The 11th Company 40K Podcast

Welcome to the 11th Company BLOG. The 11th Company is a Warhammer 40K podcast dedicated to players, strategies, and tactics.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

I was reading a BLOG post today : ... And it got me thinking.

The part that interested me was the mental exercise of examining what happens when you take a list that is great against most armies but not so great against a few to a tournament. As expressed in this article, common wisdom would tell us that you will do great in tournaments with only a few rounds, but in tournaments with more rounds, your odds of winning the whole thing should go down.

Let me be a little more clear. Let’s take a win/loss tournament as an example. That means that you win the tournament by winning every game you play. Now, let’s say you take some army that you developed that wins 80% of its games versus most armies, but there are just a few match-ups where you only win 20% of your games. The foil (opposite) of this is the balanced army. The concept here is that you have any army where it has a 50% chance of winning every game it plays.

First and foremost, I don’t believe there is such an army that is so well balanced that it has an even chance against every other list in the game given two equally skilled players. Some people do believe this, but I always believe that any given army has some match-ups where it will excel and some where it will perform less admirably. I definitely do not believe there is such a list that wins more than 50% of its games versus every army. That would mean you have the SUPER list, the best list possible. Why? Logic tells us that if your list performs at above 50% than ALL OTHER LISTS, there is no other list that can be better than it! Gotta love it!

Okay, back on track. Here are the questions I want to examine:

  • First, is it better to take a list that performs well against most match-ups but suffers against a few, specific match-ups to a tournament and gamble that you don’t run into your bad match-up?
  • Second, is it actually better to take a balanced list that has a 50% chance against any other list and rely on your luck and player skill to carry the day?
  • Third, does the answer to the first two questions change depending on how many rounds are in our win/loss tournament?

Now, you know, people don’t publish papers to simply express boring results. I wouldn’t even be writing this if I didn’t think there was something surprising about to happen. Common wisdom tells us that “balanced lists are the way to go!”, but are they really?

Let’s set up a scenario to examine.

First, let’s pretend that I have a list that wins 80% of its games versus 75% of all the lists out there. However, it only wins 20% of its games versus 25% of the remaining lists. This means that if I take this list to a tournament and only run into the 75% of the lists I’m good against, I should rock this thing. However, if I run into one of the 25% of the other lists that kick my butt, I’m in trouble!

Now, let’s pretend that my buddy built a list that functions at a 50/50 versus 100% of all lists.


My Buddy has: 0.5 * 0.5 * 0.5 * 0.5 = 6.25% chance to win the whole thing. Assuming all things are equal meaning player skill, luck, etc. Not very good is it? He only has a 50% chance to win each game. And we all know that rolling a 4+ 4 times in a row without failing is pretty darn difficult to do!

Now, let’s look at my list!

First, I have a 32% chance that all 4 of my opponents will have a list that my list kicks butt against. How? Because 0.75 is my chance to get an opponent I’m good against and 0.75 * 0.75 * 0.75 * 0.75 = 0.32 (approximately).

My overall odds of winning the tournament if I get all 4 of my opponents being favorable match-ups is: 41% WOAH! That’s WAY better than my buddy who only had a 6.25% chance! The problem is, I’ve only got a 32% chance of this occurring… a little confusing but follow along!

Carrying on, I have a 42% chance of EXACTLY ONE of my opponents being a bad match-up for me. That’s not good! 42% is more likely than my 32% chance to get all 4 of my opponents being favorable. Surely, if this scenario happens, I’ll have a worse chance of winning the tournament than my buddy?

Actually, your odds of winning this event are: 10%.

SAY WHAT? Even with a bad match-up, I’m still more likely to win the tournament than my buddy with the evenly balanced match-ups. So 32% + 42% or 74% !!!!! of the time, I have better odds of winning than my buddy does.

Okay, what about the dreaded scenario of running into 2 bad match-up? 21% chance of that happening. Turns out, I only have a 2.5% chance of winning. Now, my buddy was better off with his list than I was with mine. However, 74% of the time, or the amount of times you roll hits with a Twin-Linked Lascannon on a Vendetta, I would be better off with my list.

There’s more analysis to take place. For starters, we haven’t answered question #3 yet. I also want to discuss how things change when the numbers change.

Stay tuned for the next article.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Standard List Names and Templates

Hi all,

For our Game Plan segment on the podcast, I'm trying to compile a list of the "this is what I usually see run at a tournament" lists for each codex along with their names. For example, Deathwing, Leaf Blower, DoA List, etc.

Included with the name will be an example of that list. This is actually kind of a fun exercise, and I'm looking for any help in buidling it. If you would like to contribute a list, go ahead and post it, and I can add it's name to the master list.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Is Internet Redemption Possible?

Anyone who has ever played a multiplayer online game knows there are lots of people who don’t know how to act. People hiding behind their assumed anonymity doing things the majority of us would never think of doing to others in real life, even less likely in person. We have a whole generation who haven’t (and probably won’t) learn basic skills such as getting along with others in a game, abiding by the rules and playing nice with others. As a kid playing in the neighborhood you had to get along. Take your ball home too often, and you were left with no one to play with. In online multiplayer games getting alienated from a play group is not a big deal, either find a new group among the thousands of people playing, or better yet, create a new account.

With 40K most of us have limited opportunities to play; we are either limited by the amount of local players, or limited locations offering a place to play. We are therefore still bound by the old fashion playground rules, mess up too often, get labeled as ‘that guy’ and sit at your local store with your mini’s on a table watching other people have fun. On the many forums and blogs like BellOfLostSouls, people can behave as badly as they want to be. Hundreds of thousands of threads and comments make statements and degrade people in such a way that would get you physically hurt if stated in person.

Some podcasts act in similar fashion. Calling people douche bags, calling people out for real or perceived cheating, making statements about companies of individuals, often without doing any research or providing sources of information. As a podcast, we have in the past struggled with striking a balance between our perceived truths of a situation and alienating people in our limited sized community. Like it or not, the amount of people playing your favorite game in any location is severally limited. Even relocation across the country may still not save you from your reputation.

I usually get disgusted with accusations of cheating, I actually had to turn off my screen and go for a walk after watching the first 5 minutes of a 30 minute YouTube video on cheating at a large event. It had my blood boiling. I have limited patience for shenanigans at tournaments. Regardless of what people may think, I am not going to tournaments to ‘win-it-all’. I go to tournaments so I can play other people outside of my regular gaming group. I am really looking forward to going to the Nova and being placed in a decent group the second day, looking forward to some fun but challenging games. While I will not tolerate cheating and other bad behavior, I would not call out people on the podcast, certainly not by their real name. This finally leads me to what I am getting at, and the main reason for writing.

Tony K. made a mistake at the Nova Open last year. He was 3 points over. He brought it to the attention of the TO the same weekend of the event. The tournament organizer (Mike Brandt), and the other ‘top competitors’ (including Stelek) chose not to sanction him for his event. If you want a dissenting opinion, check out TastyTaste at We have had 8 months since that event, in that time we have seen several podcasts and countless forums and blogs badmouthing a minor, calling him every name under the sun. Neil and I had the pleasure of playing one of the brothers each at the last Nova. I have to say we were both impressed with their abilities and manners. I hope my little sons grow up to be gamers like them one day.

Tony goes on to win Adepticon and got himself selected to Team America. Not a single shred of evidence suggested that his 8-0 record was tainted by anything but good sportsmanship and courteous behavior. Several podcasts and other internet voices still cast doubt on his performance. Is it really possible that he could, by luck alone, have won Nova with a perfect record and then Adepticon eight to zero? Sure. But is it may be possible that some adults are having a problem controlling their little green monsters? Are we really disrespecting Tony’s capable opponents as a bunch of losers? You can watch some of Tony’s abilities on the excellent coverage the Independent Characters provided. I for one am looking forward to hearing about his exploits among the rest of Team America at the ETC. I for one cannot think of a better person to represent a typical American gamer to the rest of the field in Europe.

On the flip side, how many chances do we, or should we give some people. Is getting banned from stores in North Carolina and Florida enough? Is public intoxication and public bragging about it enough? How many times does an individual need to get mentioned with questionable play ethics on BloodOfKittens? How far are we going to let individuals like this bend rules, forget rules, model to advantage and pull other shenanigans? How do we fix this situation? I am not sure I have any answers. There is minimal communication between event organizers. It is hard enough for me to get information of events happening, let alone have them talk to each other about misbehaving players. If people knew that their behavior at one event would carry over to the next event, would they behave better? While I do not have answers, I think a setup like the NovaOpen has the potential to fix a lot of problems. The separation into smaller sub tournaments the second day I hope will insulate the main group of players from the overly competitive win-at-all-cost types. Now I am not calling everyone in the top brackets WAAC players, but those brackets do seem to pull in more than their fair share of them.

Please tell me how wrong I am, I am looking for smarter people to hopefully solve this problem so a slacker like me doesn’t have to deal with it anymore.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Cover Saves on the Brain (GK Dreads)

So, I’ve been thinking all week of what to do with my Grey Knight Deep Strike list. One thing I am very happy about with this list is that I am not seeing the list all over the internet, which tells me I either have a bad idea or a semi-unique perspective. (Probably just a bad idea! J)

Anyways, one of the major issues I have been kicking around is that of a Dreadnought with Twin-Linked Autocannons being able to draw LoS over the top of a Razorback. The problem here is that no matter what the rules actually read, people are going to have a problem with this. In a tournament, there really is no room for rules arguments. Experience has taught me that you are much better off refraining from using tools that you know will be contentious rather than thinking you will just rule argue your way through a situation. Just in the last year, of the tournaments I went to, I saw a judge make a bad call at half of them, once even on me. (Think I incessantly whined about it on the podcast at some point too!)

The point is, if you are going to show up with the intent of using something you know is contentious, expect to get shut down. Most of us really can’t afford to stop our games at a tournament for a serious rules debate to begin with because of the amount of time it takes to resolve it. Perhaps this is for another BLOG post, but I’m not suggesting you get bullied out of what is right but rather understand going in what will cause a confrontation.

I know trying to shoot over the top of a Razorback will cause a confrontation, and thus, it’s better if I just don’t try it.

So, what’s a Grey Knight general to do when one of the most powerful things about his list is getting all of his Dreadnoughts a 3+ cover save (with the Librarian in case you are wondering)? Well, I’m going to be doing 2 things, and I thought it would be worth sharing!

But One Arm Can Still See:

Part of what makes the Deep Strike list work is that most armies have a limited amount of Long Range threat. This is even true of Imperial Guard. Think about it. A Chimera can’t hurt a Dread, not reasonably anyways… especially not one that basically ignores Shaken/Stunned. Once the Vendettas are down and a possible few other targets, the Dreads are free to roam.

The Mathhammer on a Twin-Linked shot is that basically a twin-linked gun is approximately 33% better than a normal gun. So, a twin-linked is basically equal to 1.33 normal shot. So, 10 Twin Linked shots = approximately 13.3 normal shots. That’s more missiles than a Death Wing army generally brings. That’s as many missiles as most Space Wolf armies bring. So, when thinking, hey, you are only going to get 2 shots per Dread, keep that perspective on.

Denying Most of the Enemy’s Shots:

The other tactic I will probably be incorporating is dividing up my opponent’s fire. I might not be able to get cover saves from his whole army, but I can certainly angle my Razorbacks and Dreads to block most if. Here’s an example:

You have to imagine that so long as they are able, the Razorbacks and Dread can shuffle about and reposition so that only portions of the enemy will get to shoot me without me giving a cover save. Naturally, this will also be the portion of the enemy I am also going to be shooting at IN MY TURN, before they get to shoot me with no cover, and I will hopefully disable them.

Keep in mind the art of “tetris’ing” also applies to vehicles. Once one Dread is getting cover from a Razorback, he can provide cover for the Dread behind him and so forth. When you start using angles of attack, you will notice that one Dread in cover can provide cover against an entire angle that an enemy can shoot from.

Psybolt Dreads are just a huge boon for GK armies. The next article I write will be discussing all the things that make them so great.

Monday, May 16, 2011

An Alternate CSM List Part 6

This will be the final segment in discussing a potential, alternate CSM list that is a lot of fun to play and is decently effective outside the realm of Dual Lash lists.

The last topic I wanted to discuss is the math hammer. There are some of you out there who may have read these articles and shook your head going, “yeah right. My ________ shooty army will PEW PEW your right off the board on turn 1.” The only way you are going to believe how much damage a list like this can absorb and dish out is to look at the math hammer and “BELIEVE!” (like in kid’s movie) that it will work.

Don’t I need Marks of Glory so I won’t Run?

First, running isn’t really a bad thing for this list unless you are already below half strength on a unit and therefore likely already out of combat shape. Either way, you can still shoot while you retreat. Further, running back usually nets a safer position from assaults or “decides” for you which units of yours will fall back to hold objectives.

Chance to Fail a Morale Check with a 9 Leadership: 17%. (This means that one in approximately ever 5 you are required to take, you will fail.

Chance to Fail a Morale Check with a 9 Leadership TWICE (for regrouping): 3%. So, unless you are below half strength, you won’t keep falling back.

You aren’t too worried about this in an assault because you really want to run anyways, even if it might kill you. We want to fall back so we can shoot what attacked us.

Seriously, even with a cover save, I’ll blow your Rhinos away!

% Chance a BS 4 S 8 Weapon Stuns, Immobilizes, or Destroys a Rhino with Cover – 11%

% Chance a BS 4 S 9 Weapon Stuns, Immobilizes, or Destroys a Rhino with Cover – 15%

On average, how many Rhinos can 3 Long Fang Packs with 5 Missiles Stun, Immobilize, or Destroy in a Turn? – It takes 6 Rockets to have just a lousy 50% (coin flip) to hurt one Rhino in cover. Given that, expected return from 15 Rockets should be 2 Rhinos. (This is also why you can’t skimp on Rhinos and pay attention to what I was saying about moving up anyways if you lose your ride.)

A Vendetta, firing 3 Twin Linked lascannons only has a 43% chance to stun, immobilize, destroy a Rhino in cover. The expected return for 3 Vendettas is 1 Rhino a turn!

Remember that Stun does not equal destroyed. Remember that your Rhinos can repair themselves, albeit unlikely.

A melta gun with a BS of 4 at POINT BLANK RANGE only has a 28% chance to stun, immobilize, or destroy a Rhino in cover.

Will you play a game where you opponent gets insanely lucky and blows up half your Rhinos? Yes! It will happen. The thing to remember when it does is that this kind of thing happens to every list, not just this one. Also, the most important thing to remember is that for each time this might happen to you, it will happen MORE OFTEN that your opponent doesn’t kill a Rhino at all.

A dead rhino is as good a cover save producer as a live one.

Yeah, but what about Thunder Shield Terminators with 3++ saves?

A single plasma shot has an 18% chance to take down a terminator. A rapid firing plasma gun has a 33% chance to take down a Terminator. One in 3. So, basically, to take out 5 terminators, bring 15 Plasma Guns. That’s a lot!

Yeah, I know. 2 things though. You have 15 plasma gun or some combination of that and melta in this list. Second, 1 Terminator has a 41% chance to die if he charges your units. :P 1 Terminator really isn’t that much of a threat.

Bottom line? Use your Rhinos to block them so they can’t get to you. Tactics over firepower.

But also always keep in mind that for a lot of strong assault units, if you kill 90% of the squad, the remaining 10% probably can’t hurt you anymore. That’s not always the case, but it tends to hold true. Use that knowledge where applicable.

And last but not least, a Plasma gun standing still has a 24 inch range with one shot… much farther than assault ranges.

You can’t really start shooting after 1 turn can you?

12 inches forward. 2 inch disembark. 6 inch move. 12 inch shooting. 12 + 12 + 2 + 6 = 32 inches. Draw a picture!

What if the Rhino stays alive? 12 inch move, TWICE. 2 inch disembark. 12 inch shooting = 38 inches.

No, you can’t outrun a Rhino with guys inside that want to take your lunch money.

In the End

There’s probably more to say, but I think that’s enough for this series. Hopefully I’ve helped you come up with some ideas that may breathe some new life into your CSMs.

I’ll end this series with a list that I would consider to be very efficient.

Kharn - 165

5 x Chsoen + 3 x Melta + 1 x Plasma - 180
Rhino + Combi-Melta

5 x Chsoen + 3 x Melta + 1 x Plasma - 180
Rhino + Combi-Melta

5 x Chsoen + 3 x Melta + 1 x Plasma - 180
Rhino + Combi-Melta

5 x Plague Marines + 2x Plasma - 190
Rhino + Combi-Melta

5 x Plague Marines + 2x Plasma - 190
Rhino + Combi-Melta

5 x CSM + 1 x Melta - 130
Rhino + Combi-Melta

5 x CSM + 1 x Melta - 130
Rhino + Combi-Melta

5 x CSM + 1 x Melta - 130
Rhino + Combi-Melta

5 x havocs + 3 x Plasma + 1 x Melta - 175
Rhino + Combi-Melta

5 x havocs + 3 x Plasma + 1 x Melta - 175
Rhino + Combi-Melta

5 x havocs + 3 x Plasma + 1 x Melta - 175
Rhino + Combi-Melta

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Tactics over Toys and Tidbits

If you ever start to seriously study anything, you’ll find out that our reality is a pretty complex place. What may seem very simple on the surface quickly turns into some pretty difficult stuff. The thing about complexity is, though, that most of what makes something complex is hardly what makes it up at all.

You’ve heard of the butterfly effect? That’s the whole, “a butterfly flaps its wings….” And after a long, complicated chain of events, somehow that butterfly flapping its wings causes a hurricane to smash into the east coast of the US, causing billions in damage. People sometimes refer to this as Chaos theory. More importantly for this article, people also use that to show you just why even the smallest, seemingly inconsequential things matter. It makes us all feel good when we feel like any small action we take could have some sort of giant ripple effect.

The truth is, though, our butterfly flapping its wings was not the sole cause of that hurricane. Thinking that the butterfly was the direct cause, creating some huge, ripple effect, is just not true. The butterfly may have added just that one, last, little bit to the equation that equaled hurricane, but it certainly wasn’t the cause. Much bigger forces were already in play, just waiting on that butterfly to barely tip the scales between nice summer day and disasterous storm. Those bigger forces, be they atmospheric conditions, the tides, air masses, whatever… I’m not a meteorologist, are more like the CAUSE of the hurricane. The butterfly is more like a straw that broke the camel’s back.

When you study non-deterministic systems, meanings “things” in life for which there is no real solution, like predicting which horse wins the next horse race, you will quickly note that there is never just one, solitary variable determining the outcome of an event. There are many! In fact, Chaos theory above, with the butterfly example, truly exists to tell us that we will NEVER know all the small variables that went into something happening. (That’s right, it’s not a story to make you feel better about being an individual snowflake capable of creating enormous ripples in the world.) We may never know that it was a butterfly that was the last straw before the hurricane. What we WILL know is that the biggest forces in play, the atmospheric conditions, were present and a hurricane was likely. For another example, we may never know that it was a special type of grain Horse A was fed that just barely caused him to win, but what we can know is that Horse A is raised and trained by one of the premier horse trainers in the world.

In statistics, when you are faced with analyzing a scenario in which multiple variables are in play, like the creation of a hurricane, it’s often useful to know which of the variables are the strong ones, those that greatly affect the outcome of an event, and the rest, those that barely have any affect at all. You can study these mathematically to arrive at the conclusion that although a butterfly flapping may have contributed to the cause of an event, it’s statistical contribution was only 0.000000001% whereas atmospheric conditions were 95% of the overall contribution. Thus, if you really want to know if a hurricane is going to form, you should really be putting your effort into studying atmospheric conditions rather than insects.

In playing a game like 40K, the same principal should be applied. You should really be focused on the contribution of the biggest variables towards what helps you win a game rather than sweating the small stuff. This is the difference between an arm-chair general and a seasoned player. An arm-chair general focuses on the list. He focuses on how to squeeze optimization out of units, lists, and what have you in the world of “think games” where his reasoning comes from theory-hammer. A seasoned player draws his conclusions from games actually played.

A seasoned player recognizes that things like complete list optimization is generally the smallest variable in play. Why? Well, first, because you never know what you will need till you get there. Tournaments, games, armies, lists, players, and much more all effect “what you need”, and thusly, are all much greater factors than list building. A seasoned player will also tell you that rules usage, or tactics if you prefer, is much more important. Your ability to use the rules is the bigger variable in play over your ability to build a “balanced” list. You are much better off studying tactics and seeking advice on better play than you ever are on seeking advice about what to put in your list. (Indeed, I could argue that proper study of tactics will lead you to be a better list builder, not the other way around.)

This is why people always rattle off, “a good general can win with a bad list.” It’s because rules knowledge is the bigger variable in the system.

It’s also why players who have the time and capability to practice will always be better in the end. Likewise, it’s also why I will never be a great 40k player because I don’t have the time or capacity to practice, mainly because we live in the desert of 40K. I have plenty of time to “list build”, but that won’t mean a thing if the “atmospheric conditions” aren’t there for my list to work.

Another fine example I like to use on this point is that of owning your own bowling ball. What??? You've been bowling before, at least once I hope. You go to the lane, you select a ball from those the lane has available, and you play. Well, if you go bowling a lot, I highly recommend purchasing your own ball. You can get it drilled to fit your fingers, and it will help you get more consistent games. What I do not recommend doing is paying $300 for a professional ball and instead paying $40 for a cheap ball. Why? Because you aren't a good enough bowler for it to make a difference!

I will never be a good enough bowler to warrant a professional ball. I simply do not have the time or capacity to bowl that much because it's PRACTICE that makes you a good bowler, not the ball. I will wield a cheap ball and a professional ball with the exact same skill. A professional bowler will need a professional ball because he has so finely honed his skills that the ball is now actually making a difference.

With 40K, it's not different. Worry more about rules, practice, and game play. Like most, myself included, you will never be able to be part of a group of people who can practice enough 40K that fine tuning your toys and tidbits of information will make any difference. I recommend getting a ball if you play a lot because it helps, (getting a list you like), but beyond that, worrying about if your ball (army) is professional grade is all but meaningless.

My overall point? Study rules and the ways to use them to win games. Don’t sweat, “do I have a good list???” Optimized lists still regularly lose games. There’s tons of evidence to show that.

Instead, study rules. Join in on conversations about tactics and strategy. Stop worry about your list and start worrying about things like "how does someone best win a game with 5 objectives?" "How do you beat a Tau army?" "Does Logan Grimnar's abilities work when he's not on the table?" Much, much more important.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Grey Knights Dread Battery and Deep Strike List Core

The current GK list core I have been liking thus far is as follows. What’s a list core you might ask? A list core is a set of units that form the basis of a list. List cores differ from list to list and player to player, but basically, it’s the stuff that you feel is essential for a list to function like it is supposed to. Once you have met the core components, you can add, customize, or tailor your list according to how many points you have left or what you feel like bringing. I’ll do a BLOG post on list cores at some point, but there are also some already floating around in cyber-space if you care to read more about the concept.

Anyways, here’s the list core for the Deep Strike/Gun Battery list I’ve been running.


Librarian – Shrouding, Summoning, 3 x Servo Skulls – 175


1 x Venerable Dreadnaught + 2 x Twin-Linked Auto-Cannons + Psybolts – 195

1 x Venerable Dreadnaught + 2 x Twin-Linked Auto-Cannons + Psybolts - 195


10 x Strike Squad + 2 x Psycannons – 220

Razorback + Twin-Linked Las (Lasback) - 80

10 x Strike Squad + 2 x Psycannons – 220

Razorback + Twin-Linked Las (Lasback) - 80


Dreadnaught + 2 x Twin Linked Auto-Cannons + Psybolts – 135

Dreadnaught + 2 x Twin Linked Auto-Cannons + Psybolts - 135

Dreadnaught + 2 x Twin Linked Auto-Cannons + Psybolts – 135

So, before I even begin discussing, the first thing to note and the one thing I really dislike about this core is that it already consumes 1570 points just to fill the core. So, if you are looking to play at 2000 points, this doesn’t give you much play room just to mess around with. Do note, though, that if I had to play at 1500 (or likely 1750), I would probably drop a Venerable to free up points for more flexibility.

Anyways, this has been the down side of core builds for working with GKs since I really started looking at the dex. It always seems like by the time I get all the pieces together to formulate a basic game plan for a list, I’m already 1500+ in.

Now, I’ve already tried Purifier spam lists, just so you know. They work “decently”, but they desperately need a long range shooting element. Play tests have already shown me that you need a minimum of 3 Psybolt Dreads in order to make it really work. So, the core of any Purifier list starts for me as Crowe (150) + Dreads (405) = 555. From there, you can start putting in Purifier squads, but I have found also through play testing that you really struggle to get enough bodies into the list, especially to manage your 24 inch range.

Now, I’m not using this article to discuss Purifier list or Hencmen lists, but I wanted to specifically mention issues I was having with Purifiers lists so you can understand why I even sought out this other kind of list to begin with.

It’s easy to see that the core above puts out a lot of Strength 8, Twin-Linked Shots. Indeed, but that is not really what makes the list work. That being said, 20 TWIN-LINKED Strength 8 shots is equivalent to approximately 27 normal S8 shots. 27 is the number of shots my Logan-Wing Missile Spam would average. So, it is pretty devastating! Anyways, on to the what really makes this list work.

An Extremely Durable and Lethal Firebase

Combining Shrouding + Dreads in cover is just plain gross. A 12 armor dread is already a nuisance to kill. A 12 armor dread with a 3+ cover save is extremely durable. A 12 armor dread who can effectively ignore shaken/stunned results until the opponent can get a hood in range (usually 2 turns in my experience) is just ludicrous. A 12 armor dread who can do all of that, AND is venerable, is just impervious! Realize that a Vendetta only has a 12% chance of stopping one of these dreads from shooting, and those aren’t even the venerable ones. You can knock off guns, you can immobilize, but he’ll keep right on firing.

Play testing has shown me that basically, I end up with a fusillade of fire power equal to the general amount that my Logan Wing Missile Spam used to churn out that is about as durable as having 5 Land Raiders on the board so long as they are in cover. And they will be in cover. How? Because I will use available terrain and my own Razorbacks to make sure they are in cover. The libby will hide snuggly in the fire base, and out of LoS, behind a Razorback as well.

Generally, for this reason, I like to take a third vehicle of some kind.

Now, granted, this could be a bit dangerous if my opponent has a Manticore. Not everything is perfect, and we have ways of dealing with him in a moment in a pinch.

Also, no you can’t “just deepstrike back there and melta gun”. Because if you have a heavy DS element, I’ll put a Strike Squad back there to Warp Quake you away. A servo skull well placed will also keep you from scouting anywhere nearby. It’s rock solid.

Play tests have shown me that this fire base is extremely frustrating for my opponents. It’s very effective anti-vehicle and decent anti-infantry, which is difficult to shut down.

Deep Striking Troops

I deep strike my Strike Squads, generally. This gives me a board presence to contest or control objectives. It also allows me to get side shots, threaten rear elements, and a host of other goodies. The best part about this is, if my Strike Squad gets into a lot of trouble, my Librarian will use Summoning to summon them back to the supreme safety of “Fort Dreadnaught”.

Put a servo skull in your “fort” at least until they FAQ that summoned units don’t scatter.

Servo skulls are also great on the flanks to assist your Deep Strikes.

Dreadnaught Close Combat

The other crucial element that is making this list so effective for me is the plethora of Armor 12 Walkers and their ability to tie up assault units. My opponents are having a very difficult time approach the Razor wall, because if they get to close, the Dreads will step out, assault, and tie them up for the rest of the game. This provides just an immeasurable amount of defense versus melta gun units, Demons in general, Orks/Deldar fast assaults, and more. Especially if a Venerable dread gets into a unit, it’s a terror to ever pull him out. Just so you know, a Powerfist has terrible odds of killing a Dread.

Shooting list

This is a shooting, not assault list. And shoot it does. The Strike Squads can DS towards rear elements if the enemy advances to Psycannons side armor on say, that Manticore from before? Pew pew and threaten Long Fangs with an assault. And so on.

Last 400ish Points

So far, I’ve really been liking a 5 man terminator squad with Psycannon to either Deep Strike or go with the Librarian. I also have been tossing in another 5 man strike squad plus 3rd Lasback.

Give it a practice go and let me know if you have any good suggestion for improvement.

Friday, May 6, 2011

An Alternate CSM List Part 5

Board Control

For Part 5 of this series, I’m going to discuss Board Control. Previously, I have discussed the basis behind the alternate list, what it looks like, critical deployment tactics, and critical advancement tactics to make it work. However, just deploying and getting into position still won’t win games. Once you are there, you have to play smart, and the best way to do that with this type of list is to control the board with your Rhinos, models, and shooting. I call these types of tactics Board Control. They aren’t limited to just those listed here or to this type of army, but there are several key tactics that must be mastered if you expect this army to perform.

Using Your Rhino as a Shield

It’s already know that a real safe way to fire assault weapons is out of the top hatch of a Rhino. That’s great if you only have 1 or 2 weapons to bring to bear. However, our Chosen and Havocs squads are at their most lethal when bringing 4-5 assault weapons to bear.

Imagine in the action movies where the Police come rushing up, leap out of their cars, and take up cover behind the engine block (or the bad ones where they take up cover behind a flimsy door and would, in reality, get PWNED if not by the bullets then the shrapnel of their door exploding as bullets pour through it). We are going to use our Rhinos in a very similar fashion.

Before I get into the first use, remember that cover rules are that half your squad needs to be in cover to get cover. So, for a 5 man squad, that means that 3 guys need to be in cover. However, our 4 man assault weapon units need to put out 4 weapons to the enemy. Use the front slant of a Rhino to get this done. Say what? Take a look at the next image.

When you get out, get out on the side where the enemy is not. Put 4 of your assault weapons so that they can draw LoS over the front slant. The last guy goes anywhere. Now, you get cover and can still shoot.

Another tactic is what I refer to as “Make a Wall.” It’s still the same concept as using your Rhino as a shield. The idea here is that you drive up, bail out on one side, using the Rhino to block LoS from the other side, and PEW PEW the opponent on your side to death. Then, the other enemy can’t draw LoS to retaliate. Like this!

Now, imagine if we built a huge wall. We’ll call is the Great Rhino Wall of 40K! Rhino Walls are awesome because they block LoS, provide cover if not, and they prevent the enemy from assault the troops that got out. On top of that, if you have any smoke launchers left, use them. Even better, if they assault the Rhinos, they’ll need 6’s to hit. Even if the KILL the Rhino, they’ll have to go over diffuclt/dangerous in the assault phase to get to the troops which is not likely given the width of the Rhino + 1 inch away.

The above image also leads into Board Control tactic #2.

Isolate and Destroy / Drive Wedges

Notice how in the above image, the enemy line is now split. Your boys just jumped out to spray down the enemy with their nasty guns, and the over half of the enemy army can’t see to shoot, have to go through cover on what they might be able to see, and can’t assault it effectively. You have just driven a wedge into the enemy line.

The best part of this kind of tactic is the only portion of the enemy army that can fire back at you now is the part that you just sprayed down. Hopefully, you’ve done enough damage to significantly weaken their return fire. It’s called Board Control because you are controlling your enemy by denying him board space or building effective barriers.

Rhino Craters

When a Rhino explodes, it makes a crater. Climb into said crater and you get a 4+ cover save, and anything that assaults you now needs grenades or goes last. Handy.

Rhino Blocking

You can use your Rhino to block the movement of your enemy. This is super useful to prevent the enemy from closing with you are assaulting you. Refer to the image above. Notice how the line or Rhinos creates a wall that the enemy cannot assault through?

Another super useful feature of Rhinos is simply to block the forward movement of enemy tanks.

What happens when you park 2-3 Rhinos in the way in a line? He gets nowhere!

Use depleted or damaged units to find objectives and camp on them. Go to ground.

Deny Cover by Getting Right on Top of Them

A lot of units get cover because they are slightly behind something. Maybe a unit is using a small wall to shoot over it. Maybe a unit is using their Rhino like I described in #1?

Many times, you can deny the enemy cover by getting right on top of them. I call this a “Drive By”. You drive right up next to them, hop up, and unload. No cover because they are directly in LoS now.

Remember that models in your own unit do not block LoS to the target. A lot of times, you can line up 3 of your assault weapons so they can see clearly through a crack. It doesn’t matter if the last guy can see clearly or not because over half your squad can see, and thus, no cover save.


Another use for Rhinos and Board Control is what I refer to as a Boneyard. This is basically scuttling your Rhinos into the enemy. The goal is as is shown in #4. However, you do this en masse and in layers, with Rhinos behind Rhinos. Why? Because when the enemy kills them, he creates a barrier of dangerous/difficult terrain between you and him that his assault units may have to negotiate or cause his vehicles to get stuck in. It’s a Boneyard, like a Junkyard, because all the wreckage creates a complete mess!

Objective Rushing

The idea is here to flood the enemy objectives with bodies and Rhinos to contest them. Then, you take one of your troop units and claim a single objective for the win. You can do this because you are normally depositing 40-50 bodies on the field.

Chosen can Outflank!

Super useful! Don’t forget to use it especially against armies with Heavy back line elements like Guard. Nothing like pulling in from the side with 4 melta guns and taking out heavy units in the back.

This article is long enough! This hopefully just gives you some idea on the kinds of things you use for this type of army to work. I didn’t even get into terrain usage, more blocking, and lots of other tips.

Here’s the army to end the list with:

For this list, I just wanted to do something that looked like dumb fun. I really wanted to put Abbadon and a Land Raider in the list. I couldn't reasonably fit it in and follow the rules unless Abby rides by himself. Then I got to thinking, what's he need a retinue for anyways? He's only like one the strongest ICs in the game? Bah! He can ride by himself. (BTW, if they blow up the raider, he walks behind Rhinos conveniently out of LoS. You don't need the Land Raider and could make him walk like Mephiston which would be much more points efficient and use the 220 to get another Havocs squad plus some.)


Abby - 275

5 x Chosen + 4 x Melta - 165

5 x Chosen + 4 x Melta - 165

5 x Chosen + 4 x Melta - 165


5 x Plague Marines + 2 x Melta - 180
Rhino + Combi-Melta

5 x Plague Marines + 2 x Melta - 180
Rhino + Combi-Melta

5 x Plague Marines + 2 x Melta - 180
Rhino + Combi-Melta

Demons - 65 (objective holders)

Demons - 65 (objective holders)

5 x Havocs + 2 x Melta + 2 x Plasma - 170
Rhino + Combi-Melta

5 x Havocs + 2 x Melta + 2 x Plasma - 170
Rhino + Combi-Melta

Landraider - 220

This list is not ideal at all for what I'm going for, but most of the principles are still in play. I still have 9 vehicles. I still have small, throw-away units. I don't have enough plasma, though. Hopefully Abby will take care of that. :P (He probably won't but it'll still be fun for a game!)