Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tactica: Anchor units

Tactic Level: Beginner


In objective based missions, you need a durable troop unit that will hold objectives in or near your deployment zone.

When you are playing objective based missions, as everyone knows, troops are important to hold them. You need several of them but throughout a game they move around, get killed, and end up out of position.

Now if you have a mobile army or an assault army you will find yourself scrambling to get back to the objectives that you left behind in your deployment zone at the end of the game. Sometimes you make it, sometimes you don't, but what an anchor unit does is make it so that you do not have to worry about any other objectives that that are close to you, and it lets you focus on taking/contesting the ones in the middle of the board and in your opponent's deployment zone.

So this is article is to try to get you to think of taking a hard and resilient troop unit that just sits on an objective and holds it for the game.

Anchor units

Most armies have a form of anchor units and have troops with some special rules that help them stay alive and hold an objective during a game.

In general if you have terrain, you have a pretty durable unit. With most terrain now being a 4+ cover save in 5th edition, going to ground means that all units can have a 3+ cover save. It is hard to kill anything at over 12" if it has a 3+ cover save.

Now we are going through some units that make good anchor units:

Tau: Most people think that Tau do not have any durable troops that can hold up to fire, but that is not the case. Kroot make an excellent anchor unit. You place them in woods, and when they do go-to-ground they have a 2+ cover save.

Eldar: 10 Wraithguard are durable, but they are too expensive to just sit back and hang around. What makes for a good anchor unit is Pathfinders. They have a natural 2+ cover save, and if you want to get the same cover save without spending the points you can get Rangers, but to get a 2+ cover save you have to lose a turn of shooting to go-to-ground.

Space Marines: You take some Scouts and give them camo-cloaks and they have a natural 3+ cover save, 2+ when you go to ground.

Orks: Although they do not have any units that are hard to kill in cover, they do have dirt cheap gretchin that can sit in cover, and hide for a game while your heavy hitters head to over to the enemy to do some serious bashing.

Tyranids: Just take a unit of spinegaunts and stash them in the rear. You will not have to worry about synapse if they do not move and you can just lurk while your opponent has other things to worry about coming at him. If you do worry about them getting killed, you can also take Without Number so they can just run back to where they just died.

So this is just something for you to think about when building your armies to add a unit that will stay at home and claim that odd objective that is behind your army.

Pre-game set up

There are 2 things that you have to do to make sure that your anchor unit will be successful:

#1. If you are placing terrain at the beginning of the game, you have to make sure that each deployment zone has a good or at least reasonably sized piece of terrain in it.

#2. In an objective based mission, you have to place an objective at least near a piece of terrain in the deployment zones.

A few things to remember: When you are placing terrain and objective markers you do this before you know which side of the table you will start on, so keep in mind that you will need to place a piece of terrain and an objective marker in both deployment zones to be sure of getting the proper set up. Also if you are playing in a tournament you have had a chance to look over your opponents list be sure to check to see if he has units that outflank. If he does have outflanking units, you will need to place the terrain away from the short table edges so you do not get hit by outflanking units coming on from reserve.

Set up

This is the easy part after bringing the correct unit, and placement of the terrain and objectives. Just plant your units in there, and you are good-to-go! Just remember when you get hit by any serious firepower, duck and cover and go-to-ground.


  1. Thanks for the article, I am looking forward to the rest of the series.

    As I play Tyranids, I use WoN Gaunts for an anchor unit; however, I tend to run them into something very deadly, let them die and then bring them back on. This is not always the case, but against the current plethora of flamer and multi-melta armies, it is pretty easy to find something to kill them.

    ...and other thing, thanks for not using the word fail in an article!

  2. The best units for holding objectives are embarked in transports. This makes it that much harder to get to them. Units not embarked are subject to flamers, other templates and assaults. You should have your army layered do that the opponent has to fight through your strongest units to reach them.

    If you are playing in a tournament then usually the terrain is already placed. I think that is the way to go or else you tend to see all the terrain either in the middle or placed along board edges. The best thing to do is place your objectives as close as possible to your opponent's so you'll have a better chance at being able to grab multiple objectives.


  3. GBF- There are a lot of factors that go into objective placement. I was going to write something up on that as well, but as a general rule, the faster your army is, the farter apart you want the objectives.

    And if you are embarked in a transport your are not getting the most use out of that unit since it will not be assaulting, or maximizing their shooting.

  4. Not everybody plays eldar and from your response it's seems you are unaware of rhino wall tactica.