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Abusing army threat management thresholds

21794 Views 47 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  rafis117
Abusing army threat management thresholds


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.).


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).


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 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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I would disagree with your analysis of Krox's theory being a CYA (that term is brilliant) style approach as oppossed to the TAC approach - essentially they are the same thing when it's broken down (but maybe I'm just simplifying too much).
He's approach is to avoid overloading on specialists but instead retain a few specialist roles backed up by numerous flexible units. Sure, some armies can do this better than others (Eldar for example are made up almost entirely by specialists and it then becomes the manner in which you use them that gives you situational flexibility).
There is a vast difference between overloading, TAC and CYA. Overloading leads to more weaknesses being created, if something comes up that you can't deal with then you are effectively neutered. CYA and TAC are almost the same in my opinion, but maybe that is influenced by my personality and playing style - I prefer to run a flexible list supported by a few specialists that allow me to deal with almost anything and effectively cover my A. (Does that make me a TACCMA list constructor?)
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