The Dead Walk Again: A Necron Codex Review

Hello my lovely ladies! I finally got a copy of the cron dex (I’m a bit late to the party I know) and man is it a good time to be a robot lover. From a first glance, Necrons have some really amazing tools at their disposal, and the depths to their combos are near endless.  I’m going to review this book much like I did my Tau review and really just hit some cursory highlights, but honestly that will only be about 50% of the ways this army can function.  Much like Chaos marines, the power comes from the details.

Allow me to first break down the Dynasties. The only 3 that really strike me as competitive are Novokh, Mephrit, and Sautekh. The only reason Sautekh even warrants it’s mentioning is because a lot of the special characters happen to be Sautekh, and there are a bunch of synergistic tricks and nuances you can do with them. I’ll cover some of these tricks a bit later in the article, but first I want to get right to the strong units.

Novokh and Mephrit really want you to polarize how you build your detachments, due to one being direct combat based and the other being directly shooting based. There is definitely value to mixing these two styles as well, but in general I think you’ll find a lot of lists inherently favor one verison and in turn focus on that respective dynasty.

Now that I’ve covered the main competitive Dynasties, let’s move onto different units and why they’re good.

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Overlords– Really we’re looking at them because of My Will Be Done, which is an amazing buff ability aura which gives +1 to advance, charge, and to hit rolls. This applies to both shooting and combat, but can be combined with the Tesla rule to generate extra tesla hits on 5’s which is pretty fantastic.

Crypteks- These little guys are absolutely fantastic for their bonuses to reanimation and the 5++ they give infantry against shooting attacks. Coupled with a res orb from a lord or overlord to reroll animation and they can really increase the longevity of your troops. They also fill the role of cheap HQ which will really help when trying to get command points.

Necron-Warrior

Warriors- Specifically in blob forms, these guys can really turn into monsters that are a pain to remove. I’ve already covered how they can increase their reanimation, but now let’s talk about offense. 20 Mephrit warriors in rapid fire range (which is an easy feat to accomplish given all the teleportation tricks they can accomplish) can pump out 40 shots hitting on 2’s at s4 and -2AP. Alternatively, Novokh can buff their warriors to 2 attacks each hitting on 2’s rerolling to hit at S6. This is an incredibly durable and versatile troop choice, and really gives necrons awesome flexibility with their troops.

 Deceiver- This is the hero that Necrons needed. Honestly he’s just so good. He features the insanely broken character rule with just enough wounds to make it relevant, and he has access to the C’tan powers which you can leverage to really pump out mortals over the course of the game (basically Necron smite spam), but what really makes this guy stand out is the fact that he has a redeploy ability. This can let you set up alpha strikes into people (especially as nurglings and scouts are starting to become less prevalent in the meta) but it can also allow you to do insanely tricky stuff with Zandrekh and Obyron (this is really where Sautekh comes in).

To give an example of this, take the Deceiver and redeploy him and Zandrekh 12″ away from the enemy (after knowing you’re going first). Then move Zandy up 7″ away and teleport obyron and a unit of 10 Lych guard, Praetorians, or Flayed Ones to 1″ away from the enemy. You can also toss in 20-40 warriors or Anrakyr for the attack bonus too if you want, depending on how good your roll for the deceiver is. Rapid fire with the 20-40 warriors if able, annihilate screens and chip up tougher targets, and then go in deep and hard with the Lychguard/Praets/Flayed Ones. Is it just me, or it getting hot in here?

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Wraiths– These pricey bad boys are crazy fast, durable, and hit really hard, especially with Novohk for rerolls to hit. These guys are a bit tricky due to their cost, but that’s what keeps them from being spammable. 3 wounds each with a 3++ means it takes 45 wounds to kill 5. Running 15 of these guys is only ~825 and I don’t think there’s an army in conceivable existence that could kill all that in a turn.

Destroyers– I’m not totally sold on these guys as they fall victim that S6 threshold where happiness turns into bolters vs tanks. That said, they’re really durable, especially when you consider they want to be far from the action. Furthermore, they have fly, can move and shoot no penalty, and aside from S6 they have good offensive stats. Definitely a unit worth looking at.

Tomb Blades– These guys, much like destroyers, are fast shooty guys with fly and reasonable durability. They’re a tad on the pricey side for what you get, but I think they’re worth it, especially when coupled with a bunch of wraiths and destroyers for tough target saturation. I’d load these out as Mephrit and give them tesla. Tesla really struggles due to its lack of AP, so Mpehrit and tesla are like peanut butter and jelly.

Tesseract Vault– This insane behemoth is nothing crazy, but coupled with the deceiver and maybe a transcendant c’tan, you can start pumping out a ridiculous amount of mortal wounds. I wouldn’t run this guy unless you’re going deep on the mortal wound plan, but I think it has real merit in that style build. Once you get past 6 chosen powers you can start to double up on the best ones and really let loose with mortal wound output by just casting the best few over and over.

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So now that I’ve gone over the basic concept of Necrons being very polarized as far as army archetypes, and some really stand-out types of unit choices, let me move onto some sample lists. This time I’ll give you guys two totally different lists so I can demonstrate two different styles.

Mephrit Battalion
Anrakyr 167
Szeraz 143
Overlord- warscythe, veil, res orb 130
17 Warriors 204
17 Warriors 204
17 Warriors 204
Deceiver 225
Transcendant C’tan 225
Mephrit Super heavy
Tesseract Vault 496

A lot of this army concept was inspired by Nick Rose, former coach adn current player on Team America. We’ve had a lot of back and forth discussion on a mortal wound pumping cron army. The basic concept here is a lot of ob sec, durable warriors standing in front of the characters and Tesseract Vault. You can choose one of each power, then double up on the best powers like Cosmic Fire, and Sky of Falling Stars. Your warriors can launch a barrage of AP-2 shots early with the deceiver, and in combat they’ll be 2 attacks each, potentially hitting on 2’s and Szeraz will be giving another random buff. All that coupled with reanimation 4+ and a potential res orb, and a veil to get out of sticky situations and your army is a mortal wound spewing, AP-2 pew pewing machine. Hehe machines… Necrons… Get it…

Next we have a Novokh/Mehprit combo army which my good friend Chad Layton, the saltiest cracker alive (that’s not racist) has been trying out. He’s a diehard Necron fan and probably the only guy I know who didn’t quit on Index Crons so I definitely respect his opinion on the subject.

Novokh Outrider
Command Barge- tesla, blood scythe, Crimson Haze 162
5 Wraiths 275
5 Wraiths 275
5 Wraiths 275
Mephrit Battalion
Overlord- Warscythe 95
Lord- Warscythe, veil 84
15 Warriors 180
15 Warriors 180
9 Tesla Immortals 153
5 Tombblades- shield, scope, particle beamer 145
5 Tombblades- shield, scope, particle beamer 145

This is a much more balanced army with a crazy combat command barge, a ton of Novokh wraiths and a lot of solid AP shooting in the form of warriors, immortals, and tomb blades. This one is way more balanced and dynamic than the mortal wound brick I posted, so naturally I’m more inclined to prefer this list because I like balanced things.

So there you have it folks. My breakdown of Necrons and all their mechanical glory. I’m really impressed with the way this book came out and the amount of unique and viable options in the codex. It has a lot of character.  Hopefully it’ll stand the test of time and prove to be a strong contender moving forward!

Adepticon Recap- A Brown Rendition

Adepticon 2018 has come and gone, and thus concludes another amazing year! Easily one of my favorite events every year by far. I apologize as this will be a little less about tactics or 40k theory like most of my articles, instead it’ll be about my Adepticon experience.

Let me also start off by thanking Nights at the Game Table for sponsoring me through Adepticon! They’re an awesome team that wants to help you guys succeed at 40k, just like I do. Definitely check out their stuff and see what they have to offer. They’re some of the nicest guys I’ve ever met and hopefully they’ll continue to sponsor me in future events.

As some of you may know, I taught two 40k Tactics seminars Wednesday night before the tournament, the 40k basics course, and the 40k advanced course. These were a HUGE success. I had so much fun teaching the classes, and felt that I was really able to connect with everyone who attended. I also used those courses as somewhat of a testing arena for some potential new services I could offer in the form public teaching so stay tuned as that may become a thing in the near future. I had a lot of really good discussions with my classes, and many guys stayed after to chat more. Some of the most heartwarming things of the weekend were when two different students who attended found me during the Championships to tell me they applied the lessons I taught them! They found real weaknesses in their list and used specific tactics I talked about in their games to beat their opponents. It was really a impactful moment for me.

So enough about that gushy touchy feely stuff. Let’s talk about the Championships. I know I promised you all I would win, but 2nd place isn’t too disappointing right? I had 8 really fun and unique games against 8 really cool opponents. Not a single person’s list was the same. Kudos to 8th for really intensifying the diversity in competitive 40k. Also, if you’re unaware of my list you can check it out here.

I also know I promised you a lot more streaming than I gave. The failure there was entirely due to my inability to foresee technically difficulties like battery life and the logistics in streaming and trying to play at the same time. I’m so sorry you guys weren’t able to follow along like I promised you’d be able to, but I promise that these are all things that I will work on in the future.

So to recap what I played against in the championships:

Round 1- Nids/GSC with 18 biovores, 6 hive guard, 80? guardsmen type people, and God knows how many mortars. Between biovores missing and spore mines move blocking everything, chewing through this army is such a pain, but eventually I was able to connect and the rampage began.

Round 2- 3 Fire Raptors, Guilliman, 20 Scouts, 2 Culexus. This game actually made it onto my stream, but for those of you who aren’t aware, the Space Marine player actually managed to wipe every pox walker in one turn. I relied on the grit of my army and solid play to carry me through this one.

Round 3- 3 Imperial Knights and a min guard battalion. Not much to say about this game besides watching 3 knights trying to kill 4 trillion models was hilarious. That said, Abaddon chopped a knight in half and that’s pretty epic.

Round 4- 81 Tzaangors with bows played by Captain Canada himself. I definitely felt favored in this match, but a couple crucial mistakes from his end and first turn sealed the deal almost instantly. Also, seeing it deploy and move accross the table looked amazing.

Round 5- One of the coolest eldar armies I’ve ever seen, featuring a huge unit of rangers, only 10 reapers, serpents with wraithblades, and 3 fire prisms. My opponent played really well and understood his advantages and disadvantages greatly. In the end, the progressive scoring mission and some clever tactics on my end to avoid being shot (a tactic I love to use) helped me seal the deal.

Round 6- 5 Flyrants and a shadowsword. Ok this is similar to 7 flyrants, but I haven’t seen it done with a shadowsword. In the end a good deployment, some clever assault tricks and a lot of creative pile-ins, coupled with the cancer that is pox walkers was just too much.

Round 7- This was a phenomenal game played by Steve Pampreen. He had 90 plaguebearers, 20 bloodletters, 4 plagueburst crawlers and some trees. He used his army in some of the most unorthodox and creative ways I’ve ever seen and took an auto loss match up and nearly won. He also had the opportunity to slow play me for the win, but being the stand-up guy he is, he didn’t, allowing me to break through and begin my snowball to victory.

Round 8- VS Matt Root Mr. Adepticon Champion himself. Matt understood the horrible mismatch he was in as Flyrants vs Pox walkers and went for a Hail Mary with his deployment, setting himself up on the line with no screens in an attempt to dominate board control and kill all my poxes turn 1. He seized and the gamble paid off. This goes back to one of my previous articles where I go over risk management. Not to say Matt won because he seized, all that means is that he saved himself from auto losing by seizing (which is no different than just winning the roll for first turn nowadays). To say he won because he went first would be very diminishing to the game that was played. He played one of the most tactically impressive games I’ve seen in a long time, and he certainly earned that win.

To continue, and speak to Matt’s character as a person, on my first turn I moved 2 cultists before realizing I didn’t pay the command points or declare I was using the stratagem to make my pox walkers grow in size. Since that stratagem is used at the start of the movement phase, he had every right to tell me I couldn’t do that (see Tony at LVO) but Matt graciously allowed me to use it. To return the favor around turn 4, the judge came up to us and said 10 minute warning, meaning we were only going to get 4 turns in. Now, it was pretty apparent that I’d win if the game ended on 4, but the longer it went the worse it would get for me. I had every right to “follow the rules” and enforce the game ending. But I didn’t want to do Matt dirty after the incredible game we had been having for the past 3 hours. Additionally, I definitely did not want to be the guy who won Adepticon because he slow played with 300 models. So I asked the very understanding and cooperative judge for a time extension since it was the finals, and he obliged, allowing us to get a full 6 turns in.

With that Matt got me- in one of the most tactically enthralling, and sporting games I’ve every played. So the moral of this story is that super high level Championship matches in 40k can also be incredibly sportsmanlike as well. It’s all about how you play the game. I, for one, am honored to have lost the way I did, and to an amazing player like Matt (the former ITC champion). Also 4 Adepticon championships is more than enough, gotta let other people have a turn right?

So now, let’s move on to the Adepticon Team Tournament. I can’t thank my amazing teammates- Werner Born, Brad Nichols, and Matt Robertson from Wales, enough. The amount of time, blood, sweat, and tears Werner and Brad put into our display board and army was just out of this world. And Matt literally flew across the planet to play with us. We played pure Ad Mech with the Dark Mechanicus theme, and the army was stunning. Sadly, our lists were just not up to snuff and we finished middle of the road with a collective 6-4 record. But this was easily one of the most fun times I’ve ever had at the team tournament and I can’t wait to do it again!

I also want to send a special shout out to Alan Bajramovich and the Chicago Kamikazis for winning. They worked so hard and earned every ounce of that victory. It’s an award I know Alan has sought after for years and seeing him finally be rewarded for that was really great. Seeing the genuine excitement and disbelief on his face and literal tears of joy trinkle across his face as he walked up to the podium was the perfect way to end an awesome event.

For anyone who hasn’t attended Adepticon, you really have to. It’s a completely amazing experience, and they’re really trying to improve as a tournament. Okay that was a lot of verbal diarrhea, so I’ll stop now. Stay tuned for Thursday’s article, I promise it’ll be more tactical!

New Services!

After a lot of deliberation, market analysis and feedback I’ve updated my services! I expanded much past the 3 mode list doctor services and added many new avenues in order to be more flexible!

I now formally cover much more than just list reviews, such as a members only facebook page which you can subscribe to for giveaways and much more, a personalized battle report package, and lastly a full service coaching program!

Check it out and please let me know what you think, feedback is always welcome and appreciated!

Also stay tuned for tomorrow’s article on my Adepticon experience!

And the Adepticon Winning List Is…

Hey Everyone, tomorrow I’ll be flying off to Chicago for Adepticon!

This year is going to be especially exciting for me as I’ll be teaching two 40k tactics classes Wednesday night. Be sure to grab a ticket and stop by. I will also be using these classes as a testing arena for a new service I’ll be offering personally, which will consist of both group and private classes. Truly exciting times lying ahead.

Aside from that I’ll be going for singles to attempt my 5th victory of the Adepticon Championships. I’m sure many of you have been wondering what exactly I’m going to bring, so without further ado let me get into it!

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Black Legion Battalion
Abaddon- (WL) 240
Daemon Prince- Wings, Talons, Slaanesh 180
38 Cultists- Auto guns, Slaanesh 152
38 Cultists- Auto guns, Slaanesh 152
37 Cultists- CCW, pistol, Khorne 148
Thousand Sons Battalion
Ahriman 131
Daemon Prince- Wings, Talons 180
27 Tzangors- brayhorn 199
10 Cultists 40
10 Cultists 40
Death Guard Battalion
Typhus 175
Daemon Prince- Wings Talons 180
10 Pox Walkers 60
10 Pox Walkers 60
10 Pox Walkers 60

I chose this army for a few reasons. I wanted to use this as a testing ground for one of my potential ETC lists where I will be playing chaos. I also recognized that Adepticon’s missions heavily favor aggressive ob sec and victory point denial, so my list is really designed to optimize those two fronts. Lastly, the pox walkers were a relatively new addition. I’ve messed around with more pox walker-centric builds, but found they ultimately lacked the hitting power I needed. Then it occurred to me to just add a small pox walker contingent, so I’m not shoehorning myself into relying on their gimmick, whilst still giving me the potential to go insane with them opportunistically.

I also wanted to be sure my list could handle the more dominant forces in the meta. To that end I had to first determine what armies I could face.

Eldar- My LVO list is a great example, but other variants certainly exist. Nearly everything in that book is competitive, and after Eldar won Vegas, you can bet these will be present.

Tyranids– Specifically Flyrant spam. While it hasn’t really taken off in the US due to the ITC dominating the format for the first few months, this list has been crushing in Europe. Believe me, it is no joke.

Chaos- Cultists with tide, obliterators, princes and maybe a bloodletter bomb for flare. A very classic/traditional chaos army is definitely still prevalent enough in the meta to warrant consideration.

Death Guard– 6+ Plagueburst crawlers. While an army of a trillion flamers now featuring fall back and shoot may look horrible for me on paper, trust me when I say I expect it to be one of my easiest matches. That said, it’s still existent in the meta, so certainly worth mentioning.

Guard/BA/Custodes/Wolves etc…– This is less common, but it’s certainly common enough that you can’t ignore it. The more guard in the list, the tougher it’s going to be for me due to the Relic of Screw Chaos, but typically these types of armies feature minimal guard simply to unlock CP for another army.

And lastly the outliers- Pox walkers, Genestealers, Fire Raptor Spam, Shadowsword spam, Sisters, Tau, and Orks.

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All of those armies are strong in their own rights, but typically aren’t seen often due to their lopsided match ups or people’s lack of access to certain models. In any case, while it’s entirely possible to get through a GT without playing against one of these, you need to at least be respectful of their existence.

With all that in mind, I kept tweaking and evolving the list above from a prior base list until I was happy enough with its match ups with respect to the missions. I plan on doing a future article set where I cover, in detail how to prep for a GT from beginning to end. But for now, that’s all you guys get.

Lastly, stay tuned on my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/The-Brown-Magic-143252259677237/ from Thursday-Sunday as I’ll  have a lot of facebook live streaming going on. I also finally got a tripod-esque device so hopefully no more shaky hand cam while I play, and I’ll be able to stream the entirety of my games.

Stay tuned for live streaming and let me know what you guys think of my list!

Tau Codex Review- For The Greater Good?

Today is a very special day. A day you’ve all been waiting years for.  It’s the day I tell you whether Tau is up to snuff or not! Tau have been in a weird spot competitively for the past few months. They were a surprisingly strong index, but they only had one competitive build which actually worked: Commanders and Drones.  This wasn’t the type of army that would typically win GT’s but it certainly came close many times. The new Tau codex actually limits commanders to 0-1 per detachment, so a maximum of 3 commanders in an army total. With that limitation in place, let’s see what the new Tau book offers to make up for that!

Instead of doing the classic codex review where I go unit by unit through the codex, I’m just going to cover units that are strong or misleading and why based off an initial read through. I’m also going to give an idea of what a potential Tau build could look like to give you guys a good base line to work from.

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Commanders/Cold Star Commanders: These were awesome before, and they still are. The only thing that sucks about them is that you can only have 3 now. That said, you should still definitely take 3. I’m a big fan of the Cold Star commanders because of their ability to move 20-40″ in a turn. Their mobility is really valuable for Tau, especially when coupled with the amazingly awesome character rule.  I’d kit them out with either 4 fusion guns and just use them as incredibly reliable mobile anti tank option which your opponent can’t shoot at or keep from shooting thanks to fly. The alternative is to kit them out with 3 burst cannons and the advanced targeting support system for -1AP. Each of these guys can pump out 12 S5 Ap-1 shots that hit on 2’s. That’s essentially the same fire power as a devestator squad with 4 heavy bolters all on one guy. One of the really cool things about these guys is their ability to move 20-40″ and sneak up on a character that your opponent thought was safe and just utterly nuke them off the planet.

Shadowsun: This pricey lady doesn’t really do too much in comparison to a commander, especially when you factor in her cost, but she does serve one purpose well. She lets you pop the Kau’yan aura twice a game instead of just once. If you’re running a fairly static type of shooting core (which I’ll cover later) having rerolls to hit multiple times a game can be key.

Ethereal: While this guy isn’t overly powerful, he can give some really nice buffs and fills the important role of Cheap HQ to help unlock battalions. You’ll probably see 1 of these in most tau armies.

Dark Strider: What a guy. Not only does he give the awesome tau gunline something it desperately needed in the form of fall back and shoot he also provides them with a nice little wounding bonus too. If you’re running any sort of fire warrior (sorry I mean strikes..) core, this guy definitely needs to make an appearance.

Marksmen: This guy is nothing crazy, but he’s a cheap character with an accurate markerlight. That’s a pretty useful tool to have. I could see some of these guys making it into a list.

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Stealth Suits: Now I know what a lot of you are thinking, I must be crazy. But hear me out before you break out the torches and pitch forks. Tau is an army that by nature pretty much has to shoot the other guy off the table in order to do damage. They don’t have psychic powers or any real combat potential to interact with units that are in combat. There options are fall back and shoot more. So if you’re playing against a smart opponent who’s read my awesometastic article Cracking The Screen Part 2 then you may be in for a rough time as your lowly kroot screens get surrounded and tied up. Enter the Stealth Suit. These little infiltrating gems can really be a life saver to the classic tau gun line, as they give you a good form of push back, screening, and deep strike protection that isn’t vulnerable to the classic issue of getting trapped due to the fly keyword.

Not only do stealth suits have the lovely fly key word and infiltrate which is already a very winning combo, but they’re also fairly tough to kill at range. -1 to hit and 3+ armor with 2 wounds is fairly tough, but then coupled with how easy it is for infantry to get cover they can be really obnoxious. Taking like 12-18 of these guys in lots of squads of 3 can get incredibly annoying, especially for other shooty armies. Imagine mortars trying to hurt these things from across the board, hitting on 5s, then dealing with 2+ armor an multiple wounds. Stealth suits are really one of the most underappreciated units in the book.

Riptide: I’m not overly impressed with riptides off the bat because of their cost. But the fact you can really extend their life span with shield drones and you can give them reroll to hit and wounds between multiple Kau’yan’s and the battlesuit stratagem relaly makes it tempting. A riptide with Heavy burst cannon and SMS shooting 20 shots with reroll to hit and wound is no joke. That said, be weary of the BS4+ on this guy, with all: the modifiers to hit floating around in the game I think this may be more trouble than it’s worth.

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Strike Teams: Talk about value town. With these guys pumping out 3 shots each at 18″ between the pulse accelerator drone you can get some insane fire power. Not to mention wounding bonuses from dark strider, and fall back and shoot all for 7 points! Sign me up! These guys are an awesome troop choice, and with the Tau’sept trait charging into an army of these guys may be incredibly difficult. 10 of these guys pump out 30 S5 shots that hit on 5s with overwatch, that’s nothing to shake a stick at. Couple that with For The Greater Good and you can have a somewhat unchargable army.

Kroot: I think this is a fairly standard unit of cheap garbage that has some form of advanced deploy. While, they have their uses much the same way as scouts, rangers, cultists, etc.. do, I think you’re better off springing for stealth suits within the context of Tau.

Pathfinders: What a great unit. I really can’t even begin. These are going to provide all the markerlights for your army which are necessary to really get the juices flowing for your Tau. Taking away cover is especially important for Tau as when marines and the like go from the classic 3+ armor to a 2+ your efficiency in shooting them with strikes effectively halves. They also also grant you access to the lovely pulse drone to increase the range of your strikes to absurd levels. Lastly, since they have a pregame move which you can trigger after seeing who goes first, you can deploy conservatively with them behind a wall, and then opportunistically move up to see with your marker lights before the game begins to avoid the pesky -1 to hit.

Piranhas: These guys are nothing spectacular themselves, but they have a decent size foot print, they’re very fast, have ok firepower, and fly. They’re also not too pricey. I could definitely see the value in taking some of these to act as secondary screens and the on later turns. They may also fall into the category of “it’d be nice to have but they’re the first to get cut.” Only time will tell with these guys.

Hammerheads: I’m a bit on the fence about these currently,  but I’d like to see them on the table before writing them off. A trio of hammerheads (one with ling strike) with ion cannons and SMS provides a very consistent amount of damage 3 and ignore los fire power. Ignore LOS is an incredibly powerful tool for shooting based armies, since it allows them to interact with otherwise undamagable units.  Damage 3 weaponry is just really powerful in the meta, because of how common 2 wound models with FNP are. Being able to reliably one shot those types of models is a really strong boon. The jury is definitely still out on this one though.

Devilfish: Devilfish fall into the same category as wave serpents in my mind. They dob’t shoot enough to really warrant taking a lot of them, but they’re durable, fairly inexpensive, and provide a lot of protection for your vulnerable infantry. I could absolutely taking a couple of these to keep some units safe early on and reduce drop count, then using them as secondary screens in later turns.

Now that I’m done with my verbal diarrhea, allow me to give an initial list idea for a tournament style list so you guys can kind of see what all this comes together to look like.

Tau’sept Battalion Tau’sept Battalion Viorla’ Vanguard
Coldstar- 4 Fusions Shadowsun Coldstar- 4 Fusions
Ethereal Darkstrider 4×3 Stealthsuits
3 Marksemen 6×10 Strikes 6 Stealthsuits
3×10 Strikes 2×5 Pathfinder- pulse drone
2×5 Pathfinder- pulse drone

This is really rudimentary, and I actually recommend swapping a some units out to try things like kroot, piranhas, hammerheads, or the solo riptide and drones to try and shore up some weaknesses. The basic idea behind this list is lots and lots of shooty guns, screens with fly, and an insane overwatch. This isn’t a balanced army so much as a starting point to give you a base line to help refine your build.

Overall Tau seem have to become a slightly more rounded force (at least compared to index tau). Whether they are actually strong enough though, only time will really tell. My initial instincts tell me Tau will be a decent GT army easily capable of going 4-1 but going the distance with them may be difficult.

If you have any ideas on Tau please feel free to leave them in the comments!

*Many of the ideas discussed in this article were inspired by discussions with one of my frequent testing partners Jack Harpster.

 

 

 

When Life Gives You Lemons, Play Better (Part 2)

Last week, I began my epic on how to move past rolling poorly as a player by covering the concept of risk management in 40k. If you missed that be sure to catch it here. Today, I’m going to continue this series by going over some examples of tactics you can use in game to mitigate the impact dice have by reviewing a game I’ve previously played here: Goals Aren’t Just for Soccer Part 2.

To get the full recap here of what happened in the game I recommend clicking the link above. I know how lazy gamers can be though, so if you don’t click it because context is for squares, I completely understand.

Goals pic 1

This is a reenactment of my round 2 game of LVO vs Josh Conant and his Chaos army. The 2 night scythes back there are playing a bad game of pretend, but they actually count as fire raptors. In short, Josh has Magnus, 2 Fire Raptors, a bloodletter bomb in reserve, and an infiltrating alpha legion cultist blob.  I’m playing my LVO winning list.

As you can see from the picture my deployment is fairly conservative. Despite having the +1 to go first in this scenario, I didn’t want to be hung out to dry if I lost the roll or got seized on, so I deployed accordingly. Screens on the line, wave serpents in cover and far away, and random people scattered about to zone out potential deeps strikes and infiltrates.

Lo and behold, I got seized on. Good thing I was prepared for that!

Goals pic 2

As you can see on Josh’s turn 1 he moved up, shot some serpents, and then charged my front lines with the bloodletters and cultists,  surrounding models to prevent me from falling back. Josh wasn’t able to kill a serpent with shooting in this instance, due to cover saves and aliatoc, but had he, I wouldn’t have been screwed. Both serpents were positioned far enough away from the front lines that in the event of a seize and 1 dying to shooting, the contents could disembark far enough away to avoid being charged and out of LOS of the fire raptors. At this point I have a contingency plan in place for something at the ~5% probability interval for that unfortunate series of events. This is the kind of contingency planning and foresight which will really help you mitigate poor dice in your games.

Goal pic 5

This is a picture after my bottom of 1 movement phase. The bloodletters and cultists charged at the end of Josh’s turn as described before. I responded by disembarking everyone, moving a serpent up, and deep striking my spears. Here you can see all my key psychers hugging my board edge to ensure they are out of deny range of Magnus. In general, I make sure to stay out of deny range at all times unless absolutely necessary. In this case, it’s fairly obvious since Magnus is meany head with +2 to deny and 3 attempts, but I would do this same kind of thing against a little astropath wandering about in mid field as well. In general, giving yourself as few points of failure as possible is key to success.

Goal pic 7

This is the same turn after casting an undeniable quicken onto my spears. They moved behind the cultists with the intent of killing them, but are also within 7″ of the nurglings so they can kill them and trigger a soul burst to finish the cultists if need be. This is an idea of redundancy and it’s one of the best ways to remove dice from the equation. The spears were fairly likely to bring the cultists to a point where they will crumble to morale (which is all I needed to accomplish here), but it’s within reason that they fail to do so because whiffs can happen. Thus, I put them in a position to allow them to fight twice via soul burst if need be.

I typically try and always set myself up to completely overkill units when making plans, as opposed to trying to maximize efficiency by planning my turn around units dying when they should.

A prime example of this is when my reapers shot the two fire raptors in the above scenario. In my plan, I based my turn around the fact that I can very reliably put down 1 raptor, but the other will probably live. I moved accordingly and planned as though that would happen. I guided the big reaper unit and soul burst shot them at one of the fire raptors bringing it down to 7 wounds. I then shot all my 3 mans at it and only managed to bring it down to 4 wounds.  At this point I was down to just my second round  of shooting with the guided big unit, and there were still 2 raptors (though one was down to 4 wounds).

pexels-photo-220301.jpegQuick reaper math time! A raptor with 4 wounds left needs to fail 2- 5+ saves to die to reapers. 2 failed saves comes from 3 wounds. To generate 3 wounds you’d need 4-5 hits. To get 4-5 hits off guided reapers 5 shots should reasonably do it. A play based on statistically expected results would be to shoot 5 reapers at the wounded raptor, and the remaining 3 at the other raptor to try and chip it a bit. A 6 and 2 split if you really wanted to be safe about it. However, a better move would be to over-commit and shoot all 8 at the wounded raptor. While this should statistically obliterate it, and most likely end up with a bunch of wasted damage, that’s ok! Had I gone with the statistically expected play but the dice spiked leaving both raptors alive, I would’ve been in an incredibly bad situation due to the fundamental failure in my plan of killing 1 raptor. Also, what value am I really gaining by taking 2 “free” reaper shots at an unmolested fire raptor? Basically none, especially when you consider that it comes at an enormous risk.

There are so many more examples of where to try and use known factors and good decision making skills to limit the impact dice can have on your game, but this game does a good job highlighting a few key concepts.

In Summary)

  1. Deploy and move for the worst case scenarios occurring. (Plan like a pessimist)
  2. Minimize points of failure by limiting the amount of times dice are rolled. (Ex. staying out of deny range when casting)
  3. Set up redundancy when trying to kill units, so if a unit survives longer than it should, you have back up plans. (Set up safety nets and fall backs)
  4. It’s better to overkill a unit than to get greedy and not kill anything. (This may seem obvious, but see the reaper example)

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It’s easy enough to come up with a good plan that should work, then blame dice when it doesn’t, but ultimately, this will be your biggest downfall. You will never grow as a player until you break that mentality. Instead of looking at it from the perspective of “I played well, had a good plan, but then the dice betrayed me.“, look at it like “What could I have done differently to not been vulnerable to rolling poorly and losing.” You need to be objective. It is much more likely that you could have made an earlier series of moves which would have put you in a position where you weren’t even susceptible to rolling poorly.

Hopefully this will give you some ideas on what to look out for and how to mitigate dice in your own games! Stay tuned for more content to come!

 

Upcoming Content!

Hey everyone!

I wanted to stop in and give you guys a better idea of my schedule for the upcoming future involving my 40k content.

Tomorrow 3/13 I’ll be releasing my second and final part on the dice mitigation series.

Thursday 3/15 I’ll actually be doing a piece covering the Tau codex, and give my initial thoughts and review on that.

Tuesday 3/20 I’ll be presenting my Adepticon list in its final form and go over some key ideas for how I expect to do and some of my thoughts on match ups.

Thursday 3/22-Sunday 3/25 I’ll be at Adepticon, so it’s very likely I won’t post an article. But I will be doing some facebook live action, so be sure to check that out.

Upon my return I may give an Adepticon recap depending on how it goes. After that, i was to transition back to some technical pieces like the screening and breaking the screen articles. I also will be giving codex reviews for Necrons and DE as they come out.

Lastly, after Adepticon I’ll be planning to really get the ball rolling on video battle reports and things of that nature.

A lot of good stuff out on the horizon, so stay tuned!

When Life Gives You Lemons, Play Better (Part 1)

Ladies and gentlemen. Boys and girls. Man-children of all ages. Today I’m here to talk about the role of dice in 40k (yay, puns!). This is, in my opinion, the most important aspect of 40k, and this topic has so many facets.  The truest and greatest separator between a good 40k player and a bad 40k player is how they manage the impact dice have in a game.

Today I’m going to break down the idea of risk mitigation in 40k. I’m also going to try and outline a very key issue many players struggle with: blaming dice to justify their losses. In my next article I’m going to try and outline how you can change your perspective on 40k, work towards not blaming dice, and instead start taking responsibility for your losses. This is an important step as you work towards improving. Finally, depending on interest and feedback I may put out a 3rd part to the series where I play a real game and point out specific moves and decisions I make to mitigate the impact of dice, so you know exactly what to look out for in your own games.

So without further ado, let’s embark on this lovely adventure together!

Let me take a hop, skip, and a jump over to 40k’s step cousin: Chess.  Chess is a tactical game with effectively infinite possibilities, just like 40k. But there is no aspect of luck in chess, everything is a known quantity and nothing is variable. There are no “risky plays” in chess, a plan will work or not, simply because it is a better or worse plan than the one your opponent has. While this may lead many people to believe that chess is a more competitive game than 40k, it does also introduce a new skill set to 40k which chess does not have, the skill of risk management.

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What is risk management: “Risk management is the identification, evaluation, and prioritization of risks, followed by coordinated and economical application of resources to minimize, monitor, and control the probability or impact of unfortunate events or to maximize the realization of opportunities. Risk management’s objective is to assure uncertainty does not deflect the endeavor from the business goals.” –https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risk_management

Well, despite all my college professors shaming me for using Wikipedia as a source in my research papers, this definition seems to work pretty well.

Sooo what does that wordy nonsense mean in terms of Warhammer? It’s basically the idea that in Warhammer a certain course of action only has a certain percentage chance of working (this is where dice come in). So you need to identify the odds of that course of action working are, weigh the benefit of it working against the repercussions of it failing, and determine if it’s a good idea or not.

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I typically find many, many, maaaany Warhammer players just building lists, moving units, shooting units, and charging units “because it makes sense” or “because they feel like they should”. Not only that, but when things don’t pan out, a lot of players typically blame their dice, and use them as an excuse for why their plan failed.

You need to really understand the odds of success and failure when making plans. Without understanding the odds to least some degree you’re just basing decisions on intuition rather than any sort of rational reasoning. That is a recipe for failure.

Example time!

pexels-photo-714699.jpegA unit of 10 Dark reapers shooting a Leviathin Flyrant. Most people would assume 10 Dark Reapers would put down a Flyrant pretty well, or at least put a huge dent in it. They would take their turn accordingly, and make their moves based on the idea that 10 Dark Reapers should at least significantly damage the Flyrant. Then when the Flyrant shrugs the 10 reaper shots off without a care the Dark Reaper player would be terribly upset and blame the dice for letting him down. When in reality it actually takes 22-23 dark reaper shots to reasonably put down 1 leviathin Flyrant.

Aaaand here’s some basic non-calculator math for you nerds who care. A Flyrant has 12 wounds and 6+ fnp, so effectively 14-15 wounds. To deal 15 wounds, (reapers deal damage in increments of 3) you need to get 5 failed saves. To generate 5 failed saves through a 4+ invulnerable, you need 10 wounds to go through. To generate 10 wounds you need 15 hits, since you are wounding on 3s. To generate 15 hits you need to toss approximately 22-23 shots. Therefore, the 10 shots you threw at the Flyrant shouldn’t even kill half of it, not even managing to bring it down a bracket.

This is some really basic 10-second math you can do in game, in your head, without even busting out your calculator.

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After understanding the odds of a plan working, the next step is to understand the benefit vs. cost of success/failure. If a certain plan has a 66% chance of working and winning the game for you, and a 33% chance of failing and losing you the game, is it the right move to go for? The answer isn’t clear cut and there are a lot of external factors which affect the answer to that question, but the important take away for right now is to just start to recognize that it’s a question that warrants being asked.

In the situation above, maybe NOT going for the 66% chance for a win is the better move, if playing for the long haul will lead to a greater likelihood of victory in the long run. Of course, at the opportunity cost of not winning (or losing) immediately. On the flip side, maybe it is the right move, if you’re much more likely to lose in the long run unless you take the “risky” move now.

Understanding the probability of something happening, and subsequently recognizing the benefits of success and weighing them against their costs of failure is ultimately what risk management is all about; and in turn what you need to understand intimately to succeed at 40k.

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Once players understand risk management intimately it’s time to start focusing on playing better to mitigate risk. What I mean by that is making the most out of the non-variables in 40k: list building, movement, stratagems, and interactions that work without dice or chance of failure. Those topics are going to be the main focus of my next article on Tuesday, but for now, just focus on really becoming intimate with the concept of risk management and try to identify situations in your games where you make decisions with this concept in mind.

That’s all for now folks!

 

Why Spam Should Stay in the Can

Have you ever sat there and wondered why Gulliman and 4 fire raptors hasn’t won a GT? What about 3 Shadowswords? And surely, if dark reapers are the menace the internet says they are, then taking 50 of them has to be a winning combo, right? Have you ever wondered why the more consistent GT winners always seem to gravitate away from armies like that? I mean when was the last time you saw Sean Nayden, Andrew Gonyo, or Tony Kopach spamming mindless bullets at you?

If you’re one of the many who lose sleep at night thinking about this, today is your lucky day, because I’m going to break down why! Read More

Cracking The Screen Part 2

In my last article, I covered a way to use the highly common stratagem: Fight Again, to brute force your way through a basic screen.

Many of the comments I received were actually follow up questions about what to do when the screen is pushed out further, preventing you from getting through like I did in my last article. These types of comments are great! They really show that you (the audience) are thinking critically and really grasping the concepts I’m trying to convey.  I’d love to encourage more such dialogues and conversations on all my articles! Read More