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deployment help and tips

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So I mainly play ultramarines (dabble in craftworlds) but with the new SM codex I wanted to get back into my boys in blue, experimented with a list and the new relics etc. Recently played a game against a local blood angles player and really had a rough time. It was a boring game for me because it turned into a turn one being charged by the Black company rage guys while his Phobos units sat on objectives. I couldn't even get up the board to play the game because I had half an army of melee fighters in my grill. Being bogged down and bottled up is a weakness of Ultramarines, I've known that fact for a while but it seems no matter what list I build and experiment with it always happens.


I believe a big issue I'm having is proper deployment tactics and screening. What is a good way to setup a nice ultramarines shooting army. Some key models I include are Guilliman, primaris librarian, techmarine, Replusor, Aggresors, Primaris ancient and hellblasters. 


In my most recent game I tried a 10 man team of intercessors and two squads of tacticals, I've changed that to two intercessor squads and a single Tactical squad because the 10 man got chewed up turn one.


What are some good rule of thumbs to consider for deployment and placement? Thanks all for the tips!

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Could you give some more details on what happened turn one? Obviously the bits that allowed them a turn 1 charge but also anything else that may help :smile.:


It sounds like you have a screening issue in that 8th Edition can allow for some quick charges (less so now with the reserves delay to turn 2), so if you have no pickets to help push the enemy back they can be on you early. From your list of key models there aren't any that are cheaper which, sadly, is the best metric for picket units!


A good screen can easily buy you a turn before combat and often more, and is essential for a shooting army to combat an incoming threat. Even a fully focused shooting army is unlikely to muster enough fire power to stop an army that's coming for you.


For general rules of thumb you're part way there in that multiple smaller units are better. This allows you to spread your models out, and doesn't prevent any easy/juicy targets for your opponent to go for. Against big nasty death star style units this is better still, as they waste their potential in overkill (my Guard particularly enjoy doing this!). Otherwise as mentioned screening units are best kept cheap as ultimately their role is to be speed bumps.


It's an unfortunate role, even more so as a Marine player, but 8th makes some decisions for you... An alternative is to have mobility of your own to redeploy to buy time and counter enemy movement, but this is only feasible if you can ensure you avoid the turn 1 charge in the first place and I would say is better as a support/complement to the above.


Otherwise unit placement is a factor, aside from the obvious in deploying further away from your opponent! Keeping your units close for mutual support goes a long way as it lets you converge to focus strength especially if you fall back from combat (doubly so as an Ultramarine). This also means you don't want to be too close, so you avoid multicharges and consolidations (should your unit be wiped).


Castling too much also makes it easy for your opponent to converge his, so spreading out across your deployment can help him break his army apart too giving you a bit more wiggle room. Alternatively if he doesn't, you can try to envelop him when he advances. Last but not least focusing your fire always works to reduce a threat, but as mentioned you need the phases to make it count!


I hope this helps, but deployment is no small part of the game (including army building) so much of it comes from experience also :wink:

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  • 1 month later...

My pure Primaris army had this very issue. When i had them the army had very little in terms of mobility and i would find myself hunkered up in my own lines taking fists to the face!


Without any Vanguard units, i suggest using your tac marines as a screen. Scouts would be better but you work with what you have. Load them up as basic as possible and screen your castle (with your listed units im guessing you have castled up).

Dont forget that Guilliman is on of the better combat units in the game. You can use him to either aid your screen by heriocilly intervening or make your opponent think twice about getting to close to him.


Make sure you space your screen so that an assualting unit cannot consolidate into your meaty units. Using terrain can aid in this regard.


As Mr Fish says, multiple small units spread out will mitigate the punch of the combat units.


I am intrugued how your opponent managed a first turn charge.


Going forward though, look at the new vanguard units to screen from the midtable. Theyre tough and can do some damage unlike Scouts which will just get ran over.

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UMs have a strat similar to that of the craftoworld that allows you to redploy a number of units..... so bait and switch


you put a unit seemingly out of postion /in a nice inviting place (ie on the edge of your DZ in charge range) then once all the deployments are dont move them to where you need them leaving their units out of place / in the open.


If going 2nd dont be afraid to use the universal strat for CA18 that gives your vehicles & infantry cover if in the open (prepared positions - 2CP)  


Refuse flank if you dont have enough units to screen your army fully and go for a counter punch when they try and come in to the part of your DZ you left unoccupied

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