Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Blindwater Tactica: Swamp Hopping Primer

Thank you for the email Colin and let me apologise to you and everyone else looking for the lack of promised Batreps and Blindwater Tacticas, 2011 has been a very erratic month with a house move and change of career. Now that I know there is still reader interest I will get right back into the chair and start writing articles! :) 
Hey, mate, been enjoying your Blindwater blog posts, but I didn't see the battle reports or tactica you mentioned. Do you have a link to those?

I just started Blindwater myself. I'm pretty much going to run the 35-point Barnabas list you posted (save that I only have one Croak Hunter, so Pendrake will be taking the other 2 points). Can you give me some tips? I'm mainly a Cygnar player -- and there are a lot of Cygnar players going Blindwater because they're the exact opposite of what we're used to -- so this whole melee focus is new to me, but you said that you can't run the gators as a blunt melee force, so I'd appreciated any help you can give me.  

Have you run Caliban at all? I've heard that he works best in tier, but I didn't have any farrow, feralgeists or Wrong Eye and Snapjaw. 


As a general rule, Blindwater has excellent crowd controlling devices especially when using Bloody Barnabas, that cater to our universal Amphibious rule. While we are a melee centric force in terms of damage out put, we lack the necessary speed to simply rush up the table when compared to Khador. We do have excellent armour (which gets better in melee) and we have great wounds, what we don't have is high speed units. Sure we do have situational speed buffs, but nothing as consistent as a Drakhun under Strakhov's 'Iron Fist' Feat etc. And this is the biggest difference, we should really be forcing our enemy to come to us, not running towards the enemy, we need to lead the enemy into the Bayou...

The swamp hop/drop is the key component of setting up our kills and allowing us to advance our forces in relative safety versus ranged attacks (but not magical and path finders so be careful!). The Swamps however are not just for defensive purposes, they make a great disruptive force when it comes to your enemy's movement phase and that is the crux of a Barnabas swamp hop/drop list is: Disrupt and Destroy

When running the Blindwater force this basic formula applies but is most effective with Barnabas due to his ability to drop additional swamps through out the game:

Observe > Isolate > Engage

Deployment is important for most forces but for the Blindwater, it is the most important due to your reduced numbers (assuming your Bog Trogs start off table). As a Blindwater force you get the advantage of being able to deploy 3 swamp aoe's within 20"of your table edge, use this to create choke points or trap areas where your Bog Trogs can pounce OR where Barnabas can drop swamps down to isolate. Either way, it puts your opponent right where you want them, separated and piece meal. It is at this point that you can commit your fastest and most powerful amphibious units to beat on the enemy ie Gatormen Posse with Blood Thirst (+2 movement) or Blackhide Wrastlers. Now again path finders will ruin your day here as they can by pass your swamps and counter charge you, so remember that the sole mission is to isolate and kill without fear of reprisal.

The Refused Flank ie deploying on once side of the board will allow you to dictate and predict most of your opponents opening moves (especially with the  bonus swamp placements), it also allows you to creates and lure opponents to pounce point for Bog Trogs. You can run skirmishers on the opposite flanks to run interference by harassing artillery or simply creating the illusion that you are pushing an offensive, my Croak Hunters fulfil this role. Bog Trogs are a ferocious unit to field when used correctly, the whole idea of a unit charging from a side with weapons that have 'reach' and 'combined' is a frightening prospect. I have used Bog Trogs to kill light warbeasts, disrupt gun-lines and assassinate casters/solos trying to get through swamps I have dropped. Your opponent will be very wary of such a unit and those who have not encountered them before can be punished severely with a fast caster death. Create the opportunity and use their speed when the time is right.

Ironback Spitters have very nice synergy with a swamp hop as they allow you to pour some offensive fire from the safety of the swamp and can also protect your units from stray blasts. If you consider the set up and points discussed you will find yourself protected from range and almost always gaining the advantage of first charge, after that, it is down to choking you enemy of reinforcements. So as you can see, even though we are a melee army, we need/have the tools to do more then just rush up the board. Blindwater can play the waiting game by hiding in swamps, and is all about isolating and destroying the targets you want. This can quickly turn your enemies numbers against itself as units get bogged down in swamps and combats in front of them. As the old adage goes, divide and conquer. If you get the positioning right and dictate you enemy's movements, he/she will not be able to shoot, charge or reinforce combats which will leave them incredibly frustrated throughout the game.

Calaban, Feralgeists and Wrong Eye will be the subject of another post once I get back from my next assignment, until then thanks for reading.

The 14th Legion

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