Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Ethereal Council: Deepstriking your XV8s

Old Shatter Hands studied the data and statistics on his xv8's inner helmet computer. Diagrams of enemy weapon loadouts and various codes scrolled before his eyes. A three dimensional map of the battlefield appeared before his ponderous eyes. "Pathfinder feeds are coming through now. Relays are online."

"Confirmed, Shas'O." responded his accompanying Shas'Ui battlesuit pilots.

The digital battlefield map rotated horizontally and vertically to give him all perspectives. He searched it for an advantageous avenue of approach on the attacking forces. He zoomed in on potential LZs and calculated enemy threats.

Patrolling piranha pilots had located enemy forces less then 10 clicks ago and sent digital messages to the Orca for support. Garrisoned Broadsides and Hammerheads were the first to arrive while Old Shatter Hands prepared for the drop from the safety of the Tau Orca. Devilfish APCs remained cloaked until well-positioned. Old Shatter Hands sent commands to ground forces via radio and cellular communication waves.

His cousin, nicknamed Centurion by his cadre due to racking up 100 kills of Gue'la regulars during the Taros Campaign, stood by with his bonded team of Shas'ui. They anxiously awaited the command to execute the drop and studied the incoming datafeeds from ground forces.

Then the bay doors of the Tau Orca slid open, the glow of the red planet below lighting up the stocky build of their XV8 suits. As their visual sensors filtered out the dust and smoke of the battlefield below. A rocket flew up and whizzed towards them only to explode on the Orca's energy shield, Shas'Ui pilots flinched at the explosion.

"Ho! Looks like a feeding frenzy at a Kroot bridal shower down there!" bellowed Centurion.

Old Shatter Hands turned to his cousin, "Centurion! Prepare your Shas"Ui. We drop on my command."

"Aye, Old Shatter." He nodded. "Listen up, Shas'Ui, the time is now. Our blood is forfeit for the Tau'Va. You didn't want to live forever did you? FOR THE TAU"VA!"

Old Shatter Hand surveyed the field, he linked his hard-wired visual systems to the Orca's sophisticated sensory systems and pondered the best moment to strike. He saw an opening. "Centurion, coordinates Q253465, E983781. Deliver the Mont'Ka!" The bulky yet nimble XV8s leaped from the Orca to descend on the chaos of the firefight below...

So how cool is the idea of deepstriking? I simply love surprising my opponent by dropping XV8 Battlesuits from the sky, unleashing a flurry of plasma and missile fire
in a pin-point attack. The problem is, it's difficult to know exactly which is the best landing zone and where to strike. Do I go for safety or do I go for the glory? Most players will choose a spot that gets them a big kill while simultaneously putting their 'Suits in harm's way. They fear scattering too close ot the enemy or over impassable terrain or even off the board so they position the unit 12 inches away from any terrain, enemies or board edges. This type of deepstriking often leaves deepstrikers out in the open and vulnerable to a concentrated reprisals by enemy troops. I'm different. I risk it all and position my XV8s where they are safe and hope for the best rolls. Of course a marker beacon helps.

Consider proximity to the enemy.
You don't want to get too close so that your unit will get assaulted in the next turn but you want to be close enough that your weapons are in range. You want to cause damage but you also have to prevent your units from dying. Consider too that the surprise element is a weapon in itself. You may be better off saving your guns for the next turn in order to survive the drop.

Take cover, Shas'la! Deepstrike to a position that allows your deepstrikers to take cover and protect themselves rather than putting them in a position to get the biggest kill.

Stick together. Don't isolate your XV8s. While clad in sophisticated and advanced battlesuit armor, XV8s still need supporting units. I tend to deepstrike my units close to a piranha squadron, that way if I fear an enemy assault, I can turbo-boost my piranha in the way to create a skimmer-wall of defense. This also means that if the enemy decides to shoot my XV8s, they'll get a cover save from the blocking piranhas. By turbo-boosting, the piranhas will be getting one as well. This can also be done with Devilfish upgraded with disruption pods. In addition, a supporting unit will also be able to assist by providing supporting fire.

Look before you leap. Don't get surprised, be the surprise. Know thy enemy. Before placing your XV8s, carefully consider which enemy units can threaten your Battlesuit pilots. Choose a spot that looks good and then quickly survey your opponents army and see which units are capable of mounting a successful counter-attack. If it looks bad, choose another spot.

Delivery the Mont'Ka with the utmost confidence and enthusiasm. Ok, we all know how dangerous deepstriking can be, but remember fortune favors the bold. Not only that but it's game, have fun and be adventurous, ya nerd!

Bearing all this in mind, you should have some spectacular successes with deepstriking. It can really throw your enemy off and get your battlesuits exactly where you need them. A couple pieces of wargear to consider are the Positional Relay and the Pathfinder's Devilfish Marker Beacon. Both of these items can be extremely useful when deepstriking, one allowing you to control reserves and the other allowing you re-roll poor deepstrike scatter.

It's my belief that one day, the Tau will have a new Codex that makes them the best deepstrikers in the game. With marker beacons on all devilfish and XV8s getting the pinning ability on all their weapons the turn they deepstrike. Until that day, let's get some practice.

I'd love to hear any suggestions, stories or tall-tales of great successes with XV8s deepstriking. Any recommendations? Any lists built around deepstriking? I kindly request that readers refrain from comments discouraging deepstriking as this isn't what this post is about.


Raptor1313 said...

I'll admit I'm not really a fan of deep-striking the suits.

What are some situations where you'd actually consider deepstriking something like a missile/plasma suit? What are some situations you'd think about deepstriking, period, rather than being on the table and getting shots off at range?

Adam said...

When you know your opponent is going to rush your lines with very fast units.

Of course, if your opponent knows your army as well, that can really scupper your plans.

Deepstriking suits like this is awesome against noobs, but I'd never try it against a hardened tournament player. Especially when you have to announce it when you set up.

In my recent Tau vs Tau game, I had a couple of units waiting purely to take out my opponent's deepstrikers -and they did!

Old Shatter Hands said...

Starting the game on the board, Tau can quickly find themselves backed up in a corner as the enemy closes. I often find myself trying to blast through and create an escape route. Instead deepstriking or reserving the majority of my force has really given me more options and fluidity. I find my core lasts longer.

I'm deepstriking at least one squad of XV8s every game. it offers you a chance to pull off some heroics and can throw a monkey wrench in your opponents plans.

suneokun said...

Deep Striking and flanking (with kroot or Stealth Suits) are what the tau are all about. The ability to 'open up' the battlefield from a 'slowish' mobile infantry or gunline to a rear attack by XV8's and XV25s is essential.

In last nights game, the XV8 (one Shas'El and three shas'las) jumped the terminators making their way towards the enemy. Two turns of shooting had reduced the squad to just Lysander.

The Move-fire-move means that 'trapping' a XV8 squad behind enemy lines is tricky as they can take their shots AND reposition.

However, beware! I eventually got the charge on the XV8's with 55pts of roughrider and wiped them all out (shield drone and Shas'El included) ... I5 plus S5 powerweapons are not to be sneezed at, but it took a 22" charge to catch the buggers...

Amiś said...

Well, I have to say that deepstriking two teams of two Shas'ui in XV8 battlesuits had saved my ass. I was playing against Tyranids, and he took sth what he calls "Flying Circus". Essentially everything having wings being capable to. And... in first turn I lost Pathfinders and squad of 12 Fire Warriors. And Hive Tyrant have destroyed HH's Railgun.
But suddenly... well, I burnt him out! >:D

Only commander and one team of XV8 made it to the end, but I had 9 kill points, he had 7, and it was WIPEOUT overall. I love to see opponent's face while DS XV8's

Sholto said...

The only times I would consider deepstriking my XV8s would be when I see I am facing an opponent that is likely to stay back and shoot. Not many will choose to do so against Tau, of course, but when you cripple their transports on Turn 1 in a KP game, they will always head for cover and try to slug it out at range, hoping for a few cheap Tau KPs to win the game (and we all know how many cheap KPs Tau have to give up). With them at range, you need to find a way to close the distance to get into rapid fire range with your XV8s, so I might hold back a unit or two in those circumstances.

Other than that, I am not a fan of deep striking, since I might have x00 points sitting off the table and not contributing in any meaningful fashion for 2 or 3 Turns.

I rarely find myself pinned in a corner and not liking it. Usually, my corner is a rapid fire deathtrap that I want the enemy to trip, and I have plenty of mobile units (piranhas plus reserved Devilfish) to create trouble elsewhere. Reserving the bulk of my firepower seems an odd choice, however.

Old Shatter Hands said...

It depends on play styles I suppose. I tend to reserve lots of stuff so I can make sure I have a solid core at the end of the game. I like to deploy my long range units, hammerheads, broadsides, deathrains and keep fire knives, piranhas and devilfish in reserve.

I can certainly see why people shy away from reserves and deepstriking. There are certain armies though that I will always reserve the majority of my force against. Drop Pod Armies, Daemons, Imperial Guard (though watch for that guy who delays reserves), basically armies that rely on a first turn alpha strike.

Pete W said...

Hey Old Shatter Hands.

I'm loving the blog. I just started a Tau army and having the Tau of War (plus Warhammer Tau) is really helping me shape some ideas of what to buy or what not to buy.

I've just moved to the Rockville area from England a couple of months ago and I noticed that you play some games at Dream Wizards. I haven't had a chance to play since getting here and I'd love to have a game (I have Tau and marines) if you're ever in the Rockville area.

My email is pgwallin@gmail.com if you're interested.

Thanks and look forward to more of the blog.