Thursday, August 29, 2013

Nova Open/Invitational List and Thoughts

Howdy folks. By the time you read this, it will already be Thursday, and the Invitational will be imminent (we begin at 5:45 pm). I will be flying out of Denver, CO at 6:45 am, which means waking up sometime in the 3 am range. Nevertheless, it will be a great trip. Ironically, most people who would normally read this won't see it until they're back, as they'll also be at the Nova!

But, I promised a list. Here it is:

1850 Grey Knights w/ Tau Allies (Grau!)

Inquisitor Coteaz

3x Servitors w/ 3x Plasma Cannons, 7x Warrior Acolytes w/ 5x Boltguns
3x Warrior Acolytes
3x Warrior Acolytes

Stormraven Gunship w/ Psybolt Ammo, Hurricane Bolters, Multi-Melta, Assault Cannon

Nemesis Dreadknight w/ Heavy Incinerator
Nemesis Dreadknight w/ Heavy Incinerator
Nemesis Dreadknight w/ Heavy Incinerator

  - - - -

Tau Commander w/ 2x Missile Pods, Early Warning Override, Velocity Tracker, Puretide Engram Chip, Irridium Battlesuit, Command and Control Node, Multi-Spectrum Sensor Suite

2x Battle Suit Bodyguard Dudes w/ TL Missile Pod, Missile Pod

10x Kroots w/ 1x Kroot Hound
10x Kroots w/ 1x Kroot Hound

Riptide w/ Ion Accelerator, TL Fusion Blaster, Positional Relay, Early Warning Override

3x Broadside Battlesuits w/ 1x Squad Leader, 3x Target Lock

(This might be roughly 5 points over/under - remembering is proving more difficult than anticipated, lol)

Yay, they aren't even on a display board!!

List Thoughts:

Well, it should be obvious enough that I have 4 Monstrous Creatures in the list, none of which are especially awesome on their own. A little bit of shooting here and there, AP2 here and there, lots of options to be found.

I'm sure I'll get some flack for taking Dreadknights - not many people take them, especially when attending the most competitive event out there (have you seen the list of people in the invitational?). However, there are a few rhymes to my reason.

Let's look at a few of the prevalent lists out there, and see what kind of approach I will be using.

1) Necrons - 4x Scythes w/ warriors, 2x D-Lords w/ Wraiths, 3x A-Barges

--> Faster and probably overall more shooty than my list, the Necrons are going to blitz me or risk me out-attritioning them. I have a 2+ save guarding nearly all my units, and while tesla is nice, it isn't really efficient against 2+ saves. If they try to charge in with Wraiths, the DKs can handle them easy enough by charging the Mindshackle lord first with an inconsequential unit before challenging him and killing wraiths.

Riptide + Plasma Cannons will do a number on wraiths/lords before they get to me as well.

2) Eldar Wave Serpent Spam - 6x Wave Serpents w/ min troops, about 500 other points left over

--> Serpents are good, there's no doubt. Not only do they outshoot me, they also outrange me. However, there are lots of things I can do to help mitigate this unfortunate state of affairs. If they want to shoot effectually at my army, they'll need to be within 36" of me, which is also the range of my Broadsides, who are basically all that matter.

If they stay out on the fringes and try to plink away at me with their 60" guns, I'm happy, because they won't kill much of my stuff, and I can control objectives. If they want to get close, my Broadsides + Commander + Riptide + Bodyguard Suits will reliably kill 2 Serpents/turn, with a decent shot at a 3rd, with the DKs roasting the troops inside. A last-minute objective gambit won't work vs. my list unless it's turn 5 and they go second, and even then will be difficult to pull off.

3) Tau 'Triptide' - 3 Riptides, some Broadsides, lots of outflanking Kroots, Skyrays, etc.

--> This one is more tricky - my one Riptide will cancel his, and my Broadsides + Commander will cancel his Broadsides. That leaves his outflanking Ethereal w/ 80+ Kroot (who can come onto almost any board edge due to a simple 5 point upgrade), and Skyrays, as well as 2 Riptides.

No question, I'll need to take a few measures to make the game winnable. The first is that I can play the DKs near the center, forcing his Kroot to stay away until later stages of the game - the torrent flamer will control the board well enough. Further, if he want to kill my DKs/Riptide at an acceptable rate, he will need to be in close enough range to shoot his Fusion guns. If he's in range to shoot those, I'll be in range to shoot him back with anything I may have. Again, if he wants to sit back and just shoot pie plates/S7 shots at me, I'm happy enough, because it will take most of his shooting in a turn to even kill a single 160-point DK.

Storm Raven will need to try and kill a Skyray on the Turn he arrives, or just sacrifice himself if needed. Meanwhile, if he ignores the DKs, the Kroots will all die an extremely depressing/painful death, sooner than later.

4) Daemon Screamer/Horror/Flamer/Fateweaver Star w/ 2++ rerollable save

--> You have to wonder if the devs actually intended Daemons to have unkillable models - a 2++ Invulnerable Save which if they fail can re-roll by virtue of being Tz that they can get 90% of their games is simply ludicrous. 36 wounds to hurt a single model? 72 wounds to kill a screamer? lol, just stupid. And they can do it dependably!

This is where my Raven becomes very important. To run this list, they need a Tz herald to  make it work. More importantly, they need a model with only 2 wounds to make their list work. Storm Raven has Mindstrike Missiles, of which it can shoot 3 on the turn it arrives due to Power of the Machine Spirit. Hitting 2/3 won't be too hard, especially if I cast prescience on the Raven that turn.

The trick will be to avoid a Daemon Turn 2 charge on units which will lock them in combat. I have a few ideas on that front, though they're all pretty situational. :)

5) 'Traditional' Tau/Taudar

--> Lots of tricky combos, but I think the best thing I have vs. these lists is 2+ armor saturation. There's only so much bladestorm can do, and luckily for me, Reaperstars are a serious waste of points against my list. Kill my two Bodyguards and then... get lucky to cause a wound to one of my MCs?

These will be tough, but there isn't a combo I'm aware of that will cause me to auto-lose. Lots of these games will depend on player skill.

6) Bug MC Spam - 2x Flyrants w/ TL Devourers, 2x Tervigons, Gargoyles, Doom of Malantai, Biovores, etc.

--> This list will annihilate bugs, mostly. Torrent Flamers, S10 DKs, Skyfire everywhere, re-rolls everywhere, Kroot bubblewrap. Just gotta hope they eventually fail flight checks on their Flyrants. If they do early on, the DKs will eat them immediately. Not a good matchup for the Bugs. Doom will give me some sads, though :(

7) Drop Pod Wolves - 7+ Drop Pods with Grey Hunters, Longfangs, and 4x Jaws of the World Wolf

--> I can choose to go into reserves with Broadsides/Riptide, then position the Kroots so the Pod will either have to land in Coteaz' 'expecting you' killzone or fire long-range behind the Kroot (or just kill the Kroot, lol. This matchup is dangerous due to the fact that if Jaws gets lucky and kills off a couple DKs on Turn 1, I will really struggle to kill his 70+ marines.

Why I will succeed:

I don't want to just play defensively, only planning for stuff. Tough to plan for everything, after all :)

The whole idea is for me to control the board. The DKs will die sad deaths against most lists - I'm not under any illusions that they will always kill 500 points per game. However, they'll ensure that people don't get too close to me. If they aren't close, then I can control where my opponent goes, to an extent. Want to control/contest my objective? You need to kill 3 DKs then spend a turn getting there.

Similarly, if the DKs are threatening three objectives, my opponent can't win until he clears them off. If he's shooting at the DKs, my ranged elements can shoot him up uninterrupted. If he ignores them, the DKs will make their endgame a hellish nightmare. Torrent flamers are good at killing the three 'power' codex troops - Eldar, Tau, and Necrons all have troops which are extremely fragile in the face of my S6 AP4 Torrent flamer.

So, the DKs will force my opponent to make a difficult choice - kill the DKs and let me shoot him to death (which I'm fully capable of if I get 5 turns of shooting) or kill my shooting and not be able to deal with the DKs late game, especially if I'm running around in their lines punching things by Turn 3?

My Predictions:

For the invitational, I expect my opponents will be good enough to understand my board control gameplan and take steps to counter it. Some of them will be skilled enough to do so.

I predict me going 2-3, though I will be happy with anything better than that. A (very cocky) small part of me thinks I'll win it, though I suppose that's to be expected given the name of this blog :)

For the Open, I expect my first few round opponents to be unable to deal with 4 MCs and lots of other 2+ saves. I would be surprised if I didn't get 3-1 or 4-0, though after that, it obviously gets tougher. If I go 4-0 and get into the top bracket, it will feel like the invitational all over again, only harder.

Remember, these guys who are in the invitational are all undoubtedly good players, but some of them qualified before the new Tau or Eldar came out. As such, some may have failed to plan for the new awesome builds. This will be necessarily untrue about people who go 4-0 in the Open. In some ways, I expect the top bracket of the Open to be more competitive than the Invitational.

I will be bold for the Open: I predict I will go 6-2 or better, mainly because a big tournament like this will have upsets of great players, and people less prepared for the doom represented by my Big 4.

Come say hi!

I'll be there on Friday wearing my white "Let the Wookie Win" T-shirt. I'm pretty tall, and have Blue GKs w/ Purple/Green Tau Allies. Come tell me how you think I'm full of shit, trying to go 6-2 or better with models nobody ever uses. I'll probably just smile and tell you that I've lost all my games up to that point :)

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