Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Target Priority: Kill Points Missions

Let’s talk target priority in kill points missions. Yeah, I know, no self-respecting comp player does the whole KP thing, and I agree that KPs have their problems, but let’s just say- for the sake of argument - that you are slumming it with some fluffies or playing your little cousin and still want to kick some ass.

Question is, do you give target priority to threats, or easy kills? Your gut reaction (if like mine) will be to go for taking out threats. After all, your opponent’s nasty tanks are blasting away at you and you are going to shoot at the harmless little combat squad 12” behind them? Having played (and lost) quite a few of these missions I feel qualified to say, yes, go for the kill, collect your point and move to the next easiest thing to kill.

That’s easy to say, but perhaps we should see this idea put into action.

In the first situation, we have my Eldar army vs. an Ork horde. As you can see, I have two units of Nob bikers coming in from the left and a horde of boyz midfield. Behind them are some killa cans and gretchin. I concentrate fire on the bikers T2-3, and the horde mid-late game. I ended up losing the match, and well I should have.

Do you do the math there? Gretchin and killa cans were worth 3 points and could have been neutralized easily by my army in T2-3. Instead I went for the ‘threats’ and ended up having most my shots bounce off the high toughness and FNP of the bikers. In the end I only killed one squad of bikers. The cans and gretchin survived. Mind you, I was worrying about foot-bound orks and bikers when the majority of my army was in fast skimmers.

But that was just a noob mistake, against a horde army right?

Lets try a more recent example, this time against the ever-shooty Tau. Note totally different play style of my opponent’s army, but the principle remains the same: go for the easy kills. In fact, think of KP target priority as if you are a boxer faced against a heavy weight champion, an average adult and a six year old girl. Get the kid. Don’t be scared.

Here we are midgame, I’ve managed to neutralize some piranhas, a crisis team, and some devilfish. So far, so good. In the backfield you can see two de-meched squads of fire warriors (the “little kids”), another crisis team and a devilfish (the “adults”), and some broad sides in cover with shield generators (the “heavy weights”). My reasoning had the best of bloodthirsty intentions– kill the broad sides, then nothing can contest my mech for the next 2-3 turns. On T4 I spend a turn firing two preds, two blast masters, and a handful of havoc launchers at the broad sides. Through a bit of luck (not much though) the filthy Tau pull through unscathed. His turn they knock out another of my tanks, taking the lead and forcing me out of cover to try and catch up.

Could I have got lucky, killed the broadsides and then achieved a massacre? Possibly, but the smarter play would have been to take out the two fire warriors squads backfield. With my massed templates and their crappy Ld this would have almost been a foregone conclusion. This would have put him down two points and forced him to take risks in order to play for a draw.

Situations like these present themselves time and again in KP missions, and it is difficult, not to mention counter intuitive, to avoid nasty units in favor of easy points, but bitter experience has taught me that it’s the easy kills that win the game. Remember in KPS landraider = rhino. Abbadon = space marine captain. Ten gaunts = 20 plaguemarines with full command and weapons.

Don’t over work your self. Go for the path of least resistance.


  1. My only problem is the little girl is going to cry. And that's probably harder to deal with than any Chaos god.

  2. I think it is a little more complicated than always shoot the easy KP in KP games. A few factors come to mind, such as, what turn is it and how durable are the big threats (in your examples they are pretty durable.).

    Say for instance I can shoot an empty rhino, (or Drop pod) or I can get side armor shots on a predator. I would go for the bigger threat because my odds of getting a KP are the same (all other things being equal.).

    I also think that early in the game (read turn 1 maybe 2) you need to try to stop some of your opponents threats to your list. After that its easy KPs all the way.