Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Building a Scalable List

How many times have you rolled into your LFG with a list that you have been dying to play only to find out that getting into a game requires you to shave of 250 or even 500 points off of it?  How about that RTT that is only 1750 after you have been playing 2000 point list for the past couple months and you know the ins and outs of.  How do you deal with this?  Cut a squad out, drop all your cool gadgets and war gear, or shave squads down to where they barley are able to function?

Here is a little trick I have found to make it work.  It follows a formula for getting the most out of your points and never having to cut out the stuff you don’t want to or need to.

1. Find a core function for the list.
2. Compliment the list with additions that support the core.
3. Don’t create lynch pins in your list; I explain this one later on.

Now let’s look at how to accomplish this.  Every army has a base that has to be fielded you can easily draw the parallels to whatever army you choose to play.  One HQ and Two troops… Easy enough though for most games at 1500pnts you should have three, approximately one troop for every 500 points you are building towards.    Most HQs at this level should be some type of force multiplier, They should buff a unit they are with or add something special to your whole army.  This allows you to capitalize on the basics that are associated with your core and buff them at the same time.  In turn this makes your list more effective in the long run.  Armies that have weak troops will need to compensate with more of them to overcome their weaknesses.

Sixth Edition leans very heavily towards objective based games and has moved away from the kill point denial lists associated with Fifth Edition.  So to cover the spread of having more Objective based missions its essential to put more boots on the ground.  A typical list of mine will be based around three troop type selections.  Recently I have shifted to large blocks of infantry models to help with the attrition battle associated with a lot of guns on the field.   At the same time troops should be able to deal with anything on the board and when I say anything I mean anything, from 30 Boyz to the AV 14 of a Landraider.  Why you might ask.  If you play competitively you never should never list tailor to a specific build, be this just my humble opinion, because that is going to be the time that you run into what we call meta breaker lists.

What is a Meta breaker list?  Most of the time these are the lists that you look at and say “Why did you bring that?”.  Another way to look at it is if you’re anticipating a lot of infantry you build your list around killing infantry, high volume shooting most of the time with low strengths.  And everyone assumes that at the next event there will be tons of infantry that they will have to deal with so they all build similar lists to what you have built.  Here is where the Meta Breaker comes into play.  To counter large blocks of infantry I decided to bring 2 God Hammers and 3 Crusader Landraiders… Your army has nothing that will pen AV 14 because you brought 20 heavy bolters… Who’s going to win this match up?  Now what are your chances that you will even face that list… 1 in about 1000, that’s why it is considered a meta-breaker.

Balance is the key to winning, more times than not.  Having the tools to do the job is what’s important.  Can you have specialized units? Yes of course you can but always have another tool in your belt just in case a vindicator decides to drop a large blast on their heads.

Complementing the core is much easier than you think.  These units usually add an extra amount of fire power or fill a gap that hasn’t been filled with redundant units inside your core list.  This is where you would take extra scoring units if you want, multiple heavy support units or a hit and run style element.  Your core should be right around 700 to 1000 points.  If you were looking at a 1500 point list you would have 800 to 500 points to place relevant support elements into it.  This is where you put in your fun stuff.  The 1500 point mark is something most people just build right past but none the less should not be ignored, if you play a lot of team games it makes for a manageable game when you have four 1500 points list instead of four 2000 points list on the table.

The next level should be 1750.  With an established 1500 point list this 250 points should consist of elements that bolster the main 1500 point list.  Adding an extra troop unit here is optional as for the most part at this level you will be seeing three to four troop units if not more.  If your troops have a higher durability than most then the addition of another troop unit might not be beneficial.  The big thing about this area is that a lot of RTTs get run at this level so it’s nice to know exactly what you need to add to your 1500 pnt list that doesn’t change how you play the original list.  Repeating the process for your 1850 and 2000 points lists.  Each one should just build onto your 1500 point list.  That way you always know how 1500 points of your army should work, and the “play stuff” can be expendable for the most part.

 Lynch pins, what are they? Ever have all your anti-tank weapons get killed off and your still looking at 6 tanks on the field? Or how about having 8 melta guns staring at 60 Boyz and not a flamer in sight. Yeah those become your lynch pins.  When only one unit has the proper tools to deal with one specific kind of threat, this will more than likely cause you to lose a game.  Should every unit be a Swiss Army knife? No it’s just not possible for every unit to be everything, if that was the case this would be a very boring game.  What I'm talking about here is making sure that you have multiple levels of overlapping units that can deal with all different types of problems.  Melta bombs on a Tactical squad gives it the ability to just destroy a dread that decided to wade in to tie them up. Flamer/ Melta combos are still some of the best over all performers out there. Melta can punch a vehicle, the unit that just got blown out now cant assault next turn bust them with a flamer or heavy flamer in the following round of shooting.  My suggestion here is just be smart about your special weapon and heavy weapon selections so that you’re not facing 10 tanks with 2 Las cannons.  

Like I said simple, build a core, compliment it and don't create lynch pins... Good lists make for great games and that is the way it should be.

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