Ahh my favorite topic to discuss!
The issues with Drop Pod assaults have been a persist threat for many editions but 7th is giving them an extra edge.
In order to battle this threat, we need to look at it from their perspective.
They have the ability to strike at turn 1 without fear of repercussion even if they go 2th.
They strike where they want and when is predetermined.
After the initial strike, you are crippled and still have a heap of MEQ bodies to deal with and nowhere to go.
With the advent of 7th edition, you are not only boxed in but all the objectives are most likely claimed by the AV12 hull of the drop pod.
A strong equation but they do suffer on a few points!
after the initial strike, their mobility advantage is completely lost.
If you are able to preserve your MEQ hunters, they will lose their staying power faster then you.
If we compare those lists, we are able to influence where and what they strike. If done properly, our advantages will play out better then their strenghts.
How to do this is tricky.
The rules for Drop Pod assault state that if they deviate, they only deviate until they hit a piece of terrain or unit and move as close as possible. We can actually use this to our advantage.
The more general C:TE armies can use bubble wrap methods to protect key units. The drop pod units will favor short ranged weapons that strike hard such as plasma and melta. Depending on army there are 2 special weapons where you might get lucky or it will come from expensive sternguard that wield some combi weapons and ap 3 rounds.
We will be unable to completely avoid getting shot. However, if we can avoid giving away rapid fire shots at key units that might prove to be enough to wither an attack.
The bubble wrap method will also provide a 5+ cover save in order to prevent casualties.
Besides denying extra shots, this will also provide us with some space. After the initial massacre is over, we can increase the already existing gap. If you roll above average for the Thrust move, it is quite possible that they will not be able to fire a single shot in the next phase.
After all, 3 squads of marines are not scary if they can't reach you.
To get more out of your bubble wrapping, leave 4 - 5 inch between each unit. That space is large enough to avoid those rapid fires but small enough that a drop pod wouldn't fit. Be wary of spaces between units since the marines can still move 6' after disembarking.
In order to get even more out of your bubble wrapping, use terrain to fill in the voids between your army. They can only drop in front or behind of the terrain and not in it. so this is a fairly safe zone to create distance. Again, beware of the disembarking move.
X = Kroot
Y = Crisis suit
V = Skyray
T = Terrain
Code: Select all
X X X X X
X Y TTTTTTTTTTTTTT
X Y TTTTTTTTTTTTTT
X X VVVVV
The marine player can elect to drop directly in front of the kroot but if done right, a rapid fire should not be possible.
The same for the side with the terrain.
If your opponent decides to drop multiple squads so that he can wipe out the Kroot first, take unhindered shots at the Crisis suits and have another squad take out the skyray, then that is fine.
you will lose units, make no mistake. But on average an 1850 list should go with a drop pod or 7.
Taking out of the kroot first is a major loss in firepower for him since they weren't all that awesome to begin with compared to plasma rifle toting crisis suits. He might require an additional squad to take out the Crisis suits but that will also reduces the casualties since he now has one squad less to take out a vital unit.
Combine the above deployment with a table corner. If there is a scatter, on average it will be a 7. If you leave gaps behind you on the table edge, you create a risky drop for him. He might deploy as normal and risk it or lose a full squad.
From the table corner out, use the terrain and bubble wrap method to stretch out a bit and keep your anti-meq units at a good distance from a strike. Doing this, you have prevented him from pushing you in a corner, from losing everything that is ap 3 or less AND now he needs a 2th turn to strike hard but will find himself a short.
The more terrain you use, the easier ofcourse. It is highly dependent of your table setup. If you use some LOS blocking terrain then that is also perfect to avoid getting shot at in the first place. Again, do not forget that they can move 6" to get a better view of your units.
A last method to overcome this is to anticipate these kind of builds in your army. I played a local tournament where I had placed 1ste if I had not failed the 3 pinning checks that come with one of warlord traits.
My opponent was a space wolves player with 7 drop pods and 5 bikes. 3 pods with plasma guns, 3 pods with melta guns and 1 pod with flamers.
I fielded the following:
2 Riptides IA, EWO, CDS, TLFB
2x 3 XV8 +2xPR
1x 3 XV8 +2xBC
1x 3 XV8 +2MP
1x C:TE Commander +2xMP, Iridium
1x 6 Firewarriors.
In my deployment I used the firewarriors, riptides, skyrays and burst cannon suits to make up the outer shell. Everything on the outer ring would have a cover save regardless of any angle he would choose. I deployed in my right table corner with a 6" space from the edge and stretched up to 24" from the right table side. I had an anti-meq unit on each side so that even if he commited to a single side, he would not be able to take out all my plasma rifles.
When the dust settled he killed one skyray, one riptide and the 2 burst cannon suits. After he deployed, I noticed that he had 3 plasma squads near one riptide so I had that one intercept the 4th squad that was on my left side. He killed 7 marines and essentially saved my MP squad that contained my markerlights.
At this point I failed my 3 pinning checks for the MP squad with Commander, Plasma rifle squad and the Riptide. The loss of mobility and markerlights at this point decided the game for me. If I had a single movement phase, I would have deleted 2 squads and put enough space between my most left units and the right side where he had his army. To stall him further, I moved the firewarriors toward him to restrict movement even further.
It was a very tight game at that point and I ended up with 1 objective claimed and 1 contested vs 2 claimed.
If I had the movement, he would not have been able to launch assaults on my plasma rifle suits and lockdown that area of the board.
In the end, deployment wins the game against this kind of army. or take interceptor on everything
**Edit: fixed example formatting