Category: List Building

Offence/Defence Equilibrium in List-Building and Unit Composition

Greetings, fellow Survivors, Wolves and Saviors! An article for you today on offence/defence balance in list/unit composition. This article is aimed primarily at newer players, but it may put words on notions that more experienced players have come to instinctively apply without necessarily fully understanding. Indeed, one of the key concepts to implement when building a list is to seek balance between resiliency and damage output, both on an individual unit level but also across your army taken as a whole. What I mean by the is that you have to ensure your army is able to deliver punches but is also able to withstand them, and vice versa. If you concentrate too great a portion of your points on high-damage but fragile units, you will be able to deliver a mean alpha strike, but your ability to be alpha’ed yourself and not fold right there and then will be poor. Conversely, an army composed uniquely of units that are extremely efficient tarpits like Brimstone Horrors will be nigh unkillable, but will hit like a wet blanket.

Read more

Desc440’s 2k Marine Tournament List

Greetings, fellow wretched hives of scum and villainy! Taking a quick break from my Codex: Space Marines review to talk about the 2000 points Marine list I’m building for 8th edition tournaments. It’s not a perfect list by any measure, but it’s what I can be reasonably sure to be able to put together given my limited hobby time and I think it’s going to be reasonably competitive.

During 7th, I mostly played a full Battle Company Gladius Strike Force. It was incredibly powerful: the combination of so many (free) armoured vehicles and Marine bodies with Objective Secured made it very hard for my opponents to score objectives. The list didn’t have an enormous amount of killing power, but for the player who doesn’t mind playing to the mission, it was a dream.

Read more

Killing Tau 2: Interpreting a Tau Tournament List

Interpreting a Tau Tournament List

Tau can be a static, gunline, Napoleonic musket-block of an army, and still be so powerful that many players have found a decent level of success running them in that form.

The codex is so strong, with so many powerful options at discount prices and so many great choices that even a decidedly average Tau army with a fairly average general can be a real challenge to many opponents.

These are not the Tau players who consistently place high at tournaments though, and ‘static’ does not accurately describe many of the best Tau lists. This article will discuss quickly interpreting a Tau Tournament List in the few moments you get before starting to roll dice to both try to ascertain whether you’re against a wannabe or a true threat, and predict how your opponent is likely to want the game to unfold based on their Troop, wargear, and HQ selections. Read more

I have Wave Serpents! Wait…now what?

So you’ve jumped on the Eldar bandwagon and shamed us old timers who have proper Wave Serpents from back in the days when Games Workshop didn’t make half their own damn models. You’re so excited with your purchase, you’ve jammed them all together – foregoing magnets on those always changing weapon rules and started you’re very own Eldar force of 810 to 870 points. Now you have no idea what to do with yourself *sniggers behind hand*.

Right, let’s look at Serpent spam retcon 2013 and what you need to do to make it a competitive army (other than just spamming Serpents).

First, you’ve set your Wave Serpent up like so: Read more

Army Builder – licenses will never expire

armyI’m a big fan of Lone Wolf’s Army Builder program, both as the quickest way to run off army lists and a fast way to get point-costs and equipment options for less-used armies without having to dig around for the codex.

Even the free download allows users to load 3 units at a time for a view of their stats, gear and costs, but the paid one just became a lot more appealing because the makers have dropped the requirement to pay for an annual license.

Read more

What do you need to counter?

adam_b_08I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what you need to be able to deal with when you build an army list. We are all aware that there are power builds out there which bring units that, if not dealt with properly, will roll right over you like you aren’t even there.

What’s interesting is that in 6th, the introduction of flyers makes it so that it is nigh impossible to bring a list that is able to compete with every fringe army out there. This was possible in 5th (though straining on a lot of builds), but now it’s important to recognize that you’re just going to be able to bring the tools to smash all potential enemies. It’s OK, though, because you can still come damn close, and you can often make up the difference in soft counters.

When I’ve been building lists, these are the things I think are absolutely needed: Read more

Elites – The Dying Breed?

This was something I touched on recently in Matt’s Wave Serpent post and is something which hasn’t really been touched on I think for 6th edition. Objective missions are even more pervasive than in 5th edition with every five out of six games supposed to be played as an objective game with the final sixth game being Kill Points. This move has placed an even greater emphasis on Troops in addition to the changes in cover, infantry durability and ability to hold objectives at the end of a game (in any location on the tabletop preferably). What’s been lost in this is that in one of every six games, Fast Attack score. And in a further one in every six games, Heavy Support score. What’s missing? Elites and HQ. Read more

Scarabfarm in 6th – A reply

I was sent an email by Nick who wrote this recent post (transcribed below) in relation to making a Scarabfarm work in 6th after reading the Metatransition post we did on the army concept previously.  I’ll reply to his reply 😛 to see if people who like such an army can potentially find a use for it in 6th. Anyway, read his post below or check it out at his blog IDIC Beer.
Well, from what I have seen and read, the Scarab farm has pretty much been written off in 6th Edition. I am not talking about a few Scarabs and Spyders here and there in a list, I am talking about using three maxed out Scarab units backed up by as many Spyders as you can get! I was reading an excellent article over on 3++ by Kirby a while back about the Metatransition of the Scarab Farm. The article was discussing how 6th Edition has effected Scarabs and the best way to use them now, which got me thinking about my old 5th Edition Scarab Farm list and how I could possible find a way to use my 60+ Scarabs now in 6th!
Most of what Kirby said what pretty much spot on, but even so, it doesn’t mean I can make a full farm list work, does it? Well lets have a look at what I can come up with. First up, I am going to ignore my previous list, which rightly so, included Imotekh. As Kirby said the Stormlord list concept isn’t going to work like it used to. So, with that said a new army build template is required, and I think a Wave template fits in perfectly for a Scarab Farm army and that it the direction I am going to go…
My list is going to be for 1750 points as that is the main level I play at, I have found that six Spyders is about the maximum that I can fit into the Farm at this points level and still have enough points left over for everything else needed, plus I only own six Spyders anyway! So the front Core of my army will be three groups of ten Scarabs, backed up by three groups of two Spyders. Back to the Scarabs themselves and the biggest benefit they now have is being Fearless, no more Fearless wounds means these guys will be around much longer, so Scarabs in numbers is what we are after…

Turn one and two will be used to bolster two units of Scarabs as the full Phalanx moves forward. These two large Scarabs units will be the first wave in the list and will probably end up out of range of the Spyders, so the Spyders will start to boost the numbers of the third group from turn three ready to send them out as the next wave. All three groups of Spyders will make the next wave behind them, spawning as many bases as robotically possible. So that’s the Farm section of the list out of the way, and obviously I don’t expect any of it to still be around at the end of the game, it’s job is to push forward to kill and hold up as much of my opponents army as it can for as long as it can!

Running behind the Farm will be the next wave, sixteen Warriors and a Jacked up Overlord. I have had a huge success with this unit so far, with the Overlord being amazing in Challenges with Mindshackle and Labyrinth doing what they need to do very well, whilst his Resurrection Orb helps to keep the Warriors alive for longer. I have also added a Stormtek to the unit to help with any challenge issues. I don’t want the Overlord attacks wasted due to being tied up in a challenge with a nobody! Following up at the rear, is the last Wave of three groups of ten Warriors. There main job it to offer some mid range fire support and to take any mission objectives at the end of the game… 

The last wave is going to be nine deep striking Deathmarks. They will be wave two, three or four, depending on when they arrive from reserve, and they will be aiming to come down near or in my enemies deployment zone offering a wave from a different direction!

So what about Flyers? Well, I am not seeing many Flyers in my gaming group at the moment so I am not too concerned with them, if one turns up I will have to hang on and hope that the Warriors will throw down a lot of sixes! If I do find it becomes an issue, I can always group the Spyders into two sets of three and then drop some Warriors for an Annihilation Barge, or maybe even take an Aegis Defence Line with a Quad Gun. 

Here is my final Scarab Farm Wave list and army deployment strategy. Of course it all depending on circumstances, but at least I will be going to the table with a plan of some sort… 


1 x Overlord/Scythe/MSS/Weave/Labyrinth/Orb (180)
Royal Court:
1x Stormtek/Lightning Field (35)
10 x Warriors (130)
10 x Warriors (130)
10 x Warriors (130)
16 x Warriors (208)
9 x Deathmarks (171)
10 x Scarabs (150)
10 x Scarabs (150)
10 x Scarabs (150)
2 x Spyders/Gloom Prism (115)
2 x Spyders (100)
2 x Spyders (100)
1749 points 

WAVE 1 (turn 1 and 2)
10 x Scarabs (16x after Spawning!)
10 x Scarabs (16x after Spawning!)
WAVE 2 (turn 2, 3 or 4)
10 x Deathmarks
WAVE 3 (turn 3)
10 x Scarabs (16x after Spawning!)
WAVE 4 (turn 3 or 4) 
2 x Spyders 
2 x Spyders  
2 x Spyders 
WAVE 5 (turn 5) 
1 x Overlord 
18 x Warriors
WAVE 6 (turn 6+)
10 x Warriors
10 x Warriors
10 x Warriors

Nick is bang on with certain points – Scarab units are very frustrating with Fearless now. Any unit with a lot of wounds is and although Scarabs can have wounds disappear from instant death pretty damn quick, it’s still a frustration for an opponent and unlike other Fearless tarpits, Scarabs can wreck face against certain targets. This is of course anything with an AV value as well as weak infantry such as Fire Warriors, Guardsmen, etc. Furthermore, Warrior blobs can work and with the new challenge system in place and certain support, this concept can be quite strong in 6th with a solid scoring unit.

However, the wave concept of the army I think is flawed – jamming an opponent is great but sending in the rest of your army in waves? Not a good idea as your opponent can clear their lines in certain situations or be capable of engaging each threat as it arrives particularly considering the rest of the army IS NOT GOOD IN COMBAT. The blob is solid and a great back-up but the opponent generally wants to engage Necrons in combat rather than suffering shooting. The way I think this army needs to work is two-fold. First, the Scarabs jam the enemy with the Warrior blob backing it up in case anything breaks through. This protects the rest of the Necrons from being engaged but will limit some of their shooting options (hence the back-up blob). What really makes a blob shine though is Ghost Arks, another WS/MSS Lord and less goodies on the Overlord to keep it a bit cheaper. You don’t really need the 2+/3++ all the time given it’s point cost.

That’s the core of the list – something like:

Overlord + Lord w/MSS, WS
15x Warriors w/Ghost Ark
2x10x Scarabs

Chuck in 2x5x Warriors w/Ghost Ark and some Immortals with Night Scythes (Warriors get picked up T2/3 when the Night Scythes come in and Immortals start on table as fire support) and you’ve got a decent core with points to spare – enough for some 2x Annihilation Barges (or 2x Barges + 3x Spyders if you trim Scarabs). Trim points here and there (i.e. don’t run the Night Scythes or use Allies for a jamming unit, less Scarabs, etc.) and you can get more goodies in (ahem Lanceteks for the Immortals). The main difference here is you’re not sending your army in waves and you don’t have 30 Warriors who are scared crapless of being caught in combat and have no extra mobility. Rather, we’re jamming an opponent with a fast Fearless unit, backing that up with a frustrating unit to remove via shooting and combat and then lots more shooting options and mobility. That’s the key – shooting and mobility. It allows the army to be more punishing offensively (A Barges + Night Scythes will do that) and have a battleplan with greater longevity if the enemy breaks through the Scarabs + blob.

Grey Knights Primary & Necron Allies

The vast majority of my play time with this combination has been mostly Acolyte based with a smattering of Strike Knights for durability purposes and then Necron Flyerwing (Scythes + Warriors, Staffteks). I’m finding it’s quite solid but with the changes for 6th, not the army it was in 5th in how it played. I.e. it’s much more of a hang back and shoot army and use Strikes  + Flyers to grab far away objectives. The issue I’m finding is attrition over the course of a game can often mean I hold objectives on my side and my opponent holds objectives on their side as I only have a set number of units which can really push opponents off contested objectives.

So what I’m thinking is trying to replace the effect of the Strike Knights in my pure GK army (linked) with Necron Immortals. They’re cheaper (squad of 10 is 170 compared to 230 w/Psybolt) and are S5 firepower (Tesla & Gauss have their own +/-‘s) with a bit more durability due to Reanimation Protocols. If I was to reduce the number of Strike Knights I was running and bring in some Immortals instead whilst using other goodies from the Necron book – i.e. Scythes, Barges, Crypteks, etc. and using Acolytes to SUPPORT the remaining Strike Knights + Immortals, I imagine I’d be able to get a similar army style but with more versatility from the Allies. It all depends on the transfer of points from GK to Necrons though.

Unfortunately for me I’ve been busy of late – site and job stuff you know? So I’d love to hear the brainstorming ideas of the 3++ community in relation to putting such a 1750 list together. I’ve played around with the calculator but don’t have anything really sticking in my mind. So let’s see what we can all come up with and I’ll get back to you with what I start playtesting for use!