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  1. #1
    RAWR! KROXIGOR!! kroxigor01's Avatar
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    Abusing army threat management thresholds

    Abusing army threat management thresholds


    Definitions

    Abusing army threat management thresholds: Making portions of the oppositions forces useless during the game by fielding no/few units of one type (for instance, you field no tanks so their anti tank weapons have no targets) and/or making portions of your army unable to be dealt with by eliminating specific enemy units and/or dealing to many of that unit type to be dealt with.

    ‘Counter’ units: Any unit which is taken with the purpose of handling a specific type of unit (‘counter’ units include anti tank weapons, counter attack units, anti infantry units etc.).


    Premise

    Most Armies in Warhammer 40k field ‘counter’ units to deal with all kinds of units.
    For example: A ‘close combat’ Ork army may field Lootas to deal with enemy tanks who would otherwise be untouchable by their hordes of Choppa wielding green maniacs. Similarly, a Tau army makes sure they have their share of Fire warriors, stealth suits and various other units to ensure light but numerous infantry can be dealt with effectively.

    Most armies try to have an equal distribution of ‘counter’. They field enough anti tank weapons or units to deal with a reasonable amount of tanks, they field enough anti marine weapons or units to deal with a reasonable amount of marines etc.

    However, it is possible to write an army list that has an UNreasonable amount of a certain unit type (either heaps or very little). This can mean that certain counter units of the enemy are useless (you gave them no target) and others are outnumbered (6 Lascannons versus 3 Monoliths…).

    It is also possible to reduce the ‘threshold’ at which an enemy army can deal with a type of unit by killing or taking some of his units out of the battle (20 Lascannons are no use if you hid you single defiler out of sight till you had them all killed, locked in combat our out of the defilers lane of advance).

    For example: An Imperial Guard player write a list consisting of 3 Leman Russ Battle Tanks, 3 Hellhounds, 6 Chimerae and a Sentinel knowing that if his opponents have not fielded vast amounts of antitank fire they will have absolutely no way to kill all his tanks before he can eliminate all enemy anti tank weapons and antitank squads. Furthermore he knows that any anti infantry weapons will be absolutely useless as the only targets they will have are his 13 tanks (his infantry are inside the Chimerae).


    Overloading

    The most common form of threat management threshold abuse is overloading. This is done by fielding more of one type of unit then the enemy can be expected to deal with.

    Ways to do this:

    - Field many more tanks then the enemy army can deal with. Most armies have only have enough anti tank weapons to counter a handful of tanks efficiently. By fielding MORE tanks then the enemy can be expected to deal with you ensure that most of your tanks will be unmolested for most of the battle. This is best done by Imperial Guard, Armoured Companies, Tau and Eldar (bloody falcons).

    - Field many more infantry (of a certain type, no point in getting a few terminators, a scout squad and a few tactical marines. Concentrate on one type to overload.) then the enemy army can deal with much the same as with the tanks. All armies can do this strategy (though Orks, Imperial Guard and Tyranids [both via Gaunt swarms and Nidzilla lists] are the most common advocates for it).

    - Field many more fast things then your opponent can be expected to deal with. This is most effective done by close combat armies against enemy shooting orientated lists who are hoping to shoot your fast things before they get to grips and rip them to shreds/block lines of fire/tie up units. By having more fast units then the opponent can deal with you ensure some will reach combat. This strategy is best done by Tyranids, Orks and Space Marines (who can field 60 assault marines with the right trait) but most armies can do it to some degree.

    - Fielding many more maneuverable units then the enemy can keep up with. This is far more complicated then the other ways to overload you list. Basically you ensure that most of the enemy army cannot move as fast as yours meaning you can apply force where the enemy cannot react effectively. This differs from the ‘speed’ strategy in that it is predominantly used by shooting armies rather then combat armies (the shooting army moves away from where the enemy is charging or has a firebase to pick on other areas of the battlefield) This is best done by Dark Eldar, Eldar and Tau (filthy Xenos…) and is by far the most tactical method of overloading.


    Threshold Reduction

    Threshold reduction is conducted completely on the battlefield. It is where you remove some of the enemies ‘counter’ unit’s (by hiding their preferred targets out of their sight/range, charging them, blocking their sight with combat/empty transport, distracting them or killing them) ability to kill a target you wish to protect.

    This can be seen as similar to Overloading but rather then fielding large numbers of a certain unit type to overwork his ‘counter’ units you destroy some of his ‘counter’ units in order to put more strain on those remaining (so rather then having more units then his threshold you simply reduce his threshold, usually they go hand in hand though).

    An Example of Threshold Reduction: A Space Marine player with 3 Whirlwinds is up against an Ork army. He knows that his Whirlwinds, who are hiding behind cover, cannot be shot by the Ork Lootas or the Tankbustas as he positioned the whirlwinds out of sight. However he thinks that the Stormboyz harboring a Power Klaw wielding Nob is of some threat to them so he cunning draws the crazy jet powered Orks to the other side of the board, tempting the Ork player with an undefended marine squad with no close combat upgrades (the marines get butchered, but who cares! The marine player now has 3 untouchable whirlwinds to rain death upon the Orks!). The Marine player also fears that the opponent’s squads of Warbikers are a threat to his whirlwinds so he shots one of them with a drop pod squad full of plasma and ties another in an assault with a large marine squad to keep the Whirlwinds safe. By hiding from the Lootas and Tankbustas, distracting the Stormboyz and killing/tying up the Warbikers the Marine player has reduce the Ork player’s ability to hurt his whirlwinds to the point where his whirlwinds are unkillable.


    Exclusion

    Exclusion is where you deliberately DO NOT take one type of unit that you know will be countered by the enemy, thus making some of the points the enemy spent useless.

    For example: An Imperial Guard player realizes all armies get their share of Lascannons (or their equivalent) to deal with Monstrous Creatures, Tanks and Terminators. He then fields no Monstrous Creatures, Terminators (like he could anyway) or (more importantly) Tanks. This leaves all his opponents armies with no targets for their Lascannons to shoot at but measly infantry, wasting the extra strength, armour penetration and high price of the weapon when a heavy bolter would be three times as good for a third of the cost.


    How to deal with enemy unbalanced lists

    Have your own army unbalanced as well – even unbalanced armies may not be ready to deal with 180 Ork Shoota Boyz or 9 Warfish

    Protect useful counter units – the counter units that are still effective against the enemy army are really valuable. Do not let the enemy kill them without a fight.

    Avoid taking single role specialists – Take units that can deal with lots of different types of enemies rather then just one type. This prevents your units being useless against some armies. A good example of this is to get Autocannons rather then Heavy bolters and Lascannons as an Autocannon can do the roles of both weapons (to some extent). Due to the fact that multirole units are generally less effective then single role units it is still a good idea to get some single role units incase you are playing an unbalanced list with that units counter or you are playing a balanced list.

    Do not be afraid to sacrifice useless units – If you have a squad of Meltabombs armed rough riders (or something similar) against an Ork horde don’t try and hide them, use them to protect you useful squads(with heavy bolters).

    Kill enemy scoring units – some unbalanced lists have few scoring units (like the ’13 tanks of doom’ imperial guard list which only has 13 scoring units, that is not many for a guard army). Kill them and claim objectives and you will win.


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  3. #2
    Son of LO psichotykwyrm's Avatar
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    Very thorough. Good work.

    But I have one small issue with the theory. It seems as though this would be most effective if you knew what you were up against to begin with. That implies list tailoring, which is something I am not very fond of in the slightest.

    The major hole in this practice is whether or not the same list can be used again against a different army. This is where the "all-comers" list will shine.

    I think I'd rather go with decent chances against all armies, than with really good chances against some armies. Catch my drift?
    "It takes a vast amount of self control to be this dangerous."
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  4. #3
    resident iconoclast Left of West's Avatar
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    I think, to a degree, you're missing the point. The point is not to tailor your army against that of a specific opponent's.

    In fact it would be more correct to say that you're tailoring your army against the typical all-comers list.

    So, imagine you're about to go into a game. You don't know what your opponent is going to bring, and he doesn't know what you're going to bring. He might bring a lot of tanks or a lot of guys or whatever.

    So, when you're building your list, you put in some stuff to take care of hordes, some stuff to kill tough models, and some stuff to kill vehicles. You've got to have all of that stuff because if he comes at you with a horde and all you've got are lascannons, well, you're kinda boned. If he comes at you with a fully mechanized list and all you've got are flamers, you're in bad shape.

    So, for your 'all comers' or 'unknown opponent' list, you have a variety of units with a variety of tasks, right?

    Now, you know that that's how you have to build your list in order to cover yourself against the range of possibilities. Presumably, your opponent will come to the same conclusion--and that's where Kroxigor's principle comes into its own.

    As an all-comer's list, your opponent's list will have answers to whatever threats you might bring--tanks, swarms, terminators, mcs, or whatever. So, each of those things which you don't bring leaves him having wasted some points on an upgrade that no longer really matters.

    Further, it leaves you with more points to buy the one or two types of things you are going to bring, so that his answers to that type of things are more likely to be 'overloaded' and unable to deal with the amount of stuff you've brought.

    By taking no tanks, for instance, you essentially turn his anti-tank units into wasted points.
    By taking lots of infantry, you provide too much 'horde' for his 'anti-horde' units to deal with effectively.


    So the threat-management game isn't about tailoring to a specific list. It's really about taking advantage of the fact that most lists are written to deal with a wide variety of things--and thus won't be as effective when faced with only one type of thing.

    It's a different type of all-comers approach that hinges on an inherent weakness of all-comers lists.
    Once again, the conservative, sandwich-heavy portfolio pays off for the hungry investor!

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  6. #4
    Son of LO psichotykwyrm's Avatar
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    TAC versus CYA

    Ah, but then you're not truly playing against a "real all-comers" list. The list you refer to were the player takes a little bit of everything is more of what I refer to as a CYA list. (Cover Your Arse)

    The CYA list consists of many varied single role units, which according to the above strategies can be very easily overwhelmed. The "True All-Comers" list (which I will hereby refer to as TAC), will have varying units as well, but most if not all of these will be Multi-Role Units. These units will be able to change roles to counter almost anything. Here are some examples from Tau and Tyranids, since these are currently my biggest armies.

    - The SniperFex: A Carnifex with a Venom Cannon and Barbed Strangler. Both weapons make for great anti-tank, but the Strangler is also great anti-horde due to its large S8 pinning blast.

    - The Hammerhead: While this tank is an undisputed master of tank popping with its Railgun, many players still overlook the Sub-munition, which has to be my favorite weapon against troops not wearing power armor or better.

    - The Winged Devourer Tyrant (a.k.a., the dakka flyrant): While even with the Toxin sacs upgrade the Tyrant's gun is only S5, its great anti-troop. But there's only tanks around? Its a TMC, it can charge the tanks!!!

    - The DeathRain Crisis suit (TL Missile Pods): With the equivalent of shorter range twin-linked autocannons, this suit is outstanding against light armor, it also does wonders against tougher infantry or MCs.

    And so I guess you don't need me to explain all the usefulness and utility of taking a powerfist in a Space Marine Tactical Squad....

    My point is that the TAC list's units should be able to compensate for any threshold overloading, because the thresholds themselves are flexible, at least to the degree that the units can change roles. This becomes even more effective when the units mesh in such a way as that one may switch roles for a turn in order to free up another to do something more necessary. Thus, there are also no specific "counter units" whose loss could swing the game.

    So for all the tacticians out there, don't just CYA, get TACtical!!!
    "It takes a vast amount of self control to be this dangerous."
    ---Ogvai Ogvai Helmshrot, Jarl of Tra, VI Legion Astartes

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    resident iconoclast Left of West's Avatar
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    That's a reasonable distinction.

    I contend, however, that when you're buying multi-role units, you're paying for each extra bit of utility.

    Sure, a Hammerhead is good against both, but it's not a cheap tank. You get better anti-tank for the points by taking Broadsides, but they're not really any good at anti-infantry.

    So, yes. You can avoid the pitfalls of a cover-your-ass list (I like your terminology) by making a list with nothing but multi-role units, but that list comes with its own set of weaknesses. Namely, a multi-role unit is never going to be as good in any particular role as a dedicated unit.

    Even your 'true all comers' list is going to be weak, to a degree, against an army using Kroxigor's principle. Though each of your units is going to be able to perform against whatever type of unit he loads up on, they're still going to have spent extra points on upgrades or options which aren't really doing them very much good. Their value to cost ratios are still going to be lower because you're not able to put all of those goodies you bought to use--and the Kroxigor list is still getting an advantage out of loading up on one type of unit while forsaking the others.
    Once again, the conservative, sandwich-heavy portfolio pays off for the hungry investor!

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    Senior Member Seeker84's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Left of West View Post
    That's a reasonable distinction.

    I contend, however, that when you're buying multi-role units, you're paying for each extra bit of utility.

    Sure, a Hammerhead is good against both, but it's not a cheap tank. You get better anti-tank for the points by taking Broadsides, but they're not really any good at anti-infantry.

    So, yes. You can avoid the pitfalls of a cover-your-ass list (I like your terminology) by making a list with nothing but multi-role units, but that list comes with its own set of weaknesses. Namely, a multi-role unit is never going to be as good in any particular role as a dedicated unit.

    Even your 'true all comers' list is going to be weak, to a degree, against an army using Kroxigor's principle. Though each of your units is going to be able to perform against whatever type of unit he loads up on, they're still going to have spent extra points on upgrades or options which aren't really doing them very much good. Their value to cost ratios are still going to be lower because you're not able to put all of those goodies you bought to use--and the Kroxigor list is still getting an advantage out of loading up on one type of unit while forsaking the others.
    The article is discussing about building the army. It doesn't discuss any tactics other then that. So you overload, so you have a TAC list, you're going to have weaknesses. But with the right tactics on the field you can minimize those weakness.
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    resident iconoclast Left of West's Avatar
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    Sure. Of course your decisions on the field are going to make a difference. Still, Kroxigor describes an easy way to gain a very real advantage through army construction.

    The person who says that everything is in the tactics--and nothing is in the list construction--is a person whose advice you should definitely not be taking.

    Army construction is certainly important, and Kroxigor's article, here, illustrates one significant aspect of good army construction which is often overlooked.

    That is to say, the article doesn't need to discuss tactics. The article is completely relavent and useful in its own right, even while staying only on the topic of army construction.
    Once again, the conservative, sandwich-heavy portfolio pays off for the hungry investor!

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    Senior Member Seeker84's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Left of West View Post
    Sure. Of course your decisions on the field are going to make a difference. Still, Kroxigor describes an easy way to gain a very real advantage through army construction.

    The person who says that everything is in the tactics--and nothing is in the list construction--is a person whose advice you should definitely not be taking.

    Army construction is certainly important, and Kroxigor's article, here, illustrates one significant aspect of good army construction which is often overlooked.

    That is to say, the article doesn't need to discuss tactics. The article is completely relavent and useful in its own right, even while staying only on the topic of army construction.
    On that I agree with you.
    Help the kin TAKE your soul, I mean, take your soul...
    I play Vassal. I'm in V40K Open Ladder.

  11. #9
    RAWR! KROXIGOR!! kroxigor01's Avatar
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    No replies in 2 and a half weeks and then WHAM! 7 in 5 hours! Pretty impressive.

    Left of West seems to have removed the need for my rebutal nicely too. 8Y

  12. #10
    Son of LO psichotykwyrm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Left of West View Post
    Sure. Of course your decisions on the field are going to make a difference. Still, Kroxigor describes an easy way to gain a very real advantage through army construction.

    The person who says that everything is in the tactics--and nothing is in the list construction--is a person whose advice you should definitely not be taking.

    Army construction is certainly important, and Kroxigor's article, here, illustrates one significant aspect of good army construction which is often overlooked.

    That is to say, the article doesn't need to discuss tactics. The article is completely relavent and useful in its own right, even while staying only on the topic of army construction.
    Of course it is obvious that great tactics mean nothing without something to carry out those tactics. (I.E., your LIST)

    While I'm still in agreement that krox's methods are very effective, I would just like to point out that I prefer a different application of the concept.

    I think that what sums it up perfectly is that the "Overload" method's purpose is to limit the opponent's options, and therefore neuter his army. My "TAC" method might be described as a defensive version of the same theory, to give yourself enough option so that your opponent can hopefully not be able to place limits on (or neuter) you.

    Just so were are clear, krox is 100% correct in his theory. I just prefer to use the same theory in reverse, so that instead of ruining my enemy's flexibility, I maintain my own.
    "It takes a vast amount of self control to be this dangerous."
    ---Ogvai Ogvai Helmshrot, Jarl of Tra, VI Legion Astartes

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