Friday, 17 September 2010

Battlewagon Tactics : Deployment

One of my precious Battlewagons
So here is the list I'll be using for the upcoming Greek GT (unless I figure out something better or someone convinces me that it really sucks). But how am I going to use it and try winning some games? This is the ways I figured out how to play the army after a year of using similar lists.

For the deployment part the principles are simple enough. If you win the dice roll at the beginning then give first turn to your opponent. On the other hand most people tend to go first so this works for you if you lose the dice roll. It might sound a bit suicidal but hear me out. This list is very good for flanking your enemy and directing the game on the side you want. So you must know where and how he sets up his forces. If you don't know where he is going to deploy his units then you totally lose that element and you are going to be in for  a few nasty surprises. You'll probably end up chasing fast skimmers across the board. After all you'll have 1/6 chance to go first after all.

The exception here is if you play in a Spearhead setup. In this case the deployment options are much more limited. Just stick your Battlewagons 12'' from the center and you know that the opponent is just going to be in the opposite side.

Try to deploy as far away as possible from his big guns. Put some terrain between your vehicles and his Railguns/Lascannons/Lances and maybe you'll deny him Line of Sight. Never deploy in the middle of the board since you'll probably get shot at the side armour from both sides this way. Stick to just one side for most of the time. Some of his guns maybe out of range and only one Battlewagon is really exposed.

Against outflanking units you'll feel like sitting between a rock and a hard place. I've played against outflanking Khan Space Marines and outflanking Vendettas and it's not a nice experience. Not knowing where he is going to come from leaves you unprepared and you can get shot in your exposed side and rear armour. One solution is to move all the Battlewagons in the middle of the board and then turn them sideways so their front side is facing at the short table edge with the fifth vehicle in the middle. This way the one in the middle will get 3+ cover and the other ones will probably get a 3+  cover save if they get shot in the rear armour. This is an example using Vassal:

The Battlewagons should be protected or else you won't be winning any games. It is obvious that if you take them away then the army loses it's mobility. No mobility means no objective contesting and not getting close to enemy units and killing them in close combat. Keep them safe at all costs even if you are putting other units in harms way.

Against Alpha Strike heavy armies this can be very difficult. If your opponent is bringing melta wielding Vets inside a Vendetta in your face on the fist turn or throwing two drop pods full of combi melta totting Vanguards in your rear armour then the chances for your Battlewagons to survive are slim.

A form of counter measure is to use the large boy mobs and create a wall around your vehicles. if placed properly they could even deny your opponent arriving within 12'' so he won't be able to use his melta guns. This is a rough example using Vassal:
Lets look at the following scenario. You are playing against Imperial Guard. The army includes three Vendettas that are carrying Veteran Squads with 3 meltaguns. Your opponent can move them using their scout ability 12'' away from your Battlewagons before the game starts. On his first turn he moves them another 6'',Veterans disembark withing 6'' of your vehicles and can now use 2 dice for their melta penetration rolls. You will now have to withstand 9 twin linked lascannon and 9 melta shots. Unless you are extremely lucky with your cover saves you might lose all five of them in a single round of shooting. Not good!

In order to prevent this you will deploy the boys outside their vehicles. 5'' away (so the Vendettas cannot fly over them and fit in the gap) from the hulls and 3 rows of boys with the maximum, 2'' for unit coherency. Now the Vendettas cannot go anywhere near the Battlewagons so meltaguns are going to be out of range.

Similar tactic can be used against a drop pod heavy army or a Jump Pack army (Blood Angels do this extremely well). Deploy your vehicles with their rear armour 3'' away from the long table edge and the boys surrounding them. Your enemy cannot even shoot at your rear armour now and the boys will keep the meltas 6'' away. Now he has only 1/9 chance to destroy or immobilise a Battlewagon.

And to end this with a cliche: "No battle plan survives contact with the enemy."  Going to battle prepared can give you the edge but it certainly does not guarantee the win. Outside these guidlines there is a lot of improvisation in every game and also thinking on the spot.  For example I have yet to play against the new Nids so I will try to figure a plan there and then.


  1. Fantastic paint job.

    Even if you lose, you will do it in style with such a fantastic look battlewagon! :-)

  2. Haha, thanks! I just hope that this isn't a sublte way to tell me that my tactics suck :P