Sunday, 12 June 2016

Bring Them Down - Tackling AMTL Forces in Epic 40k

Bring them down!

How to beat a titan army… a few pointers to consider when fighting giant metal death bots in Epic
 A while back another gamer in the local crew wrote up an interesting article on constructing a Titan force for Epic 40k, having never played with or against them at that point I had a good solid read: Constructing a Titan Force

Then in the lead up to the aptly named “Titan’s tournament” held in Sydney this year there was a lot of talk going around that because of it’s name everyone should run a Titan… Ha Ha thought I, people say sill things. Then of course it dawned on me that I had zero experience against these lists so I theorhammered out the following guidelines to help me prep… worked out being well worth it, but more on that later. Below is just my general tips and guides for tackling armies comprised entirely of Titans. It seems to hold true for AMTL/Chaos/Ork lists but I’ll confess to having little idea about Eldar Titans. They operate on such a different level and thanks to their special rules really don’t suffer the weaknesses of the more traditional titan armies. Have a read and hopefully you will come away with some new thoughts, you are welcome to leave any you have in the comments section below!

Note that the lists I’ve mentioned are from players at the tournament (including mine) and can be found here:

Rule 1: Objective deployment or it’s GG - Titan armies are generally going to play across the table to minimise the run distance from one side to the other. They are generally going to put their blitz in the middle (or opposite yours if you have higher strat) because they can't run any faster... So if you have lower strat put your blitz as far away as possible and if you have higher make them play corners because it keep them that much further away which is a good thing!
The next step is to spread your objectives as wide as possible. Standard titan tactics is to put two objectives within 30cm of each other so that one titan can deal with both sooo if you have low strat put yours as far away from the one they deploy as possible. If you have high strat they may put theres 30cm away from yours, no problem, put the other one on the other side of the table 6 ft away and watch them have to decide which one they want to chase for the third one.. Also putting your first objective a few feet away from their blitz will cause them headaches too.

Rule 2: Kill the BTS - Killing the BTS is always a goal sure but if you are fighing a mixed troop/vehicle blob like mine it can be a real challenge to actually do this. You kill most of it, break it most likely it runs away and hides etc. Doubly difficult if it's a fearless thing and triple if there are other units in the army causing more grief than the BTS. Titans by contrast make the decision more binary. It will be a giant scary thing that is going to hurt you so you want to kill it anyway. So if you are looking at for example at Titan's list no 1 on WAU you will notice that the BTS is the 11xMacro2+ spewing death machine. Realistically you want that shit dead ASAP, it being the BTS is just a bonus so target the hell out of that one! With player 13's gargants the decision is a little more tricky because the BTS is soo much tougher than the normal gargants but nyah, it still needs to die if you have the tools. I think a battle report I read by Matt Shadowlord gave a really good perspective on this issue as well, check it out here:

Rule 3 - Watch your deployment. Consider the 11xMacro2+ spewing death machine I just mentioned, now consider the range of those guns. Given a cross the table standard deployment the closest you can be to your enemy is 90cms. That means if it wants to shoot into your deployment zone it needs to move on the double which is good for you. It also means that it has about 10cms from it's deployment spot to play with in determining what it can reach so unless something worth shooting at is basically sitting straight across the table those shots are wasted. Given the recharge it's only going to get 2 shots in a game so that's going to cause some grief. Now you could be silly and drive forwards so that it can just walk and shoot you, or really silly and garrison something valuable in front of it so that it can sustain but nobody is going to make that mistake... twice...
It's even worse for poor ol ork gargants where everything other than the reinforced boiler guys are even slower and literally can't reach into your deployment zone with a double move and 60cms of range so if you don't walk into their 90cm effective range they ain't doing much in the first turn...
This might sound like a dick move but remember that Titan's will just about always play for the attrition win (cos they have shields that recharge and you don't...) and will likely push hard for a 4th turn so don't feel guilty denying them in the first! Cuckold their assesses as you do donuts in your deployment zone. Or if you feel bad run forwards so that the Chaos reaver can drop 18 shots plus a double template into your unit, see if you feel better about that on your morale high horse... Remember they will pay you pack in turns 2-4 anyway!

Rule 4:Bring down dem shields - Speaking of shields, ain't they a fuck. the problem is that imperial void shields recharge every turn and can be almost instantly restored with a marshall action which really sucks. Best plan is to hammer the shit out of one titan until it's either dead or broken. Orky ones are different in that they are a real shit to break and/or kill because of the DC but at least their shields ain't coming back so hammer those things with every shot you can muster. When the smoke clears you may just find a payoff.

Rule 5 - If you can't beat em - Break em Ever noticed that Reaver Titan's only have 6DC, not so hard to put 6 blasties on one, especially if you have some disrupt guns etc but of course only after the shields have been stripped in rule 4. If like my Cadians you will quickly run out of guns that can do much to Reinforced 4+ just remember that even the humble sentinel with flashlight can put a blastie and do his part in ruining their day. A broken titan claims no objectives. Even easier with warhounds but a bit tougher with orkie ones.

Rule 6: Conserve your points - Titan armies have heaps of trouble winning on straight objectives. Your BTS is tough to get if you don't give it to them, the blitz is basically impossible. If you have spread your objectives they are going to really struggle capturing any of your's and keeping you out of their half is a nightmare. So there is a good chance it will come down to a points countoff which works in their favour because of the previously mentioned attrition issues. Best advice don't thrown stuff away. Those last two units from your big expensive unit carry the honour and pride (along with half the points) of that formation, time for a triple move away from those scary walking death machines. On the plus side that's a perfectly themey move! The counterpoint to this of course is that you will need to actually kill some of the enemy stuff, hunt down those small cheap activations of his, finish off that wounded monster, carpe jugulum.

Rule 7 -Shoot the littl-unz - Tempting as those big scary targets might be when you are a lowly gaurdsman with an autocannon can you actually do anything to them.... Would the emperor's ordinance be better spent hunting down those shiity robots at their feet which are just there to pad their activation count and give them something to use to contest your objectives at the crunch end of the game... hell yeah... so long as you aren't contravening rule 6 of course... Break them, kill them, get their points, ruin his activation count and don't feel guilty picking on the littlies... You know that to a Titan everything in your army looks puny and that isn't stopping them... In fact I'd imagine priority 1 for most Titan armies (looking at you 6 activation Chaos) is to reduce your activation count as fast as possible. As much as I love my my 14 activations I'm also well aware that the previously mentioned 18 shot chaos titan can take out pretty much anything in my army with one good volley, and I mean dead not just broken...

So how did the rules go under battlefield conditions?
I took my Cadian infantry focussed army down to Titans with a quiet hope that I would manage to dodge the armies comprised specifically of God machines…. Well that didn’t happen. I ended up drawing AMTL, Chaos Titans and finally Gargants! A great opportunity for a field test then. I was pondering what the odds were of this occurring and got this fantastic response from someone good at maths!
 If there were 16 players , 3 Titan lists and making the assumption that you can't play with yourself then the odds are about 2729 to 1 .... sounds a little suspicious Steve
So I guess we’ll put that down to fate then eh… Random draw and all…
I’m pleased to say though that the rules stood up fairly well. Here’s a brief rundown of each of the 3 games. The lists are available from the link above if you would like reference.

Game 1 – AMTL
So objectives went down exactly as predicted, AMTL BTS in the middle, mine on the extreme left, double AMTL objectives in the middle 30cms apart, mine on the outside edges etc. My plan however didn’t go so well. Deathstrikes managed to fire in turn 1 but with 1 missing I ended up doing 3 shield hits on a reaver which it marshalled back immediately… damn… so much for killing the BTS! With that in mind I went straight to plan B. Kill what I can and try not to die. Managed to bring down a warhound and take out 3 units of support robot things so that worked out ok (though the Automaton rule caught me out! No blast markers for kills changes a lot!) and I was largely playing for points at the beginning of the third. I found the titans would just marshall back any shield damage I did and I just didn’t have enough shots to do more. In the end I won 2-0 which was a  minor miracle. My opponent made 1 tiny error in turn 3 with a warhound guarding his blitz, I managed to break the thing and then get a unit of stormtroopers on foot who had walked across the entire board under the nose of a reaver to jump in and grab it. It wasn’t the plan but it worked anyway! Beyond that I would have been ok on points having focussed on finishing off whatever I could and just running everything that couldn’t do damage away to hide. Titan’s do play hide and seek pretty well though.

Game 2 –  Chaos Titans
An interesting list that is currently being reviewed quite extensively. In this game the rules worked well. Deathstikes and a Shadowsword had the BTS smouldering by the end of Turn 1 and from then on I just absorbed the casualties that were dished out and focussed on conserving points and objectives. The objectives were placed almost identically to game 1 and in the End I won 4-0 because I just had more battlefield presence than the chaos who were down to 2 Reavers with no real support.

Game 3 – Gargants
Damn that’s a lot of DC across the board… I looked at what I had available and immediately gave up on taking down the Great Gargant. The plan was to go for a 2-0 with objectives. As previously the objectives were placed in basically the same spots. I used deathstrikes to take down most of 1 smaller Gargant (who later died to combined fire) and used my shadowsword/leviathan on the extreme flank to snipe the third almost to death. That basically just left a Great Gargant with the choice to make a run for the Blitz OR go for my BTS OR try and take the two ork objectives in the middle. Without support options he couldn’t do more than 1 of those jobs. In the end he just sat in the middle of the table. My fast elements (Valkyries) all died to various ork rocket attacks so I failed miserably to take out the ork Blitz but managed to snatch the two on the sides and contest the middle. End of the game it was a 1-0 to the Guard and a count back on points which I came out ahead on thanks to having killed 1.5 gargants and losing less points (though far more bases!) worth of my stuff.

Overall I reckon the rules work pretty well, especially the objective placement and conserving VP ideas. Whether you have the tools to take the BTS down is more situational but it’s no reason not to try!

Happy Titan Killing! 

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