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Email me at, and I'll see what I can do.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pushing Flanks: The role system

Where to push (in depth)
Choosing where to push a flank is a tough decision. The decision is multi-faceted, and each step requires difficult decisions. A push will necessarily require loss on both sides; you WILL have to sacrifice your own units to make a push. This section of the guide speaks about how to identify what units you can use in a push and how you should use them.

I have split these units up into three types, to help identify their roles. The roles may overlap, or units may take on a role they normally do not, depending on circumstances:
Pushers (Piranhas, Kroot, Empty Devilfish, Pathfinders)

Pushers are necessary to the Kauyon style push, hence why I label them “pushers”. These are the units that rush into the enemy army and sit right in front of them, disabling them. The idea here is that the units get in the way of the enemy, and hold them off whilst your other units do their jobs. Piranhas and Kroot get an honorable mention; this is what they excel at. Unused Devilfish make decent blockers, but rank lower compared to the above two due to the fact that you give up the transportation ability. Pathfinders are last on this list, as you generally want to use your Pathfinders as Clearers.

Clearers (Crisis Suits, Broadsides, Pathfinders, Shadowsun, Piranhas, Kroot)
Clearers are the iconic units of a Kauyon Push. The wreak havoc through their shooting, reducing vehicles to wrecks, vaporizing units, and volleying crude weaponry into poorly armored fighters. First up on the list are Crisis Suits and Broadsides. They are the kings of our ranged firepower. When up close, two Fireknife Teams can easily vaporize a unit or two, a Deathrain unit can get a damage result on a tank, and Broadsides can volley either weakly armored units or hit a tank hard. Pathfinders get a mention for making our firepower godlike. Shadowsun or other melta units such as Piranhas can assist in anti-tank. Kroot can hurt weak infantry pretty badly with Kroot Rifles if they don’t feel a need to run at the end of the phase.

Refugees (Fire Warriors during Objective games, Crisis Suits, Pathfinders, anything important to your later gameplay that can get out in time)
Large list. Practically everything can fit onto this list, but you have to be sure that:
a)   -The unit can effectively escape. By this I mean that the unit is fast enough to escape the enemy pursuers in the worst case scenario. This is important, and I will go over why a single hopeless refugee can ruin your push. Your Pathfinders and Broadsides can’t make it out? Tough shit.
b)   -It has utility. Don’t bring along a unit that can’t either act in a useful way. Battered units of Pathfinders pop into my mind here. If your unit only holds a few Kroot or Pathies, you can’t even block with it properly. It won’t get much use besides constantly running away to not killed and eventually getting picked off by random fire. It is far better to let these units stand and help out as they can in clearing.

Always remember; the purpose of a push is to protect the refugees, not to go out in a blaze of glory. So if anything might jeopardize these units, don’t do it.

As I said above, there are exceptions and grey areas between these roles; for example, a fast Clearer like a Crisis Suit may double as a refugee. In this case, it is always useful to run with your remaining suits if you clear the targeted enemies earlier than expected. Always use the offensive capabilities of the refugees last, if you can help it. This will save the option of using your run move.

A Clearer can also double as a wall; units that are too slow to escape may go out in their own, miniature blazes of glory, shuffling into the way before unleashing salvos into the enemy. Broadsides and Kroot do this well.

Finally, a Pusher may fake the intention of acting as a Refugee. For example, they make it seem as though they are running away, then expand into a full wall when the enemy gets close. Pathfinders, Piranhas and Kroot (during objective games) can all pull this off convincingly, buying your true refugees more time.

Next up in this segment will be identifying opposing units, and how to react to them.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pushing Flanks: An introduction

Pushing the flank... this is a term many of you have heard in reference to particular games, decisions, etc. What exactly is "pushing the flank"? How does one execute this maneuver? Why should one do so? How do I know which flank to hit? These will all be covered by this series.

First and foremost, a definition. What does it mean to push a flank? To understand this, we have to define flank, and a push. Whilst the majority of you likely know this, a flank is one of two things:
a) A subdivision of the enemy's army, specifically the outer groups.
b) The extreme right or left of an army.
Either of these definitions work.
A push, in military terms, is best defined as:
a) To move forward whilst removing obstacles

Now, looking at this in the context of the Tau Army. Unlike the majority of pushes, our army is in the unlucky scenario in which it cannot end said push in an assault (save for a random Kroot+Suit finish, which I don't recommend). This is not good for us. Whilst other armies get to gain extra movement and damage, we are stuck with shooting everything to death. This means that we are far less likely to be able to pull off massive pushes such as, say, Blood Angels, can do. We have to be tricky.
Hence the pushing of a flank comes into play. When looking at an attacking force, you need to be able to identify where it has weakness, and then pound that weakness into the dirt. If you are lucky, you can find a weakness on one of the flanks. This will allow you to move toward that side, clear it, and use the new found area to maneuver away from the bulk of the force.
You can use a spread out attack line against an opponent by getting to its side. For example, against a foot army, you may see something like this:

(Obviously, this is simplified, and not to scale)
We can see that the enemy has stacked the majority of his attacking force, specifically the hard-hitter, the Hive Tyrant, on the left. The Tau player thus should push the right flank, taking out the fastest threat, the genestealers, as well as hitting the secondary threat of the Hormagaunts.
 The Kroot Wall then does its job of taking the initial assault; for all intents and purposes, I assume it falls.
 The Suits then maneuver around the right, into open area, and kill the Hormagaunts who could have easily threatened them.
From here on out, it is easy; the remaining forces do not have the speed to catch the suits, only, at best, match their pace.

While a push is almost never this clean, this is a good example of what I mean. You take out the least durable enemies and use that open space to get away.
Next up in the series is identifying flanks and their composition.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pushing Flanks

So, the Spearhead deployment brought an end to the Laying Traps series, unless you guys want to hit me up with a request involving a weird board, terrain problems, odd deployment type, etc.

Luckily for you all, I have bit off WAY more than I could chew when I promised to explain the mechanics of flank pushing, and it is likely going to turn into a series in and of itself. So I'll be working on that for you all.

In the meantime, however, there will probably be few updates besides the occasional random idea, or a unit review. So if any of you want me to discuss a certain aspect of the game, please let me know.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Battle for Salvation (Again)

So, I've decided not to attend. No doubt the tournament is going to be fun, but the ride up would take too long for my tastes.
Once I've got my models together I'll see what I can do for other tourneys, but for this weekend I'm just gonna be chilling at my LGS or with friends.
Good luck to everyone! (Particularly Old Shatter Hands!)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Laying traps: Spearhead, Deployment

Spearhead deployment is one of the simplest styles of deployment for Kauyon Tau. Save for against outflanker heavy armies, the Tau normally can come out on top in this deployment type.

That being said, this deployment type can be tricky in the later turns… it is not how you act early on that will give you the advantage, but how you react. Due to the nature of Spearhead deployment, enemies can come from above or from the sides.
Fortunately, most opponents favor a flank to attack from, so it is not too difficult to find a weak flank to push. Deciding where to push is an important skill for a Tau force, and I’ll be going over the tactics of “pushing a flank” at a later date.
Deployment is rather simple; you spread your Kroot walls around your formation, making a quarter-circle around your firebase, with any overlap in the middle of the curve. This partially overlapping wall will shift towards the biggest threats as the game goes on.
The reason for this formation is that the enemy is able to attack from a multitude of angles in this game type. The position of the Kroot Walls allows for you to stay in a fully reactive formation until your opponent commits his units to a goal. Once your opponent shows his hand, then you can commit your walls to suppressing him.
The rest of the castle acts normally/as shown. Crisis Suits up front, ‘Sides in back, Pathfinders supporting, etc.
This formation has two possible outcomes. Either:
-You eliminate the enemy forces that attack from above your position. You will get into the position that Mont’ka players brag about; you are on the short table edge, using your superior range to pound away at the enemy across all 6’ of the board.
-Alternatively, you could end up destroying the force that started the game deployed. This position is more high-risk/high-reward as it puts you right in front of the enemy’s reserve units, but also gives you the center board and the ability to get into rapidfire range with more ease.
These situations rely almost entirely on your ability to pick which flank to attack and do so effectively. If both flanks prove too strong/you get unlucky/you pick wrong, you can be pushed into a contracted position in your corner. Whilst this is not the end of the world, it is important to note that you will lose a large amount of mobility.
If you are put in this corner, a crafty opponent will pound your walls, attempting to trap you behind them as they score. Again pushing the flank becomes necessary as an escape, and if you fail for a second time, you will almost definitely lose.
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