How to play Warhammer 40k: To shoot, or not to shoot.

So, you have your big guns loaded. What do you shoot at? First of all, not all soldiers are created equal which is the first thing you have to come to terms with as you learn how to play 40k and figure out what parts of the game you like and decide on your permanent army. For example, Space Marines have a Balistic Skill of 4. What you do is subtract their BS from 7 and that is what you need to hit. A marine with a BS of 4 will hit on a roll of 3. A commander with a BS of 5 will hit on 2. And, some one with a BSof 3 will hit on 4... and so forth. You may have a lot of Lascannons in your Imperial Guard army, but they are only going to hit half the time.

Your target has no effect on wether or not you hit, unless it has a special rule. But you do need to know other rules. For example, shooting any thing at an Ork Nob Biker squad with a Painboy that is moving fast is an effort in futility. First of all, you have to hit. Guard will only hit half of their shots. Then you have to wound. Nob bikers are really tough. You will wound on 5's or so. Then they will get a cover save. THEN if they fail that, they get Feel No Pain from the pain boy that allows them to reroll their save. Dont waste your time, they can shrug off LasCannons as easily as guard las guns.

Knowing just what to shoot at is based on experience. The more games you play, the more you will know. But I will try to share my decision making when I assign target priority.

1. Any thing with Melta weapons that I can kill has to die first:
Speeders, tanks, dreadnoughts, infantry.

I play a heavy mech army with 4 Rhinos, 3 predators and 2 dreadnoughts. Melta Weapons HAVE to die! I target them until they are dead. Speeders go first since they can move fast and still shoot. I can hit them from 36" away with Heavy Bolters from my tanks and I will always open up the game by shooting at them. They will probably get cover saves, but all I need to do is get one or two through to stun them! Heavy Bolters with STR 5 will glance a speeder on a roll of 5 or 6, and that is all I need. Then I will go to tanks and try to knock off their meltas, then Dreads and troops. Most armies I play nowadays are packing meltas in every unit. Plenty of targets!

2. Any thing with high STR weapons:

Now that I have taken down Melta guns, I focus on Lascannons, Rail Guns, Vindicators etc. Any thing that can take out my Predators.

3. Any thing with medium STR weapons:

Units with Auto Cannons, Star Cannons, Assault Cannons, Scatter Lasers, Missle Launchers etc. Now that I have taken down all of their big guns, and my predators are relatively safe, I focus on clearing the way for my transports to safely move and I knock out things that can take them down.

4. Transports:

Yup. After taking down their big guns, I pop transports. No need in allowing him the chance to contest objectives or tank shock me!

5. Dreadnoughts/Monstrous Creatures:

Once I have taken the long range teeth out of my opponents jaws, I start thinking about assault and defense. I will switch my guns to assaulty dreads and monstrous creatures and shoot them until they are dead.

6. Infantry:

Now that I have taken down their killy stuff, I focus on infantry. I focus on guys who are in he way of where I want to go, and soften them up for my assaulters. My guys are badass, but few in number. It is always better for me to assault a squad that is already low in number from heavy bolter fire. I focus on squads that are coming for me first, then ones that are defending his objectives.

But these steps are not a bible. Situations may take over! For example, in a recent game against orks, he left huge ork mobs in places where I was able to get angles with my Baal Preds and not give them Cover saves. I will always take these opportunities. Orks were dieing by the dozens because of my ability to move 6" and fire all 12 of my predators guns... x3. I allowed them to take shots from the Ork big guns relying on their armor to protect them because I just could not pass up the chance to kill so many ork boys. And I slaughtered him.

Another situation that might arise is an opponent who only has two troop choices... KILL THEM! Knocking them out early will leave him in a situation where he will struggle to tie you.

Things you can ignore... at least for a while.

Land Raiders. Most of the time, when my opponent packs one land raider full of assault terminators, I simply ignore it and spend the first couple of rounds staying away from it and shooting his other stuff. This infuriates Land Raider players. :)

Terminators on foot. Laugh them off and stay away from them. Don't waste your shots. Just stay more then a foot away and you are good.

Things that scatter. Take out the direct shooty things first... Rely on the scatter die to protect you!

Things to think about...

Enemy commanders in the open and alone... it may be advantgeous to pop em with a melta shot... but beware... some players will leave them in the open as bait...(raises hand).

Drop Pods are sweet kill points and worth swatting them in KP games. Ignore them otherwise and use them as cover.

Assault troops are fast and assaulty. If you can catch em in the open, fire away... dont let them get the drop on you. Otherwise, focus on squads with big shooters.

Attack Bikes. They belong in the same category as speeders above. Exterminate them.

Any thing caught in the open. Cover saves are huge, and easy to get. If your opponent messes up and leaves a juicy squad in the open, punish him. Target them with low AP heavy weapons and high Torrent of Fire guns and wipe them out. If you are a marine, most lesser armies will not get saves from most of your shots.

Finally, think about armor saves. Eldar have a 4+ armor save. Guard have a 5+ and Orks have a 6+. (in general) Heavy Bolters are Str 5 AP 4... which means that Eldar will not get saves against them... If the AP of a gun equals or is lower then the targets armor value, then he will not get a save. Guard will not get saves against Bolter Fire... that makes them crumble against tactical squads unloading from rhinos. Orks will not get saves against almost any gun. Kill the green skins.

Move your Rhino up and unload your tacticals to deal with the Cadian Shock Troops, use the heavy bolters to take down the Stormtroopers, and save your Meltaguns for the Leman Russ tanks. Using the right guns on the right units is key!



Dalton King said...

One of the biggest problems I find with meltas, is players placing them in squads of numerous marines. Or combi-meltas, even though it's only one shot I always seem to get the short end of the stick.

Ash said...

Meltas are only effective at short range, one thing I see is people do is find a position a sit in it. You have to change your plan to fit the situation. ie if meltas are on your doorstep move find a new position while you shot at them.

Mobility is key in shooting. Know where the threats are and how to get cover saves against them and how to move to deny cover save for them.

If you sit in one place no matter how great your list is a skilled player will take advantage of your obvious tactics and crush you.

The shootiest army Tau rely on mobility to win. People hate Tau and say they are not competitive, these are the people who setup gun lines and try to shoot it out. This tactic ended in the civil war, Move move move, Mobility allows you to hold initiative and force your opponent to react to you. This means he will make more mistakes, that you then must exploit.

Jawa I know you have talked about this some, but I think an in depth topic of willing to sacrifice your units for the greater strategy would be helpful. I see a lot of players who are afraid of loosing units. Never mind the mission they play defensive and scared, sometimes you have to sacrifice in order to force your opponent in to a predictable position to take advantage of him.

You way you use Daunte is classic. So many players would see him as x many points and say I have to protect that he is you valuable. No unit is too valuable when is comes to setting up your opponent or forcing them into a disadvantage.


Skringly said...

Just a quick note, 'Feel no pain' is ignored by weapons thats strength is double the base toughness. So no feel no pain for Nob bikers with lascannons.

jawaballs said...

When I compared Lascannons to Las guns, I was actually referring to the fact that they get the same cover save and/or invulnerable saves to both... depending on specific circumstances and wargear. This is a post for noobies though. No need to get into specific particulars here.

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