Sunday, 25 August 2013

Screamer Council: is it "top dog" at a tournament?

It's not just Shredder that is unkillable.....
It's one of the hot topics - now that Tau and Mech/Hybrid Eldar (or of course TauDar) are flooding the tournament boards, how do we kill them? How do we run an anti-meta list successfully?

I've been using (in random games when not prepping for ETC with my Nids) a Demon list that I first heard about a few months ago when the ETC lists were published to teams and we could peruse the other nations ideas...

The Screamer Council is BIG and it is COOL and it is NASTY!

You can have a read HERE if you are unsure what I am talking about. The linked post details how it works and what it does. If you want to try out the Screamer Council read THIS article and then just go to town!

Now, my plans for tournaments are this:
7/8th September is Death or Glory Tournament (1850)
5/6th October is Battlefield Birmingham tournament (1500)
9/10th November is GT Heat 3 in Warrington (1650)

I have invested a fair amount of time in reworking my old Tau army on the side of getting my Nids 'ETC Ready' and I really want to get them stuck in to tournaments. I appreciate that Tau/Eldar are the GK/Necrons of 6th edition but I think I want to run them.

Problem is - I know at least ONE Screamer Council will be present at each of these events.

MINIMUM. I am not 100% sure if there will be more, perhaps it is TOO soon after the ETC for this to have permeated through to the mainstream UK tournaments, but it is certainly a topic well covered on 40K Global by Big Dave Symcox and discussed with disgust by Franco M. So plenty of people know about it.

I've run it and I know HOW good it is. And just how hard it is to kill.... so what can I do IF I don't run it myself....

How to kill a Screamer Council - y'know, it's like TACTICS and shit...

We have a number of options for dealing with this bollocks (if you are not running it yourself :) )
- Disable everything else? An 800+ point deathstar is a lot of points, no matter what point size you play.. do what is says on the tin, kill the other shit. The firepower from the Council will kill one thing of yours per turn. Then charge it and multicharge where possible...CHOOSE what it kills and feed it shit whilst you kill other stuff!
- Snipe Grimoire. That guy in the middle of the Council holding the book? Yeah, he only has a 4++ (rerolling 1's course) and a couple of wounds. Snipe the fuck out of him with Precision Shots. S8 precision shots preferably. Of course this has the main issue that it is countered by LoS! on a 2+ d'oh! But screw it, 2+ is more likely to fail than a 2++ rerolled.
- See also Barrage Sniping. See also LoS! Fuck.

- Go first and take IG Primary with 3 Manticores. Now THAT is a strategy! lol... sure, just GO FIRST every game vs Screamer Council and JUST take IG and triple manticores!
- Super tough/resilient units. I.e. Wraithknight. Or T8+ MCs - Iron Arm demons? Take the shitty S5 AP2 9 attacks and smash a few. Tie up an 800 point unit with a 240 one (wraithknight). Trouble is... With Precience they do 1 wound per round of combat and it just takes 3 game turns to blow through the Wraithknight. But that said, that's 3 turns to BLOW THE FUCK out of the rest of the Demon army. Turn 2 screamers force you to engage or Eldar turn 1 if Demons go first. So they pop out of combat for Turn 4/5 to contest and swing points away from you (objectives). Sure, you can then kill everything else and make sure you spread out enough that screamers can't kill/contest everything...but its a tough shout.

- Could do something similar with an Earth Caste Riptide rocking the 3++ save. Now the issue here is that the s5 ap2 cuts through the armour of the Riptide but a 3++ is decent. Lets think about it. 9 screamer attacks, hit on 3's (let's assume with Prescience) this results in 7.9 hits (8). They wound on 5's - so just 2.6 wounds per round. 3++ save brings this down to 0.8 wounds per turn. Now in this analysis I'm not including Misfortune as the Earth Caste Riptide brings with it the 4d6 deny the witch. Which is better than the Rune Priest (currently best in the game for anti psyker barring the "limited time only new codex inbound" Shadow in the Warp) at stopping this shit, so I'm going with that for now. So the ECRitpide survives for 3 turns statistically. The ECRiptide costs anywhere up to 260 (depending on the role he has in your general Tau army) and is a very good sacrifice for the Screamer Council. Realistically though, the ECRiptide has probably lost a couple of wounds to firepower before he charges or is charged. He's going to buy you MAX two game turns. Can you capitalise on that? Most well built, well played Tau armies could.

- Bubblewrap. Sure the council has shooting (and it can be very deadly) but if you bubblewrap your mission critical units with shit then the Council can only kill them in assault and you can continue to move and kill other stuff. But what happens when the Council blows through your bubblewrap? Well, that is a problem. Layered bubblewrap - 3 or 4 units layered up to bubblewrap and provide several turns of shielding for the important stuff. Problem is, for most armies bubblewrap comes from Troops and in really don't want to lost all the troops as they ARE the mission critical elements.
- Kill Fateweaver. Easy if no Grimoire on him, he is T5 and just as a 4++. Target and make it known you are gunning for Big Bird. The Demon player gets scared and puts grim on Fatey next turn. Or he doesn't from the start and you bring him down to a wound or two and then the CD dude gets scared. Screamers then go to a 5++ and you slaughter them. But the better option is to give up on Warlord Secondary and keep the Council slaughtering and contesting. Sure you lose the critical reroll... But it's either lose 300 for Fate and a 1 point Secondary or lose the game basically.
- Bog it in combat with cheap fearless chaff. Nids, plague zombies. Maybe an IG blob... But you'll lose that eventually and it's not cheap either... The issue is that you have to keep feeding the Council more fearless units and most armies can't do that. Nids in synapse sure.. but other armies? Nah.
- Null Zone. How is it resolved... The reroll of 1's happens (Demon of Tzeentch) then you reroll all successful saves (Null Zone)? You don't reroll 1's and then also reroll 2's you made? Could be effective, but it means you have to take Marine allies. Fuck that. Or you go for Misfortune instead and force rerolls via Eldar allies.. For many, a much better prospect as the Farseer brings in Prescience and potentially Guide too.
-Psychic Defence. Shadows in the Warp placed behind the fearless units we were mentioning is useful as it makes Forewarning harder to cast. Space Wolves Rune Priest is second most effective but has a better range. Njal in a Blob? 3+ to stop Forewarning? Is Big Nigel gonna make a come back? Nah. Nids positioning a SitW type behind the Fearless blob of shit is more likely.
-Telion or Vindicare assassin. Assign wounds rather than shoot. Telion can be countered as they are just precision shots, but the Vindicare Cannot be LoS!'d ---as per FAQ, even if Los is made, the Assassin rules overrule the Los rules and the assassins controller still allocates wounds where they like. Weird one that, why not just say "Vindicare shots cannot be LoS!'d" ? Anyway, the turbo-penetrator round from a Vindi is very useful as it causes 2 wounds so it could be worth a go..But then you limited yourself with allies? And HAVE to take GK as allies.. what to grab ...COteaz, Vindicare, Strike Sqaud and a Dreadknight perhaps... or to grab a GK Storm Raven which has Mind Strike Missiles and being an AV12 flier is hard for the Council to gun down?
- Challenges: Kill the Grimoire Herald in combat? Nah. That shit can simply be denied. And even if not, they don't have to accept with Grimoire dude. Who cares if they lose a couple of relatively meaningless attacks...
- Jaws through the unit to snipe it. Targeting a unit either if front of or behind the locked Council is a good way.  Heralds are only I3 and you have a great chance of getting rid of the Grimoire that way... I say behind the locked council because they are level 3 and will be denying on a 4+. Of course, is also works if you simply target a unit behind the council on its way in. On the down side, this needs a unit other than the Council nearby (24") to actually target otherwise you end up with a 50/50 (less than as you have to CAST the power too!) that it will work! Not great.

-Spread out! Use split bases or mobility to bring the pain elsewhere in the Demon army/board and try and keep away. Now this is hard to do as the Council is a JETBIKE unit type and can therefore get anywhere you can...

Above all... PLAY THE MISSION! This is the most important thing to do. As you can see from many of the tactics above, there is no easy way around this unit. So you need to:
- It'll be ok... or it'll all be over soon! Either way, keep cool when playing against this unit.
- Don't try and KILL it... PLAY AROUND IT

These are just my thoughts on the matter. This is not an exhaustive list of ways to get around it. I'm not going to go into missions, deployments and every conceivable army build and HOW they can each play each game vs a Council.. learn that shit yourselves and playtest against this.. for now, it's going to be a RARE build and in fact, YOU may never see it... I KNOW I will at these events, so I am just preparing myself...

I may even just give in and run it... I own the models after all... ;)


  1. I have played 4 games against the Council with my Tau, winning the two latest ones (the one yesterday actually won me a tournament). In both games I tied the Council up with two Stubborn Riptides (one with Earthcaste). The few turns this gave me were enough to even out the odds, so it is definitely the tactic to go for.

    1. Extacly, hold them up with something, game over!

  2. Bar dual WK's nothing can hold the council up for that long, be it dual riptides or not, misfortune will be there for sure and probably more then one so you will be having to deny twice, perfect timing and bolt of change also work very well at d6+5 for str and ap2 with no cover means you will be having to do more test, although personnaly against riptides I'd be shooting the str6 with misfortune to make you roll more saves, espicaally with a 3++. Also you have missed one one important thing, you arent fearless.....

    Dual WK's are a issue though for sure, so its two tervis kicking out 3d6 of fearless troops to charge it each turn, the vindicare will have to go first really as you are 36inch range I can be on your turn 1. You cannot take away their invul either as it is granted by wargear. Plus how useful will a vindicare be against Tau or Eldar? the current main meta armies (or even crons for that matter).

    The best way is to play the mission, kill the troops, if screamer player does not get scriers gaze then he is screwed. IF the screamer player does not know what he is doing, he is screwed, if he has bad dice he is screwed.

    One thing I have found with daemons, be it princes or screamers if the dice go their way they are pretty much unstoppable. if they dont they kill themselves.

    1. Re Fearless...stubborn ld10 best thing
      Misfortune won't be there "for sure" bud... It's more likely NOT to be than ... Be... :)
      Kill troops, play the mission.. Defo highlighted that as most important. Agree 100%

      In many ways the per game rolls determine how to play that particular game ... Forewarning? No...kill them.. Yes, play the mission!

  3. Lets decide this at battle brum, grudge match Mr?.