Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Nature of 'Ard Boyz

Well, it's just about 'Tournament Season' here, with 'Ard Boyz going on for the next 2 months, and after that BOLSCON, followed shortly by Tacticon.  I'm sure 'Ard Boyz Fantasy will be coming up as well, though I'm equally sure I'll fail at it again like I did at the semis last year :-P  Anyways, I just wanted to talk a little about my thought process in building an 'Ard Boyz list, since I don't really think it's as straightforward as building a list at 2000 or less points. 

There are a few different types of 'Ard Boyz lists out there, not really limited to any specific codex, but I figure I should go over them.

The 'This is my first time at 'Ard Boyz and I used every upgrade possible to fill the points' list:  This is a somewhat funny list, as you'll notice that the army isn't much bigger than a 2000 point list, it just has a huge number of upgrades you don't really see that often.  The main danger in this type of army is underestimating it, and trying to force the win too quickly.  Just play your regular game against it, and you should be fine.  Keep in mind that some of those upgrades will randomly really rock against your army, though in the end they aren't super efficient.

The Overload list:  I hate playing against this type of list.  It's not that it's super awesome or effective, it's more that these type of armies are just a pain in the ass to play against.  Basically, the player takes one specific type of model, and spams it like crazy.  At 2500 points you see ridiculous lists, like 150+ footslogging marines (all combat squadded), 25+ imperial guard tanks, 10+ Monsterous Creatures (used to be 8, with 60 genestealers), or other such silliness.  The basic premise is that if you took a bunch of melta, those points were wasted because what good are 20 melta guns against 250 orks?  Or if you took lots of anti-troop, then it's wasted cuz all my vehicles can't be harmed by your S5.  Each of these lists banks on the hope they don't play their one 'counter' army (the rock to their scissors).  If they do play that army, they're basically screwed.  You can't have a great chance at winning a tournament if you bank on good matchups.

The Take-All-Comers list:  This is the list you should be shooting for if you want to win.  This type of list has at least some sort of answer to any type of threat any other codex can offer, meaning that while sometimes it's going to be harder to take down specific builds (like, just about any 'overload' build), you rely on your skill as a general rather than luck on matchups.  If every unit has a few different uses, then you've done a good job.  You especially want to avoid spending 500 points on something that is really good at killing one thing, but only that one thing, and is useless against everything else.

In 'Ard Boyz another thing to remember is that people like to buy Death Stars that would normally be deemed 'not worth it' in a smaller game, but because at 2500 points a couple hundred extra points isn't as big a percentage of the army, people end up throwing all kinds of expensive wargear on a squad, making them slightly over the top.  In a regular sized game, where if you take a Death Star you might not be able to take enough troops to win the game, you have plenty of room in 2500 points.The fact that people can make one or even two of these squads and still have a decent-sized army afterwards, makes them super attractive.  Who doesn't like running a unit like that? I know I always have.

If you don't have something to kill a Death Star, you're probably going to ultimately fail in 'Ard Boyz.  In fact, if you don't have a way to kill a couple of them, it's going to be rough going.  A Death Star has a great return against 'average' squads- they'll kill any number of these squads you throw at them, without a large loss of their own.  This means the problem isn't going to be solved by more 'regular' methods.  The answer?  You need a specialized squad yourself.

What that is, is pretty much up to you.  I've been playing around with the Vanguard and Sternguard lately- I'm not 100% that's what I'm taking to 'Ard Boyz (nobody gets to know what I'm taking until I show up, I'm that sneaky, lol) but I know that whatever I take needs to be versatile enough to kill a wide range of things.  We'll see what this year in 'Ard Boyz brings.  I recently ordered all the stuff I need to 'upgrade' my Blood Angels for the new codex, hopefully it'll all be assembled by the time the tournament starts, heh.

What are your thoughts on 'Ard Boyz?  What sort of things are you doing to get ready for it?  Any advice for the coming storm?


Chumbalaya said...

Honestly, just play lots of 2k-2.5k games. Experience is always the best teacher and all that.

I'm doing Stelek's challenge with my Loganwing, so I will have all the tools I need to do the job. Plus, free armies are always cool.

Good luck

Xaereth said...

Lol, Stelek's challenge :-P I don't really understand the challenge if he doesn't want to play in it himself. It's not competitive, but he's rewarding people for playing in a non-competitive tournament?

I don't really want to bash on Stelek, but I've never really been a huge fan of his stuff. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with him- he makes some reasonable lists, and seems like he knows what he's talking about a lot of the time, I just... I dunno. His lists just seem kinda soulless to me. And a lot of the time, they seem like they're the exact same thing regardless of what the codex is. I don't WANT to ignore the assault phase, dammit! It might be effective, it just doesn't seem that fun to me. Everyone's different though. He's helped a lot of people learn to play better, which is a good thing to be certain.

That being said, I agree that free armies are pretty cool- if you manage to win the semis AND the finals with his list, you get two armies (one that you have to assemble and paint for yourself, but still...) I'm interested to see how his lists do in general. Has he relented yet, and decided to play? I don't go over there much anymore these days, maybe I should go take a look.

Good luck to you as well, I hope you rock it, wherever it is you live. I'm a little excited to see what happens in the finals when Stelek's lists either dominate or fail, the drama should be entertaining to say the least :)