Getting Shot is for Noobs

Hello ladies and gentlemen, today I’m going to cover a very common tactic I employed almost every game at Adepticon. The army I was using lent itself to using it very naturally, but really it can be applied to any characters under 10 wounds that want to be in combat but don’t like being shot. I don’t really have a name for the tactic yet, so I’m all ears about what to call it if you guys have suggestions.


Let’s take the scenario on the left. We have the humble Daemon Prince leading a lovely band of cultists into a Tyranid invasion. I know the picture quality leaves a bit to be desired, but that’s a full squad of hive guard on the hill, a Tyranofex next to them, a Flyrant and a Mawloc. AKA a ton of guns… Today I’m going to show you how to approach this horribly uneven scenario tactically, to give you a fighting chance.





The first thing you need to do is disect the situation and set realistic and helpful goals for the turn. In this instance it’s clear that the Chaos player can’t deal with all the threats in front of him at once. That means he needs to break it down into more mangeable chunks, by handling some portion of the issue, whilst simultaneously mitigating the return offense of the Tyranids, and setting himself up for success in future turns.


Here you can see the Chaos player moving up ready to assault. Not much to really say about this step, but the Chaos player has set himself up to employ multiple tactics here. When postitioning large units like cultists, Gants, Guardians, Orks, etc… it’s easy to just move models forward and around in clumps, but it’s important to be methodical about their placement. The shenanigans you can acheive by mastering the movement and assault phase are really going to be what separates you as a player from the rest. Also, large units lend themselves to a lot of movement shenanigans.

Speaking of the Assualt phase!


Here you can see what my cultists looked like after their charge. You’ll notice I’ve surrounded the Mawloc, preventing it from falling back, and engaged the Flyrant. It’s extra important to uderstand how I engaged the Flyrant though. I’ve left a 2″ gap for my Prince to get in, but also put some models forward and behind where I expect the Prince to finish the turn.


After the Prince charged in you can see that the 2 cultists are still a little further up than him, which will be imperative to the success of this tactic.

And here are some precise measurements fo you sticklers out there who care about the nitty gritty details.



As you can see, the Prince has engaged the Flyrant because he is within 1″, and the cultists are in coherency, and slightly ahead of the Prince. This ensures they are the closest unit to the Hive Guard and Tyranofex which the Prince would rather not deal with.


After the turn finishes up, you can see the Prince has killed the Flyrant, whilst still being behind the cultits. I’ve even surrounded the back of the prince with cultists out of habit to protect against any deep strikers coming in behind me, or to ensure I haven’t missed any strange angles. The cultists have also locked the mawloc in place, preventing him from falling back. Ultimately, this ensures that my cultists can’t be shot because they’re locked in combat, and my Prince can’t be shot because he is a character with 8 wounds, and is not the closest model to the enemy. I’ve also set myself up for a devestating turn 2, where my Prince can launch forward and charge into the hiveguard.

This tactic is not specific to cultists and princes, nor is it dependent on the enemy being Tyranids. This is applicable to basically any character, just so long as there’s enough stuff floating around to help screen them off. I used this exact tactic in the quarter finals of Adepticon against a Shadowsword. For you Imperial players, Custodes Bike Captains with some guard allies or Seraphim could just as easily pull this off as well. Not to mention, Sean Nayden’s unorthadox LVO list is fundamentally based around this tactic. A little creativity in game can go much further than simply making a broken list.

I know I’ve said this before, so I apologize for beating the proverbial dead horse, but it’s imperative to understand the nuances of movement and assault to be successful at 40k. Understanding these phases intimately and recognizing/utilizing little tricks like this can turn appearingly unwinnable scenarios into favorable ones.

Well that’s all for today my friends, stay tuned for Thursday’s weekly article!



15 Comments on “Getting Shot is for Noobs

  1. Assuming your Demon Prince outright killed the Flyrant, how would you pull models for when the Mawloc strikes back and kills some cultists?

    • The Prince killing the Flyrant is just exaple fodder, and has nothing to do with the validity of the tactic on the macro scale. But to answer your question, I’d just pull some extraneous cultists that aren’t integral to blocking the prince from being shot or surrounding hte Mawloc. If the Mawloc was a more combat capable unit (say Genestealers) I would not recommend trying to jump the cultists in there.

  2. That’s some good shit right here. The more of this, the better

  3. To quote some South Park

    “Operation human shield”


    “Flakk shield”

    For naming the tactic 🙂

  4. Thinking this up might’ve been creative, but now that this is a becoming a well known interaction, won’t this be just a gimmick most competitive players will employ?

    • It’s very possible that tournament players start to use this tactic more frequently. I don’t see what the problem with that is though? Could you elaborate a bit more to help me understand?

    • The hard part isn’t knowing that the tactic exists, it’s knowing when/how to pull it off or avoid it in various board states. More interaction increases the skill gap.

  5. I have two comments. One is thank you for showing how this would work, definitely an eye-opener! The second is that I absolutely hate that the mechanics allow it. I dearly wish that the character targeting rule would be changed so that they have to be the closest _legal_ target. It really breaks the illusion of the game for me when a random dude hiding out of sight or technically in combat with something at the other end of a 20-model chain means you have to ignore the daemon prince.

    Not faulting anyone for making use of what the rules give them (this being the internet I feel like I should be sure to make that clear 😉 I just wish they’d take this option out.

    • Issue you run into is that you can then use rhinos or equivalent vehicle to block models LOS to only character. Thus allowing you to snipe them out…also breaking intended rules. People used to use 2 rhinos/razorbacks with devastators and just snipe characters all day long.

      • Ugh. You know, I had managed to put that trick entirely out of my mind. I agree, that was even more annoying.

      • Actually, Chapter Approved stopped that interaction, so the above screening tactics are still valid.

  6. I like your work here in general but I would love to see you take it further regarding a realistic outcome of that scenario or using a more accurate example to begin with. A DP has a very little chance of killing a flyrant outright. And the possible losses to overwatch and the Mawlocs attacks might make it hard to keep enough cultists around for the screen especially with morale.

  7. The example shown with the tape measure and the formentioned part of the cultist having to be just ahead of the Thirster is still not registering why in my head. Can you please explain. Thanks

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