Friday, 1 November 2013

Obnoxious List Building and the "Meta" Situation

'Sup guys - been real busy of late...being a teacher is SUCH a hard life...take the last fortnight for example. I've been forced to spend 3 days in Disneyland, Paris so the kids can study the relevance of the Disney business model, primarily focussed on its marketing activities and strategic decision making tools.... or perhaps... answering the critical question - "Just how many times can Mr H ride Space Mountain in an hour? Discuss".
I've then had to suffer for a week of Half Term Hols... marking a few papers here and there whilst generally painting the shit out of my toy soldiers.
I love my job. Genuinely.

But that is not what you are here to read, except to scowl at this gleeful mother fucker. Just enjoy the fact that you probs earn more....after all, I am on holiday for a 1/4 of the year and my well above national average pay reflects that... Plus the Paris half week, plus the Munich half week, plus the week Ski Trip in Italy...all in term time... oh and one year I went to Ghana, Africa in term time too... all of which I never pay any way. Thanks tax payer.
I fucking love my job.

Ah, I'm an obnoxious prick aren't I?
And that brings me around to the point of the article (nicely done right? lol)....
Obnoxious lists.

I love them too... OED says 'obnoxious' is simply 'extremely unpleasant' 40k terms, I view this as lists that we all expect to play at some point in a tournament and don't really look forward to it all that much.

In current 40k, what are these lists?
A few months ago it was pure Tau, then a couple of Deathstars came home to roost from the ETC in summer, then it became Eldar Serpent Spam,  then TauDar, then a greater proliferation of Deathstars and a resurgence of "Alpha Strike"-esque armies; not as powerful or crippling as the true alpha strike armies of the Imperial Guard under old school Vendetta/Vet bastards, but strong first strike capable armies.

So where are we now as a community? What are the obnoxious lists that we all expect to face off against?

It strikes me that the internet is a very different thing from reality...
For example, I was contemplating running White Scars/Wolves - "White Wolves" at the last tournament I attended, Battlefield Birmingham. This was all the rage over the internet and the posts on the topic got thousands of hits from around the world. I'm glad I didn't but that's another story and not relevant.
 However, this did not truly translate to the tabletop in totality (alliteration...must be an educated, if obnoxious fellow writing this) as there was only 1 single Scars player from 64 in attendance. I'm aware that there are larger events in both the UK and in the States, but generally...that's not a bad sized tournament and even runs to the 'large' side.

See what I mean? Lost in translation from ether to table.

However, that is not always the case...a good argument must present both sides of the story and for this we need simply to look at Screamer Council builds. As I have covered a number of times in the past, this build came out of the ETC this
year, principally from the Home Nation team's evaluation of the Spain setup... A ripple spread through the community and BOOM! there it was. Championed in the UK by a number of talented players, this build has received almost unprecedented coverage in our limited media - podcasts, blogs, tournament coverage etcetera. At Battlefield Birmingham there were no less than 6 Screamer Councils - a shade under 10% of all builds. Impressive right?

Where did this leave other armies? Holding their dicks and wondering what just happened?
Same with Farsight Bomb ...which has been and gone (or has it?) and spread fear in its wake.

Screamers don't kill you turn one, but if you can't get to them to hurt them T1, then you are in for a much harder game.
Drop Pods will get you turn one... grav spam and Jaws allied... HURTS Tau and Eldar. Grav rapes Riptides and Wraithknights...Jaws hurts Tau or scares them at least.
Tau can lob S8 ignore cover, infinite range shit at you and ignoring cover, large blast, tank hunting ordnance S9/Ap2 at you... multiple times! All from a range of comparative safety!
IG can still put on a wonderful down range fire display turn 1
Eldar Serpent spam can get you turn 1 with a hail of fire
New Sisters can lob up to 18 S8 Exorcist missiles at you turn 1.
Scouting Scars will MESS you up T1
Jetseer Councils can be untouchable IF you don't get to go first and put the damage on.. although its Eldar and you kinda want to make them go first.. decisions, decisions...

As you can see... a lot of the tougher armies have first turn capabilities or are ideally influenced in T1 (I include Sisters as they do have some funky ally options with IG and SM).
To be honest.. most armies have the capacity, with some exceptions - Nids, Orks, DA, Necrons. Though these armies most certainly have very competitive builds in them, they just don't do what I'm talking about here. They do it in a different way and not on T1. Although it is worth mentioning Ravenwing in the DA book can of course do some nasty scouty stuff with Melta and Khan Grav allies.

So how important is it that you can create a significant first turn strike? I think in regular pick up play at a club...not so much...of course that depends WHO and HOW you play at the club haha. However, answering the above question "where does this leaves everyone else?", it is my opinion that in the tournament environment you either need to be able to lay the smack down at extreme range and with effectiveness turn 1, that you need to be hyper-mobile or hyper-resilient. Ideally, you'll be able to deliver on all 3 components:
Long Range Effective
These are on top of all the usual army building criteria - troops, AT, AI, blocking, assault, denial, psychic defence etc.
How important is it that you are able to form an effective first turn strike? Very.
How important is it that you remember Alpha Striking from 5th Ed and remember those "tactic" things to avoid or mitigate it? Very.
Does this mean that tournament armies are all going to be Alpha Strikers? Fuck no.
So my army I've worked to create isn't going to be obsolete in the ever changing 6th Ed meta? No. Not just yet, that comes next week ;)

What are these armies then? Well, in reality this post was just to highlight this change in some players list design philosophy. 6th Ed has a wonderful diversity of armies represented in clubs and at the tournament scene. Even though it may seem like every other army is Eldar, every third army Tau and the ones in between are TauDar or Demons... that isn't the case. Even when it is the case, there are a multitude of different builds out there.
I'm going to try and cover some of these builds over the next week or two and discuss their pro's and con's. Hopefully, this will let us all see what a wonderful diversity of lists there are out there, even if they do all come from just 2 codices :)
We can then figure out how to beat them and watch as the meta environment changes once again...

It's worth pointing out that in the natural course of blogging I've covered the Farsight Bomb and the Screamer Council.
Check them out in the links below:


Bomb: (It is worth noting that this now has evolved and is actually less reliable and therefore less deadly. The ability to Gate has been reduced to a random roll on the powers table - Tigurius offers 3 attempts, rerolling results you don't like, Eldrad offers 4 attempts without rerolls.. and there are other ways, some secret ways, some less reliable.

So EDIT: MONDAY! - the third of these obnoxious bastards... but we'll move away from Deathstars and focus on TauDar - most certainly have the ability to be obnoxious :)

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