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I've been (slowly) learning just how powerful And They Shall Know No Fear and Combat Tactics truly are.
Until the last few battles I've played against my Dread Wolves SM friend, I've written these two abilities off as minor perks, fearing more the abilities that special characters can replace Combat Tactics with. But no more!
I'm partly wondering if other Space Marine players have realized the true (or truer, by comparison to my conjectures) potential of these two abilities. In my humble opinion, this pair is much more potent than free Multi-Meltas and Flamers, Bikers as Troops, Venerable Dreadnoughts, name all...
First, a slight regression to make this thread's title relevant.. All Space Marines with And They Shall Know No Fear and Combat Tactics have a very circumstantial version of the Hit and Run universal special rule.
Should your Squad suffer the misfortune of losing a combat, the survivors may choose to automatically fail their morale test. Next, players roll off for Sweeping Advance, which with an Initiative of 4, the Space Marines have a decent chance of escaping.
+Upon successfully escaping, the surviving Marines will immediately fall back 2d6" as normal, allowing the opponent a 1d6" consolidation. At the beginning of the next Space Marine player's turn, those survivors then automatically regroup and may move, shoot, and assault as normal (but always count as moving).
+Upon failing to escape, the surviving Marines are caught in a Sweeping Advance; however, instead of simply being removed as casualties, they turn around and fight back, using the No Retreat! rule. By my experience, this will most likely mean they will have to take two or three armor saves, as a unit losing combat by more than this amount is likely already dead.
As I mentioned above, this is a very circumstantial tactic, and just like Hit and Run, should only be attempted during the opponent's assault phase. More than, it should also only be attempted if there are two to three plus surviving members in the unit, and only if they've failed the combat by no more than two to three wounds; though chances are if they've failed by more.. they're already dead (or will fail their morale test anyways)
Disregarding those obvious tactics (such as voluntarily falling back due to shooting casualties, as to prevent your opponent from charging) what are other clever uses for these two amazing abilities that our noble Captains have discovered?
An I of 4 only results in a +1 on the escape roll against most opponents, against CSM or Eldar you're actually at a disadvantage - if you tie, you die.
Not something I'd want to risk a squad for.
They will not simply die. Please reread And They Shall No Know Fear. Space Marines who are caught in a Sweeping Advance are not removed as casualties, and instead continue to fight using the No Retreat! rules. So, by failing a Sweeping Advance, your unit will instead suffer a number of wounds equal to the number they lost the combat by, saves may be taken as normal.
This would mean that those three or so Space Marines will likely suffer two or three wounds (as I don't often see Space Marines lose a combat by more than this without being completely wiped out), thus making two or three saves on 3+.
The reward seems much more advantageous to me, than the risk. Rather than being stuck in a losing combat, you offer your boys a chance to retreat to a more tactical position and regroup, allowing them an additional turn of rapid-firing or charging.
Those are some pretty nice rules to take advantage of. More often than not I've tried this but ultimately my dice come up with the usual 1-2 when attempting to fall back.
From time to time when using Assault or Bike squads I've been attacked and I've fallen back only to regroup, spot a more vulnerable target, and assault that. It works nicely when there's a nice kill point, er, vehicle or unit looking to ruin your day. Multimelta's, meltabombs and powerfist/thunderhammers are beautiful things against a Vindicator, for example, pummeling your objectives.
I hope that qualifies.
Last edited by Chirality; May 20th, 2009 at 21:11. Reason: Corrected a misstatement.
But you also hit the nail on the head. My problem is that when I try this I only fall back 6 or 7 inches, and then they consolidate close enough t keep me from regrouping. I do want to try it with a multiple combat (say, fall back my assault squad, if I have a combat squad/scouts attacking the same unit. But again I fear I won't fall far enough back to regroup.
An even beter use of Combat tactics is if someone foolishly shoots at you before assaulting.
If he manages to kill 25%, you choose to fail the morale test and flee. As he then fails his assault, you are inevitably out of 6inches in your turn and can then regroup and fire back.
This has saved my Sternguard more times than i can count!
I find that this tactic is more successful when you have another unit close by, as once the combat is free'd up, the enemy unit is now in some serious shooting turn damage.
Typically I find units that are blindingly charging forward, can really hurt in CC, and are very vulnerable to any quantity of incoming fire.
Even if the unit using combat tactics can't regroup. They are still managing to leave the enemy out in the open.
If the tactic I postulated were to work I think it'd be best with a fast unit for the extra fall back dice. But, as you already stated, I am usually plagued by the poor fall back distance also.
I have to say i find "Combat tactics/ And they shall know no fear" to be a very potent combination, though out of place. I've never imagined Space marines to be nimble, swift or agile enough to pull off something like that, sounds something more akin to Eldars or even Tau perhaps; Crisis suit with the jet pack and all. The fact that its a base ability almost army wide is even more absurd in my opinion, but whatever...
I prefer ATSKNF/Combat tactics , buts its more situational ; I think most will overlook this and go with the HQ modified tactics, its a more direct way to flesh out your army's strategy.
Last edited by seismic; May 20th, 2009 at 21:54.
"The things that appear are a vision of the unseen"
-Anaxagoras of Clazomenae
Combat Tactics, IMHO, is universally more useful -- albeit, very circumstantial. But there are just so many circumstances!
A unit is pinned and suffers 25% casualties. You voluntarily fail the resulting morale test and they fall back. Next turn they automatically regroup and can move, shoot, and assault as normal. Much better than sniffing the dirt for a round!
Fall back after suffering 25% casualties, forcing your opponent to charge 2d6" further to lock your unit in close combat.
^-(Because of this one, I more often see players skip shooting said unit altogether, and instead skipping straight to the assault phase. While Combat Tactics has no direct effect here, it prevented your opponent from firing upon your unit, thus giving you more bodies to absorb an assault)
Use the Hit and Run tactic I described after being charged by an Ork mob (which more often than not means a lost combat) then rapid fire and counter assault with another unit during your next turn.
Hell, I've even watched a Space Marine player step forward 6" and rapid fire into a unit on turn 6, only to turn around and flee 2d6" back towards their objective.
Also, I'm not so sure that 'Hide my unit in combat with Guardsmen' tactic is so sound, as you have to actually lose the combat in order to attempt to flee.
Last edited by BossGorestompa; May 20th, 2009 at 22:57.