Friday, 29 July 2011

Do You Build With The Objectives In Mind?

I’d like to put this out there as I still see a lot of people trying to kill their opponent and forget about the mission. The mission wins you games, more so than creating an army list to destroy your opponent. This coincides with army building, as each unit should have something clear to do. Many people skip this forward thinking phase, in search of more powerful codex choices.

Let me go through a few examples which I have picked up on. Venerable Brother took a fairly solid looking wolf list to Brighton Warlords. Now I take nothing of this away from him, but did he consider every mission when building his list? Well he has plenty of scoring units for Seize Ground, s decent amount of tough Killpoints, but what about Capture & Control? We all know at the end of the day you need a decent section of your force sitting on your objective, but you wouldn't want a fairly expensive troop unit hiding on it all game do you? To this end, army design must take this into consideration. One unit of 5 Grey hunters in a Razorback could have done this for example.

Another is mech Guard. I have see time and time against a Guard army sitting backs hooting me to death, whilst I calm sit on objectives. I aim for units which can affect my scoring units ability to sit on the objectives, and by the end of the game I have won simply because I have more objectives than him. It’s not about me rolling more dice than him; it’s the fact that I positioned my army in accordance with the mission.

Similar to Venerable Brother, I faced a chaos army who had 3 large scoring units. Two of which were 7 man Plague marines, the other Berserkers. He had to reduce the effectiveness of his army by keeping a whole unit of 200+pt Plague marines on his home objective in Capture and Control just because he had to. The list therefore lacks the ability to win every mission.

One great example, which although isn’t very sporting, is taking one killpoint from your opponent then hiding. A Decent of Angels list can do this very well, dropping one or two tough units to take a killpoint or two on his opponent’s flanks, then hiding behind line of sight blocking terrain the rest of the game. Is this a fun game? Of course not, but is he playing the mission? Well yes. This is one of the many examples why Killpoints is a flawed system but I won’t go into that.

Now each of these examples show different yet common situations which many players face. Have you ever considered taking perhaps a weaker option just to take on board the missions whom you are expected to find at a tournament? I, for example, wrote a very mech Blood Angel list. 4 Razorback assault squads to push forward with 2 Honor guard squads with Librarians, and 3 Predators laying down firepower. Now in a Capture and control mission, do I really want to leave one of my 165pt built to rush Assault squads sitting on the back field doing nothing? If they were a cheaper and couldn't contribute, I’d consider it, but they aren’t. To that end, I added a 90 point scout squad with camo cloaks & sniper rifles. Some people will look at the unit and say, hey don’t they suck? Well yes, but they are also a great utility in Objective missions. But they suck in Killpoint mission’s right? Well to some extent, but for 90 points I can simply pop them in reserve and hid them, go to ground and have done with it. Other armies do this such as taking a 3 man henchman unit in a razorback for Grey Knights. Lots of armies can do this, but not many people consider it.

I personally never build a list without at least one home objective sitter, but I give them something to contribute. I don’t like to see a unit do nothing. If I foresee that the unit will tend to take a backfield presence, I will equip them with some sort of long range weapon. Be it a Cyclone wolf guard for my 5 man Grey Hunter unit, or a Las/Plas Razorback for that 3 man Henchman squad, I have something to provide support to the rest of my army, without effectively wasting points.

I’d love to hear how you all build your lists. Do you take into consideration common missions, be it Nova style or straight from the rulebook, or do you simply follow advice on the internet and take a list that looks good on paper?



  1. this is why i rate my guard army more highly than some more popular mech-vet spam builds. i have units which are designed to sit on home objectives (foot infantry squads) as well as units that can take the fight to the enemy (demo Vets and stormtroopers). have i reduced point for point effectiveness of my shooting? yes, certainly, but i have a far more rounded army as a result.

    as far as kill points go, there isn't a whole lot guard can do to mitigate that problem other than kill more stuff early and cripple your opponents chances to fight back (which is why i hate facing GKs, no shaken results, and Deathwing, for the same reason but via a different method).

  2. Venerable Brother's dying toe nail29 July 2011 at 16:57

    It's a very good point and one that I think I personally fall down on (as highlighted) in alot of my tournament lists. I worry about KP's and Seize Ground and give little thought to C&C..which is why I think I drew 2 of my games at Brighton last month - too many points sat back doing very litte, other than of course being quite a considerable force sat on my objective. I could have done the same, as you say Alex with just a 5 man unit with attached CML WG..which we know I love, so it is silly of me.
    With the Coteaz list I posted the other day, the henchmen can do this oh so very well, without taking away from the overall army. They cost ~50pts and everything else is moving and shooting forward.
    But even here I fall down to an extent because they contribute nothing offensively, but their transports do so its swings and roundabouts...I know you are not fully convinced and nor am I, but I like it so far..
    But at least I am starting to fully consider the missions!! Whoot!

  3. the problem i have with extremely tiny units such as wracks and henchmen is that they are SO fragile. if you are relying on those to hold an objective, you are kidding yourself. one flame template from something 'rubbish' like a Hellhound or Dreadknight, or even an outflanking tank with HFlamer and you are screwed. i suppose they ARE easier to hide but i just hate the fragility.

  4. ^ Which is the single reason I taking Strike squads, just for the sole reliability.

  5. It was hard to consider that with my deathwing. I've never once in 2 objectives done the "5 squads on the objective, yeah come and try and contest .." malarkey, but sometimes when you have 5x dudes just sat there offering nothing but a couple of missile shots a turn ... you feel like your wasting points a bit (though some tourneys DO let the attack bikes score ... 50 point scorer thank you very much ...)

    Very much considering this with my GK's - right now I am looking at 3 builds, and one reason why I am getting more and more turned off the 3xhench in a tin can is just because of my shoddy luck keeping key transports alive (even with cover) and I know that my objective sitters will explode, die or run. I do have the GKSS in that list as well to help, but I am just thinking of other options put it that way.

    Good article.

    At first I thought you were going to talk about making actual objective markers ;D

    - bully

  6. I agree completely Killswitch. It's why I tweaked my list for NOVA a few months back by dropping some excess TWC to add in a small 5 man GH squad in a RB. That gives me 1 dedicated rear/home objective holding unit and 3 GH squads in Rhinos to fan out and claim quarters/objectives. I realized that using a 200ptish GH squad kitted out for fighting to hold a home/rear objective was...well a waste.