Monday, January 31, 2011

Nids Players - Cover: It's Important

So, let's talk about Nids for a bit. Hopefully you have all had a chance to read through my Round 2 Batrep.

It's kind of crappy, and I apologize, but I don't have access to Vassal and my camera died.

So let's talk about this. My opponent made two very big mistakes which I felt were directly related to one another. He failed to advance towards me at a sufficient speed, and he failed to provide his monstrous creatures with cover. Part of these mistakes occurred during the list-building period. He had no models that he could throw out in front of, for example, his Swarmlord unit to give it cover.

No Termagants, no Hormagants, no Gargoyles, nothing.

Sure, he could have used his Genestealers, but throwing Genestealers into open ground for use as bullet shields should cause an automatic revokation of your Nids Piloting License.

Just sayin.

So what was the result of these two, related failures? I was able to handle his army with ease, methodically picking the threats from most immediate to least immediate: First Trygon, then Carnifexes, then Ravenors, and finally Swarmlord (and killed his Warriors at my leisure towards the end of the game).

The Trygon went down first because it had fleet so was the "fastest" monstrous creature CC threat. It had, again, NO cover so went down EASILY in one turn. The Carnifexes went next because they were positioned centrally so would get to me next, and they had guns. The Ravenors were first tanked by my Lone Wolf then shot down because they would have hit my lines next. Finally the Swarmlord was dealt with.

Why was he last? Well, my opponent had no screening units. So once he saw my shooting he knew he needed to give the Swarmlord cover. The only way he could do that was to keep the Tyrant Guard in area terrain.

So the Swarmlord, the most badass of all badass Tyranids. Was on his board edge hugging terrain.

Made me want to cry.

So let's talk about this. I'm going to post this up now but I really want to follow up with some photos.

When your opponent's "challenge" for the game is reduced to a simple target prioritization exercise, you are betting that your opponent is an idiot, and you will often lose that bet. Sure I could have been slinging krak missiles at Warriors, in Cover, with weapons that didn't have the range to hurt me, on his table edge.

Was that what a smart opponent would do? No.

Assume your opponent is smart enough to do the "right" thing - and then make it really difficult for them to do that thing.

An easy way to make life more difficult for your opponent is to ensure that you have, you know, saves to roll against his shooting.

Dead horse beaten enough? Ready to move on? Ok. Let's.

How do we accomplish this?

Hive Tyrants and Fex Stars are powerful for a few reasons. One, they allow you to wound allocate to some degree, and two they allow you to get cover saves "as infantry."

So if you have these units in your army, they should probably be the "second wave" with almost everything else behind them. Why not the first wave? Well, because you need a screening unit in front of THEM to give cover.

This can be Termagants or Gargoyles, it doesn't really matter.

What does matter is that these need to be expendable models.

So now we have bullet catchers up front, and the "complex units" behind them.

Any OTHER monstrous creatures that don't have the advantage of getting infantry cover, go behind THEM.

Like, RIGHT behind them. Because a Hive Tyrant behind a screen of Gargoyles will ABSOLUTELY grant cover to, say, a Tervigon.

Or even a Trygon, probably.

What other tools do we have? Hive Guard are huge models. A unit of three of them can also be used as part of your screen. Thankfully, putting them in front of your monstrous creatures is pretty much putting them right where you want them to be to get best range for their guns.

The Tyranids need to act together. They need to hit together (or at least in a coordinated fashion). They need to move together (for the most part). And they need cover saves.

This stuff seems basic but when I see people at a GT walking around in the open in front of Cyclones and Multimeltas it makes me really wonder.