Thursday, September 3, 2009


The controversy

It looks like there is a lot a talk on the blogs about the list/army that won BoLScon.

The list was posted over at the BoLS blog for everyone to see and then everyone reacted to the list.

To save you the trouble of clicking on the link, here is the list:

Super Winged Choppy Tyrant

Foot Tyrant, Dual Devourers and 2 Guards

3x 20 Improved (WS, Str, In) Hormagaunts

8 Spinegaunts, Without Number


3 Zoanthropes

2x Carnifex – Barbed Strangler / Venom Cannon

A lot of people have different reaction to this list. Over at the YTTH blog the infamous Stelek berated the owner of the list, the whole BoLSCon because a list like that won. He went on in his usual style questioning the quality of the competition, and how the local armies would beat that list.

The thing you have to know about Stelek is things are either black or white with him. There is no grey. Units and equipment either work or they don't and he dismisses it. There was a player that did well with Tau in his local 'Ard Boyz tournament and he dismissed his whole list and my association the player because he had flamers on some models. Stelek has made up his mind and flamers are bad, and nothing can change his mind. Stelek's narrow viewpoint is close-mindedness of different units and tactics are one of his weaknesses.

Then The_King _Elessor also went off on this list on The Mind War blog:

He made Stelek seem calm and dispationate, that that is saying something!

Then of course The Blood of Kittens (Whom I am starting to enjoy) then jumped on The_King_Elessor, and there was a big argument about this army.

The_King _Elessor backed down a bit when engages by the BoLS crew here:

But there is no doubt that a lot of people were underwhelmed by the winning Tyranid list.

My Thoughts

Do you know what I thought when I saw this army posted? I could win with this army.

The army has a lot of strengths. Let's look at the core: Hormagaunts.

He upgraded them to uber-gaunts by giving them the only upgrades that matter…WS, STR and INT. So want you have is a pack of 60 gaunts that can charge between 19"-24" and hit hard because of the upgrades. Let's look at the gaunts offence. On the charge you get 60 attacks per unit, which means against marines they will hit first, the gaunts will then hit 40 times doing 20 wounds and killing around 7 marines. Not to shabby at all and that is without the Lictor who I imagine is there for the most part to add his feeding tendrils, but I will leave him out.

Now let's look at killing them. Gaunts are fast. So fast and you will not have a chance to kill them without a great deal of trouble. The reason why is that you can't rapid fire them, or hit them with any real damage unless you have some big blasts.

The other units are things that you need to make the army work. You need synapse for the gaunts. You have 2 hive tyrants and 3 zoanthropes to give you good coverage. Hormagaunts do have the habit of running forward and out of synapse, and they have a winged hive tyrant to try to keep up with them, but with the 5th edition morale rules, but once they launch there assault they should do a lot more damage in assault and do not have to worry about running.

Lictor? I barely knew her! Although a bit over priced, he has a lot of good rules that compliment the army. He has feeder tendrils to have the Gaunt re-roll failed rolls to wound, and he can tie up shooty units in that are hiding in the back of the board and kill those pesky vehicles that are giving you trouble. They have improved in this role in 5th edition because most of the tanks in the rare are stationary, and you hit rear armor, they have gotten a big boost.

Carnifexs are always good. You shoot vehicles and although they can't kill them like they use to, they can keep them stunned which is all you have to do for some armies. Then they can also assault with strength 9 and 2d6 penetration.

The Zoanthropes are good for synapse because they are a lot harder to kill that you would think, and also they are good for shooting a few random shots down field. I think using them for the psychic choir has kind of died down in 5th. As far as the synapse goes, there are a lot of people who go gaunt heavy and forget about synapse and so what I do is just go after synapse and if I can't kill it all, what is left starts to head for cover, and they can't do what they want to do.

So over all, I think the army works. I would not mind taking it to an RTT and seeing what would happen.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

How I choose my army

To begin, I wanted to discuss how I go about choosing an army.

There are basically 3 steps:

Figure out what armies that I don't want to play.

Figure out want armies that I want to play

Figure out what army I think can win with.

Figure out what armies I do not want to play.

This is the easiest step. I do not want to play a tier one (the best) armies. So that means that I will not play Orks, Dual Lash Chaos, Seer Council Eldar, etc.

The second one is that I like the rare armies/builds and those attract me. So out goes Mech Armies, Vulcan SM, Plague Marines, or MEQs in general, etc. There are so many marine armies around, that I had to scrap my plans for one. The Space Wolves are my first army, and I was waiting a very long time for their codex to come out. Now that it is almost here everyone is jumping on that bandwagon. Also I look around at the armies I see playing in RTTs and in the local area and I see a lot of marine armies and I have to jump off the bandwagon. Maybe after the initial rush of SW players die down and they move on to other armies I might be able to return to my Sea Wolves.

Figure out want armies that I want to play

So then let's take a look at what interests me. There is two ways I go about picking an army. One way is that I like a unit or theme and then build around that. For example, I am not a big fan of Orks, but if I was to build an Ork army, I would build it around Flash Gits. I like how everyone thinks they are a bad unit, but I like how they work and their fluff. If I was going to build a Space Marine army, I would center it around Legion of the Damned. I like this theme so much that I almost built it, and I had to lie down for a while to stop myself from making it.

To give an example of picking units I like and building around them I will point to an army that I built just after the elder codex came out. There was a lot of discussion of which units were good, and which ones were bad. The consensus was that Guardians were very bad, so I started to build my army around them. They appealed to me because they were cheap and they were fast, and they are multi-purpose. I like units that can do many things and fill many roles. Guardians can move and shoot a heavy weapon, Fleet (back when fleet did something), and then they can close and shoot their small arms. So then I had to find units that worked with them. I choose the Avatar because he would make all of the guardians fearless, and negate there poor leadership. I also choose Eldrad (before Eldrad was in every army) because Guardians need a little bit of a boost to be more effective and Eldrad is a great force multiplier. He can cast 2 Guides, or 2 Dooms or 2 Fortunes etc. Whatever I need, he can supply it. And then I build an army around it to compliment it and it turned out every well. This is the list I went 4-0-1 at the LVGT and 5-0 at the Baltimore GT.

Figure out what army I think can win with.

This is the hardest one. I try to match an army up with the top tier armies to see if I have a chance. I compare them to what think I will find at the top tables and see if my army matches up. I look at things like every marine army will have at least one Land Raider, and often times more, so an army must have an answer for them. It must have a chance against horde Orks, Lash/Oblit spam and a Mech army.

Now I am not saying that I have to be able to have an overwhelming advantage against a top tier list (and the fact that they are top tier lists means that there is nothing that has an overwhelming advantage over them), but I want to have at least a chance against them. Hopefully my skill as a player will make up for whatever disadvantage my army has as far as the matchup goes, but I need to at least have a chance.

To give an example of what I am talking about, my SoB army that I played last year had a little bit of everything that could deal with the heavy hitters. I had some exorcists and melta for Land Raiders/Mech, some flamers and a lot of heavy bolters for orks, and I hope my Exorcists could win a gunnery duel with Obits and SoBs are very resilient to lash/psychic powers.