It occurred me today that people are underestimating the amount of fire support needed to neutralize your opponent's vehicles.  This is even more exaggerated when facing lists like mechanized Imperial Guard or any Razorspam list.  Hell, I've even done it on occasion and it was evident when I ran scenarios in my head for a tweak to my Nova Open list.  But how much is enough and when do you have too much?  Unfortunately, there isn't a clear cut answer for this as there are other tactical means to marginalize vehicles, but knowing approximately where that sweet spot is becomes an important skill.  Experience is the most important factor here, as you can only find out where that spot is by playing games in your "scene", whether it be on the local or national level.

 
 
I'm not going to lie, there is no love between me and games below 1750 points...at least in the competitive sense.  Players can argue semantics if they so desire, but it is my opinion that the game is best played at 1750-2000 points.  Its the sweet spot where you can build balanced lists in nearly every codex, but doesn't give any particular advantage to a specific army (i.e. Dark Eldar/Imperial Guard in low point games).  At this level, you can take tactical choices in your army and actually build synergy between your units, but not to the amount of stupid 2500 points can become.  And on the other side of the spectrum, going lower than 1750 points pretty much forces limitations on your list that most armies are hard pressed to cover.  That makes the games much more lopsided and Paper-Rock-Scissors like, as games can simply come down to random chance.  If your opponent can defeat your weakness, then the game is going to be short.  Or your "deathstar" unit is simply unstoppable, because your opponent didn't have enough points to build enough counters into his list.  The game simply is not as fun to me at this level.

So what is my point?  I build my lists for 2000 points, and on occasion 1850, as that is what most tournaments demand here in the States.  These lists work at their designated points level.  While I'm happy to take requests for scaling down my lists to lower points levels (i.e. 1500), the lists do not work as they should.  Too much is being sacrificed and the list loses its synergy.  Thus, any low/mid-point range list based off one of my 2000 point armies, have no guarantees of success.  It is better to build a new list from scratch, as even a few hundred points can change the whole philosophy of an army.  Just remember that when/if you ask me to scale my lists down.  Don't expect miracles.  :D
 
 
I was wandering around the Games Workshop website this evening browsing and discovered some interesting news.  I had heard rumors that there was a new store in Minneapolis opening up, so I wanted to see if I could find any information on it.  Well, as it turns out, there is a new GW store coming.  Not only that, they are accepting applications for the "Hobby Center Operator" position there, with the deadline being May 7th.

Color me interested.  I've been in the service industry for my entire working career.  Not only that, I've advanced into management positions at two major corporations (with me turning down a position at the third) and one of those is retail.  Its what I'm exceptionally good at -- in an industry that I absolutely love.  I've been playing Games Workshop games for nearly twelve years now, so I've very familiar with almost everything that they've put out as far as games.  Some more intimately than others.  While I don't always have the time to paint or model now due to my current work-life, that pretty much becomes a non-issue in a hobby-oriented career.  Quite a few people have seen my painting and I've been told I'm well above average, so that isn't a problem either.  I am also very strongly focused in competitive play, without sacrificing fluff and fun; something that I believe is important to the company moving forward.  I also run Implausible Nature, which has been quite successful (alot of the credit goes to my readers).

Let's not even talk about the fact that I've wanted to start my own gaming store.  Hell, this takes all of the financial obligations out of my hands and let's me run a successful store backed by the largest wargaming company in the world.  Can you tell I'm seriously considering applying?  I believe this would be a great opportunity.  I suppose that it cannot hurt to try.  ;)
 
 
Hi Marshal Laeroth,

I emailed you before about a Drop Pod list. Well I've changed my army a bit since then, but I have my first tournament on Sunday and my force is a bit mis-matched.

You don't have to conjure a list up for me, was just wondering if you had any advice on what is viable, this is only going to be at my local friendly gaming store so we won't be getting Draigo-wing or whatever's the thing right now. Also its a doubles tournament, but we get paired randomly on the day so i can't build to complement another list.

Here's what I have:

Emperors Champion
Marshal/Castellan with Power Weapon (can change to Lightning Claw) and Storm Shield
22 Initiates with Bolt Pistol + Chainsword
4 with Meltaguns
3 with Powerfists
1 with a Powersword
5 Neopytes
5 Sword Brethren Built from the kit (POLC + PS)
5 Thunder Hammer Storm Shield Terminators (with Teleport Homer)
Drop Pod
Rhino
Vindicator
Helbrecht (Obviously can't be used at this level but can stand in for a Marshal)

I can also pick up a Chaplain if I need to.

I was initially thinking of (yes I know its not the strongest build, but neither is this tournament) running a footslogging list, as 40 Marines will be a struggle for anyone to deal with, however I was struggling to organise squads as I don't have enough Neophytes and didn't know whether to put the EC in a big squad or not. I could also run a mixed list with the Drop Pod with Marines or Termintors in, Deep Striking Terminators and Outflanking Sword Brethren, with the Vindicator / Rhino running behind them with a small squad or two to watch objectives.

I appreciate my model collection is nowhere near competetive, but any help and advice would be welcome.

For Sigismund, Dorn and The Emperor

 
 
Lots of stuff going on in the past week or so.  Mostly painting and building.  This is good news.  In addition, thanks to Matt R, I decided to attend the GT at Spring Con in May.  I was hoping to hit up Indy40k GT or Bug Eater this year, but it simply wasn't feasible.  Thus, I got to pick up the slack elsewhere and hope to make up for it later in the year. 

This event is supposed to be a 60-player tournament, but due to the re-roll thing and higher amount of soft scoring, I don't anticipate this GT drawing many from the nationwide "competitive" group like Darkstar GT did.  Who knows, I could be surprised and would be pleased to be proven wrong.  We have a lot of 40k people around the area, but I don't think there are quite enough to fill out a 60-player event without players traveling in.  We'll see.  This time around, it looks like we'll have access to the scenarios on April 15th, a month in advance.  Plenty of time to get some play-testing in and tweak my lists. 

Which brings me to the point of this post, discussing and analyzing variations on my Darkstar GT list for this event.  I really liked how the previous list played, and while I'll save you the analysis on that for now (its coming), just know that it performed extremely well.  Well, if you don't count that Game Three scenario debacle.  Nevertheless, the list itself has some efficiency issues that I didn't address the first time around.  There were 90 points that were left over when I built that list.  Because of the odd amount of points, there wasn't much I could do with them beyond adding a Typhoon or going the route I did with the Power of the Machine Spirit.  I didn't want to field 4 Typhoons, because that would force me to have either two squadrons of two or three squadrons with one of them with two speeders.  Not exactly how I roll.  In addition, that would require the purchase of another Typhoon and I would like to refrain from getting another.

I also could have used another troop squad in a couple of my games.  They weren't necessary to the success of my games, but it would have given me more tactical tools to play around with.  Anyway, here it is.

HQ:
* Emperor's Champion w/ Black Sword, Bolt Pistol, Armor of Faith, and the Vow: "Accept Any Challenge, No Matter the Odds." [140]

Elites:
* Sword Brethren Terminators: 5 Terminators w/ 2 Cyclone Missile Launchers, 5 Storm Bolters, 5 Power Fists, and Tank-Hunters. [265]
* Sword Brethren Terminators: 5 Terminators w/ 2 Cyclone Missile Launchers, 5 Storm Bolters, 5 Power Fists, and Tank-Hunters. [265]

Troops:
* Crusader Squad: 5 Initiates w/ 3 Bolt Pistols and Close Combat Weapons, 1 Meltagun & 1 Bolt Pistol and Power Weapon. Mounted in a Rhino w/ Smoke Launchers. [153]
* Crusader Squad: 5 Initiates w/ 3 Bolt Pistols and Close Combat Weapons, 1 Meltagun & 1 Bolt Pistol and Power Weapon. Mounted in a Rhino w/ Smoke Launchers. [153]
* Crusader Squad: 5 Initiates w/ 3 Bolt Pistols and Close Combat Weapons, 1 Meltagun & 1 Bolt Pistol and Power Weapon. Mounted in a Rhino w/ Smoke Launchers. [153]

* Crusader Squad: 5 Initiates w/ 3 Bolters, 1 Plasmagun & 1 Lascannon. Mounted in a Razorback w/ Twin-Linked Lascannons. [191]

Fast Attack:
* Land Speeder Squadron: 1 Land Speeder w/ 1 Heavy Bolter and 1 Typhoon Missile Launcher. [70]
* Land Speeder Squadron: 1 Land Speeder w/ 1 Heavy Bolter and 1 Typhoon Missile Launcher. [70]
* Land Speeder Squadron: 1 Land Speeder w/ 1 Heavy Bolter and 1 Typhoon Missile Launcher. [70]

Heavy Support:
* Vindicator w/ Demolisher Cannon, Storm Bolter, Power of the Machine Spirit, and Extra Armor.  [160]
* Vindicator w/ Demolisher Cannon, Storm Bolter, Power of the Machine Spirit, and Extra Armor.  [160]

Total Points: [1850]

Regardless of opinion, the PotMS Razorbacks actually performed well in their roles for me at Darkstar GT.  Exceedingly well.  However, they are extremely expensive and limit my lists.  The same criticism can be said for the PotMS Vindicators.  Nevertheless, the Vindis saved my bacon several times over with their usefulness.  They are actually more durable than they look, especially if you use the rest of your forces effectively.  These things can take out large AV14 things, deal with terminators, or hordes of infantry.  Sure one-gun syndrome is a fear, but that isn't the only thing this vehicle is good for.  It has the armor to survive a full ram on an enemy vehicle, as well as acting in a support role (i.e. mobile cover, contesting objectives).  Not only that, they can redeploy with remarkable ease.  Our other "heavy" fire support options in the slot can't do that as effectively and mobility has critical in almost every tournament game I've played in.

Overall, I lost a little bit of my firepower when I dropped two TL-Lascannons (and gaining only a Lascannon in exchange) but it should still be more than sufficient against most opponents.  Even against Timmah's list, under normal circumstances.  When my opponent closes the distance, I also have a few meltaguns that I can employ.  I can no longer blast my opponent off the board like some of my "gunline" lists, but I am better suited to dealing with a changing battlefield with this list. 

More and more, I find that my lists have started to include more MSU.  More specifically...I try to get as close to 4+2 as possible.  I've found that having at least one troops unit held back for a home objective is immeasurably important.  I would go so far to say that it has been needed in pretty much every 5th Edition game I've played.  Sure there are risks to these troops (i.e. Wolf Scouts, but having something that is dedicated to camping your backline always gives you a measure of "protection" in games.  You can freely advance forward, without having to leave an unit less suited to the task.  Useful.  ;)