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 How many roles do units in your army fill on the battlefield?

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Creeping Darkness
Wych
Creeping Darkness

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PostSubject: How many roles do units in your army fill on the battlefield?   How many roles do units in your army fill on the battlefield? I_icon_minitimeFri Oct 17 2014, 09:32

Perhaps this question was easier to answer in previous editions. Now, in 7th ed, there are more types of even the most basic roles, for example anti-tank and anti-infantry have been supplemented by anti-air.

But there are specialisations within each role; units adept at destroying transports and APCs may fail when confronted with heavy battletanks, and a unit that shreds light infantry usually fares poorly against monstrous creatures. Moreover, there are broad subcategories imposed by the range at which a particular unit functions, leading to assault anti-infantry units, short and long ranged firepower anti-tank units, etcetera.

Arguably, in 7th ed there are fewer strategic roles beyond the raw 'kill efficiency' of a unit, particularly now that every unit can score objectives. In saying this, it is worth pointing out that Objective Secured enables the strategic roles of objective 'thief' or 'guard', roles which were previously wrapped up in the tighter definition of scoring or contesting units.

Here again, specialised strategic roles begin to emerge. 'Overwatch soakers', particularly if running a Wych Cult, 'buff', 'bait', and 'tarpit' can all be valid strategic roles for a unit depending on its context in the army.

Adding to the complexity is the way that single units can have multiple roles. Sometimes this is simply a natural extension of a unit's existing strengths. Ork Lootaz can happily play anti-transport, anti-infantry and even anti-air due to the large number of reasonably high strength shots that they are able to generate. Other times, a unit may be forced to play multiple roles by either their context in your army strategy or their natural limitations. A bad matchup or tempting scenario may incline you to use a unit of Kabalite Warriors as bait, rather than their original purpose as short to mid ranged anti infantry/monstrous creature. A unit of beasts may lack the focussed hitting power to be a dedicated anti-infantry threat, so you may take measures to ensure that they can pinch hit as anti-transport. Indeed identifying multiple roles might be the only way to justify some particularly underwhelming units' inclusions at all.

While fulfilling multiple roles adds flexibility, units tend to be more efficient and hence effective when built to perform a single role well. This tension between flexibility and efficiency defines one of the central trade-offs in army construction.

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In building my own armies, I try to do three things.

First, define the roles that I believe will be essential for victory. Sadly, the number of roles required to build a true 'takes all comers' army for 7th edition is often beyond the scope of the points available for army construction. Hence, some prioritisation is required.

Second, select units to fulfil these roles, and equip them appropriately.

Third, define backup roles for these units, and revise their options accordingly. This is not always appropriate (or even possible), and is clearly a secondary condition to fulfilling it's primary roles. For example a dark lance ravager could equip chainsnares or a shock prow to give it anti-infantry or objective clearing secondary roles, but as its primary role of anti-tank is so important, I would not tend to spend the points on this. On the other hand, given that Sybarites can equip haywire grenades (and also that from turn 4 onwards Kabalite warriors are capable of damaging light armoured vehicles with their fists), I am ususally happy to take this option to increase the unit's flexibility.

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I'd like to hear from you, fellow Archons. What roles do you consider for your units? How important do you rate each of the roles available? And what emphasis do you place on units playing backup roles?
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PainReaver
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PostSubject: Re: How many roles do units in your army fill on the battlefield?   How many roles do units in your army fill on the battlefield? I_icon_minitimeFri Oct 17 2014, 10:04

Reavers is one of those Multi-Role units that do not sacrifice efficiency, if armed with both CCs and HLs. Arena Champion should be given agonizer

Role 1: Anti-tank, with heat lances within melta range, and then if not destroyed, charge it in with cc in the rear armor and let the caltrops do its work.

Role 2: Assault, with heat lances and rapid fire all splinters, to even up the odds (by even up, i mean rig), and then use cluster caltrops to charge in and deal tons of damage. AC with Agonizer will stack it even more.

Scourges can also do multi-role fairly well, from tank hunting, TEQ hunting and last ditch supporting assault provided a solarite is armed with a power lance.
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The_Burning_Eye
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PostSubject: Re: How many roles do units in your army fill on the battlefield?   How many roles do units in your army fill on the battlefield? I_icon_minitimeFri Oct 17 2014, 11:24

Interesting topic this one!
I tend to work on the basis of there being 3 primary roles - Anti Air, Anti Infantry and Anti Tank.

I break down 2 of those, Anti Infantry becomes Anti horde and Anti Elite, and Anti Tank becomes Anti Transport and Anti Armour (as in Main Battle Tanks)

Each of those roles is then further broken down into Ranged or Combat

Generally speaking, when I'm building an army list, I pick a unit for 1 specific task - if there are two units equally good at achieving a particular objective then I'll look at the secondary roles it can fill.

Taking a hypothetical example:

My meta consists of lots of elite infantry, 2+ saves abound. What are my options? Well in ranged terms, i could take a dissie ravager, voidraven with implosion missiles and dark scythes, blasterborn, blaster scourges etc.

Obviously you have to weigh the points values of each but let's look at the ravager. It provides 3 dissies and sits in heavy support. I have to take two troops choices, so i could instead take two raiders as transports for my warrior squads. If i then put my HQ on a third raider, I've got the three dissies from the ravager without having to pay points for one, and its on three vehicles I'd have taken anyway. That gives me a heavy support slot that's available for the void raven (which I still think is far and away the best option in our codex in terms of killing potential at AP2)

Redundancy is good too, I've played games where I lost my raiders early and they were the only option I had for anti tank, meaning i got steamrollered.

I think the secondary roles you mentioned (bait, tarpit etc) are something i play only once I've got the table in front of me and i can see what targets are still there. For instance if I've taken down any tanks my opponent has brought, my scourges become an option for tanking overwatch fire (their armour is enough to work against most units firing overwatch, if i do lose them then I'm not deficient in the area I took them for etc)

One of the key strategies i think we need to play as Dark Eldar is that target priority really is paramount. We have the speed to concentrate our fire, and if we do that, we force the enemy (well, everyone except Eldar) to react to us instead of us reacting to them. That's also a reason why I'm now going to start taking coven units. They can provide a really significant threat (does your opponent really want a 10-strong unit of T5, S5 W3 combat guys running around in his deployment zone, or the Dark Artisan formation hovering anywhere near his support units). If they don't deal with that threat, then the coven units apply their own unique touch to the battle. If they do target them, they should soak enough fire to allow the rest of our army breathing space!

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Creeping Darkness
Wych
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PostSubject: Re: How many roles do units in your army fill on the battlefield?   How many roles do units in your army fill on the battlefield? I_icon_minitimeFri Oct 17 2014, 11:49

@PainReaver wrote:
Reavers is one of those Multi-Role units that do not sacrifice efficiency, if armed with both CCs and HLs.

I always liked this configuration under the previous codex, although the main role then was anti-infantry and anti-tank was a secondary role. I haven't tried them yet under 7e, but as you suggest their roles seem to have flipped! I'm not sold on the cost of the agoniser, though.

@The_Burning_Eye wrote:
I think the secondary roles you mentioned (bait, tarpit etc) are something i play only once I've got the table in front of me and i can see what targets are still there.
...
One of the key strategies i think we need to play as Dark Eldar is that target priority really is paramount. We have the speed to concentrate our fire, and if we do that, we force the enemy (well, everyone except Eldar) to react to us instead of us reacting to them.

A great insight into the army selection process, thanks for sharing. Forgive me for selectively quoting, but I find this part resonates very strongly; the adaptability of ourselves as players to alter the battlefield role of any given unit to what will be the most useful from this point of the game forwards, combined with the will to impose our style of game rather than having terms dictated by our opponent's force is, I think, crucial to victory.

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The_Burning_Eye
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PostSubject: Re: How many roles do units in your army fill on the battlefield?   How many roles do units in your army fill on the battlefield? I_icon_minitimeFri Oct 17 2014, 12:04

It's something I see on a weekly basis. One of the gamers at my local club plays Imperial Guard Armoured Company. I think most would agree that's a fairly strong build given how much of someone's army is basically useless when your opponent brings a whole army of front armour 14 (with up to three baneblade variants if you're willing to accept them!) and no infantry.

He's only won a single game though in about 6 months of playing (a doubles game where he partnered my space marines) and that's mainly down to his appalling target priority.

I feel target priority changes throughout the game too - those transports are usually quite high priority in turns 1-2 if you can wreck them in their deployment zone, but once they've dropped off their cargo, you will need to re-evaluate (they might have obsec if they're running CAD, but is a rhino with a storm bolter a higher value target for game objectives than a thunderfire cannon or whirlwind?). The answer will depend on what mission you're playing, what tools you have to take it down, and what threat it has to your own army (rhinos can be more threatening than you might think - only a storm bolter but tank shock can be a tool, as can blocking LoS).

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My Blog - The Burning Eye Blog (check it out - comments always welcome)

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PostSubject: Re: How many roles do units in your army fill on the battlefield?   How many roles do units in your army fill on the battlefield? I_icon_minitime

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