Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Beating the Metagame (by not playing)

Recently BoLS posted an article on how doing something unexpected can throw off a player who has a "tailored" army list, one designed to beat a specific foe. There aren't that many players who have the money to pull out a new army whenever they want to. The simple way to get around this is to not tailor your list to beat any army but every army.

That last statement may sound strange, but let me explain. Most armies have some things in common, for instance most transport vehicles are AV 11 or 12 and can move up to 12" per turn. Most armies have some sort of punishing CC unit or some monstrosity that can run rampage in infantry squads. On the flip side, some armies have the ability to send out waves of models and field so many wounds it's tough to kill them all. What's a player to do?

First look at what your army doesn't do well, how each your opponents can play that you simply cannot compete with. Look at how these armies fight in that manner. Then look at how you can best bring that threat down and include that in your army. Don't specialize your army, look at weapons and units that can perform multiple tasks in your army and include those units over units that can perform one task very well.

For instance, you're fighting Tyranid monstrous creatures, IG mechanized veterans, and a rhino rush Khorne army. What would you need to deal with theses armies, without changing your lists? One solution that springs to mind was posted by Stelek over at Yes The Truth Hurts in his "Fast and Slow" Marine build. this list focuses on bike squads with two meltaguns and a multi-melta attack bike supported by dreadnoughts with dual twin linked autocannons. The high strength of the autocannon makes it a very good weapon to kill transports and allows it to wound most monstrous creatures on threes and infantry on twos. Melta weapons do this even better, can harm AV 14 and penetrate any armor.

Just food for thought, but what do you think about bringing a specialized army as opposed to a generalized army?


  1. I think that the problem with generalized armies versus specialized armies is that while it can handle a variety of threats, units can be wasted if the opponent isn't using the type of threat that they are made to counter. For example if you bring several anti-vehicle melta units and the opponent is using horde orcs or nids or something those meltas are far less useful than much cheaper heavy bolters and are practically points down the drain leaving you at a disadvantage.

    On the flip side if you used the same list and the opponent used an all vehicle IG or eldar army would those few meltas be enough to stop the entire army?

    In my opinion the problem with a completely generalized army is that to handle any kind of threat you often become stretched to thin.

    I think it is best to go with what you and your army are good at and concentrate on those aspects. You will have weak points, and some types of armies you just don't have a good shot at beating, but you come off better against other army types. For example Tau are not good at fighting the kind of fast Blood Angel army i play. For them to have a practical chance against my army they would have to radically restructure their whole army. Even then they would still be more likely to loss than win, plus they would be weaker against armies that fight differently.

    This goes full circle as my Blood Angels play style often just can't handle armies based around much tougher CC units or monstrous creatures even though they are almost always slower so that the strong tau guns could rip them a new one before they got close enough to even think of assaulting.

    We should admit that we have weaknesses and focus on our strengths or we end up dragging our whole army into mediocrity just to cover our asses.

  2. I'm all about balanced all-comer's lists. I'd much rather see a fairly fluffy, well balanced army across from me.

    In fact, one of my favorite things to do is gimp uber-characters as much as possible. My goal (aside from the actual mission) is to utterly destroy that unit, or at the very least keep it from doing anything fun.

    It's true that every army has its strengths and weaknesses, but without them we'd be playing Space Marines in the Year 40,000, the game where everybody's the same, even your assault units and your heavy weapons teams!

    With my Nids, I'll typically be running 2 Zoanthropes in a Spore and 2 Hive Guard. Enough to handle a bit of mech. Will it wreck domes against a Deathwing list full of Land Raiders? Nah, I'll have to start relying on MC's to work as Can Openers. Not ideal, but it'll do the job.

    If you leave yourself obviously open in one area (such as taking a strict salamanders force at 1k with nothing better than a 12" range), then you'd better believe I'm doing nothing but skimming around in Raiders and popping off lance shots at you.

    Should have brought a Lascannon.