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Rescue the wounded, secure the supplies, hold important battlefield positions: whenever there are vital objectives strewn across the battlefield and the Imperial Guard is unable to react quickly enough or can not be trusted with a task of such importance, the Adeptus Astartes is sent to handle the job. Scouts infiltrate the area and provide reconnaissance, drop pods come smashing in, tactical squads claim the objectives. Tanks and land speeders provide fire support while the tactical dreadnoughts fend off the advancing enemy force. Resistance is futile.
Seize Ground: one of the three standard missions of the rulebook. How do you go about winning it? What army build do you prefer for this mission, how do you place objectives, do you attempt to go first or second, what are your tactics throughout the actual game? Do you attempt to hold many objectives, or do you rather rely on contesting your opponent's? How do you contest and how do you protect your objectives from being contested? What difficulties do you experience versus certain opponents? What are your dirty tricks?
I play Raven Guard, so my list is very efficient at board control early on in the game. I have three Drop Pods (2 x Tactical, 1 x Sternguard) and two 10-man Scout Squads, along with two Land Speeder Storms. I have completely fallen in love with the Storm despite it's disadvantages. Being able to move flat out and contest or score objectives on the last turn is a blessing usually reserved for the Eldar.
Thus, when placing objectives I tend to space them out as far as I can, because this works to my advantage. While an opponent will usually have to attempt to control only one or two, I can easily be scoring five or six on the first turn with so many Scouts and Infiltrators.
I'll write on behalf of my best friend, rather than my own experiences (I tend to do much better with Orks). His extensive military background lends him a great deal of insight to battlefield movement and tactics. Albeit his list design can sometimes be found wanting, but this point is more something of the past (and I am happy to admit, if he continues to improve with experience, I will have a very difficult time outmaneuvering him.. and that's just how I like it).
However, given his current proficiencies, Seize Ground is likely his strongest mission type (whereas I almost always win Annihilation, hands down). Even more-so since his return to Space Wolves.
His Seize Ground lists tend to look something like this in composition:
1-2 Foot-slogging Grey Hunters w/ WGT + CML/AC
1 Long-Fangs Pack
2-3 empty Deathwind Drop Pods (From 1-2 GH and 1 LF packs)
2-3 DP Grey Hunters
1 DP WG
3-4 Drop Pods (from 2-3 GH and 1 WG packs), with or without a mix of Deathwinds, points depending
Support from either Dakka Pred or Land Speeders
Bjorn, the 1-2 Grey Hunters, and the Long Fangs all secure the home objective, forming a solid fire base that is hard to move via Bjorn's SoM, and with the potential to form an additional objective should Bjorn fall.
Depending on deployment and objective locations, he'll take his pick of empty, filled, or a combination there-of for his DP Assault. The empty DPs tend to be deployed first if the opponent clusters the majority of their forces around their home objective, but 1-2 empty pods, 1 GH and 1 WG pod seems to be his usual deployment, favoring 1-2 GH pods to be dropped as late game reinforcements (an effective strategy I must admit, if for no greater reason than the opponent's knowledge that a flamer/melta GH pod or two is waiting to clear them off a distant objective). He generally uses the empty pods to reinforce lanes that he anticipates moving through later on, or to restrict the opponent's immediate movement from their deployment zone.
Altogether, the lists perform alarmingly well, his careful assessment of the battlefield and deployment options managing to keep the pressure on his opponents, usually throughout the entirety of the game. His only short coming thus far has been if/when the opponent is able to outmaneuver him and focus on the isolated elements of his list, most particularly against another DP list or Bike list. But for the most part, he manages to put an alarming amount of pressure on his opponent regardless of how he splits his forces, forcing the decision upon them to maintain coherency and focus on one element at a time, or to spread out, only to be sniped by later-arriving DPs.
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Might as well post a copy of what I posted when I got confused last week
I think this is probably my favourite mission as there's so many ways it can go.
I aim to hold ~40%, and at least contest another ~40% of the objectives:
3 objectives, I'll hold two or hold one and contest the others
4, I'll hold two and contest one.
5, I'll hold two and contest two.
- There's no point spreading yourself thin by trying to hold 3 objectives (unless playing in a tournament with major victories etc), better to hold two with everything you have and use fast units to strike at his weak points.
- Unless you're playing for 3 objectives total there's no point attacking all of the ones he holds. If there's an objective he's got a very short ranged unit sat on, ignore it.
- Concentrate your first few turns on what can strike at distance or move quickly, then turn 4ish you can start getting ready to claim/contest. With that in mind, don't worry about infiltrating units starting on objectives. Infiltrate somewhere USEFUL, then walk to the objective later.
- Holding objectives for the first 4 turns gets you nothing, so don't bother BUT MAKE SURE YOU CAN GET BACK. Don't rely on a high run roll, have all your scoring units within 8" of an objective at the end of turn 3. Why 8"? Because otherwise all your opponent has to do is put something in the way and you lose that objective.
- Don't commit all your contesting units in turn 5 if you don't have to in order to win (unless you went first). There's a 66% chance of a turn 6, which becomes 100% if you really can't afford it to.
Seize Ground is my very favorite mission. It is not the mission my army performs best at (though it performs reasonably well), but it is the mission that requires the best army lists and the most tactical skill and puts the most emphasis on maneuvering - in short: it is the most fun to play.
The correct placement of objectives acts as an amplifier for your force's advantages and/or as a counter for your army's weaknesses. Tactics must therefore already start at this stage of the game, and not just at deployment. There are many variables that require consideration when trying to find the perfect spots to place objectives in. I shall elaborate on that using my bike army as an example.
My entire army is very fast and able to reach any point on the battlefield within a moment's notice. The enemy is usually slower, which is why I try to spread out objectives as far as I can: the slower enemy has to commit his forces towards certain objectives earlier in order to be able to reach them in time, resulting in a spread which I can use to isolate parts of the opposing force and destroy them one at a time. My army is vulnerable to terrain, though, as bikes will have to take dangerous terrain tests when crossing or entering a terrain feature, and speeders may become immobilized when they end their move therein. Thus claiming and contesting objectives in terrain is quite a gamble for my army, which is why I try to avoid placing objectives in terrain, and instead place them in the open. I even try to place my first objectives just outside of a ruin or between two terrain features in such a way that my opponent is unable to place his objectives within these features without coming into conflict with the minimum distance between objectives, denying the choice of locations that would set me at a disadvantage. Another reason to place objectives outside of cover is that I do not require a cover save (I have power armor and I will usually claim an objective with a turbo-boost move that will grant me a cover save even in the open), whereas the opposing force, especially armies with weaker armor, do benefit from objectives in cover more than I do. Denying the enemy this advantage effectively results in an advantage for me. Whether I try to place objectives into spots with or without good lines of sight depends on my enemy: If I am facing an assault-strong army with rather inferior firepower, I want to be able to shoot his units as much as possible, therefore I will try to place objectives in plain sight of the entire battlefield where they will also have a hard time hiding their units trying to get into close combat with me, whereas if I am facing a very shooty army with superior firepower, I want to keep my units safe and deny enemy units the opportunity to get off shots with those units that hold objectives, while at the same time allowing me to advance my force in hiding in able to make it into the assault, thus I will place objectives behind large ruins, buildings, rock formations or anything else that blocks a lot of line of sight.
A slower force may want to cluster objectives so that it can keep its units together while still fulfilling its mission. A force using combat squads, leaving behind the heavy weapon teams, may want to place objectives near their deployment zone in cover but with good lines of sight, so that their heavy weapons can sit on them and fire their guns, etc. An important factor that weighs in heavily is also the number of scoring units one has.
Rules of Thumb for OBJECTIVE PLACEMENT
All these considerations need to be made relative to the enemy force and taking into account its equipment and special rules, etc...
- Mobility + # of scoring units high: spread objectives.
Mobility + # of scoring units low: cluster objectives.
- Vulnerability to terrain + enemy vulnerability to AP high, vulnerability to AP low: place objectives outside terrain.
Vulnerability to terrain + enemy vulnerability to AP low, vulnerability to AP high: place objectives inside terrain.
- Vulnerability to assault low, enemy vulnerability to assault high: place objectives in hiding.
Vulnerability to assault high, enemy vulnerability to assault low: place objectives in the open.
Once objectives are placed, there is the question of whether to attempt to go first (and maybe try to steal the initiative, if the opponent got to make the decision and decided to go first himself) or give first turn to your opponent. My bike army is unable to fortify on objectives, I can only claim them last-minute. I am thus very vulnerable to having my objectives contested and I am very vulnerable to having my troops shot to pieces sitting on the objectives. On the other hand I have quite a lot of units that are easily able to contest the enemy's objectives, but which are also very fragile and thus should be kept safe from enemy fire as long as possible. Therefore for my army build going second is key. If you have great alpha-strike capacity and can really hurt the enemy on your first turn, or if the enemy has great alpha-strike capability and you would suffer very much from the enemy going first, or if the enemy must not get close to you and should be stopped as soon as possible, etc, taking first turn is very viable.
Remember, though, that who goes first also deploys first, and the other way around. This can have a major impact too, as well as the ability or inability to pick deployment zones. The dawn of war deployment with its night fighting special rule is also a non-negligible factor when assessing whether to go first or second.
Rule of Thumb for GOING FIRST OR SECOND
There are many more factors that weigh in, just try to use common sense and all your tactical talent to ascertain whether to go first or second. Fast and mobile armies do really well with the latter, especially when combined with reserving their entire force. This effectively denies the enemy to put the hurt on your for full two turns of the game, while you yourself only lose one. It also effectively makes the game shorter and counters a common weakness of fast armies: fragility. You will have a much more easier time keeping your units alive until the end of the game. You can also see the first parts of your opponent's battle plan unfold before you have to react to it, and you can come into play wherever you want, picking a position that puts you at an advantage. You will have an easy time claiming and contesting and keeping your objectives uncontested.
- If you rely on contesting and/or not being contested, go second.
- If you or your opponent rely on assault: go first.
- If you rely on picking the deployment zone: go first.
- If you rely on seeing how your opponent deploys before reacting to it: go second.
Personally, I like to hold as many objectives as possible without putting my at the danger of my defenses tumbling. My emphasis is very much on contesting the enemy-held objectives, though, or on eliminating his scoring units previously. Holding a single objective works fine often enough, but I find it is still an unnecessary risk to take. Safety first, thus I usually try to claim and hold at least two objectives.
The game itself is very much the same as always: play to the strengths of your army for the first three turns, completely ignoring the mission and the objectives. On turn four, position your units and get ready to claim objectives and contest your opponent's. On turn five, make your move and win the game, committing only what you need to in order to win the game, keeping in mind the possibility of the game going on to turns six or even seven. On turn six, again commit what you have to in order to win, hopefully still with enough reserves to go on to turn seven and still win. I find from my experience, though, that Space Marines usually benefit from increasing game length anyhow, and the longer the game lasts, the likelier the enemy force is to crumble and be entirely obliterated.