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In the past the topic of the week has dealt with different units in the Space Marine codex and some enemies that Marine players regularly face. However there are 2 little rules that marines own that are completely unique to us and provide many interesting tactical advantages. These rules being Combat Tactics and They Shall Know No Fear.
How often do you take advantage of these rules? Is fleeing (and the possible no retreat saves) worth it against hgh I enemies. Do you have any particular tactics you use with these rules? Do you use a character to replace combat tactics with chapter tactics? If so how does that work for you?
The Emperor Protects
IG Best Gen 1st overall of 10 DE 4th overall of 6
Eldar 3rd Overall/Best General of 26--2nd Overall/Best General of 7--1st Overall/Best General of 11
It would be a lot better if we could not only decide to fail a morale check at will, but also pass them at will if we wanted to. But well, wishful thinking... (Please, don't try talking me into taking Marneus Calgar.)
Combat tactics is bliss. ATSKNF has always been a nice gimmick, but how often did you get to actually use it? Very seldomly, because most units rarely run the danger of falling back, and when they do they hardly do so at the right time. Combat tactics changes that and really takes advantage of being able to regroup instantly and counting as not having moved (enabling you to fire those heavy weapons).
The problem is that this is not hit and run. I've had a game where a creature outflanked into my plasma cannon combat squad. The assault tied for about three assault phases, then the creature managed to cause two wounds and I failed both saves. "Finally!" I thought, ready to fall back and blast it apart, but I failed to successfully break off (even though it was only I3), suffered two more wounds and failed both saves again... There goes a combat squad!
Sure, this is bad luck and uncommon. Still: falling back out of combat bears risk even if you manage to break off and do not suffer no retreat wounds. You fall back 2D6" while the enemy models may consolidate 1D6", so even if none of your unit's models are further up the board than the furthest model of the enemy unit (I hope you get what I mean) you only have a 26% chance of being able to regroup if the enemy uses his consolidation move to pursue. Most likely you will continue falling back in your turn, or if you fell back in your turn the enemy will just move and assault you again, no matter how far you fell back.
And you can still get tied up in an assault by cheap multi-wound models. As long as you don't lose combat you can't choose to fall back (this would be great), so you'll still hack and slash through swarms (for example) for ages if you don't bust your unit out of there...
Those risks aren't given when falling back because of shooting casualties. But the question is why you would want to fall back in that case, and why you advanced your unit to its position if you don't want it there.
It is possible - and I've done it - to use combat tactics (and they shall know no fear) to lure the opponent's unit closer to your table edge. The other thing is falling back out of combat and shooting up the unit you were in combat with with other units in your army (because the one that fell back is probably too close to regroup). But its use is rather limited, and you should be sure to be a good 16" from the table edge if you use it to fall out of combat - you're likely to fall back twice.
In the end combat tactics looks better and more useful on paper than it actually is. But in combination with ATSKNF it's still better than fearless. Sure, you can be pinned, but you can't be destroyed in a sweeping advance while you don't take auto-wounds from no retreat (only if you attempt to fall back and fail to break off) and still have the option of falling back just in case...
As for replacing it: most characters have chapter tactics that are well worth of replacing combat tactics. Lysander in particular is a prominent exception (my two cents), but I'll gladly go with the rest (especially Pedro's whose hold the lines is priceless, while the right army can benefit from Vulkan a lot, etc) mostly.
Since I don't use special characters very much, though, I tend to get stuck with combat tactics, which is, as I said, a blessing on the one hand, but much better on paper than it is in action on the other...
I wish I could say more on Tactics, but I've never used them (or tactics with a little t either, but that's a different matter). I've always run either Lysander (with my yellow marines) or Shrike (with my black marines). I can report, however, that Stubborn and Fleet are still both awesome!
The best time to use the retreat ability is when it's your opponent's turn. that way you can fail the morale if you lose combat, fall back, recover on your turn and rapid fire that squad or assault them with the +1 ATK bonus. It's worked several times for me to perfection, so it's not that bad of an ability.
"A Space Marine Sgt. not taking a Powerfist makes as much sense as peeing with your pants on...you just don't do it." xanosaucy
And since I rarely get into assaults I don't want to be in (mobility is key) it doesn't come into play a lot...
The key here is not to rely entirely on the 26%; You should prepare for a salvo of rapid fire or a better suited melee unit (An ironclad for example) near by to "take care" of whatever enemy force that is pursuing your marines. In this way you can alter considerably the Cc environment, even though as mentioned before this opportunity does not present it self on a regular basis.
I think certain units may also stand out as being more useful when centered around such tactics: Whether it in retreating or providing support in close combat.
"The things that appear are a vision of the unseen"
-Anaxagoras of Clazomenae
A comment: I'm fairly sure that your enemy can't consolidate into another squad, but I'm hazy on the rules about one squad falling back "through" another squad.
Because what I just thought of was putting another unit behind your CC'd unit, then falling back through it, thus preventing the attacker from giving chase since he can't consolidate that close to your second unit...
Then again, that's probably harder to arrange than relying on the 26%.
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Mr_Wayne: "Some people believe that the World Eaters do not field any ranged weaponry. Those people often die at a distance."
fallback moves still follow all other movement rules so you can't move within 1" of a friendly or enemy.
If you put someone behind you, you risk the squad being trapped because they can't move without doubling back
i mix rules like that up all the time