Friday, 12 January 2018
Alpha Strike and Smite Spam
The idea of an Alpha Strike list is one which has the ability on the first turn to utterly devastate the opposing enemy thus denying them the ability to mount an effective come back. It is mostly done with significant heavy weapons and super-heavy vehicles.
The problem with arguments against this is that in a competitive game or environment this is a perfectly acceptable style of play. Not one that I would endorse especially for casual play. There is a very easy way to get around this however and that is to actually have enough line of sight blocking terrain on the table between you and your opponent. Most games that I have seen just do not have enough of this sort of terrain and there is no wonder that Alpha Strike lists have an easy time of it. Hide your units behind terrain or in it if they fit to get that cover save bonus. It's not perfect but it will help you survive at least turn one.
As for Smite spam this is a very different kettle of fish. This style of play is about having as many psykers as possible and just throwing out mortal wounds and as very little has a means of stopping that it can quickly burn through units and tanks.
Games Workshop have listened to complaints and have put out a beta-test where this is modified so that each subsequent casting of Smite past the first has a cumulative negative modifier. Unfortunately I don't this is a good way of dealing with it. The every day game of 8th edition is hurt by this in my opinion. Naturally psyker heavy armies such as Aeldari, Thousand Sons, Grey Knights and to an extent Tyranids are all penalized by this. I think that instead of making this a standard rule in the game, that the beta test rule should become a standard in competitive tournament play instead.
There are ways around it anyway if you think about it. Frequently I will include something sacrificial to move ahead, soak up fire and smite, this protecting the rest of your army. In my case it is either poxwalkers or chaos cultists. Poxwalkers preferably because they have disgustingly resilient and have a chance to ignore the mortal wounds. You have to remember that Smite must target the nearest visible enemy unit so keeping something closer than the units you want to keep alive is a good idea.
Ultimately, if you are playing against people whose use this sort of play style outside of a tournament or agreed upon competitive game and you dislike it, just don't play against them. That is my advice. If enough people stop playing against them because of it, they'll either find like-minded players to challenge or they'll change their play style if they want the game. Neither Alpha Strike nor Smite spam are conducive to casual play. Casual players prefer a fun game for both themselves and their opponent.
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