Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tactics Spotlight: Shock Troop Defense

Holiday weekend + being under the weather a bit = me being slow to get posts out.  I should be back on the normal routine this week, though I seem to have forgotten to make graphics.

Previously, we looked at a few of the ways shock troops can attack the enemy line. Today I want to take a look at how to stop them. Most shock troopers are experienced fighters and usually bring a good bit of armor to the field. That's going to make it hard to prevent them from reaching their goal.

The easiest way to reduce their impact is to keep your head on a swivel. Noticing gaps and keeping you eyes on different angles of approach gives you a chance to spot the danger early and try to prevent it. By closing up gaps and calling out strafing runs, you greatly limit their access to easy targets.

Outside of not seeing a strafing run coming, most often their success seems to be because very few people swing at them.  Those that do often swing at the wrong target zones.  Throwing a high cross shot while they are on the move is usually going to end up hitting their shield, or hitting very light as they move away.  The best shot to land is a good hit to their leg, especially if you can get it in to an unarmored area.  Once they've lost mobility that close to your line, there isn't too much they can do without support.

One rare case to prevent strafing runs requires that you be a bit bigger than the person strafing, or at least be better at bashing.  Simply stepping up into their path and delivering a strong shield bash can knock them down, especially with the correct timing.  Even if they aren't knocked down, they are very likely to be slowed down enough for others to get a free swing or two.

Those on the line have a few options to stop shock troopers, but often times it comes down to reserves or other shock troopers to counter them.  Reserves should pay close attention to how the line in moving in the maneuver phase and look for gaps forming in the line.  Once noticed, moving there quickly is essential.  Quite often, the enemy has already spotted that same gap and will be moving there at the same time.  The mere presence of someone standing there to block it out is usually enough of a deterrent to send them elsewhere.

If you do find yourself holding a wide gap against a couple of shock troopers, try to keep to the middle of the gap and call for help.  As they approach, you need to try to get both of them to engage you in a fight, rather than one simply bypassing you.  This is difficult, because they will tend to split of once you have engaged one of them.  You'll have to try moving back and forth and putting swings on each of them.  If you can manage to leg one of them quickly, you might be able to turn the tide.  Even if they do get away, you have managed to slow them down a little to block and deal with you, potentially giving your team time to react.

There have been occasions where an enemy strafing run can be stopped by a friendly shock trooper chasing them through the middle of the lines.  This requires either being faster than their shock trooper or seeing their move and intercepting from in front of them a little bit.  This can prove to be exceptionally difficult, and is a fairly rare circumstance.

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