Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Null Zone Deployment

Null Zone Deployment

After all the hype of fritz’s ‘new’ null zone deployment strategy (see here) wears itself out, where will the 40k world be? Here are some ramblings from Brother C.

[null zone deployment simply means, keeping as much as you can off the table at the start of a game, giving your opponent nothing to shoot at (going first) on both turns 1 and 2. A strategy against the current heavily favored gunline armies.]

First, I do not believe GW is pushing our armies in any particular direction. They are, in fact, opening the door to different opportunities to the way matches play out on the board. The game is no longer just about choosing a list which exploits ‘over powered’ units and lining them up on the field without much of a battle strategy. As has been much of the discussion of late, the game is instead looking at both the large scale and the small scale at the same time. Meta-gaming (how you use and adapt your individual squads/units) is now just as important grand scale gaming (choosing your list/army - listhammer).

Because of these new opportunities, players are rethinking the very mechanics of the 40kverse. Where to place objectives, how and where to deploy, infiltrate vs. outflank vs. reserve vs. deepstrike vs. all deployed. We have options now. Do not let yourself be pigeon-holed as players to think that GW is trying to steer you in one direction and the new codices are built around some conspiracy about null zone deployment.

Instead, see it for the truth… it’s the flavor of the week. Or month… ? whatever. It’s the new thing. Everyone will be running these armies now. Spearhead + outflanks + deepstrikes. Yay! However, as with all new toys, they ‘break’, they become obsolete once everyone has the same thing. It will not take long for players to realize the weaknesses of this build and be waiting for you to rip you to pieces. So enjoy the brief moment where your opponent has no idea how to deal with your divided army because it will not last.

Some thoughts on defense of the null zone deployment strategy…

1. You know its coming.
Plan ahead. Don’t’ leave your tanks out in the open, allowing deep striking / outflanking units to jump them. Have rapid fire units or assaults nearby, you know they will be after your armor/priority targets, so just wait. Be patient and pounce. Let them walk into the trap.

2. Stay away from the sides of the table.
These are becoming suicide. You know outflanking units will be coming from here, don’t let them surprise you. Make them come on the board into crossfire. Keep your priority targets protected. Cover your own units, gee there’s a genius idea.

3. Stay near the edges of the table.
Use your units as walls, protecting the edges of the board from outflank. The enemy unit cannot come on the game board within range of your men, use this to your advantage, make them come on where you want them, and spring the trap!

4. Let them make the first move.
Fire barrages at their few units on the field (their spearhead). Try to knock down a few if you can, and wait for their reserves. Don’t break formation till you see the whites of their eyes kind of idea. With so many units off the board, what do you have to worry about? The less turns your opponent has the bulk of his army off the field, the better for you. Take advantage. Then when the do finally roll on, crush them. Make them break, before you do. Adapt to them, don’t’ let them adapt to you.

5. Use the board. If your opponent is giving you the board, take advantage; get your units into fortified positions where they are covering each other. Do not fall into the trap of just leisurely strolling around the map thinking no enemies are around. Where do people come off? Hello, your opponent is still their, just waiting for you to make a wrong move, spread your men too thin, create little squishy underbellies to ravage. You know the hurt is coming, bunker down, get into position and fight like hell.

Having said all that, I’m a Dark Angels player, all I have is null zone deployment. So I’ll be running that again this month at the club meeting.

What are your thoughts?


  1. I didn't know you had null zone? I thought only Codex Marines Librarians had that?

    If you had null zone why aren't you crushing me with it this whole time?

  2. its the fritz coined deployment strategy. not the nullzone librarian power. haha. no, my librarians are still just as useless as before. don't worry.