Category Archives: List Building

List Building: Checklist

Be intentional about the Heavy Support and Fast Attack choices that you pick.

Hey guys, Son of Adam here again with a little list building checklist.  This is not the end all be all of list building, but is simply a quick check to run through your list in order to see if you are missing something.

            If you are building an all-comers list for any mission in the new BRB, then there are some things that you ought to make sure that you consider.  Here is a very basic two part checklist to run through your list.  The first is directly written with the Golden Rules in mind, and the second are with the potential meta in mind.

Mission Specific:

  • How will this list handle scoring/contesting 6 different objectives?
  • Is there any way to reduce my kill point total?  Does this list have too many?
  • Are all of the heavy support choices in this list diverse enough to take advantage of Big Guns Never Tire without creating too much of a victory points liability should they be destroyed and award the opponent victory points?
  • Are all of the Fast Attack choices in this list diverse enough to take advantage of The Scouring without creating too much of a victory points liability should they be destroyed and award the opponent victory points?
  • Can this list get a near guarantee that I claim one particular objective of my choosing?
  • Can this list guarantee that I can deny one particular objective of my opponent?
  • Does this list provide a solution for seizing and holding the relic?
  • Does this list provide a solution for forcing an opponent to drop the relic?
  • Does this list have a hard to kill Warlord?
  • Does this list provide a means to kill the opponents Warlord?
  • Does this list have an easy to kill unit?
  • Does this list provide a means for getting the first kill?
  • What in this list is poised to be in the enemy’s deployment zone at the end of the game?

General Defense:

  • Does this list provide a solution for AV14 vehicles?
  • Does this list provide a solution for Deathstars?
  • Does this list provide a solution for fliers?
  • Does this list provide a solution for hordes?
  • Does this list provide a solution for MSU?
  • Does this list provide a solution for 2+ saves?
  • Does this list provide a solution for Monstrous Creatures
  • Does this list provide a solution for Psykers?

Expect to see more fliers in the 6th Edition.  How will your list defend against them?

            Notice that these are not overly specific.  That is intentional.  There are many tricky ways to deal with the different threats and achieve different objectives.  For example you can deal with a deathstar without killing it (see here for that article).  Or win “The Emperor’s Will” without trying to claim the opponents objective (article here), or any at all (article here).  Keep an eye out for providing an answer to each of these items in non-traditional ways.

            This is a very general checklist, but not a bad one to give your list a quick run-through.  Most of us try to run through this checklist in our heads anyway, but it is good to have a tangible list in front of us, and will benefit those that have not considered it before. 

            Run your list through this checklist and tell us about how it fared.  Feel free to post an overview of your list and its strengths and weaknesses in regards to the checklist in the comments below.  If you want to send me a copy of your list and your review personally send it to SonofAdam@MasterCraftGaming.com.

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Road to NOVA: Necron Air Force

The Necron Air Force is a powerhouse in the 6th edition.

Hey guys Son of Adam here with a NOVA prep discussion about the Necron Air Force list.  As you guys know from the teaser below I recently had a chance to play against the dreaded Necron Air Force in a NOVA primer mission. 

            Some quick updates on my progress before we begin: with 7 days left, most of the army is built, most of the basing is done, the army list is getting near finalized, and the display board needs a bunch of work.  Tonight some of the fellas are coming over and we are going to paint all night.  Even though my stuff isn’t done yet, I’m still going to try and produce some content for the site and so here we go.

 

            The Necron Air Force is a very potent list that has most NOVA attendees frightened.  That is one of the reasons I wanted to get a battle report in here about them.  This list is generally based off of having maxed out, or nearly maxed out flyers.  It also tends to add one of the Necron characters (typically the Traveler or the Stormlord) with a large and tough enough squad not to get wiped on the first turn.  Then the question has been what travels in the night scythes.  Some swear to the survivability of the immortals, some the fire power/tricks of crypteks, and other the points effectiveness of the 5 man warrior squad.  In the end you are generally left with 8+ scythes (3 of which are doom scythes), a beefy/deathstar unit, and massed mobile scoring units.

            Some of the guys at my FLGS were talking about how to challenge this list and flyer lists in general.  Each time an idea came up; there would only need to be a slight change to the Air Force list that would knock it down again.  We even ran the IG air force against it, but the Doom Scythe is just too strong for aerial combat.  In the end it kept looking like nothing could shoot down enough of those flying croissants without being wiped off the table.  This may change with new updates and war gear, but for now the biggest threat to flyers is other flyers and even then, cron flyers are the best of the lot at this point.

            One problem that developed was a mirror match.  In the competitive scene, you have to expect that whatever is being considered one of the most powerful lists is going to be there in numbers.  If that’s the case, everyone who is bringing this list must consider this possibility and prepare accordingly.  This is where the special characters come in.  The stormlord allows for some extra defense, while providing unreliable support at bringing flyers down.  On the other hand the Traveler allows you to potentially get control of 4 Doom Scythes a turn with his mind in the machine. 

Necron’s firepower destroys units.

            As far as a response to flyers goes, some armies have a few options to bring them down, others must rely on allies.  Presently flyers are the best way to fight flyers, but this inherently has the problem of escalation.  If I bring three flyers then my opponent will bring four.  And, in the flyer vs. flyer games, first turn tends to loose as they will alpha strike an empty table and then get alpha’d in return.  On the other hand you can bring AA defense guns on the Aegis or the Bastion.  However, the Aegis gun tends to get dropped rather quickly and the Bastion is expensive and disallows scoring.

            There is only one real weakness that I can find for the flyers in this pre-AA adolescence of 6th edition in regards to NOVA style tournaments.  However, this weakness is not one that is exclusively held by flyers.  Tanks and flyers don’t count for scoring in table quarters missions.  If you start the game with 8+ flyers, or >1000 pts for crons, you will be at an initial disadvantage against armies like nids that are all scoring.

            All in all the air force lists are very strong until 6th gets more AA rules and there isn’t much that can compete with them.  However, with the prevalence of table quarter missions, some inexperienced cron players may be eliminated during these rounds.  I won’t go into what happened in my last match, but you can watch some of the other air force games on different sites and check back here by the end of the week to see how this one went.  I will be a little more thorough in how I tried to defend against the crons in the strategy follow-up that comes out after the report.

 

Thanks for reading.  Check back soon for some of the content that will be coming out.  Make sure to follow our website, like our facebook, and subscribe to the YouTube channel. 

-Peace.

Micro Gameplay Strategy: Defeating Deathstars with Tar Pits

How would you defend against a deathstar?

Hey guys Son of Adam here again with a little article about defeating deathstars with tar pits.

Since the new edition, deathstars have grown in popularity, and with them comes the need to shut them down.  Generally people go about this by trying to find the best deathstar; one deathstart to rule them all.  They will play test to see, deathstar vs. deathstar, which will win out.  Others try to build a list around putting out enough shots to take down anything deathstar related.  These are both valid methods, but I want to offer up a different idea for your considerations; tying them up.

Deathstars are made to crash into enemy lines and destroy all who oppose, but there are some units in the game that are made to do exactly the opposite.  These are called tar pit units.  Tar pit units are generally cheap, large, have an invulnerable save, deny attacks in combat, have fearless, feel-no-pain, or some combination there of.  Some examples are plague demons, massed tyranid guants, or swarms.

The idea here is that you can tie up a large deathstar unit long enough to make them tactically irrelevant, or to lessen their impact on the game.  And, with the cost imbalance for the rest of the game, you should be able to make enough of a difference with the rest of your army to gain the advantage, or apply this tactic again to further tie up the squad.

Consider that, in a perfect world, a Draigowing deathstar assaults 30 guants backed up by feel-no-pain.  The guant squad only costs 120 points and the deathstar costs upwards of 1000 points (assuming normal deathstar overload with Draigo, apoth, and 4 psycannons).  This deathstar will be getting 3 attacks on the charge, hitting on 3’s, wounding on 3’s, and the guants will get a 5+ feel-no-pain on all non-hammer attacks.  That’s 36 attacks, with say 24 hits, 16 wounds, and 11 dead.  So, with 11 dead at 5pts a piece, it cost you 55pts to hold that deathstar still for the top of a turn.

Now for the bottom of that turn.  You know the drill; it’s only 25 attacks this time, with say 17 hits, 11 wounds, and 7/8 dead.  So at the end of the full turn where they were charged it cost you 90/95 pts to make the Draigowing deathstar irrelevant to the game.  Take that number over the course of 5 turns and make it 395 points (95 + 75 each turn thereafter) to keep 1000 points at bay.  In a 2000 point game, it has now become 1000 points vs. 1605 points.  The tyranid player will gain a significant advantage.  (Please be aware that this is a perfect world scenario.  However, when working with perfect world scenarios, we can look for what to try for in our actual games).

These ideas work with several different units against several different deathstars, but consider the fundamental idea, take small cheaper units to tie up larger, more expensive units in order to give yourself the upper hand in achieving the victory conditions.  Now go out and see if you can work this idea into your list in order to deal with the deathstars of the 40k world.  You don’t have to change what you are taking now, but it’s a good exercise none-the-less to see if there are more mild aspects of this strategy that can be helpful to you when considering what to bring to the table and while playing the game.

Grey Knight List Building: Multiplying Effect (Prescience)

Hey guys, Son of Adam here from MasterCraft Gaming with a quick discussion about a potential list element for the Grey Knights.  Some people have been requesting more Grey Knights tactica, and Vanguard thought that I should post up a discussion that we had about them, and so, here you go. 

            Let’s take a quick step back and explain something simple, but useful (and often overlooked).  Some effects in 40k multiply their effectiveness.  They offer a buff at a flat cost that a varying number of models can take advantage of, depending on the list created.  A squad purchasing psybolt amo is a good example, or Black Templar’s creeds.  The buff that is given becomes less and less expensive (per model) as it is spread across more models that are taking advantage of it, and therefore increases its efficiency.

4 to 5 twin-linked psycannons is no small thing.

            And now the next step: Grey Knights now have access to the divination psychic discipline and with it, the incredibly helpful primaris power prescience.  Prescience, unlike most powers, is guaranteed.  It is also one of the multiplying effects that we just talked about.  When applied in bulk the relative cost drops.  –As a side note, please be aware that lowering cost is only a tool, it is not the aim, and the aim, if you haven’t read it yet, can be found here.– 

            One of the prime examples to look at is a squad of 10 Paladins/purifiers with 4 psycannons.  (Which can be combat squaded to leave the cannons together and make the other half combat related or serve some other function.)  How much would you expect to pay in order to twin-link all of your psycannons and bring a chaplain with you whose power is in effect every turn, and not just on the turn you charged?  Some may say just make the cannons mastercrafted and ignore the bonus to combat, after all they generally only miss about once per shooting phase anyway.  Normally I would validate that opinion, however, with the advent of fliers and flying MCs, the ability for paladins as characters to make precision shots, and the bump to the amount of infantry we expect, I would have to make the argument again.  What is the value of a squad being able to re-roll all missed to hits in both shooting and in combat?  Quite high I expect.

            Before we get too far let’s look at who can get prescience and evaluate their usefulness in furthering our ability to achieve the golden rules.  As per Grey Knight FAQ, only the inquisitors and librarians get rulebook powers.  Here are two quick (and not exclusive) things to note about their differences.

  • Librarians- can add to the multiplying effect with more powers/mastery levels.
  • Inquisitors- (Malleus) can add an additional Psycannon making the squad have 5 twin-linked Psycannons (flier or not that’s painful).

            Always remember killing is not the goal, but a squad like this is something that a list can be built around.  You can tactically achieve a 24″ threat range that people will not want to be in.  When you have something like that, you can then build a list around it that can use that bubble to manipulate your opponent’s movement, and put them in places that are more advantageous to the rest of your list.

            That’s just a quick little thought for all of you MasterCraft fans who play Grey Knights (this is also useful for other armies).  Find ways that you can build lists with something that has this kind of influence, and then comment with how that went.

            As always fellas, thanks for reading.  Please follow/like/sub our stuff and leave some comments if there is anything else you want to see or see changed.  Thanks.

Defensive List Building: Overloading the Zone

Son of Adam here again with another game strategy article from MasterCraft Gaming. Today’s discussion will be about a method for the list building sphere of game strategy, one I like to call overloading the zone. (Please note: any article relating to game strategy is not recommended for friendly play. Not all games are competitive, but these articles are written for the ones that are).

For any of you basketball players or fans, you may already have an idea of what I mean by overloading the zone. In basketball one defensive strategy is called the zone defense. Each of the five players is assigned a particular “zone” of protection that they are supposed to defend against. When someone from the other team enters their zone it is their responsibility to defend against them.

If your opponent is stacked with anti-tank units, consider building a horde army. Now a large portion of your opponent’s army has been rendered ineffective.

We often see this style of defense employed in 40k as well. Maybe you have even considered this when building your lists; I have to have something to be able to take out a land raider, and something for tanks, and something for hordes. This is an approach some people use when building a balanced list. Each part of the army is assigned a part of the possible enemy army to defend against. These are their “zones” of defense. The strategy that we are talking about today is overloading those zones.

First we have to answer some questions about the setting. Where are we playing? A local tournament (where everyone plays marines), a regional GT, or how about one of the big shows like NOVA? (By the way I’m starting a series called “Road to NOVA.” Check out some of my posts as they come out). If you are playing at a mostly standard tournament, that is, a tournament that adheres pretty closely to the 40k rulebook and has a range of competitive armies being played, we can assume some of these answers. Now that we can anticipate a zone defense or an all comers lists, we can begin to try and counter it.

How can you take advantage of overloading the zone in order to counter the balanced defense of your opponent in order to achieve the victory conditions in near standard missions? We can predict that the opponent is going to have some weapons that counter tanks right? But they will also have some weapons that counter hordes, their respective zones. We can overload the zone by putting all of our pieces into one of the defenders zones, such that the other zones of defense will not be able to contribute much to the battle. If all you had were tanks then you could get more of them and potentially overwhelm your opponent’s anti-tank-zone of defense. Furthermore, any flamers or other anti-horde weapons in your opponents force would be wasted; you would be able to use the full weight of your force against the now limited strength of what your opponent would be able to use against you.

This type of thinking has produced some army builds that we are expecting at NOVA; there is the all fliers list, the MSU build, the 2+ save Deathstar units, the full horde, and the full AV14 army among others. Each of these takes advantage of the balanced build defense by giving it too much to deal with in a certain zone of defense in order to gain the advantage. The sweet spot is found in being able to overload the defense, but maintain a defense that cannot in turn be overloaded.

When you find yourself out matched in list builds, do not despair, the game is not yet lost. There are many lists that have counters and whatever list you come up with will probably be able to be countered by some other extreme list. We can try to mitigate this inherent rock-paper-scissor by trying to make a list whose counter is not popular or not very good against anything else and therefore uncommon. If all else fails, there are still the other two spheres of the game that can help you overcome the disadvantage and achieve the victory conditions. However, the goal is to have your list give you the advantage as it helps you achieve the victory conditions, and this combined with the other three spheres will make you a hard to beat opponent.

This is only one of many different ways to approach the 1st sphere of game strategy, and more articles are bound to come. Thanks all for reading. Go ahead and check out our other stuff. Subscribe to our YouTube, like our facebook, and leave some comments.