Posted 11/01/2018

Battleplan Tactica – Scorched Earth

War is coming to the Mortal Realms, and if your army is to stand any chance of surviving, you’ll need to sharpen up your generalship! Thankfully, Warhammer master Russ “The Face” Veal has provided us with another essential Battleplan Tactica to help you win your next game.

Scorched Earth is a battle for victory points, which are scored by controlling the 6 objectives on the table. Enemy objectives can be taken and burnt for a burst of points, but you need to be careful not to lose your own objectives, in case a canny opponent decides to do the same. To burn or not to burn, that is the question!

Key Points to Consider

  • Objectives are spread out across your 12″ deployment area.
  • You control an objective by having more models than your opponent within 3″ of it at the end of your turn.
  • Each held objective is worth one point per turn. However, if you hold an objective in enemy territory, you can choose to remove the objective to score D3 points.

Setting a Plan for the Game

Armies which can get across the table quickly are very strong in Scorched Earth, battalions like the Murderhost and Skyborne Slayers can strike on round 1 and burn objectives before the opposition can react. If you have an army which can take your opponent’s three objectives early, then it’s a good idea to take the first turn.

Protecting your objectives is important, but be wary of putting units too far forward, which might allow your opponent to charge sooner and challenge you for your own objectives earlier than if you’d hung back. Especially if they’re following Plan 1…

Plan 1 – Burn Baby, Burn!

This strategy is all about burning your opponent’s objectives turn 1 or 2 and fighting in their territory. The idea is to charge the units deployed around their objectives on turn 1, using special deployment or pre-game moves to get into combat and burn objectives in turn 1.

You need to be careful not to leave your objectives open to counter-attack, especially when facing an army with units which set up behind your attacking units and claim your objectives.

Be wary of charging a very defensive army, as this could cause you to tie up, or lose, your main fighting strength early and fall behind later in the game. Some armies have access to units which can move before the game, such as Night Runners and Freeguild archers. Even a small Murderhost can be particularly effective in this scenario.

Plan 2 – The Steal

The idea here is to keep a small force in reserve, like Vanguard-Hunters, or a unit which can redeploy later in the game, to sneak in and burn your opponent’s objectives in the closing turns. Units such as the Celestant-Prime, Sylvaneth Tree Revenants or the Abhorrant Ghoul King’s command ability to bring on units from the board edge. The goal early on is to be patient and hold your objectives. This will hopefully mean that, when your opponent attacks you, they leave behind enough to give you the advantage defending. Keeping your best combat unit ready to clear off your objectives that come under attack, and leaving numerous but expendable units circled around your objectives to keep them safe, will put your opponent under pressure.

Plan 3 – The Long Game

If you have a lot of ranged units, you can try to pick off units which are holding your opponent’s objectives, while using resilient units to hold back your opponent’s assault. A big defensive monster can pin units whilst you bring your shooting to bear. For example, a Lord-Celestant on Stardrake and Fulminators can attack your opponent’s combat units whilst a unit of Judicators hangs back and shoot the units holding the objectives. This also allows units such as Liberators to deploy from the sky and attack objectives.

Kharadron Overlords can use skyvessels to pin units in combat, whilst your Arkanauts lay down fire, eliminating the attacking units whilst also holding your home objectives, finally attacking with Endrinriggers and Sky Wardens to capture and burn your opponent’s objectives.

Plan 5 – Wave of Force

If you’re using a strong combat army with a lot of models you can push forward in lines, you can force your opponent to go through you to get to your objectives.

Flesh-eater Courts, Khorne Bloodbound and Ironjawz are great at this, and as these armies work best on the offensive, pushing across the table fits your strategy. Most units in these armies are resilient enough to take a charge, or you can take a large screening unit such as Crypt Ghouls, Bloodreavers and Ardboyz to form a line to blunt a charge, ready for your Crypt Horrors, Skull Reapers and Brutes to counter-attack. A Zombie Dragon, Maw-krusha or Bloodthirster can also be used to plug any gaps and then push into your opponent’s objectives.

Just be careful you don’t leave your own objectives exposed to counter-attack. I usually leave my Heroes at the back to hold the objectives, but in range to buff your own attacking units if possible.

Plan 6 – D FENCE

Disciples of Tzeentch, especially if using the Changehost, really excel at this strategy. You want your opponent to break upon your defensive units of Pink Horrors, which can split to maintain (or even increase) numbers around your objectives. You can even use Destiny Dice to pass battle shock and re-grow the Horrors lost. Units which deal out a lot of damage, such as the Lord of Change, are kept safe, and can then deal cause a great many mortal wounds to your opponent’s forces to deny them a foothold. You can then push with your fast units of Skyfires or the Lord of Change to clear off your opponent’s objectives late in the game.

Other armies, like Deathrattle or Moonclan Grots, can work well at this, particularly those with access to numerous cheap units which can screen the objectives, with a strong offensive unit set up behind ready to pile in and counter any attacking unit.

Putting it all together…

Understanding when to burn the objectives is key to this mission. If you burn the objective when you could hold it for another turn,  you’re just giving up scenario points. As a rule of thumb, I only burn on the last turn or if the unit is likely to be destroyed, or if I need to move on to attack another objective and lack a follow-up unit to reclaim the abandoned objective.

If you’re fighting over your opponent’s objectives, then you’re probably in a strong position in this scenario. Using shooting units to hold your objectives (especially if they have 24″ ranged weapons) can give you a big advantage because they can hold your own objectives whilst attacking your opponent’s.

As always, you can find the rules for this Battleplan in the General’s Handbook 2017 – get your copy here.

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