This article will begin to touch on the discussion about what makes a Kill Point Denial list. The first discussion revolves around common game mechanics that can be used to identify potential units in a build which excel at denying kill points.
Well, the first and most obvious principle behind a KP Denial list is to make sure you don't give up Kill Points! (DUR!)
The less obvious yet still simple point though is that not giving up Kill Points doesn't necessarily have to translate to a "tough" unit or a Death Star. Yes, super units like wound allocated Paladins are very hard to kill, but there are other things to consider as well. Keep the following factors in mind while you think about the principle of being tough because you will see that a lot of units in the game are a lot tougher than you may have given them credit for.
Infantry over Tanks
Simple fact is, a single lucky shot can take out a tank. (Although this can happen to infantry too with templates, morale, and some other things). Generally, this is not true for infantry models. Further, Infantry can often carry that one gun that can take out a tank, earning them positive kill points, (positive kill points - when a unit kills 1 or more enemy units, thus earning its value in kill points or more)
In general, infantry is just tougher than tanks. I realize this flies right in the face of common 5th ed. wisdom, but the whole KP Denial strategy revolves around playing Multiple Objective Missions and not Book Missions. Infantry can more easily hide completely out of LoS, infantry can absorb more shooting on average, and infantry are more capable of getting positive kill points.
You just need to watch out for...
Shooting withers, Assault destroys:
So, like in most action shooters, for whatever reason, guns seem to do less damage than melee attacks. (Don't ask me, but if you think about it, there are a lot of games like this besides the one listed...) 40K shares this concept when it comes to INFANTRY, not TANKS. Here's why.
When infantry receive fire, if played well and on a board with enough terrain, they should have a 4+ cover save. Right away, even if you don't get your armor save, you still deny 50% of all incoming fire. You can even go to ground to deny 66%. You don't need an expensive model with an invulnerable save to protect you from AP 1/2 shooting like you would need in an assault to protect from Power style weaponry.
Since you can't be swept, killed by a Power Fist, caused to take fearless wounds, or a whole host of other reasons why assault murders infantry, suddenly, large, cheap units become quite resilient. Like an Ork Mob, a block of 20 Bloodletters, a 20 man CSM squad, and even 10 Blood Angels with Feel No Pain.
Furthermore, when your unit gets low, that's when you find a place to hide it out of LoS.
They key for most units (not all mind you, you need to be flexible)? Don't get assaulted!
Range Reduces Fire
Possibly the most effective way to survive the shooting phase is not get shot. (Dur!)
Thinking about it, for infantry models with a cover save and 10+ models, anti-tank weaponry isn't all that fearsome. Sure, you might have to use your cover save instead of your armor, but you can absorb a tremendous amount of damage.
Most anti-infantry fire is 36 inch range or less. (Look through the books, you'll see). Operating at long ranges (48+ inches) will make your units that much tougher simply by the fact that the enemy will either be out of range or simply unable to bring his anti-infantry fire to bear.
Terrain is a huge consideration for the Kill Point Denial list. If you play in an area with very little terrain or very little LoS blocking terrain, your options for what will make an effective KP Denial list will be vastly more limited than if you play in an area with more LoS blocking terrain.
Being able to hide out of LoS is a tremendous advantage for a KP Denial list because you simply can't be shot. For example, one really excellent unit at KP Denial strategies are Space Marine Bikes. However, they are utterly reliant on terrain to achieve maximum potential.
Well, they are already Toughness 5 with a 3+ save. They have the ability to turbo-boost for a 3++. (Later I'll discuss more Tao of KP Denial and why Bikes are even better because of contesting potential) However, bikes are expensive and can die to concentrated fire power.
If you have an adequate amount of terrain on the board, however, Bikes can simply hide behind it. Then, when the enemy gets to close, like to assault, you turbo-boost away and behind more terrain. You continue to "frog hop" from terrain to terrain. Works great!
Without terrain, though, most KP Denial strategies now have to almost utterly rely on units with reserve denial strategies, that are just outright tough to kill, or other weird game mechanics.
The purpose of this article was just to discuss some thoughts that should be running through your head when it comes to identifying or selecting potential units or strategies for achieving a Kill Point Denial build.
The next article will cover some of the basic roles that need to be filled in a KP Denial list to achieve the kind of effectiveness described in the previous Part 2 article.