Tuesday, February 2, 2010

To Reserve, or not to Reserve: that is the question

Your opponent has you outnumbered and outgunned. Valkyries loom menacingly over your Eldar warhost, and the ranks of Obliterators staring at your units make a mockery of the few brightlances your Waveserpents sport. You roll for first turn, and fail. What do you do? Go first, and hope to survive an entire turn of fire? Sure, but there's no going flat out for those lucky 4+ cover saves...

Trawling through the archives over at Way of Saim Hann, I stumbled upon this little gem: Reserve-denial. By placing my force in reserve, I can ensure that my units survive the first turn unscathed, ready to dish out some damage of their own when they do decide to enter the battle.

At the recent WarpCon tourney, this tactic worked wonders - for the most part. I had players popping smoke on their vehicles, only to find that my force would start to appear at later stages, when the smoke had long cleared. Relying on my speed, I was able to clear considerable ground when my tanks arrived, after all, 24" from the board edge is nothing to laugh about.

Of course, reserving units is a double-edged sword. In one of my games, my Banshee-mounted Waveserpent arrived on turn 5, the very last turn of the entire game! I was still able to use it to contest an objective, but as you can see, it's not really getting the most out of a unit. The trick is knowing when to reserve and when not to. Sometimes of course, choosing to keep units in reserve can prove to be a disadvantage rather than an advantage.

Consider the example I've shown here in this picture - the White Scars player has placed his entire force in reserve, allowing the Tau player to infiltrate his Kroot along the opposing player's board edge. With no vehicles to tankshock, the White Scars player had no way to enter the battle. Sure, this is likely to happen once every trillion years, but it's a good example to illustrate the duality of reserves!


(that is one happy Tau player right there)


Mal said...

That Tau player is a super hero.

Iggy said...

Yeah, I think I'll be telling tales of his amazing feat for decades!

Dverning said...

Bwahahah. Epic. That White Scars player is never going to forget about Infiltrators again.

Of course, the nice thing about playing Eldar is that we have Skimmers and Jetbikes. I've had someone try to do this very thing to me... so I flew over his models and killed his army anyways. :-p

Reserves Denial is something you can even base a full army on, ala BoLS "Riposte" host. It helps to have an Autarch (or two) to get your guys on the field faster.

As you say, the key is knowing when to use it and what to use it on. I love it (and have even written several articles to that end...)