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 Back to basics - Winning Crusade

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Agahnim
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PostSubject: Back to basics - Winning Crusade   Tue Nov 20 2012, 08:37

I think there's this big perception that playing to win (I'm going to call it PtW, in the hopes that it doesn't get misused by jerks and become a pejorative like WWAC or Competitive) means not taking fun units or having fun. Which, I totally disagree with. But help me get on the same page as my fellow DE fanatics: how is scoring for you? I see lots of threads about which unit is better than which, how to beat this army, but really little on the actual game itself. What's up with that?

So I don't live in a magical land full of tournaments and nonsense. It's more of a hellish nightmare of reality, obligations, casual games, and not-enough-energy to paint as much as I should like (I have high standards). I play the missions in the rulebook exclusively using only GW rules. So, all of them have Victory Conditions. When I PtW, that's my biggest focus: this is a big fun game, what's the object of the game?

In Mission 1: Crusade, which I want to address tonight, there's between 3 and 5 Primary Objectives, each worth 3 VP, and 3 Secondary Objectives worth 1. Most VP wins. Using (American) football logic, I know that the biggest "plays" are each worth 3 points. So it makes sense to get Secondaries when I can, but the best they can do is a break/make ties, so my focus is Primary Objectives, Secondaries should always be opportunity-only. Right? Since each objective is worth 3, it makes the most sense for me to pick one Primary to claim, deny all the others, and grab one Secondary, or if things look rough/I have a chance to grab another secondary, do so, and just deny everything.

But, denying everything is tricky, especially if my opponent has roughly 2 scoring units per primary objective - competitive armies have 6-8 Troops at 1750+ points, and slightly less at 1500, so this IS a reality. All they have to do then, is remove my denial unit, which has to be physically there. I can try to shoot them off, but if I fail they get 3 points, and that's 3 points I'm not getting.

One thing's for sure: We need Troops, and we need ones who can reliably claim objectives. If we can't score, we can't win.

So, as a Dark Eldar player PtW, how would you deal with this? What list would you bring? How would you deploy, how would you react to various hypothetical armies and events in game? I usually like 2k, but if you want to suggest something for 1500, 1750, or 1850 I'd be interested.
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Mushkilla
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PostSubject: Re: Back to basics - Winning Crusade   Tue Nov 20 2012, 09:56

Great topic and one that I have been thinking a lot about recently.

First Strategy:

Despite playing 40k for a long time I'm not that experienced a player. For about 12 games in 6th edition I was getting away with going all out for the kill and not really focusing on the mission. Recently I had some games against Sky Serpent and Shadows Revenge, with the bar set a lot higher in terms of player skill level, I quickly (well after loosing three games in a row) realised I would have to change my approach to the game.

I realised I needed to take the initiative and have a plan to play the mission, I also wanted to use Talos. This got me thinking, Talos are slow, rather than chasing down your enemy, how do you force your opponent come to you? Well the easy option is to have more fire power than him, this puts you in control of the game as he is forced to advance, this unfortunately was not an option as DE although good at shooting are not the best. The other approach is to make your army very resilient at surviving shooting, so you can mitigate more damage than your opponent, this tied in nicely with the coven units I wanted to try. The next way to make your opponent come to you is the mission, in a crusade this can be achieved by setting up more objectives than your opponent (if there is an odd number) and as a result forcing him to come to you, not something you can count on though. Another possibility is If you have a fast and resilient unit that can contest, then your opponent can't afford to sit back on one or two objectives, as you will be able to contest them, especially if you go second, again forcing him to come to you. Then there are secondary objectives, getting first blood gives you a lead and puts pressure on your opponent. Having a unit that can reliably get line breaker also puts pressure as it's another VP your opponent knows you have in the bag. To kill your warlord your opponent needs to come to you (as long as your warlord is in a rock solid unit that is). Finally taking out your opponents scoring units, will force him to try and push you off your own objectives.

I have two fast contesting/line breaker units in the form of reavers that can take out scoring units on my opponents home objectives. I need some solid units that are very powerful up close and give me a "home" advantage, Talos fit the bill well, they also provide long range anti infantry fire for taking out those troop choices. I need a unit that is tough and resilient to put my warlord in, grotesques seem to work well enough, lets go with that. Finally I need some scoring units that are tough and won't give away first blood, some five man wrack squads should do the trick, but how to stop them giving up first blood? The Webway portal of course! This way they can come on after turn one and still get on to my home objectives and push for the midfield objectives, whilst at the same time avoiding giving up first blood!

All in all this made an interesting force, that is resilient enough so that I can stick to my original plan even after taking heavy casualties. The list is far from perfect (S10 pie plates taking out the grotesques, lack of long range AT etc), but I thought it was a nice way to show how you can build an army to take on the mission rather than to just take on your opponent. It's also an example of a list that might be slow and look passive, but actually takes the initiative by forcing your opponent to come to you, and therefore keeping you in control of the game.

Second Tacitcs:

Then there are tactics that can be used in objective missions.

Deploying centrally will more often than not give you more control over the midfield which is pretty important for a lot of armies.

At the end of my recent game against Shadows Revenge I noticed he had placed his objectives in the corner of area terrain pieces. I asked him why, to which he explained that it forces your opponent to either have to come through a lot of difficult terrain to get the charge (to take out your scoring unit) and it forces a contesting unit to contest on the exposed side where it wont get cover from shooting.

Another thing I learn't the hard way is that you really need to try and block units from being able to contest by preventing them from placing a model with 3" of the objective. This almost cost me the game against Shadows Revenge, as he was able to contest objectives that I easily could have blocked.

Here's a link to the list and report.

Hope that's useful. Smile



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PostSubject: Re: Back to basics - Winning Crusade   Tue Nov 20 2012, 11:14

I have to admit I always go for tabling my oponent, and only turn to think about the mission in my turn 4. But as most of my oponents are playing the mission i try to exploit this to my advantage.

But I do think hard about how to place my objectives to, to limit my oponent, like placing them in tarrain against eldar and SW for example... and spreading them out as much as possible against ork... But I will have to think more about this when I start playing my coven army... So its a good question and looking forward to what others have to say about it...


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PostSubject: Re: Back to basics - Winning Crusade   Tue Nov 20 2012, 11:42

As basic as it may sound, I tend to make sure my objectives are in some sort of area terrain and usually hug terrain with my Raiders and Venoms so that if I am wrecked I can jump out into cover. I have no qualms if my (now) 3 man Wych/Warrior squad will spend the rest of the game going to ground behind some trees while staring at an objective - my opponent will try to spend some effort removing them which leaves the rest of my intact, offensive units able to do what they need to do.

More basics - I take a lot of troops, Captain Obvious will tell you that 5/6 missions involve capturing objectives so I take as many as I can, 5 in 1500, 6 in 1750+.

But anyhow, that's what I do, pretty basic I know.

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PostSubject: Re: Back to basics - Winning Crusade   Wed Nov 21 2012, 05:45

My aim in almost every game is to try and table my opponent, surest way of victory.

That said, the placing of objectives is important. In any objective based game you will have the opportunity to place at least 1 of them where you want, make it count. Where that is will depend on the army you are facing, although I ususally try to get one behind terrain in my deployment zone.

Don't overlook the value of secondary objectives. Getting 1st blood puts pressure on your opponent and with our mobility, line breaker is always a possibility.

I believe in going first, taking the Baron to help with this and set up with the intent of an alpha strike. I do not account for my opponent siezing the initiative, if you do that you may as well elect to go second. This has bittten me a couple of times but it's only a 1 in 6 chance.

So in summary, try to go first, set up aggressively and go for the kill. It's the Dark Eldar way.
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PostSubject: Re: Back to basics - Winning Crusade   Wed Nov 21 2012, 22:07

often play at 1750pts games. And at that pts level I have 6 troops, worriers and wracks to taste. And I usually have a 3man wrack squad that’s start the game in hiding or reserve (depending on the table, deployment type, and whatever), and this unit only goal is to sneak to a well-placed objectives.

Those 3 wracks tend to be forgotten, overlooked, not prioritized during the game, and secure the first objective. There is surely some objective midfield, for those I use basically the same strategy as Sky Serpent. As raiders tend to self-explode then the enemies units stairs at them in a threating manner, so the poor survives can claim whatever I see fit.

My usual opponents normally have around 3-6 scoring troops themselves, and the destruction of some of those is critical to success. When I play is often more then not a massacre on both sides. And contesting and linebreaker have won me many a games.
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PostSubject: Re: Back to basics - Winning Crusade   Wed Nov 21 2012, 23:16

i like alot of people here it would seem play to kill but what is prioritized is dependant on the rules of the mission and the scenario but also have an overall plan of where you want and expect your units to be come the end game.

troops are biggest priority here for fairly obvious reasons they cant score if they donthave any/many troops left this goes with any scoring units the mission may have given them heavy or fast slot or say pedro and sternguard.

2nd is range shooting units devastators, heavy weapon teams, havocs, leman russ, falcons ... all the things that can reach out and put holes in my flying paper planes and do it well over the course of a game.

3rd is denial units things like reavers and raptors that can get somewhere and not take but stop you from holding the objective.

keeping that in mind you cant adhere to that as if its a commandment from god because this is a game of dice and people both of which do strange and unexpected things sometimes. So have to stay fairly fluid with this, staying within the broad reaches of what you have planned while not being so set on something that you dont take advantage of things that do go your way.

having a plan of what units i want where holding those objectives and denying the others from the get go i have found to be alot more reliable than going for the enemies throat and then midgame realising that im out of position to take those objectives or just cant quite reach that objective to get a reliable deny.

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PostSubject: Re: Back to basics - Winning Crusade   Thu Nov 22 2012, 11:41

Here is a helpful artical I read on the exact same subject today that people might find useful 3++:The Importance of Being Objective. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Back to basics - Winning Crusade   Tue Nov 27 2012, 21:44

So it seems like a lot of people play against opponents who aren't really concerned about the mission. Either they don't take enough Troops and you guys are smart and blow them away, or they forget about yours skulking around in the dark. It's easy to table someone who brings 3 Troops or doesn't remember your 3 Wracks until too late.

What if they did though? What if your opponent brought lots of scoring MEQs and GEQs? Say 40 of each? And lots of other things? This is entirely possible at 1750-2000 points. You might get close at 1500! What if they didn't stop shooting at your Troops until they were dead, and didn't leave any alive near any objectives? Would this change anything you do?
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PostSubject: Re: Back to basics - Winning Crusade   Tue Nov 27 2012, 21:57

I must say, I'm surprised at the number of people who just try to table their opponents. Maybe I'm just a poor player (distinct possibility), but I only rarely manage to achieve the full wipeout. And you can bet that those few surviving enemies at the end of the game will be troops, and they will be sat on an objective. It seems to me that ignoring objectives in favour of just killing is inviting defeat more often than not.

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PostSubject: Re: Back to basics - Winning Crusade   Tue Nov 27 2012, 22:44

Plastikente wrote:
It seems to me that ignoring objectives in favour of just killing is inviting defeat more often than not.

My battle reports are a perfect example of this, 12 victories in a row against net lists left right and centre by just going for the kill, this works against average players at a hobby store. As soon as I stepped up my game and started playing people like Sky Serpent and Shadows Revenge I was getting tabled in two turns.

You need to play the mission against a competent opponents!

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PostSubject: Re: Back to basics - Winning Crusade   Sat Dec 01 2012, 03:05

As with all strategic discussions, it is hugely dependent on the specific situation (including the terrain, your opponent, and how the game is unfolding). Because of this I always do a post battle recap with my opponent for close games and losses to try to figure out where I went wrong. If you're a competitive player (or PtW as Ag calls it) using a "1 size fits all" strategy you're doing a disservice both to yourself (by letting your brain atrophy) and to your opponent (by giving them a boring game). Anyway, slightly off topic...

At 2k I usually have 7 scoring units, 5 walking Warriors, 2 x 5 Warriors w/Blaster in venoms, 2 x 5 Haywire Wyches in venoms, and 2 x 3 GJBs (at 1750/1850 I lose one wyche squad). With as fragile as our troops inherently are (unless you're spending an inordinate amount of points on 20 man warrior blobs that are of marginal usefulness imo, and still aren't that hardy), I always prefer to go second in any objective based mission to limit my troops exposure as much as possible. Also, almost all tournaments have timed rounds and quite frequently you'll know when the last turn is going to be, making last turn objective claiming/contesting invaluable.

Objective placement is key. Since I use 3 man GJB units, I try to get at least one objective placed near BLoS terrain and away from where I'll try to force most of the action in the game and ignore it until I move 48" to claim it on turn 5. Also since DE are faster than just about every army spreading out objectives is usually the way to go.

Assessing the enemy's mobility and ability to claim/contest is the other piece of the puzzle (keeping alternative mobility, like outflankers, DSers, things in reserve, etc., in mind). Killing off 40 MEQs and 40 GEQs (while taking heat from them and the rest of their army) is a daunting proposition for any army, so it comes down to killing the right things at the right time. For example, if I can knock out one unit on an objective (or do enough damage to it that my opponent will be worried about me killing it later on), I force my opponent to choose between diverting another 2 units to guarantee claiming it (likely taking them out of the immediate fight), send one unit which I might kill off anyway, or give up on it to focus on killing me (letting the jetbikes claim it later on).

Like I said before though, it depends so much on the specific situation that broad generalizations are of somewhat limited value.
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PostSubject: Re: Back to basics - Winning Crusade   Sat Dec 01 2012, 06:08

If you look at the winners from the 2011 offical GW tournament, about 50% of them are marines and the others are not. That sounds like a lot of MEQ but it's not considering more than 50% of people play MEQ. The majority of the finalists per region did not play to table their opponent but play for objectives. At the highest level of play you can't simply just make a list to table your opponent. You are going to get crushed every... single... time.

Playing the mission is 100% the best way to play IMO.
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PostSubject: Re: Back to basics - Winning Crusade   Wed Dec 05 2012, 00:52

I agree with people saying playing the mission comes first. Seeing how winning this objective based mission is all about control from the first turn. I was wondering how people go about their deployment? Any special tricks being used?

The logical thing to do would be to deploy centrally. However, in my opinion, this is just not a good position to start from as Dark Eldar.
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PostSubject: Re: Back to basics - Winning Crusade   Wed Dec 05 2012, 08:45

Slagathore wrote:
The logical thing to do would be to deploy centrally. However, in my opinion, this is just not a good position to start from as Dark Eldar.

It's is for a coven. Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Back to basics - Winning Crusade   Wed Dec 05 2012, 08:59

There are differant factors to how I deploy..:
1) Do I go first?
2) How is the cover on the board?
3) What army do I play against?

When I have those I know how I want to deploy, but I perfer deployment in center for most part playing comeptitive. Since I play mostly venomspam when comeptitive and then I want those Blasters to be in line for shooting asap.

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PostSubject: Re: Back to basics - Winning Crusade   Wed Dec 05 2012, 19:44

Agahnim wrote:
What if they did though? What if your opponent brought lots of scoring MEQs and GEQs? Say 40 of each? And lots of other things? This is entirely possible at 1750-2000 points. You might get close at 1500! What if they didn't stop shooting at your Troops until they were dead, and didn't leave any alive near any objectives? Would this change anything you do?

I can tell you from experience, it's not fun. Here's what I was schooled with at recent tournament.

Coteaz
Terminator Inquisitor
2x 10-man Strike Squad
2x 10-man Stormbolter Acolyte Squads
3x Solo Paladins
Platoon Command Squad
50 Guardsmen

Without going into too many details, I lost because I placed my objectives in my Vanguard Strike deployment zone and let him come to me, trusting I could whittle him down to size, when instead I could have spread them far and wide and forced him to make more strategic decisions. If he had attempted to table me by running everything forward, I could have redeployed every skimmer and gave him a merry chase. If he had attacked me piecemeal, leaving some of his units midfield, I could have more easily worn him down. As it was, I gave him all the incentive to crush me with his superior short-ranged fire. My high and mobile Troops didn't matter because I didn't let them matter.

There's a concept in Magic: The Gathering called "Who's the Beatdown?", and for once the name of the concept is the important part. It's a question you ask yourself at different points in the game to determine your playstyle, and knowing when to switch between a controlling playstyle and an aggressive playstyle is key to victory. From the minute you look at an opponent's army, you need to start thinking about how much of a hurting you can put on your opponent versus what he can put on you, and the different ways the game could play out. Maneuverability or reach, threat range, lethality and durability...all of these are factors in the same calculation that it is important to keep updating as the game goes on. If you automatically assume the aggressor role just because the codex says "Dark Eldar" on it, then you will have games where your opponent will exploit this, and the better they are and the better their army is constructed to switch between roles, then the worse of a time you will have.

Ask yourself "Am I able to beat down on my opponent, what do I gain by doing so, and what will I end up losing?" You can you ask that question in order to better claim objectives or to sweep your opponent off the table, but it is of utmost importance in Crusade and The Scouring where a turn f being too agressive or too defensive can mean the game. But, this is a drawing attraction to Dark Eldar: when they switch, they switch quickly. You can go from barricading a lone objective in the center to controlling two different ones in the span of two turns. Nobody does it quicker save for Eldar jetbikes, and we can and do take those, too. Okay, Night Scythes and Vendettas can do their 36"+drop, and Veil of Darkess and Gate of Infinity are things...my thoughts on how Necrons are suddenly the most mobile and long-ranged army are not for PG websites.

But that's my view on how DE play the mission: aiming for that seamless switch between roles. A couple of Eldar "Get Out of Jail Free" jetbikes don't hurt, either.

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PostSubject: Re: Back to basics - Winning Crusade   Fri Dec 07 2012, 14:41

Thanx for all your interesting posts Agahnim. Great stuff. Please keep posting!

At 2k i want/need 6 scoring troops and 2 fast contesting units. DE do fast contesting units quite well, Reavers, BM or even Incubi in a skimmer.

For the troops i like...

2 x 5 warriors, blaster, venom, SC
2 x 5 wyches, HWG, venom, SC
2 x 5 wracks, liquifier, raider, dissies + 60pts for a heamy with a liquifier comes to a nice neat 800pts. 1200pts left for 2 contesting units and a butload of splinter cannons, blasters, dissies, lances or maybe incubi.

If I cant just sit on my objestives and play scoot and shoot I usually deploy or redeploy to a refused flank and overwhelm the units threatening the objectives i want, then take them and contest his objs late game. To this end i set up terrain forward on the flanks and center to BLOS to my flanking skimmer horde. I spread my objectives out but always next to BLOS terrain. This encourages my opponent to spread out his army and allows my small troop units to claim obj from out of harms way.

I have not experienced any trouble taking/contesting enough objectives to win... (yet). I know my local gaming clubs aren't as competative as yours. One day i know ill have to ally to compete but right now im going to keep doing it till it stops working. Maybe it will make me a better general.

Thanx.

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PostSubject: Re: Back to basics - Winning Crusade   Fri Dec 07 2012, 23:55

mregular wrote:
At the highest level of play you can't simply just make a list to table your opponent. You are going to get crushed every... single... time.

Playing the mission is 100% the best way to play IMO.

Can't agree with this, depends on your list and what you are facing, obviously.

However as I tabled 3 out of 6 opponents at the last tournament I attended and Darklight manged to table 4 out of 5 at his last event, then I'd say that aiming to table an opponent is a fairly viable concept.

My tournament list is designed to bring as much raw killing power as I can muster in a TAC list. Combining elements of AI and AT in both assault and ballistic platforms with the aim of having multiple options is the way to achieve this.
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