Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Mirror Match

I'd like to introduce you to a concept that I picked up from my mates who play Magic: The Gathering (collectible card game). It is called the "Mirror Match". The essential core of this idea is something like this: what do you have in your card deck (army list) that could tackle an identical card deck (army list) effectively?

This situation occurs very regularly for space marine players - there are lots of space marine players out there since they're so popular. The likelihood of coming up against a self-similar army is high for such players. Less so for rarer armies.

I originally got thinking about this question back at GT2007 where there were plenty of other chaos space marine players. The havoc squads of my opponents really thwacked my 100% infantry army there. Why -- probably because they didn't have vehicles to preferentially aim at and it was escalation (my heavier weapons hadn't arrived yet).

So, I got thinking about some of my usual Death Guard lists (e.g. see GT2008). I figured in GT2008, I would be able to handle plague marines given I had two vindications and a reasonable amount of plasma to deny other plague marines their 3+ power armour save and their feel no pain special rule. All I had to do was manoeuvre to ensure that I got in range during my shooting turn.

I'll pose this question for my readers: how would you handle an identical army list to your own favourite, or most used list? Are there any special units that you have, or tactics that you'd play to beat your own army list? I'm looking forward to hearing about your thoughts on this!


suneokun said...

Great notion. There's a fantastic Firebase magazine battle report where three Tau Cadres go head to head over an ethereal killing mishap.

Looking through the options, it's interesting that it's actually the 'unusual' units that come to the fore. Suddenly the unused and underused become interesting (like stingwings for tau).

Guard: Any tank and anti swarm, I'd take mortars and Basalisks with plenty of heavy bolter armed meat shield and mince 'em up indriectly.

Tyranids: This would be nasty! I would take a broodlord or lictor and look to Ambush a tyrant. Otherwise its going to be a claw-fest, in which the genestealer is king! Devourers and Barbed Stranglers all round and without number? Ravener Devourers (6 shots) to deepstrike and ambush my opponents gaunts. Carnifi would be so much fun! Horde versus Monstrous army - someone please?!?

Tau: A lot of fun. Stealth teams would be underpowered and pretty useless (as they will be far too close). Crisis Suits and fire warriors would rule, and Kroot would be very efficient. In this sort of fight, I'd bank on mech tau.

The best approach might be this. Take Devilins huge 5000 pt Eldar army and divide it into units (prepointed and prearranged). Player's roll-off and take it in turn to pick a unit (anyone played schoolground football recently?). Quick confirmation to realise the same points and then game on...

I'll suggest it with Devilin, could be fun...

Admiral Drax said...

Cracking idea!

I like to field an inf-only Imperial Guard force, so it's bound t become a war of attrition...but that'll give me something juicy to think about today!

(Escalation would stitch me up too - it'd all go down to the reserve rolls.)

Thanks - I'll be back.

@ Suneokun: you DO love those mortars, don't you?! And as for the school playground style of picking teams? - Pure genius! I've more than enough Guard to try this with the next time a buddy comes down to visit!


- Drax.

jabberjabber said...

Hi Suneokun - I'm liking the idea of the schoolyard selection process for squads, that could certainly be a whole lot of fun!
I'd bet those stingwings would be very interesting in tau vs. tau games! I'd never considered that!

Hi Drax - escalation in 4th edition always tended to be painful if the dice didn't fall evenly between the armies. Looking forward to hearing your creative ideas on your guard!

eriochrome said...

My space marines did face an extremely similar army in a recent event. We were both mech with the same special character, 2 tac squads, sternguard squad, a couple of speeders, then other stuff that was different.

It came down to luck and some better usage of the units for me to pick up the massacre. He was running his sternguard out of a landraider(not sure why) which I killed and with it most of his solid antitank. He was also running 2 empty assault cannon razorbacks as fire support instead of as transports so with the landraider dead, he had nothing putting any pressure on my objective.

With no threats to my object I was able to just focus on his forces and grind them down to nothing for control of both objectives and the bonus scenario points.

Farmpunk said...

oh boy. play vs. my own lists. That thought makes me shudder a bit.

if it's EXACTLY the same lists, I would have to end up using a lot more defensive techniques.

vs. my Sisters & Callidus asassin list, with the same list it's hard. the Jumpy cannoness can be mean, and so can the Melta pistol Seraphim. The Hflamer/flamer Sister squads in rhinos aren't slouches either. The DH shooty Inq. Lord puts out a lot of anti-infantry fire. Then there's the exorcist tanks...

I usually find most WitchHunter players thanksfully don't take most of the things I choose to. I would imagine it might play out sort of like against a mech chaos list, but shootier.

for DH, again, not too many of those out there. I think it would end up being a sort of defensive chessmatch, sort of like WH.
It probably has to do with how I play both =I= armies though. against a lot of forces I have to wait for an opening, then pounce to make the mistake hurt.

Part of the tricky thing with =I=, is that they can be both agressive and defensive play forces.

I think it would come down to rolls, and who left an opening first.

IG I've actually gone head to head with. Not exactly the same armystyle, but IG. it was a close game. I had to outmaneuver and deny shots to parts of his army, and hit him hard where I could. taking out his command squads helped.

I'm fortunate I play rare armies (except IG). I don't have to face many mean Inquisition armies out there.

I've suggested a listswap type league, but I've not found too many takers. I think it might show off more commanding skill.

sure, anyone can win a tournament with an army tailored to your playstyle, but can you win a tournament always using an opponent's army?

Admiral Drax said...

D'you know, I've been thinking about this all day, on-and-off, and the only thoughts that have stuck are those I suggested earlier: attrition and dice rolls.

Choosing sides and first turn would also be paramount, as would the choice of what to do with my light infantry platoon: flanking could be a battle winner...but so could setting up that initial firebase...curious!

The thoughts continue...

jabberjabber said...

Hi Everyone,
WOW - thanks for all your very thoughtful and detailed comments!! It's clearly a complex question; moreso than I anticipated. Let us all know if you ever do take on an identical army list.

Barjack said...

Although I haven't played a list like mine at the store I play at, since I play Shrike and a jump packing Chaplain with a lot of assault squads and fast moving tactical squads, I constantly assault. Even first turn assault with a Land raider with assault terminators. I would probably stay out of assault range and bait them into counter assaults put a tactical squad in front of them then counter punch with a shrike squad and chaplain squad since I can assault 13-18 inches with the fleet rule. My first Target would be shrike, denying them fleet and cutting them up and concentrating one squad at a time.

jabberjabber said...

Hi Barjack,
It certainly makes a lot of sense to change tactics from charging to baiting, and then eliminate Shrike (an anchor of the list!).
Great strategem!

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