Monday, August 2, 2010

Do You Deepstrike?

(Deepstrike marker from Dawn of War)

This was a question brought up by Sgt. Brisbane of Sons of Thunder and I thought I'd lend some of my insight. This stems from the fact that after building some BA lists around Mech because that's all the rage in 5th Edition and fighting enemies like melta heavy Plagues and basically any Tau formation I kept finding vehicles to NOT be that useful. Heresy, I know. Transports are about the best you can do since they are cheap and have one purpose: to move. Tanks however, even with the Fast rule just have not been stellar. Even with high armor(and even on a glance), 5 out of 6 results of the dice keeps you from shooting, which is their one purpose. So this made me look at an all Jump Pack list, which the Blood Angles can pull off nicely. Just about anything can add a JP at a cost, except certain named HQs or support units. Hell, even our Dreads get Wings, but they are ruled out of a JP list as well. But the point here is that you will be laden down with troops, around 40-50 in an average game, and the enemy will be kitted out with lots of 1-shot weapons. Sure their meltas will tear thru a marine, but that's a single 16-18pt model, vs a single hit penetrating and wrecking a 175pt Dread that never got into assault and made it's points back. Basically everyone is building mech lists with anti-mech capability. I say exploit it and bring all troops and make their load out more ineffective. In my lists, I also build in redundancy, ususally making a mirrored list, so that if any one unit is destroyed by an unlucky turn of dice, I have another one, and this is reflected in HQ down to Heavy Support.

My first mistake when taking the first steps on learning to fly was dropping in usually to fire off my two meltas in each full 10-man squad at something in hopes for a mini-alpha-strike. This lead my units dropping individually all over the board with no common objective. This lead to getting charged or shot down to 6 guys before I ever got to assault, ruining my efficiency. This also leads to units falling outside either Libby cover saves or Priest FNP bubbles. This took a number of games to start getting better at it but I am by no means a master of the descent. To get it out of the way, let me say the biggest caveat (that people always ignore) is that you have to be a smart player first for this to work. Regardless of stats and die rolls, always have a plan, stick to it, and avoid pit falls. For example, I can't just say "Always DS behind their lines" or "always deploy on your side of the board". Know your enemy and their capabilities and figure what is best. If they are charging forward to take objectives on your side of the board, your DZ might be cluttered when it's your time to DS, so land in their zone instead. Or if they are a gun line and want to play it slow, use the cover on your side as shot blockers. Be adaptive is what I'm saying. If you think it best, start everything on the board; it just matters on the objective of the game and your enemy's capabilities.

As I wrote on Brisbane's blog, what I use DS for now is a more unorthodox deployment, rather than surgical strikes. This is partly because I don't use Vanguards in my list for support outside my core ASM, but rather Devastators, and this is only in the above 1500pt range of games. Again, ASM are not surgical striking elites. They are front line troops that have better than average mobility, that is all, so don't try getting fancy with them. One type of deployment is a sort of mid-game/mid-board castling. I will DS in a unit with my Libby first as he will be my anchor, landing troops all around him so everyone gets cover if the enemy has lots of AP3 weapons. If not, then I might start with the Priest group, as he will be even more beneficial as anchor. If I can, they will be behind area terrain or even behind stuff that blocks LOS as a sort of staging area. Building on my "unorthodox deployment" is that DS'ing everything forces your enemy to move without knowing what you're doing. He can sit still for at most 2 turns, but that could be a waste in an Obj game or he could fan out but leave something unguarded and rear armor exposed, but that is up to him to get right or wrong and you play off that. In my League game, my IG opponent moved his tanks up, leaving me space to drop 3x Honor Guard unit into his rear armor, letting me pop it. These HG got blasted next turn, but then more ASM dropped in behind that tank, and eliminated it, take out most of his heavy punch, leaving the guardsmen to get ground to dust.

Which brings me to the next point that people underestimate the range of JP troops, even the general leading them. Remember this to help keep you from trying to DS in so close to the enemy. Drop in somewhere in a sweet spot that will draw the enemy into moving forward, trying to get a clean shot on your boys, but still gives cover and not close enough for them to assault you. Then on your turn, their jaw will drop as you measure out 12", fire everything, and then measure another 6". If they retreat instead, just jump forward using terrain to block shots or give saves. Don't just run after them into the open, so use what you can, even if it's just a little 5-man ASM unit to give cover to the more important 10-man unit.

»Sorry for the long rant, but there you go. The answer? Yes, I deepstrike. How about you? Think I have valid points? Think I'm a heretic for being anti-mech? Let me know why you think mech is the way to go.


Chumbalaya said...

I play Daemons and BA, so yes I deep strike.

You've covered this well, I don't see much to add, so {^}

Being flexible and adaptive is exceedingly important, so much so that it bears repeating here.

Sgt. Brisbane said...

Great tips, SynnerG! I was able to get in two games this week and I was able to use some of your advice and I tabled my opponent; for the first time in my gaming life, I tabled an opponent!

No matter what happens, DS is a risk, but it's just so much fun and potentially crushing to your opponent that I think I might be addicted to it! O.o

p.s. - thnx for the mention, brother!

SynnerG said...

Thanks for the comments guys! Glad to hear your tabled your opponent Brisbane! Is that the one you won in the Terminators article or somethin' else? Either way, will there be a battle report on it?

DS is definitely a risk, but thankfully DoA makes it less so, plus a good general will never put their troops in a risky position that relies on a dice roll to determine the outcome. My friend always said limit the amount of times you need to roll dangerous dice by taking the long way around if necessary.

Sam said...

As a new Blood Angels player I'm still trying to figure out the optimal way to deepstrike. I appreciate that it depends on the opposing army, the layout of the board, who goes first, etc. and that there's no general rule.

However, I would still like tips. What do I do in certain situations? When should/shouldn't I deepstrike?

I've had limited success so far. Dante + an Assault Squad with Meltas has been a nice way to take out a tank, but other than that my deepstrikers just appear with targets over their heads.

So yes, tips on striking and on who should strike (lists, independent characters, weapon load outs, etc.) would be greatly appreciated.

SynnerG said...

@Sam - Sorry, my post was more like an open thought discussion than a tactica, so i bounced around ideas a lot more than make hardened tips. To piece together a few of my observations above, really, for advice on deepstrike, use it as an alternative deployment method. In all cases besides using Vanguard or willfully suiciding a unit, you should always start behind cover. You will always want to move shoot and then assault.

So use Dante and company to land in an impossible place so they get maximum cover and sit tight. Then *next* turn, move up and melta tanks or transports. If you pop a transport you and then allowed to assault the gooey insides. If you DS and pop it, they will get to shoot and assault you. If you use VV or suicide, sure, DS in on some big Leman Russ or Land Raider if it's a priority, but otherwise, I advise against it. If there's no cover on your starting side, deploy to his sides where there's more or even behind him if he moves forward. I'd say the key is to deploy in a safe area and wait it out until you can move out in force. This wastes turns of shooting for your opponent and also makes him show his hand (i.e. what objectives he's going for and split his forces). I hope that little bit makes it clearer, even if it wasn't really different than above. What I can do is provide some lists with pointers at a later date, to illustrate what units I would use, given the strategy I suggest.

Sam said...

Honestly, those are exactly the sort of tips I'm looking for at this stage of the game. I'm still really new when it comes to tactics, and I can see that I still make lots of huge mistakes. Stuff like this is helpful - I certainly don't need a "Deep Strike for Dummies" guide. I do, however, prefer to learn this way as opposed to watching my marines get annihilated after striking.

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