Introducing the New List Doctor

Hello ladies and gentlemen today is very special as it marks a day of expansion for the Brown Magic! Today I’ve brought Adepticon Champion, former ITC circuit champion, and literal doctor, Matt Root to help with list doctor services!

Due to an outstanding influx of list doctor requests lately Matt has graciously offered to help me with them. Matt’s 40k resume is nearly as impressive as mine, and who better to add to The Brown Magic team then the previous ITC champion and the only person to ever defeat me at Adepticon?

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To give you some breakdowns on army and style specializations I’ve compiled a list of specialties where Matt and I differ to help you guys make decide who you want to seek help from.

Nick Matt
-Favors a passive/reactive style -Favors aggression and threat overload
-Enjoys janky assault moves and maneuverabilty -Favors brute force and hyper efficiency
-Very patient player -Hyper aggressive player
-Very finesse oriented -Human version of an Ork
Armies of Specialty Armies of Specialty
-All things Chaos -Orks
-Eldar -Chaos
-Tyranids -Tyranids
-Blood Angels -Dark Eldar

Now, of course both Matt and I are top tier 40k players, who are familiar with various styles, strategies, and armies. Simply because an army isn’t listed there, doesn’t mean we can’t help you! That’s simply to give you an idea of what we feel most comfortable with given the armies we’ve personally used the most.

Moving forward with any list doctor requests please consider which you prefer between Matt or myself, and welcome Matt to the team!

FAQ Breakdown Part 2

Hello my fellow nerd friends! On Monday GW released their long awaited Spring FAQ, so naturally on Tuesday I came out with my FAQ review. However, the FAQ was so earth-shattering I decided it’d be better to break the FAQ down into two parts to properly give respect to the ramifications of its rules erratas. In my previous article, I just briefly covered the main changes the FAQ brought and generally touched on their impact on the overall game,  Today I’m going to get into specific detail about how it will impact different armies and how I can foresee the meta shifting.

First and foremost, the game is going to slow down. I’m not talking about the game physically taking longer to play, but the game will start to utilize all 6 turns as opposed to its current state where 90% of games are decided by turn 3. The double whammy that reserves took will mean that deep striking, moving again, fighting twice and gutting someone turn 1 (or even potentially turn 2) is now a thing of the past. This will naturally reduce the damage that a player can deal on any given turn, which will, in-turn, make the game spread out over more turns. From a time perspective, where most turn ones typically take 30+ minutes, now you will start to see that length of time disperse over many different turns.

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A common belief among a lot of competitive players right now is that shooting will once again reign supreme in 40k, as they no longer should fear getting charged turn 1, nor do they have to worry about screening so thoroughly. This is a legitimate concern, and I understand where these guys are coming from. That said, the Rule of Three coupled with the increased cost of Fire Raptors and Reapers means that the only armies that are capable of being a true gun line style are Tau and Guard. Guard and Tau (Guard more so) suffer from being a shooty army that mostly hits on 4’s across the board and typically have very high drop count. While that may not be horrible, it’s certainly a weakness.

Eldar can stack multiple negatives to hit to work around the garbage BS that Tau and Guard have, then close in and leverage their ludicrous offense against the pitifully squishy Tau and Guard armies.

Other armies, such as Custodes, Nids and Orks, who will likely have turn 1 against such high drop count armies, can really leverage that with their speed to just deploy,  go first, and get to grips with the Tau/Guard armies. This will be especially easy if you’re playing on a board with the infamous NOVA L’s or LVO magic bunkers, because you will be able to launch charges from out of LOS to mitigate a potentially devastating overwatch.

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Now, you may look at it from the lens of “Well I’m not playing Custodes, Orks, Nids, or Eldar so what can I do?” Understand that these are real concerns for serious players taking pure shooty Tau and Guard armies; more than real, it is in fact likely (due to +1 to go first) that they lose these games. So, the question that actually gets posed back to the Tau and Guard players is – What are they going to do to cover up their weaknesses to these kinds of armies? Well, the answer to that is to diversify. Gunline players must start taking units that counter charge, or at least have ample mobility to give them a fighting chance in these kinds of games. But, a cool thing that happens when you spend points on things to make your army more balanced: it becomes less extreme! And then Tau and Guard are just reasonably shooty armies, which hopefully, you can handle with your also reasonable Chaos, Blood Angel, or whatever army.

That’s a long term look at what I expect will happen to the meta once it reaches an equilibrium. In the short term, you probably will see an up-tick in lopsided gun line style lists, as many players will see that as their free one-way ticket to Winsville. And unfortunately, that will probably work unless you are going out of your way to play something that will handle their extreme fire power. So, as a player in the SHORT TERM meta of 40k, if you want to give yourself the best shot at winning you should probably acknowledge the directional shift the meta is going to progress in.

Phew… That was a lot of words, but I’m not done just yet! I want to just cover how certain armies are going to have to adapt to the new world we live in.

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Tau- Tau just got directly better because of the new reserve rules, and the fact that they typically didn’t need to spam much to do well. Good time to be a fish lover.

Blood Angels- As far as I know the verdict isn’t out yet for how the Wings of Fire strat and the new reinforcement rules interact, but assuming they don’t work, BA armies are going to have to look for more fire support (potentially from guard) in order to make up for the pressure they lost turn 1.

Tyranids- Tyranids obviously can’t spam Flyrants anymore, but that was a crutch for the weak anyway. More assault oriented armies with solid fire support based around Stealers, Swarmlord, Hiveguard, Warriors, etc will finally see their day in the sun.

Orks– 90 Storm boyz that no longer kill themselves, Weridboyz chucking big smites everywhere, and bikes all got buffed here! Not too shabby for the lowly index.

SM/DA- Well, the only success these guys seemed to be having on the highest levels of competition seemed to be spamming fliers, and now that’s gone. I’m not sure if these have a place as more than just an ally unfortunately.

40k meme

Eldar- The most controversially affected codex it seems. Many players seem to think Eldar wasn’t nerfed at all, but let me assure you they most certainly were. Reapers going up in cost makes them unspammable. I’ve tried making lists with the new point costs, and 7 points a model coupled with the psycher point increases adds up fast. Furthermore, the reason Eldar were so strong was their dynamic mobility with deep strike and quicken and soul burst. With all that going away you’re going to see a full shift in style. That said, Eldar are still going to be a top army- especially when combined with DE. Spears are still phenomenal, just not borderline unbeatable, as are Guardians. Serpents remained unchanged. And remember how I was talking about Eldar being a counter to guns because of their hit modifiers? I suggest you take another look at Eldar fliers and Warp Spiders.

Chaos– Well, Pox walker spam is dead, Cultist spam got punched in the balls, Tzangor bombs got nerfed, and now you can’t spam PBC, what’s a pour soul to do? I suggest trying to play a balanced army. Noise marines may actually see the light of day again, given how obnoxious they are to remove in cover (especially with their shoot when they die rule) they can actually cause you to at least participate in a fire fight. Hell Drakes have an insanely far move, and the ability to charge after doing it too, they’re a very unique tool for Chaos and I could see their inclusion being very helpful in the upcoming meta. Bloat Drones are still very strong and functionally independent which is incredibly important these days. And finally, Magnus and Morty may actually get to see the light of day again. Most of their problematic counters (save for Guard) have been nerfed in one way or another. Reapers shot up in points, to a point where they are now manageable in numbers, Fire Raptors and Gulliman is probably just not a thing anymore, and Tau can’t spam Ion heads to just pick them up. Not only that, but Magnus, in particular, is still incredibly valuable as he can very reliably get off his huge 2d6 smite every turn now (no negative mod to smite, and more CP from battalions will allow you to give him +2 to cast fairly often, followed by a gift of fate reroll) and Death Hex is still amazing.

So, in short, the sky isn’t falling. The meta will change. The good players will adapt. The bad players won’t. And water is still wet.

FAQ Breakdown part 1

After thousands of years of waiting our Games Workshop overlords have finally rewarded out patience with the new FAQ’s! https://www.warhammer-community.com/faqs/

Many people went in with some expectations, such as Flyrant nerfs, Reaper nerfs, Poxwalker nerfs etc… and they certainly weren’t wrong. But this FAQ did so much more than that. It fundamentally changed the core rules of 8th edition. The changes were actually so impactful I’m going to break down the FAQ in two parts. First I will go over the major changes in the FAQ, and then explain what I think that means for the game on the macro scale. And then in part two which will release Thursday I will put up a summary of how different armies were specifically affected and what I think the meta will look like.

Major FAQ Changes:

-No more soup detachments- What this means is practically a battalion of Celestine, Guard Commander, 3×10 infantry (a classic staple in a lot of competitive 40k lists) can no longer be taken. Every detachment must be “pure” as in no allies within a detachment.

-More CP for Battalions and Brigades– This change will help reward players for taking the more balanced  detachments50 as opposed to taking multiple vanguards and outriders. I think 5CP for a battalion may have been a bit ambitious and 4 would’ve been better, but it’s ultimately fine.

-0-3 on all non troops or DT- What an amazing balancing rule. I’m so happy with GW. They brought the game back from unbound without completely taking away people’s creative freedom in list building. Gone are the cancerous days of 7-10 Flyrants, enter the new era of diversity!

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-50% of your unit count and power level must be deployed– This honesyly doesn’t change much for most armies, as most people deployed over 50% of their forces in points total already. What this does really change is Tyranids though. It was possible and viable to have a completely reserve based Tyranid army, and I’m not even just talking about Flyrant spam. Genestealers in Nodes, Swarmlord in a pod, Mawlocs, Warriors and devourer gaunts tunneling with tons of mucloids deployed was very much a list concept, but for better or worse that is now gone.

-You can’t move after deep striking- This is so unbelievably huge. Gone are the days of deep striking 30 tzangors and casting warp time on them to charge an army turn 1. Deep strike quicken spears are a soon to be distant memory. Competitive 40k as we know it is going to change fundamentally.

-Anything that comes in from reserve turn 1 must go into your own deployment zone- This is one that really changes the fundamental dynamic style of 40k. Things like Guardian blobs and other similar units used to gain momentum really suffer here. Other shooty alpha strike units like obliterators and destroyers also lose a lot of their luster. Many armies that did not rely so heavily on deep strike will only see benefit from this rule though.

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There are a lot of other small changes such as points adjustments for Eldar and Nids, and a small change to the way Smite works but nothing overly significant there. The highlighted cliff notes above are really the brunt of the FAQ.

Now that I’ve covered what the major points of the FAQ are let me give some initial ideas on how this will ultimately impact the meta.

Due to the 0-3 limitations on “spammable” units like Flyrants, plagueburst crawlers, hammerheads etc… armies will naturally go extinct. With the removal of such extremes more balanced armies will be able to come back into the meta since they don’t have to worry about dealing with such harsh extremes on opposite ends of the meta spectrum. I mean, how could you expect a battle force, picturesque, Space Marine army to be taken seriously in a world of 7 flyrants on one hand and 300 pox walkers on the other? By design, the pseudo-force org that the Rule of Three creates will be really beneficial to the game.

The loss of being able to use deep strike to establish board control and gain momentum on turn 1 will really shift armies and what they value. Durable units that can take shooting for a bit while they wait for reinforcements will see more play, and faster units that can effectively redeploy will be more valuable to make up for the momentum loss.

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Prior to this FAQ most 40k games tend to be played within the first few turns (1-3), which led many games to being total blow outs and left one player feeling a bit left out. Thus far in the two games I’ve played under the new FAQ rules both have gone all the way to 6 without a clear winner being determined until at least 5. The mentality that everything is going to die within the first couple turns and it’s all about doing as much damage to the other guy as quickly as possible in order to succeed will soon subside. You’ll start to see list choices reflecting that, and the game will naturally slow down (from an action perspective not a time perspective).

Lastly, just because I love you all so much I will be holding a live Q&A session on facebook live tomorrow on The Brown Magic Facebook Page where I’ll be answering any questions you may have about the FAQ. The Q&A session will take place on Wednesday 4/18 at 1:30pm EST, so be sure to check in!

Also, stay tuned for Thursday’s article where I break down my opinions on how each army made out and what the meta will look like!

The Gauntlet is Thrown

The moment you’ve all been waiting two whole days for is almost upon us!

Sunday April 15th at 12pm EST

Nick Nanavati vs Mike Brandt

ITC Champ, LVO winner, 4-time Adepticon Champ, and 2-time Nova Invitational winner

VS

Play tester, NOVA Open CEO and Founder, LVO Top 8er, BFS Winner, and Vest-Wearer

Watch live on The Brown Magic Facebook Page

Nick Nanavati Mike Brandt
World Eaters Battalion Catachan Brigade
Dark Apostle 76 Stracken 75
Exalted Champion- power sword 74 Company Commander- power fist, plasma pistol 43
9 Berzerkers- chain axe, chain sword 153 Company Commander- power fist, plasma pistol 43
8 Berzerkers- chain axe, chain sword 136 Company Commander (WL) 30
40 Cultists- CCW, Pistol 160 Platoon Commander- power sword, boltgun 25
Rhino- 2 combi bolters 74 Platoon Commander- power sword, boltgun 25
Rhino- 2 combi bolters 74 Priest 35
Platoon Commander- power fist 28
Nurgle Outrider (Death Guard/Daemons) 10 Infantry 40
Chaos Daemon Daemon Prince- Wings, Talons 180 10 Infantry 40
Bloat Drone- 2 flamey flames 158 10 Infantry 40
Bloat Drone- 2 flamey flames 158 10 Infantry 40
Bloat Drone- 2 flamey flames 158 10 Infantry 40
3 Nurglings 54 10 Infantry 40
3 Nurglings 54 10 Infantry- mortar 45
10 Infantry- mortar 45
Thousand Sons Supreme Command Taurox- Auto cannon, storm bolter 76
Ahriman 131 Taurox- Auto cannon, storm bolter 76
Daemon Prince- Wings, Talons (WL) 180 Taurox- Auto cannon, storm bolter 76
Daemon Prince- Wings, Talons 180 Sentiner- Multi laser 45
Sentiner- Multi laser 45
Sentiner- Multi laser 45
3 Mortars 33
3 Mortars 33
3 Mortars 33
BA Battalion
Mephiston 145
Captain- Thunder hammer, jump pack 114
5 Scouts 55
5 Scouts 55
5 Scouts 55
Custodes Supreme Command
Shield Captain on Bike 160
Shield Captain on Bike 160
Shield Captain on Bike 160

 

 

 

Time to Get Tactical About Objectives

Good morning ladies and gentlemen (or evening depending on your locale)! Today I want to cover a topic rarely talked about- Objectives. Objectives are essentially the win condition for most games of competitive 40k, and yet they’re one of the least discussed aspects of the game strategically.  If you’re going to center your entire game plan around holding poker chips on a table, shouldn’t you try to optimize where they are?

First, I think it’s important to identify the different factors that you should consider from an objective placement standpoint.

-Your army’s overall strategy and play style

-Your opponent’s overall strategy and play style

-Terrain

-Deployment Style

-Match up

img_7635I’m going to preface all the things you should do or consider when placing objectives by showing what NOT to do. Here we see a standard table with objectives scattered about fairly evenly. This fundamentally demonstrates two players who didn’t really think strategically about where they were placing objectives when placing them. Rather, they just placed them “where they felt like” or “where they looked fine”. You will very rarely find a situation where both armies and players want an evenly dispersed and moderately spread objective placement like that. While it is possible you and your opponent’s goals align on where to place objectives (typically mirror matches or similar style lists), they still don’t want them in this conservative, middle of the road objective placement.

Many army styles naturally gravitate towards board control, combat capability, and keeping their forces centralized. Examples of this could be my Adepticon Chaos list, Ork hordes, Necrons etc… When playing with an army that has this style, be sure to place objectives in such a way that you don’t have to go out of your way to score them. You want to easily score objectives while working your army naturally.

 

 

Here’s a great example of how to set objectives as someone who plans on moving his army into the middle of the table. All the objectives are centrally placed, and 12″ from at least any other 2 objectives (as close as they can be). Imagine a horde of pox walkers sitting in the middle of the table there. They would own 4 objectives, meaning they can just sit there in the middle of the board doing nothing (their natural state of being) whilst simultaneously winning the game.

Now, you may be wondering why your opponent would let you do such a thing, but it’s actually super easy to set up. Imagine your opponent placed the first objective in the center (a conservative and natural move) then you can respond by placing the objective on the right hand side under the orange tape measure. Your opponent, who is “smart”, doesn’t want to load one side full of objectives against a pox walker horde, so he sets another objective on the far left, opposite the objective you just placed. You are now able to place the objective pictured at the bottom, creating the diamond-esque pattern featured above where your pox walkers can sit in happiness.

On the flip side, some armies who like to sit far away and maximize their mobility (I’m looking at you Eldar, DE, GK) want to spread the objectives as far as possible to leverage their speed advantage.

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I apologize for the picture quality, but if you look closely you can see 2 objectives in the bottom corners, 2 in a line down the middle, and one off in the top right corner. This is what would likely happen if the opponent of the pox walkers in the same above scenario placed objectives strategically. To demonstrate how it would work, Player A (let’s call him Eldar) places the objective in the top right hand corner. Player B places his first objective on the middle line of the board but nearest that objective to create an objective zone for him to camp his poxes. Player A responds and places an objective in the bottom left, opposite to his initial placement. Player B places his last objective in the center of the board- still within that little objective zone he’s created, but also acknowledging that he may have to actually work to capture the last objectives. Finally player A places his last objective in the bottom right corner, far away from that little objective castle.

But what do you do if you have an army that doesn’t particularly care where the objectives are due to its flexible play style? Simple: you try and determine what your opponent wants to do, and then actively place objectives to make his life as hard as possible. Remember, in this case, value taken away from the enemy = value gained for yourself.

Now that I’ve covered how strategic objective placement and army styles interact, lets talk about terrain. One really effective and fairly common tactic players employ when placing objective is putting them near line of sight blocking terrain, so a unit can hold an objective whilst being hidden from enemy shooting. This is an awesome tactic and one you should certainly make use of, but be cognizant of when NOT to do it. There’s no point in going out of your way to place an objective behind terrain against pox walkers that don’t have guns for example. This can actually even work against you, if your opponent can get to your hidden objective he can start controlling it whilst being immune to your shooting! The point here is to just take your specific opponent into consideration when making choices, don’t just go into auto pilot.

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Another aspect in objective placement which is seldom talked about is height. Unless the tournament you’re attending rules objectives to be infinite height, then placing them on different altitudes around the table can have a huge impact on the game.

 

 

On the left picture above we see a very happy Maulerfriend holding an objective. Everyone loves a happy Marulerfriend. He’s adorable. And on the right we see a very sad Maulerfriend who hasn’t learned how to climb stairs. On the other hand, the Autarch with his fancy shmancy jetbike is quite content sitting at the top of the ruin holding an objective and shooting his shuriken catapults at the poor Maulerfriend.

The next thing I want to cover is deployment style and objectives. This is a much more abstract concept, but understand that as the deployment style changes, the middle of the table and the edges of the table also change with it. So, be aware of how different deployments will fundamentally change “where the game is played” and act accordingly.

Finally, I think a huuuuge topic to cover is stacking objectives. How many times have you lost a game (or won a game) because you got the side of the board with all the objectives. While that may seem like luck, it could also be a byproduct of skill. If you are in a losing position match up wise and need a little luck to go your way in order to win the game, maybe you should stack the objectives to one side and just hope you win the roll. On the flip side, if you are on the favored side of a match up, you should actively try and spread the objectives to reduce the impact of winning the roll for sides.

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Imagine in the above map, a Tau player is playing hammer and anvil against an Ork horde. The Tau player obviously has most of the advantages being that the deployment maximizes the distance between them, so he does the classic Tau move and puts an objective deep into a deployment zone on the right.

*Note, he didn’t place his first objective in the center of the board because he read the first half of this article and learned placing an objective in the center against a board control army is bad.*

The Ork player recognizes he’s down in position match up wise, and decides to act strategically. (Very un-Orky I know). He responds by placing an objective on the same side as the Tau player’s objective (the right side). The Tau player wises up and puts his second objective on the left side to diversify the objective spread. The Ork player then doubles down and puts his second objective on the right side, realizing his down position in the match, and puts a lot of emphasis on the roll for sides. Finally, the Tau player just places his final objective on the left. From here if the Tau player wins the roll for sides and chooses the objective stack, he’s just going to win a game he should have won anyway. However, if the Ork player wins the roll for sides he may have flipped the odds so far in his favor that he actually wins the game.

As you can see, the difference between players placing objectives with care and thought is very different from players placing objectives with no rhyme or reason. There are strategic check points in literally every aspect and every choice of 40k, and that’s part of what makes it so cool. So, next time you get out there and place your objectives, really try and think about where and why you’re placing them where you are. That’s all for now folks, see you next Tuesday for another artistic masterpiece by yours truly!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Live Stream Challenge Match 4/15

What happens when an unstoppable force crashes into an old man? Find out Sunday when I play Mike Brandt in a 40k challenge match on live stream!

For those of you who don’t know who Mike is, he’s the founder and CEO of NOVA Open, one of the largest gaming conventions in America. He’s also not too shabby on the table either. Recently he just top 8’d LVO and he’s won many smaller GT’s in the past as well.

We’re going to be playing with the New NOVA missions, which I’ve actually never used, and Mike is developing. We’re also going to be playing in Casa de Brandt (Mike’s house) so he has all the home field advantages.

To toss another wrench into it, hopefully the new FAQ will be out by then, and if it is we will certainly be using it. So with that in mind, I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to be playing!

The match will be held on Sunday 4/15 and the time for the match is to be determined, but please check into The Brown Magic Facebook page for updates, and that’s where the stream will be held!

https://www.facebook.com/The-Brown-Magic-143252259677237/

Evil Eldar Can Be Good Too!

Competitive 40k players around the world have been mentally conditioned by Games Workshop to expect every DE release to either be total garbage or a nifty supplement to Codex Eldar. But this is 2018, and ffter years and years of disappointing us with horrible DE codices, Games Workshop finally gave us a pleasant surprise. A good DE book!

Actually, calling the new DE book good is not really do it justice. The Dark Eldar codex, in my opinion is probably the most well designed codex thus far, at least externally (maybe not internally). One of the biggest struggles the rules designers face with “Soupable armies” (a technical term) is that they need to incentivize people to play the army with pure detachments and rules, so players don’t just cherry pick their best units. On the other hand, they need to be weary not to accidentally make these incentives so powerful they break the game. Typically, this is an incredibly difficult balance to strike, and they usually miss the mark. *cough Celestine cough Guard Battalion cough shield captains cough* Hm, excuse me, I must be catching a cold.

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But enough ego-inflation for GW, let’s get into the actual codex review.

This is by far the most challenging review I’ve done yet, because by nature, this codex is structured differently than all the other codices thus far. To that end, my review will be structured a bit differently as well. First, I’ll touch on their ludicrous patrol detachment rule, to despell any notions of it being useful competitively. Then I’ll break down each of the three architypes- Kabals, Wych Cults, and Covens, along with the strengths of each of them. Finally, I’ll give a preliminary sample list concept just to put it all together.

Let’s start off with this patrol nonsense. I’m really glad Games Workshop is open to the idea of giving different armies different detachments to work from. This really helps more elite armies like Necrons and Grey Knights unlock command points which is currently a huge weakness for those builds. I think it’s a really great concept, it just happens to not work for DE, and here’s why. Basically, you can take three patrols for four total CP, or many more patrols for even more CP. In matched play, you only have access to three detachments so taking three patrols uses all your detachments, and taking more isn’t even legal. Four command points generated from three detachments is pretty poor to be frank. That’s the kind of CP generation pure GK can expect to see, and clearly they’re dominating the meta (/sarcasm). Dark Eldar is an army with lots of reasonably cheap HQs and troops, which screams Battalions to me. I could see triple Battalion DE armies being competitively viable, or in a format which limits each detachment to 0-1 I think you’re more likely to see a battalion, an outrider, and a spearhead for +5 CP as opposed to the +4 for triple patrol. Basically, the point I’m trying to make is that the patrol stuff is a trap, so avoid it.

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 Kabals- In my opinion Kabals are the weakest of the three architypes. That said, they offer a lot of unique things which definitely warrant their inclusion into lists.  Warriors are super cheap, fill a battalion/brigade very easily, and even deep striking 20 of them isn’t terrible (though at that point doing it with Guardians from Eldar is probably better). Ravagers and Razorwings (the flier, not the beast) are really the value of the Kabals. The consistent, medium-high quality fire power these two vehicles provide are pretty solid for the points. As far as which Obsession to choose, I’d go with Black Heart simply for the Agents of Vect Stratagem which can easily win you a game instantly if used correctly.

Wych Cult– All of the different obsessions wych cult have are really strong, but the two that stand out to me the most are Cursed Blade and Red Grief. Cursed Blade unlocks S4 base which is a world of difference compared to S3. S4 vs S3 directly increases your ability to wound T3, 4, 6, and 7, which are the most common toughness values in the game. Not only that, but it lets you mitigate the leadership issues you’ll almost certainly be having in a wych cult heavy build. On the flip side, Red Grief can turn your army into an insanely fast, tying up machine. Red Grief will enable a lot of turn one charges. That coupled with the no escape rule (which magically works against fly) and some traditional surrounding tricks you can lock an entire army down turn one.

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Wychs- Wychs can turn into pretty awesome speed daemons or chaff killing machines with the right drugs. Also, no escape working on units with Fly is just so amazing I can’t even begin to describe how good it is. I could see an army featuring 120+ s4 pseudo fearless wychs being really strong. Another option for wychs could be taking a bunch of 9-10 man squads in raiders. This would allow you to significantly reduce your drop count thus giving you better odds at the +1 which wychs will certainly want to have. This will also give you some (albeit not much) durability, and perhaps more importantly, a sneaky way of increasing your move by 4″ when you factor in the disembark.

Reavers- Reavers are definitely a unit you want to make Red Grief. There’s something about a unit moving 26-30″ in a turn and charging that just screams “good” to me. A bunch of these guys (girls?) deployed somewhat defensively and then boosting across the table to launch a very unexpected charge is definitely a strong tool for DE players to make use of. Being multi wound and relatively low model count will also allow them to make great use of Hyperstimm Backlash really well without killing too many models.

Hellions- Hellions are a really interesting unit given how hard they hit, their speed, and the fact that they are infantry. I think they actually belong in a Ynari/DE list which will let you deep strike them, then soul burst afterwards to move again then shoot and charge. I’d consider them to fill a very similar role to shining spears in a ynari list. They do make wonderful use of Eviscerating Fly By as well. 20 Helions aggressively deep striking, using soul burst to move again, then using Eviscerating Fly By and shooting a nice hefty unit of infantry, then charging a bunch of multi wound models like vehicles or bikes with their two damage weapons, whilst standing near the Yncarne for fearless seems like a pretty awesome and strong army concept to me.

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Covens- Covens have always been the ugly step child of Dark Eldar (literally) and they haven’t really been considered a real thing until recently.  But man, are they a real thing now. My personal favorite, by far, is the Prophets of Flesh. 4++ across the board is a really powerful (borderline broken) mechanic- Take it from a long time daemon player.

Haemonculus- These are awesome for buffing other Coven units simply because of what an amazing buff +1T is. Also, they’re HQ’s and you need them. So yeah, take these.

Wracks- I wouldn’t go nuts with these guys but they aren’t pricey and they are super durable ob sec. T4/5 4++ infantry is just phenomenal honestly, especially in 5 man units to just hang around and be obnoxious back field deep strike defenders and objective holders.

Grotesques– I’m a huge fan of Grotesques. They fall right in line with other similarly costed, hard hitting, and durable units. Little things like T6 from a nearby haemonculus to make them relatively immune to garbage shooting, like Guardsmen, Fire Warriors, and Cultists, and 4 wounds which is the perfect number for tanking Ion cannons and Dark Reapers. They fall on the right side of the “is that worth it” line in the metaphoric list building sand which really helps justify their inclusion.

Talos– Similarly to Grotesques, these guys just fall in a really good spot stats wise for their points, and provide a high number of decent quality attacks for their points. These definitely aren’t spammable in the highest levels of competitive 40k, but a unit of 3 of them will see play I expect.

Cronos– Pretty much the only thing I like about the Cronos is its lieutenant-esque ability, and only because it affects all Drukhari, not just Coven units. I’m not sure these will make it into lists because that’s a lot of points for a buff from a non-mandatory slot filler, but I think they are worth mentioning.

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So right about now is where I’d write a draft list to point people in the right direction for DE, but to be completely honest, between all the available strats, WL traits, relics, and uniqueness of their army, I think it’s better if I draw up a rough draft list concept rather than write a fully comprehensive list. So with that caveat in mind, let’s see what a shell of a DE army looks like.

Kabal of the Black Heart Spearhead
Archon- Agonizer, Blast Pistol 86
Ravager- 3 Disintegrators 125
Ravager- 3 Disintegrators 125
Ravager- 3 Disintegrators 125
Wych Cult Battallion- Red Grief
Succubus- Agonizer 54
Succubus- Agonizer 54
9 Wychs- Shardnet and Impaler 77
19 Wychs- Agonizer 156
5 Wychs 40
9 reavers- Agonizer 175
Raider- Disintegrator

 

80

 

Coven Battalion- Prophets of Flesh
Urien Rakarth 90
Haemonculus 70
5 Wracks 45
5 Wracks 45
5 Wracks 45
9 Grotesques- Mosterous Cleavers 288
10 Grotesques- Moneterous Cleavers 320

The army is really Dynamic since almost anything can Deep strike, parts of it are incredibly fast and can lock things down, whilst parts of it are relatively slow, hard hitting, and durable. Fundamentally I’d probably deep strike the large wych block and try to use the wych raider opportunistically to go first and grab as much of the enemy army as possible. You can give the raider wych unit +2″ move as their drug, then double it for +4″ with a strat if need be. Then you can disembark for another free 4″ followed by an advance and charge for an insanely far charge range turn one. Charging the opponents army with them and the reavers on the first turn can win you the game right there. Alternatively, the deep striking unit trying to make the charge with rerolls to charge and CP is roughly 55% to make it in. Once you’ve tied up the opponent’s army long enough to buy time for your Grotesques to make it, you can really lay into him.

I’m sure as time progresses and I see actual games played with DE to see what works and what doesn’t they’ll evolve much passed this initial idea, but for now its a decent starting point to work off of.

Finally, when you start to add in Eldar and Ynari as potential allies, you start to get some really interesting combinations to build your army off of. But that’s an article for another time. I’m sure I’ve bored you all enough with my ramblings on DE for today, so for now I bid you farewell.

7 Steps to Win a Tournament

Today is s a very special day. It’s the day I’m going to tell you kids about How I Met Your Mother. I mean how to win a tournament. Yeah that…. Now, many of you think going to a 40k tournament is just some easy thing to do, where you just sign up and go. And at its core, it is. But, if you want to actually do well at a tournament, then it’s better to approach it systematically with my 7 step process on how to prepare for one.

Step 1: Select a tournament- To some this may seem obvious, but to others this is an easy step to overlook. Nonetheless, it’s fundamentally the most important. 40k players in today’s 21st century, ITC loving world, are totally spoiled by the vast quantity of touranements they have to choose from, so it’s important to know what you’re getting into! This step can be different for everyone based on their current situation with 40k, whether it’s just attending your first local RTT or Adepticon, it’s imperative to pick a tournament with at least 2-3 months lead time so you have adequate time to prepare. Think of it like this, if you decide to compete in a marathon you don’t just get up and run one. You need to train and prepare yourself to run one; a tournament is no different.

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Step 2: Read the rules- I’m not just talking about reading your rulebook or your codex! Presumably, you’ve already done that, and if you haven’t you probably shouldn’t be looking at going to any tournaments yet. I’m talking about reading the mission packet and format. A lot of smaller tournaments typically use the same mission packet as larger tournaments like ITC, NOVA, ETC, etc… But that’s not always the case. 99% of tournaments will publicize their missions and format ahead of time, so be sure to do your homework and understand them initimately. Often times, missions are gameable with your list design. I’ve actually yet to come across a mission packet in 14 years of playing 40k that isn’t gameable during list design to at least some degree, so you’re going to want to adjust your army and list to take advantage of that. Some tournament missions can even be so impactul that they validate or invalidate entire lists or archtypes. It is paramount to your success in a tournament to become familiar with missions and their inherent querks prior to going or even selecting an army for a tournament.

Step 3: Identify the Meta- This is probably going to be the hardest step in the process for most people. The meta is basically a list of commonly fielded units, armies, or archtypes which you expect to see. I actually plan on doing a whole article on how to help determine what the meta is at any given point in time, but the quickest and easiest advice is stay up to date on your 40k tournament culture. Reading articles, following what wins major events, following what places reasonably well at major events, joining some 40k groups and just casually reading about people’s ideas while pooping, and defintiely subscribing to The Brown Magic Premium are all fantastic ways to help grasp the meta. Also, understand that a meta will shift depending on a tournaments mission structure. Remember that whole 2nd point about becoming intimate and familliar with the missions beforehand? Well this is why. Defining the meta is a lot like trying to guess if stock prices will go up or down, you can never be 100% certain. But, to be successful you need to at least have some semblance of an idea of what you expect to face at a tournament so you can adequately prepare for it.

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Step 4: Choose an Army/List– It may seem backwards to do all of the prior steps before choosing an army, but it’s all based around your goals as a player. If your goal is to win the tournament, all your priorities should be centered around that goal, including choosing what army to play. Conversely, if your goal is to play a certain army or style of list and do the best you can with it, that’s fine too, but understand that in doing so you’re prioritizing playing a certain army or style over winning, so your results are likely to reflect that. Anywhos, choosing an army should be a byproduct of what the missions favor and what the meta is at any given point in time. There’s a lot of controversy about whether to play a “meta” list or play a “counter-meta” list, and there really is no right answer to that question, but understand that you need to determine what you expect the meta to be and build an army to compete within the framework of that and the missions in order to do well.

Step 5: Playtest, Practice, Perfect- This step is so important, yet surprisingly easy to forgo. No amount of theory hammer in the world will make up for real experience. There are actually many techniques on how to optimize your play testing and practicing sessions when preparing for tournaments, and I’ll definitely cover that in another article, but for today you need to understand that the most important thing is getting out there and playing real games. Prefereably in the same tournament format that you’re preparing for. Don’t be afraid to switch units out that seemed like they would work but don’t. Conoversely, if a unit is performing better than expected, don’t be afraid to just take more of it. Be open minded! Lastly, don’t be afraid to change your army to better match the scope of the meta as the meta evolves around you. That’s what this period is for.

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Step 6: Acquire the Army- Many of you may be wondering how you can practice an army you don’t have. Simple really, you proxy. Just like a person doesn’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive, don’t buy an army for a tournament without at least making sure it works well enough. After you’ve settled on a list or a rough idea at least of what you are going to play, start buying it, building it, and painting it. Personally, I borrow models from friends very often for big tournaments because buying, building, and painting armies is  a very resource intensive process, and doing it multiple times a year can become quite prohibitive.

If you’re someone who wants to show up with your own models and paint them super beautifully because you have pride in your work, or your narrative ideas that’s fine too. We all enjoy the hobby in our own ways, but understand that doing so changes your priority from winning to hobbying, and consequently could impact your performance. I mean I’d love to play with Crystal Brush Standard models and a fluffy super cool army, but I choose to prioritize winning over that, and my results speak for themselves. That’s just a choice you, as a player, have to make when deciding what you want out of the hobby. Now, of course I’m not saying that in order to be competitive all your models need to look like garbage and you need to swap armies every month. A lot of top players who army hop also have beautifully painted armies and frequently win Ren man/best overall-see Andrew Gonyo, Sean Nayden, and Alex Fennell. Heck, I’ve even won Best Overall at Adepticon once! I’m just saying what you choose to prioritize can impact your competitive performance, so be aware of that and act in accordance with your goals.

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Step 7: Go To The Tournament– Ok, there isn’t really much to say about this. The process pretty much got summed up in my prior 6 points, but if I cut it off there it wouldn’t be a 7 step process now would it?

Well there you have it folks, my 7 step process on how to prepare and go to a tournament to give yourself the best shot at winning. This is the exact process I used for both LVO and Adepticon (and countless prior tournament), and it’s been refined over many years of trial and error. So, go out there and give it an honest try. If it works for me I’m sure it can work for you!

Getting Shot is for Noobs

Hello ladies and gentlemen, today I’m going to cover a very common tactic I employed almost every game at Adepticon. The army I was using lent itself to using it very naturally, but really it can be applied to any characters under 10 wounds that want to be in combat but don’t like being shot. I don’t really have a name for the tactic yet, so I’m all ears about what to call it if you guys have suggestions.

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Let’s take the scenario on the left. We have the humble Daemon Prince leading a lovely band of cultists into a Tyranid invasion. I know the picture quality leaves a bit to be desired, but that’s a full squad of hive guard on the hill, a Tyranofex next to them, a Flyrant and a Mawloc. AKA a ton of guns… Today I’m going to show you how to approach this horribly uneven scenario tactically, to give you a fighting chance.

 

 

 

 

The first thing you need to do is disect the situation and set realistic and helpful goals for the turn. In this instance it’s clear that the Chaos player can’t deal with all the threats in front of him at once. That means he needs to break it down into more mangeable chunks, by handling some portion of the issue, whilst simultaneously mitigating the return offense of the Tyranids, and setting himself up for success in future turns.

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Here you can see the Chaos player moving up ready to assault. Not much to really say about this step, but the Chaos player has set himself up to employ multiple tactics here. When postitioning large units like cultists, Gants, Guardians, Orks, etc… it’s easy to just move models forward and around in clumps, but it’s important to be methodical about their placement. The shenanigans you can acheive by mastering the movement and assault phase are really going to be what separates you as a player from the rest. Also, large units lend themselves to a lot of movement shenanigans.

Speaking of the Assualt phase!

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Here you can see what my cultists looked like after their charge. You’ll notice I’ve surrounded the Mawloc, preventing it from falling back, and engaged the Flyrant. It’s extra important to uderstand how I engaged the Flyrant though. I’ve left a 2″ gap for my Prince to get in, but also put some models forward and behind where I expect the Prince to finish the turn.

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After the Prince charged in you can see that the 2 cultists are still a little further up than him, which will be imperative to the success of this tactic.

And here are some precise measurements fo you sticklers out there who care about the nitty gritty details.

 

 

As you can see, the Prince has engaged the Flyrant because he is within 1″, and the cultists are in coherency, and slightly ahead of the Prince. This ensures they are the closest unit to the Hive Guard and Tyranofex which the Prince would rather not deal with.

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After the turn finishes up, you can see the Prince has killed the Flyrant, whilst still being behind the cultits. I’ve even surrounded the back of the prince with cultists out of habit to protect against any deep strikers coming in behind me, or to ensure I haven’t missed any strange angles. The cultists have also locked the mawloc in place, preventing him from falling back. Ultimately, this ensures that my cultists can’t be shot because they’re locked in combat, and my Prince can’t be shot because he is a character with 8 wounds, and is not the closest model to the enemy. I’ve also set myself up for a devestating turn 2, where my Prince can launch forward and charge into the hiveguard.

This tactic is not specific to cultists and princes, nor is it dependent on the enemy being Tyranids. This is applicable to basically any character, just so long as there’s enough stuff floating around to help screen them off. I used this exact tactic in the quarter finals of Adepticon against a Shadowsword. For you Imperial players, Custodes Bike Captains with some guard allies or Seraphim could just as easily pull this off as well. Not to mention, Sean Nayden’s unorthadox LVO list is fundamentally based around this tactic. A little creativity in game can go much further than simply making a broken list.

I know I’ve said this before, so I apologize for beating the proverbial dead horse, but it’s imperative to understand the nuances of movement and assault to be successful at 40k. Understanding these phases intimately and recognizing/utilizing little tricks like this can turn appearingly unwinnable scenarios into favorable ones.

Well that’s all for today my friends, stay tuned for Thursday’s weekly article!

 

 

Necron Live Stream

Today I’ll be doing a live stream of new necrons on the brown magic premium Facebook page around 2:30pm EST which only members can see! To become a member please contact me at comesabrown@gmail.com to subscribe for either 1 month for 9.99 or 3 months for 24.99.

Here’s the list I’ll be using.

Mephrit battalion
Cryptek- cloak 75
Overlord- voidscythe 104
10 warriors 120
10 warriors 120
9 immortals- Tesla 153
7 tomb blades- scope, shield, particle casters 203
8 tomb blades- scope, shield, gauss 296
6 destroyers 300

Novokh outrider
Destroyer lord- warscythe, phylactery (WL, void reaper) 131
3 wraiths 165
3 wraiths 165
3 wraiths 165

I’ll probably take either eternal madness against a tank heavy army or honorable combatant against a character army as the WL trait, failing that I’d either take enduring will or crimson haze.

I’m just testing out a lot of different concepts with this one, like the insane D lord, destroyers, MSU wraiths, large tomb blade squads, and my will be done Tesla immortals.

To learn more about becoming a member please check out my services page!

https://thebrownmagic.com/services/