Tuesday, November 23, 2010

DE Tactics: The Glass Cannon

Pictures are worth a thousand words.. even if it's a crappy MS Paint drawn one.

Rathstar asked in my tournament blog post:
Could you give more information on how you were able to fire at the Tau battlesuits while still getting cover from their return firepower. I suppose the raiders were just poking their front past a building, but how did the ravagers get cover while still firing all three weapons?

As a Dark Eldar, being able to inflict maximum damage while preserving your delicate units is vital.  Since DE is the premiere glass cannon army in the game, we're not supposed to be able to slug it out with the other races.  We must use our cunning, our guile and our superior intellect to triumph over our enemies.

Without further RP, let me insert a picture of strategic dominance here:

The picture is crappy, I know, but the arrows, the colors and the triangle blocks says everything.

The blue symbolizes the Ravagers.  Notice how I'm able to draw line of sight and range to his battle suits on the far right and negate 75% of his army's shooting by LoS alone.  Note the blue line coming from his army.  Sure, he gets a cover save on those suits, but I'm forcing enough wounds that cause instant death that he has to react to that and reposition.  The only thing in his army that had LoS and range was those Broadsides on top of that building.  Even so, they couldn't see more than 50% of the vehicle so I had cover.

The pink arrow displays where my Ravagers went after their targets were neutralized.  I placed one of my Raiders by the windows by building 3 (where the red star is) so he had absolutely no LoS to my Ravagers from his deployment zone.  With 12" to shoot, I was able to pick off any stragglers that moved left or right from where he deployed while denying LoS or gaining cover saves from that central building.

The purple boats and arrow displays where some Raiders (my Ravagers also moved there later game) went to take pot shots at his army on turn one.  LoS wise, his entire right flank was blocked save for 3 suits which I had cover on.  The only thing that could shoot me with confidence was the Broadsides on top of the building, but target priority means that he won't be shooting my turbo-boosting Trueborn on his right flank (where that white paper is in the picture), the Ravagers in the back, or the Warrior Raider threatening an objective on his left flank (green star, behind cover of the rock).

This right here, is how you defeat a superior shooting army.
  • Use LoS to negate as much fire as you can while opening up fire lanes of your own.
  • Make sure everything has cover, even if it means putting one Raider in harm's way to save 4-5.
  • Use your boats to block LoS if possible.
  • If he has a cover save already, don't be afraid to shoot through terrain, your own units or windows since your objective is to inflict as many wounds as possible.
What about my 3rd game vs. the CSM with mass Oblits?

I took about 5 seconds to do this, so please, cut me some slack.  I am not an artist, what I am is the most cunning Archon to have ever lived.

This is how I dismantled his army Oblit by Oblit:

The green whirls symbolize where 2 Ravagers and some Raiders were at the start of the game.  I moved them there because from the ground level, the Oblits drawing the red arrow couldn't see through that at all.  What I could see was the Oblits sitting in cover on top of the building.  Since they were in cover anyway, I shot through the windows, inflicted some wounds and put 'em down.

The yellow arrow shows where a good chunk of my boats went.  Two of them turbo-boosted (one of which was Trueborn w/ Blasters) while the rest moved to that location and shot the Oblits that were sitting where the yellow X was.  By positioning them there, I was able to cut LoS from the top teal arrow (behind that tower, you can't see 'em here) and at best, draw a cover save if they were still alive...

..Which they weren't because the boats on the top of the picture; the ones with the light blue swirls, went behind the rocks there to get cover from the yellow X Oblits and direct LoS of fire on the Oblits behind the building.  Since they weren't in cover, they were completely destroyed.

I concentrated all my shooting so that entire squads of Oblits were destroyed, keeping them as 1 unit so they can only shoot at one target at a time.  Next round, they shot down a Wych Raider and that was the only thing they did before they died.

Once again, let's recap:
  • Use LoS to your advantage and deny as much of it as possible.
  • If they get a cover save anyway, don't be afraid to shoot through things like windows.
  • Make sure everything gets cover while maintaining clear fire lanes.
And to close this off, some minor questions:

Q: Will I keep Vect?
A: Yes, but only at 1850-2000 point games.  At 1750, I downgrade to a Archon w/ combat goodies.  I'd rather have more points for more troops at lower point games than a uber Archon.  His 4+ Seize opens strategic windows and all sorts of mind games, but I find it really hard to fit him at 1750 without losing my Succubus.  I will be playing a game without him today at 1750 and I'll let you guys know how that goes.

Q: What sort of changes will I make to this list?
A: Nothing.  I'm really liking it so far.  I still need to play against a hordes army though.

Q: Were the Blasters on the Warriors used at all?
A: Yes they were.  Not so much in the first game because I was using the Raiders defensively and keeping them on the constantly moving objectives, but the second game they were just dominating the dudes out of transports.  If you're in a strong position to take advantage of the Blaster's range, go for it.  24" of mobile threat is where you want to be if the objectives were deployed further up.

Q: How did you find the upgrades on the Raiders and Ravagers?
A: I'm definitely going to keep NS/FF on my Ravagers and I'm probably to keep NS on the Warrior Raiders and FF on the Wych Raiders.  Basically, FF on anything that's going to be getting close to the enemy where NS won't help and NS on anything that's staying back, or have the luxury of staying back.  Warriors float somewhere in the middle so NS offers a lot more short-ranged protection for them vs. Flicker Fields since I intend on staying in cover anyway.

Q: In your experience, is it better to go for the defensive grenades or more units?
A: More units every time.  In my particular list, I need all the mans I can to stay alive and remain combat effective.


Shin40k said...

What is your opinion of Shredders?
I've been using them in low point games and having great success.

Anonymous said...

Great blog Hero, you write some awesome stuff.
Haha love the idea of raiders shooting through windows!

Runesun said...

I agree. As soon as I stumbled on this blog I've made sure to look for updates daily! Always a good read.

Rathstar said...

Thanks for answering my question so throughly.

Basically use our mobility to focus our firepower on a flank unit or two, while getting cover saves (or completely blocking LOS) from the rest of the enemy. Move further round the terrain to see more of the enemy and repeat :)

In one of the list I'm considering I've got 10 vehicles, so I'll probably have to use some warrior raiders to add to the cover to give the rest of the vehicles a cover save.

At the moment I haven't got any defensive upgrades (Nightshield or Flickerfield) on any of my vehicles, but I may try out Flickerfields on the ravagers to give them more survivability (as they have a significant proportion of my dark lances).

Thanks for the great DE blog posts.


Anonymous said...

I have a comment regarding the table pictured here. It is conveniantly full of high terrain. I especially noticed the centre piece. There is an unwritten law in tournaments that says 'no blocking of LoS in the middle of the table'. In fact, in a tournament, each player will play in a number of different tables, other overloaded with terrain and some more 'naked' so that all type of armies and their attributes can benefit (or struggle).
No wonder a shooty army had problems in such a table...

Dezzo said...

are you going to swap your elite choices to 4 trueborn + 3 blasters + venom + 2 S.cannon x 3 units (max out elite slot) in future?

i foresee it being the standard close range AT/AI unit in future for most competitive DE lists unless you want to throw in a unit of Incubi which don't work if you don't bust open transports.

furthermore, ravagers and expensive 2 lance warrior / raider units can only get you so far.

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