The Power of Mediocrity
There is something to be said about being average in a game of Warhammer 40k. In a world of grandiose weapons of destructions and larger-than-life heroes, there are the teeming masses of lesser beings pushing for victory. My focus today is all about the average to below average units that can swing our games and bring about victory. A few people may be wondering why would you not want to field the best units? Well. there are a few reasons why fielding subpar models can very well be a strategy in its own.
Creating a level playing field can create a difficult decision for your opponent. Without noticeable threats popping up around the battlefield, your opponent will make mistakes with a lack of focus for their fury. Making target priority unclear can give you a bit of breathing room. A player with an unclear strategy will revert to more basic options; removing unit close to objectives or dealing with a unit due to proximity and not lethality can give you a slight advantage.
Easy target priority
A good example to looking at target priority Can be seen when looking at a list of units. Lets use the Popular Ynarii army as an example:
• 10 Man reaper unit
• shining spears
• wave serpents (unless all the reapers and characters are hiding inside still….)
•Yvraine and other characters
• 3 man reaper units
Depending on your tastes, the breakdown of target priority breaks down quite naturally. Soulburst is an important role in this list, and depriving them of their two most soul bursting unit is a huge blow to this list. The hard part is actually cracking open transports to get the threats you want to get rid of, but the idea is there.
Hard target priority
On the flip side, an army whose strength is its average-ness is the ever growing Poxwalker/cultist lists we see quite often. This list has a more difficult target priority breakdown:
• Cultists ( or horrors)
• Plague burst crawlers
• Whatever character they’re running
Now the hard part begins when cloud of flies comes into play. The list excels in just recycling and respawning models to the point that you don’t even want to engage your enemy. The power of this list lies in holding objectives and slowly swallowing the board; denying later game drops due to the board being covered in zombies and cultists. The feeling of uselessness targeting any of these units makes for almost all of these units to have the same threat appearance. Granted, the plague burst clawers do have some decent weapons on them, but the sheer resilience makes most shooting attacks feel wasted on them. Though the list can be picked apart, target priority is a very diffcicult game to play against this. We hope you get to go first 😉
*I’m probably getting my priority wrong still 🙁
Playing with the Underdog
When we show up to play at a GT, we are aware of specific builds and models that we have to be prepared for. Working under the meta radar with under represented units can be a strength you should consider exploiting. With a popular build like the Ynarii dark reaper + Shining spear list, units like the unassuming guardian defender or windrider can be the secret sauce to a list bristling with higher priority threats. Though a list like this commonly supplies a blob of guardians, other armies have access to average units not usually seen in competitive play.
A great example of average can be found in the imperial guard, where the lowly veteran squad has been MIA since the 7th edition. This unit at first glance is pretty good, but with being moved to an elite slot and needing a transport to be effective, this unit never sees play. I recently found though that people shrug at the mention of veterans; an ignorance that should be exploited. Come Tallarn. With the ability to advance and ignore -1 penalties to assault weapons, the veteran squad has some serious teeth when decked out with meltaguns and shotguns. With the ability to move + advance + Move move move, you. can slingshot this unit 14-24″ without penalty to their shooting. I’ve used this tactic with quite some success in last games to snipe characters. This also works great when using the myriad of ways Tallarn can ambush/outflank up the board.
*** Edit: great catch by syzzyk – Since move move move replaces your shooting attack, this is an invalid strategy. Guess it’s back to the drawing board with my desert raiding bad boys! ***
The great thing about this unit is that most players don’t see it as a threat due to its short range and mediocre weapons. A lot of people too are unfamiliar with the awesomeness that are the Tallarns as well. Since most players in the meta are using Cadian or Catachan regiments, these small unit combos might not be on your opponent’s radar.
There is definitely bonus for playing with units not normally seen in the meta, but let’s talk about it more in depth in another article.