Goals Aren’t Just for Soccer Part 2

This article is part 2 of my incredibly lengthy 2-part series on setting goals. Just in case you missed part 1, or you just want to reread it because it was just that good, you can find it here.  In my previous article, I discussed how to set goals for yourself on the more long term frontier. Today, I’m going to help you set some in game/turn by turn goals that you should keep in mind for your own games.

All too often, players find themselves losing to themselves in their deployment and first turns. Some examples of this are not screening properly, incorrect target priority, and generally just having no plan or direction.

After you get to your table and read your opponents list, one of the first things you should do is try and understand what he’s going to try to do and what you can do to stop it. I’ve actually recreated the first couple turns of one of my games from LVO (one I’m particularly proud of) to demonstrate exactly what I mean.

This is a reenactment of my round 2 game vs Josh Conant and his chaos list. In summary his list (from memory) was:


Chaos lord
Jump Sorc
40 Alpha Legion cultist
2×10 cultists
2 Fire Raptors
2 Heralds
25 Bloodletters- icon instrument
3 nurglings
3 nurglings

And he played against my wonderful, super balanced and fair Eldar list.

The reason I want to show this game off is because it demonstrates almost perfectly the value of setting turn specific goals and focusing on them.

Here you can see our deployments (it was pointy hammer and anvil). This was prior to infiltrators being deployed and the roll for first.

Goals pic 1

(Forgive the night scythes, they’re playing a really bad game of “pretend to be fire raptors)

The deployment is fairly basic: serpents far away and touching terrain, warrior screens out front in case I go second, and the autarch in la-la land just zoning out bloodletters. From his end, he realized that his only chance is going first and going all in so he deployed accordingly.

Luckily for him he seized! Here’s a pic post seize after we set up our infiltrators and he took his first movement phase.

Goals pic 2

Magnus decided to stay back which is actually the correct move in this situation. When he gets aggressive he’s actually much more vulnerable and easy to kill with smites and serpent shields. When he decided to keep Magnus back I felt like I was actually in a rough spot. The Fire raptors were forced to split fire against serpents (which is actually the correct play contrary to common wisdom of concentrating fire) And they weren’t able to bring one down but left both pretty wounded.

Onto the assult phase!




Here Josh charged in with his bloodletters and cultists and used pile ins correctly to limit the number of attacks he would get so he was able to surround my warriors and keep himself safe from my shooting.

So to recap, after getting seized on I got charged by a cultist blob and a bloodletter bomb who are now in my deployment zone and can’t be shot. Also Magnus and 2 fire raptors are waiting in mid field for a turn 2 finish. So let’s take a look at how I dug myself out of this hole.

Goal pic 5

Goal pic 6

Here is my bottom of 1 at the end of my movement phase. So knee deep in a pile of chaos crap knocking at my front door. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed in this situation. I’m not going to lie I had to take a solid few minutes just staring at the board to figure out how to get out of this mess. But it all came down to approaching it systematically.

Step 1. Identify problems- Well in this case everything! Magnus, 2 Raptors, unshootable cultists, and unshootable bloodletters. Great…

Step 2. Evaluate your options- Now that I identified all the immediate problems I was facing, I started to think through my options. To accurately do this, I needed to determine what my strengths were and weigh them against Josh’s weaknesses to see what I could come up with.

  • The bloodletters were very vulnerable to being tied up in CC because of how they were spread out. So I moved my serpent forward towards them at one end and the autarch over towards the other in the hopes they’d be able to keep the letters at bay.
  • The cultists already took a handful of casualties from overwatch+combat+morale. My army has a surprising amount of ability to deal damage to units locked in combat between smites, executioner, and serpent shields. Not only that, but Josh was down to just 4CP having spent so many during pre-game. This meant if I could get him to spend just 1 more he’d be unable to both rescue the cultists from morale death and tide of traitors them.
  • Magnus can only be at 1 place in 1 time so spreading out threats against him is ideal.
  • My reapers were intact so I figured I could put down 1 raptor no problem.

So with all that in mind I set myself some goals.

  1. Neutralize bloodletters
  2. Kill the cultists (either with morale if Josh used a CP prematurely or through sheer effort)
  3. Spread out and force magnus into having too many things to do.
  4. Kill a fire raptor

Now let’s see how the turn turned out (hehe puns)

Goal pic 7

Spears quickened up in a position to help murder cultists and I put them within 7″ of the nurglings to trigger a soul burst. This would either be to fight again if need be to finish the cultists, or move again if the cultists were dealt with sufficiently.

Reapers all got out to shoot fire raptors. A serpent and the autarch moved to opposite sides of the bloodletter bomb to hold that off for a turn.

The guardians (a couple pics up) came in deep in Josh’s deployment zone in a hole he left open for them.

Now let’s take a look at how the damage went.

Goal pic 8

Goal pic 9

  • Guardians killed the back field cultists by splitting fire and using morale.
  • Reapers put down 1 of the fire raptors.
  • Josh used a CP to try and keep a raptor alive which took him below 4. This allowed me to use the spears to kill the nurglings and move again off soul burst (rather than fight again) to help spread out.
  • Serpent and autarch survived the letters and kept them tied up.

This is what the board looked like after my bottom of 1.

Goal pic 11

Goal pic 10

Here we can see all my goals have been accomplished. Magnus wants to go into every direction imaginable. Bloodletters are neutralized. Cultists are dead. 1 Fire raptor dead.  All in a day’s work.

At this point Josh actually conceded and we talked through the rest of the game. With essentially 2 models left there was just no way for him to come back.

So what was the point of all this?

To show how setting goals is imperative to success!

While the moves I made in picture from after the game with my reasoning and line of thinking may seem logical and easily identifiable now, everything is easier in hindsight. It really is easy to look at that initial position after Josh’s top of 1 and feel like it was unwinnable, but with some methodical thinking and prioritization it was actually fairly solvable.

So the key takeaway here is to set up realistic, manageable goals for yourself every turn. Instead of looking at the game from a perspective of “I need to win”, look at it from the perspective of “I need to do this, this and this in order to win”.

Now all of that is easier said than done, but hopefully through my future articles and upcoming videos you will become better able to understand what goals you need to set to achieve victory.

Well that sums up my round 2 of LVO in a nutshell. The only thing we’re missing is a picture of the empty rum and cokes that were off to the side of the table at the real event.

20 Comments on “Goals Aren’t Just for Soccer Part 2

  1. I liked your highlighting nuances like positioning the blood letters so they don’t throw down too many attacks, and use pile in/consolidate to surround your warriors so they can’t fallback.

  2. Nick. First of all thanks so much for starting this blog. I’ve listened to a number of interviews with podcast and always took something away from it. So to get a steady does of brown magic knowledge is super awesome. To my question, you mention thy split firing the raptors to both serpents instead of focus firing was the right move. Can you explain?? Because I’m apparently still a sheep and follow conventional wisdom!

    • Always happy to help Austin! Glad you find my content insightful.

      To answer your question it’s because of the potential factor of using the strat for an additional -1 to hit. To further elaborate if you declare all your shots from a raptor are going into a serpent, then I’m going to respond by making that serpent an additional -1 to hit (for -2 total). This mathematically means you barely do anything to it, especially if in cover. Then your next fire raptor can has to choose to pour shots into a -2 to hit marginally wounded serpent or a full wounded serpent. Either scenario is a win/win for eldar. If you split fire the first raptor and do say 4 las cannons at 1 serpent and everything else at the other serpent then I could use the strat to protect 1, but the other still gets hit fairly hard and then the second raptor can focus on the one which doesn’t have the strat used bonus affecting it and has taken some damage already which may actually result in a kill.

  3. This article was really awesome. I hope this type of article is common. I love batreps and all, but its hard to find a quick and informative way on how to combat certain situations .A format like this gets to the point and teaches you a lot.

    Idk if you ever played world of warcraft, but back in day they’re used to be forums like Arena Junkies and Skill-caped. It was a hub for the really competitive Arena scene and for the competitive players to talk strats and build a communty via forums, as well as, a lot of instructional videos for specific situations.

    ive felt like the 40k community always missed this type of environment and social aspect. Hopefully this site turns into one.

    • I’m really glad you enjoyed this. I’ll keep this format in mind for future articles too. I never played WoW so I’m not overly familiar with what you’re talking about. I definitely want this site to grow into a competitive hub for 40k. I think that’s absolutely a niche that isn’t being filled right now.

  4. Thanks for starting this site, Nick! I have already learned more from this single article than most tactics and strategy helps of other blogs or podcasts. They usually just give basic and obvious advice that anyone who has ever been into a tournament already knows, or are usually very generic and don’t go into nitty-gritty details. The kind of depth you went into in this article is something that has been sorely lacking, can’t wait to read more of these!

    • Leo comments like these really help motivate me to keep going. I’m so glad you enjoyed this!

  5. The link to your list is currently broken, its pasted there twice.

    • Great catch, it was working yesterday, not sure what happened. I’ll try and fix the link.

  6. Awesome play there!

    Did you find yourself taking the same spells the entire tournament or did you change it up a lot?

    • Over the tournament I too the same spells over and over with maybe 1-2 variations here or there. But that was after months of testing and refining which spells to take.

      • Care to share? 🙂 just trying to understand the list 🙂

  7. Farseer 1- Guide/Fortune
    Farseer 2- Doom Executioner
    Biel Tan spiriteer- Quicken
    Aliatoc Spritseer- Protect
    Warlock- Protect
    Cat lady- Word of the pheonix, ancestor’s grace

    The second protect and ancestor’s grace were the only ones that would alternate for conceal and gaze of ynead, depending on match.

  8. Wow, I thought you were toast for sure after his turn 1. Those were some great tactics. I agree with the others I find this article very usefull and informative. Never mind the proxys! It’s a great batrep.

    On the side note, I don’t fully understand why you choose to spread the shining spears over killing the cultists. Could you explain that?

    • Thank you Daiker, I definitely plan to do more of these in the future.

      I had already killed enough cultists to ensure they would die to morale unless he spent the 2CP to auto pass their morale check. Being that at the time I made the decision he only had 3CP left I knew if he spent the 2 points to keep them alive he would only have 1 for tide of traitors and thus not be able to do it. Vice versa, if he saved 2 for tide, there would be nothing left to tide because the cultists were guaranteed death to morale. Thus a no win situation for him.

      At that point I chose to move my spears for positioning reasons instead of finishing the already doomed cultists.

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