3 things you can do to maximize your HQ

I'd like to take a few minutes to cover some things you can do to get the most from your HQ models and Independent Characters on the battlefield.

Being the expert that I am in this (having only played a couple games in the past year...not even with a legal list) I feel as though I can speak with some authority on the subject.

How so you may be thinking?
I play Deathwing and we've got arguably the worst "HQ" model out there right now.

It's like having a Sergeant be appointed your force Commander two minutes before making planetfall by way of drawing straws on the flight deck.

Maybe a good idea in theory, but not in reality... ever. Not when there are lots of really big, tough, mean HQs and monstrous Creatures running around out there.

So what can you do to get the most from your HQ?

1. Paint him to the best of your ability.
By that, I mean spare no expense. Make him look every bit the part. You want this guy to step onto the table a scream "Look at me everyone, I'm the one in charge."

This is going to get one of two responses from your opponent.
They are going to spend everything they have trying to kill him which in turn will spare your other units for a round or two depending on how long it takes. While this may be the right response from them if you're fielding a close combat monster, it still buys valuable time for your rank and file guys. And who knows, they may be motivated to perform better having just seen their leader drop in hail of gunfire.

Or... they are going to ignore him completely. Again, not a bad option since he can slip in and contest objectives at the last minute if you're smart about it. If he's any good, he may be able to earn his points back by getting into the fray too.

2. Model him larger than life.
We all know the tricks... big banner on his back, standing on top of a huge rock outcropping. You know the drill. He may have nothing more than a power weapon and a master crafted pistol, but he should look like he has enough firepower to bring down a medium sized battle cruiser without breaking a sweat.

This may also get one of the two previous responses from your opponent.

Make him look important and people will think he is. This guy looks important with his fancy decorated armour and really long, razor sharp claws. But he's harmless in the end. Like I said, a Sergeant that's been field promoted.

Now there is the opposite approach here that can be considered and that's to build and paint him like the rank and file guys with little or nothing to set him apart from all the other troops out there. I'm not advocating lying to your opponent, I'm saying that you just don't make your HQ stand out.

This is going for the surprise effect. When the unit he's in get's into combat and all of sudden your Commander is rolling through the enemy like a freight train, it's too late for your opponent then to start asking questions about that one model with the fancy helmet crest than none of the other ones have.

The Black Templar employ this with their Emperor's Champion on occasion. Looks like a normal troop, but no... he's taken a vow and he's much more now.

Is he a game changer, maybe not, but he'll definitely be a surprise when he starts doing all kinds of things that regular grunts aren't capable of.

3. Play your HQ in an unexpected manner.
What does that mean? If you've got a weakling, posture him on the table like he's a close combat monster. Make your opponent think your guy is much worse than he really is. Talk him up, take chances you might normally take. If you look confident in how you play him, it might be just enough for your opponent to decide it's not worth it.

While none of these are earth shattering, a combination of the three might be just what you need to extend your Commander's life past the first turn he get's out of his transport.

Guest Post by Ron, From the Warp
If you have any questions on something in this post, leave a comment and I'll be glad to answer!
Thanks goes to Chris for letting me share this post.


Siccarus said...

Ill have to try the rank and file Idea, my captian usually ends up bogged down in cannon fodder and not acting as a counter punch.
And I do have to say, Nice metal models atteh top of a ruin over looking the battlefield Will be shot at first.

Space Hulk Enthusiast said...

Ryan: You're right, put them on top of a ruin and they're sure to draw fire.
Try making him more like a troop but with a key distinction or two and see how he works out that way.

Unknown said...

Sorry to say it, but this is one of the worst articles I have ever read.

Why would I ever try to model my commander to trick my opponent into thinking he is really dangerous? Anyone who actually knows this game will know what he is/isn't capable of.
Or why would I try to "hide" him in the rank and file as you mention in trick 3? Do you think people will just forget where your Hq model is? Trying to trick people like that is just sad.

I don't understand why Jawaballs allow this shit on his blog to be honest. I would rather have 1 article a month than waste time on this.

Space Hulk Enthusiast said...

allaho_5: I'm sorry you feel this way. I do appreciate the honest feedback.

Like I mnetioned, the idea is not to trick your opponent... the idea is to make him blend in with the rank and file guys or go the blantantly obvious leader route. It's (the blending in) a practice used in real combat as well as enemy often look for the leaders to single out.

Playing Deathwing affords me the abiltiy to try either approach really with my Commander. On one hand, he's suited up just like the rest of Terminators on the field wearing termie armour. On the other hand, I can really push it to make him stand out and use him as a centerpiece to draw attention.

In the end, it's up to you how you choose to model/paint your Commander. Knowing that how you do it will have certain results on the table can be helpful depending on what you plan to do with your HQ.

Thanks for commenting!

Unknown said...

Don't mind my foul language, I just get so tired sometimes that I don't watch my language ;)

Anyway, both the "blending" and "standing out" tactics won't really work against any competent player. So I don't understand why you would model him for any of those purposes, rather than making him the awesome leader you have always loved or however you like them moddeled.

Do you know what I do with my rune priest? I made him look awesome as shit, and hide him in a rhino all game and hope he doesn't need to show his face. What's that? Both approches in one? :P

Melon Head said...

I personally make my commanders stand out a bit. Never realy did it for any in game effect I did/do it out of fluff/RPG reasonings. I feel a little extra attention is appropriate .

Space Hulk Enthusiast said...

allaho_5: Actually, you've hit on a good point... you are doing both at the same time. You've made it possible to use him as a super scary HQ by the way you painted/modelled him, but hide him in order to minimize his impact until you want to capitalize on it.

Mellon Head: I knwo what you mean. Sometimes it's fun just to see if you can capture the "feel" of a character... no matter if it helps in game or not.

Ziek said...

Even the most competent players make mistakes.

These tactics that Ron speak of are good. Warfare has always had an element of showmanship. Showing one thing to distract or obfuscate is standard practice. While they don't always work as intended, showmanship can be a key to victory. Another term for "Standing Out" is baiting. I believe that is a standard tactic seen around the table top.

Space Hulk Enthusiast said...

Ziek: when you play Deathwing and you've only got a total of 15 models on the board... you get creative and try to move the focus around sometimes.

Baiting is a good way of saying it too. although I don't have much "bait" in my army.

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