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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Are you Blocking Yet?

One of the most common thoughts that runs across my head when having discussions about army this, tactic that, when he does this I'll do this, when I face army A I always get nailed by point B, is...

Where's the Blocking at?

Most of life's little problems in 40K can be solved by blocking. What is blocking? The simple definition is using your own models to deny the ability of your opponent to move or assault.

We've talked about this several times on the podcast, but I still feel like the message doesn't get driven home enough. Blocking wins games. Here's some examples.

"Circle the Wagons" - Circling the wagons is using your transport vehicles to surround your forces to prevent the enemy from assaulting you. How does this work? Your transports drive > 7 inches in a fluid fashion that also prevents the enemy from moving past them during the movement and either doesn't provide enough room or your own models are to far back to be assaulted during the assault. Your opponent then has to assault the vehicles. Awesome. He needs 6's to hit. Then, even if he does kill it, it might be wrecked forcing him to move through dangerous/difficult next turn and even highly likely needing to roll difficult/dangerous to now assault, which means he needs grenades to go first. Not to mention, this buys an entire turn of shooting.

"Bubble Wrapping" - Using your own models just like above to prevent an enemy from getting close to you. Surround your important bits with your less important bits. Make the opponent assault through another unit which provides you another entire turn of shooting or sets up the counter-assault.

"Straight Blocking" - Using either your own troops or vehicles to simple deny forward movement. Be this driving up a cheap rhino to clog the path of an oncoming Land Raider or using a line of cheap troops to prevent an opponent from getting to close to an objective. He has to drive around, walk around, or assault through. Make it a royal pain.

"Denial" - Most effectively used and described when dealing with reserves. The idea of board denial is to literally provide no room for the opponent to move to. You can use this to control where an opponent is allowed to deep strike, control where an opponent can actually outflank to, and so on.

"Clogging" - Just like in the movie 300. Find a small space and clog it with bodies, vehicles, and loads of other models. Make sure you line them up so that each provides a layer of blocking like an onion. How many turns will it take him to get through all of that? Way more than he probably has to get to that objective you are trying to protect. Create your own choke points with your vehicles.

"Boneyards" - Use your own vehicles to create boneyards on the board. This is one of my personal favs and most often not understood by opponents until its to late. Let's say I have a really nasty hammer unit cramping my style like Terminators for example. Whatever direction they are coming from, I'll start driving my empty transports that one. Basically, I'm inviting him to shoot and kill those transports, and if he doesn't, I'll use them to block his hammer unit. Even when they do die, now a huge board space is mired with difficult/dangerous which could potentially slow that unit down to the point of uselessness for the rest of the game.

"Board Denial B" - Spread your own units out to prevent jump troops from having a place to land, to prevent flat out moving skimmers from having a place to go , to force your opponent to move in a certain direction.

Remember, the movement phase is generally the most powerful phase of the game for strong armies. The reason is that movement is the only thing that can really be controlled with certainty. Use it.

I don't want to hear anymore about how stuff came charging out of a Web Way and assaulted half your army. Block for your army. Prevent the assault.

No more about your Tyranid Monstrous Creatures get assaulted and killed by Grey Knights. Block with Termagaunts. Make them fight through 5 layers of the little suckers. They'll never get to you.

No more about Wolf Scouts coming on behind you. You know they are coming. Deny the board. Funnel them into a death trap where they might get their hands on something non-important and end up dead to a firing line.

Block. Love it.

1 comment:

  1. I like it, I don't think many people at all use this at my local gaming store from watching their games.


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