Thursday, November 5, 2009

Army Mojo: Elites

Elites are commonly looked upon as the Hammer of an army. Some lists rarely use them (I almost never see Elites selections in Imperial Guard armies, for example) and others use them extensively. A very common tactics in using Elites are to pound the crap out of the enemy and then use the rest of your army do the cleanup (stray squads, models or objectives). This, of course, means you’ll drop a lot of points and trust in those units but the advantages tend to outweigh the consequences in most lists.

It is incredibly important to know the strengths and weaknesses of your Elites units more than any other in your entire army. Not only that, but it is even more important to know what the purpose of the squad will be when you create your list. Other units, such as Troops, can have malleable purposes based on a situation. This is not a good idea with Elites. Why? A big reason is because they’re generally expensive. You never want to pay a butt-load of points for a unit without even knowing why said unit is in your army- it betrays logic. While building a list, a good way to figure out what Elites choice may work is to build a “core” force of Troops and other necessary units and then see where your list’s weaknesses are and fill those holes with your Elites choices. They are meant to be the sword of your army: useless on its own, but held by a skilled fighter, it can do a lot of damage.

Another necessary thing when determining what Elites choice to take is that you need to constantly weigh pros and cons such as how fragile they are, how powerful they are and what cohesive element do they add to your army. When you finally have found a good balance, you have to think about how they will work into your list- whether they’ll be tank-hunters, hammers, anti-infantry, or a shielding unit (in that they draw fire away from the rest of your army) all comes into play when you are deciding whether “unit x” is really worth more than “unit y”. A lot of this comes down to play-style and, even more importantly, play-testing.

Toy with new ideas, build new lists, but be sure you are looking at your Elites for what they are: Elite units meant to soften the enemy enough for the rest of your army to take care of them. With that very basic concept in mind, you can begin creating new tactics for your army to take advantage of and be able to accurately determine where Elites fit into your strategy.

Next up are Troops choices…

I’d love to hear your comments on this, so fire away!


Consadine said...

In other words, Elites are unitaskers. Right?

Kevin said...

For the most part, yeah. Some units will be apt at multiple roles, but generally you will find them either "designed" for a role or there will be a certain role that is most effective for them.

A good example would be Assault Termies. All Lightning Claws = Great Anti-Infantry. All Thunder Hammers = Great Anti-Tank models. In my personal opinion, the Lightning Claw combo is the most effective for that role as long range weaponry will be able to take tanks out before my Assault Termies hit the lines. Now on the otherhand, TH termies are FAR more survivable. So what I do is take three TH/SS and two LCs and target tough infantry. From there I can create secondary roles in case their primary role is covered by another unit or there is no need for it. These roles generally are tank clean-up (getting rid of pesky tanks my long-range stuff can't take out) and tying up units that can cause me a lot of trouble. That's just a personal preference, though, which (as I mentioned) has a massive impact on how you choose your Elites and what they are.

Moon said...

A great example of Elites being used extensively is in Tau armies. My Tau would be useless without the Crisis suits. Stealth suits are a bit hit or miss.

The adaptability of Crisis suits is phenomenal. You can make them anti-tank, anti-infantry, Elite hunters, or anti-horde. Many configurations allow for a bit of both (TL Flamer + Missile Pod or Fusion Blaster).

Great summary of elites.

I will say that I have a buddy that plays Guard. He loves using Karskins to take out my suits or another buddy's Tactical Squads.