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 How do I refused flank?

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Arrex
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PostSubject: How do I refused flank?   How do I refused flank? I_icon_minitimeMon Jun 04 2012, 04:57

Even though sixth edition is nearly upon us, one thing will never change about the game, and that's the use of basic warfare tactics and strategies to apply overwhelming force to the enemy. In Warhammer 40K, knowing how to refuse a flank is roughly analogous to learning to drive a racing line while competing in motorsports: It's such a fundamental principle that failing to understand it automatically relegates the competitor to noob status. I was reminded of this today during three games at a local 1K tournament, in which my opponents seemed to be suffering from possession by the spirits of long dead English generals from the American War for Independence.

The first game featured a Dawn of War deployment with a meched ork player going first (Always my preference on DOW, never go 1st in that mission type) Said ork player proceeds to march his forces across the entire table edge creating a cinematic line of looted vehicles sweeping the field. Needless to say, I obliged him by moving my mobile and equally numerous force onto the table in one tight little group stationed on a table corner, shielded by terrain and range from 50% of his army. Meanwhile, 100% of my Dark Lances are trained on his right flank. The following turns involved concentrated dark matter fire wrecking and exploding every single vehicle in his possession as the other flank desperately tried to wheel around and deliver support. I blow up tanks, scoot forward hugging terrain and staying out of range, and pick off a few each turn until his last unit is stranded in no man's land. Then with some concentrated splinter fire, they're gone too. Tabled by turn 4.

In the following game, similar deployment with Necron, similar issues with my enemy wasting units by spreading them on an uncontested flank where they have nothing to engage. In the final game, I watched a very "competitive" (Or abusive, seeing as how he was fielding a blood jumper list at 1K) Blood Angels player waste an entire assault squad by leaving them isolated on a flank, waiting to eat dark lance fire. (Also nearly tabled)

Some might argue that constant use of refused flank, concentrating attacks, and avoiding fire from large portions of the enemy force is the providence of Eldar players, but truthfully, I use it every bit as heavily with my less mobile but still mechanized Black Templars. Even powergamers used to simplistic advances with cheeseball uber-units can still avoid senseless casualties through an understanding of proper deployment protocols:

1. Your objective isn't to neatly decorate your side of the board, it's to place units where they can effectively support each other and avoid enemy fire. A thin line of troops isn't nearly as effective as a carefully arranged knot of forces taking advantage of cover, LOS and target priority. (make them sweat and agonize over which unit they're actually gonna have any meager success at shooting)

2. When going second, always refuse the flank. It's that simple, even mobile armies will have to redeploy if you refuse to engage them on their own simpleminded terms with pre-Revolutionary War tactics. If they're in a congo line, just cluster on the other corner of the table, preferably with lots of big LOS blocking terrain cutting off half their army.

3. When going first, trick the impressionable dolts by spreading your forces in a congo line, then suddenly zip half your units across the board to play with their buddies on turn 1. Even players who should know better can be tricked into assuming they should deploy to counter specific units in your line, and they'll still be likely to think in terms of "I should answer his two Raiders by sticking this Devastator squad over here in this building where they'll get clean shots". Turn 1 rolls around, and suddenly those Raiders aren't on that flank anymore, they're on the other side of the table with a ruined Imperial cathedral between them and the Devastators. (Dark Eldar are particular masters of this, since Arial Assault allows redeployment without losing firepower if you've preplanned which flank you're gonna rush to) Most armies with moderate mobility can use some careful planning to radically upset your enemy's battle plan by changing their deployment early in the game. Which brings us to number four:

4. Delight in that look of panic on the other general's face as he realizes you bought yourself plenty of time to pound his forces in a one sided exchange of firepower while half his army frantically tries to scramble back into position. Suddenly he's got to deploy his army a second time, and even fully mechanized opponents still have to get those tanks repositioned on the front lines again, and that's going to silence many of the big guns for a couple turns. Now he's reacting to you, he's gotta change his battle plan, and you're free to just hammer one flank till things start exploding. It truly does make the difference between a close game, and tabling or getting tabled in many instances.



***Disclaimer***
Does not apply to Scrab Spam, Deep Striking Dreadknights riding Flaming Chrome Landraiders from Hades, not valid in all countries, some rules apply, seek medical assistance if rash persists.
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Ruke
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PostSubject: Re: How do I refused flank?   How do I refused flank? I_icon_minitimeMon Jun 04 2012, 07:54

How does this apply to webway portals, and spearhead deployments (which I somehow always seem to roll when I run WWP), and what would you do in this situation?

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Painjunky
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PostSubject: Re: How do I refused flank?   How do I refused flank? I_icon_minitimeMon Jun 04 2012, 09:22

Excellent post Arrex!

Arrex wrote:
[i]It's such a fundamental principle that failing to understand it automatically relegates the competitor to noob status.[/i

Agree totally.

If i may... You can refuse flank from full reserves if going second. Vs the massed long range firepower of some lists (guard usually) even 50% of his shooting can be too much. it's a great idea if there is some LOS blocking terrain to hide you if you come on piecemeal.

As ive said before an expendable distraction unit can make a refused flank just hum! I run a unit of Beastmasters up the middle or empty flank (it depends on how fast my opponent is) but you could use reavers, hellion + baron blob, Grotesques or even scourges or Blasterborn if there's LOS blocking terrain to hide behind. Think of all the rear/side facings you will get to shoot at as he redeploys!!

Now your opponent cannot redeploy freely. If he's silly he will not and waste time killing your distraction unit and you will punish him for it.


Last edited by Painjunky on Mon Jun 04 2012, 10:02; edited 3 times in total
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Painjunky
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PostSubject: Re: How do I refused flank?   How do I refused flank? I_icon_minitimeMon Jun 04 2012, 09:26

Ruke wrote:
How does this apply to webway portals, and spearhead deployments (which I somehow always seem to roll when I run WWP), and what would you do in this situation?

Yeah thats a tough situation to be in. I would deploy a WWP on each "flank" as far forward as possible.
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Arrex
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PostSubject: Re: How do I refused flank?   How do I refused flank? I_icon_minitimeMon Jun 04 2012, 18:25

Obviously you don't want a webway portal turning into a fish barrel for the enemy army to shoot into. (Saw this happen while playing against DE, some noob dropped it it in a silly place, found himself eating torrents of fire everytime something came out) Once again, you want the portal on one flank, or concentrating on one part of the army. Spearhead deployment is another matter, the trick in my experience is to keep your force in one unit and dance them into the adjacent quarter, as I've seen enemy commanders split their forces into a pincher for some inexplicable reason.

Obviously, as Matt Ward writes more codexes, there are exceptions. Notably deepstriking Blood Angels that just want to land anywhere next to something juicy, hordes of scarabs literally swamping the table, and of course, armies that are just too huge to really deploy that way. Like Painjunky alluded to, in some situations you do a true refused flank in which you do have units on the opposite flank, preferably an objective holding tarpit that can't be easily shifted.
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Ruke
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PostSubject: Re: How do I refused flank?   How do I refused flank? I_icon_minitimeMon Jun 04 2012, 19:54

What I did in this instance was was the pincer move, brought in half of my units to each portal, splitting them almost evenly. I was lucky that my units basically came in as two blobs, but there was a round in between those two blobs that left me open to counterattack. the webway portals leave so little room that when you have massive footprint units (like 3 squads of 10 models) you dont have enough room to place all of them. That combined with the fact that my opponent is normally able to rush in and close off a webway portal typically leaves me having to walk at least 1 units (usually 2 or 3) onto the board from my table edge...

My wyches/bloodbrides also have a tendancy to roll really well and blow out units...

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PostSubject: Re: How do I refused flank?   How do I refused flank? I_icon_minitimeSun Jun 17 2012, 00:22

I use refused flank with my Death Guard every time. Always works a treat. It's easier to do with small elite armies...
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BlckRven
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PostSubject: Re: How do I refused flank?   How do I refused flank? I_icon_minitimeMon Jun 25 2012, 02:21

With WWP I prefer to deploy one in the center and one on a flank.

The idea would be to pound on one flank. In reaction to this the enemy redeploys his army and is getting closer to the center portal. He now has 2 points to focus on (with a bit of luck they are now on both flanks of his army and pretty close to his frontline.

Now you can choose which portal gives the best deployement 'edge'. Though you still have to keep thinking a lot and stay ahead of the enemy to make sure he won't split your army.

fair is fair. I'm not using a full WWP list. My list has still a substantial ground force in raiders.

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