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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-22-09, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
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Deployment: Tactica

A lot of warhammer fantasy talk is about lists, upgrades, magic items, dice rolls... but in my opinion, much of the important player interaction as far as strategy is concerned, happens in the deployment phase. Of course, the movement phase is a big deal as well. Warhammer is a game of position, and sometimes very powerful troops will be made reduntant by flank charges, march blocks, or even choked out of the battle by friendly forces in a bad position.

Let's have a look at this crucial part of the game in detail. I've won and lost some very decisive games on how well or badly I deployed relative to my opponents. When both armies are set up and I see some bad deployments by my opponent, I know it will be an easy game. But if I see myself outsmarted in the deployment phase, I know that it is likely I will lose.

Number of Deployables

I think this is something every player ought to take into consideration. If you have a lot more deployables than your opponent, you can lay down a lot of less significant elements of your army early on, and by the time your main hammer units or vulnerable pieces are ready to be deployed, you will know where the enemy threats are. On the other hand, the 'choice' locations on deployment zone, i.e on hills, between forests.... may lack room for everything you want. It might become more obvious where you are going to deploy your important items, as the relevant space closes up.

How important is getting that +1 to the roll for first turn, for your army? Do you ever make changes to your list just to have more or less deployables? I think one quite advanced warhammer strategy is to count the number of enemy deployables before the game starts, and work out whether you will finish first or second. Try to figure out what your opponent is going to deploy last.

Order of Deployment

I think the general rule of thumb is that you deploy your fastest units first. In an average dark elf army, this might be dark riders and harpies. On the other hand, your slow moving, vulnerable to missile fire units may want to be deployed last. You want these directly opposite whatever they need to engage. If the enemy saves their target to deploy after you've committed them, they've immediately got an advantage.

I've been thinking about this, though. Suppose your style happens to be like mine - very conservative. You might be playing some kind of fragile gunline - high elves with no spearmen, light on infantry, but with eagles, cav, archers, RBT's. You want your long range missile section to be as far away from the enemy as possible. This could mean deploying even your hammer units, elite infantry, etc before your ranged stuff.

Of course the opposite approach serves another strategic purpose. You deploy all the artillery/ranged first. Then while the enemy is gathering up opposite that, you are now in a position to deploy your hammer cav and fast can in such a way that you can immediately move into better angles, flanking positions, march blocks etc.

Deception in Deployment

The deployment phase in warhammer is quite unlike deployment in WH40k. It is call and response - you interact with your opponent in a turn based 'minigame' that is in many ways more strategic than the rest of the game itself. There is NO luck in deployment, no imbalance, no cheese. If you can outsmart your opponent here it is decisive.

Faking a flank deployment is certainly a way to do this. You deploy several units of fast cavalry on the same flank, and your opponent unwisely takes the bait by placing a hydra, or steam tank, or elite infantry unit opposite them. You are now in a position to deploy your entire army on the other flank, and march over to the rest of your army with the fast cav in the first turn. In many cases this trick is not subtle. Good players will not fall for it. But it can be worth trying anyway - if you can keep them guessing about where the main bulk of your army is going to be, for longer, this is good.

Terrain often makes the placement of troops predictable. Big hill smack back in the middle? All of your artillery and ranged is going there. Forest on one flank? Won't see much heavy cav there. But, I think sometimes you can really use this expectation to your advantage. There is no reason ranged units can't be deployed on flat ground even though there is a perfectly good hill nearby. If you can trick your opponent by saving the units expected to appear on a hilltop, until any threats have been placed - you might find that conceding the advantage of the hill is trumped by the advantage of stationing your units in a safer position.

Planning


If you can, look at your quarter strip of the table and work out where each unit will go by default before you place ANYTHING. Your plan might change as you see your opponent's units go down. But, like the rest of the game itself, having a plan as well as a willingness to respond to your opponent is very important. If you simply place units in response to your opponent, you might realise later on that the ideal spot for one of your most important units is now taken up by other things. If the zone is choked up with impassable terrain and forests this is more likely to happen. If you have a default spot for them mapped out in your head, you are then in a position to choose between the various areas that are NOT taken up by any of the default spots when it becomes necessary to deploy something in a position that you had not initially planned it to be in.

***

Those are the main points I can think of for now. Deploying smarter improves your play. I'm sure everyone else has a lot to add and discuss as far as these ideas are concerned, so let's hear it. Essentially this is a much better topic for serious players to be discussing than things like cheese and imbalance in army books. In tournaments with good composition systems, the smartest and most experienced players will come out on top. Let's work towards being more like those guys.

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-22-09, 10:48 PM
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Nice tactica so far, I've not played a game yet but this will come in handy

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-23-09, 07:55 AM
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I wouls say that Ogres probably set up differently to other armies our fast moving units are expensive and the slow units are the cheapest. Added to that most ogre players play MSU and so can place many units without giving away their strategy. Worst of all adding multiple characters into a unit can change an almost ignorable flanking unit into an absolute powerhouse...

I ruled my opponents set up by using that in the last game- he split his war machines onto 2 hills on either side of his deployment zone. I put my whole army facing 1 set with 1 unit facing the other... since the 1 unit could worry most of the cheap units he put to oppose them (and with characters would have crushed them) and he didnt want to sacrifice one of the 2 (!!) main orc units in his army to protect them he ended up putting 3 units over there just to protect himself. Unsupprisingly I didnt put my characters on that side and so smashed through one half while pinning his other.
ended up having 3 bulls facing: 25 night goblins (3 fanatics), 10 spider riders, 10 arrer boyz and 2 spearchuckers (120pts holding up over 380 isnt bad).

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-23-09, 10:11 AM
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Very good tactica on deployment, something I have never got the hang of! +rep

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-24-09, 09:00 AM
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Cheers Vaul; a good read. I saw how you out-deployed the Dark Elf player recently by making him think there'd be something between your Scorpions, then march blocking the poor little Hydra that was set up to stomp nothing!

Having played only 2 games of Warhammer so far (both of which on here as Forumhammer games - you should maybe have a look Vaul) I can already see how deployment can be absolutely critical.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-20-09, 02:04 AM
 
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Excellent post! As a vet of many a GT I agree that many games are decided in the deployment phase. The best players I know always have multiple deployment strategies planned in advance to best suit different opponents, terrain, or sinerios. Some armies call for very differnt strategies for deployment. Dwarves can be brutal when stuffed in a corner bunching warriors and artillery is such a way to never be flanked or rear charged. Denied flanks are surprisingly easy to create with cav deployed behind an infantry center and choosing their line of attack after the game has begun. It only takes one turn to get out from behind 3 infantry units with 2 units of cav and a monster or chariot or the like. I use it very effectivly with my VC althogh i sorly miss having 6 man throw away units of ghouls to put down first and not give away a thing. Lizardmen have an incredibly adavantage in fast shooty skirmishers that can go kinda anywhere and be moved into position as the game progesses. Lots of monsters and quick stuff also allow deployment to be very kind to Lizardmen players and possibly the root of many cheese complaints about their list. Study the deployment options of any army and it can give you invaluable insight on who wins and who dies on the warhammer table, Because after deployment the dice decide!
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-11-09, 12:56 AM
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This does help a lot for new players (like myself), it show them that is not all about how you build your army. Is the way the army are deployed aswell, and used for it strenght, very nice read.

The mistake I usualy make is to place my regiment vs other regiments that are weak against that kind of unit I deploy, this thread have showed me that it is not always the right way to deploy your army.

Personaly I need to have more of a tactic before going into the fight. Fail and learn a few times and then master it! Cant wait untill the next warhammer game i'm going to play now with soft eyes on the field.

Cheers!

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-01-09, 09:02 AM
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I've been playing WFB for a few years now and I've noticed something about most Fantasy players. If they plan on turning one of your flanks, it's usually on their right side. Surprisingly enough this is true even if the player is left hAnded. Don't know why, but unless terrain dictates otherwise, they'll do it. Or maybe it's just the players I've encountered. I'd be interested in others' experiences.
Many players tend to deploy units in ascending point cost,saving their big spendy killing machines for last (well, except for characters). If you can do this without telegraphing your blow it's not a bad ploy. But keep in mind what role your units have in your battle plan. It's not effective to deploy your cheap pack of war-macine-hunting harpies before the enemy deploys his war machines. It may take an extra turn or two for them to get there, making your army suffer unnecessary bombardment.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-01-09, 11:09 AM
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If I dont have a couple of throw away units then I often deploy in order of speed: faster units can get out of a position or move to support a new deployment zone more easily so if I can draw the enemy into opposing them in a bad position I can deploy my main force where I actually want to be and then pull the faster units back to me, while the enemy is stuck out in the middle of nowhere

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-01-09, 05:39 PM
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a very useful tactica, +rep

cheers

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