I am a hardcore tournament player who has played in Rogue Trader Tournaments from Salem, Oregon, down to San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego, California. I have also played in Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa, Florida. Right now I am playing and living in Phoenix AZ, but the tournament scene is rather dead for a city of this size, so I might need to join a league.
I try to attend as many large tournaments as I can. Although the GW Grand Tournaments get a bad rap, I enjoy them, and my goal is to win a GT one day. Also I attended Adepticon in Chicago every year and if you are a fan of 40k, this is a must because there is no other event quite like it.
He finally gave a breakdown of why he does not like my list, which is a lot better than saying that it was a 4th edition list.
#1. You can only beat the armies that they put in front of you. Everyone says that the armies that I faced were not the best armies that people can build. They are right, but I have no control over the armies I faced. There were not the hardest lists that I have ever seen, but they were played by good players who had respectable win-loss records up to that point. At the Wild West Shootout they had Vulcan lists, dual lash lists; other mech guard, etc. and the type of list that people think of when they think of the top tier armies, but somewhere along the line they lost, and it just happened that I didn't play them. Take for example Shep's first game. He played a Nob Biker army and took it out.
#2. To do well at any tournament you need to get lucky. There are so many factors in 40k like the rock-paper-scissors aspect of 40K, that you need to need a little luck with the match-ups, the scenarios, and the right dice rolls at the right time. If you get unlucky with any of them, you might stumble.
#3. I know my lists might not be as powerful as I could make it. Heck, I have even dropped Eldrad most of the time because I think he is too powerful. Why do I not take the most powerful list I can? I like to challenge myself. I feel that using the most powerful units in the codex are a crutch that a lot of players lean on, and I like to see if I can win without them. I made my Eldar army the way it is on purpose, and I felt like I was cheating bringing a Falcon because I wanted to win without any skimmers, but I crumbled under the pressure of a large 5 game tournament. If I wanted to I could do what everyone is telling me to do and bring a bad-ass Mech Eldar or Seer Council and kick some butt, but if I did win with one of those armies, then everyone would just say oh, Seer Council won and dismiss my victory thinking that my list won by using the most overpowered units, and not do to any skill. As a side note, I own 4 Wave Serpents for over 3 years and all they are all partially assembled and primed, and never used.
My next army will be pre-heresy chaos and I will limit myself because of that. I will not use Lash, Demon Princes, Plague Marines or any of the good stuff (I might sneak in oblits though.)
When Stelek did get around to breaking down my list he explained that Thunderhammer-Storm Shield Terminators would kill my Avatar and my Harlequins. First off, those Terminators give everyone trouble. They are one of the most powerful assault units in the game and responsible for hunting Nob bikers into extinction.
Now it is easy to say that they Terminators will kill my assault units, but it is very hard to do. How are you getting them even into assault? Land Raider? Generally what I do is I screen my Avatar and my Harlequins with Guardians, the cannon fodder of the Craftworld so they can't even get to them. So they end up charging my Guardians, and when they assault they end up doing so many wounds, that the ones that are still alive die because of the "no retreat" rule and then that leaves them open to fire from my army so I can just kill enough of them to soften them up to be finished off by my counter assault. And here Stelek was saying that fearlessness was bad in assault, but it helps to clear out any brave Guardians that might want to keep on fighting. I don't want my Guardians to be heroes.
In reply to this:
Stelek-"I'd like to note how bad both my DH list and your DH (I think? Please correct me if I'm wrong, coulda also been WH?) with it's horrible mish-mash of units, which you documented on Dakka and thought it too was competitive. I did better than you, in a larger more national 'pool' of players yes? I'm not tooting the Stelek horn, just saying I had a crap list but you at least had some vehicles (I had none) and I broadcast as loud as I could what I was bringing long before I showed up."
It was a Witch Hunters army with a lot of Demonhunter units allied to it. And you just said that I documented it on Dakka, so I would say that I broadcasted my army list as well.
Remember what I was saying about needing to get lucky to do well at tournaments? To give an example of this I give you Stelek's batreps from the 2008 Las Vegas GT:
All I will say is take a look at those batreps and see if fortune did not smile on him.
Then he goes on to say how bad my Witchhunters army was, and that he did better than me in Vegas. The problem is that two peoples GT experiences can be totally different. Because of Stelek's slow start (he tied his first 2 rounds) he was in the shallow end and down with the bottom feeders, and I ended up massacring my opponents, and I was playing at tables much higher than him, and I ended up playing the heavy hitters like Shep who I tied while he steamrolled all his other opponents on his way to getting 81 battle points: Game #2 of the Las Vegas GT, Blackmoor vs. Shep
…and I lost to Scott Simpson who won Best General at with a perfect battle point score of 100 at the Baltimore GT a few months before the Vegas GT.
So yes, I scored 68 battle points to Stelek's 73. Of course the Vegas GT was the first time I played that army and the first time I played 5th edition, so overall I thought I did very well. I then made improvements to my list and then a couple of months later at the Baltimore GT I scored 78 battle points which had me at the 8th highest score out of 148 players. Not bad for a list Stelek calls a "horrible mish-mash of units".
In objective based missions, you need a durable troop unit that will hold objectives in or near your deployment zone. Concept
When you are playing objective based missions, as everyone knows, troops are important to hold them. You need several of them but throughout a game they move around, get killed, and end up out of position.
Now if you have a mobile army or an assault army you will find yourself scrambling to get back to the objectives that you left behind in your deployment zone at the end of the game. Sometimes you make it, sometimes you don't, but what an anchor unit does is make it so that you do not have to worry about any other objectives that that are close to you, and it lets you focus on taking/contesting the ones in the middle of the board and in your opponent's deployment zone.
So this is article is to try to get you to think of taking a hard and resilient troop unit that just sits on an objective and holds it for the game.
Most armies have a form of anchor units and have troops with some special rules that help them stay alive and hold an objective during a game.
In general if you have terrain, you have a pretty durable unit. With most terrain now being a 4+ cover save in 5th edition, going to ground means that all units can have a 3+ cover save. It is hard to kill anything at over 12" if it has a 3+ cover save.
Now we are going through some units that make good anchor units:
Tau: Most people think that Tau do not have any durable troops that can hold up to fire, but that is not the case. Kroot make an excellent anchor unit. You place them in woods, and when they do go-to-ground they have a 2+ cover save.
Eldar: 10 Wraithguard are durable, but they are too expensive to just sit back and hang around. What makes for a good anchor unit is Pathfinders. They have a natural 2+ cover save, and if you want to get the same cover save without spending the points you can get Rangers, but to get a 2+ cover save you have to lose a turn of shooting to go-to-ground.
Space Marines: You take some Scouts and give them camo-cloaks and they have a natural 3+ cover save, 2+ when you go to ground.
Orks: Although they do not have any units that are hard to kill in cover, they do have dirt cheap gretchin that can sit in cover, and hide for a game while your heavy hitters head to over to the enemy to do some serious bashing.
Tyranids: Just take a unit of spinegaunts and stash them in the rear. You will not have to worry about synapse if they do not move and you can just lurk while your opponent has other things to worry about coming at him. If you do worry about them getting killed, you can also take Without Number so they can just run back to where they just died.
So this is just something for you to think about when building your armies to add a unit that will stay at home and claim that odd objective that is behind your army.
Pre-game set up
There are 2 things that you have to do to make sure that your anchor unit will be successful:
#1. If you are placing terrain at the beginning of the game, you have to make sure that each deployment zone has a good or at least reasonably sized piece of terrain in it.
#2. In an objective based mission, you have to place an objective at least near a piece of terrain in the deployment zones.
A few things to remember: When you are placing terrain and objective markers you do this before you know which side of the table you will start on, so keep in mind that you will need to place a piece of terrain and an objective marker in both deployment zones to be sure of getting the proper set up. Also if you are playing in a tournament you have had a chance to look over your opponents list be sure to check to see if he has units that outflank. If he does have outflanking units, you will need to place the terrain away from the short table edges so you do not get hit by outflanking units coming on from reserve.
This is the easy part after bringing the correct unit, and placement of the terrain and objectives. Just plant your units in there, and you are good-to-go! Just remember when you get hit by any serious firepower, duck and cover and go-to-ground.
I want to say thank you to all of the new people who are visiting my site.
I will do some updates to the blog the weekend and work on the formatting and try to make it look more professional. Also, I have some tactic articles in the works and I should have the first one posted tonight.
I hope you become regular visitors, and I welcome all comments both positive and negative. I want this blog to home to good discourse about 40k.
Every year I start a new army to give myself something to do between the Baltimore GT and Adepticon while the tournament season slows down and it recharges my engines for the Warhammer 40K hobby. Of course there was no Baltimore GT this year, but this is still time to work on something new.
After reading this thread about Darth Diggler's 'Ard Boyz army:
http://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/257828.page It made me think of working on a chaos equivalent. This leads me to my Pre-Heresy Thousand Sons idea I have had kicking around for a few years. Not only that, but it seems that there is a renewed interest in them with the re-launch of the Space Wolves, and with the Black Library's Horus Heresy books focusing on them with the upcoming releases of Prospero Burns and Thousand Sons. So I think I will revisit my favorite army for next year's tournament season.
To build this army I cracked open the The Horus Heresy "Collected Vision" book for the look and feel of the army, and after going through it all I have to say is that it will be a ton of work to capture that look! Not only that but painting red is my personal kryptonite.
When YTTH resident blowhard Stelek does not like an army, or understand how it works, he calls it a 4th edition army. This is a way that he can quickly categorize and demean an army that that does not meet with the Stelek's seal of approval, and then he and all of his sheep can dismiss it.
http://www.yesthetruthhurts.com/2009/10/wild-west-shootout.html So now I see him and his clones calling the army I won the Wild West Shootout a 4th edition army. I find that funny since you never found an army like mine in 4th edition. Now if I had 3 falcons and 18 harlequins I can see his point, but my army is built for 5th edition butt-kicking.
Here are some examples of why my army is built with 5th in mind:
With 5th edition's prevalence of 4+ cover saves, the high strength, high AP weapons have gone out of favor. My army has a massive amount of firepower so it pretty much ignores cover saves with shear volume.
With people's love affair with Mech armies, every unit I field can take out a tank.
On the other side of the coin, armies built to counter builds with a lot of vehicles have a lot of anti-tank and melta and those have little effect on my army.
In 4th edition you had no use for troops, and you can just take 2 squads of 5 Dire Avengers and call it a day. I have 30 Guardians that are hard to kill in 5th edition in their fearless bubble and cover saves, and Jetbikes that can turbo boost and fill all kinds of roles.
The funny thing is that I tried the War Walker army in 4th Edition and it did not work. There were things running around like 6 man Las-Plas squads, Tank-Hunting Auto-Canons and a vehicle damage chart that smoked my War Walkers like a fine Cuban cigar. Only now in 5th edition is the War Walker build viable.
I have had a lot of people ask me about my list that I won the Wild West Shootout with, and wondering why I did so well with it. So I will try to de-construct my list to try to shed some light on how it works, and why I did so well with it.
My design philosophy
When I build and army I ask myself if I can take on common builds, and if I am able to beat the "arch types" (Shooting, Assault, Combo) of the most popular armies? If not, then I tweak the army until I have an army that I think will win against a lot of them, and a chance against others.
With that design concept in mind, what units I gravitate to are units that can fill several roles. That is why one of my favorite heavy weapons is the missile launcher. Not only is it good against hordes with the frag. missile, but against MEQs with AP3, and against vehicles with Strength 8.
So here is a breakdown of my units and their roles:
• Fearless-The Avatar is the glue that keeps my army together. His fearless bubble is needed to keep LD 8 troops from running off the board each time they lose a few guys. He is important for just this role, and if he did just that, it might be worth his points.
• Assault- This guy is a killer in assault. Think of him as a flightless Bloodthirster. WS 10 (WS4 needs 5s to hit), Strength 6 and 4 attacks means that he is putting a hurting on whatever he is on b-t-b with.
• Anti-tank- He gets with other greater daemons don't…a melta gun. At BS5 his threat radius is greatly improved. He can also assault. Now that you get to ago against back armor, and gets 2d6 armor penetration dice for being a monstrous creature and he can tear vehicles apart.
• Hard to kill- The Avatar takes an incredible amount of damage before doing down. He is immune to Flamers and Melta which can't be overstated in this current anti-orks and anti-vehicle builds. Try going up against a Vulcan based army and see what they have that can hurt him. He has a toughness of 6 so he will shrug off most assault and small arms fire. But what makes him really durable is his 3+/4+ save. If you have a Farseer and can Fortune him, then he will easily save what few wounds get through. In fact, it takes almost a whole army shooting at him for a couple of turns to go down, and if they are shooting at him, they are not shooting at anything else.
• Redeploy- When you go first, your opponent gets to set up second and react to your deployment. This ability neutralizes a lot of that counter-deployment giving you a huge advantage when you go first.
• Psychic Powers- Since Eldrad is the only one who not only gets to use all of the Eldar psychic powers, but 3 a turn he is a gigantic force multiplier. I can't stress this enough. The ability to lay down Doom, Guide and Fortune where you need them as well as Mind War and even Eldritch Storm is huge.
• Defense- A 3+ inv save means that he is hard to kill and very survivable. You are not afraid to throw him into an assault or take the odd wound or 2 that his squad takes.
• Offence- Eldrad is a lot better in assault because not only does he wound on a 2+ but his attacks are power weapons.
• Anti-tank-They do one thing and they do it well, killing vehicles. Since 5 Fusion Guns should be enough to kill what they are shooting at
• Anti-infantry- The Exarch gets a Dragon's Breath Flamers so when you are fighting armies that do not have a lot of high AV vehicles, or monstrous creatures you can at least BBQ some Hordes.
• Anti-Tank-They have Fusion Pistols so that they can kill every vehicle, and rending in assault to take down everything but Land Raiders and Monoliths.
• Assault- This is where they shine. With their stats, they can kill almost every assault units out there including most armies' best assault units. Giving the troupe leader a power weapon means they can kill the tough armored units like terminators.
• Defense- They do have an Inv. save, but it is only 5+ so you do have to be careful assaulting large units that get to swing back. But they reason why they are the best counter assault unit is Veil of Tears. You do not have to worry about them being shot up, or taken out before you need them. The ability to roam freely around without worrying about getting killed before you need them is very important.
• Anti-Tank- They are armed with Brightlances to take out the heaviest of armor at range. Alternatively they can be armed with Missile Launchers to give them added range.
• Anti-Infantry- What people underestimate is the destructive power of massed Guardians. Ten Guardians will do 10 wounds to T4 opponents with the correct use of Guide and Doom. When you have them grouped together, they can devastate your opponent. This short range killing is often overlooked.
• Speed- They can move and shoot a heavy weapon. This makes then able to move around for the best shot, and they are able to move to objectives and not loose any firepower, and come on from reserves and shoot at full effect. They also have fleet if you need to assault for some reason.
• Durability- They are durable do to their numbers. They are fearless so you have to kill them to a man to stop them shooting their heavy weapon. With proper positioning, they should be able to benefit from a 4+ cover save. Another thing is that most anti-infantry weapons are close range, and short of heavy bolters and the like, it is very hard to kill them outside of 12". Also they are so far down on the target priority that they are almost never shot.
• Troops-They are Troop units for holding objectives, and that is always a good thing.
• Speed- Jetbikes are fast. Not only do they move 12" in the movement phase, but they move 6" in the assault phase, and when they need to they can also turbo boost 24".
• Anti-Tank- They have a Shuriken Cannon for strength 6 side shots, and a singing spear for strength 9 shooting and assault.
• Anti-Horde- The Warlock has Destructor for anti-horde and the squad has Shuriken Cannons and TL Catapults to help out.
• Troops- They are a fast moving troop unit, needed to get to objectives in a hurry.
• Durability- They have a 3+ save and a 4 toughness which is good by Eldar standards. They ability to turbo boost for a 3+ cover save, and their 6" Eldar Jetbike move in the assault phase helps them to get out of rapid-fire and assault range, or to duck behind cover.
• Anti-Infantry- This is the role where they excel. They can blast away at anything and before long they will go away. They do not care about you standing in cover, because you get an armor save anyways, but through shear volume of fire, they can decimate your opponent.
• Anti-Tank- Although not their primary role, they can chew up enemy armor. Besides the high army value you find in some heavy support choices, most vehicles are armor 12 and less. War Walkers get so many shots, that even glancing hits on AV 12 will do damage.
• Durability-War Walkers are a squadron so you can normally allocate the hits to one chewed up walker. Also they can be obscured for a 4+ cover save and shear number of them makes them hard to silence.
• Speed-The ability to move 6" and shoot all of your weapons, 12'" and shoot one weapon, 12 and more to get an obscured save is nice. Also the total move of 24"+12" with Star Engines makes it get to where you need it to be.
• Transport-The ability to carry 6 models is great on such a fast moving tank. If a guardian squad gets chewed up you can embark it to not only save the guardian squad, but to make your Falcon scoring. Also you can get a 6 man Harlequin squad and transport them for assault and short ranged anti-tank, and then the Fire Dragons for vehicle removal, or to flame some infantry.
• Anti-Tank- I use my Falcons as a gunboat for the most part. They are a fire platform that can shoot 2 strength 9 shots and 1 strength 8 shot. They can move around for some strength 6 shots to.
• Anti-Infantry- Although not a specialty of the Falcon they can also do an ok job of shooting infantry. They can shoot the pulse lasers, and frag grenades and still move 12". 6" and under they can shoot the pulse lasers, the missile launchers, and the shuriken cannon to do some damage.
So as you can see everything has an anti-tank role, and an anti-infantry role. Depending on whatever army I am up against, everything can be used against it. Mech, Infantry, or a combination of both, I have the tools to deal with it.
Now there are some weaknesses in my list. I can't take out a chaos army that has a lot of oblits. To kill them you need a lot of strength 8 AP2, and my 4 shots at BS3 leave me at a huge disadvantage.
There are a few different strategies with building a good take-all-comers list, and I like this kind of reactive army.