Friday, March 4, 2016

Tactics: The Sky is Falling Down With Jump Thrusters and Ropes

We all have seen troops listed with some form of the ability "Airborne Deployment" (abbreviated as AD: with a level type), but how do you truly get the most out of these kind of troops and How do you protect against them? These can be some of the hardest questions for newer players and even veterans alike (I know it sure was for me when I started!), so let's break down first how to defend against them and then, secondly, how to use them effectively yourself with a breakdown of the different types.

Defending Against AD

AD is a tricky because you never quite know where it'll be coming from. They could literally drop from the sky, or they could walk on from the table edge, or, in the most extreme and niche case, they could walk up right behind you from your own deployment zone, so keep your eyes peeled and proceed with caution.

My favorite and most effective strategy to defend against AD is to use your own troops to watch your DZ. More than likely you already have troops who are back there hiding, so use them to cover open areas in your DZ, around the table edge of your DZ and right outside of it as well as a few inches forward of your DZ. This way if any AD jerks do decide to try to wreck your order pools by eliminating the weakest links, then you get a free reaction against them since they have to spend a whole order to appear. It's really great when you have a 10 point Forward Observer use their flash pulse to blind any AD punks that drop in and then move to eliminate them on your own turn. Good times, good times.

Second would be total reaction bots or other similar defense units. Set them up in good perches that overseer a good amount of the borders or open areas and watch as your opponent struggles to find good placement for these troops. Nothing says screw off like a whole magazine of heavy machine gun bullets in your face as you drop down from a dropship.

Another fun trick is to use a hacker to run counter measures against your opponent whenever they use troops with AD: 3 or higher. Makes it a whole lot harder to land when you're rolling a -3 on PH plus any other negatives. This will usually help keep your opponent from dropping AD troopers, but won't prevent them from walking these troops on from the board edges. Still keep troops watching the borders!

Lastly, make good use of troops with Sixth Sense of any level or link teams. Even if their backs are turned and your opponent decides to walk a trooper on and then shoot your Sixth Sense troop then you can still react and then use that opportunity to stay alive for the initial assault and fight back later. Nothing ruins your opponent's day when they forget about Sixth Sense and they get carried away about shooting you from behind and then watching their ultimate plan fall apart. It's a really niche benefit and not the most reliable defense method, but it can help when in a pinch and don't have the man power to your borders or open areas.

Using AD Effectively

One thing to keep in mind here is that you can downgrade your level of Airborne Deployment to a level that works best for you. For example, you don't always have to use AD: 3, you can choose to use AD: 2 and just walk on from the table edge instead.

Also, don't forget the benefits of EVO Repeaters when using AD troopers. If implementing troops with AD 3 or higher, EVO Repeaters can be beneficial.

AD: 1 Parachutist

Probably the hardest type to pull off because it requires some planning and gambling, but if you pull if off correctly it's totally worth it!

Table areas.jpg
Sections where airborne troopers can walk in from

While deploying the rest of your troops you have to dictate which quadrant's table edge your trooper will walk in from. This can lead to some bad scenarios where you accidentally picked a zone where your opponent has focused their efforts on. If this occurs try to make the best of the situation you can and walk your trooper on where your opponent can't draw line of sight to them or make it minimal. If it comes down to it, make sure you bring a troop with some type of vision-restricting grenades to lay down some cover to protect them when they walk on.

Decide during deployment what role you want these paratroopers to play and then think about your overall game plan. Try to quickly sketch out troop movements and your game plan now and then decide where to deploy this paratrooper accordingly. Do you want them to be offensive, defensive, get objectives, etc?

AD: 2 Airborne Infiltration

The same as parachutist, but now you don't have to plan out what quadrant they'll walk in from during the deployment phase. Now you can choose at any point of the game where you want them to walk in from and watch as the mayhem ensues! This option is extremely flexible and can really cause a lot of trouble for your opponent. You can adapt your tactics to meet any threat you want, whether you want to defend your troops, make a significant advance onto an objective or launch an important vanguard assault.

This is also a fantastic choice to downgrade to if you don't feel comfortable attempting to drop your airborne deployment troops onto the table. Sometimes it's just better to walk on from the edge and play it safe.

AD: 3 Inferior Combat Jump

You can drop these troops literally anyway on the table as long as you can place the circular template at the desired location. Once you place the template and the trooper inside it, roll a PH - 3 test and if you succeed then the trooper lands successfully without any hiccups; however, if you fail then the trooper will suffer a dispersion and can end up losing the troop or 16" in a horrific location.

This option can be really risky, but if you pull it off it can really be worth it. The ability to drop almost anywhere on the table is incredibly significant, so try to use these troops carefully, don't just throw them into the fray for the sake of it; however, this is probably a terrible choice for these troops and you'll almost always want to deploy using AD: 2, especially if your opponent has any hackers that can ruin your chance of succeeding at a drop.

AD: 4 Combat Jump

Same as AD: 3, but now you just take a PH test without the -3.

Again, use these troops carefully and try to plan out where would be best to drop them and how effective will that drop be according to the troop's point value. If you drop right outside of your opponent's deployment zone without drawing line of sight to yourself and then dropping right behind a good chunk of your opponent's army then do it. Another great option would be to drop into your opponent's deployment zone and start wrecking all of the troops that are in the back there hiding.

Again, sometimes you might want to consider just walking these troops onto the table from the edge if you don't see any real advantage of dropping in. Sometimes it's simply not worth the gamble if you receive marginal success from it.

AD: 5 Superior Combat Jump

Same as Combat Jump, but now whenever you disperse and it causes it a pretty nasty accident, these troops are automatically allowed to deploy in your own deployment zone.

This option really takes most of the risk out of dropping in, so it'd be advisable to almost always drop in. These troops are the masters of surprise and fantastic for exploiting and weak defense point your opponent leaves. Use these troopers to bust weak points that your opponent has left open and break these points open even further so the rest of your army can move in. These are pretty much your door-busters or objective takers. Don't be afraid to play them aggressively because that's what these troops live for.

AD: X Tactical Jump (aka Van Zant's a real jerk)

Same as Airborne Infiltration above, but now you can choose to deploy in your opponent's deployment zone to the extent of even walking onto the table from where your opponent is standing! The ultimate pain in the butt, but extremely effective if your opponent forgets to use troops as rear guards.

You should almost always choose to walk into your opponent's deployment zone. Nothing beats shooting up a bunch of order monkeys and crippling your opponent's order pools.


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