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Spell_of_Destruction
11-07-2011, 00:28
Those of us who can remember 3rd ed will recall that screening was a major tactic for many armies. Enemy troops blocked line of sight so if there was a nasty elite squad hiding behind a horde of lowly troops you either had to kill the screening troops first, position your own troops on higher ground or outmanoeuvre your opponent. This was a dilution of the old 2nd ed rule that you had to fire at the closest target.

Screening has been largely done away with in 4th and 5th edition and sometimes I wonder if that has removed something fundamental from the game. Now you can just choose whatever target you want - that screened units benefit from a cover save is not really seen as an issue because 4+ cover saves are so prevalent that players seemingly create lists on the assumption that any unit they fire at will have a 4+ cover save.

I miss the outmanoeuvering aspect of the game - getting in behind that horde unit to fire at the elite troops behind. Taking an elevated position with heavy weapons conferred real tactical advantages, allowing you to see over screening units.

I also think that the reintroduction of screening would increase the number of viable builds as a transport would no longer be an absolute requirement for certain units who could again benefit from the protection of hiding behind a large horde unit.

What does everyone else think? Maybe I'm crazy but I thought that screening was one of the more interesting tactical elements of 3rd edition.

RandomThoughts
11-07-2011, 00:33
Thank you! I absolutely agree.

Quadros
11-07-2011, 00:38
Yeah I actually miss screening too. It gave a point to hills and made the high ground a tactically valuable territory. It also made more sense, I mean how exactly do you shoot 'through' an enemy unit?

Dorn's Arrow
11-07-2011, 00:39
Screening works at the moment, only instead of being an impeneterable wall against all enemy fire screening units provide cover and get in the way of assaults.

Spell_of_Destruction
11-07-2011, 00:43
Screening works at the moment, only instead of being an impeneterable wall against all enemy fire screening units provide cover and get in the way of assaults.

True, but I addressed this in my post.

4+ cover is so prevalent that it's barely seen as an advantage. The emphasis in 5th ed is on high rate of high strength weaponry. It's almost assumed that your target will get at least a 4+ cover save.

Yes, 3rd ed screening did allow you to build an impenetrable wall unless you outmanoeuvered your opponent which is exactly the point I was making - I miss the absence of this tactical element.

In 5th ed - you successfully outflank your opponent only to discover that the screened unit is in cover anyway and that it doesn't really matter where you fire from.

Konovalev
11-07-2011, 01:42
Don't know what armies you play, but when I use my Tau I find screening to be quite effective: Throw some gun drone pairs off a transport in front of my crisis suits, suddenly I'm not being annihilated by lascannons and plasma weapons anymore since I now have a 50% chance of making the cover save. And I don't have to worry about dangerous terrain tests jumping back into actual cover.

Also, 3rd allowed you to shoot at vehicles behind infantry didnt it? In 5th a squad can give cover to a vehicle which is quite nice.

Also, thanks to true line of sight, outflanking serves the purpose of negating non-area cover or gaining visibility on the target at all. Outflanking a vehicle is often the difference between it having a cover save on its front armor, and no save at all on its side.

The Orange
11-07-2011, 01:57
Didn't like it. Your assuming that an army is capable of those maneuvers, when really it's something that some armies specialize in, while others don't. Having the high ground should be advantageous, but then again that all depends on the battlefield you play on too (I've played on precious few that actually used hills).

4th edition also had target priority which wasn't bad in concept except for the fact that LD in 40k is cra* to begin with (i.e most armies don't even have to think about LD problems, while a handful suffer greatly). I was over it when a squad of my Firewarriros spent an entire game trying to shoot a land raider, I repeat "SPENT THE ENTIRE F* GAME" shooting something they never had a hope of hurting. Meanwhile iirc all SM units could use their HQ's ld regardless of LOS or distance.

A better fix is reducing the overall cover save, making screening more important (and I believe it's been said that in 6th their doing that).

ehlijen
11-07-2011, 02:08
Both 4th and 5th had screening mechanics. They were just more clearly restricted and not as effective as 3rd (where apparently a minimum unit of scouts stretched at max coherency levels blocked LOS like a concrete wall).

4th had target priority. Nice idea, failed to due to the abundance of ld9+ units, but at least it made vet sarges for devestators have a point.

5th has cover. Now the fact that cover doesn't stack so being behind friends and in a trench not giving a better save than just one of the two is silly, but it's more believable than the 3rd ed version where sitting in a trench was less helpful than having two friends stand closer to the target but not in the way.

Spell_of_Destruction
11-07-2011, 02:12
Didn't like it. Your assuming that an army is capable of those maneuvers, when really it's something that some armies specialize in, while others don't. Having the high ground should be advantageous, but then again that all depends on the battlefield you play on too (I've played on precious few that actually used hills).


Shouldn't mobility confer certain advantages over taking a static gunline? It seems dubious that we should be questioning screening because some armies have limited ability to get around the screens.

I'm not saying that screening currently isn't a factor in the game simply that it isn't a significant tactic. Screening is currently an ineffective way of protecting expensive elites when compared with using a Transport which offers both increased mobility and invulnerability (until the Transport is destroyed).

ehlijen
11-07-2011, 02:29
That should mean transports need to be adjusted, not that screening should be boosted or we'll be back in assault only edition (which 3rd ed very much was for a variety of reasons).

Spell_of_Destruction
11-07-2011, 03:39
That should mean transports need to be adjusted, not that screening should be boosted or we'll be back in assault only edition (which 3rd ed very much was for a variety of reasons).

I'm not necessarily calling for a return to 3rd ed. I think you've touched on some of the problems with screening in that edition - if it is case of all or nothing (either a unit is screened or it isn't) the rules have to be fairly watertight to avoid disputes and/or abuse.

My suggestion is a mixture of the 3rd and 5th ed rules. Enemy models block line of sight to other enemy models. If your unit can't see an enemy unit through another enemy unit then it can't fire at the screened unit. Simple enough.

If your unit can see the screened enemy unit then 5th ed rules apply - you can fire at the unit but it gets to take cover saves. The screening models are treated as terrain for all intents and purposes.

This would prevent the sort of screening abuse we used to see in 3rd edition.

ehlijen
11-07-2011, 03:48
I'm not necessarily calling for a return to 3rd ed. I think you've touched on some of the problems with screening in that edition - if it is case of all or nothing (either a unit is screened or it isn't) the rules have to be fairly watertight to avoid disputes and/or abuse.

My suggestion is a mixture of the 3rd and 5th ed rules. Enemy models block line of sight to other enemy models. If your unit can't see an enemy unit through another enemy unit then it can't fire at the screened unit. Simple enough.

If your unit can see the screened enemy unit then 5th ed rules apply - you can fire at the unit but it gets to take cover saves. The screening models are treated as terrain for all intents and purposes.

This would prevent the sort of screening abuse we used to see in 3rd edition.

That's actually exactly what the rules do right now. You are only allowed to shoot if you have True Line of Sight. Then, if you shoot through another unit (but not if you shoot over them, so hills are still important), you grant the enemy a cover save. But if you can't see the enemy, due to terrain or units, you don't even get to shoot them.

Spell_of_Destruction
11-07-2011, 04:00
That's actually exactly what the rules do right now. You are only allowed to shoot if you have True Line of Sight. Then, if you shoot through another unit (but not if you shoot over them, so hills are still important), you grant the enemy a cover save. But if you can't see the enemy, due to terrain or units, you don't even get to shoot them.

Hmmm, maybe I need to go back and read the rulebook.

I have to confess that I have been playing on the assumption that enemy models do not block LOS (which it seems, for all practical purposes, they do not).

That obviously skewers the idea of my suggestion improving the viability of screening tactics due to the fact that they're not widely seen at present.

I guess that it's just very difficult to completely block LOS using your own units.

With alternatives we are then moving into the dubious realms of magic LOS blocking bubbles which surround individual models or arbitrary percentages to determine if a unit can be seen or not (i.e. if 25% or more of models can be seen).

Need to give this one a rethink.

Nurgling Chieftain
11-07-2011, 04:53
...3rd (where apparently a minimum unit of scouts stretched at max coherency levels blocked LOS like a concrete wall).That's not true. Line of coherency did not screen in 3rd edition, you basically had to use a line of models in base contact. (Interestingly, line of coherency CAN grant cover saves in 5th edition - page 22, third bullet.)

I have mixed memories of screening. Nurglings used to be able to block fire to Plague Marines, albeit barely (didn't work against anything tall!), and that's in part where my username comes from. On the other hand, I remember facing a Wraithlord being screened by Avatar, which in turn was claiming the IC rule to prevent being shot at on account of being within 6" of a friendly unit - namely, the Wraithlord cowering behind it. :wtf: ...That was retarded. :cheese:

ReveredChaplainDrake
11-07-2011, 04:58
When I think screening as a Tyranid player, I remember Rippers blocking LoS to Hive Tyrants. Somehow. (Granted, the Hive Tyrant was a fair bit smaller back then, no taller than a Ravener is now, but still.) As amusing as this would be, it's far too abusive for "screening" to work the same way it did before. 4th edition remedied that, pretty much from that point on, using their small / regular / large target breakdown. The closest thing 3rd edition had before that was the "kneecap" rule. (A 3rd ed Eldar FAQ said that you had to cover a Wraithlord up to it's knee for it to claim cover. Cue crouching / kneeling WL conversions the world over.)

That said, if 4+ cover gets reduced to a global 5+ cover as per the rumors, I want Area Terrain cover for Monstrous Creatures back. At least. That, or a massive price skew.

cuda1179
11-07-2011, 05:01
I actually think a blend of 3rd, 4th, and 5th edition would be nice.

Target priority was a GREAT idea. It actually made leadership useful. I will admit though that it was slightly too easy to pass.

I like 5th edition's cover save system, but I feel that a 4+ save is WAY too good of a save. It would be better for the game is the save was 5+.

Lord Inquisitor
11-07-2011, 05:07
The other thing is that generally, we see screening of Troops by Elites these days anyway. The lowly Troops are the scoring elements and in KP missions, are typically easier to kill then the Elites but worth just as many KP despite the Elites being more expensive. I'm not sure the loss of screening is the only factor in this general feeling.

Nurgling Chieftain
11-07-2011, 05:10
...I remember Rippers blocking LoS to Hive Tyrants. Somehow.The ripper blocks los to the termagaunt. The termagaunt blocks los to the hormagaunt. The hormagaunt blocks los to the genestealer. The genestealer blocks los to the warrior. The warrior blocks los to the carnifex!

...The IC rules meant that you didn't need to block los to the Hive Tyrant at all. As long as he was within 6" of friendly models and not the closest target within 12" to the firer, he couldn't be targeted.

And then came Shoot the Big Ones! :D Tyranid players have always been a bit of a punching bag for GW...

Morgrad
12-07-2011, 00:51
4+ cover is so prevalent that it's barely seen as an advantage.

I can't imagine that this is true. Half of the guys that would have died, died. That's not a big advantage? I screen with cheap crap (read: termagants) all the time to protect my meatier units.


Tyranid players have always been a bit of a punching bag for GW...

Clearly you forget the voltage field on every MC and Tyranid warrior in 2nd edition. And 'stealers with I6, S6 power weapons instead of the rending S4 they have now. ;)

Nurgling Chieftain
12-07-2011, 01:00
I haven't forgotten 2nd edition. I never played it. :p

Morgrad
12-07-2011, 01:17
Fair enough - I played Tyranids before there were Tyranids (when it was just Genestealer Cult - which I wish they'd bring back!) We were definitely not always the whipping boy of GW, and would argue that the previous codex was as competitive as they come, and this one is pretty good -- but that's off topic.

althathir
12-07-2011, 01:39
The problem with screening is for some armies it makes a lot of sense and for others it doesn't.

For example in 3rd I used a squad of guardians as screening unit until I had enough DAs (who were horrible at all time) because it didn't feel right playing a dying race and using the militia as a meat shield. The only unit it makes sense with are wraithguard.

But for nids, IG, and Orks it makes perfect sense.

To sum it up I would rather have them give it to units as an USR, then have it be a base rule. Armies like eldar should have a warp portal or something similiar to provide an alternative deployment so that transports aren't needed.

Chem-Dog
12-07-2011, 02:00
And then came Shoot the Big Ones! :D Tyranid players have always been a bit of a punching bag for GW...

All the way back in second "Shoot the Big Ones" was Andy Chamber's way of redressing the imballance created by the Tyranids in general, no matter what they did IIRC they couldn't stop Tyranids being too hard.


The problem with screening is for some armies it makes a lot of sense and for others it doesn't.

For example in 3rd I used a squad of guardians as screening unit until I had enough DAs (who were horrible at all time) because it didn't feel right playing a dying race and using the militia as a meat shield. The only unit it makes sense with are wraithguard.

But for nids, IG, and Orks it makes perfect sense.

To sum it up I would rather have them give it to units as an USR, then have it be a base rule. Armies like eldar should have a warp portal or something similiar to provide an alternative deployment so that transports aren't needed.

Grotz used to do this for Orks, they provided mobile cover, cleared minefields and generally acted like a carpet over the worst of bad terrain. But then Orks got high speed disposable catapults to put them in combat instead of having to trudge across the battlefield and grots lost their utility.




As for the OP. Screening wasn't something that ever worked beneficially for me, IDK why, I just remember it as being more of a pain than an aid.
Much as I do the blanket 4+ cover for having bad guys in the way.

I liked Target priority and it would have been fantastic if units other than the closest incurred an Ld Modifier appropriately (subtract the number of units you wish to ignore from your Ld THEN make the test), hell even multiple tests to ignore each unit till you get to the one you want to shoot would have been better.

Spell_of_Destruction
12-07-2011, 02:27
I liked Target priority and it would have been fantastic if units other than the closest incurred an Ld Modifier appropriately (subtract the number of units you wish to ignore from your Ld THEN make the test), hell even multiple tests to ignore each unit till you get to the one you want to shoot would have been better.

I like this idea a lot.

ehlijen
12-07-2011, 04:10
That's not true. Line of coherency did not screen in 3rd edition, you basically had to use a line of models in base contact.


Where was that rule? We could never find it and thus couldn't stop the local Tau player from using 6 firewarriors to screen all his broadsides :(


Also, don't forget that 3rd ed nids had "shoot the big ones" which basically meant screening didn't work for them, as I recall.

Nurgling Chieftain
12-07-2011, 04:59
Where was that rule? We could never find it...This sort of thing baffles me: I tell you a rule doesn't exist and you ask me where it is. I can tell you where the rule for screening is. Page 45, left column, last sentence. "Enemy models will block line of sight to other models up to twice their height." Line of coherency is not an enemy model.


Also, don't forget that 3rd ed nids had "shoot the big ones" which basically meant screening didn't work for them, as I recall.Eventually. 3rd edition came out in '98. That codex came out in '01. What, three years? 'Nids didn't have "shoot the big ones" until almost 3.5. Let's just say I saw a lot of 'nid screening, followed by a lot of 'nid player screaming when that carpet got yanked just for them...