Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tactical discussion and test about target priority

By Spaguatyrine

As I have been hitting the webs and getting a few more games in preparation for The Indy Open. I have decided to write a post about testing your thoughts on target priority.

In 6th edition the game has changed target priority status for me when I play.

Keys to target priority in my humble opinion.

#1. What is the mission objective- Most people don't look at this as the first priority.  It is crucial for many reasons. If the mission is objectives and your opponent only has 3 troops.....kill all the troops first and he can't hold them.  If it is victory points go for easy victory points instead of that giant unit of 10 strike squad with coteaz and a librarian in it. 

#2.  What unit of the enemy can come and eat your lunch causing you a very bad day-This is my number two priority. If I see a storm lord across the table, or a flying daemon prince with a black mace, or a unit of 5 thunderwolves with a lord, I need to either make them a high priority for targeting or make them a low priority if I cannot put in enough firepower to them and plan on ignoring them.  (Don't underestimate your opponent.  Visualize what you would do with them if you were on the opposite side of the table.  Hence I often walk around to my opponents side to see if I see a mistake on my end or before I deploy to see firelanes, etc.)

#3.  Try and think at least 1 turn ahead- I do not play math hammer but quickly calculate on whether or not I can hurt this unit enough to do this or that. By thinking a turn ahead you can remember enemy reserve units coming in, calculate if you need one of your assault units to back up your shooting units, to totally change your strategy and flip the script. I often know 2 turns before I actually see the result if I am losing or not.  Play chess with yourself in your head. If I move my daemon prince up 24 inches, shoot my X, next turn I will turn 90 degrees and go after possibly Y.  People make a lot of mistakes with flyers because they don't think about the turn ahead. Instead of just flying on 36" to get that shot why not move on 18, still get the shot, then have the ability to turn to either side and stay on the board shooting again....?  I try and think 2 turns ahead but that gets tricky.... when you are playing someone of equal skill 1 turn is usually all you can do.

#4.  Have a brother beside you- I always count on two units to kill what 1 should.  6 grey knights with storm bolters have a primary and secondary target.  Their 12 strength 5 storm bolters should kill 6 gaunts easily.  While I move them I also look for a second unit that I plan to shoot at a hive guard unit also be in range to tap into the gaunts if something happens. In addition I might have my storm raven that has primary shooting duty to that swarmlord also capable of shooting the hive guard as their secondary if needed.  Once you determine every one's primary and secondary targets.  GO IN ORDER OF WHO NEEDS TO DIE FIRST!  That way you can systematically destroy targets efficiently. 

#5.  They will shoot you back-You might have a high priority target that can out shoot you. In this case you need to mitigate their shooting by either reducing the amount of return fire or putting space or cover between you and them.  I.E.  There is a 50 man blob that you want to assault with a company command squad hiding behind some trees that will probably give them 1st rank fire 2nd rank fire and annihilate your assault unit.  Priority one in shooting just because that company command squad.  Wipe them out and you have a greater chance of success. 

These are my top 5 keys to target priority.   Your thoughts are welcomed.  What do you think?

Now for the test....

You are playing against the list below and the mission is the relic with victory points. 

3 tervigons -(They are all psykers and have either iron arm, endurance, enfeeble, etc)
3x 10 termaguants
1 double devourer hive tyrant with prefered enemy 6" bubble (psyker-enfeeble, hemmorage)
2 3 man hive guard units
1 swarmlord (also a psyker with all biomancy) has iron arm, enfeeble, live leach, warp speed
1 doom of malanti in mycetic spore

They are deployed as such:

  Terv   hive tyrant  Terv Swarlord   Terv
             hive g/hive g
gaunts              gaunts               gaunts

You have 1750 points.  Tell me what you have basically and what would be your target priorities?

Good Luck. I will take all your responses and grade anyone interested by my perceptions.  No need to give an exhaustive list of what you have just a basic idea.....


  1. Assuming I have 1750 points of deathwing, backed up by six land speeders (some of which are heavy flamers.).

    My biggest priority are those hiveguard. I have eight cyclone missiles and six multimeltas. There are 12 wounds there, but I have 24 shots, 18 will hit, 15 wound, of those a 5+ cover will save 5, so I should kill most of them. I will move my speeders up to be all in range first turn if I can and shoot everything, otherwise they will be 48' away from the hive guard.

    Hive guard the big threat to my speeders, once they dead my speeders can either act as speedbumps, stand back and shoot.

    In my experience gaunts are hopeless at picking up the relic so I'm going to take out the hive guard, pick off those gaunts as they pick up the relic, and win by scoring first blood + killing swarmlord at some point.

    Unless one of the tervigons will give me a really good kill shot when surrounded by gaunts, I'm going for
    Hive guard -> Double Devourer -> Swarmy (as he probably in OMG range turn 3, and you don't need to worry about him until then.

    Also unless there is a really lucky spawn role, some terminator shooting at the gaunts as they move onto the relic will kill them.

    If I space out enough Doom will not be an issue, one squad of termies will chew him out in close combat.

    1. @ John,

      You have some good points. Missles hurt the big guys pretty easily. But My first target in your list would have been the tervigons. Why you ask? Tervigons make more guants and when they die they explode other gaunts. My second target would be the swarmlord. Why you ask? You have 48 inch range missles that can stay away from 24" missles. Why do you need to kill them so fast? To get the relic you have to get in the middle of the board. If that swarmlord gets to you you are toast. What is also missed is the hive tyrant with 12 twin linked str 6 shots that can do as much damage if not more to your speeders. Still you have a good strategy. What do you think?

    2. I forgot to give you a B on your grade.

  2. I play DE, so this is based on that perception and I will base it on my 1750pt list I am brings to a tournament in March.

    First thing is, do I havefirst turn? If yes, huge advantage for me. Lets assume yes as I have a +1 from the Baron.

    Second thing, is the Swarmlord scoring via Warlord Trait? Is my Warlord (The Baron) scoring? If either of those are yes, that plays a huge role as well. But lets assume, neither are scoring.

    To get a leg up in a mission that comes to Secondary Objectives more often than not, I will poison down the middle squad of Gaunts, achieving first Blood. This is rather easy as I have 3 Venoms, a Gunboat Raider, a Night Spinner, and a Scatter Laser platform.

    My next priority would be the Hive Guard. Though they dont score, each squad can easily take down a vehicle with ease. I would not be surprised at all if I could kill at least 1 squad or limit is by a model or 2.

    I also have a large beast squad, with a Doomseer on a bike accompanying them and 2 Voidravens in reserve.

    After Turn 1, I would focus on the Hive Guard and then kill things as they get to me. The Hive Guard are the only things with range so once they are taken out, I can have the Nids just walk into a wall of Splinter fire each turn.
    Throughout the game, I would flank a side with the Beasts hopefully dividing his force to deal with it. When he decides to divide his force, I single out models with my Venoms and Raider and such.

    I do not think I would have much trouble with the list because of my Psyker defense with the Doomseer, and having all my poison weapons to take down his big guys.

  3. Kill the Tervigons. Simply because they make more guants and any close by suffer nasty wounds when it blows up. The tervs are your most durable troops so if they are gone then you are left with guardsmen to try and hold the relic. The rest of the army is irrelevant if you are playing to the mission. Now the rest of the list will hurt but focusing on the tervs will probably win you mission as most of the rest is easy gribbles if you have brought enough varied shooting to handle it.

    1. Unknown,

      Pretty much an A grade wihtout giving more details. As the Tervigons have a 50% chance of having iron arm and endurance this is harder to do now in 6th edition but killing the big dudes that puke little dudes is a great answer.

  4. Right now the only real bits I can remember from the last 1750 DE List I made (for testing vs Indy Open guys) is that it had 3 Ravagers and Nightwing. Good times.

    Doomseer on a bike (joined by Reavers... or to Reavers, depending) means enemy powers are less of an issue. Night Shields on "important" vehicles mean I don't really have to care about his shooting anytime soon.

    As for first target? Without any insanely-funky terrain, it looks like I can angle a clear shot to the center Tervigon. Mass poison/S8 means a) easy First Blood, and b) helping to stop a game I like to call Spawn-and-Pass. The gaunt squads have to go, but killing 10 of those takes minimal-enough effort that focusing early (pre-mass-damage) fire on the tougher Terv's is key.

    If said Terv got Iron Arm off and is wearing a massive Toughness, I'll just bank on splinter fire to take him down, and focus Dark Matter elsewhere. Preferably on a non-T9/FnP'd Tervigon. Those things need to die.

    Next big bug to die is the Dev Tyrant, followed by Hive Guard (lances/poison, respectively).

    Since about the only thing on foot is the Reaver Squad (walking? What a silly concept) they can be turbo'd away (blade vaning on the way) to draw Doom out into the far reaches of the table. Ld 10 in the squad means there should be survivors, and another turbo-boost later means they're 3 feet away and untouchable afterward. Pump enough lances into him, if needed, and he'll fail a 3++.

    It's gaunt clean-up after that, and keep the Archon alive. Linebreaker is easy, and I don't even have to disembark to pick up the Relic, just keep him off of it. Victory by Secondaries is probably the easier goal.

    1. Foodie, I like your style. A+. Start with the tervigons, stay in your vehicles and tempt the doom to drop somewhere it will not be used effectively.

      By the way I would like you to sign up for the Open. Shoot me an email.

      Nids have a hard time with fast and long range unless they also have fast and long range. This list is tough and can crush most footlist that are out there. It has issues with flyers and fast armies.

    2. It's an easier problem for me since I know both sides very well... I know my own limitations as a Nid player, so it's easy to exploit them from the other side.

      There are plenty of other lists that would be harder for me to pick apart. If there is a shortage (2-3 units) of proper long-ranged support, I tend to favor those as early targets, which allow for keep-away tactics to go full force. Even if I'm planning to get into the enemy's face (which happens as often as not) I still need to minimize the enemy's chance of ruining that plan in and of itself.

  5. @SCP,

    You definitely have an advantage against big nids. Your list looks like it is adapted very well to provide mid to long range fire power.

    I think taking down the swarmlord is pretty important for you. If he gets in that beast pack they are almost all gone.

    But I also think the primary target might be the tervigons for you if I was playing. You can easily wound them on a 4+ while being to stay out of the way of the hive guard. 36" range compared to 24" The Dark Eldar way is to skirt the edges and pick of the weak until you can go in for the kill.

    Either way you provided an A level response. Good job. Now how to do crack imperial guard? That is your big one!

    1. Guard are a pain for everyone. With the typical IG build you see (50 man blob, 3-4 Chimeras, 2 manticores, Heavy teams galore, 2 Vendettas) I want first turn.

      I run the Beasts usually on a flank so the entire Blob cant First Rank, Second Rank fire me. They will hide in and out of cover and So the Baron's Stealth is nice to have. I will usually have some Razorwing towards the front so I can absorb up to 5 Las shots before losing one base. Most people keep the Razorwing in the back, but Khymera are just as good if not better at killign IG than the Flocks. if the Beasts hit their line, usually turn 2, the game is usually over because there isn't enough shooting to stop them once the blob is eaten away. It will take their entire army to shoot the squad down, or an unfortunate LD fail, which has happened! But Doom ensures their deaths once the blob is hit. If no blob and their is massive Chiemra wall, I can glance and Rend 2-3 tanks I think down in a massive multicharge.

      Most Guard players like to castle in corners (my experiences) so the NightSpinner is awesome against them. Str 6 Rending on AV 10 sides. If they want to move, Dangerous Terrain. I can't tell you how many time the lead Chimera has immobilized itself and gotten the tanks behind it stuck. If there isnt a good shot, double out Hvy Weapons (Autocannons first) or picking out the Commissars in the Blob is always fun because I'll get 12 wounds which means a couple Rends. IF their dumb enough to put both Manticores together, I will target them just to get a Stun result so they cant fire.

      I will Poison things down from range (Hvy Weapons teams, or the squads that get out the Chimeras to force morale and have them run off.

      Ravagers try and get side armor as best as possible.

      Flyers come in and drop Str 7 Missiles on side armor Chimeras or shoot their Str 9 Lances. If they live the turn after the Vendettas come in, I usually drop my bomb as I leave the board.

      IG is definately tough. I haven't played against a really good IG player in a long time (5th Ed.) but it seems as of late, most IG players want more toys and their army not only becomes predictable but most of them fall into the same strategy of castling in a corner and crossign their fingers that they get 3 missiles with their Manticores and they dont fly off too much from their target.

      I've learned that if you can weather the first 1-2 turns of IG they crumble. Alot easier said than done, but definately doable.

      This is the list that I plan on using at the BAO in March:


      Warriors, Bl, Venom
      Warriors, Bl, Venom,
      Wyches, Haywires, Venom
      Warriors, Cannon, Raider, Racks

      Beasts, x5 Masters, x5 Khymera, x6 Flock, Clawed Fiend

      Voidraven, x3 shatterfields, flicker
      Voidraven, x3 shatterfields, flicker

      Farseer, bike, Doom, Eldritch Storm, Runes, Stones
      x10 Guardians, Scatter Laser

      Long winded response but a very complicated problem.

  6. Do you live I n the area? I would love to get in a game with you.

    1. I live in Sacramento, so I doubt it.

      I am going to the Bay Area Open in March with the list above.

      Then me and 2-3 of my buddies are headed out to Omaha for the Bugeater GT in June. I am very excited about that as I haven't played any 40k outside of California before.

      I used to go to college in Kansas and tried to play out there as much as possible, but the following is small.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. So let's assume I'm running a Space Wolf Drop list against the above setup. If the Nids go first, it will probably mean spawning gaunts and creating a screen to prepare for the drop. Keep the Wolf Guard from double tapping with plasma. They also Psyk up, so they're tougher than usual.

    Even with careful spacing, I've found that it's hard (under pressure of time constraints) to avoid leaving gaps where Pods can sneak in and get a clear shot at a fatty. My first priority would be to capitalize on any such gaps where I could realistically drop a Tervigon that's within 6" of gaunts.

    Assuming that's not the case, I would drop on the left hand side of the above diagram. I would try to target down the far left Tervigon and the Hive Tyrant. Staying out of range of the Swarmlord is important. Actually, attempting to mitigate the counter-attack by staying out of assault range of as many units as possible is key to the drop's survival.

    The Hive Guard, in this instance, aren't a high target priority, since marines get their 3+ save. 12 shots. 9 hit. 7-8 wound. 2-3 dead marines. Not too bad.

  9. Gaunts first, then gaunt makers. The gaunts have the ability to move the Relic (being scoring). If the Tervigons are also scoring, then they are 2nd priority, but even so they after the primary gaunts, who have the ability to reach the relic first and get it deeper into giant monster land, where spawned gaunts can pick up the slack. 1750 pts should wipe three gaunt squads by rd 2, forcing the tervis to spawn and hopefully double out, and forcing them to advance and try and capture. With luck your fast scoring will already grab the item and the tervis won't be able to catch them. Distance of terrain is everything in this scenario.

  10. And in my list I dont have a lot of ap 1, 2, or 3 so my strategy has to be different.

  11. My list would be as such:

    Rune Priest w/ Force Axe, 2 Divination Powers
    Rune Priest w/ TDA, Force Sword, Living Lightning and JoWW

    Wolf Guard 8x Combi-Plasma, Drop Pod
    Wolf Guard 8x Combi-Plasma, Drop Pod
    Wolf Guard 4x TDA, Combi-Plasma, Drop Pod

    Grey Hunter 8 w/ 1 Flamer, Power Sword and MotW, Drop Pod
    Grey Hunter 8 w/ 1 Flamer, Power Sword and MotW, Drop Pod
    Grey Hunter 8 w/ 1 Flamer, Power Sword and MotW, Drop Pod

    Long Fangs 5 w/ 4 ML
    Long Fangs 5 w/ 4 ML
    Long Fangs 5 w/ 4 ML

    Aegis Defense Line w/ Quad-gun

    Tactics: Long fangs deploy in the middle inside ADL with the power armored Rune priest. He'll man the quad guns and provide psychic defense to them. The TDA Rune Priest will follow with the Wolf Guard in Terminator armor, and all 3 Wolf Guard Drop pods land back.

    The 2 power armored wolf guards would try to land on the right of the big monsters while the TDAs would deploy away from the Swarmolord. Since I can premeasure I would try to cast Jaws w/o shadows to nab a tervigon while the TDAs shoot at the Flyrant, if he's still on the ground. On the other, I would try to nab a Tervigon with one squad, using the Long Fangs as back up in case 16 plasma shots from one squad can't do the trick, and the other squad would focus on the Swarmlord. The Long Fangs would try to help any unit that failed his task, with the Divination Rune priest guiding one unit.

    If the Doom comes near the Long Fangs I would have the cover save from the ADL, and next turn would Krak it to death. If he comes away to get my Wolf Guards he will have to walk the rest of the time and I would krak it to death. Flyrant I can try to take out using mass Kraks, with guide and the quad-gun, while my Grey Hunters would try to land in front of termagants who approach the relic and try to wipe them.

    That's really how I normally play against nids here, only difference is we play 1850 normally so I had to downsize my normal list.

    What do you think?

    1. Rafael,

      I see some potential with your lists and the 12 missle launcher and multiple combi plasmas you have. Dropping too close to the big guys will go badly if you don't kill enough. Statistically you can drop a tervigon with each squad of WG and combi plasmas. So you stated you would drop both units on the right. The problem with this is your first unit will kill the tervigon and since you are staying away from the stormlord I am not sure what the rest would do. the exploding tervigon will kill most of the gaunt screen.

      Something else to think about is the three drop pods first turn. If I was in your shoes I would sacrifice both squads to kill the swarmlord or take out both tervigons on the outsides. Meaning drop 1 left and 1 right. If you have line of sight with your long fangs you can actually drop one to the right side and kill the tervigon with 8 krak missle shots and the quad gun. That is with a 5+ save calculated. You can then mass fire into the swarm lord or hive tyrant, killing him with 32 plasma shots.

      From then on its clean up.

    2. You are assuming that you can drop into rapid fire range with the plasmas. 30 gaunts spread out is good board control. Also seems to be counting a lot on first turn hoping no powers go off.
      And fyi, a tervigon shockwave only kills about 4-5 gaunts on average.

  12. If you look at the deployment you willsee how the player is deployed.....and if you go first there are no powers....?

    1. If you go first, then the tyranid player will not have had time to cast iron arm or endurance, which makes a huge difference in surviving alpha strikes. And yes the deployment is shown, but it has no depth to it. are the tervigons against a board edge, how dispersed are the gaunts. Against dropping in plasma guns, spreading out forces them to deploy greater than 12" away from the big guys. If nids had first turn, then there may be even more gaunts.

  13. Well obviously at this point the above is only a deployment. It is a basic test of thought process. You can assume anything you want. Hence an open test based upon your army and how you would target which units first. More information is not needed.

  14. In my army this is totally different. I dont have any longrange and have to get up close and personal. So target priority is even more vital.


out dang bot!

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