Monday, March 21, 2011

Guest Post on Momentum and the Pace of the Game

Hello there DFG followers and guests. This is a guest posting from Seven, a local Eldar player of Evolution Games.

Momentum and What it Means to the Flow of the Game.

I recently decided to pick up Dark Eldar and the first thing I have seen and heard about the army, is that the army is very dependant on momentum. I wanted to pick apart momentum a little bit more and hear some other voices on the subject.

Momentum, I will loosely define as the encroaching force towards your mission. Every army makes use of momentum, some armies thrive on it, some armies can recover from losing momentum briefly, but what does this mean to your play style?

In games with the dark eldar, they initially push forward HARD. Then, once they have done some damage, the army becomes stronger and then they ride the advantage they have just secured (in a perfect world that is). The advantage they gain varies from board control, to pain tokens, to crippling their enemies, and even the psychological damage to confidence of the opposing player.

If the initial push can be diverted, slowed, or nullified, the dark eldar immediately suffer for the remaining of the game. I.E. If they fail to cause enough damage to the Imperial guard player, he then opens with his excessive amount of firepower and puts the frail army through a meat grinder.

But the effects of momentum apply to each army in its own right. Even armies who bring many units that only bring limited strength and do not impact the army should they die, such as the Guard will corrode because the flow of battle is against them. I got a chance to speak with Cvinton on the subject and got some great feedback. With the style that he runs, if his opponent is able to keep momentum on board control, the fields of fire for the guard restricts the strength of his retaliation severely.  Some other imput I received was from OST, when he brings trygons into play from deepstrike, he is creating momentum and the entire army is able to make use of the push granted from the TMC's. If the trygons are able to distract, suppress, or destroy enemy forces, it is quite obvious that there is a powerful pressure that threatens the foe. OST jumping in here - deepstriking in Monstrous Creatures (or anything really nasty for that matter) works to counter enemy momentum by forcing them to redirect their efforts in one or more directions. If they cannot break that, then the tyranids can pick up the initiative and dictate the flow of the game, hopefully setting up the rest of the army for success before they expend themselves - somtimes this doesn't work out though!

Which brings me to my next point, there are certain models in each army that create momentum on their own, that work together to create momentum, and that kill momentum.

In every list there are units that can dictate the game's momentum single-handedly (death Stars) or through cooperation. A death star unit, such as the well known thunder hammer/storm shield terminators, are an obvious sample. The entire army can follow in the wake of destruction and support the unit. The case in point for cooperative momentum I'd like to point out, would be las/plas razorback spam. While none of the five razorbacks are insanely potent killing machines on their own, when they operate in concert, they have devastating force. The last but not least of my classifications would be the momentum killers, such as the plague marines who offer close range fire support but not as much momentum. Just being so durable allows them to diminishes the pressure and halt the momentum of the foe. Many units are able to adapt to the situation to fulfill any of the purposes.

The presence of multiple high momentum generators, sometimes does not mean you will create more pressure on your opponent. I know when I am writing a list, I never bring just the most dangerous units I am capable of because as a current eldar player I cannot afford to bring such specialized models en masse. Two seer councils and three harlequin units does sound like pain to me though.

- OST jumping in again - Dictating the pace of the game and the opponent's turn is often what makes or breaks a game and certainly is a hallmark of a good 40k player. Often times and especially the case above with Dark Eldar, if you can shut down their pace and reverse the initiative, you can take back control of the game. Sometimes this happens in close combat and sometimes through shooting (depends on the army).

Should I post again, I shall go over how reserves affect the momentum generated by units.

These are the thoughts I had been playing with all day. Now I ask you, what does momentum do to your army play style and your list creation? What phase of the game do you use to dominate the pace of the and initiative?


  1. Chaos and unpredictabillity. These are my two favorite allies. My most effecive army to date is my Elysian Drop Troops. 4 Vet squads, 2 Valkyries, 2 Vendettas, and 2 Vultures with punishers. CCS and Vendettas start on the table to pop armour from the word go, everything else in reserve. Not even i know when or where they're gonna come in! This makes opponents very nervous, and prone to bouts of rashness or indecission.

    I suppose mobillity would be the running theme through my Guard armies though. If you've got the pace to get to where you want to go, when you want to, then you'll always have a bit of contol over the game. People say that 5th Ed is the Mech Ed, so taking full advantage of that to win you games makes sense.

  2. Who be this guest poster? I know all the Eldar players.
    Harlequins are actually a big waste of points and are totally reliant on momentum. You are better off fielding Banshees.

    You make some decent enough points. Even if momentum is broken though a win is still possible.

  3. I will give you a hint ... Nemo, Jaws, The Little Mermaid are all ...

  4. A good article, I think you might have needed to mention the armies that operate exactly oposite a bit more.

    For example, I play my guard very much the opposite of momentum. I have units designed purely to stop my opponents momentum by slowing him down, making him footslog instead of ride in his transport, or sheer amount of firepower causing him to go to ground in his crater in order to live (ask my Ork opponent from the tournament about how I slowed down Ghaz for enough turns by forcing his squad to take refuge)

  5. Isn't that what every gunline list does?

    LSS Your list works the same way really. If you dont hit or blow anything up you have no momentum. Your momentum is your large amount of fire power, yes you take momentum with your shooting, but that is also your momentum.

  6. The difference is momentum is a object moving foreward at speed. My list, unlike some others, CVintons for example, does not do this. I specifically designed mine to stop my opponent from getting theirs going, then its just a torrent of whiddle down fire to win hopefully.

    My army slows the game down, gives me time to react at my own slow, lumbering pace that my Leman Russ tanks demand.

    For example, when OST drops in a Trygon/Trygon Prime next to my forces, because of how my list is designed, i have to fire one, maybe two things to take it down and then get back to what I want to do.

    Maybe its a matter of perspective on how momentum works or what it is, but I guess thats just me. I see a Vendetta/Valkyrie list or a outflank list for guard as far more momentum lists.

  7. Momentum doesnt necessarly have to be units actually moving across the table. IMO momentum doesnt have to invovle movment at all.

    Take your army for instance. while your massive shooting and not moving anything in your army does drain momentum from other lists and armies you are also creating momentum for yourself. Your stopping his army allowing yours to engage other targets at will and getting the game moving in your favor(MOMENTUM).

    Now on the other hand from reading what u comment if your opponent kills or stops all you Leman Russes he effectivly stopped you from gaining any momentum. Deny it all you want LSS we all know u rely heavly on those leman russes and get extremly frustrated when they are taken out.

    And thus your opponent has just gotten into your head........but thats a whole nother article. Pdiddy needs to write that one.

    "Im mind *&%#$%ing u right now Steve"

  8. What would a week at DFG be without a misguided trolling from Captain Obvious Troll

  9. I'm very glad for the input....gentlemen.

    I think there is a type of momentum involved even with guard, like the captain is trying to explain. But you are correct Lord Solar, your type of army does try to tarpit the momentum your opponent's board control but would you agree that,

    if you have one great shooting phase that the next shooting phase, you have an easier time because you caused a decent amount of damage when brings the swing of the game to your favor?

  10. This is good stuff, and if I didn't have about twenty entries backlogging up and unwritten I'd be Reading and Responding to this by putting it into a context for other wargames before you could say 'citation'.

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