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 Board Control and the Dark Kin

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Smurfy
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PostSubject: Board Control and the Dark Kin   Tue Aug 09 2011, 10:16

I'm sure people have brought this up elsewhere, but here I go.

Why is board control important in Warhammer 40,000?

Simply put, the game's common objectives in seizing/defending ground and killing the enemy are all indirect or direct forms of board control. After all, you're playing on a limited playing field, however unrealistic this is, you gotta accept this and use this to your best advantage.

Some things that influence board control:

Objective placement
Movement ranges
Movement methods
Weapon threat ranges
Shooting
Close Combat
Unit placement
Terrain

Board Control with Dark Eldar is relatively easy and hard at the same time.
We have the mobility to threaten anywhere on the board,
yet we're generally fragile so we can't really expect to do this for long.
In any case lets move into each category with specific DE examples.

Objective Placement: The "Just as planned" Factor.
Units: All

Simple - Place the objectives you're able to intelligently and you dictate where you want the fights to happen after deployment. It really is that simple fellas.

Movement ranges: The "Holy crap, that is quick" Factor.
Units that fall into this: All

Thankfully, nearly everything in the Dark Eldar army has access to the Dedicated Transport section of the book, or can come out of a Webway Portal. This is vital to keeping the foe on their toes, giving them no "safe haven" to claim as their own. Yes, some units lack Fleet, but this just means you gotta devote yourself a turn of regular running to ensure the pressure is on and more readily hold the enemy in tatters before you can enjoy a ripe kill. Hellions, Jetbikes, and Beastpacks EXCEL at this more than Skimmers IMO due to occupying more space on the board potentially and being capable of built-in multi threats.

Movement methods: The "I don't care, I'm getting to you anyway" Factor
Units that fall into this category: Beastpacks, Jetbikes, Hellions, Harlequins, anything coming out of a Webway Portal

Recently I have begun using the ever popular Beastpacks in my army lists, and they're a major boon in versatility in Dark Eldar board control thanks to their huge assault move and huge ability to soak up shots from anyone thinking they can rid me of them quick. This means they can cover a well entrenched area or a apparently weak flank very easy and allows you to react and adapt to new battlefield conditions in a grand way.

I also have begun to use a small squad of Harlequins (mostly for fun) who have the obligatory Shadowseer but also the more "substandard" choice of taking a Death Jester. Why? Veil of Tears doesn't protect you from an opponent who WANTS to get close-in with a Dark Eldar list (SW/BA/Nids) and the Shrieker Cannon gives you some opportunity shots at light AV (Better than Fusion Pistols in some cases, though I still have one in my particular unit in case of Walkers) In any case, the major boon these clowns give to the Dark Eldar army is that they *completely* ignore terrain. IMO, this is huge, especially when on playing on varied battlefields where anything from a 5-level city ruins
(Damn you GW!) can be on the table to every 2" there's some lil' bump causing difficult terrain checks, these guys don't give a damn. And don't forget they have Hit and Run, so if you gear these guys "enough" but not "overboard" (AKA: Don't give them all Kisses) you can use Hit and Run to glorious possibilities.

Speaking of bouncing around, Hit and Run is basically why Hellions are on this list. Jump Packs with Fleet + Hit and Run the same turn after dishing out a good dent on a enemy unit, bouncing to Cover with little to no repercussions (Unless I missed something saying I must take Dangerous Terrain checks for performing a Hit and Run into a terrain piece?) is very dangerous for your opponent. Particularly if they get that Strength drug roll and getting 2 Pain tokens under their belt quick (Feed off some small units/leech off from Haemonculus starting with them.

Jetbikes are in for their access to Jump-Shoot-Jump tactics, which help make them longer threat range than a Multi Melta (They should end up ~15" away from the enemy after their Melta shots if you got your distances exactly right.) This takes you out of charge range from most transported choices in the game, so it helps a ton. Sure, you can be shot, but Skilled Rider is there for you, so land in terrain and get your Cover Save vs the angry return fire.

Weapon threat ranges: The "Don't touch me!" Factor
Units that fall into this category: Transport+Unit, Scourges, Jetbikes, Hellions

In reality this is simply Movement ranges + weapon range. Jetbikes are in here as said before: The Jump Shoot Jump tactics make their Heat Lances have among the best 2D6 melta range you can get in WH40k.

Scourges because they have Shardcarbines/Blasters/Haywire Blasters + Jump Pack Movement, effectively being able threaten targets 36"/ 42" (Haywire Blasters) away after moving. That's pretty a pretty significant retaliation/"no fly" zone. And not many armies outside Tau have the capabilities to simply bounce in on targets to pull this off.

Hellions fit in again due to Splinter Pods, if you aren't charging with them they can shoot with a threat range of 12" + 18" (30") and fufill the role of an arguably more survivable Venom abite with a shorter range.

Shooting/Close Combat: The "Let's get work done" Factor
Units that fall into this category: All

Shooting and Close Combat limit enemy board control by reducing their units on the board, obviously, but other ways these can help you if you can't kill the enemy:

Lock them in Close Combat - Not only does it stop the enemy cold for a few rounds possibly; hand-to-hand combats also block line of sight through them, prevent said unit from shooting, and possibly force the enemy to re-position to try to ready themselves for a loss or a win.

Shooting Lanes - Putting it simply, no one likes shooting down a Sniper's Alley. That is of course, they're doing the sniping.

Vehicle suppression - Immobilizing/Shaking/Stunning vehicles may be better off for you than killing enemy vehicles. They are effectively terrain you can use to your advantage, just an Immobilize result means if the vehicle has some decent weapons it's now an angry turret.

Unit Placement: The "You shall not pass!" Factor
Units that fall into this category: All

Simple - The 1" rule, Tank Shock/Ramming, and knowing your enemy can't go ontop of your units. Just don't allow them to go there, lol.

Terrain: The "Terraforming R Us" Factor
Units that fall into this category: N/A

Simple - This should be examined pre-game and up to YOU to figure out how to limit your opponent's movement capabilities while increasing your own.
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GrenAcid
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PostSubject: Re: Board Control and the Dark Kin   Tue Aug 09 2011, 12:20

Wow.....nice article, its definitely gonna make me think about marker placement and
Quote :
Movement methods: The "I don't care, I'm getting to you anyway" Factor
my reason to take beastpacks Twisted Evil

BTW where you usualy place objetives?? I try to put them in open so no difficult terain test when assault, and/or clear shoot. But I try to put them close enough to be able consolidate in to.

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Thor665
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PostSubject: Re: Board Control and the Dark Kin   Tue Aug 09 2011, 16:57

I actually always place my objectives with the intent to spread them as wide across the board as possible. Distance is a big issue for IG and Sphess Marines. Not so much for DE.

@Smurfy - I love the effort, but one suggestion and one question.

1. Suggestion - you could do with a little more formatting to make the article pop a bit more. At the moment it's a bit of a giant text blob, working in some underline/bold/different color/text size/using dividing lines could help break the sections apart neater and make it look a little less intimidating for the reader.

2. Question - in your "I don't care I'm getting to you anyway" section you list units coming out of WWP and Jetbikes...but not skimmers. This seems a gross insult to one of the best methods of moving units around the map in the game, an open topped, fast, skimmer puts units where you want them, and does it fast. Why no love?

Look forward to you finishing this.

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Smurfy
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PostSubject: Re: Board Control and the Dark Kin   Tue Aug 09 2011, 20:28

@GrenAcid - Regarding objective placement, I agree with Thor, it depends on opponent and the terrain in the first place though. Against another highly mobile list you should spread them out still, see how the enemy thinks he can handle it as a part of psychology. I play at the local GW shop or Los Angeles Battle Bunker, so their huge terrain pieces affect my games quite a bit though they vary it up. I usually place a token one center no matter what. (I'm a good sport looking for a good fight) Last game though my opponent had placed an objective on the 4th story of a huge ruin. Odd choice vs. DE but it proved why Harlequins are so awesome. I try to place objectives near important pieces, but usually in the open ground between such pieces. That way your enemy must fight to get into position on the markers rather than squat on 4+ Cover and call it a day, lol.

@Thor

Suggestions taken, this was late last night insomnia kicking in, I'm sure I can add more to it (lol^textblock above) and pictures (Though my Nintendo 3DS is my only form of a decent camera atm, and even it sucks) / diagrams (VASSAL) are a planned add on.

Regarding Skimmers: Sure, I can add Skimmers to this list, particularly those with Shock Prows. That way you can try to Tank Shock through a unit surrounding another unit (You see this with Gants+Tervigons and some desperate SW players do it with units surrounding their Long Fangs) A good Tank Shock nets you a way to target a previously inaccessible enemy unit or even possibly helps "cut the enemy in half" for your weaker assaulting units. (A la DashOfPepper tactics, if anyone reads his stuff. No I don't like the guy personally, but sometimes he makes sense.)

(lol^add textblock above note)
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PostSubject: Re: Board Control and the Dark Kin   Tue Aug 09 2011, 22:08

Quote :
A la DashOfPepper tactics
Likn please?


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PostSubject: Re: Board Control and the Dark Kin   Thu Aug 11 2011, 23:22

The essential thing about Dark Eldar control is actually quite simple if one thinks about it; better them than you. There are many ways to control the table but the essentials for board control is basically an idea that play is driven by attempts by players to gain options for themselves and take them from opponents, an exchange that continues until one player is able to gain the option to win the game.

Each element of the Dark Eldar list allows one to control the board, that is for sure but how they go about it is the part is actually quite standardized. In either casual or competitive play, the general idea is essentially a speedy list with lots of poisoned ranged weapons and lances, added with some dose of brutal close combat to seal the deal. Units that can do so most efficiently tends to get picked over the other slots, hence why there is a great amount of redundancies in Dark Eldar lists (Blasterborn for Elites get chosen over Mandrakes for example as they are a much better choice in dealing damage).

If one is able to think of other gaming systems, the best way to think about board control is in the way one can play a TCG deck. One can just do the controlling method (Mech Eldar) or the aggro method (Nob Bikers) or combo method (the now extinct true IG Leafblower with the Daemonhunters Mystic, but this also encompasses the current pseudo-leafblowers that the IG could do these days). Dark Eldar excel in an aggro-control-combo situation, where they could just go about controlling the board aggressively and engage in a tempo-based race to create a powerful effect that either wins the game immediately or creates a situation that subsequently leads to a win. Thus, a Dark Eldar board control values power, consistency, and speed: the combo should be strong enough to win, the army should be reliable enough to produce the combo on a regular basis, and the army should be able to use the combo fast enough to win before the opponent.

In order to do this they need to;

1) Erase threats at a reduced cost - If I can get the alpha or beta strike and manage to cripple them with the most efficient maneuvering and target saturation and priority then it is all good.

2) Not playing threats to be answered - if I can remove the razorback and leave their Marines out in the open with a melta, I essentially neutered the squad, as their effective range is significantly reduced (12" for melta, 24" for boltgun and plasmaguns to the 36" of splinter cannons and dark lances) against our raiders, venoms and ravagers, thus rendering them quite useless until I decided to come back for them.

3) Disrupting synergies - If I can kill off all those predators in a Mech BA list, I essentially broke his combo and the list's synergy as the list relies upon those predators to provide most of its firepower.

4) Dragging the game out past opposing preparations - By taking the initiative and being able to outmaneuver our opponent and hit them where we want and where we want, an opponent's faster, efficient units will become less effective over time.

Due to these factors, it is generally safe to notice that a lot of us love our skimmers to pieces, and we love all the extremely devastating alpha strike where we could just cripple the hell out of our opponents. Objectives are generally the things that a Dark Eldar player thinks by around turn 4 at earliest and turn 5 at latest, and this is usually only done when our opponent turned out to be surviving to an extent that we can't break them outright. Another factor to consider here is also the fact that our troops are absolutely horrible in holding the objectives we captured. This in a sense is also why we put our objectives so far apart, as we will be the only ones that can zoom around and do a last-minute objective grabbing. But if given the choice, a Dark Eldar prefers to kill things.
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