So let’s say you’ve been working on your army for a while. You know how it works; you know its rules, strengths, and weaknesses. You have a good grasp on the basic rules of the game. At this point you are already ahead of many players. The next step you need to take is to know what your opponents units are and what they do. I know this may be asking a lot, there are tons of rules in this game, and remembering them all is very difficult (I’m not sure I have met anyone, myself included who knows every rule perfectly). However, knowing as much as possible is very important when it comes to making decisions in a game.
At the basic level you need to have a rough idea what a particular unit is capable of when you see it on the table top. The basic starting point of this is asking your opponent if you are not sure what a particular model is, and what it does during the game. A good opponent should be happy to explain the rules of his units, at least in a brief overview. In addition know what your opponents units do helps to prevent cheating, because he can't just lie about how something works.
A while ago I was in a tournament, playing against Orks, and my opponent had Stormboyz in his list. I knew that they were jump infantry and had a couple of other special rules (I knew they rolled a dice and could die if they rolled a 1). What I did not know was that this roll was added to their movement, which resulted in a turn 1 charge by my opponent and a losing battle for me. Now, I will never forget this rule and how it can affect a game. This brings me to the key point. The best way to learn rules of other armies is to play against them, if things happen to you during a game; you are far more likely to remember the rules than just reading them. Not to say that reading the rules is bad, I have almost every codex, and read up on various armies so that I know what different armies can do.
So in order to help with this idea in the Know your enemy section I will present my experience with/against a specific unit. What are the unit’s key special rules? What is it good at, and what is it weak against?
So I’ll start with a unit from my first army the Dark Angels.
Just a brief overview these are the same as any other terminator, they have a marine stat line (4s across the board more or less). Like other terminators they always are equipped with power weapons of some sort, and come stock with a 2+ armor save and 5+ invulnerable save.
- Durability, with a 2+ armor save, and the availability of the 3+ invulnerable save using a storm shield these guys are hard to take down.
- Ability to take heavy weapons on assault terminators.
- Fearless: DW terminators never need to take a morale check, which means that they can never get walked off the board.
- Can be troops: this makes a very durable scoring unit, that you must kill to a man to take off an objective (thanks to fearless)
- Point cost: This may seem strange, but with the new FAQ a DW squad with a cyclone missile launcher and 5 Thunder hammer storm shield termies will run you 235 points. When you consider terminators in other codices. 5 TH/SS termies in codex space marines are 200 points, but cannot take the missile launcher, their shooty terminators with a Missile launcher would be 230 points. In the Blood angel codex, 5 TH/SS termies are 225 points, and cannot get the missile launcher. Space wolves can get this set up, but it would be over 300 points.
- If the army includes a Belial (a DA special character) one squad can take an apothecary, who gives them feel no pain.
- High strength power weapon attacks: The squad can all take strength 8 power weapons, which makes them lethal to independent characters in the assault.
- Low model count: Squads are capped at 5 models
- Point cost: Though they are well costed for terminators, they are still pretty expensive, and so an army including them will likely be elite.
- Durability vs high volumes of attacks: Even with a 2+ armor save terminators will still fail 1/6 saves on average, so with only 5 models they can go down to focused fire power, or in close combat against units with lots of attacks.
- Anti-horde: If the DW termies go with Thunder hammers and storm shields they will have little way to deal with large units at range, which amplifies their weakness against volume of attacks (they will not be able to kill lots of say orks, outside of hand to hand combat.)
- Initiative: Most DW terminators will be striking at initiative 1. At best they are initiative 4.
- Speed: As infantry terminators can only move 6” each turn, and transport that the DW can take are land raiders (which are get very pricey)