Thursday, September 12, 2013

Path Of The Seer: Deployments And Unit Roles

Man its been a crappy week. I won't go into details, but sufficed to say its been rough. I did manage to get a
game in with Spellduckwrong and his mighty Mechdar Sunday. I was using the new list that was a collaborative effort between myself and Spellduckwrong.

In the spirit and trend that seems to be happening on the blog, reflections on tournament play and list building. I wanted to talk about an aspect of the game that i have been contemplating since my game Sunday. Deployment. I also want to talk about a units role in the battlefield. This goes hand in hand with deployment. Apologies to those looking forward to the Aspects of Khaine 2.0. With the Michigan GT only a couple weeks away both Spellduckwrong and I are in training. You generally get pretty good insight on things when you play a bunch of games in a short amount of time. So that said, lets get down to business.

In my game Sunday I was running the new GT list for the first time. I had several elements working in concert to form the main focus of the list. It was not a deathstar per say, but more of a tough fire base. The terrain was an approximation of what we can expect at the GT. This includes at least one terrain piece that is line of sight blocking. We had a hammer and anvil set up. We had a collection of hills and rocky formations in the corners and a fuel depot on the right center. The actual center of the board was fairly clear. The LOS blocker was on the left hand side of my deployment zone. Without even thinking about it I deployed my fire base unit collection in such a way that Spellduckwrong was able to hide a good portion of his wave serpents behind this terrain piece. I was only able to crack off a couple shots and he was able to avoid the full weight of fire I could bring to bear. His cover save was very good despite me having the first turn. If I had gone second his save would have been way better and I would not have been able to do anything.

As is I did manage to wound a couple of serpents. I was not able to kill them though. I made a very big tactical error in my deployment. I obscured my lines of fire and limited my ability to deal with the enemy army on my terms. I had no way to redeploy my army as I left Eldrad at home. This would not have done much good anyways as you can't redeploy a fortification with Eldrads ability. I should have deployed the fire base dead center. This gave me a good field of vision and would have forced Spellduckwrong to deploy differently.

When it comes down to it deployment sets the mood for the battle. Deploying poorly can mean you are playing a defensive game vs a game in which you are in control of what is happening on the battle field. You have to set up using the terrain to your advantage, both offensively and defensively. If we look at my battle Sundays an example we can see that setting up more centrally in my deployment zone would have opened lanes of fire and forced Spellduckwrongs flotilla of vehicles so possibly spread out more to take advantage of terrain for cover. There was not a lot of cover in his deployment zone to go around though and I could have picked off two or three vehicles with relative ease. I could have used my Wave Serpents to hit the vehicles in cover. The LOS blocking terrain would not have been a big deal.

Alternatively if I had went second I could have used the LOS blocker to my advantage and forced Spellduckwrong to move around it to get a clean shot. I could have used my other units to try and funnel his vehicles into a kill zone for my main fire base. This all goes hand in hand with your units abilities and what their job is on the battle field.

I had a unit of swooping hawks in my list. I had intended to use them as a fire support unit for my unit of Warp Spiders. Basically using the Spiders to pop vehicles on rear armor then hitting the unit that comes out with the swooping hawks. What the Lasblasters lake in strength they make up for in volume of fire. I was able to use them in this way once. It was effective, but not effective enough. In fact the survivors ended up holding an objective at the end of the game. The Swooping Hawks had a role and they were not fulfilling it. It could be I just was not using them correctly, which happens a lot to many players. I was not able to use them effectively. I was also not able to use my Fire Base to its max potential due to my deployment errors. I guess what I am getting at is you have to know the difference between a unit not fulfilling any purpose and you as the player not using it correctly. You cannot deploy a unit effectively to maximize its abilities if you don’t know its role. If it has no function or does not contribute to the whole then it doesn’t belong in the list. I have always said the Eldar are about synergy. If you have a weak link the whole Warhost breaks down

Ok there is my two cents. My list is getting tweaked and I am rolling it out Saturday at the Michigan GT Primer at Flatland Games in Wixom.

I would also like to mention that Pre registration for UCON is up and going. Save your spot for the Craftworld Open. I am also Running Firestorm Armada from 6 to 10 Friday and Flames Of War Saturday from 2 to 6. PG_Hick is running a Warmachine/Hordes Hardcore Saturday from 10 to 7.

Stay tuned for missions and tournament details.

Until next time.................................

Blood Runs, Anger Rises, Death Wakes, War Calls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  1. Deployment is crucial. It is a separate game skill all in itself. I've lost several games over the years solely because of how I deployed. Conversely, I've won several games solely because of how I deployed as well.
    I think if people looked at the deployment phase as a "mini game", and played it as hard as they played their turns, they might start reaping some serious rewards over the course of their battles.

  2. Indeed. I think its one of my major weak points as a player. I set up rather quickly and dont think about it as I should. it generally puts me in awkward tactical positions.

    1. I won't sugar coat it. Yeah, your deployment skills suck. But thankfully, you've admitted it. And admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery!
      Maybe we'll do some deployment drills next time we're at the shop. That actually. Might be fun.

  3. Personally, I think the relationship between deployment and success is heavily dependent on your army. My deployment skills are mediocre at best but because I usually play fast armies, it rectifies itself pretty quickly. Maybe my experience is different though, the last game I played with a LOS blocking piece of terrain was over a year ago

    1. No doubt that quick armies have the ability to "redeploy" easily and that in and of itself is a huge advantage. Fast armies are also my preference as well.
      I don't necessarily agree that the success relationship you speak of is heavily dependent on army type (outside of extreme examples of course).
      I find that superior deployment with my fast lists generally results in glorious first turn, whether I am going first or second.
      Granted LOS blockers are kinda rare, they are gaining traction as a popular style of terrain due to the increased popularity of weapons that ignore cover. Using the old 5th Ed style terrain gives a huge advantage to Eldar, Tau and a few others. Probably why they are dominating the tournament scene nowadays.