Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lessons Learned from GTA Meta

Imp Guard, Imp Guard, Marines, Imp Guard, Necrons, Chaos, with incoming Dark Angels.....wow lots of MEQ and MECH....

Well I have taken a hard look at my list and come up with a single loophole, tank busting. I knew it was there, but no quite like I imagined. See I have tank busting in the list, three drakes can do a lot vector striking and a S6 template is no slouch. I also have the Flying Prince and obliterators. Thing is ALL of that isnt on the table turn one. NONE. I have exactly ZERO tank busting for a whole turn minimum and when the stuff does come it is piecemeal...a little at a time normally.

Well the fix was two-fold. First I changed a single drake to the Hades Autocannon. That adds 4 s8 shots a turn, but doesn't address timing. I sat with my codex in my lap ALL day Sunday and thought about what I could do without changing too much. I thought about the cost/benefit ratio of all of my allied units, and my HQ choice. I had to factor in the following issues:

1. Point cost. I only have so much to spend in a point tight list
2. Tank busting ability. MUST kill tanks on turn one so drakes can focus on infantry
3. Scoring units. These units must take this into account either from being scoring themselves, or leave points to do this elsewhere in the list
4. Fluff. It's important to me that these units fit the story of the fall of the Thousand Sons to Tzeentch's influence

Well after all of that I ended up with a surprising turn....for me at least. I chose to take marines that are NOT Thousand Sons in a pure Sons list. (who woulda thunk it?) The new list looks like this, and reflects the non psychic tactical marines present in the legion at the time of the fall of Prospero.

Ka'Nihek, sorceror, marked Tzeentch, lvl 3 mastery, sigil of corruption
3x 9 Thousand sons
2x 10 Chaos Marines, flamer and lascannon (this is the non Psychic marines)
2x Heldrakes with Baleflamer
Heldrake with Hades Autocannon
2 obliterators
Scaraba Occult 3 Tzeentch terminators with 3 combi meltas and chainfist

The list allows 5 scoring units on the table to start. This allows 2 lascannons on turn one that can objective camp and kill a transport or two. Later as reserves arrive I use the obliterators and Terminators to pop high priority ground targets and draw attention from the infantry. The thousand sons work their way to midfield and hide near an objective until turn 5 then camp and hopefully score at the end.

I know there are a lot of people on the net that say the Sons don't do this well, and are over costed. I have to say I dis-agree. As a long time Sons player I see them as better now than ever, with a lot of (albeit random) utility in the sorcerer we no longer have to pay extra for. I for one seem to be proving that despite a fairly even win/Loss record ALL of my opponents sweat my lists and I give them a challenge every game. I intend to stay with this version of the list for a while to see how I do with it. As my skill improves I hope the record gets a bit more tilted to the win category. In the meantime, I'm having fun with the list, and that is more important to me than the over all record. I think that trumps "Teh Interweb's" opinion any day.

GTA Tournament results

The tournament last Saturday at Game Table Adventures Saturday went MUCH better than I expected. A few monkey wrenches were tossed into the mix, but I will go over those in a minute. Up front I had three great games with three great guys. You can't ask for a better way to spend a Saturday.

I took list 3 from last week with the change of using the burning brand instead of a mace to help keep him out of combat, and hopefully losing the warlord point. In the end it worked for me in all three games but I still gave up warlord twice.

Game one
WIN 10-8
I played a long time opponent Dave Semons with his Imperial Guard. The list was fairly simple. Dave I apologize for missing/mixing units here.

Reg command in a Chimera
Company command
4 infantry squads
Russ Executioner
2x medusas with bastion breacher shells
vulture with twin punisher cannons
at least on veteran squad

The mission had us fighting over 5 objectives with various point values. Dave maneaged to immobilize his Exectutioner and one of the Medusas early, which helped me position to not take fire from them later in the game. In the end I won by having first blood and warlord on him, given that he had higher point objectives on his side of the table. I also had him physically pushed back into his deployment zone on turn three, and I think that caught him off guard, and put him into defensive mode. Hard fought, but three drakes can munch on Chimera based tanks all day. This was very much a game of cat and mouse as his flyers tried to take mine out. In the end he needed more numbers or durability in his troop section to get ahead of me.

Game Two
LOSS 3-8
I played Paul Elswick with his marines and multiple Imperial Armour units here. Paul had a lucius Pattern drop pod, a Caestus Ram and a Contemptor Mortis Drednought.....sigh.

Librarian with null zone
9 man Tactical squad
Contemptor Mortis Dred
Caestus Assault Ram
2x thunder hammer terminators
Scouts with sniper rifles, and a missile launcher
5 man tac squad in a razorback

This was the first game I had issues with Paul's SMART combo. He had a Librarian in his landraider using the "null zone" power each turn. He parked that landraider a third of the way up the table near the center. More than half of my force has the daemon rule so I was re-rolling a lot of successful saves. That made life rough. Paul was also using a normal drednought model as a contemptor...which I normally wouldn't have an issue with except for a few points. Paul didn't have a written copy of his list handy, and didn't make it clear to me it was a contemptor pattern. That would have changed more than a few things in the way I played early on. Since the model was a normal dred, and he has been using the same subbed in model for at least 4months now, I think he has had time to order the real thing. Now it is up to me to clarify, so this is my mistake as much as Paul's. The model might be more expensive than the normal ones, but not THAT expensive. In the end this is a little gripe, but it is legitimate. I don't think he should be allowed to run it until he has the model in TOURNAMENT games. Outside of that scenario, run with it man.

Game Three
LOSS 4-0
This was the local big boy Jason Garner and his Imperial Guard. Jason's list was very similar to Dave's from round one with the addition of three Hydra PLATFORMS instead of the medusas. I spent the first three turns focused on hosing those platforms, and not his troop transports, so it put me behind schedule with his troops. I lost here in a close battle again to Warlord and firstblood. We ended up 2-0 on objectives.

That said I went an overall of 1-2-0, which is lower tier to be sure. Thing is I apparently had a good sportsman score, and I won the best painted army award. When you combine that with the strength of schedule I had, I ended up in second place over all buy a small 1 point margin!! WOW! I played three of the top five players there and took down one of them. I also hurt their scores by losing to them (lol) so I ended up really well ranked. Go me! Anyway, three good games, had a ball, and I'll be back for more to be sure.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Thousand Sons List variants, and man Life sucks eggs

Well, As I noted life has been really tough recently. The last month of 2012 saw me lose my Dad and my dog...less than a week apart. My best friend even ended up in the hospital a week later. Couldn't blame a guy for dropping off the grid with a couple of weeks like that can you?

Well I'm back, stronger than ever for the trials. The old adage "what doesn't kill you can only make you stronger" certainly applies. On the hobby front I have had very little time or even desire for the last couple of months, but that is slowly waking up too.

The Thousand Sons are down to a trio of lists at 2k points. Ill do a rundown here, and you can tell me what you think. Themeatically they are all centered on Daemon engines, and the slow slide to chaos. Each list slips farther from the core Heresy era Scaraba Occult fluff of the list, but remains true to the Thousand Sons overall.

Boltgun with allies
3x 9 Thousand sons
2x Heldrakes
Storm Eagle Flyer
19 cultists w/flamer
2 obliterators
Herlad of Tzeentch w/bolt
10 horrors of Tzeentch w/bolt and the Changeling

Wow Ahriman is expensive!
Terminator sorcerer w/burning brand, lvl 3
3x9 Thousand Sons
3x Heldrakes
2 Obliterators
Herlad of Tzeentch w/bolt
10 horrors of Tzeentch w/bolt and the Changeling
 3 flamers of Tzeentch

Ok, I can compromise!(or get more expensive....)
Daemon Prince, wings, Black Mace, power armor, wings
3x9 Thousand Sons
3x Heldrakes
20 cultists w/flamer
2 obliterators
Herlad of Tzeentch w/bolt
10 horrors of Tzeentch w/bolt and the Changeling
3 Flamers of Tzeentch

Now the first list is only slightly tweaking my Boltgun Battles list from a few posts back by dropping most of the cultists to get the daemon allies. Nothing major, but it adds a large amount of flexibility. The second list takes a long hard look at Ahriman and his effect on the table.

Experience says the potential for real damage is HUGE. Notice the word Potential....I have yet to see any effect other than psychological on my opponents from him.

He is scary, and a real rock for the list to rotate around, but the cost is just silly in a list that is super point expensive already. So why not try to make it more efficient?

The second list is that evolutionary step. It takes Ahriman and scales him to a termiantaor with another heldrake flamer in his hand. This list is center on killing EVERYTHING not in terminator armor with ease. The addition of the flamers really opened up possibilities (and transport tanks) for the flame throwing Drakes.

This list still has a hole in it though....AV13 and 14.

The last list attempts to plug that hole with....an even more expensive HQ! Seriously though 3 drakes bouncing around will distract anybody, and the add of a 4th flyer....AN that thing kills stuff DEAD in combat. In droves. Seriously he is scary. 6-13 attacks on the charge at AP2, and if any of them get through ALL enemy models in base contact need to take a toughness test or be removed with no saves of any kind.....Seriously, thats an AVERAGE of 9 dead models a turn, regardless of armor. 2 tactical squads pays for him, so we will have to see how it does. 

I have 3 lists, 2 of which are battle proven and I know work. We'll see what happens this weekend at Game Table Adventures. I'll be there to get back in the saddle and hopefully Kick some ass along the way. Hope to see you all there! In the meantime, here are a few WIP pics of the additions.