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List Building, Scaling the Points in a List


Mr.MoreTanks

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Couple nights ago I was chatting with a roommate and AbusePuppy about army lists, specifically how bad I was and how much I struggled with making lists at 1,500pts.  I just couldn't get the tools I wanted into my list and I didn't feel like I could build a solid all comers list.  

 

I felt out of practice from all of the 1,750 and 1,850 point events and games I'd been playing.  I prefer bigger games, its super fun to pull out all your toys and throw down on the board.  Plus, the Guard scale very well at bigger points.  

 

But I can't help but feel that the more I play this game, especially in the current state of game, that 1,500pts and points close to there are perhaps some of the most challenging and complex lists to build, especially in high competitive tournament play.  You really can't cover all your bases, let alone feel like you can cover more than two or three things in your list very well. (Things include scoring, firepower, mobility, air power, air defense, psychic powers, etc).  So what do you bring?

 

Well Eldar seem to do the best right now with serpent spam, but it doesn't always have all the tools it needs.  Depending on lack of certain tools it can really struggle vs AV14, and with the new IG book that isn't really that unusual anymore.

 

So I guess the question is, what are the most important things you focus on in list building in 40k, primarily at more restrictive point levels like 1,500?  

 

Personally I like to focus on scoring, firepower, and disrupting the opponent's tactics with my deployment or units.  I usually use drop pods in conjunction with my IG blob gun lines.  Making the opponent deal with Marines in their deployment zone as I try to gun them apart from afar.  Doesn't always work, but overall I am happy with its record.  

 

So what do you need to bring in 40k to win?  What do you priorities in your lists?

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I think one of the reasons my 5th ed Ork army was the one I had the most success with was because it was the one that most closely synergized with my ideas on list building.  I had firepower for days, I had tons of resilient troops, and I had incredible disruption in the form of Snikrot.  My IG lists are getting close, but they really lack the disruption (see my use of allied SM scouts) element.  I find most of the lists you design are ones I could get behind the wheel of and feel comfortable.  If you put me behind a Lord Hanaur list I'd probably just cry.  

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I focus on Disruption 1st and mobility 2nd (although they often end up being the very same units which is convenient).  I want to take the enemy out of ITS game, and make them play mine.  Firepower is next on the list and then melee, in that order.

 

In the case of Imperial Gaurd, at 1500, i am primarily interested in Covering the core bases, which I outlined on the blog this month.  One unit of each type needs to be in there.  With the points remaining, I can spend the rest on nerfage.  I think at 1500, Coteaz is an incredible buy for IG.  He's disruption.  I also think that a unit of Ratling Snipers plays well at smaller points limits to eliminate key weapons within units and the chance of pinning.  As flyers are pretty expensive at 1500, and ANTI-flyers cheap and too plentiful at 1500, I might consider alternatives to them at 1500. the Rogue Riders can help you eliminate in a hurry any enemy troops choice in a hurry.  A biker Ally really makes that unit incredible at the lower points and drawing enemies into quadrants they dont want to go to is always smart.  Its that or get charged so dictating that choice to them is nice. 

 

 

I like 1500 point games.  So many less shenanigans and remember:  you aren't FACING as many either.  =)

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These priorities are only used for the creation of tournament lists. I just take cool models or whatever I have painted for friendly games :P

 

My first priority is always target saturation. I don't like deploying multiple types of threats, I like deploying a ridiculous number of a single kind of threat. My Eldar, for example, only deploy AV12 skimmers. My Space Marines/IG army only deploys AV14 with flyers to back it up. My Blood Angels army is nothing but jump infantry with 2+ saves (not that Nipplewing is a good army, but it is textbook target saturation). I like creating lists that cause other lists to be at an immediate disadvantage. If I picture myself sighing after getting paired against my list at a tournament, then I have done my job.

 

My second priority is to have threats at variable ranges. Having Terminators (CC) in Land Raider Crusaders (24") backed up by Lascannons (48") and Leman Russ Battle Tanks (72") means that I should be able to target any unit on the board with shooting if I have deployed correctly.

 

My third priority is scoring, both mobile and static. I like a mixture of mechanized or scoring units on the field and foot units in reserve.

 

My fourth priority is variable offensive capabilities. I need to be able to deal with AV12 Flyers, 2-3 AV14 vehicles, hordes of t3 models, and AV12 spam. Those are the 4 things that all of my lists have in mind during construction. These are the main things that you will see outside of fringe lists.

 

The last thing I look at is redundancy. If my lone unit of Fire Dragons die, how will I take out a Land Raider? I try to have a minimum of 2 separate units that can deal with each of the following: Flyers, AV14, or hordes.

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Chexmix, you are as hard core a tourney player as i know.  while your lists are fun, they are brutal.  Lol.  I've played them and seen what they do to people.  Your advice is definitely not wrong, its just one more way to skin a cat.

 

I dont like spamming because it makes you matchup susceptible.  In tournies you can coast for a bit on this kind of build because it hurts armies SO MUCH that haven't done an equal job of spamming.  the lists that prepared for you and get the jump are the ones that will beat this.  Alternately, ones that rob you of targets until you ARE the target is the other.  I tend to be the latter of the two.

 

But its not untrue.  This is definitely an effective way to go.

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So I guess the question is, what are the most important things you focus on in list building in 40k, primarily at more restrictive point levels like 1,500? 

 

I think one thing to remember is that the possible functionalities of a list are going to be different at 1500, 1750, 1850, 2000, etc; there are some lists that just don't work at certain point values. In 1500, for example, Tyranids don't have enough points to bring a Skyblight Swarm, so that option isn't really open to them. Similarly, Draigowing and many other character-based armies don't work in the lower point ranges, either, and oftentimes allies will not as well. On the flip side, an 1850pt list will have a lot harder time achieving saturation with many kinds of targets because you're likely to see more firepower- and more diverse firepower- in the armies you face.

 

I generally lean towards destructive capacity as my first goal in a list- if you can break the other guy's toys, it doesn't really matter what their plan was. That said, I've run all sorts of lists in the past, from ones focused on resilience to ones focusing on scoring to pure assault armies, but at the end of the day the first thing I look at when I'm writing an army is almost inevitably "how am I going to be able to hurt the other guy?"

 

I think in 1500pts armies really need to have a core competency and focus on that. There isn't a lot of room for bells and whistles at that level, so you really need to make sure you're doing your one thing well enough to win games.

 

 

My first priority is always target saturation. I don't like deploying multiple types of threats, I like deploying a ridiculous number of a single kind of threat.

 

Saturation is really key and it's something that a lot of players tend to overlook. There is an enormous value to having all of your army need the same type of guns to kill them. It's certainly possible to make "hybrid" lists that field many different kinds of targets, but balancing them is a lot trickier.

 

 

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I'm like hanur disruption is my first goal followed by scoring then firepower. I like making my opponent sweat and think harder than I do. My tactics function on acceptable casualties, everything is possibly sacrificial makes it harder to cripple my force and I like always having an option.

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I'm of much the same philosophy as Fluger and MrMoreTanks*: Scoring and Firepower, with a bit of disruption if I can fit it in. I like to have at least redundancy of function, if not actual duplication of key units, so an Army that's focusing strongly on saturating one aspect can't completely shut me down by taking out one thing.

 

I also find 1500 to be my favorite level to play at, specifically because it's so tight. List-building at 1850 or 2K feels easy, I can get everything I need in without struggling, but 1500 is hard.

 

*I've actually had close to mirror match games against both of them, with no intention of going for that. We just have approaches that similar.

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I'm of much the same philosophy as Fluger and MrMoreTanks*: Scoring and Firepower, with a bit of disruption if I can fit it in. I like to have at least redundancy of function, if not actual duplication of key units, so an Army that's focusing strongly on saturating one aspect can't completely shut me down by taking out one thing.

 

I also find 1500 to be my favorite level to play at, specifically because it's so tight. List-building at 1850 or 2K feels easy, I can get everything I need in without struggling, but 1500 is hard.

 

*I've actually had close to mirror match games against both of them, with no intention of going for that. We just have approaches that similar.

 

I don't think we could disagree more on 1500 point games. Even at 1750+ this game in it's current form is very rock/paper/scissors. There is, again in my opinion, no way to make a list at 1500 that covers all your bases. If you're getting everything you need even at 1750 then you must not be playing against a variety or lists, or ones designed to exploit weaknesses in opponents armies. You cannot build a single army that can deal with psychic deathstars, blob guard, flying circus, and SM bike superfriend lists even at 1750. At 1500 the game is even more match-up dependant since at that point level, after you've paid for enough troops to hope to score objectives, you can maybe get the tools for half of those problems.

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Guest Mr. Bigglesworth

At 1500 I like max board coverage, so msu scoring and disruption vanguard.

 

For sm This often looks like razor/rhino rush supported by drop pods and jump.

 

For tau this is farsight max crisis troops, and prihanas.

 

Nids it was just max swarm with minimal mcs, I liquidated nids just didn't feel them so not up to date on the data sheets

 

1500 I look for turn 1-2 decisive blow.

 

Larger games I tend to play more reactive.

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I don't think we could disagree more on 1500 point games. Even at 1750+ this game in it's current form is very rock/paper/scissors. There is, again in my opinion, no way to make a list at 1500 that covers all your bases.

 

Eh. You might not be able to make a list that has perfect solutions to everything, but I think it's entirely possible to make an army that has pretty decent ways to deal with just about any army you could reasonably face. People said this exact same thing all through 5E as well and I don't think it was true then, either.

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Eh. You might not be able to make a list that has perfect solutions to everything, but I think it's entirely possible to make an army that has pretty decent ways to deal with just about any army you could reasonably face. People said this exact same thing all through 5E as well and I don't think it was true then, either.

 

Okay, go to it. Psychic Deathstar, blob guard, skyblight, SM biker superfriends.

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If we assume the changes that many tournaments are using for the Seerstar/Screamerstar (essentially making 2+ rerollables weaker on the reroll), then the list I've been playing for the past couple of months fits the bill pretty well. I beat Blob Guard, Damonic Flying Circus, and Serpent Spam with it at the invitational this past weekend (although admittedly the last one was due to Mikhail rolling super-[big bad swear word]ty for penetration against me) and have practiced regularly against Biker Marines and Tyranid Flying Circus. And, with the inclusion of the the Knight/Knights (depending on points level), it has a pretty strong game against the deathstars as well.

 

The list is essentially one of a couple HQs (Farseer, Spiritseer, or Autarch, depending), three Wave Serpents with troops in them, two Jetbike units, two Warp Spider units, two Shadow Weavers, and a Knight at 1500. It can struggle a little bit against actual flyers, but FMCs will usually drop to the sheer number of grounding checks it can force and once they're on the ground it's pretty simple to annihilate them.

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It will depend a lot on how other things change; if, for example, being Grounded means you can't fly on your ensuing turn (which would make some sense if you only take a Grounding check at the end of a shooting phase), FMCs will still be a lot more on-par. Similarly, if Snap Shots really are only -2BS now rather than always BS1, it will make them much easier to shoot down. There's still way too much we don't know- not to mention the fact that all of the changes we've heard are still largely unconfirmed at this point- to really say anything meaningful about the new edition.

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Just my opinion, but I don't see how the vague outline of a list you gave deals consistently with a seercouncil. Witchblades should kill a knight before it swings, and they're going to have their own serpents too. Even nerfing the re-roll on a 2+ to a 4+ is still only 1 in 12 wounds sticking. Generally that's still pointless to mess with unless fortune isn't working.

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The Autarch version runs with a Banshee Mask, which means that the Knight is actually swinging before the Council is, and at 1500pts fitting any kind of support alongside the council is actually kinda tough. Obviously going first helps a ton (as it can virtually erase the unit before they get a turn), but if they go first it should still kill off ~3 models in the Council before assault and then get at least two more in melee- and if they don't get Protect/fail to cast it/I roll a 6 on Stomp I'm in a really good place. Even if they kill the Knight, chances are high that the explosion will further cripple/destroy the unit.

 

Obviously there's a ton of variables there and it could very, very easily turn against me- but it could just as easily turn against the other guy as well. I've got good Ignores Cover firepower, a strong melee defense, and large numbers of scoring units to try and play to the mission- short or working to ally in a Rune Priest or playing as Tyranids, I don't think that there's much else I could do to improve my game against Seerstar.

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If you are going first and have LoS with enough of your stuff to "virtually erase" them then you're either playing an idiot or with no LoS blocking terrain. I don't like to consider either of these situations since those are silly.

 

Not sure how much support is really lost since both armies have 2 roughly equal HQs, so the Knight and a unit or 2 should pay for the locks and the nominal cost of the DE since Baron is criminally cheap.

 

We're not going to agree on this since our experiences playing 1500 point games seem to be so divergent that we won't come to a consensus.

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Eh. You might not be able to make a list that has perfect solutions to everything, but I think it's entirely possible to make an army that has pretty decent ways to deal with just about any army you could reasonably face. People said this exact same thing all through 5E as well and I don't think it was true then, either.

 

Well the perfect solution to everything is smarts.  That makes up for a lot when it comes to matchups that dont look super favorable. 

 

It's not ALL the list.  Assuming dice don't screw you, which always has to be an assumption to talk about this stuff, Timing, not making mistakes and allowing the enemy TO make mistakes are all parts of the game.

 

What I'd be interested to hear about is, GIVEN an unfavorable matchup, how then would you go about it.  Lets assume a NOVA board (LOS blocker in the middle and generally 4ish peices of terrain that generally looks a lot like the "5" pips on a die.

 

I really enjoy reading stuff like that.  In fact I recommended the 11th Company (or any aspiring Podcast for that matter) use VASSAL or other software to set up game situations and ask for solutuions, which the responders cannot see.  Then see how many different solutions were offered, sumarize it and show the results. 

 

It would be involved but someone with gumption could do it and I think it would be fun to watch.

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If you are going first and have LoS with enough of your stuff to "virtually erase" them then you're either playing an idiot or with no LoS blocking terrain. I don't like to consider either of these situations since those are silly.

 

Not sure how much support is really lost since both armies have 2 roughly equal HQs, so the Knight and a unit or 2 should pay for the locks and the nominal cost of the DE since Baron is criminally cheap.

 

We're not going to agree on this since our experiences playing 1500 point games seem to be so divergent that we won't come to a consensus.

 

They're spending ~500pts on the Warlocks, ~250pts on the Farseers, and 100pts on the Baron.That's rather a lot more than me.

 

If they can hide their entire army- including over a dozen Jetbikes and however many troop units (more bikes or Serpents, etc) from everything I have even despite a 12" move, I would say that the table has too much terrain on it.

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They're spending ~500pts on the Warlocks, ~250pts on the Farseers, and 100pts on the Baron.That's rather a lot more than me.

 

If they can hide their entire army- including over a dozen Jetbikes and however many troop units (more bikes or Serpents, etc) from everything I have even despite a 12" move, I would say that the table has too much terrain on it.

 

You've got 2 Eldar HQs as well, so that's a wash. So 500 + 100 - 375... 225 points difference in "support" units isn't much more than losing a spider squad.

 

I was under the impression you were talking about virtually erasing the council. If you think you can virtually erase their entire army top of turn 1, well, we really are playing completely different games then.

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Uh... no I don't. I'm generally running just the Autarch, although sometimes the Spiritseer/Farseer replaces him. I'm also not sure how a Warp Spider squad comes out to 225pts. Mine cost 95pts; are you just buying every possible upgrade willy-nilly for yours?

 

If I go first, I have enough guns to pretty much kill them (or kill most/all of the rest of their army if they've hidden the Council, which will functionally be the same thing as at that point I can just hide and play to the mission.) Obviously if they get all their buffs up killing them in a single turn is not really possible, barring insane luck. But if I Seize on them, for example, chances are they are deployed aggressively and I should be able to cause some pretty intense damage, and if I just go first and there's not a ton of LOS-blocking terrain (which is quite common at tournaments, for better or for worse) I can do the same.

 

I'm not saying my game against them is great. It's essentially a coin flip, and that's one of the reasons I dislike the Seer/Screamerstar armies. But as I said, short of playing Tyranids or SW, there's not really anything that can be done to improve that.

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