Sunday, 5 December 2010

Deployment in action Lesson 1

This is a lesson to you. This is a lesson to me.

I am ready for the blog to be more than a channel for my thoughts, I want to give more to the community and learn more from it.

Over the last year as I have started reading online my game has improved massively. I think everyone can do this. Check out the links on the left of the blog to see where I got my info....
Let’s all learn and push our game to a higher level.

First on the agenda (there kind of is one…. ;) ) is Deployment.

This is a killer for a lot of guys. I see it done wrong all the time, even at the recent tournament I attended with Arteides (Brighton Warlords Doubles -3rd).

I’m also going to use a series of posts to learn more about my most recent army. I’ve been building and playing an Imperial Guard for some time and it currently looks like this.

How do I use it on the tabletop though? Well, lets forget what happens mid game for now and focus purely on deployment vs a series of armies across a series of missions and deployment styles.

First up IG vs Mechanised ‘Hammer’ Blood Angels.

This is a fairly min/max list that can be found here under the ‘Hammer’ entry. Pretty tough and a common Internet list (a scaled down version of Jawa's...not something I would run but hey ho).

Dice rolled Spearhead and Capture and Control. BA has won first turn in this scenario:

Important Note: IGNORE the terrain set up on the Vassal screenshots, for this idealised model we will assume shots can be taken and room for movement and LOS is available…cos generally it is!

The LRR full of Termies is headed straight for the IG lines, the Baals will push up for suppression of return fire, the Preds provide anti tank death, most likely to reduce the Vendetta’s as they have deadly range and fast speed for late game contesting of the very far away BA objective. The Las/PlasBacks sit back in cover of the AV13 Preds and claim whilst suppressing IG armour with Lascannon fire.

How can IG cover/react to this then? Lets look….

The Manticore and Colossus sit back at range to capitalise on the distance between the lascannons, Autocannons etc, using the hypotenuse/diagonal of the table to maximise the distance.

The Vendetta’s hug the board edge, outranging enemy firepower, but with space to move flat out in scout move to further improve survivability.

The Chimera’s are layered with short ranged melta ready to meet the surge of the Land Raider, the CCS is in the middle of the ‘X’ formation and the Grenade/Autocannon Vets at the bottom/rear of the ‘X’, capitalising on their range.

Finally, the LR Demolisher spearheads the formation, ready to meet the charge of its death-carrying counterpart. Please note: The Russ is deployed, using your eye not a tape measure (its too obvious) about an inch further back than the minimum 12” from table centre.
This gives the appearance of being in range for a first turn MM shot with 2D6 penetration from the LRR, whilst of course not being. Neither are any of the units in first turn charge range.

How would Scout moves look then?

So, we’ve deployed and its scout time. Remember, this happens BEFORE seizing the initiative… so don’t over extend your scout units (in this case, the Vendetta’s…or I guess the Baals).

 Now, this might not be the case with the Baals for a lot of BA players, but I’m not going to pass up the opportunity to get first turn side shots on Chimeras. So they are swinging out to the flanks to get their TL Ass Cannons on target. Bear in mind, that the Baals would pop smoke as per the FAQ, getting a cover save in the IG first turn. This is despite the fact that they will make another move and fire before the IG can react turn 1.

The Vendetta’s have moved flat out and spread out in order to dilute the frontal assault of the BA…How? By moving in separate directions, the firepower heading into each vehicle in the centre, i.e, the troop carrying Chimera’s is reduced. Because the Vendetta’s can move a further 6” out onto each flank and then fire their long ranged lascannons, they are able to threaten the side armour of the otherwise very tough Av13 Predators.

Problem Number 1:

Scout moves do not just happen, they happen in a sequence….determined by a dice roll!

So what if the IG gets the first scout move? 

The first Vendetta has scouted out to the right, in reaction, the first Baal moves out to get those side shots still, without appearing to threaten the Vendetta that has just moved, not attracting too much undue attention…this is a nonsense of course.

Next move the second Vendetta switches out to the original position of the first, moving flat out and putting greater pressure, or appearing to, on one flank (right) of the BA. The second Baal then is forced to respond to this, moving out to ‘intercept’ the fliers, of course, its real target is still the side armour of the Chimera’s.

Seizing the initiative? Um, not likely…so lets assume you don’t!!

Turn 1 BA movement would most likely look like this… 

Side shots into both Melta Chimera’s, LRR powers forward popping off a MM (if not the brightest spark) or more likely a POTMS TLAC shots trying to rend through Av14…remember its more likely than a lascannon! The preds marginally reposition for shots, probably on Vendetta’s and away we go…potentially not a good turn for IG!

So can we make it better?

Where are the foul ups in the Imperial Guard deployment?

Lets examine…IF we put the IG further back like this:

Most of the BA guns are currently out of range. Visually, we can see a huge difference…

Perhaps most importantly the AutoLas Preds need to creep up a few inches and the Troop-carrying LasPlasBacks need to move forward at least 6” if they want to positively contribute their firepower to the game.

If they do this, they will be off their objective. Yes, I know this is turn 1-3 we are talking about, but it at least it causes some conflict in the BA players mind…

But, our IG guns are still mainly in range. Yes, the melta isn’t but there are more than 1 way to skin a Land Raider…S10 Ordnance helps. Lascannons can, but they have better targets.

What would scout moves in this case look like?

I would think the BA just move up in a more central manner, hyper conscious of the Ass Cannons on the Baals not being in range, whilst the IG would spread out like so… 

This provides excellent side shots on all BA vehicles for the left Vendetta, whilst the right Vendie will be in superb position after a 6” move from the BA army, noting that we are forcing the BA player to move his rear firebase if he wants to actually use the firepower he has there.
In addition, by moving the Vendetta’s out to the extreme flanks, the BA player is forced to consider how best to allocate his fire.

Most obviously would be to drive the forward element, LRR and 2 Baals, into the centre of the IG horseshoe and then split the Autolas and LasPlasBacks into 2 fireteams, each dealing with the threat of the Vendetta’s.

Clearly this move will result in the likely death of the Vendetta’s…there are only so many 4++ you can make. In this manner of splitting fire, only the LasPlasBack on the left hand side need move, being approx. 3” out of range…

I did this on Vassal, resulting in the left Vendetta incurring no damage, only 1/3 lascannon penetrating after hits and the autocannon not penetrating. Strangely enough, the results on the other Vendetta were the same…not enough fire power directed at a single target, the dilution too weak, whilst appearing that it should in fact do some damage. The only penetrating hit of the 6 Las and 4 autocannon shots being cover saved… is this representative of real life…well, yes…the machine spirit of Vassal uses real probability so hey ho…tough shit BA. 

With the forward push we have to assume more damage and threats but we are playing a game now, not just discussing likely situations resulting from deployment. The BA player would have reasonably assumed that the shooting from the Vendettas would at least be stopped or minised to 1 skimmer, but that’s just the way the dice roll…it now means that the Baals are most likley to die, and the LRR be popped from S10 Ordnance…

Is this a better deployment then? Well yes and no. It is better to deal with the first turn or 2, crippling the advance of the BA, forcing one of the troop units to make a long slog across the table…IF we can remove the long range shooting early, then the Vendetta’s will be alive and can contest, giving the win…

This is how I would do it anyway…. 

But what if the IG got to go first? How different would things look? Deployment? Unravelling of Turn 1? Next post in a couple of days…

Meantime, was this worth your time! Lol! How can I improve my thinking? How do you deploy? Let me know…


  1. in this situation i always leave at least a squad of melta vets in reserve since they can come on and give me a shot at the enemy objective. since they will be out of range for ages anyway, i dont mind doing it.

    liking the format as well.

  2. Hmmm...without manipulation of reserves I had not even considered it to be honest.

    But it is certainly worth while for getting side shots on preds in this situation.

    On the otherhand, and for me the stronger argument, is keeping it on the board to fulfil 3 criteria:
    1) Saturation of Av12, increasing survivability of other units and diluting incoming fire
    2) Providing cover for other units
    3) Having the Melta threat on the table, to hand exactly when I need to use it to apply pressure.

    The last point has an added advantage in that it is VISIBLE. The enemy knows that there is a triple melta unit on the table, 2 of them, close to where his LR intends to go..this forces hard choices of target priority...

    Again, all this is in my opinion of course...

  3. Whats in the Vendettas, MeltaVets? If so, then Outflank them. Otherwise, normal Reserve. Then castel up further, to buy time for them to arrive. Remember that in Spearhead Reserves arrive from the LONG edge you chose, so they will arrive beside/behind the BA advancing column, and tear them apart.

    In addition, any 'spare' Infantry might be well employed as Bubblewrap a la Kroot. While not difficult to get rid of, even by Tank Shock, it forces the opponent's hand somewhat. If they get those Termies out early, you can easily blunt their spear and begin mopping up. :)

    Keep the series up! It'd be easy to lose heart on such a task.

  4. The option for MeltaVets to be in the Vend's is there, but I only mount them up in certain circumstances.
    I'd only put them in if I were getting first turn and the opponent did not have reserve manipulation or disposable bubblewrap...

    Outflanking is certainly an option, but damn...BA are so fast that if the reserve rolls are not friendly...yes, they will tear apart the side armour of the coloumn, but that deadly pay load that is so hard to kill will have already gotten into your lines...

    It's a tough one deployment, I'm going to keep it up...the next article is written and I think both more concise and better.

    Cheers for reading King