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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.


gustmic said...

Excellent article topic.

If I may suggest, this article could be even better with some formatting (adding clearer paragraphs) and perhaps some pictures (VASSAL40k) with examples of what is mentioned in the text.

Keep up the good work.
You are really one of the few that discuss Tau in depth.

Aloh'Nan'El said...

Reformatted: I just looked at this and realized what an eyesore it was.

As for pics; I don't really know where to put them in this. If anyone sees a part they think could be better illustrated, tell me.

gustmic said...

Easier to read.

I just would like to introduce myself briefly. I'm a player from Sweden and I play Blood Angels and Tau.
I've played since 4th ed. although I got a few skirmish games in the old Rouge Trader days.

I love playing Tau as I have felt that they take a lot more finesse playing them right compared to Marines.

Now, back to this excellent article series. Pushing Flanks is an important tactical aspect I believe that we need to master. As we are good at shooting it is required of us to be able move forward while avoiding close combat which is not that easy.

Therefore, as a continuation in this series it would be very interesting if you would write something about the why's and when's this tactical manoeuvre is needed for Tau.

Also, it would be interesting to hear from peoples' experience (when does it work, when not, what is crucial and what's not, etc.

Excellent material so far.
I'll try and contribute as much as I can as well.


Aloh'Nan'El said...

You are correct in noting the importance of the when and why. I tried to touch on that earlier, but I may have to go into it in more detail.

Anonymous said...

This is merely a copy and paste of the idea of using Piranhas to block vehicle movement, kroots for bubble wrapping while Crisis Suits unleash their firepower. This has been discussed long ago since 5th Edition was out.

I seriously don't see what's so new and brilliant about this apart from giving the same ideas some fanciful names...

Aloh'Nan'El said...

I never claimed brilliance, but it is still important to write about these things. A lot of players simply do not know or understand the basics of the Kauyon style of play.

As to claiming this is a copy paste... I would like to call you on that. The writing is completely my own, as are the explanatory methods.

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