Friday, January 6, 2012

Terminators: Putting it Into Practice

(Editor's note: this terminator article series is almost finished up. All credit goes to g3nius_monkey for writing it.)

Putting it into Practice
There is no "best way" of putting all of this to practice, and I will not even try to attempt to explain the hundreds scenarios in which players can maximize the effectiveness of their Terminators, but i will give a few general pointers as to what I've done to improve my game.

Take these with a pinch of salt but understand that I'm pretty seasoned in this regard, and while not everything here might not work for you you can definitely try and adapt it to your play style.

1) Be Flexible
Terminators are a utility unit. Whatever ultimate role you plan on your Terminators filling when you draft up an army list, you should always remember that you're not limited in your execution. A bad player is one who's thrown off by the inclusion or un inclusion of a particular unit in an enemy list. Just because your opponent didn't bring any MC's doesn't mean your Land Raider loaded up with TH/SS Terminators doesn't have anything to do anymore; they can be as lethal to regular groups of infantry. And if your Terminators don't end up soaking up volumes of enemy fire while the rest of your army advances unharmed, don't waste any time shifting your role from bullet sponge to death dealer if you have to.

And just because you buy a Land Raider for your Terminators doesn't mean they have to enter play riding it; you ALWAYS have the option of deep striking if you'd like to, and you'll find that many times you'll wish you have done so. Also, there's nothing wrong with just walking your Terminators onto the board from reserve, as few players expect a Terminator squad from nowhere to walk on your board edge and annihilate one of the troops they planted in your deployment zone.

Keep an open mind as to what it is your Terminators are going to do in a certain game. Take a moment to size up your opponent's list to get an idea of how best to use your men. If mounting a full frontal assault against a Leman Russ/Vanquisher Battletank line seems like a bad idea, deep strike your Assault Terminators instead and see if you can get his tanks to turn around. If a Nid player looks like he's bringing lots of horde, it might be best to start off with your Squad on foot so it can start laying down fire right away, instead of waiting to arrive from reserve. Simple considerations like these can drastically effect the performance of your Terminators in battle.
2) Formulate a Plan, and STICK TO IT
When you size up an opponents list, there's generally only one or two units that your Terminators are going to have a maximum effect on. Send your Terminators after these units on turn one and STAY ON EM!

Suppose you've decided that some ork guys Nob Bikers are going to give you a headache later in the game when you're trying to nab last minute objectives. If they start running away once you make an aggressive move, give chase! It's amazing how many players will simply drop their attention away from the Nobs and randomly try to pursue closer targets, only to have the Nobs bite them in the rear later game.

Don't let yourself feel like your Terminators aren't doing anything just because they're not killing models; just the fact that your opponent is going out of his way to avoid them speaks volumes for the psychological impact they're having on his army. If he chooses not to evade your unit, or even charges you head on, don't back down. This is a game of chicken he's likely to lose, and after all its what you wanted anyway, right? I know opponents who like to play head games (or who think they're being really smart somehow) by letting me do exactly what I had hoped to accomplish with a unit, hoping that I'll trip up somehow. Players of most any game will tell you that you are most likely to make a mistake the moment you see yourself winning.

The secret is to keep your cool, and move on to your next target as though the first one never existed in the first place. Keep up your momentum and they'll win you a game in no time.
3) Go Big, or Go Home
When thinking about how I'll play with my Terminators in any given scenario, I draw inspiration from their text in my Codex;

"Terminators are invincible, they are unstoppable and they never yield."

You have little to gain for playing cautiously with your Terminators. They are too slow to avoid being pummeled by your opponent's heavy weaponry and cover only marginally improves their resilience to gunfire. It is for this reason I say that if you are going to move your Terminators from point A to B, then you do so as quickly as possible with little regard for enemy resistance.

Better to die marching than crouched in a crater, I say, and this holds true to the fact that if your opponent is willing to risk everything he has to stop even a single Terminator from reaching an objective then it's sure as hell worth trying to get there. Yes, I've frequently had my Terminators gunned down before they ever got within charge range of their intended target, but I've also gotten there with even a single Terminator and the payoff is spectacular. The reward is always far greater than the risk in these cases, and it is a better player who tries his luck winning than drawing a game carefully.

The bigger message here is to take risks, as whenever there is any risk involving Terminators then you know that the payoff is going to be massive. If you're going to deep strike, put your Terminators right next to the unit you intend to take out the next turn. Yeah, there's always the chance that you'll lose the squad, but what are your alternatives? Land somewhere 2' away so they can get shot to hell anyway? I've always understood that losing an expensive unit to something as stupid as a mishap severely dampens my ability to win a game overall, but I don't see the point in even putting them on the table if they're not going to accomplish what I needed them to anyway.

That's really all I have to say. Hopefully you guys can learn or add something to this of your own.

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