Thursday, May 19, 2011

Deep Striking or Deploying

When playing a Descent of Angels army, the first decision you have to make is whether to deploy normally or deep strike. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, and should be used in certain circumstances.

The biggest advantage of regular deployment is its reliability. You know that you’ll have all of your units from the beginning of the game, with no chance of any squads staying off the field until the fifth turn. You also have the advantage of being able to place your squads exactly where you want, within the confines of your deployment zone. This is the biggest downside to deploying normally: it forces you to cross the table at normal speed. Even for jump packers, this can leave you vulnerable to lots of enemy firepower.

Deep striking is essentially the opposite. Your squads can deploy anywhere you want, but there’s some uncertainty as to when or where they’ll arrive. This is lessened for our jump packers, as Descent of Angels removes much of the uncertainty in regard to both time and space. However, any other deep strikers such as Terminators will have to arrive via the normal rules. The freedom of positioning allowed by deep striking allows you to place your units in the best positions, limiting damage from enemy shooting and often being able to destroy enemy vehicles before they have any chance to react. However, you’ll often be fighting the enemy with only a portion of your army, at least for the first couple turns.

In general, I prefer to deploy by deep strike in most games. I deploy normally only in cases when the enemy has very limited firepower and is relying on large numbers and assault power. In these circumstances, my units will take only minimal damage from ranged fire. In addition, I may need my entire army assaulting in a coordinated manner to deal with these types of armies, usually Orks or Tyranids.

In cases where the enemy has significant firepower, particularly vehicle based firepower, deep striking provides a major advantage. This seems to be most of the armies I face lately. The only exception to this is if you’re playing on a table with lots of cover for your units to advance behind. Sometimes this can work better than deep striking, but be mindful of the type of cover that you’ll be advancing through. Anything that causes dangerous terrain checks is hell for jump troops to advance through.

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