Board Control and You!

Hey all!

Just wanted to write a quick little tactica now that I’m really starting to understand some of the psychological aspects to the game that might not be immediately apparent if you’re just looking at a unit on the basis of its raw stat-line. This previously missing element is “Board Control”.  

If you’ll bear with me, I’ll adopt the following definition:

Board Control:  Attributes of your units that deny your opponent from proceeding at full effectiveness.

Pretty general, right?  But it’s really very simple.  Historically, I believe the strategic concept is called a “Fleet in Being”.  Simply having a battleship in port is enough to prevent your enemy’s fleet from going out to sea, for fear of being attacked and trounced by said battleship.  In this way, a battleship doesn’t actually need to do anything short of exist in order to be effective.

To get even simpler the above concepts can be summarized thusly:


You wouldn’t want your multi-wound ogryns anywhere near a Toxicrene, for example.  You might think twice of Deepstriking your Terminators into a plasma shooting gallery.

Said plasma guns don’t actually have to do ANYTHING in the game, but if it prevents those terminators from dropping down where they can be most effective, they may have paid for their points cost!

Example:  Ork Morkanaut


As a Guard Player, 4 S10 AP 1 attacks scare the ever loving crap out of me.  At 13/13/12, there really isn’t a soft underbelly to hit him short of Meltaguns, and even Meltaguns aren’t particularly reliable in this sense being single-shot weapons.  So my only other options are to institute the Paskian Death-protocols or nuke it from orbit with a Manticore.

As an Ork Player, I would march him right up the centre of the table and shout “COME AT ME BRO”, and watch as just about every Guard unit scatters in an attempt to stay 18″ away from it, especially vehicles.  That would be 7 sq. feet of actual physical Board control the Morkanaut would exert.  A 36″ diameter “No go” circle, if you want to rest assured knowing that the Morkanaut will have zero chance of wrecking your day.

As an Ork player, you’d be the one asking the questions, and it would be up to the Guard player to find the answers.

Synopsis:  Too durable to shoot at, too stompy to get close to.

Another Example:  Tau SMS Systems


This one’s pretty much a no brainer, but Tau SMS systems carve out a 30″ radius of NOPE for any standard infantry.  Light armour is also an issue, as if you think you’re hull down and pointing anything but frontal armour at the SMS wielder, you might be in trouble.  Glancing side-arcs at 5+, and not requiring LOS is really, really tricky.

In order to operate under the missile umbrella you need to be really cautious, creative and accept that casualties will stack up in the event you start losing transports.

Synopsis:  If you go near team of Broadsides with 12 Twin-linked S5 AP5 shots that ignore cover and line of sight, you will quite likely die.

Yet Another Example: Astra Militarum Hellhound


This unit is somewhat situational, but I’m really learning how to use it and love it lately.  Part of the trick to keeping it alive is to keep it at maximum range and only go full-hog if you need to maximize the pain for a turn.  The Hellhound helps NO ONE if it’s immobilized or dead.

Otherwise, it’s perfectly capable as NOPE fuel.  Ork Bikers particularly hate this thing.  Wounding on 3’s at AP 4, ignores cover?  That’s a lot of points to get incinerated under that single template.

Approximately 12″ range with 12″ movement, you’re looking at approximately 24″ threat radius.  Not bad.

Synopsis:  Situational, but can remove a good portion of the table for anything with a 4+ or worse armour save.

So… putting this into practice.  How do you use the Board Control to your biggest advantage?

It’s likely that your opponent knows exactly which of your units he wants to NOPE away from in order to mitigate their effect.

With this in mind, and knowing that your enemy might be shying from direct combat (if they have the speed to control the engagement and deny battle), you put these big, scary units in places where your enemy will not be able to avoid a direct confrontation (objectives), or shepherd them into a place where it will maximize the effectiveness of your remaining forces on the table.

If your opponent does not have the speed to deny battle, then there’s nothing stopping you from taking that unit and kicking their teeth in with it.  Do so, while the rest of your forces cap objectives.  By the time your opponent recovers, the damage will be too much.

That’s about all I got for now — Are there other good units / synergies that have superlative Board Control that I should be aware of?  Hit me up!

14 Replies to “Board Control and You!”

  1. Well dude thanks for writing up this article for us all. 😀 The unit I am in love with at the moment is the vulture gunship with twin-linked punisher cannons and a heavy bolter. 23 strength 5,Bs 4 pinning shots and vector dancer special rule is a very nice combo and all of the above for around 155 points I think.

    1. !!! The Vulture is definitely something that is on my shopping list. It strikes me as the hard counter for FMC’s and can chew up just about anything on the ground. Have you played many games with it?

  2. Well I have only played one extremely casual game with my friend in my house because my rule for myself is only play with whats painted(it keeps me motivated).But yea I never realised how good vector dancer really is.For instance I was harassing my friends devastator squad on turn three but with only the heavy bolted in range,so he went through a building to prevent line of sight,so I just flew right over him,turned around and blew them to pieces,scoring 7(ish) unsaved wounds.

    As my first medium forge world piece,it wasn’t too challenging to build but a lot of filing had to be done to fit in the Games Workshop bits with the forge world bits, especially around the wings to keep them level.

    1. There should really be no excuse with Vector Dancer to not be shooting every turn. To be honest, I’d almost feel bad using it in a casual type game unless I have my opponent’s express approval.

      It’s always depressing removing marines by the handful…

      1. Ah don’t worry dude he had plenty of naughty things in his list,for example “the three musketeers” which in other words are three fancy forge world dreadnoughts!

  3. I was under the impression that Guard had the perfect answer to the Morkanaut, to whit “pin it down with hordes of cheap bodies since it’s only going to mash four Guardsmen a turn in melee and who gives a crap if four Guardsmen die?” Admittedly you have to get through the Orks, but that’s why Guardsmen have guns and orders…

    1. You’re absolutely correct.

      If I were an Ork player I’d be aware of this and shove about 20-30 shoota boyz in the vicinity to chew any would-be blocking units to pieces before that happened. The cost differential between shootas and regular guardsmen when you factor in Wargear is pretty much a push, so I kind of ‘unconsidered’ it.

      Sure, I could then Wyvern and DAKKA down the boyz, but in my experience there’s also a Painboy nearby, so they’re rolling 5++ KFF and 5+++ FNP. oof.

      Should also be noted, even if you give your entire platoon krak grenades against AV13 you’re not doing anything, you’d need to give the sarges meltabombs, which get a bit pricey when you buy them in bulk.

      1. I don’t think the point is to do anything to the Morkanaut so much as to stop it doing anything to you.

        Agreed that proper guidance and support of the Morkanaut will render this more difficult – the point toward which I’m driving is that you do have a perfect tool to minimise its impact IF the tool is delivered properly. Anyway, I’m not here to teach anyone to suck eggs, so I shall shut my yap forthwith.

        1. Yep — it’s certainly an option, and there always are options on the table if you want to deal with something like a Morkanaut.

          My point is more that by simply having the Morkanaut on the table you’re making the Guard player adjust the way he might consider attacking you.

          Using the other examples I presented, if a hellhound ventures too close it’ll go up in smoke (because assault!), but the threat of having it there is enough to keep expensive bikers and genestealers away from him. Dark Eldar shudder with D6 hits on anything their open topped transports are carrying. It doesn’t have to flame ANYTHING to be effective, because the DE will either shoot it off the table, and if that’s not possible, stay clear of 24″ of it. That would be a win in my books, particularly if there’s an important objective you’re keeping those fast units off of.

          With the Tau SMS, there’s not a heck a lot you can do short of removing the offenders. You cannot hide, you cannot run, all you can do is keep things in AV12 transports FACING the SMS system and hope that something doesn’t flank you.

          In this manner, these three units keep you on the backfoot, and they don’t even have to do anything, just be on the table.

  4. Notes on Ork Gork…keep it mind it also has rampage, and if its part of the formation, it can waaagh, and reroll a charge dice. It has a HUGE threat range as part of the dread mob!

    This is article is great though, as it is a reminder that you do not need to kill something to
    1) remove it from the game
    2) influence the outcome of the game.

    Merely the threat of something can cause your opponent to freak out. Can you imagine the first time the lichtorshame list showed up? People were probably confused as heck.

  5. Yeah, I’ve had some people mention that they take DW terminators just to bottle people’s deployment up for a Manticore barrage (pick your poison, really at that point)

    Meltaguns in drop pods force me into some interesting shenanigans in an attempt to keep my Russes alive, and places them in non-ideal firing positions…

    Shenanigans like this are rarely considered when evaluating something’s point cost, which is why I think the internet-at-large *COUGH* Abusepuppy *COUGH* need to take a chill pill when reviewing someone’s Codex.

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