Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tactica: Rules for assault and how to avoid a challenge

Afternoon All,

So recently I posted an article done on another blog on assaulting properly. While the article was perfectly fine, I decided to do my own. This is mostly because assaults are not always clean cut, they don't involve lining your soldiers up on a perfect line and assaulting another fellow who is also on a perfect line. Multi-assaulting, while not as "powerful" as it was in 5th edition, is a useful tool to have in your pocket to tie down units. It's important to know how to maximize your assaulting utility while stretching that assault line as far as it needs to go to get the effect you want. Also a way to avoid a challenges so that way your badass characters can destroy someones squad, rather than getting stuck in a challenge and only killing (or getting killed by) an opposing champion.

So first let's examine the assault rules in a step by step fashion.

Looking at the normal rules for assault, they run along this lines.

Move the "initial charger", also known as the closest model, the shortest possible distance to the enemy unit. After this model makes base to base contact, you may move the rest of the charging models in any order provided you:

            - Maintain unit cohesion.
            - Base all enemy models within charge range, priority first to those not currently based. If all models are based within range, you must contain to base enemy models as long as you can reach them
            - if it is not possible to base enemy models, charging models must try to move within 2 inches of a model that is already in base contact with the enemy.

Sounds straightforward, but wait, on page 28, they give a slightly different set of rules for a multi-charge.

 After the initial charging model, remaining models may then move to base either the secondary or primary unit provided they can not move into base contact with an unengaged model from the primary unit.

What does that mean? Well, engaged models, does not mean only models in base to base. The definition of engaged models, as listed on page 23, is any model in base to base with an enemy model or within 2 inches of a friendly model in base to base with an enemy.

Let's pretend we have 5 spawn and a Juggernaut lord, and we want to assault two separate MEQ squads. The goal being to tie down one unit(green) in combat, and destroy the other outright(blue). Our primary target is  5 inches away from the closest model. The model we want to go into the secondary target is 8 inches away from the closest model to it.

                                                                 STEP 1


So we move into position. Our squad is red, representing our insatiable blood lust. We are 5 inches away from the Green squad, and the guy we want to deliver into Blue squad (to wipe them out), is 9 inches away. There is a Red squad model about 7 inches away from blue squad. With fleet spawn, this should not be a risky charge to pull off.

 We roll our dice, lets pretend we get a 10 inch charge and don't lose anyone to over watch from either squad. Our closest model is 5 inches away from Green squad and makes his base to base. Note the orange circle, that is now the radius of engaged models at this point in the charge. It looks like we'll need to engage more models from the primary unit before we can base the secondary, so lets move some more models in step 3.



 As we no longer have the requirement to move the shortest distance possible, we now start basing models in our best effort to engage as many enemy models as possible, in the most optimal positioning possible. You'll note that after moving two more models, we have now engaged all but one model in Green squad. The last model, is literally out of charge range of any further red models to get to (11 to 12 inches away). Note the circles of engagement for each move, purple and light blue.


We now start moving any models we would like into Blue squad.

Ok, not the super best drawing example ever, but it might visualize better than the normal optimal line up your guys perfectly format. Assaults are a messy business, you need to know when you can do something, and just as importantly, when your opponent can or can't do something too.

Ok, now let's talk about avoiding challenges. This is important especially for Chaos SM's and avoiding MC's from challenging out your pfists or equivalents that you need to smash em good.

So there doesn't necessarily need to be a drawing for this, but I'll whip one up anyways.

What do the rules for challenges say -

At the start of the fight sub-phase. So essentially, immediately after you finish moving your models, a challenge can be issued by the charging army, or if they don't, the charged army.
But wait, there's more to this text! There are two actual requirements on who can challenge or accept said challenge. The first requirement is obvious, it has to be a character. The second requires that the challenger, or the challenged model actually be engaged in the combat, and be capable of fighting or striking blows. Now this means with a bit of creative model movement, we can create situations where your powerfist nob can't be challenged out by that mean ol' tervigon, or your juggernaut lord of doom can easily wipe out that MEQ squad on the charge, avoiding getting stuck in combat with a sarge he kills 8x over. Because this challenge happens at the top of the fight sub-phase, it means after this "challenge" step has passed, you can still move at initiative order to get into the fight.

So to figure this one out, we have to remember our basic rules for charging. If charging a single enemy unit (not multi charging), it's actually more difficult to avoid a challenge than if multi-charging due to the requirement of basing and engaging requirements as outlined above.

So we need to create a situation where the challenging character is far enough away from the squad being charged in order to not let him be in the engaged zone, while still allowing us to satisfy the rules for charging and let's us move said character into combat on his initiative step so he can do the damage he needs to do.

                                                           STEP 1
 We set up our models in what we hope is ample distance to still get a charge off despite over watch and random distances, while keeping everyone in cohesion.

                                                       STEP 2
Roll the friggin dice and pray your sacrifices were ample. For this, we'll roll an 8, slightly above average. We move the first three models to satisfy all the normal rules for charging and basing models. After moving these three, it is no longer possible to base any unbased models within 8 inches.

                                                      STEP 3

With the necessary models based, we move as many models as possible to be engaged (or to base already based models, but they can't reach in this example).  Note that despite the lord moving 8 inches, he is not close enough to be in the engaged zone at the challenge step, but when moves again at his initiative step, will move into the engaged area, allowing him to swing.

While difficult due to the unpredictable dice rolls on charge ranges which may leave you to far out to engage in combat or to close to avoid a challenge, it can at least help moderate the effect.

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