friday 40k humor

friday 40k humor

Thursday, October 23, 2014

by Bigpig

Hey everyone.  Bigpig here to wax philosophicatactically about what I feel is the most effective Tyranid playstyle available to the current codex;  Something I like to call, “The Trapdoor Spider.”
I coined that term (trademark pending, Paypal me when you use it) on the Tyranid boards while discussing my experiences at last year’s Las Vegas Open, hashing out what worked and what didn’t.  I use the term “playstyle” instead of build because what I feel makes the Trapdoor Spider work is the way you  approach the game and use those handful of Tyranid units that are spectacular.  Certainly, this playstyle takes advantage of some of the usual suspects in the Tyranid codex,  but I have had success using this approach with a variety of codex bench warmers supporting those key units.  After all, when polishing a turd, it pays to start out with the best turds available.
Turd?   Is this going to be just another whine fest by a disgruntled Genestealer lover???  Ok, so I’m not STILL hanging my head low and kicking rocks about how the Tyranid codex was a disappointment and “isn’t competitive.”  To be sure, it doesn’t have the competitive breadth of something like Space Marines or Eldar, but it does have two or three units forming the core–courtesy of Forge World updates and some formations–which, in the hands of a patient general, can solidly win you games when used correctly.   I’ve been sticking with my bugs since the book dropped, trying to find just the right combination and I may have it in the Trapdoor Spider.
Why Trapdoor Spider?  Well, trapdoor spiders are ambush predators.  That means they wait for the prey to come to them, jump out of their hiding place, sucker punch them, and continue to beat the crap out of the prey before they realize what hit them.  Not very gentlemanly, but effective.  This is in contrast to hunting spiders which go out and look for their prey and are exposed in the process to other predators.  It’s all about lying in wait.  The typical 40k army, is the hunting spider.  Mobile, fast, and oftentimes able to redeploy anywhere on the board in a single turn, they go ferret out the prey and kill them.  The advent of Maelstrom objectives has made mobility even more telling.   Successful armies like Eldar, Marines, Necron Air, or pretty much any mech’d up force meet this description.   Lacking the ability to move anything more than 12″ a turn and still claim an objective, Tyranids cannot be the hunter.  They must  instead become the ambush predator and wait safely in their lair, making their prey come to them, until it is time to pounce and deliver the overwhelming counter-stroke.
To make this work, the Trapdoor Spider Tyranid relies on what is really the only synergistic rule in the entire codex, “Spore Cloud.”  This is, of course the ability on Venomthropes and Malanthropes to give shrouding to all Tyranid units within 6″.  In your typical ruin or rubble terrain, this means a 2+ cover save for any unit in range.  Even twisted copse (the fancy GW trademark name for whatever trees or crystal forest you choose to throw on the board) will grant a 3+, 2+ during night fight.  Yes, yes, we all know about ‘thropes.  Nothing new here.  The difference with the Trapdoor Spider, however, is patience.  The Spider plays differently than most armies because it doesn’t leave its lair until it has to.  I see typical Tyranids use ‘thropes to charge their models across the board as early as turn 1 or 2.   The Trapdoor Spider instead says, “Be patient and stay in cover till turn 3 or later.”
Much of the current meta is characterized by the unavoidable alpha strike.  Drop marines, Eldar or Tempestus deepstrikers, any flyer heavy army, 3×3 deepstriking Obliterators, Grey Knight formations, White Scar bikes, Rhino rush, and the soon to be new hotness of Web Way Portal Dark Eldar all want to hop on the board or close with you and deliver a knock-out blow.  With its 2+ cover coupled with high toughness models, multiwound models, or ablative fodder models, the Trapdoor Spider can weather that storm and punch back hard on the alpha strikers, killing the hunters, before venturing out in force to take objectives later in the game from backfield campers.  This can be extremely effective.  At the Brawl in the Fall, I only lost five units in the ENTIRE five game tournament (not counting sacrificial ripper swarms).   Remember, the key is not leaving your 2+ lair until you have dealt with the enemy’s hunter units.  ‘Nids that charge forward prematurely die.
But will they enemy come to you?  Yes, they will.  It is in their DNA and army design.   Many of these alpha strike lists must move forward, drop in, or deepstrike on a timetable dictated by the game’s reserve rules.  The Trapdoor Spider takes advantage of this by waiting the enemy out.   At Brawl in the Fall I faced Rawdogger’s Grey Knight list.  He had teleporting Dreadknights, reserved flyers,  and a Centurion Star with Draigogate and librarians.  Being a skilled player, Rawdogger KNEW what I was doing.  He tried to hide out turn 1 hoping I would come to him, but I stayed in cover and sniped with hard hitting long range fire.  On turn 2 as his reserves started coming in he had to make his move or lose any advantage so he teleported forward and fired into the 2+ cover killing nothing.  In return I unboxed his biggest threats, retaining cover against a turn 3 counterstrike from what was left and mopped up the rest of the game.
When to leave your lair?  I usually wait till turn 3 or 4 to rush forth and grab objectives for the primary mission.  By then, most of the enemy reserves will be on the board and you will have dealt with their heavy lifters, often having gained first blood and not having lost a unit at all by this point.  This is where another key component comes in , objective placement.  Any good player can tell you that the game can be won or lost before a single model is placed on the board depending on mission and where objectives go.  Place your objectives knowing you won’t make your move till late game.  Place them where you can get to them.  If something must go in your opponents DZ, put it in a far corner where your deepstrikers can get it (more on this later).  While I could spend an entire article talking about objective placement, the simple rule is;  Ask yourself WHY you are placing an objective in a specific location.  How does it fit into your plan and interact with what your opponent brings to the table?  If you don’t have an answer, then you need to think about it more.   Devise your plan before your models hit the table.
Maelstrom missions can be harder and you may well likely start behind.  Don’t panic and break cover too soon.  The modified charts under BAO format help with a healthy smattering of “kill an enemy unit” and “have 3 units in your deployment zone.”  Often times one of the objectives will be right in the middle of your camp anyways.  Focus on denying the enemy points in the first few turns.   You will score in the last few.  Be patient.  Plan.  Be the ambush predator.
The key units and how to use them
Malanthropes:  The lynchpin unit.  Much has been said about these across the community already.  Cheaper than two Venomthropes and far more survivable, all the while providing synapse;  What is not to love?    At only 85 points they will save you several hundred to a thousand points in casualties.  Take two if you like, though one typically will suffice.  If they survive until near the end of the enemy’s turn three shooting phase, they have done their job.  Deploy them centered in your cover and preferably out of LoS of the enemy’s backfield units.   I tend to place them directly on top of the objective I placed in my own DZ.  Don’t have access to Malanthropes or FW is not allowed?  Venoms can work as well.  They are easier to hide from LoS, but suffer from being ID’d to Str8 on an unlucky 1.  Consider taking 2 or deploy them in an Imperial Bunker or Bastion for increased safety and radius of effect.   Malanthropes are a game changer with their survivability but Venoms can be a less efficient back up.
Flyrants:  Arguably the best flyer in the game, Dakkaflyrants (double twin link brain leech worms) bring devastating firepower, mobility, downrange synapse, psyker powers, and survivability to the table.   They blast infantry, light vehicles, and knights.  They kill 2+ saves with volume of fire.  Many people complain that they die.  They aren’t using them right.  Keep them in the spore cloud until it is time to strike.  If they start in the rear of your cover blob they can Swoop 12″ forward and snipe into the enemy lines and still be in the spore cloud giving them a 2+ jink option in open ground.  This is especially important vs enemy flyers coming in from reserves.   Remember that they can also claim the “area terrain” cover save for ruins/rubble/forest for having a toe in, also giving them a 2+ without having to jink.   Facing BS4, a flyrant with 2+ cover will take 216 bolter shots, or 45 melta shots to kill outright.  That is pretty tough.  (I’m a cop, not a mathematician so prove me off by a few percent if you must, but the point is they don’t fall out of the sky unless you stick them out there to get beat down).  Take at least two.
Barbed Hierodule:  Oh what a difference Forge World makes.  The Hierodule is not key, but she brings so much to the Trapdoor Spider.  The Hierodule gives you what you are lacking otherwise;  Long range punch and late game speed.  The ability to put out 12 Str 10 shots between 2 targets a turn puts pressure on opponents who might otherwise be reluctant to step into your parlor.  Toughness 8 with a 2+ cover and 5+ FNP means they cannot sit back and snipe your Hierodule who sits in the spore cloud with a toe in cover saying, “Come at me bro, see what happens.”  Str 10 gives you an answer to AV 13/14, instagibs Thunderwolves and T5 units, and long range/high volume AP3 lets you wipe power armored campers off objectives across the board.  Turn 3, 4, or later when you make your move, the 12″ move and ability to double run if needed can put you anywhere on the board fast to Thunderblitz or take downrange objectives.  Hierodules can stomp invisible units and flip land raiders with ease.   They were worth the price tag.
Rippers:   The lowly Ripper is the quiet workhorse of the Trapdoor Spider .  By deepstriking they allow you to stay competitive on the secondary/maelstrom objectives.  Many of those objectives will center around holding a far objective marker (placed in a safe corner if you were crafty) or being in the enemy deployment zone.   Expect them to be dead by the end of the game, but in the meantime they will keep you competing for secondary.  If they survive to grab a primary objective, all the better.
Beyond these units, the Trapdoor Spider can employ a variety of units and options in the secondary role;
Biovores:  Long range sniping, devastaing vs xenos races with low toughness and 4+ saves.  These guys put more pressure on while safe out of LoS in the 2+ cover.   They force the enemy to come to your lair.
Ranged MC firepower:  Exocrines, Tyrannofex, and DakkaCarnifex are all valid options.  The provide mid range firepower to stand in the cloud and threaten the enemy or charge and smash deepstriking units in power armor, all on a survivable platform.   All work well depending on your preference.
Swarm:  Hordes of Termagaunts, Gargoyles, and Hormagaunts can give you a bubble wrap in the backfield and the ability to flood midfield late game.  This is especially valuable if you know you will face lots of Imperial Knight armies, but it is very susceptible to flamers and T-Fire cannons.  It also gives you less firepower.
Shrikes/Warriors/Raveners:  Not my first choice, but these can give you an effective counterstroke melee unit with the ability to move quickly late game to midfield.  They tend to be more susceptible to ranged artillery and, of course Str8 fire, than MCs though.  Shrikes with poison Boneswords scare the crap out of Wraithknights, but then again so do Carnifexen.
Living Artillery:  My favorite.  This gem gives you the benefits of many of the above options in a more accurate package.
Here is a typical Trapdoor Spider list at 1750pts;
Combined Arms
Tyrant; Wings, Double Brainleech worms, Electroshock Grubs, Warlord
Tyrant; Wings, Double Brainleech worms
2×3 Deepstriking Ripper Swarms
Carnifex; Double Brainleech Worms
Barbed Hierodule
Living Artillery Formation
3 Biovore
3 Warriors (1 Barbed Strangler)
The current meta with Superheavies, formations, wonky psyker powers, and allies really lends itself to Rock/Paper/Scissor matchups.  The Trapdoor Spider manages to avoid most auto-lose match-ups, but there are still some tough nuts out there.  So what gives the Trapdoor Spider problems?  Obviously anything that won’t come to play with you.  Fortunately, those lists aren’t as common in the current meta.  There are a couple other stumbling blocks to be aware of as well.  Here are some of the challenges and ways to deal with it;
Imperial Knights:  A single IK is easy.  Flyrants in the flanks and Hierodule in the face will kill one a turn with ease.  A formation of three can be much tougher and a Knight will waste your Hierodule in combat.  To counter triple knight, hope to go second and use a refused flank if possible.  Fall back and waste the closest knight as soon as possible.  Falling back will buy you an extra turn before the assault, hopefully buying enough time to cripple the second knight.  Try to get them to charge you in cover or put up bubble wrap to buy extra time.
The Scouring/Hammer and Anvil:  These two mission and deployment options really do not do the Trapdoor Spider any favors.  A high number of objectives scattered around and lots of real estate can make it tough to score.  This is the only time you may need to break cover sooner.  It really depends on your opponent.   The combination of these two, along with a boots heavy drop list pushed me to third at the recent Brawl.  I just didn’t have enough to take all the objectives at the end of game.  It can be a challenge.
Ignores Cover:  Fortunately, most ignore cover weapons tend to be low strength (with the exception of Serpent Shield).  These don’t challenge a MC list in cover as you still have a 3+ save.   If you play vs Serpents, deploy more defensively and try to snipe them out with Flyrants and Hierodule.  Against a Perfect Timing list, you will have more problems, but you can try to assassinate the unit with the psyker early on.
So that is the Trapdoor Spider in a nutshell.  Remember, the key is in patience and waiting for the moment to strike.  Most Tyranids, even the best ones out there, make their move too soon to truly be playing as the Spider even when using all the components.    The Trapdoor Spider is a defensive concept rather than offensive.   The army really plays to the current alpha strike meta.  What are your thoughts?  Have you faced it?  How would your army deal with it?
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Monday, October 6, 2014

The meta post-NOVA

The end of August and most of September featured a bunch of games played, more or less doubling the number of 7th edition games we’ve had to this point. This will, generally, give us a much more solid set of numbers to work with when it comes to performance and matchups.
But first, let’s take a look at popularity. Going into NOVA, Space Marines were far and away the most popular army, with over 100 more games than the next most popular army, Eldar. This is even more significant when you consider the majority of armies didn’t even have 100 recorded games.


In the last month, Eldar, Necrons, Tau, Daemons, Grey Knights and Space Wolves all had more games recorded and played than in the previous three. The Space Marines, while still the most popular, came down slightly in terms of percentage of the field, while the Eldar gained ground in terms of popularity. ­­
Other armies that saw significant rises in popularity were Daemons and Space Wolves. Space Wolves could be expected, since they recently got a new codex that has some exciting builds. We can also guess a rise in games for Daemons stems partly from the time needed to get a 7th edition Daemon summoning army together.
Meanwhile, the less popular armies largely saw a decline in popularity. This could be in part due to the competition level of NOVA, which made up the majority of the games in the last month or so.
Looking back to NOVA 2013, it’s interesting to see the way the landscape has changed, given a new rules set and six new codices (eight if you count Inquisition and Legion of the Damned, nine if you add Grey Knights―but that codex wasn’t used in NOVA 2014).


From this quick chart, we can see that, while still popular, two of the more popular armies at NOVA 2013, Tau and Daemons, have taken a sharp downturn. Meanwhile, Space Marines, who were largely absent at NOVA 2013 (third least popular, above only Sisters of Battle and Orks) are now dominating the field thanks to their new book. In fact, the only armies that saw increased popularity and didn’t get a new book were Eldar and Grey Knights.
Moving back to the current meta, with NOVA and four months of 7th edition in the books, we have enough data to start looking at some matchup results (omitting any matchups with fewer than 10 games). First, let’s look at general Win% by matchup:


Looking down each column shows an army’s win percentage by opponent. The top dog, Eldar, continue to have mostly good matchups, though they seem to have trouble with Knights, and Necrons have taken a slight lead.
Meanwhile, compared to  the end of 6th Edition, armies generally aren’t as overall dominant or ineffective. That is, while Tau’s only poor matchup in 6th was Eldar, with just barely under a 50% win rate, so far in 7th they seem to struggle mightily against Eldar and Daemons. Similarly, while Space Marines’ lowest win rate in 6th was against Daemons with 41.3%, they are now running into problems against Necrons, Eldar, and Grey Knights.
Finally, looking at Necrons, who were largely dominant in 6th, while still mostly winning their matchups, there are a few where they seem to struggle in 7th, like against Daemons, Grey Knights and Tau.
What this indicates is that the game has become more balanced in 7th, with some of the more dominant armies beginning to face potential counters. Eldar are still fairly safe bets, but struggles with Knights and Necrons, two armies that are popular and becoming more so, at least as an ally, could start to show some chinks in the current Kings of 40k.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Transcendent Ctan, Oh My!

The Transcendent Ctan: This ain't your ordinary shard...
So, if the Tesseract Vault is good and the obelisk is extremely average...what about this guy? Now a lot of people may not have realized it but the Transcendant Ctan is its entirely own seperate unit. And boy this thing is fucking awesome!

The Transcendent Ctan is actually a collection of shards so it is not a full Ctan. Nevertheless this thing is one hell of a beast. Lets look at it in closer detail:

First off you will notice that this thing costs a little over 400 points standard and it is a GARGANTUAN CREATURE. So you get a slew of extra rules like Feel No Pain and more. Now lets look at this statline that made my jaw drop.

WS:6 BS:6 S:9 T:9 W:6 I:5 A:8 LD:10 Sv 3+/4++

That right there isincredible. This thing can easily slug it out with greater Daemons or Tyranid monsters. But thats not the best part.

The Cyan MUST choose 2 from the 6 powers you can get from the Tesseract Vault but the point costs are still the same. However the Ctan also MUST pick 1 of 3 unique powers. The one you SHOULD ALWAYS take is the one I'm only going to be saying now.

Basically in the movement phase, the Cyan can move 18 inches in a straight line. Anything that the Ctan moves over ( friend or foe)takes an immediate DESTROYER hit! But it cannot assault in the turn it does this sadly. Wow that is brutal. Imagine the potential of this unit!
Move 18 inches inflicting D hits than firing your2 other powers. So fly over and get those D hits, then fire a 6d6 Strength 8 ap 3 shots or cast down meteors or use the other Destroyer weapon...there is just so much devastation you can cause with this its ridiculous.

Now a word of caution!. When this thing finally dies everything within 4d6 is going to die most likely so keep ypur precious units away from this!

But the Transcendent Ctan is easily the best unit for the Necrons in this book. However it willcost you over 700 points to do the tactics i mentioned. For any Necron players tht have extra Ctan like the Nightbringer or Deceiver, I see no reason why you can use them as these beasts. Really go nuts. These things are awesome.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Army Build Power Rankings, Volume 2

TSG-mainWelcome to Team Stomping Grounds’ Power Rankings, Episode 2.
After looking at results from BAO among other national events, and upon our own increased testing (and the addition of two new codices), we have some army build movement leading up to NOVA. As you can see, we didn’t add any descriptions for the armies that didn’t change and only have descriptions for the armies that moved or ones that have had significant changes.
Enjoy! Read Episode 1 here.

Tier 1

AM Blob
Centurion Star (Note: This is assuming your tournament allows you to bring Draigo for automatic Gate.)
up-arrow-1Imperial Knight Formation: Given the new formation that allows re-rolling Invuln saves and with only three Knights, it can still bring a large army behind it. Primarily found with Guard as an ally. A lot of armies can’t defeat Imperial Knights.

Tier 2

down-arrowSummoning Daemons: With Grey Knights having so many Force weapons and Force bullets (silencers). Also adding Psych-out grenades to beat up on Psychic units.
MSU Marines
Farsight Bomb
Serpent Spam
Beast Pack
Necron Airforce

up-arrow-1SM Bike: With the results from BAO, there is no way to ignore the evidence. Also from playing some games with the list, we judge it is Stomping-Grounds-storecertainly still strong against a number of matchups (the Imperial Knight at BAO certainly helps). Still not strong enough to carry to tier 1.

up-arrow-1MSU Grey Knights: With the Dreadknights getting better and the basic Marines getting slightly better, the list has the chance to move itself up, and we feel out of the gate that it will be overlooked and will have some room to grow to tier 2 (Dreadknights will be a pivotal part of the list).
up-arrow-1Thunderwolves: With Wolves getting cheaper and with the supplement that gives them WS 5 joined by Iron Priests able to jump on mounts, it certainly helps for more Thunderhammers and 2+ armor saves.
up-arrow-1Buddy Pods: The revision giving Space Wolves Fast Attack Drop Pods gives you a big chance to bring in some Battle Brothers. Expect to see Centurions coming out of Pods.

Tier 3

down-arrowSkyblight: Similar to the Daemons demotion; the presence of force and other GK upgrades knocks this build down a tier. They rely on FMCs that are now at a greater risk.
AM Mech
Land Raider Marines
Gunline Tau
Seer Council
MSU/Mech Dark Eldar
Green Tide Orks
Bike Orks
Mech Orks
FMC Daemons
Cav Daemons
CSM Zombies
Necron Wraiths
Horde ‘Nids’
Draigo Star (Note: with Paladins or with Terminators instead)
up-arrow-1Space Wolf Airforce: Objective-secured Stormwolves with cheap Blood Claws as their cargo can be hard for some armies to deal with.


DCA Bomb: Being dropped from the Grey Knights book has forced us to drop this from the top three tiers. Not getting the same AP weapons makes these guys mediocre at best.
Nidzilla: Increase in Force bullets will cause this list to be way too unreliable.
CSM Rush: Spawn are in a similar boat as Nidzilla with problems against force and having no armor saves.

Monday, August 25, 2014

7th Edition: Three Months In

We are three months in and have a couple events’ worth of data now to begin judging how 7th has shifted the meta and comparative army strength.  That said, we still have to keep in mind that many armies still have fairly few representative games. This month I’m going to be looking at only the last three months’ worth of data.
To start, let’s establish the number of total games in 7th we’re looking at:
7th-3months-1To break it down by month, we can see that in the three months of 7th, the popularity of most armies has been relatively stable. Space Marines are far and away the most popular army, regularly representing about 20% of the field. 6th edition standouts Eldar and Tau are still holding down with about a combined 25% of the field. Finally, the Chaos powers are checking in at about 10% of the total field (assuming Daemons and CSM are generally interchanged as primary and ally).
With these numbers, you can fairly easily predict the armies you are likely to face at an event. Namely, half or more of your games will likely be against Space Marines, Eldar, Tau and Chaos primaries, with at least one game against Marines at a 5+ round event.
That said, let’s look at how the armies are faring thus far in the new edition:
Eldar are still top dogs, with a 64% win percentage in 7th. The next strongest primary is Imperial Knights, at a 63% win rate. Other armies poking their heads above the 50% win rate, in order, are Tau, Daemons, Necrons, Space Marines, Tyranids and Dark Angels. Yes, you read that right: Dark Angels pushed above 50% with a strong August.
On the other end, Imperial Guard is continuing to be underwhelming, with under a 40% win rate. The three other lowest armies are Orks, Space Wolves and Blood Angels. With the new books for Orks and Space Wolves, we can expect those two armies to make an upward trend.
The above chart looks at WAR, my home-brew Wins Above Replacement stat. Unsurprisingly, most of the armies are close to the middle ground, with the notable exceptions of Eldar, who continue to run away from the field, and Imperial Guard, who are running away from the field in the wrong direction.
With NOVA upcoming, and NOVA’s bracketing system, let’s take a mildly educated guess at what that top bracket will look like:
  • 4 Space Marine armies with 2 Imperial Knight allies
  • 3 Eldar armies
  • 2 Necron armies
  • 2 Tau Armies
  • 3 Chaos mixed armies
  • 1 Tyranid army
  • 1 Space Wolf army
I would be fairly comfortable with +/-1 to most of those army guesses. The one reach pick is the single Space Wolf primary, since they can use the new codex and I could see the new book starting 4-0.  Imperial Knights are also a bit of a wildcard in that they can add a lot to a struggling Imperial army. That said, while they complement Imperial Guard, it’s hard to think it would be enough to boost them into the top bracket given the current numbers.
More of a reach would be to pick the final matchup, but I’ll take a relatively safe guess that it will pit Eldar against Space Marines. Both armies have the tools to excel at NOVA’s mission pack. Looking at mission eight, my guess for winner is an Eldar MSU build, though a Drop Pod army could definitely do well in the matchup.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Army Build Power Rankings, Volume 1


    Hey all, Matthew DeFranza here on behalf of Team SG with the first of Team SG’s series: Army Build Rankings!

    As gamers, we are inclined to want to rank everything; it’s hard to ever talk about the meta without trying to “tier” every list. Even in forum discussions and blog posts, 40k players and fans have referred to a non-existent “tier ranking” when describing the power of a certain army build. Well, what classifies a tier? What makes one army build better than another? We at Team Stomping Grounds set out to try to answer that question. Welcome to the first TSG Power Rankings!

    Before we get into what the actual tiers mean and where your favorite armies fall, we would like to give a little bit of a disclaimer. This first month of initial rankings is based solely off our testing, our conversations about the meta and our communications with other play groups. As we continue to update our rankings in the months to come, we will use more empirical data by looking at actual tournament results and ToF data (the same data you can get access to with a Hero subscription, wink wink). Another thing to keep in mind is that we understand that with the new ally matrix, there are way too many potential combinations for us to mention them all, so for the purpose of keeping the article from being a short novel we are going to give generic builds for the armies, and we will mention some of the potential allies, but we are not going to give each primary/ally combination its own spot in a tier. Lastly, mission packets GREATLY define the strength of an army. In light of this, we will be looking at these builds in relation to GT formats at large, but we may also talk about what kind of mission types will change an army’s ranking.

    The first step in ranking armies is to define what makes up each tier. We are defining Tier 1 as builds that you’d expect to win a GT and which you will frequently see at top tables. Tier 2 are builds that you would not be surprised to see win a GT; you will likely see them in top brackets and they will likely win some of the top brackets. Tier 3 are solid builds that are well thought-out; however you would be surprised to see these win a GT. They will likely roam in the middle tables of a tournament and will do well at your local RTTs. All other builds we are putting in Tier 4, which we really aren’t going to get into.
    Well, the wait is over―let’s see where the builds fall!

    TIER 1

    Summoning Daemons: Everyone on the Internet has heard the complaints about their opponent summoning almost an entire additional army. This army has a ton of strength because it has a great toolbox in being able to summon whatever it needs at a given time, and being a reasonably durable army at the same time, not to mention the load of Warp Charge dice it can generate.
    Centurion Stars: This list will come in a lot of shapes with different allies, but primarily with Grey Knights they come to the table with some of the top numbers of Psychic dice and an invisible Gating Star that can put out as much offense as any other unit in the game. Having a great MSU backup as well, it’s a force to be reckoned with.
    AM Blob: In an edition where objectives are king, having large durable units that can put out decent shooting make this army a strong choice. On top of Blobs’ pure strength, they are also cheap and can serve well as either a primary or ally (Knights, Psychic-heavy armies, various Stars and MSU builds).

    TIER 2 (in no particular order)

    Necron AV 13: By gaining Objective Secured and a general buff to jink saves, particularly in that the units inside can still fire as normal, the Ghost Ark becomes a premier transport. Complement that with hyper-efficient Annihilation Barges, and beat-stick Catacomb Command Barges with the new chariot rules, and you have an intimidating list.
    MSU Space Marine: A list that can easily be tier 1 or 3 depending on the packet. If you are in a heavy Kill Point packet, the strength of the list goes down greatly with having Marines and transports. In the same manner, in a light Kill Point packet the army gains a lot of strength, being able to bring lots of combat-squading Marines with their OS transports either as Drop Pods or Rhinos. Obviously there are a ton of ways to craft this list, so gamers delight with the choices!
    MSU Tau: OS is big in this edition and Tau can spam it reliably with Devilfish and Fire Warriors, or Crisis Suits in Farsight armies. They can shell the army with lots of options, Broadsides, Suites or Formations.
    Farsight Bomb: You have a high damage output Star that can hit multiple units at once. Having Hit and Run and Jump-Shoot-Jump gives the army some durability as well.
    Serpent Spam: Wave Serpents are still at the top of the transport lists, and coming out of arguably the strongest independent codex you have tons of options of what to bring along with the army. Lots of damage, durability and mobility all on an Objective Secured platform.
    Beast Pack: This Star still has a lot of durability with the buff to Invisibility, and having one of the biggest footprints in the game it gives you a lot of board control.
    Necron Air Force: 40k is even more so a game when a lot of top armies can’t deal with Flyers. This build got a tier 2 spot because of its ability to play spoiler to some top lists that simply can’t interact with them.
    Imperial Knights: Another army that just can’t be dealt with sometimes. Ignoring the natural strength of these giant robots, you will simply win games against armies that can’t deal with you. This army has a ton of options both as a main or ally; there are just too many to mention.
    Skyblight: Having fast units of Gargoyles that can come back from the dead and have OS makes this the best of the Tyranid builds and gives the bugs a chance to interact in the tournament scene.
    DCA bomb: You are a strong offensive threat to begin with, and with transport options of either Land Raiders or Stormravens, you can reliably get across the field. You then have the strong reliable Psychic support that pushes the list to the next level.

    TIER 3warhammer-power-rankings-2

    AM Mech: This build is very different from Blobs. It will consist of small units and lots of Leman Russ squadrons. There is a lot of strength to the list but having low armor transports with weak troops it makes a lot of the high-strength shooting in the higher tiers a big problem.
    Marine Bike: With Bike cover saves causing them to have to snap fire, it makes a lot of the Bike-based armies much weaker. The Grav Bikes took a huge hit to their offense.
    Land Raider Marines: As much as Objective Secured Land Raiders can be great, you are still sinking a ton of points into few models. If someone is prepared for it, you are simply out of the game.
    Gunline Tau: Massing Broadsides, Pathfinders, and Fire Warriors may put out some of the highest shot counts, but you have troops that will be exposed and are somewhat flimsy. You can often see this as a hybrid with an MSU Tau build that could move it up the rankings.
    Seer Council: An army that is going to be defined by a mission packet. In a heavy Kill Point packet it is great since the Council itself is VERY durable, but losing the ability to contest objectives late-game because of OS makes the army lose a lot of its finesse options.
    Iyanden: This list can come either as a Wraithguard Star or a Serpent Spam Wraithguard list that frankly has a huge chance to move up. We need to get a few more good looks at the options to see if going normal Serpent Spam isn’t just better.
    MSU/Mech Dark Eldar: Objective Secured Venoms/Raiders are fantastic, and this is an army that has seen a huge benefit from the jink change. But AV 10 vehicles still struggle in this meta with so much high-strength shooting.
    Green Tide Orks: Arguably one of the better Ork builds, as many armies can’t deal with 180 OS Ork bodies and simply won’t be able to kill them fast enough, but the armies that can will make short work of these little green men.
    Bike Ork: Another great Ork option and a Bike option that doesn’t care about having to jink because it honestly doesn’t make that BS 2 shooting much worse.
    Mech Ork: Trying to mass transports is another great option for Orks and has a lot of potential, but the mob rule makes it so all of your Boyz units are in a bad spot with 10-man units that still aren’t very durable.
    FMC Daemons: One of the most dominant lists of the last edition probably doesn’t even deserve a spot in tier 3 but we still want to talk about it. Early on, everyone loved the change to grounding checks. But not being able to charge the turn you come down puts a big damper on the punch of this army.
    CAV Daemons: Having a large potential dice pool for Invis and fast units that can get in your opponent’s face and STILL have some summoning backup makes this Daemons list a viable option.
    CSM Rush: Spawn are probably the most reliable unit out of the CSM books, and assuming you aren’t facing high-strength shooting, especially nothing that ignores cover, these types of builds have a chance to cause some problems.
    CSM Zombies: Despite their clear lack of mobility of any kind, you have cheap, fearless OS units that have several options to add on either from their codex or as an ally.
    Thunderwolves: Potentially the most reliable Space Wolf list that isn’t Drop Pod (covered with MSU Marine), you have the potential for a Star to counter Invis by having the ability to auto-hit on three models.
    Necron Wraiths: Wraiths take a hit to small arms fire and anything else that will kill troops easily. They are still just two-wound Marines as they move across the field and often with AV 13 or Flyers in the list it gives people things to shoot at.
    Nidzilla: As much as ‘Nids are on the downswing, you are still Monstrous Creatures and people are still going to have a hard time dealing with Flyrants while having Tervigons making troops on the back end.
    Horde ‘Nids: Similar to Green Tide, some people just won’t be able to deal with that many bodies.
    MSU Grey Knights: Simply Razor Spam with a lot of Henchmen units and some minor Psychic powers. Whereas this is the shell for lots of Stars, without a strong unit to dump Psychic dice into this list just doesn’t put out enough offense.
    Draigo Star: As much as it is a relic of 5th edition, OS Paladins can’t be overlooked!

    As we said, these rankings are based off our views, testing and conversations within the community at large, and we look forward to updating and moving armies around as we move through the GT circuit and finally start getting some good results to look at!

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014

    Courtesy of 40k Daemons
    Chaos Space Marines and the Meta
    Let's talk Chaos Space Marines. Thousand Sons got best CSM's at BAO, and that army was a gorgeous purple, lemme tell you. Honestly, besides Thousand Sons, I don't know what was in the army. I went in expecting Wave Serpents galore, but there weren't many Eldar period as the popular thing seemed to be to take Space Marines/Knights, Necrons and Nids. I don't know if that will be the norm going forward, or if it was just people optimizing for the BAO format, but since I heard Knights were big at ATC as well, let's assume those will be a fixture for the forseeable future.

    I truly hope Chaos gets its own Knights before the year is out as that solves a lot of problems, but until then, we need to work with the tools we have, and I think the tools are there. Here is what I propose as a first hack that would have done pretty well at BAO:

    Chaos Lord, Mark of Nurgle, sigil, bike, power fist, lightning claw, Daemonheart, Slaughterer's Horns
    Sorcerer, ML3, Balestar of Mannon, bike
    10 Cultists
    10 Cultists
    5 Chaos Spawn, MoN
    3 Obliterators, MoN
    3 Obliterators, MoN
    3 Obliterators, MoT
    Lord of Change, ML3, 2x greater, lesser
    10 Daemonettes, icon, instrument
    10 Daemonettes, instrument


    This list works on Divination. The Sorcerer is the key. How you use him depends on the powers he rolls. He starts with the Lord and the Spawn regardless. If he gets Perfect Timing, he will join a unit of Oblits once they drop in and cast Prescience and Perfect Timing on that unit. If he (or the LOC) gets Forewarning, he will cast it on the Nurgle Spawn or the Tzeentch Oblits as necessary. If either he or the LOC gets Misfortune, they cast it on whatever the Spawn are going to charge (like a Knight or something). If he gets Scrier's Gaze, the reserves come in reliably. Precognition is good on the LOC, and not terrible on the Sorcerer since he'll have a force axe.

    The Daemonettes provide a pseudo comms relay for the Oblits and provide extra threat since we don't need very many warp charge to get off the powers we want to cast. The icon allows them to deep strike with greater precision. I'd like to get a second icon in there, so maybe you drop the Staff of Change off the LOC or remove MoN from one of the Oblit Squads. I picked Daemonettes over Horrors because I don't need more warp charge. I need more threats. I could always take Summoning on the LOC and drop some Horrors on the board to do the job if I felt the matchup needed that sort of thing.

    We take a unit of Tzeentch Oblits because they can tank things like Knights and Heirodules as long as they don't get stomped out, which I can tell you will happen sometimes. Nevertheless, the list is quite capable of bringing down Knights, blasting bikers and Wave Serpents off the table, and getting a lot of threats in the enemy's face all at once.

    Push comes to shove, you can send the Nurgle Spawn in to tank the super heavies and hope you don't get stomped out too fast. Forewarning on Nurgle Spawn makes them an even better tarpit, and super dangerous if the Lord is with them.

    I'm not super-jazzed about the LOC, but it does provide some skyfire (though I am barely concerned about flyers for the most part, and I can TL the Oblits), and if you don't expose it too early, it can get some work done later in the game, especially if he rolls good rewards and powers. You could run a Tzerald with Screamers instead, but you'd have to drop something. I can't come up with a better pick to get me three more Div rolls. You could do a second detachment of CSM, but then you lose the Daemonettes with the instruments to pull in your Oblits.

    The Sorcerer is vulnerable to mindstrike missiles, so if you play Grey Knights, you should probably try for Invis instead of Divination, and just rely on the Oblits to blast the Grey Knights off the board, which they can do.

    Finally, you have the Lord, who is your anchor in the center with the Spawn. It's an exceedingly tough unit to remove.

    This, I think, is a solid starting point if you are in a spot where Knights are a common sight, and LOW are legal as they are in our liberal west coast crazy town. What say you all?