Category Archives: Strategy

Micro Gameplay Strategy: Defeating Deathstars with Tar Pits

How would you defend against a deathstar?

Hey guys Son of Adam here again with a little article about defeating deathstars with tar pits.

Since the new edition, deathstars have grown in popularity, and with them comes the need to shut them down.  Generally people go about this by trying to find the best deathstar; one deathstart to rule them all.  They will play test to see, deathstar vs. deathstar, which will win out.  Others try to build a list around putting out enough shots to take down anything deathstar related.  These are both valid methods, but I want to offer up a different idea for your considerations; tying them up.

Deathstars are made to crash into enemy lines and destroy all who oppose, but there are some units in the game that are made to do exactly the opposite.  These are called tar pit units.  Tar pit units are generally cheap, large, have an invulnerable save, deny attacks in combat, have fearless, feel-no-pain, or some combination there of.  Some examples are plague demons, massed tyranid guants, or swarms.

The idea here is that you can tie up a large deathstar unit long enough to make them tactically irrelevant, or to lessen their impact on the game.  And, with the cost imbalance for the rest of the game, you should be able to make enough of a difference with the rest of your army to gain the advantage, or apply this tactic again to further tie up the squad.

Consider that, in a perfect world, a Draigowing deathstar assaults 30 guants backed up by feel-no-pain.  The guant squad only costs 120 points and the deathstar costs upwards of 1000 points (assuming normal deathstar overload with Draigo, apoth, and 4 psycannons).  This deathstar will be getting 3 attacks on the charge, hitting on 3’s, wounding on 3’s, and the guants will get a 5+ feel-no-pain on all non-hammer attacks.  That’s 36 attacks, with say 24 hits, 16 wounds, and 11 dead.  So, with 11 dead at 5pts a piece, it cost you 55pts to hold that deathstar still for the top of a turn.

Now for the bottom of that turn.  You know the drill; it’s only 25 attacks this time, with say 17 hits, 11 wounds, and 7/8 dead.  So at the end of the full turn where they were charged it cost you 90/95 pts to make the Draigowing deathstar irrelevant to the game.  Take that number over the course of 5 turns and make it 395 points (95 + 75 each turn thereafter) to keep 1000 points at bay.  In a 2000 point game, it has now become 1000 points vs. 1605 points.  The tyranid player will gain a significant advantage.  (Please be aware that this is a perfect world scenario.  However, when working with perfect world scenarios, we can look for what to try for in our actual games).

These ideas work with several different units against several different deathstars, but consider the fundamental idea, take small cheaper units to tie up larger, more expensive units in order to give yourself the upper hand in achieving the victory conditions.  Now go out and see if you can work this idea into your list in order to deal with the deathstars of the 40k world.  You don’t have to change what you are taking now, but it’s a good exercise none-the-less to see if there are more mild aspects of this strategy that can be helpful to you when considering what to bring to the table and while playing the game.

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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.