friday 40k humor

friday 40k humor

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

How to Play the Flying Circus Part The First


We have demonstrated the flying circus in action on this blog many times, but we haven’t discussed the finer points of the army. To this end, I received this email:

Hey Andrew! (WTF?) I am looking for some advice and since you are really the only blog I read (and trust to not give questionable advice) I was hoping for some help. Before I go into it I'll give a little back story on where I am in the Warhammer gaming world and where I would like to be.

I went to a tournament this weekend and got swamped using a pretty standard 1850 Be'lakor Flying Circus. I certainly don't think the list deserves the score it got. I feel that to really do well with Flying Circus, you really have to min max the effectiveness of all 4 FMCs. I am just simply not at a point where I can do that. I would rather ram my Korn Dogs into something and its usually pretty hard to fuck that up, at least with the people I play with. So I go to you asking for help not only with Flying Circus (although it certainly requires the most work) but also with the Warhammer in general, how Daemons function the game (against all armies and not just Eldar / Space Marines), what to look for when playing a game, forming a general game plan, correct use of psykic powers, noticing and maximizing bits of terrain etc.

The first couple things that I would like some extra advice on are listed below. I feel like this stuff is pretty easy for an experienced player but I have only been playing for about a year so I still feel I need help.

1. Forming a game plan from Turn One.
One thing that I noticed when I play games is that I usually don't have a real solid plan to win the game to about turn 3. At this point I really hope that one of my Daemon Princes doesn't die to an unfortunate case of being out of position. I also realized that it felt like in a lot of my games I was the guy that sat back and didn't really try to advance until much later in the game. Looking at battle reports and such it struck me how defensive Flying Circus feels and it was a significant change of pace then the beast rush down lists. Again, this is coming from inexperience but any advice from a better player would help.

2. Knowing how to approach all types of armies.
This one comes down primarily to experience but it happens a bit, especially in tournaments where a lot of players have mashed together lists. Its odd because I feel like I know how to play against Eldar armies most because that is where most of the advice is aimed toward. But what do I do against 150 ork boys and 40 lootas? I know the lists can beat most armies but with Flying Circues you really can't waste any time or points.

3. Psykic powers.

Not going to lie, psykic powers can get really confusing sometimes. We have access to all the good tables playing Daemons but knowing what table to roll on and units to use each power on can be so mind boggling hard to remember sometimes. Running a Flying Circus you usually have access to 3 tables and will want to maximize what each power does. Not too mention powers not going off and Deny the Witchs happening. It can and often gets hectic and hard to manage.

Again any advice is welcome. Looking over the email I realize I mostly just need experience playing the game but I am still sending it haha. No other Daemon players in town to talk to so your blog is often times the only discussion I get to see regarding my favorite book. Anyway cheers and have a good day.

Sincerely, Mom's Spaghetti

Andrew does Chaos Space Marines and modeling/painting stuff around here! I handle flying circus stuff, and I’m beginning to suspect Bill Kim was eaten by a yak.

Anyway, this will be part one in a series of I-don’t-know-how-many posts on playing a flying circus the right way. Often when I watch a battle report that involves a circus player, I’ll see them say “Wuh, I don’t feel like I did anything wrong!” even though they got their butts kicked by a bunch of Necrons on foot. In this installment, we’ll address your first point: how to form a game plan. It’s easier than you think.

From the sound of things, you’ve noticed that the circus is a pretty passive animal. Defensive isn’t the right word. Defensive means sitting there and daring the other guy to come at you, which is how Tau usually play. The circus is a finesse army that picks its spots, unless you’re playing Kenny Boucher’s Nurgle version, in which case it’s sometimes played a bit more aggressively. Most people who screw it up do so by exposing themselves to too much enemy firepower too early, and they lose the battle of attrition. The dirty little secret of the circus is that it can say “I’m not playing” pretty much until turn 5 if it needs to.

The general principle I live by with the circus is that you can’t use what you don’t have, so don’t lose anything. My general goal going into every fight is to have at least three FMC’s alive by turn 5 to contest objectives. If this means playing like a gutless wonder for four whole turns, so be it. My theory of play is that if I can keep most of my stuff alive, get first blood and linebreaker, I can contest all the objectives/keep the other guy off the relic/win on kill points, and at the very worst, win 2-1, no matter what game I’m playing. So, if it’s a W-L tournament, I’m going for the 2-1 win most of the time because it’s low-risk, high-probability. If I get more points, that’s cool, but all I care about is the W.

That is your game plan, every single game. Of course, the particulars of how you go about it change depending on who you’re facing. What I did to Ian’s Beaststar and Chewie’s Seer Council is not what I do to Drop Wolves, for example. But we’re not going over strategies against different armies in this piece.

Beyond your overall strategy to win 2-1, it is really tough to plan more than two turns in advance in anything but the most general sense because the other guy gets a vote.

On the first turn, what I generally do is look for a weakness in my opponent’s deployment and exploit it if I can. I’ll also make a target priority list in my head. Really this goes for any army I’m playing, but the target priority for the circus is a bit different. Generally, threats to the FMC’s need to go first, then scoring, then everything else. However, in the early going, when the other guy has all his toys, you pick what spots you can, but mostly, you favor staying alive above all else.

That’s the foundation of any game plan. You do not go exposing any of your precious units to a ton of firepower because unless they have a 2+ re-rollable, they will probably die. This happened to my opponent J. in the mirror match I played last month. Getting first blood was the key to the game. He had a Nurgle Prince who didn’t get Iron Arm or Endurance, so I picked on it. On his first turn, he moved his FMC’s as a group toward the board center rather than flying the Nurgle Prince off. So I hit it with psychic shriek and a hades Drake, and boom, he loses first blood and is playing down one FMC for the rest of the game.

The same thing happened to me back before I learned to use the circus properly, I had puppet master on my Grimoire Prince, and flew him to within 24” of a Manticore to shoot rockets at my IG opponent. The Grimoire Prince was then grounded and blasted with plasma because I exposed him to a ton of firepower. That little mistake cost me a tournament, but I learned that flying up to the other guy’s entire army with your 4 or 5 baddies and going BANG! BANG! BANG! don’t work so hot. Save that crap for the bomb list.

The most important thing to remember is that your default move is always to bug out. If you have no smart play, you don’t play. You fly off the board. That is always your fallback. If you can’t take something out with low risk of losing that MC, you do not take the risk. It’s like throwing the ball away in football. Live to play another down unless it’s the fourth quarter and you have to make a play.

I think we’ve covered the basics enough. Play like a huge pussy, and you should be in the fight until the end.
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