounds.

So how do you get Terminators to hit the dirt? Pound them with AP2/AP1 weapons. If you have 250 points of Terminators looking at six AP2 wounds, Going to Ground probably sounds better than risking that 5++ Invulnerable save they have in their back pockets.

Bonus Tip! You can have your Sniper weapons do double duty here. Sniper weapons are Rending. So, you might get the opponent to Go to Ground just so they get a save against the AP2 shots. Good rolls depending, of course.

Fix 3: Tank Shock!
Ok, so maybe you know right away that Fix 1 and 2 aren't going to do the job. Unfortunately, we still have a grenade-less unit that has to assault the enemy later this turn but we need to strike at initiative to pull of the win.

This is where your tanks come in. 
Tank Shock! the unit you want to attack. Since we can pre-measure our distances in 6th, you can get downright surgical with your tank. The purpose of this maneuver is to push some enemy models out of their cover so that when you assault them later in the turn, your units don't have to go through terrain and get slapped with the initiative penalty. You will have to move your assaulting unit so that it is positioned properly o comply with the strategy, but there you go. This tactic is also good against units with great leadership (unlike the Pinning strategy) because a unit with good leadership is likely to pass the check and let the tank do what it's trying to do.

And who knows, if the unit has crap leadership, you might get them to Fall Back. That may solve your problem, too.

Obviously, any time we have to improvise, it is implied that we aren't going to have the best options. But we do have options, even if they aren't how we would normally want to do it, much, like fixing something with duct tape.

I have presented three ways to get around not having assault grenades. Anyone else have any tactics to get a similar effect?


  1. Good points sir.

    I would have to add the rather extensive psychic abilities of the army. maledictions can be used to great effect. Many Eldar players use the Divination powers exclusively or even the starit book powers. The telepathy discipline is full of great opportunities to stimy units to give you the advantage.

    Dominate forces leaderships tests for all actions. terrify removes fearless so it can be used in conjunction with pinning weapons for a synergistic effect. Invisibility is a great power that hampers the opposing units ability to actually hit you in close combat.

    Remember...Mind Taking. Gives you and expands your current options.

  2. Psychic powers are definitely valid. I hadn't really thought about using some psyker mojo for the purposes of this goal. I guess I was focusing mostly on more mundane ways to accomplish this. This is why I love discussion.

  3. Well its good to have mundane methods. I went through a whole period of not using farseers just to improve my tactical awareness and methods. especially eliminating enemy psykers. This really ups your game and has another more inverse effect. You learn how to better utilize your Seer in conjunction with your units. Rather than them being the focus they act has an enhancer. You also really learn how to defend them better.