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Many will know this procedure and will have used it several times. But since my opponent seemed a little surprised when I last employed this tactic, and since it has had great effect for me, I chose to publish it in this section.
The fifth edition of Warhammer 40.000 has taken a step away from the goal of destroying the enemy force towards a more tactically challenging game of claiming objectives. An important part of objective missions - some may argue more important even than holding them - is contesting objectives.
It is a common procedure to use fast units to move into position to contest on turn four and then make the move on turn five in case the game ends. This is best done with fast skimmers, but other units can do the trick as well. This tactica, though, can only be used with fast vehicles (skimmers and non-skimmers) or bikes/jetbikes. Other units can be part of the merry-go-round, but they will only keep it going without benefitting themselves from the procedure.
The problem with contesting objectives on turn five is that two thirds of all games go on to turn six, and those fast units are usually very fragile and rather easy to kill. So if the game goes on, you're often pretty much screwed. The merry-go-round helps out a little...
The merry-go-round starts out as a simple contesting of objectives on turn five, using turboboost with bikes and jetbikes or moving flat out with fast vehicles. This will grant your contesting units a valuable cover save against shooting, and makes vehicles very hard to kill in an assault.
If you had first turn this will hopefully keep your units up and alive on your opponent's turn five, but leaves you prone if the game goes on to turn six. If your opponent had first turn you can benefit from those saves even if the game goes on to turn six, but once you are in turn six there is a 50% chance of going on to turn seven and leaving you prone there.
You needn't stay put though, you can get your defenses up and still contest the enemy-held objectives by rotating your contesting units along the objectives as shown in the following (simplified) pictures, where fast units A and B try to keep two of the three enemy-held objectives #1, #2 and #3 contested and move on to the next one every turn in order to gain the cover save.
It's pretty much self-explanatory.
As objectives are always at least 12" apart it should be easy to move far enough to count as turboboosting or moving flat out. If you have to move from one end of the chain of enemy-held objectives to the other (as done by unit B in turn seven in the example above) you'll have to plan carefully, but since you can be 3" away from the objectives and still contest and move 24" the resulting 30" maximum distance should suffice to do the trick if the game goes on for that long.
This can be done in many variations with a wide variety and with a variable number of units...
In the given example above a simplified version of the merry-go-round would suffice too by merely switching unit A's and B's position.
So while unit A moves from objective #1 to objective #2, unit B moves the other way around from objective #2 to objective #1. This is an easier way to do it, and while not as surprising to the opponent it is still the better choice if objectives #1 and #2 were only weakly defended while objective #3 is more heavily guarded. So be sure to always look out for the weakest link and contest there.
Obviously this works best with fast skimmers. They can move 24" straight over terrain or enemy units, and they gain an advantage by moving fast against shooting and close combat attacks alike.
While jetbikes can also ignore terrain and enemy units along the way they remain vulnerable to assault, while fast ground vehicles and bikes also have to deal with any intervening terrain or enemy units.
The merry-go-round (or contesting objectives at all) works best if your opponent had first turn. Furthermore: the more objectives, the better. If there is only a small number of objectives the distance between them can turn out being too far to cover in a single move.
Other Units and Keeping the Merry-Go-Round Spinning
Other (non-fast vehicles or non-vehicles that can not turboboost) can be used to keep the merry-go-round going.
In the simplified example above a rhino could move up from objective #1 to contest objective #2 in turn 6. It won't get any benefits from doing so, but units A and B (if they were landspeeders for example) will benefit from moving on from #1 to #2 and #2 to #3 respectively, resulting in a better situation as if remaining stationary with units A and B on objectives #1 and #2 (not gaining any saves) and use the rhino to contest objective #3.
Again, though, it would in this case be better to contest objective #3 with the rhino form turn five if it were already in position by then and just switch unit A's and B's position every turn.
This procedure does not guarantee survival for your contesting units. But it increases their chances once the game goes on to turns six or even seven...