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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


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.