friday 40k humor

friday 40k humor

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

General Strategies Against Common Opponents: Part 1

Time to start thinking strategy.  Chaos Marines are going to be the foundation for these strategies, but many of the same principles can be applied to other armies.  The options you have grow dramatically when you start to factor in allies, but I am going to just be talking about Chaos Marines on their own.

Here are some of the main types of armies that you are likely to encounter.  Many armies (most of the good ones anyway) will include more than one of these strategies.

While large squads of paladins and biker nobz have generally fallen out of favor deathstars are not dead.  Tau and their supplement bring the notorious Farsight bomb and Eldar have jetbike councils.  Both can stack multiple USR's making them both durable and able to put out the hurt.

Trying to defend against a deathstar can be tricky since they tend to do a ton of damage in a single turn; you are going to need to prioritize what lives.  If I know a Farsight bomb is going to drop I want to make sure things like obliterators or vindicators are either bubble wrapped with a throwaway squad or hiding in reserves.

With both Farsight bombs and Jetbike councils positioning is key.  Most often there is one model with a reliable save meant to tank most of the incoming shots.  These are both fast opponents so it may be difficult to outmaneuver them, but it is possible.

Throwaway units such as cultists and Typhus zombies are great for bubble wrapping.  If you can manage to catch a deathstar off guard zombies can tie up units in close combat for a significant period of time.

Everyone loves Helldrakes.  Baleflamers can make quick work of any squad without a 2+ save.  They can also reliably move into a position to avoid a 2+ save tank.  It is also important to remember that vector strikes do random wound allocation meaning that it is unlikely that the tanking model will be hit.

Noise marines are also incredible for dealing with these kinds of threats; however, you need to make sure that you have a range advantage on your opponent.  Most shooting deathstars have medium to short range on their guns and if you can keep a squad of cultists in between you and your opponent this can really limit the amount of damage that you take.  Positioning can be an issue if there is a 2+ save at the front of the squad.  Make sure your opponent takes the bolter saves before the blastmaster saves if there is a tank.

Turn Two Charges:

Armies that can pull off a turn two charge are rising in popularity.  Swarms of Flesh Hounds can be seen at many a tournament, Wraithwing still makes appearances, and with the (suspected) rise of white scars you are likely to encounter someone who can be in your face on turn two.

How you react to an extremely fast opponent is going to depend on how his or her units are approaching you.  If they are running right up the center then it is going to be easy to concentrate your firepower and/or charges on a single unit.  However, if an opponent is smart and hitting your flank then you are going to need to react in a more precise manner.  Hitting you on a flank means that they can engage only part of your army.  You want to move in such a way where your opponent will be forced to engage as much of your army as possible.  Against an army that has turn two chargers you are going to want to keep most of your army together.  Spacing out will let these fast units pick off your squads one at a time.

Once again bubble wrapping is going to come in handy.  Cultists and zombies come to mind; however, I have also had a couple occasions where I was able to bubble wrap with my helldrakes.  With some planning and a decent amount of luck you can get this tactic to work and it can be devastating to your opponent.  I have only been able to pull this off when I go first simply because it relies on your helldrakes coming in at the beginning of turn 2.  When your helldrakes come on the board position them in such a way where your opponent would be unable to  charge without place a model within 1 inch of one of your bases.  This can force them to be stuck out in the open for an additional turn.

The most effective shooting unit against wraiths, flesh hounds, and bikes has to be noise marines.  Against both flesh hounds and wraiths S8 is devastating and bikes will simply melt away against a blast master.

Daemon Princes with a black mace can be very effective against these units in close combat.  They are fast enough to engage  these units and pack enough punch to do some serious damage.  Since they don't have the 'Champion of Chaos' special rule they do not actually have to challenge (however they more than likely will want to).

Baleflamers are ok against flesh hounds and wraiths since the STR wont double out their toughness, but the Hades autocannons are very effective.  Bike squads cry at the sight of a baleflamer.

I have not run one but on paper a forgefiend with two hades autocannons and a single exctoplasma cannon would be effective as well.

Monday, November 18, 2013

How You Beat Dem Now:

 Space Marines Part 1: Bike Armies

original posted on 40k Daemons 

Two colons in the post title! Screw you, grammar!

Space Marines are starting to come into their own. While they haven't made a lot of noise on the tournament scene yet, they have proven themselves capable to dealing with the top tier stuff out there. Once people get the army figured out, I expect it to be right up there with Eldar, Daemons and Tau.

Space Marines have so much variety that it's kind of tough to write a blanket article about defeating them, so I'll split this into installments. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, it's all about killing T4 models with 3+ saves, which is fairly easy. Unless you're facing a bike army, and then that's not what it's about.

So lets' start with bikes as my guess is White Scars will be the strongest SM template in the current meta. At 2k points, you can expect 30-40 bikers in units of five. One will probably be a very nasty command squad. Most will have two grav guns because that's the friggin' point of running a SM bike army, but smart players will have at least four meltaguns and maybe a couple flamers in there as well. A typical list will be Khan on Moondrakkan, a command squad, 5-6 bike squads depending on points level, and however they decide to support it, whether it be allied Tau, Storm Talons, Thunderfire Cannons, etc...

Grav guns are what make White Scars armies work because they're useful against many targets in most armies, and salvo weapons on relentless platforms are made for each other. Wraithknights and Riptides go squoosh, Wave Serpents get immobilized early, Tyranid MC's die fast. In a Daemon army, only Daemon Princes and Bloodthirsters need worry about grav weapons for the most part, which is nice. However, if you are playing flying circus and one of your dudes gets grounded early in the shooting phase, it's all over for his ass. That said, the bike still has a TL bolter for your other stuff, so you're not off the hook. However, compared to Ravenwing with a dakkabanner, White Scars are much less of a threat to Daemons.

I will digress a moment to discuss White Scars vs. Ravenwing. In my area, there is this one dude who plays Ravenwing, and he is outstanding with it, having won both Nashcon and the Redstone Rumble GT in Huntsville, AL. He doesn't live near me so I haven't had the chance to play him, unfortunately. He beats you by having more scoring units than you can kill because he makes liberal use of assault bikes, which are two-wound single model scoring units that you have to waste firepower on. He also takes advantage of Ravenwing's ability to combat squad in units of six instead of ten (Ravenwing has some shit going for it.). White Scars can't do that, but they cost less and get grav weapons. If playing Daemons, I would be much more worried about Ravenwing. In fact, I think a properly-constructed Ravenwing army might be better than White Scars despite the points advantage the Mongols enjoy. I'm not qualified to give an opinion on that, but suffice to say, bike armies are solid.

Bikes are best dealt with using vector strikes, baleflamers, psychic shriek and overwhelming charges because if even one bike gets away, that's one pissant scoring unit that may come back to bite you when the game ends. If you're like me, you'll wish you ran two baleflamers when facing bike armies, but then you'll realize how much it will help you shoot down the Storm Talons with their two HP and you won't mind so much. Psychic Shriek ruins bikers' days, since they're usually LD8 and the average roll on 3d6 is 12. Combined with a second shooting attack or vector strike, that's a dead squad per turn.

Always vector strike a five bike squad with two things in the same turn if you can so you have strong odds of wiping it out in one pass, allowing you to shoot different targets. A weakened bike squad is not a threat, but it is a problem you'd rather not have to worry about.

Bikes tend to be able to spread out fairly well, but a pair of twin-linked blastmasters should be able to whittle them down quickly so that they pose less of a threat. They can also pick off stragglers. Bike armies don't deal well with attrition. As they lose models, they get weak fast, so anything that quickly removes bikes from the board is a big help.

If you are playing horde, you'll want to plan out how you will box them in because if they break out, you probably can't chase them down. Keep in mind that if they roll high enough on 3d6 they can hit and run right through you and be 24" away or more in the next turn.

Because of grav weapons, the Land Raider and the Maulerfiend are non-starters against a bike army. Any TAC list you build for a tournament had better have a plan to deal with White Scars if you include either of these. Since I haven't figured out a way to run a Land Raider that has proven worth it yet, I don't suggest bringing one of those at all.

While I don't recommend them in a TAC list, Fiends are great against White Scars at it puts them at I1 for their hit and run checks. It is worth mentioning.

The weakness of White Scar bikers is dealing with hordes because their volume of fire is pathetic relative to Tau or Eldar. However, smart players will recognize this shortcoming an supplement with Tau or a Thunderfire Cannon. Perhaps even two. We'll deal more with the Thunderfire later, but suffice to say, it presents target priority decisions.

The most general advice I can give against bikers is to go first, kill what you can in the first turn. In turns 3-4 attack hard enough to wipe out entire squads at once, then pick off the stragglers in the late game. Box them in if you're playing horde and go after the Thunderfires quickly or you're in big trouble.

Next time, on a very special episode, we'll talk Drop Pod armies.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Disadvantages Only Make My Units Stronger!


 This is a meme I am absolutely sick to death of seeing and it gets cites by people all the time as a reason that some downside or other of a unit is actually an advantage in disguise! The basic form of it goes like this:
“Sure, my pet unit lacks [insert quality here], but that's actually an advantage- it messes with the opponent's target priority!”
No. No. No. No. And no again. That is not how things work; you cannot just magically invert your qualities into being helpful to you when you have no counterargument.

The fundamental flaw here is in thinking that your opponents are so stupid they will make a mistake in targeting the wrong unit (with shooting or assault) because you made one of your models WORSE. You are trading raw functionality of the unit in game terms for what you hope is a complicating factor in your opponent's mentalization of the battlefield, and there is absolutely no guarantee that will affect them at all. Will they screw up and choose wrong? It's possible, but they might've done that anyways, so all you've really done is weaken yourself. You cannot meaningfully control your opponent's mental state- you can force choices on them (shoot the Solodin or the Fire Warriors?), but you cannot define the terms of those choices (what guns they have available) or how they will make them.

In short, you are trading the illusion of altering the enemy's choices for the reality of what the units actually do.
“But they could underestimate the unit and-”

And they could also have a seizure and die during the game, but I wouldn't count on that for your winning strategy. If you want to win, assume your opponents are competent players who will make good decisions and work from there- you leave room to take advantage of their errors, because yes, they will inevitably make some, but you do not ASSUME they will make errors in play.

“Yeah, but they're a really good distraction because they-”
Stop right there. Distractions are bad; a cute puppy walking by the table or a hot girl/guy or a sudden fireworks display are all distractions. Distractions are attention-getting but ultimately irrelevant to game play. What you want are threats- units that force the enemy to deal with them or they will cause problems for their plan by shooting, assaulting, or contesting important things. If all your unit can do is harass and annoy the enemy, it is a distraction. If, left alone, it can ruin their plan, it is a threat.
This is where the fallacy arises- when a unit ends up being shown to not be a strong threat, it gets played off as “well it's just a distraction.” Distractions suck. Threats are good. If you need something to distract the enemy from their plan, send a threat.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What Side of the Bed is Your Hobby On

original post by: Naftka

How do you approach your hobby? Generally in a positive way, or do you find yourself constantly arguing rules or being upset about releases? Yes, we are a moody bunch, and takes no time online, or even down at your local watering hole, to find someone raging about this or that. Why is our hobby like this?

Before you pass the buck onto someone else, a store owner, fellow player, or even Games Workshop, perhaps we should consider what side of the bed we wake up on.

I have always had a theory about why there is so much negativity in this hobby. That is to say I am sure there are other reasons as well, but its hard to name any other hobby (besides gaming or politics) that sees so much anger as our own.

My theory is this, that we spend a lot of time in this hobby. From buying our miniatures, assembling them, painting them, and creating lists to play them. With so much time involved, we feel an ownership to the hobby, that sometime falls into entitlement and anger.

Yes, I believe that sometimes we just need to let off a bunch of steam, but is a hobby the correct place for this? I dont think so. We are in this hobby by our own volition, and even dogs know not to piss where they sleep. Yet even the most positive person sometimes falls into tirades  (I am thinking of my own falls), until we realize where we are at, and pick ourselves up out of the muck.

This hobby is supposed to be fun, whether your fun is playing competitively or to get involved into the depths of the background and storyline of the game, we are all here together. There should be no rift. This isn't a Kumbaya moment, but a reality check on why we are even involved in this hobby. After all if we are here to just pick on people, scream and yell, there are more intelligent places to do this.

Really, if you or I ever find ourselves always angry about the hobby, why be here? A smart person would just leave and move on to something they enjoy more, or take a break if they find too much drama involved in their hobby right now.

I am not trying to convince anyone to leave this hobby. Quite the opposite in fact. I simply want people to know why they are here, and understand that being here is their choice. I love games, especially ones that involve such a rich and indepth background full of tactics and strategy. That is why I am here.

How we handle ourselves in this hobby, and in our lives for that matter, is a choice.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Musings About the Current Meta

original post: Spellduckwrong
Meta, a word that can produce sighs, sneers, or a quiet acceptance from players. Some people balk at it, but call it what you will, you know what I'm talking about. Perhaps if your play group is very small and isolated you may be insulated from it, but if you're playing in community events like small tournaments or even bigger regional ones, you've seen the meta and probably been on the receiving end of it.
Basically, my point is that its tough out there right now. There are a lot of powerhouse builds being wielded with varying degrees of skill and it is hard to make lists to deal with all the likely threats that one would be expected to face.
I'm debating in my head different approaches to succeed nowadays on the game table. Better to do your best, make a balanced "all-comers" list as its called, or specialize in one or two aspects in the game and hope to make the best of those advantages? I don't know.
I have been noticing a slight shift recently from absolute number of shots for the shooting aspect of the game to slightly better quality of shots. Grav-guns have certainly made this shift a little easier as they have quality and rate of fire. Also, an increase in general mobility has been gathering steam in people's lists. Gun line style armies are getting rarer and rarer because they struggle in the objective based environment that most missions create. Interesting shifts.
And looking to the future, the hordes are coming. Hordes that don't care what AP your weapons are, and may have enough bodies on the table that many lists might not have the sheer volume of fire to stop them. Tyranids, Orks, and to a lesser extent Imperial Guard are coming and the body count is going to rise. Essentially, throwing another curve ball into the mix for players to have to plan for when building their army.

To reiterate, it's tough out there, and it doesn't look to be letting up anytime soon. So my question to you is, what is your philosophy for surviving on the table these days and going forward into the future?