Tactical Toolbox – Double Turns
After his previous article on charging, Matthijs has written a great, in-depth analysis of the ‘double turn’ – those instances when the person who goes last in a battle round also goes first in the next battle round – so have a read and try out some of these excellent tips next time you play.
Matthijs: Sometimes it can feel that you lose a game just because you lost that single initiative roll that gave your opponent the double turn. Your troops get shot to pieces, your heroes get trampled to death and all you have left are some scared peasants with pitchforks. It does not have to be this way. In this article, I will try to help you deal with those amazing and awful double turns.
What is the double turn?
Every matched play game consists of, at most, 5 battle rounds. Each battle round is split into two turns – one for each player. Every battle round starts with the initiative roll, where both players roll a dice, and the player that rolls highest decides who takes the first turn in that battle round.
This means that the player who has the second turn in a battle round always has the chance to get two turns in a row by winning the next initiative roll.
Following this logic, if one player has a double turn, the other player can get one in the next battle round.
The opportunities of a double turn are unique for Age of Sigmar and force you to think long term. Optimising or denying a double turn can win you the game.
How to optimise for a double turn
In Warhammer Age of Sigmar, you rarely know in advance if you will get a double turn, but you always know when you or your opponent can get one.
This means that you should try to figure out what you can set up for in a next turn without setting yourself back if you lose the initiative.
The strengths of a double turn come from the ability to use ranged attacks, movement, and the first combat activation, twice – so it’s worth considering very closely.
Getting the double turn means a player can move or retreat a unit at the end of one battle round, and then move and charge with them the next turn before the foe can move out of the way. This can be used to bypass the defences on an objective or find a weaker and more favourable target.
My Liberators are at a small disadvantage. Instead of fighting it out for another round, I can retreat my Liberators around the Bloodreavers. If I get the double turn, I can try to charge and kill the Bloodsecrator. If I do not get the double, my opponent is forced to charge my Liberators to protect the Bloodsecrator.
To optimise movement for an upcoming double, keep the following in mind:
- When you move units to prepare for an action in the next turn, do not overextend them, you might not win the initiative roll.
- When you move units in the first turn of the game or the second turn of your double, always be aware that your opponent might get a double turn after this.
- Make sure your units are either unreachable in your opponents turn(s), can withstand a punch, or are supported through shooting or counter charges.
In a double turn, players have to rely on the movement of their units to get in range of a target instead of the enemy’s movement. This means that players should position their ranged units in such a way that they have guaranteed targets in the current and next turn.
In this example, afraid of getting charged, I stay 17″ away from the Bloodreavers. Even though this seems like a smart move, it stops me from attacking the Bloodsecrator in my next turn since Prosecutors have a 30″ threat range (18″ of shooting range plus 12″ of movement). If I move my Prosecutors just 4″ towards the Bloodsecrator before shooting at the Bloodreavers, I’ll be able to shoot at the Bloodsecrator in my next turn.
Use the same logic for buffing heroes. To optimise a double turn, players need to make sure that they are in range to buff units in the next hero phase as well as the current one.
- If you are up for a double turn, make sure your ranged units have targets in both turns
- If your opponent is up for a double turn, try to make sure their ranged units can not have a target in both turns.
Due to the alternating combat, you will only get the advantage in the first activation of your turn. In general, it is a bad idea to brawl it out with a unit of similar strength just for the kills. A unit should only be in combat on a double turn for one of three reasons:
- They can win the fight and open up a charge in their next turn.
- The unit can deal damage while suffering fewer casualties during their opponent’s activation.
- It is the only way to prevent enemy unit(s) from moving to a better target or capturing an objective in their opponent’s turn(s).
When not to take the double turn
If you take a double turn, you open up the possibility for your opponent to get one. This means that if your opponent can make more use of their double turn than you, it might be better to forgo your double turn in order to deny them theirs.
This could be when:
- Your army has a lot less potential ranged damage than your opponent, and you cannot do enough damage in your double turn to make up for the difference.
- You need to overextend your units so much that losing the initiative will lose you the game.
Of course, games are usually not as black and white as this, but it is good to know that you always have the option to not to take the double turn.
In Warhammer Age of Sigmar, the double turn is as strong a strategic advantage as counting on the double turn can be a deathtrap. Make sure you prepare for both possibilities and always be aware that by taking the double turn, you set your opponent up for potentially getting one of their own.
When you are preparing for a possible double turn, keep the following in mind:
- Make sure your ranged units and abilities have relevant targets in both turns.
- Don’t overextend units, you might not win the next initiative. Make sure your vulnerable units are unreachable or supported by other units with charges or shooting.
- Try to only be in combat when it is in your favour in the long run.
- Do not take the double turn if your opponent will destroy you in their next double turn unless it is your only option.
When your opponent could get a double turn after you, keep the following in mind:
- Deny their ranged units and abilities relevant targets in their second turn.
- Make sure your vulnerable units are unreachable after a double move or are well supported by other units with charges or shooting.
- Try to only be in combat where it is in your favour if your opponent has a double turn.
Matthijs hails from the Netherlands, and after getting absolutely destroyed in the first turn of his first tournament, he was hopelessly hooked on Warhammer Age of Sigmar. He saw it as a game that held a true tactical challenge, which he wanted to unlock. With his blog, aos-tactics.com, he tries to enthuse others to see a defeat not as a setback but as a chance to learn and to get better. In his words: ‘Understand the game, make better choices and wreck face!’