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 JY2’S ESCALATION TACTICA "updated for 7th ed."

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Warmonger

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PostSubject: JY2’S ESCALATION TACTICA "updated for 7th ed."   Wed Oct 01, 2014 10:29 pm

Titans

Titans, or Lords of War units, are very powerful units found only in games of Apocalypse before the supplement came out. However, with Escalation now a part of 40K, you can now bring these behemoths into your games. Titans consist mainly of 2 types – the Super-heavies (SH’s) and the Gargantuan Creatures (GC’s). Super-heavies are vehicles and are further sub-divided into 3 types – Super-heavy Tanks, Super-heavy Walkers and Super-heavy Flyers. Gargantuans are divided into 2 types – normal Gargantuan Creatures and Flying Gargantuan Creatures (FGC’s). The characteristics that both super-heavies and GC’s share is that both are usually very hard to kill and both can cause massive amounts of destruction.
Destroyer Weapons 

So what are Destroyer weapons, also known as Strength D weapons or just D-weapons/guns? They are simply the most destructive weapons in the game today. In many cases, just 1 D-weapon can potentially wipe out an entire unit with ease. These guns break many of the normal mechanics of the game. They always ignore armor saves and invulnerable and cover saves on a 6. They also practically ignore the mechanic of the Hull Point on regular vehicles. With the exception of other Titan defenses, there is almost no defense against Destroyer weaponry in regular 40K. It is mainly Titans with D-weapons that will be the problem for most armies to deal with. It is also the D-weapons that competitive gamers will flock to. Hence, there will be no avoiding it. You want to survive Escalation? Then you better be able to handle the D.

How to Play against Titans?

Elite Armies: 

Unfortunately, you are going to see Elitist armies die away in games of Escalation (or where Escalation is commonplace). Why? Because to a Destroyer gun, a land raider is just as easy to kill as a rhino. Your paladins, seer council and screamer-star are just as easy to kill as a unit of termagants. The 250-pt uber-character is not much more survivable than a normal marine sergeant. Elitist armies in competitive play will slowly phase out in games of Escalation simply because they are very inefficient against Destroyer weapons. Unfortunately, this is one of the side effects of the game that many people will have to deal with. It will render a lot of army builds practically obsolete.

Flyer Armies: 

This will be the golden age of the flyer. Armies with good flyers or flying monstrous creatures will thrive in the age of Escalation. One of the main weaknesses of Destroyer weapons is that most of them can’t shoot at flyers. Currently, all the units in the Escalation supplement who have Destroyer weaponry can only fire blasts. Thus, they cannot even shoot at flyers, at least not with their most powerful guns. Moreover, titans are so expensive that in most cases, one will find it hard to add adequate anti-air as well as troops and other support units in a titan army. The only army who can do it well will be Tau, who unfortunately lack a good titan themselves, and necrons, who just may be the most well-rounded army in games of Escalation. Thus, if your army can dominate the air, then they will have a decent chance against the titans.

MSU Armies: 

Escalation will be the comeback of the Multiple-Small Units (MSU) builds. First off, titans are so expensive that they need the rest of their army to be cheap and efficient. Secondly, more is better when playing against titans. A unit of 10 paladins will die just as easily as a unit of 10 scouts to Destroyer weaponry. Thus, why run 10 paladins when 5 units of 10 scouts (who can then combat squad into 10 squads of 5) is much, much more survivable? Moreover, it takes either Destroyer weaponry or massed firepower to kill a titan. MSU is what will gives you the best massed firepower to deal with titans. So for non-flyer armies, MSU is good both for titan armies and against titan armies.

Drop Pod Armies: 

Drop pod armies are one of the few builds that won’t really change whether playing against titans or regular armies. However, drop pod armies will have the advantage of getting the alpha-strike on a titan. Thus, I see drop pod armies continue to proliferate in the era of Escalation as they have been doing in 6th Edition. The only thing about drop pod armies is that they are limited to Imperial armies, but for those Imperial armies who don’t run super-heavies, you will very likely see them run drop pod armies in games of Escalation.

Daemons: 

Daemons are actually one of the armies that can thrive in Escalation games. They have a hugely competitive build – Flying Monstrous Creatures-spam, or FMC-spam – that will also translate well into games of Escalation (as long as they grab the Portaglyph to shore up their scoring). They also have what may be one of the best weapons against Titans – Be’lakor and Puppet Master. With the advent of the titan, Puppet Master may well become one of the most important psychic powers in the game.

When in Doubt, Hide: 

Yes, this is going to be a common strategy in Escalation. There just is no defense against Destroyer weaponry other than to be in reserves, stay up in the air or to just hide. If you cannot kill the opposing Destroyer titan, then you better find a hole to crawl under or prepare to lose a unit. Oftentimes, you will have little choice but to play the denial game against enemy titans.

PART I – ELDAR

I am going to start my tactica with what may arguably be the most powerful army to come out of Escalation – the Eldar. The Eldar (and Dark Eldar) currently possesses the most devastating Titan in the game of Escalation so far – the Revenant Titan. Why is this monster so deadly? Because whereas most of the other titans in Escalation have at most 1 or 2 Destroyer attacks/shots, the Revenant has 4 of those shots. Moreover, they aren’t just shots, they are Destroyer blasts. Yes, the Revenant is the titan most likely to erase 2 units each turn. What also sets him apart is that he is also the most mobile, non-flyer titan in the game thanks to his 36” move and he is the only titan in Escalation currently who has some type of defense against other Destroyer shots with its Eldar Titan Holo-fields (ETHF’s). ETHF’s are so good because they are the only mechanism currently that provides some type of save against other Destroyer weaponry. Moreover, the Revenant can still potentially get other saves on top of their ETHF defense (i.e. cover, Forewarning, Skyshield Landing Pads).
Every competitive Escalation Eldar army is going to include a Revenant. They are just too good.

For each tactica, I will include a sample list for a competitive Escalation army. Please note that the list I offer isn’t the be-all-end-all of competitive Escalation lists. Rather, they are lists that I feel can thrive in games of Escalation. Feel free to use my lists as a foundation, to expand on them or even to ignore them completely.
I will also address some of the weaknesses of each build and how to play against those types of armies. For my tacticas, I will not include elements from the Stronghold Assault supplement. That, I will leave to the discretion of the readers if they want to include it into their Escalation lists.

I will also build 2 lists – one at 1750-pts, which is a common points-level for most tournaments currently, and another at 2000-pts to show how I would normally scale up my lists.

1750 Eldar

HQ:

Autarch – Eldar Jetbike, Fusion Gun, Laser Lance, Mantle of the Laughing God

Troops:

3x Jetbikes – Shuriken Cannon
3x Jetbikes – Shuriken Cannon
3x Jetbikes – Shuriken Cannon
3x Jetbikes
3x Jetbikes

Fast Attacks: 

Crimson Hunter
Vyper – Scatter Lasers
Vyper – Scatter Lasers

Heavy Attacks:

War Walker – 2x Brightlance
War Walker – 2x Scatters

Lord of War:

Revenant Titan

2000

HQ:

Autarch – Banshee Mask, Eldar Jetbike, Fusion Gun, Laser Lance, Mantle of the Laughing God

Troops:

3x Jetbikes – Shuriken Cannon
3x Jetbikes – Shuriken Cannon
3x Jetbikes – Shuriken Cannon
3x Jetbikes – Shuriken Cannon
3x Jetbikes – Shuriken Cannon
3x Jetbikes

Fast Attacks:

Crimson Hunter
Crimson Hunter
Vyper – Scatter Lasers

Heavy Attacks:

War Walker – 2x Brightlance
War Walker – 2x Brightlance
War Walker – 2x Scatters

Lord of War: 

Revenant Titan

Autarch:

So why an Autarch? Why not a farseer? Imagine Guide/Prescience on the Revenant, Misfortune on the enemy or even Puppet Master on enemy titans. The answer is Reserves. The need to be able to manipulate reserves in this list is greater than the need for the farseer’s psychic powers. One of the main strategies of this list is denial and I do it with reserves. Keep the troops in reserves for as long as possible. If necessary against a good alpha-strike army, I can even keep my titan in reserves and then bring him in on Turn 2 on a 2+. War walkers can outflank on Turn 2 and I can bring in the crimson hunter then as well for a respectable beta-strike if necessary.
One thing to note is that his reserves manipulation ability works even if he himself is in reserves.

Jetbikes:

Windrider Jetbikes are the fastest troops in the game that is not necrons. You need to run a lot of them for this type of list to work. They also provide volume of fire, especially in trying to ground Flying Monstrous Creatures.

Crimson Hunters:

Crimson Hunters are the best anti-flyer weapons in this army. Control when they come in with your Autarch so you can strike at enemy flyers first.

Vipers:

You need something on the board other than the Revenant and troops for the enemy to shoot at and the more units, the better. Also use them to help ground FMC’s and thin out hordes. Their mobility is a plus.

War Walkers:

Good mobility due to outflanking. Good firepower. Another unit that can be used to ground FMC’s.

Overall Strategies:

This is basically a denial army. You want to reserve at least half your forces (not counting the Crimson Hunters, which must start in reserves).Usually, at 1750, I will deploy as follows:

Deploy:
Revenant
Autarch
2x Troops
2x Vypers
Reserves:
3x Troops
2x War Walkers (usually outflanking)

However, if you are going 2nd and are concerned about your opponent’s alpha-strike (i.e. he is bringing titans with Destroyer weaponry as well or he has massed shooting), then you can put your Revenant in reserves (and perhaps your Autarch as well if you can’t hide him from opposing Destroyer weaponry) and deploy your war walkers instead.
The Revenant is the focal point of your offense. You need to keep him out of combat. With his 36” move, he can usually get away from most combats. However, there will be some armies, especially flyer armies, where this may prove more difficult. Moreover, you really don’t have enough units/models to bubble-wrap/screen-out your titan. Against these armies, positioning is very important. Try not to back yourself into a corner too early. You need to use all your resources to down units such as FMC’s so that your Revenant can take them out. Also, don’t get baited by your opponent into getting too close to his units. Even a unit of 10 tactical marines can potentially tie up your titan for a while. His offense is in his shooting and that is what you need to maximize. Combat is the worst place for him to be because every turn spent in combat is a turn that he is not shooting.

Flyer armies who prove to be the most difficult armies for Revdar (Eldar with Revenant) army to face. That is one of the main reasons why I chose to go MSU for this army. Against FMC’s, the more units you have, the greater your chances for grounding them. Against a FMC daemon build, his shooting is likely to be weak. If so, then don’t hesitate to deploy almost your entire army. The more guns you have on the ground, the better.Against necron flyers, heldrakes, stormravens and even the Thunderhawk, you have got to play the position game. Against 1-2 flyers, you have a chance to shoot them down, but if your opponent brings massed flyers, drakes or the Thunderhawk, then you are going to have to result to denial and positioning. Against heldrakes, try to reserve all your troops if possible to deny them easy kills. Then use the mobility of your army to try to get into the rear arcs of the flyers. This will force your opponent into making a choice – either fly off the table or go into Hovering mode to try to kill them. But the moment his flyer hovers, your titan will kill it.As for the Thunderhawk, he is arguably the single greatest problem for the Revenant. He is a flyer with Destroyer firepower and he will get the alpha-strike against your Revenant unless you put him in reserves. However, it isn’t as bad as it seems. With Eldar Titan Holo-fields (ETHF), you have a 50% chance to negate his shot as long as your titan moves. You do have to be careful when you move to the Thunderhawk’s “blind spots”. That is because it can always go into Hover mode and the passengers inside can disembark to assault your titan. The best chance against the Thunderhawk is just to focus the firepower of your entire army at it. The Thunderhawk has 2 weaknesses. Its rear armour is only AV10 and is susceptible to massed S6 shots. Also, super-heavy flyers cannot Evade, meaning it won’t have a jink save.
As with any game, don’t lose sight of the mission objectives. Your Revenant is the centerpiece of the army and truly a VIP-unit, but in truth, it is just another sacrificial unit. Your true game winners in any mission other than Purge the Alien are your jetbike troops. Never lose sight of that. If you have to, don’t hesitate to sacrifice your titan in order to save your troops, especially when it comes down to the late game (i.e. Turns 4/5). Use him as a fire magnet. Even assault the enemy if you have to, especially if you can secure the win by doing so (and assuming you don’t have the game “in the bag” yet).

How to Play against the Eldar:

What is the best way to play against a deathstar army? Yes, Eldar in Escalation is a Deathstar army, with the Revenant being the Deathstar unit. So what is the best way to beat a deathstar army? There really are 2 ways:

Kill the deathstar itself. This will not be easy. You either have to have a huge amount of firepower (i.e. shooty MSU) or a very fast army if you are going for assault (i.e. FMC daemons). In many cases, it is also paramount that you be able to go first as well. Just to sit there and even take one round of shooting from the Revenant can be devastating. Trust me, you don’t want any of that.Also, be aware that killing the titan won’t necessarily win you the game, especially when commandeered by a savvy player. All it does is buy time for his jetbike troops to snatch the objectives near the end of the game and by that time, your army will be too depleted to do anything about it.

Kill the support units. This is the strategy I prefer. If I feel that I have a reasonable shot at taking out his titan, then I will go for it. Otherwise, it is almost always a better idea to go after the supporting units instead, especially his scoring units. Now with jetbike troops, this is actually easier said than done. It is the jetbike troops whom makes the army so hard to deal with, especially when the elder player goes with the strategy of denial.While going after the support units may be tough, going after the titan is actually harder. Why? Because then you have to go after both the titan and the scoring troops. After battling it out with the Revenant, in most cases, you won’t have much gas left in the tank to deal with the super-fast bikes. You still need to find a way to stop them from grabbing objectives or from contesting your objectives.

Tie up his titan. Again, this is not an easy task. You need a really fast and durable unit in order to do this, but if you can someone manage to do so, then you can focus on the rest of the eldar army much, much easier without a titan shooting down your army. Fast units to use include daemon and tyranid FMC’s or units in flying transports like the stormraven and similar such flying assault vehicles.If you don’t have fast units such as those, then you’re going to have to 1) have a lot of units advancing, hoping that 1 unit may be able to catch the titan or 2) try to bait him into coming into assault range of one of your units. Of course you better hope that the Revenant player prioritizes the wrong target in order to give you the opportunity to catch him.

Psychic powers, especially Puppet Master, can be very useful against a Revdar army. Units such as Be’lakor is especially dangerous to an eldar player. Puppet Master and Be’lakor is actually one of the reasons why I’ve designed my Eldar list as a MSU list. This way, the damage caused from a puppet mastered Revenant is minimal due to the amount of redundancy in the list.

Flyer armies. Revdar has a tough time against massed flyers/FMC’s due to the lack of anti-air, skyfire units in their lists normally. While the amount of shooting I have in my Revdar list should be able to ground a FMC each turn, it will still have problems dealing with a FMC list running 4-5 FMC’s and possibly a heldrake as well.Massed flyers is another problem as well. The amount of shooting in my Revdar list is respectable, but S6 isn’t very reliable against AV11/12 flyers. The Necron Airforce will especially give the Revenant major problems. They are also probably the only army along with triple heldrake Chaos that can efficiently go after eldar troops.I can also see a Thunderhawk list with 2-3 stormravens and/or stormtalons being a problematic build for Revdar as well. AV12 flyers are a huge weakness of Revdar and the most they can do is to try to position themselves away from the flight path of these flyers.

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Last edited by Warmonger on Sat Oct 04, 2014 10:35 am; edited 2 times in total
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dewen

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PostSubject: Re: JY2’S ESCALATION TACTICA "updated for 7th ed."   Thu Oct 02, 2014 10:14 am

Warmonger wrote:

Daemons: 

Daemons are actually one of the armies that can thrive in Escalation games. They have a hugely competitive build – Flying Monstrous Creatures-spam, or FMC-spam – that will also translate well into games of Escalation (as long as they grab the Portaglyph to shore up their scoring). They also have what may be one of the best weapons against Titans – Be’lakor and Puppet Master. With the advent of the titan, Puppet Master may well become one of the most important psychic powers in the game.

Warmonger, thanks for this post. I totally missed this when I was playing at EGC last Sat. I used Be'lakor and that tactic would have helped greatly against the C'Tan.

The other parts you posted are useful too, like the FMC. I had three in my list and may add a 4th. The puppet master really stands out because I missed it all together. Embarassed
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PostSubject: Re: JY2’S ESCALATION TACTICA "updated for 7th ed."   Fri Oct 03, 2014 8:39 am

Idea I think the info you collected is 6th.  Puppet Master is not a Telepathy power and targets still get cover and invuln saves against D weapons.
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PostSubject: Re: JY2’S ESCALATION TACTICA "updated for 7th ed."   Fri Oct 03, 2014 1:20 pm

Yea I noticed that about the cover and invuln saves and updated the post to reflect those changes. D weapons still ignore cover and invuln saves on a 6. I'll update the puppet master deal when I get home. If you see anything else let me know.

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