friday 40k humor

friday 40k humor

Monday, July 22, 2013

Deal With It (If You Can)

by AbusePuppy


When you're writing lists for a tournament, there's a ton of considerations. You have to look at the balance of killing power versus scoring power versus survivability, your mobility and reach, the different types of firepower you have against different targets, your ability to fight off enemy melee and shooting units, how you fare in different deployments and missions, etc, etc, etc. It's a nigh-infinite list of things to worry about, and it's easy to get lost in considerations and counter-considerations.

One way to help organize your thoughts- and to make sure there's nothing critical that gets overlooked- is to have a checklist of Things You Need to Be Able to Do. While the basics are easy (capture at least three objectives, hold the Relic, and so on), there are a lot of things that can be overlooked when it comes to determining how you will face various matchups. For that reason I try to keep a list of important army archtypes available for myself and go over them, thinking about how it is I'll deal with each of them if I have to face it. It's no substitute for real practice and experience, of course, but many of the lists are niche enough that you can't realistically expect to test against every one of them. But knowing you have a plan- and a solution in your list- goes a long ways towards making things easier.
This, then, is my list of Important Matchups in 6th Edition. It doesn't even try to cover every possible type of list, only the very general varieties of threats you can expect to face.

The first thing you absolutely MUST be able to stop is units that will drop a scoring force on an objective in the last turns of the game, like Night Scythes and Vendettas. If the other guy goes second and the game ends on T5, do you have a plan? Do you have enough guns to shoot them down prior to that so they can't just scoot about unmolested? Can you hold objectives securely enough that they can't easily get onto them or take them away from you? Knowing how your list functions against 2-4 AV12 or 3-5 AV11 transport flyers is an absolutely critical measure of its viability in the game today. If you can't do anything about them, scrap the list and try again, because you are not a competitor.

Is it telling that the first two things on this list are flyers? I think it is. Heldrakes get an entry all to themselves because they singlehandedly can shut down a lot of lists because they bypass so many defense types. No hit roll, no armor save, no cover save, wounds on a two (with a potential reroll); if Heldrakes want something on the ground dead, it probably is. If you see 2-3 Heldrakes enter the table on the second turn, can your army do anything but roll over and die? Do you have AA platforms that will be able to stay alive and shoot them? Many of the usual solutions to airplanes just won't work because, lacking Interceptor, they aren't given a chance to take a shot before a Heldrake wipes them off the table- and make no mistake, your AA is the first thing they will get rid of.
Power Blob
Forty guys with three or more AP2 power weapons buried inside. Essentially immune to Leadership-based effects in most cases. Meltabombs or Krak Grenades to handle bigger targets and prevent getting stuck. Flamers for charge defense. Could easily be FNP or have extra attacks an invulnerable save or any other number of nasty buffs. Can your army stop that from crossing the table and sitting its ass on one of your objectives? Anti-infantry is very important in 6th edition and the Power Blob is a good test of how well you handle light infantry- if you can't take it down reasonably quickly, you are going to struggle with many armies, not the least because IG is such a popular ally choice.

Deep Strikers
If someone puts something in your face immediately and demands you deal with it, can you? Even if it's their whole army? This can include stuff like Drop Pods and Deathwing Assault, but also other fancy deployments (Infiltrating with ICs to drag along a squad, Ymgarl cheatyness, etc.) Can your army stand up to a short-range firefight/assault in the early turns of the game? 6E might be about shooting, but that doesn't mean there are no side chapters in the book. This test is especially critical for IG, Tau, and other armies that rely exclusively on guns to win the game for them.

MEQ Horde
Tying into the above, how many Marines can you kill? 60+, even if they are sitting in cover? What if they have Feel No Pain or are Fearless or are T5 or have some other benefit? While still not a good army, a lot of people are trying to push tons of supersoldiers around the table and you will feel absolutely terrible if the guy with six full-size Tactical Marine squads beats you in round 2. Make sure you have enough low-AP firepower and the ability to contest objectives from the other guy. Make sure you can stop someone from wading through midfield shooting Bolters at you.

Here's another unit good enough to warrant an entry (and an army) all its own. While obviously supported by other parts of the Tyranid army, Tervigons compromise the essential core of pretty much every ‘Nid force that has been seen for the past four years. Not only that, but their popularity seems to have seen a bit of an upswing thanks to psycher shenanigans and generally benefitting from the new edition. Make sure you have a way to deal with 30+ T6 wounds of critters and all of the little bugs they will spawn. Many lists will start assaulting you on turn 2 unless you do something drastic to stop them- make sure you have solutions. (Green Tide can also be conceived of as fitting into this category, as it has a similar main threat and profile.)

Can you stop a deathstar? An honest-to-goodness one with all the trimmings that gets in your face nearly immediately and tries to punch you? Usually with several layers of defenses (armor/invuln/cover/FNP/toughness/multiple wounds) and crushing offensive power, a deathstar can absolutely destroy you if you deploy wrong and don't have tools to break it. TH/SS still hold primacy in this arena, but Nob Bikerz, Paladins, Harliestar, etc, all play a similar game.

Metal Bawkses
CrunkMech ain't dead! Although the new edition changed the balance between infantry and vehicles rather dramatically, having an AV still provides protection from a lot of threats in the game and many tanks come pretty cheaply compared to the amount of shots it takes to kill them. Being able to shut down 4-6 transports that are firing away alongside the units they were purchased with is a pretty important thing still.

Flying Circus
While Daemons may have largely fallen off of the internet's radar, it can present some very legitimate threats to a list, not the least of which being the 3-6 flying monstrous creatures it can bring to the table. While superficially similar to flyer-based armies, FMCs present a very different kind of profile to the table and have very different strategies involved. Having enough high-strength and ROF guns to bring them down in short order is fairly critical. (Puppy Rush gets a nod as the also-ran here; 30+ Hounds in your face before the game even starts is nothing to sneeze at, and ditto for Screamers.)

One of the big threats from the DA book, considerations of its overall power level aside, is the ability to pour out absolute gobs of anti-infantry shooting thanks to Banner of Devastation. Usually sitting inside a Land Raider and coming in either mobile (i.e. bike) or cheap (i.e. Tactical) form, it can tear down most kinds of infantry in a very short time period. Being able to eliminate either the Banner itself or its support is paramount.

Team Tau Flak
Flyers got a lot of talk at the beginning of the article, but there's another side to that now- Tau can bring enough guns (as either ally or primary) to give any flyer a really bad day. A Quad Gun, 1-2 Interceptor/Skyfire Riptides, and as many as nine Skyfire Broadsides is enough to give any flyer list out there fits, not to mention the Commander giving out Tank Hunter and potentially Skyfire himself. Obviously seeing that much on the table at once is unlikely, but if you see 10+ wounds (with 2+ saves, no less) of enemy Skyfire plus a fortification, can you reasonably down them before they cut your army to pieces? Can you absorb four S7 shots rerolling everything whenever one of your flyers enters the battle? With as strong as flyers are, it's not unreasonable to assume that many players will bring Tau along to help them out.

Land Raiders are dead, they say. Land Raiders are better than ever, they say. No one seems to be able to make up their mind about whether they're at all viable, but they're still around, and with fortifications there are even more high-AV targets to deal with. If you count in the AV13 targets as well (like Annihilation Barges and Predators), the environment is practically lousy with them- so what do you do when Lascannons and Missiles just don't cut it anymore? Does your army have the specialist weapons to get rid of such tanks? You really can't afford to be caught completely helpless by them.
Hopefully this will be a useful guide for people to judge lists by- it's by no means exhaustive, but if you can at least check off everything I've talked about here with reasonable honesty, your list is well on its way to being balanced enough to try and fight its way through a big tournament. Whatever the internet may say, balanced lists are still entirely possible in 6th Edition. There are always going to be armies that you struggle against, but a bit of forethought and good list-writing can minimize the number as much as possible and maximize your chance of going undefeated against the field.
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