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The Tactical Class
The tactical’s strength lies in its versatility. The tactical mixes firepower and mobility and can comfortably fit into near any role. With perks like "Weapons Versatility," they can even fit more than one role simultaneously. As well as being versatile, the tactical can use their mobility to constantly redeploy (i.e. move and fire at the same time) and evade threats when needed. The tactical has the capacity to be better at evasion than the assault class, especially in close quarters. Or…
Roll, roll and keep rolling. Roll and don’t stop rolling for anything. Roll and roll and roll again. For the Emperor’s sake, man, ROLL!
Actually you shouldn’t be rolling all that much. It’s tempting, but it can also be the tactical’s ruin. Blindly rolling is a good way to both get confused and corner yourself if you aren’t properly aware of your surroundings, making you a prime candidate to get hacked to death in close combat by an assault marine, for example.
The tactical also risks hamstringing himself by using rolls at inopportune times. If you are too busy rolling and your opponent throws a grenade at your feet, your only option will be to sprint away as they fire into your back. Unless you intend to go down fighting, the alternative is to either wait to roll and be killed or at the very least stunned by the grenade shock, leaving you open for the follow-up attack.
So use roll judiciously. You can (sometimes) anticipate grenade lobs by looking at the marine in question. Roll into cover when possible (and appropriate, so as to not put yourself at a disadvantage) and more than anything be aware of your surroundings. It’s very possible to roll out of one line of fire only to enter another.
When arming your tactical, obviously, you want to gear it toward something. This can be versatility with the perk that allows you to be a master sniper and assault weapons expert (‘Weapons Versatility’ armed with a stalker bolter and melta gun) or a suppression specialist (‘Favour of the Armoury’ + ‘Master Crafted Wargear’ + frag grenades + storm bolter) or a constant, suicidal nuisance (melta gun + ‘Rapid Deployment’ perk), but the point is, when picking your loadout you should think about what specific role you want to play and tailor your gear to adhere to it.
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Tactics - Redeployment
Don’t be afraid to redeploy. This means running away. If you can give yourself the advantage, you should take the opportunity, and then attack from an improved position. An enemy who can’t get a bead on you, can’t kill you. An enemy who isn’t expecting your attack is vulnerable to it. When fighting a long rage battle with an enemy who has a long-range weapon and for example’s sake, you do not, you take some of their advantage away if you are not a static and predictable target. Sometimes the advantage is simply not dying. The tactical is the most vulnerable class when it comes to groups. A well positioned devastator can mow through groups in seconds and a canny raptor can use their jump pack to either ambush, panic or disrupt groups, whereas a tactical’s only recourse for taking groups head on is the risky use of specialist weapons like the plasma gun’s charged shot, or the much more reliable standby of grenades.
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Tactics - Grenades
The tactical depends on grenades the most out of all the classes. The tactical mostly uses mid range weapons with variable firepower and therefore needs grenades to either soften up the enemy for weapons which require sustained use, like the bolter, or to flush their opponent out of their positions and put them on the defensive. Grenades are the tactical’s best option when it comes to taking on multiple foes, ideally all standing in the same spot. This tactic is best used with perks like master crafted wargear and favour of the armoury. You can reliably neutralize groups by making no area in a certain radius safe for them (dependant on how far you space grenades apart).
When throwing grenades, you can bounce them off walls to plant them around corners, which is a good way to flush out foes you know are waiting for you, like the ever annoying melta users. Grenades also work well if you aim them behind your target, because they won’t know for sure where the grenade is, forcing them away from their location and toward you. Remember, grenades work as deterrents as well as they do killing tools.
Grenades are partly the standby of the tactical, because the tactical is confined to the ground, unlike the assault class, and therefore needs an edge on the ground, and has the mobility to run away from their own grenades if need be, unlike the devastator.
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Try not to take devastators head on. Always flank where possible. A braced heavy bolter that you attack from the side is a sitting duck, up until they turn around. A lascannon devastator at close quarters is at a major disadvantage. Don’t stay still and always keep the pressure on. Only take on a lascannon at anything but shorter ranges if you have the stalker bolter, otherwise you will almost certainly come off worse for wear.
Plasma cannons give everybody the most trouble due to their mobility and lack of set up time, but they’re just as dangerous at close quarters to their user as they are to you, so if you can close range, you can both circle around them (with luck) and deter them from using the cannon. Most will just as happily kill themselves in suicide attacks though, so be prepared. Don’t engage devastators in firefights down tight corridors without cover or space to get around them. Otherwise, you’ll have entered the killing field.
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Unless you’re holding a melta, you don’t want an assault marine getting close to you. If you think you know where they’ll land, drop a grenade at your feet and roll away (double this distance if they have a hammer). This will leave them open for your follow up attack. If an assault marine does get within chopping distance hit F to stun them, to allow you more time to evade or finish them off. The latter isn’t recommended if they aren’t visibly wounded, and especially if they are holding a hammer.
Sometimes, you can simply back away from assaults while firing, though be careful not to back into a corner. Other times, the best tactic is to back away firing and if they attempt a lunge, evade to the side and gun them down while they’re off guard.
Weapon Versatility with the stalker bolter and a melta is a good setup for dealing with assaults. If you can’t take them down with the stalker’s range, you can reliably fry them with the melta. Springing a melta on anyone at close range is a good setup. Finally, if you know that you’ve done damage to them, and you have no other options, engaging an assault in close combat can be surprising enough that it might net you a kill. This is really a last resort though.
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Against Other Tacticals
I t seems that when tacticals meet each other, they have a tendency to stand there shooting until one is dead. This is usually born of the idea that they either have their foe on the ropes and just a little more shooting will finish them, or that they think they’re evenly matched enough, that the element of surprise will secure their victory.
The irony is that tacticals have such a wide variety of perks and weapon options, that they rarely meet on equal footing. A bolter with kraken bolts will do more damage than a storm bolter, but the storm bolter will have a greater rate of fire, while the bolter, without the targeter, will be far less accurate.
A tactical must tackle situations in a way that suits their loadout. If you have a regular bolter, standing around shooting against a tactical with a Stalker Bolter is a bad idea, for example, because they can kill you in 1-2 shots. Standing still just makes their task easier, despite how many shots you might land, you won't win. Whereas a bolter wielding tactical who flanks whilst firing, and doesn’t let their opponent get a bead on them, will fare much better.
Similarly, avoid rolling unnecessarily, as an adept sniper can hit you during or after recovering from the roll.
Conversely, if you have a Stalker Bolter, and are faced with a tactical who has a plasma gun, they will most likely be firing much more wildly than they should be. You shouldn’t just let them shoot you, but the slow rate of fire and power of the stalker's shot, means that you should choose to shoot only at opportune moments, or you leave yourself vulnerable. This means taking your time, evading their bullets and going for headshots where possible.
If your opponent has a melta gun, then you should do everything you can to not let them close range. Backward rolls, grenades, running away, whatever it takes.
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-Redeploy where needed.
-Use your versatility to your advantage.
-Grenades are your friend, use them to dictate the battlefield conditions.
-Choose your moments to roll carefully, but roll FOR THE EMPEROR!
-Manoeuvrability is key, and will save you, or bring you your victory more often than anything else.
Armed with this tactical data, go forth into the cosmos. Victory awaits.
- Picture reference from Space Marine Wikia
- All references from Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine