The 11th Company 40K Podcast

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Kill Point Denial and Multiple Objective Missions / The New Power List Pt 3

So far in this series, Part 1 covered some useful definitions of where this thought process is going focusing on Multiple Objective Missions and Kill Point Denial. Part 2 focused on some reasons why Kill Point Denial lists might be advantageous in a Multiple Objective Mission. This article is going to cover the Tao of Kill Point Denial. What are the useful principles and definitions when thinking about KP Denial?

This article will begin to touch on the discussion about what makes a Kill Point Denial list. The first discussion revolves around common game mechanics that can be used to identify potential units in a build which excel at denying kill points.

Well, the first and most obvious principle behind a KP Denial list is to make sure you don't give up Kill Points! (DUR!)

The less obvious yet still simple point though is that not giving up Kill Points doesn't necessarily have to translate to a "tough" unit or a Death Star. Yes, super units like wound allocated Paladins are very hard to kill, but there are other things to consider as well. Keep the following factors in mind while you think about the principle of being tough because you will see that a lot of units in the game are a lot tougher than you may have given them credit for.

Infantry over Tanks

Simple fact is, a single lucky shot can take out a tank. (Although this can happen to infantry too with templates, morale, and some other things). Generally, this is not true for infantry models. Further, Infantry can often carry that one gun that can take out a tank, earning them positive kill points, (positive kill points - when a unit kills 1 or more enemy units, thus earning its value in kill points or more)

In general, infantry is just tougher than tanks. I realize this flies right in the face of common 5th ed. wisdom, but the whole KP Denial strategy revolves around playing Multiple Objective Missions and not Book Missions. Infantry can more easily hide completely out of LoS, infantry can absorb more shooting on average, and infantry are more capable of getting positive kill points.

You just need to watch out for...

Shooting withers, Assault destroys:

So, like in most action shooters, for whatever reason, guns seem to do less damage than melee attacks. (Don't ask me, but if you think about it, there are a lot of games like this besides the one listed...) 40K shares this concept when it comes to INFANTRY, not TANKS. Here's why.

When infantry receive fire, if played well and on a board with enough terrain, they should have a 4+ cover save. Right away, even if you don't get your armor save, you still deny 50% of all incoming fire. You can even go to ground to deny 66%. You don't need an expensive model with an invulnerable save to protect you from AP 1/2 shooting like you would need in an assault to protect from Power style weaponry.

Since you can't be swept, killed by a Power Fist, caused to take fearless wounds, or a whole host of other reasons why assault murders infantry, suddenly, large, cheap units become quite resilient. Like an Ork Mob, a block of 20 Bloodletters, a 20 man CSM squad, and even 10 Blood Angels with Feel No Pain.

Furthermore, when your unit gets low, that's when you find a place to hide it out of LoS.

They key for most units (not all mind you, you need to be flexible)? Don't get assaulted!

Range Reduces Fire

Possibly the most effective way to survive the shooting phase is not get shot. (Dur!)

Thinking about it, for infantry models with a cover save and 10+ models, anti-tank weaponry isn't all that fearsome. Sure, you might have to use your cover save instead of your armor, but you can absorb a tremendous amount of damage.

Most anti-infantry fire is 36 inch range or less. (Look through the books, you'll see). Operating at long ranges (48+ inches) will make your units that much tougher simply by the fact that the enemy will either be out of range or simply unable to bring his anti-infantry fire to bear.


Terrain is a huge consideration for the Kill Point Denial list. If you play in an area with very little terrain or very little LoS blocking terrain, your options for what will make an effective KP Denial list will be vastly more limited than if you play in an area with more LoS blocking terrain.

Being able to hide out of LoS is a tremendous advantage for a KP Denial list because you simply can't be shot. For example, one really excellent unit at KP Denial strategies are Space Marine Bikes. However, they are utterly reliant on terrain to achieve maximum potential.


Well, they are already Toughness 5 with a 3+ save. They have the ability to turbo-boost for a 3++. (Later I'll discuss more Tao of KP Denial and why Bikes are even better because of contesting potential) However, bikes are expensive and can die to concentrated fire power.

If you have an adequate amount of terrain on the board, however, Bikes can simply hide behind it. Then, when the enemy gets to close, like to assault, you turbo-boost away and behind more terrain. You continue to "frog hop" from terrain to terrain. Works great!

Without terrain, though, most KP Denial strategies now have to almost utterly rely on units with reserve denial strategies, that are just outright tough to kill, or other weird game mechanics.

The purpose of this article was just to discuss some thoughts that should be running through your head when it comes to identifying or selecting potential units or strategies for achieving a Kill Point Denial build.

The next article will cover some of the basic roles that need to be filled in a KP Denial list to achieve the kind of effectiveness described in the previous Part 2 article.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Kill Point Denial and Multiple Objective Missions / The New Power List Pt 2

So, the entire point of this series is to really discuss why a Kill Point Denial list might be so much stronger than the traditional transport based MSU that has been the hallmark of 5th Edition since Imperial Guard hit the scene.

The last article served to define some key elements to this argument. The first key to the entire discussion is that this notion is really intended to only apply to game settings in which MULTIPLE OBJECTIVES are in play.

The second is that Kill Point Denial lists are lists which are designed to deny Kill Points (duh). Although related to Death Star lists, they are not necessarily the same and in many cases are dramatically different. Many good Kill Point Denial lists don't have Death Stars.

So, why would a Kill Point Denial list have an upper hand in a multiple objective mission?

Consider a normal, multiple objective mission game. Let's say there are 3 objectives in play. The concept of a fair game then involves two players each competing over those 3 objectives. He who can earn the most, wins. The idea is that both sides must actively compete over the 3 objectives.

What if I all but guaranteed one side a single objective of the 3 before the game started? How would this alter the dynamics of the game?

Well first, the side that was already guaranteed the objective would:

- Only ever have to worry about competing over the remaining 2.

- Have the option of merely preventing his opponent from claiming the other 2 objectives, because he's already got one to win with.

His Opponent:

- Not necessarily expecting to have auto-lost one objective from the jump, tried to build his list to win all 3 objectives. He is now at an efficiency disadvantage to the guy who already knew he auto-claims one objective.

- Has to claim 2 objectives now to win, not just tie. Whereas, the KP Denial list only has to DENY 2, not claim any, or.....

....then another reality of 3 objective missions sets in, TIE-BREAKERS.

Many of the 3 Objective Missions that are in play in tournaments and GTs have tie breakers. What is usually the tie-breaker in a game? Victory Points.

Guess what else a Kill Point Denial list is really good at? Not giving up Victory Points!

Thus, we have another advantage:

- The Kill Point Denial list really only has to focus on stopping the opponent from getting ONE SINGLE objective, not BOTH. Why? He knows that he can force a tie on objectives, he'll most likely win on Victory Points.

Let's say we are in a tournament where the 3 missions objectives are the 3 book missions:

- Seize Ground (3 objectives in play)
- Capture and Control (roll dice and tie)
- Annihilation (kill points)

Now, just by the names above, how easy do you think it would be for a well designed KP Denial list to claim one of the above objectives and TIE in another?

(See what I did there?)

MSU or Transport Armies inherently come with a ton of kill points. Kill Point Denial lists can abuse this fact to almost guarantee wins on Kill Points.

However, MSU armies have no such return guarantee that they can claim mission objectives by completing Seize Ground style objectives. And even if they can, it will be even more difficult for them to claim a 2nd objective (Cap & Control, Quarters, whatever...) and then not lose on a VP tie breaker.

One of the big reasons for this is that the effective KP Denial List, once its had its core of KP Denial filled, should now focus on what it takes to contest Seize Ground objectives.

The next big reason is that, at the end of the day, you can't win Seize Ground by "doing something" and then simply not playing the game anymore.

By that, I mean that a Kill Point Denial list always has the luxury of "kill something and run" or "hide behind terrain". You can't do that an win at objectives. You have to stay in the game, the WHOLE game.


The entire point of this article is to try to convince you that there be some validity to this whole KP Denial Argument.

When in doubt, just refer to this guy for further instruction:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Kill Point Denial and Multiple Objective Missions / The New Power List Pt 1

5th Edition is winding down, and over the past few months, I have been digging through the concept of Kill Point Denial lists. In my opinion, at least until 6th ed. rolls out, Kill Point Denial lists are the most powerful list concept for the rising GT setting of using multiple mission objectives as part of the determination about who wins a game.

This is a very specific thought, but I really think it deserves some community consideration. Towards the conversation, let's note that I'm only really talking about GT style settings which include missions where multiple "book" "style" objectives are in play.

Multiple Book-Style Objectives:

First, I use the term "book-style" because I don't just want to limit the conversation to GTs which only use exact book missions. There are very important reasons for that!

I'm saying "Book-Style" because I'm referring to missions which are largely, loosely, or exactly spins on the 3 stock missions provided to us in the 40K rule book. Adepticon has a large number of "objectives" this year according to their primers, and most of them are variations on those provided to us in the BRB or previous BRB editions, with some exceptions. The NoVA Open is also similar in that it's missions are largely spins on the on the BRB missions with the exception of the "Quarters" mission, which is a spin on the previous editions BRB mission.

Then there are large events like the Bay Area Open which simply put all 3 book missions in play, exactly as they stand, with an exception to the number of seize ground objectives. This format is actually becoming quite popular in our local area as well.

Even events like the ETC which has a wildly variant format to most GTs, is still using book style variants in multiples to determine points earned per round.

The major contribution that I am taking away from this is not the actual missions themselves BUT the following two points:

1) The missions for these GTs involve multiple objectives being in play at the same time to determine a winner. Generally, this is he who accomplishes the most objectives or your ability to "tie down" (that is to play for a tie on some objectives and try to win on others).

2) A lot of these missions are based off the fundamental concepts of "take objectives" and "earn kill points".

Kill Point Denial Lists

I've mentioned this concept quite a few times either on the podcast, blog, or forums over the past few months because I am now firmly believing that KP Denial Lists are the new Power List in the waning days of 5th Ed. 40K. I'll explain why in a bit, but first, I need to define what Kill Point Denial is.

A Kill Point Denial list is a list which seeks to give up as few kill points as possible. In short, it generally seeks to abuse the Kill Point mission introduced in 5th Edition by building a list which will specifically try to grab a few kill points from the enemy while trying to deny the enemy the ability to claim any of their own. At face value, any army really seeks to do this, killing the enemy without getting killed, but the reality of this type of list in 40K is a bit more "gamey" than that.

It's easier to talk about this with examples. The new Necron codex provides a great one! Suppose I construct a Necron list with the intent of keeping the Night Fighting rule in effect for the entire game. Naturally, this would include an Imotekh + Chronotek combination along with a couple solar pulses. Using this concept, my goal will be to utilize Imotekh's Lightning special attack to destroy a vehicle or two during the game to claim a couple of kill points. Otherwise, my goal will be to hide my entire army behind terrain, in reserve, or use something like Scarabs en mass which are great for KP denial because they are so hard to actually remove from the table for most armies.

My overall goal? Rather than actually "play" a game of 40K, my goal is to "game" the Kill Point mission, kill 2 Rhinos, and otherwise do not engage my opponent at all. Then, I will try to win the game 2-0.

Imagine that you play a game of 40K where you spend almost the entire game trying to chase down your opponent who runs from you the entire time, for 5-7 turns, and finally defeats you because during the course of that, he killed 2 Rhinos. You lose! Wasn't that FUN?!


Deathstars live in infamy as the units in 40K in which a ton of points get put into a large unit which seems to overwhelm the opponent with brute force. Famous death stars are units like:

- Paladin-stars (Draigo-stars)
- Tyranid Tyrant-Death Stars
- Nob Bikerz
- Thunder Lord/Thunder Cav- Stars
- Large Terminator Units
- Jet-Seers

The reason I am bringing these types of units up is because at their core, Death Star units EXCEL at morphing into Kill Point Denial Lists. Why is that?

Because Death Stars are generally very good at claiming 2+ kill points before they themselves give up a single kill point. Since they are generally very tough and capable of earning more kill points than they give up, not to mention generally absorbing multiple opponent turns of damage, they allow for very easy scenarios in which the rest of the army can hide or run, again trying to win by a small kill point margin by effectively not engaging the enemy.

Also, argued as not being very effective by internet pundits, the general theory behind how to defeat a Death Star is to just dump your entire army into it OR to simply IGNORE it. Both of these strategies, when you think about it, are geared towards "objective taking". In kill points, you can choose to ignore the Death Star but not if its claiming a couple of kill points while the rest of your opponent's army hides behind terrain.

Kill Points Versus Objectives (MSU vs. KP Denial)

A year or two ago, the internet was ablaze with Space Wolf hate. Now, the 40K community has transformed all of that hate onto Grey Knights. Either way, a large part of the Space Wolf hate of yesterday centered around the idea of MSU lists being the superior list to the Death Star list. A lot of this hate really focused on the Razor Spam (Razor Wolves) and IG lists which were the basic transport + small unit paradigm which was doing so well at tournaments.

The arguments at the time were that MSU style lists were really good at objectives and "good enough" at Kill Points to win more GTs. The basic idea there is the "death star" list would lose in objective games and thus you only ever needed a MSU list because "death star" lists wouldn't make it into final rounds anyways.

Haters are gonna hate on whatever army they perceive as winning and come up with a myriad of reasons why. However, there is a legitimate points, I believe, that was brought up about the whole situation.

MSU = Better at objectives

Death Star (now Kill Point Denial) = Better at kill points.

This thought process in my opinion is very valid when you are considering book missions alone, where only one objective is in play.

However, in the next few articles, I'm going to examine the new reality of 40K, kill point denial, and how all of this applies to events with multiple objectives in play.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Foot Opportunity

As 5th ed winds to a close, the release of both GKs and Necrons has seriously had me thinking now about the general power of an infantry heavy list.

Both GKs and Necrons have brought some serious anti-light armor fire power to the game of 40K. This is so much so that AV 11 vehicles are often becoming quite a liability, especially in kill point games.

Even Imperial Guard, the champion of AV 12 armies, is starting to seriously feel the pinch. Psycannons and Telsa Destructors abound as do Wraiths, Psybolt Dreads, Scarabs, and more. A Psycannon, believe it or not, is generally more destructive against a Chimera than a missile launcher just due to the volume of shots, further exacerbated when the GK player negotiates his way into side armor which will eventually happen in a given game. This is also true of the Tesla Destructor which also has the ability to contribute a little anti-infantry firepower in the form of Arcs even while it is attempting to shut down Av 12 vehicles.

A lot of people dislike the term "meta", and I'm not sure why. That aside, if you consider that the game of 40K is ever-evolving when a new book comes out, if you don't like the concept of a meta, then I prefer to call it an arms race.

New codex brings new tools. News tools (for a good release) are leveraged against the current arms race. They work. This causes players to adjust their strategies or technique to now engage the new threat.

Best example: the searchlight! Nearly worthless until Necrons came out, now every vehicle takes them. Arms race.

If you have your finger on the pulse of the arms race, there are often small windows of time, usually a tournament season or so, where you can use knowledge of that race to utilize some previously dismissed tools and techniques to leverage an advantage in a GT setting.

(This is basically the definition of meta-gaming, but call it what you will)

With so many armies now geared up to destroy the light-armor threat, I think there is a brief window where you will start getting a little more success out of your old foot-oriented lists. This doesn't mean that you should drop all your vehicles, but I think, at least until 6th comes out, that you will see a slight advantage being gained in the overall durability of foot infantry.

In thinking about it, though, you will need to address a few critical issues which differ from what normal foot strategy looks like. As with any army in 5th ed., you will need some kind of speed element, preferably something that can outflank or deepstrike. This helps out tremendously in objective style missions.

Overall, though, the biggest reason why foot is going to be very powerful in the twilight of 5th ed. is the kill point mission.

A couple of years ago, the Kill Point mission was actually pretty hotly debated topic. The reason is that a lot of players consider the Kill Point mission to be an obtuse way of balancing MSU armies while others thought it was a critical design to 5th ed., placed there for a reason.

My personal belief, being that this is my blog, is that Kill Point missions were poorly designed for 5th ed. I hope, if we continue them into 6th, that some thought is put into how Kill Points missions balance out when the opponent brings a Draigowing with only 4 kill points it, most of which are impossible to get. The reason for that is to avoid the oh so fun mission of "I kill 3 transports then run for the rest of the game! I win 3-0!"

It's almost as fun as roll dice and tie!

That being said, since the past 3-4 years of competitive 40K have been all about "MOAR VEHICLES!", the last year or so of 40K has seen that a foot based, kill point denial list can be extremely competitive when the opponent is inundated with easy to claim transports.

This is further exacerbated now since the last 2 releases have handed out anti-AV 11 weaponry to no end.

In the waning days of 5th ed., we have also seen a rise in what I call the "combo-mission" to make fun, competitive GT games of 40K. This generally involves some combination of book missions which includes objectives and kill points in some fashion in every mission.

One of the other balances that the "kill points were designed to be a balancing act" don't address is that when we start including objectives and kill points in the same missions, where you can win one element but not both, it's much easier to contest objectives and win on kill points for a kill point denial list than it is for an MSU list to tie on kill points and win on objectives.

Just some thoughts for list builders out there as we work our way into 6th ed.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

ProgPower 2012 - Epica Headliner on Friday also Requiem for the Indifferent

This is a rare opportunity with Epica coming to the US. Now, this might be the kick off of a US tour, which I hope it is.

And although I will probably the oldest person in attendance, I'm going.

So, aside from this, been listening to Requiem for the Indifferent since this morning.

I always love it when a band doesn't change their sound to much from album to album. All bands should do this. When I buy your album, I bought it because I liked the rest of your stuff. Epica does not disappoint. This album is more Epica, exactly what you may have come to expect.

It's good. It's definitely not their best release which i still think in the Divine Conspiracy. They can't all be the best, though! I actually liked Design Your Own Universe better as well.

That being said, it's still very musical, very entertaining, and very Epica.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

X-Con Myrtle Beach Warhammer 40K Tournaments

X-CON will be hosting 2 Warhammer 40K tournaments on May 19th and May 20th. The tournaments are being organized and run by us, the 11th Company Podcast.

You can buy tickets here:

Friday, March 9, 2012

Epica Pre-Order

Pre-ordered my copy of their new album. Set to release in the states on March 13th.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Consistent Army Performance and Tournament Results

Even if you aren't a regular visitor to the 40K internet scene, you have most likely read about the ongoing war between the ideas of "bad army" versus "good army".

Let's explore this a little so I can get on with the points I want to make.

Internet Pundits claim that X army is bad....

Heard about this one before I hope! You'll get constant, cliche, and boring arguments on either side of this paradigm just about daily on the blogosphere. Just today, I've already seen 3 articles written that touch on this subject. One was an author explaining how XXX army is uncompetitive and two more articles where authors threw in a couple snipes about how ______ army performed well at a tournament, as proof that the "internet pundits" are wrong.

A couple points to clear up here before I continue.

A) I don't think all army books are balanced and do believe that some armies are not as competitive inherently as others. So, you know what camp I'm in. (I do a codex countdown on the subject).

B) Seriously, the camp that keeps saying "internet pundits are wrong" are themselves "internet pundits". Seriously guys, you are just in the camp that thinks they are right in the opposite direction. The "internet" doesn't think Orks suck. YOU are the internet too. I am the internet too, and ALSO an internet pundit because I put my unfounded opinion on this BLOG and Podcast all the time.

(For whatever it's worth, I like Orks a lot! Heart attack! I think some books aren't balanced and Orks aren't one of them... so I guess I'm a third camp of internet pundits?)

C) And this is fundamental part about where I am going with this...

First, the entire argument is subjective.

Second, using tournament results as proof of how all books perform is fundamentally flawed. We all know that. Match-ups, luck, players, and on and on. In fact, if we really wanted to see anything even remotely resembling evidence, we would be much better of looking at lots and lots of tournaments over time... you know.... a statistical study.


Third, it always funny because even though tournament results get used to prove the case that XXXX army does work, the argument almost always looks like this....

"Big GUNZ Tournament was won by Grey Knights BUT Orks came in 3rd! So, as you can see, Orks still work...."

End of the day....

Consistency is what wins GTs

One of the reasons why you see the proposed "top tier" armies (generally considered GK, IG, and SW at the moment... although if you ask me Necrons should be there too) generally coming in First and the non-top-tier coming in 3rd (as the example above) is it requires consistent performance to win in a GT.

Can Tyranids beat Grey Knights? SURE! Especially if you get to play against a GK player who isn't very good, has a poorly thought out list, or simply just a good match-up. Heck, you can still win even if your opponent is awesome with a completely tailored anti-Tyranid list. (non-deterministic....)

Can you beat 7 Grey Knight players, at random, where each subsequent player gets better and has a better list, where the odds are 1-2 of the lists you will face are terrible match-ups for you, in a row? Hmmmmm........ maybe not so much?

Most avid GT goers will tell you that their performance in a GT is directly related to match-ups. Top tier armies tend to WIN GTs more often because they match-up better versus MOST armies.

Whereas a player who brings an army with more bad match-ups, dramatically increases his odds of getting a bad game. Now, you can play through bad match-ups, especially if your opponent doesn't leverage that, but the longer you win in a GT, the harder this gets.

Difficulty of match-ups generally scales as you win because the opponents get better, their lists get better, and the potential for a non-top-tier list to be abused also grows because of that.

At the end of the day, the only point I'm really trying to make here is that the performance of your army should not be judged in one-off games but in if it can consistently win progressively harder games over 6-8 rounds. That's what makes a GT winning army.... not an army that comes in the Top 10.


Lists which meta well also perform well. One thing I've noticed, but haven't bothered to prove is that good players with "off" lists seem to win a good bit more than good players with "standard" looking lists.

I'll cover this in another article, but I wanted to at least bring up the idea in this article that lists which can "screw with" the standard meta consistently perform well for obvious reasons as well.... at least until they run into another list which is attempting to do the same thing as them.