View Full Version : Sure Fire Way to Win

The Judge
07-05-2005, 21:39
It makes sense to me, and has been the pearl of wisdom from a friend of mine who regularly attends and does extremely well (top 5) in many UK based tournemounts.

To win a game of fantasy, an army must dominate two phases of the turn, and contest at least one other. So a fast Chaos army with some minor magic support as I am prone to taking (and tend to win with... ;) ) would dominate movement and combat, while contesting magic.
A beardy Empire army, as I always seem to experience at the Tournemounts, would dominate shooting and magic/combat depending on their choices, and contest magic/shooting, again depending on whether they have knights or mages.

Can anyone else out there agree with me, give exceptions or argue against me? I would be interested to know if you share this belief.


07-05-2005, 23:05

Just because you can shoot a lot, and cast a lot of magic, doesn`t mean you will do well with an army. Having the right shooty stuff and the right magic, and being able to use them against all comers out there is the key. Having a small combat army against southlands for example, with a few elite models and really tooled up lords and so on, would put you in trouble, since they can be shot down quite fast and won`t get to earn a lot of VPs.

Putting your money on facing certain armies only will end up being a tourney decided by lady luck; meet the foes you want to meet, and you will do well, face the wrong kind of armies, and you are dead. Easy as that.

07-05-2005, 23:54
As a simple statement, dominating phases is the way to win. However, there are a lot of factors, as Oguleth mentioned. How one goes about dominating a section of the game is key. Being fast is no good if you aren't any good in hand to hand. Being real shooty is no good if the target is heavily armored or otherwise resistant to missile fire.

I guess what it boils down to is "define dominant".

The Judge
08-05-2005, 13:25
Dominant is not just having the stuff there ready to use, you need to know how to use it.

Being fast can be good for shooting, magic, combat, and indeed moving - a unit of fast cavalry can be used for distracting the enemy and luring them with flee charge reactions - it is this kind of "domination" that could also be defined as leaving your opponent either confused or unable to reply - if you want to dominate the shooting phase against an Empire army, destroy all of there shooting power.

Of course, having any army against a really good opponent would make you less "dominant" as all the tricks you would normally use to "dominate" say, combat, could be cancelled out by him simply avoiding the charge.

What it boils down as far as I'm concerned with is, when planning an army, aim to cover at least three of the phases, so that you have for exmaple adequete magic protection, powerful combat troops and enough speed to ensure that you can get the charges when and where you want them.

Yes, it is a vague statement, but I believe in practise it works.

08-05-2005, 13:39
You can`t ignore any phases, that`s for sure. You have to have plans for how to deal with every phase of the game, how you do it is how your strategy can be defined.

Is having lots of scroll caddies dominating the magic phase? I wouldn`t say so. But you are coping with the eventuality that the enemy can have lots of magic, and will make his magic phase worse off.

Are you dominating the shooting phase if you have stuff that takes out shooting, but no shooting phase of your own? You are dealing with it, but you aren`t shooting are you?

Are you dominating the movement phase if you have mainly infantry (like skaven), and perhaps a few marchblockers? You aren`t really moving fast, but you are coping with the enemy moving fast.

Are you dominating the combat phase if you play an unegagement army? You aren`t really defeating stuff in close combat, but you are defeating stuff since you deny the enemy his combat phase, are you dominating it, or are you ignoring it?

In other words, saying "it`s good to dominate phases in the game" is about as usefull as saying "it`s nice to kill stuff every now and then".

The Judge
08-05-2005, 21:18
I said it's good to dominate phases in the game, yes, but I put a number on it - can you argue the case me? Would you put a number on the number of phases you need to dominate to have a better chance to win?

Obviously you can say "more than the enemy..."

In the cases you presented, they are all classed in my book as "contesting," despite my earlier attempts to try and define dominate. In my new sweeping, bold and ultimately full of holes coverage, I would say to dominate is to be better than the enemy.
This means that an Empire army with SIGNIFICANTLY more shooting than any other dominates the shooting phase. My Chaos army contests it against most armies because it can destroy the war machines.

This tactics thread is far more complicated tha it sounded talking to the guy, and when I was thinking about my armies and their battlefield prowess...oh well.

08-05-2005, 21:36
Then I wouldn`t say you`d need to dominate anything, just be able to contest everything. Then you can just use your brain and do well.

Dominating sounds to much like making unbalanced armies, and thus making the army rely on meeting the right kind of opposition.

08-05-2005, 22:42
While I agree with you that dominating phases is the way to win (and the specific figures you suggested are probably right), I think that some phases are more important than others. Personally, I see the Movement phase as being by far the most important. I mean, if you can dominate the movement phase completely, completely outflank your opponent, no matter how much your opponent's army dominates close combat they're all but done for (in most cases).

Pretty much every game I've won has been down to superior manuevering, not designing a super-choppy Chaos Lord of Khorne delivery list. In Warhammer, there's really no match for a fully ranked unit in the front and some flankers in the side. Nine times out of ten, you can't beat those combat res points.

08-05-2005, 23:56
I said it's good to dominate phases in the game, yes, but I put a number on it - can you argue the case me? Would you put a number on the number of phases you need to dominate to have a better chance to win?

That's a good question, actually, and i think this thread has a lot of promise for in depth discussion. :cool: First off, i think we should define the phases.

Lemme see...

I get:

Missile fire
Close Combat
Magic (which includes elements of the previous three, but there is a lot of other stuff that magic can do as well, so i'm placing it in it's own category)

Is there anything else?

So...going by your friend's assertion, dominating, say, movement and missile fire, while contesting, say magic, would win you the game. On a meta-strategical level, it makes sense. If the guy can't get to grips with you in any way and can't fire back effectively, then you're going to do more damage than he can. example: an army of Dark Riders against an army composed entirely of foot troops with little or no shooting elements of it's own, and the magical forces of either side are evenly matched. The movement effectively cancels close combat unless you want to get to grips, so you're dominating a third phase as well.

It's when you get into the details of exactly how one dominates a phase that things get sticky. ;)

09-05-2005, 10:43
It's when you get into the details of exactly how one dominates a phase that things get sticky. ;)
Well that depends on the phase, doesn't it? Let's look at shooting first, because I think it's the simplest.

Okay, so this is my idea of what dominating the shooting phase would involve. First, obviously enough, you need sufficient missle troops to have a considerable impact on the game. "Considerable impact" is a fairly loose term, but I would say for shooting to be a major decider in a game you need to be consistantly panicing enemy units (say one or two a turn) so they will flee and hence reduce your opponent's army to a disorganised mess. Failing that, you would have to deplete enough enemy units to such a degree that they are not a major force in the game, effectively reducing them to uselessness. Lastly, dominating the phase would also invole silencing whatever missle troops your opponent has brought along early in the game, so they cannot have any impact on the game whatsover and contest the domination of your own shooting.

By fufulling this set of conditions, you become the dominant force of shooting on the battlefield by eliminating the opposition in that phase and by using your missle troops in such a way that they cosistantly have a major effect on the battle; either by reducing enemy units so they are next to useless or by taking them out of the game entirely by means of absolute destruction or (more realisticly) panicing them.

Anyone have anything to amend/add?

09-05-2005, 14:47
That sounds reasonable to me. I'll probably come up with better commentary while staring at financial statements today. ;)

10-05-2005, 23:52
This sounds good too. But what I am thinking would be good Idea is to start a thread that included the ability of different races to dominate each phase.

Maybe tomorrow I'll start such a thread. It will give me time to orgainize a way to display it.

11-05-2005, 06:58
MarcoPollo: I think we could just keep it all in this thread, no point in making more than we have to and letting the good advice already here get buried. Anyway, it's 6:30 in the morning and I can't sleep, so let's talk about dominating the Magic phase!

First point with this is actually have enough magic users on the board to dish out enough spelly goodness to impact the game. Obviously this varies from game to game and depends on your opponent, but as a rough guideline I'd say in 1000pts you need four levels of magic and in 2000pts you'd need 6-8 levels (this is trying to stay reasonably fair, obviously you could just max out on magic). The next factor in dominating the phase is actually getting enough of the right spells off to influence the game. Now we all know the various tactics for getting off the spells we want to, so I won't go over them here (although you'd do well to check out Avian's page on casting values (http://www.stud.ntnu.no/~tarjeia/avian/calculations/casting.html) ), what I want to focus on is making sure your spells influence the battle.

Now the sheer variety of lores makes it impossible for me to talk about specific spells (I suppose we could look at each one in turn), but at the basic level spells break down into two categories: Direct and Enhancement. Direct spells are cast and they have an immediate effect, usually doing some damage to your opponent's units. There are only a few really damaging spells like this (Warp Lightning, Gork's Warpath, Gaze Of Nagash) so they can fit into your battleplan either in a minority - using them to destroy flankers and small units - or as a majority - concentrating a lot of these spells on a single unit to wipe it out.

Enhancement spells really do exactly what they say on the tin, make your units move fast, hit harder or stick around longer. Obviously to get the most of these you have to have units to cast them on and in a position in the battlefield to take advantage, meaning the effectiveness of these spells is dependant on your setting them up in the other phases. Despite this, they can still win you a game. Many battles I have fought have hinged on a single combat, and certain combat enhancement spells like Hellish Vigour can be used to tip the balance in your favour. They can also help counter one of your opponent's advantages, for example Unseen Lurker can help a slower army counter the speed of an elven opponent.

Okay, so those are (some) of the ways spells can win you games. The final point is you have to remove the competition, and by doing so make your spells more powerful. Sometimes you can do this using magic (Brainbusta' is perfect for killing enemy mages), but mostly it's done in conjuction with other units such as fliers and skirmishers. When playing a magic-heavy list I find it is worth the points to invest in a mage-hunting unit to secure my dominance in that phase, it's much easier than fighting Dispel Scroll after Dispel Scroll.

Done! Any comments? I feel like I rambled a bit in the middle.

The Judge
11-05-2005, 17:12
Looks fine.

To really domintae the magic phase, I think to say having more magic than the enemy is simply vague and stupid. I played a game with my Chaos against Dwarfs that took a Runielord on an Anvil, a Truthsayer and the Dark Emmissary (please don't start questioning this...), while I only had two Level 2's. Logic would say that I would have magicked to death - Fog of Death and Coils of the Serpant, Gift of Life and all sorts fo other nastiness will drain any magic pool...but I still won.

This goes back to the earlier point of What Phase Is It Best To Dominate?
I would say that with careful targeting, Magic can be cancelled out or contested easier than other phases, even shooting, due to the phase being controlled by only a few (2-4) models per side, rather than units and war machines.

Despite this though, Magic is the phase that it is easiest to dominate, in my opinion.

11-05-2005, 18:34
So, since we are talking about the magic phase; what races have the best/worst ability (in general) to dominate the phase. I really only know a few races but I'll put my 0.02 in. I realize that Chaos has a wide range, but given this, what would they be in general. You could Tzeetch-out and win the magic and combat phases but loose the movement and shooting phase. So let us consider well balanced 2k point lists.

Lizards (good/excellent in general) = 4.5 stars out of 5 stars

Chaos: including beast/demons (good in general) 4 stars

Empire: (average/good) = 3.5 stars

Tomb Kings: (good) = 4

Vampire counts: (average/good) = 3.5

Skaven: (good/excellent) = 4.5

Dwarfs: (poor/average) = 2.5

These are the only ones that I could speak about with any type of authority. Does anyone else have an opinion.

If you disagree just list what you think would be a better all-around score for races in general (it would get too messy to start to include all the sub-clans etc).

11-05-2005, 18:54
Well, the way I see it, dominance is about being able to significantly affect the course of the game during a particular phase. To be precise, during one of YOUR phases.

Ok. That the theory - nice and vague, and we can toss it around till the cows come home.

Dominance in Specific Phases - A Summary:

Movement -
You are able to bring your troops into a position where they can do the most damage in subsequent phases. Needless to say, simply dominating the movement phase isn't going to win you the game.

Magic -
You need to be able to bring enough magical force to bear to significantly weaken an opponent. To expand on SlyRaccoon's rather excellent summary, you have two (very broad) categories of spells.

Direct damage spells are, well, fairly direct. Take out small, fast expensive units or focus all your spells on your opponent's most valuable/effective unit.

Support spells either enhance your own units performance (Vanhel's, Unseen Lurker) or mess up your opponent's plans (Dominion, Howler Wind, Titillating Delusions, Enrapturing Spasms).

Same principle as magic - take out the soft-but-expensive stuff, or concentrate fire on a single enemy unit. Having enough missile troops to do so, either alone or in conjunction with a solid magic phase.

Ok. This is the most straightforward - charge in, and kill enough stuff that an enemy unit is destroyed to the last man (not likely), or breaks and runs (a lot more likley).

16-05-2005, 19:20
Well, the way I see it, dominance is about being able to significantly affect the course of the game during a particular phase. To be precise, during one of YOUR phases.

The other side of the coin involves countering (or "squashing", as I have heard it described) an opponent's dominance. Squashing takes place during an opponent's turn, and basically revolves around negating any of your opponent's advantages.

There is contesting a phase, which means you have SOME stuff to hinder the other guy. And then there is squashing it, which I take to mean that you shut him down completely. NOTHING is getting through.

Once again, looking at each of the phases:

Movement -
Scouts, great eagles, expendable infantry, fast cavalry, summoned zombies. These are all used to squash an opponent's movement phase, either by march-blocking, diverting charges and threatening flanks.

Magic -
Dwarves packing 4 runesmiths. The Hellheart. Killing his mages. Bringing the Staff of Sorcery and 8+ scrolls to a fight with a Tomb King player..

Shooting -
Fast units (light cav, flyers), ambushers, tunnellers to engage war machines. Blocking LOS with summoned/expendable units. Swamping him with targets - either a horde of infantry or whole regiments of heavy cavalry.

Sort of tied into squashing a movement phase - fleeing, flanking, swarms. Having lots and lots of cheap (100 points or less) units, so that 500+ point Chosen Chaos Knight of Khorne regiment spends 6 turns chasing a 50-point Great Eagle.

16-05-2005, 19:41
Right. I've been saving this up for days...

Anyways, back to the topic at hand:

Army-specific examples:

Empire Shooty

Dominant phases:
1) Shooting. Obviously. Handgunners and Hellblasters to take care of troops. Mortars for infantry blocks. Cannon to smash apart enemy war-machines, chariots and big terror-causers.

Average phases:
Magic - 2 level 2s with the Rod of Power packing the Lore of Heavens. The only spell you care about? Second Sign, so you can re-roll any 1s on the Hellblaster misfire table.

Combat - a block or two of Swordsmen with all the bells and whistles to engage the survivors, and to give you something to fall back on when the Hellblasters blow up.

Contested phases:
Movement - small units of knights, huntsmen, Captain on a Pegasus, cheap Free Company detachments. March-block, divert charges, threaten an opponent's flanks with the Knights. Basically, you want to slow him down so your missile troops can get as many shots in as possible.

VC Summoned Zombie Horde

Dominant Phases
Magic. 10 levels of Necromancers, power stones, the Book of Arkhan. Just keep summoning your Zombies, pop off the odd Gaze of Nagash to soak up dispel dice, throw a couple of Danse Macabres to keep him honest. And then summon some more. An average army with 4-5 power dice and 2 scrolls won't have a chance.

Average phases
Combat. Some Black Knights, some Ghouls, some Dire Wolves. Throw them around, keep your Necromancers safe. Snap up the easy points, so you can swarm his important stuff with Zombies.

Squashed phases
Movement - the board is covered in shambling brain-dead things. You don't have anywhere to go.

Magic - sure. 4 Necromancers maxed out for casting might not have any scrolls, but you'll still have 7 dispel dice to play around with. D6 S4 magic missiles are pretty useless when you're looking at 150+ (cheap!) zombies/skeletons, and 7 dice is plenty to try and stop the really nasty stuff.

Combat - ok. So you kill 10 Zombies. 50 more where they came from. Sooner or later, you're gonna get ground down.......... unless you're playing a pure Khornate army, you just won't have the attacks. And even then.....