Author Archives: Son of Adam

Road to NOVA: Preliminary FAQ Released

Hey all, Son of Adam here with the next part on The Road to NOVA.  Recently the provisionary FAQ came out.  This is interesting even if you are not going to NOVA because you can discuss the legitimacy of some of their FAQ’d answers to some of the holes in the new edition before GW officially makes a ruling on it.

            There are some points of particular interest that I want to note:

  • Flyers cannot leave combat airspace the turn they come in from reserves (second turn for air force vs. air force just got important)
  • Flyers in locked velocity just remain in their speed “set” that is combat speed or cruising speed.
  • The death ray (Necron Doom Scythe’s main weapon) can only resolve a hit against a flyer if it is shooting in skyfire mode.
  • No one gets Flakk missiles unless stated so. (so no one)
  • Eldar can target their squad for fortune, guide even if battle brother characters have joined.
  • Reserve modifiers affect allies.
  • Flying monstrous creatures that have failed their grounded test will remain to only be able to be hit by snap fire and will continue to have to take grounded tests for the rest of that turn.  –That one is particularly curious, but it is RAW-
  • Wounds do not carry over after challenges.
  • Black templar allies do not need an emperor’s champion
  • The Space Wolves Wolf Standard needs to be declared for the next assault phase, meaning that if you wish to use it in the same turn you are in, it must be declared as late as that turn’s shooting phase.
  • Space Wolves may use their staff, wolf talisman, and deny the witch roll for each psychic power used against them.
  • All perils of the warp from Mindstrike Missiles on a squad with Brotherhood of psykers are resolved against the one character (or randomly selected model) in that squad.

These are pretty interesting and there are a lot more in the actually FAQ.  Check it out.  I especially think the one about grounded monstrous creatures is interesting.  I’m not sure if it helps them or hurts them; maybe a bit of both.  I also appreciate the clarification for the Doom Scythe’s Death Ray, it balances it in a legitimate way.

I’m interested to see what else they change in the revision.

Have at it folks.  Anything you disagree with?  Anything you are surprised at?  Anything you are happy about?

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Grey Knight List Building: Multiplying Effect (Prescience)

Hey guys, Son of Adam here from MasterCraft Gaming with a quick discussion about a potential list element for the Grey Knights.  Some people have been requesting more Grey Knights tactica, and Vanguard thought that I should post up a discussion that we had about them, and so, here you go. 

            Let’s take a quick step back and explain something simple, but useful (and often overlooked).  Some effects in 40k multiply their effectiveness.  They offer a buff at a flat cost that a varying number of models can take advantage of, depending on the list created.  A squad purchasing psybolt amo is a good example, or Black Templar’s creeds.  The buff that is given becomes less and less expensive (per model) as it is spread across more models that are taking advantage of it, and therefore increases its efficiency.

4 to 5 twin-linked psycannons is no small thing.

            And now the next step: Grey Knights now have access to the divination psychic discipline and with it, the incredibly helpful primaris power prescience.  Prescience, unlike most powers, is guaranteed.  It is also one of the multiplying effects that we just talked about.  When applied in bulk the relative cost drops.  –As a side note, please be aware that lowering cost is only a tool, it is not the aim, and the aim, if you haven’t read it yet, can be found here.– 

            One of the prime examples to look at is a squad of 10 Paladins/purifiers with 4 psycannons.  (Which can be combat squaded to leave the cannons together and make the other half combat related or serve some other function.)  How much would you expect to pay in order to twin-link all of your psycannons and bring a chaplain with you whose power is in effect every turn, and not just on the turn you charged?  Some may say just make the cannons mastercrafted and ignore the bonus to combat, after all they generally only miss about once per shooting phase anyway.  Normally I would validate that opinion, however, with the advent of fliers and flying MCs, the ability for paladins as characters to make precision shots, and the bump to the amount of infantry we expect, I would have to make the argument again.  What is the value of a squad being able to re-roll all missed to hits in both shooting and in combat?  Quite high I expect.

            Before we get too far let’s look at who can get prescience and evaluate their usefulness in furthering our ability to achieve the golden rules.  As per Grey Knight FAQ, only the inquisitors and librarians get rulebook powers.  Here are two quick (and not exclusive) things to note about their differences.

  • Librarians- can add to the multiplying effect with more powers/mastery levels.
  • Inquisitors- (Malleus) can add an additional Psycannon making the squad have 5 twin-linked Psycannons (flier or not that’s painful).

            Always remember killing is not the goal, but a squad like this is something that a list can be built around.  You can tactically achieve a 24″ threat range that people will not want to be in.  When you have something like that, you can then build a list around it that can use that bubble to manipulate your opponent’s movement, and put them in places that are more advantageous to the rest of your list.

            That’s just a quick little thought for all of you MasterCraft fans who play Grey Knights (this is also useful for other armies).  Find ways that you can build lists with something that has this kind of influence, and then comment with how that went.

            As always fellas, thanks for reading.  Please follow/like/sub our stuff and leave some comments if there is anything else you want to see or see changed.  Thanks.

Battle Report: Grey Knights vs Space Wolves (2k)

Hey guys.  Check out this video.  I brought my Grey Knight army with all of the new different groups that I talked about in my Road to Nova Intro post against Steve’s Thunder Cav Space Wolves army.  We played one of the NOVA primer missions.  This is our first video so let us know what you think.  We are always trying to improve.  Remember to subscribe and like our stuff.

By the way, we missed some of the video in the middle, but tried to make up for it with pictures.  Don’t worry we won’t be doing it that way next time (unless you guys like it that way).  If there are any armies that you would like to see played against/with let us know and we will try to get a vid up for it.  Thanks guys.

Thanks to Incompetech.com for the music.  Here is the link to the Showcase for Steve’s army

Steve’s Space Wolves (Berzerker Wolves) 2k

Wolf Lord: Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield, Runic Armor, Thunderwolf Mount, Wolf Tail Talisman, Saga of the Bear, 2 Fenrisian Wolves

Wolf Lord: Powerfist, Storm Shield, Runic Armor, Thunderwolf Mount, Saga of Majesty, 2 Fenrisian Wolves

Rune Priest: Stock

Wolf Guard Pack- (lead each squad):

2 w/Power Armor, Powerfist

Terminator Armor, Power Sword, Cyclone Missile Launcher

2 w/Terminator Armor, Power Axe

Grey Hunters Pack: 7 Hunters, 1 Melta, Wolf Standard, Mark of the Wolfen, Rhino

Grey Hunters Pack: 7 Hunters, 1 Melta, Wolf Standard, Mark of the Wolfen, Rhino

Grey Hunters Pack: 5 Hunters, 1 Melta, Wolf Standard, Mark of the Wolfen

Thunderwolf Cav: 1 Fist, 3 Storm Shields

Long Fangs Pack: 6 Fangs, 4 Missiles, 1 Las

Long Fangs Pack: 5 Fangs, 3 Missiles, 1 Las

Vindicator

My eclectic Grey Knights list 2k

Draigo

Librarian: Stock

10 Purifiers: 4 Psycannons, 5 Halberds, 1 MasterCrafted Hammer, Rhino w/Dozerblades

5 Paladins: 2 Psycannons, 1 Banner (No apothecary sorry for saying so in the description)

5 Greyknight Terminators: 1 Incinerator, 1 MasterCrafted Hammer

Storm Raven: Assault Cannon, Multi-Melta

Dreadknight: Personal Teleporter

Land Raider Crusaider: Multi-Melta, Psybolt Amo

Deployment: Refuse Flank

Hey all, its Son of Adam again with a littletactic for deployment; the second sphere of Game Strategy.  In this write up we are going to talk about how faster armies can really take advantage of the refuse flank deployment.

Swarm/non elite armies have an advantage and disadvantage in their numbers.  They can overwhelm an elite force or outlast it in a battle of attrition.  However, its disadvantage is in the deployment sphere.  You can only physically fit so many models on any given portion of the table, and so these armies are forced to spread out or play some squads in reserve.  Either way, this deployment style has a weakness against the refuse flank deployment.  (Something else I must note here is that swarm armies are forced to do this, but many elite armiesdo this as well, from tactical necessity, or poor play.  Either way it will open up the opportunity to take advantage of the refuse flank style of deployment).

The Tau Piranha is a good example of a unit that can take advantage of the refuse flank tactic.

In the refuse flank tactic, you can counter deploy against an enemy that has spread out by focusing all of your forces on one flank of the table.  The advantage here, which is best utilized by ranged or fast moving units, is to be able to bring the full force of your army against a smaller portion of your opponent’s army, in order to overwhelm it with less losses.

For example let’s imagine that a Vulkan player takes 4 rhinos full o’ tacs and evenly spreads them across his dawn of war deployment zone.  You take your speedy Dark Eldar list and counter deploy them all on his right flank.  Now when the game starts all he has to do is prepare the two rhinos in range for your force, and hurriedly try to move the other two to that side of the table, forfeiting all of their support until they get there.  Then you can bring all of your mobility and firepower to bear in order to overwhelm his two tactical squads just in time to now take the same force against the other two that have essentially just made it to the fight.

This is a fantastic way for making up for being outmatched

with your list.  If your opponents army is better than yours and makes this mistake (or is forced to), then you can even the odds by making a portion of his army irrelevant for the purposes of the game.

Thanks for reading.  Leave a comment or write us an email with any feedback.  Check out our other stuff and sub/like/follow our sites.  Thanks for the support all.

Cheers

Quick Tip: Trapped in a Transport

Simply moving to surround an immobilized transport can sometimes be more effective than charging it.

Hey guys, Son of Adam here with a Quick Tip.  These tips are all going to be under the Micro-Gameplay heading.  Quick Tips are going to be short, very particular, ways to fight on the battlefield.  Today’s Quick Tip is called Trapped in a Transport.

            If you are holding, or trying to deny the enemy from holding, an objective and a unit that has the strength to take it from you just got immobilized in a transport right on top of that objective, what should you do?  The first and most obvious thing people want to do is charge it, but I want to suggest to you a different approach.

            For our example let’s take the mission I just recently play against Steve.  Near the end of the game his Rhino full of Grey Hunters came running down on top of my home objective.  Then in response I tried to come and take it back with my own, combat squad, of purifiers in a rhino (4 halberds, 1 hammer).

            I was able to take out his rhino but his troops took the objective from me.  I believe it was at the top of turn four that his grey hunters then made a counter assault to stop my purifiers.  He charged my rhino and destroyed it.  This however ended up giving me the advantage.  At the bottom of five I was then able to move the purifiers into position to contest the objective, and then get a full volley off before charging.

            Being outmatched, Steve could have employed this tactic to trap me in my transport.  (To be fair, in our particular game my rhino was not immobilized or stunned, but we will continue to talk about it as if it were for the sake of the example).  If his unit had simply moved into position to surround the rhino, my purifiers would have been stuck inside the transport and only been able to shoot out of it.  Even if I killed most of the squad I would still have been trapped in my transport.

            This is far more relevant in 6th edition when we consider a change to the rules.  Look in your rule book with me at page 123.  It shows you that units that remain fully in a transport can neither score nor deny objectives.  Furthermore, neither can any tanks (with the exception of “Big Guns Never Tire” and “The Scouring” missions where they can become scoring –but still cannot deny, take a look at that part closely).  With this in mind we can see the tactic come to life. 

            If the Grey Hunters were to have trapped the Purifiers in the rhino I would have only been able to shoot him, but not score/deny his objective.  In this instance we can see the very heart of the Golden Rules of the Art of War(hammer).  It would be more wise, and potentially game winning, to simply sit in front of the rhino’s doors and not attack anything than to charge the rhino and kill it.

            Remember this little tactic whenever you are facing an immobilized transport with some very nasty units inside.  Trap them in their transport and win the game.

Cheers

Again let us know your feedback.  Has this ever worked for you?  Have you seen this done against you?  Were their games you could have won if you had trapped that deadly unit in their transport instead of freeing them?  Let us know.  And while you are at it check out our other stuff and like/follow/subscribe to our sites.  Thanks guys, we are always looking to improve.

Tying for the Win

Hey guys, Son of Adam here with a quick article on tying for the win. This is part of the third sphere of game strategy; macro-game-play. Let’s hop down this rabbit hole and see what’s inside.

After a long hard fought battle sometimes both players get the same number of kill points, or have the same number of objectives and the game comes down to those good ol’ secondary objectives. Now that we are talking about sixth those are the; slay the warlord, line-breaker, and first blood objectives. When tying for the win, as the name says, you try to do this intentionally. However, if you are playing in a tournament with different rules you will need to figure out if this tactic will work and what other subtle things you need to do in order to pull it off.

Jetbikes are often overlooked in list building, but their manueverability is useful for getting into the enemy’s deployment zone.

Playing for the tie is often much easier than going for the win, but with this tactic you can achieve both. At the start of the match take a minute and look at the mission and both armies, then judge for yourself; do I have an easier time at winning the secondary and tying the primary or at winning the primary? Whichever one turns out to be more of a sure thing is the one you should go for.

You must be subtle when you do this, as in the minds of most players it will be the battle for the primary and a disregard of the secondary. Let’s continue on in the Art of War(hammer) here.

“9. As circumstances are favorable, modify your plans.

10. All warfare is based on deception.

11. Hence, when able to take the objective, we must appear unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must appear far away; we must make them believe we are other than what we are.

12. If your enemy’s strength is greater than your own evade him and seek victory another way.

13. Attack where he is unprepared, appear where you are unexpected.

14. These tactical methods, which lead to victory, cannot be divulged beforehand.

15. The general who wins has made many calculations before the battle is fought, likewise the general who makes few looses. Therefore, calculate how you may achieve victory beforehand and it shall be yours.”

So, when your force is outmatched you must modify your plans and play for a victory through secondary objectives while still appearing to play for the primary. When doing this, you will then appear where you are not expected, and attack what he has not prepared, and secure the victory.

When considering the secondary objectives, Draigo is a great choice. Not only is he hard to kill, but he also excells against other warlords.

When you are building your list keep this tactic in mind. As an example; if you know you will be playing the standard 6th edition missions, build a list that can achieve first blood, has a general that is hard to kill, and can use its mobility to get into the enemies deployment zone, while still being able to contest objectives. This may make your list look weak to some, which in the end is a good thing, as it will further the deception that you are outmatched and boost the confidence of your opponent.

Go out and try using this tactic. See if you can take victory from a strong opponent or against a list that is stronger than yours. Then make sure you come back here and tell us about it. Be sure to check out our videos and follow/like/comment/sub to our stuff. Thanks for the help fellas.

Please note that all references to the Art of War(hammer) are a fictitious knock off of the real Art of War by Sun Tzu. Some portions are a direct quote; I do not mean to take credit for any of it. Go check it out, it’s a great book.

Introduction to the Road to NOVA

Hey all. Son of Adam here from MasterCraft Gaming. Well fellas, I’m heading out to NOVA this year, and with the advent of 6th edition this is going to be a crazy and challenging tournament. I’m looking forward to it.

I’m opening up this series on the road to NOVA with some introductory thoughts, predictions, and aspirations about this year’s competition.

To start off, for those of you who don’t know, NOVA is one of the top five largest events in the country for 40k. This GT is a three day, eight-round, 256-player, 2k tournament down in Arlington Virginia. The results of the 2012 tournament will go a long way to shape the meta and conventional wisdom about 6th edition.

Expect to see more fliers in the 6th Edition.

I, for one, am very excited about the opportunity to participate in such a rare tournament. Let me explain to you what I mean. Each year the top players in the country travel out to these tournaments, and they bring the best they can to fight for glory (or mediocre internet notoriety and some respect at their local club). These players seek out to break or beat the meta. This year however, things are different.  This year there is no meta.

Players will be trying to break what they think the meta will be. There have already been some extreme and frightening combinations that people have come up with in the new rules, and people are starting to think of them when considering what to bring. In addition to all of the different predictions and their proposed counters, other players will simply be bringing what they brought to 5th edition tournaments. The diversity of lists should make this a very entertaining event. Contrary to this years Adepticon, I don’t expect to find 25% of the players bringing Grey Knights, for the one reason that, nobody knows what the “Grey Knights” of 6th edition is yet.

This edition does seem like a bit of a rock, paper, scissors type of game, which I like, but this makes the eccentric quality of the lists being brought very interesting. Let no one fool you, as much skill as will be present, luck will play no small part in determining the victor this year. Some of the new lists are fantastic against what was good in 5th edition, some lists, in anticipation, counters those, while other list, that remain 5th edition lists, will naturally be good against those counter lists.

This type of event happens very rarely. A huge national event, with the advent of a new edition, where there has been no other national event to shape the meta prior. Needless to say, I am stoked to be attending.

Now that I have put out some introductory thoughts with some predictions hidden in there, let’s talk about some of the particulars of what I expect. I think there are five new aspects of the game that got a big change in the new edition and I think people will be looking to break the game there. Those aspects are; fliers, psykers, monstrous creatures (flying and otherwise), 2+ save/Deathstar units, and allied combinations.

If you are building a list for NOVA, consider using one of these and make sure you build your list with a defense against all of these. I would count on having to play each one of these. We don’t have space to give a brief overview of all of these groups here (believe me I tried) so I am just going to post up, bullet style, some considerations for each.

• Fliers excel with their fire power, denial of targets, and mobility.
• However, I have seen that they struggle with keeping something on the ground alive, contributing points to table quarters (a bigger deal for NOVA than other tournaments), and killing enough mass models with a solid cover save.

• The new psykers have some crazy tricks, but they are hard to play and the powers are random to get.

Psykers can randomly generate strong powers.

• With the powers being random and easy to stop, most are simply trying to make sure that no one can use psykers against them rather than employing some themselves.

• Monstrous creatures do have an inherent weakness against fliers as they can be hit by them but can not  hit them easily in return.
• They have gotten better with an easier time at getting cover, and a potentially longer charge range.
• With the advent of challenges I think where these guys will shine is in tar-pitting units or hiding in combat.

• Large hard to kill death-stars will be harder to kill and more deadly with the changes to wound allocation and with the combination of allies.
• However, with NOVA and the focus on objectives/table quarters, they can be fought with good deployment, and tactical evasion.

• Some of the allied combos are great a combating an armies weaknesses and pulling off some great complimentary effects.
• These are really limited by the allies chart and the fact that you still need to stay within the points allotment. (It seems obvious, but will startle you every time you build a list with them).
• They may shine best with small allied detachments to throw in some unexpected quarks and filling in wholes.
Those are just a few quick tips on what I expect and how to treat them.

As for my aspirations; this year I have been trying to stay pure and go with a single army (no allies). I have always enjoyed the challenge of taking what could be considered a bad list and doing well with it. We will get more into what I am taking in another post.

I have done some play testing with it against some of the aforementioned lists and done fairly well. My hopes are simple; to represent my dex well and shake up some things for 6th edition. I have built a list that I think counters most of what I am anticipating, without suffering too much from what people holding onto 5th will bring. It’s a tough line to walk, but I’m trying hard. More on this as things move forward.

-Cheers

Defensive List Building: Overloading the Zone

Son of Adam here again with another game strategy article from MasterCraft Gaming. Today’s discussion will be about a method for the list building sphere of game strategy, one I like to call overloading the zone. (Please note: any article relating to game strategy is not recommended for friendly play. Not all games are competitive, but these articles are written for the ones that are).

For any of you basketball players or fans, you may already have an idea of what I mean by overloading the zone. In basketball one defensive strategy is called the zone defense. Each of the five players is assigned a particular “zone” of protection that they are supposed to defend against. When someone from the other team enters their zone it is their responsibility to defend against them.

If your opponent is stacked with anti-tank units, consider building a horde army. Now a large portion of your opponent’s army has been rendered ineffective.

We often see this style of defense employed in 40k as well. Maybe you have even considered this when building your lists; I have to have something to be able to take out a land raider, and something for tanks, and something for hordes. This is an approach some people use when building a balanced list. Each part of the army is assigned a part of the possible enemy army to defend against. These are their “zones” of defense. The strategy that we are talking about today is overloading those zones.

First we have to answer some questions about the setting. Where are we playing? A local tournament (where everyone plays marines), a regional GT, or how about one of the big shows like NOVA? (By the way I’m starting a series called “Road to NOVA.” Check out some of my posts as they come out). If you are playing at a mostly standard tournament, that is, a tournament that adheres pretty closely to the 40k rulebook and has a range of competitive armies being played, we can assume some of these answers. Now that we can anticipate a zone defense or an all comers lists, we can begin to try and counter it.

How can you take advantage of overloading the zone in order to counter the balanced defense of your opponent in order to achieve the victory conditions in near standard missions? We can predict that the opponent is going to have some weapons that counter tanks right? But they will also have some weapons that counter hordes, their respective zones. We can overload the zone by putting all of our pieces into one of the defenders zones, such that the other zones of defense will not be able to contribute much to the battle. If all you had were tanks then you could get more of them and potentially overwhelm your opponent’s anti-tank-zone of defense. Furthermore, any flamers or other anti-horde weapons in your opponents force would be wasted; you would be able to use the full weight of your force against the now limited strength of what your opponent would be able to use against you.

This type of thinking has produced some army builds that we are expecting at NOVA; there is the all fliers list, the MSU build, the 2+ save Deathstar units, the full horde, and the full AV14 army among others. Each of these takes advantage of the balanced build defense by giving it too much to deal with in a certain zone of defense in order to gain the advantage. The sweet spot is found in being able to overload the defense, but maintain a defense that cannot in turn be overloaded.

When you find yourself out matched in list builds, do not despair, the game is not yet lost. There are many lists that have counters and whatever list you come up with will probably be able to be countered by some other extreme list. We can try to mitigate this inherent rock-paper-scissor by trying to make a list whose counter is not popular or not very good against anything else and therefore uncommon. If all else fails, there are still the other two spheres of the game that can help you overcome the disadvantage and achieve the victory conditions. However, the goal is to have your list give you the advantage as it helps you achieve the victory conditions, and this combined with the other three spheres will make you a hard to beat opponent.

This is only one of many different ways to approach the 1st sphere of game strategy, and more articles are bound to come. Thanks all for reading. Go ahead and check out our other stuff. Subscribe to our YouTube, like our facebook, and leave some comments.

The Three Spheres of Strategy Gaming

Hello all. Son of Adam from MasterCraft Gaming here again with another article on fundamentals; the three spheres of game strategy.

     In section number one of the Art of War(hammer) the three spheres of game strategy are presented:

3. The art of war(hammer), then, is governed by three constant factors, to be taken into account in one’s deliberations when seeking to determine the methods for victory.

4. These are: (1) List building; (2) Deployment; (3) Method and game play.

5. List building is the art of predicting what pieces your will need in order to take the victory conditions from your opponent.

6. Deployment prepares the army you have taken to achieve the victory conditions, and to disrupt your opponent from doing so.

7. Method and game play comprises of the strategy, both micro and macro, that bring your plan into effect to achieve the victory conditions.

8. Not one of these spheres is more important than any other. Success is found with their cooperation.

     None of these rules are absent from the first two. Again these may seem a little basic, but they are fundamentals after all. They will become the language and framework with which we will learn how to better discuss and learn the game. Let’s check them out individually.

     Rule #5; list building. Sometimes you can nearly win or loose depending on your list. What you bring to the table versus what your opponent brings to the table in light of the given victory conditions for the mission being played really sets up how the rest of the game will be played.

List building is important, but poor deployment and gameplay can keep you from victory. Don’t ignore the other spheres!

 

     When approaching this we first have to remember rule number one. How do we plan an army based on achieving the victory conditions? Well there are a couple of things to consider. First what is the setting of your tournament/game? That is, finding out the points level, mission types being played, any key changes to the rules that would change what in an army is appropriate to achieving those victory conditions, what you can expect other armies to look like, and what kind of terrain to expect (amount/type). Second, how will your army, with its separate parts, work together.

     We are not going to get too deep into the real particulars of this here. This is just a description to highlight what types of things to consider, and to lay out other, more specific, things to discuss in the future.

     Next up is rule #6; deployment. Often the overlooked stepchild, it is certainly what controls the rest of the game. Deployment is your starting moves in chess. You can control where the game goes with it. For example, if you overload one side of the table your opponent is forced to react. If your army deep strikes, outflanks, infiltrates, or scouts then you can force your opponent to respond. Again this is more of a description than a tactical discussion, but be familiar with the very real power that proper deployment can have, and check out the other articles that we have on the different ways to manipulate the deployment sphere of game strategy. Take your time and consider how you can deploy in order to achieve the victory conditions or force you opponent to fail to achieve his.

     There are many ways you can do this, and some of them are particularly irregular and potent. The following is an instance that will give a more real life example of the types of creativity and their relative strength in deployment.

     In one particularly satisfying game back in 5th edition, I played the puppet master using deployment. The game was kill points and I was playing eldar against my buddy’s nids. He had four squads of genestealers in his list that he declared to be infiltrating. Then I knew his primary deployment tactic would be to infiltrate them within 1st turn charge range of whatever was vulnerable. So, instead of trying to play against this I appeared to play into his hands by placed two of my very delicate transports in very vulnerable positions to that tactic. He, quite predictably, placed all of his genestealers in the best positions to get that 1st turn charge. After reminding him that I had Eldrad in my list and reminding him of his divination power, (friendly game and all that it was) I then proceeded to use that power and move both of those juicy transports one inch back making it impossible for him to get the first turn charge.

     He was then forced to do one of two things with the stealers, given their new found, and very deliberately, dangerous position. First he could try to find a defensive position during his first turn, or just charge forward hoping to overwhelm my fire and survive; both very dangerous and ultimately game ending moves.

     In this instance you can see that the game was essentially won simply by manipulating the second sphere of strategy gaming. I determined his deployment tactic, countered it with a bait and switch, and the game was won. Never underestimate how much of an impact that deployment can have. There is more to come on this subject in future posts.

     Finally we have rule #7; method and game play. This may seem like the most obvious and most important part of the game, if not the whole of the game itself. It generally has the most strategic discussion about it, but I must stress that this sphere has the same amount influence on the game as either of the first two spheres and no more. If you have a poor army and terrible deployment when playing against a good opponent, your chances to win are minimal regardless of how talented a player you are. However, as many veterans know, with good play you can overcome the odds of a match to defeat your opponent (sometimes this is the most satisfying way to win a game).

     There are two different ways that we will talk about this sphere as we go forward; macro and micro. Macro method and game play refers to strategies for moving around your dudesmen on a table-wide scale, something like an alpha strike; whereas micro refers to the minutia of details involved in every little part of the game like using a squad as bait.

Understanding macro and micro gameplay is vital. Adjust your tactics to maximize your army’s potential to increase your chance for victory.

     Here is just one quick side note on this sphere. It is important to predict how your opponent is planning to execute this sphere as well. Sometimes your opponent won’t be following rule one and their method and game play will be to kill stuff. If you recognize this while they angrily charge forward with some death-star unit, eager to swallow whatever poor and helpless models have the misfortune of being near it, you, being aware of rule one, can take some (or many) different units and throw them near this squad, but in positions that are irrelevant to the game. More concerned with killing things then boring objectives, your opponent may take this bait and chase/kill these units while moving themselves into useless positions and winning you the game. So remember to try and figure out what your opponent plans to do on the table in order to better figure out your own strategy.

     Thanks again for reading. If you have any comments, criticism, or questions post them below. If you find these useful and are interested to hear more check out some of the other articles and find some of our videos on youtube.

If you don’t get the reference to the Art of War by Sun Tzu go buy a copy and read it. It’s good stuff.

The Art of War(hammer): The Golden Rules

Welcome all. Son of Adam here from MasterCraft Gaming with an introduction to the Art of War(hammer). Herein you will find the first two rules in the Art of War(hammer).

     When you explain Warhammer 40k to people who have no idea what it is, what do you tell them? It’s like Call of Duty, if your guys kill more of their guys you win? Or do you say that it’s like checkers, where you win once the other guy doesn’t have any pieces left on the table? I have to respectfully and fundamentally disagree with these common mindsets; Warhammer 40k is more like chess or Stratigo.

     Have you seen when a newer player simply lines up their dudesmen on the edge of their deployment zone and then charges forward, engaging whatever enemy happens to be across from them? This always brings to my mind Civil War tactics (granting some of the obvious limitations of the time). However, it is more than a little comical when players employ the “charge forward” tactic and then belittle or brag about how poorly or well their units performed.

Remember your victory conditions; you won’t be winning without them.

     I remember two players in a tournament once played a game like this. Both sides lined up their dudesmen evenly and quite attractively across their deployment zones, stopping now and again to admire the site (something I also like to do from time to time). The game began: they charged forward, threw some dice, killed some guys and lost some guys. Then it was that time of the game; turn 5. At this point the more confident player (that is, the one with more dudesmen left on the table) suddenly realized that they were playing a game with actual victory conditions and nonchalantly picked up his tournament packet to discover them. After mulling over a few lines, a sudden look of panic began to appear. The paper dropped an inch revealing his eyes. They scanned the battlefield. Then those signs of panic grew.

     The other player, equally unconcerned up to this point, and feeling quite defeated, lifted his copy looking for how many points he might have luckily scrapped together with those lesser “pity”, I mean, battle points. However, after glancing at his sheet, sudden delight shined on his face. He looked at the table, then back at the packet, then back to the table.

     Both players realized that the victory conditions for the game gave the “loosing” player the victory. However, this also means that both players had to have played the game with a total ignorance of those victory conditions from the beginning.

     These players must not have read the Art of War(hammer). It’s first rule clearly states:

“I. Game Strategy

1. Son of Adam said: The game is won by achieving the victory conditions, not by killing the opponent.

2. These conditions are a matter of victory or lose, a road to either glory or ruin, hence they are a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.”

     It’s obvious and simple for sure, but often times the most basic and most obvious things are simultaneously the most important. If they followed these two rules both of those players would have, at least, had the victory conditions in mind and been trying to out-smart one another in order to reach them, rather than simply lining up like redcoats and militia and hoping that theirs were the guys that were left standing.

     Stone Wall Jackson, a controversial and skilled general (like most 40k generals), reshaped the colonial style tactics by seeking how to best achieve his victory conditions with what he had. His victory condition was the surrender of the North. How did he try to achieve this, through open war? Not a chance, his force was no match for the North. So how did he contribute to the securing of the victory condition? He hid and disrupted the supply lines taking key positions and supplies away from the North in order to slow them down and demoralize them, removing their will to fight.

Go for the objective or go for the kill?

     In the last round of WFN’s GT 2011 I played against a stormlord scarab farm list with my old Saim Hann mechdar list. My opponent was a very nice guy and we had a very boring game, but some good conversation. The game was essentially a capture and control mission with two armies that couldn’t really fight a head on battle against each other (I couldn’t win in combat or shooting for very long and he couldn’t catch me, or make it free of harm to my objective). We sat down and took a relaxed posture. After I read the mission victory conditions and his army list, I knew how it would run if as long as he or I didn’t suicide.

     He had one unit with a veiltek, and I had a falcon with the avenger upgrade. We would sit there in the dark and throw pot shots into each other. The last turn would come and he would veil and try to kill my scoring unit or claim/contest my objective, and then I would tank shock his objective to try and claim/contest it myself.

     When the bottom of my turn 4 came, I stood up (first time in the game) and moved all of my tanks into position and covered up my objective with jetbikes in order to deny his deepstrike-to-contest move. During his turn 5 he reacted and tried to destroy all my transports. Then he realized what was happening and tried to veil over to my objective. When his shooting didn’t cause me to fall back and left my one falcon alive he realized that the game was lost. My turn 5 I tank shocked the warriors off the objective and contested it, and then prepared my home objective for a turn 6 by blocking the assault with another tank. The game ended with an Eldar victory.

     My opponent looked at me and said, “Man I really didn’t see that coming.” That surprised me. I thought we were both looking at the same game, but I had rule number one in mind, and he only realized it at the end. For me the game was chess with the next five moves clear, for him it was a game of Call of Duty where he was content to sit and snipe, expecting to end the game with a positive kill death ratio.

     Next time we will look at the first two rule’s application in three more specific ways. This article may seem a bit reduced or too simple to be regarded, but as we look next into the three spheres of strategic gaming we will see how obvious and frequent rule one and two’s guiding influence is. We will follow those rules and will, on no account, disregard them.

     Thanks for reading. If you have any comments, questions, or instances where you have seen the civil war re-played in 40k, post below. Subscribe to our youtube page to see battle reports and other 40k related videos. Thanks.