A while back, I posted the first army list I was considering for the NOVA Open GT. I'll repost the list since I'm hoping to provide a brief rundown on each of the selections (and I haven't had a chance to snap any new pictures to accompany the post).
To quickly recap, I started this blog to help motivate myself to finish fully painting my primary 40k army, the Raven Guard. Sometimes we all need a little extra motivation, so not long after starting the blog, I signed up for the NOVA Open. Admittedly, I didn't know much about this GT at the time but a friend of mine had attended it the year before and said it was awesome, not to mention it's within driving distance from where I live. So I said to myself, why not, this will make a nice goal for having my army completed and something fun to look forward to. I didn't realize how competitive this event was nor how competitive 40k had gotten in general during 5th edition. I logged most of my games during 3rd and 4th editions, and have been in & out of the hobby since then. Needless to say, I'm not feeling as prepared as I should be for an event like NOVA, but I'm hoping to change that in the next several weeks leading up to the tournament.
I've always been into tactics/strategy and am excited to put those to the test in a tournament setting, but if you're one to distill everything down into 2 categories I'm definitely more of a collector than a lister ;)
2000 pts is more than what I usually play with and more than any local tournament I've ever played in. I've participated in a few apocalypse level games and definitely enjoyed playing with units I otherwise wouldn't have been able to fit in a lower point game. So how did I arrive at list #1 pictured above? Let's start with the HQ's. The Captain on bike enables bike squads of 5 or more models to be taken as Troops choices. This one is simple; bikes = mobility and only troops can count as scoring. If there's anything I've learned in my limited experience with 5th edition it's that mobility is key. The Master of the Forge I had converted on a bike back in 4th edition, and having never seen another one in real life I thought this would be a cool theme decision to include one in this list. I'm also a big fan of dreadnoughts (who isn't!?) so the ability to include more with the MotF is awesome. I realize this isn't the most competitive of selections but again, I don't build lists solely for that purpose. I aim to have a fun themed list that can also perform well on the table.
I should also mention I make a lot of my selections based on what I currently have. I can't afford to go out and refresh my entire army with each edition of the game or every time a new codex is released and the meta changes. Thus this first list had choices like Assualt marines and a couple Scout squads. My Raven Guard in 4th edition made a lot of use of these units. They were both fluffy and more effective back then. Simply put, Blood Angels do Assault/Jump marines better and Scouts got their stat line nerfed in 5th. The Vindicators were in there because I had 3 from the line breaker apocalypse box and strength 10 AP 2 can be a beautiful thing to have on your side. But this first list isn't very cohesive. It's a conglomeration of things I have, some things I wanted to feature, and some things I thought would be effective at tying it all together. I've since learned that several things in this list needed to change.
Not long after making this first list, I started 2 others (again based mostly on theme and units I already had at my disposal). The second one was more focused on bikes and dreads and eventually evolved into the list I plan to take to the tournament. The 3rd was a Shrike infiltrating terminators list, but this just wasn't my preferred style of play. Through testing, studying, math-hammering, etc I've learned I need to take a lot more bikes if I want them to be effective and also survive. Also, power weapons on the sergeants don't make up for the fact that ordinary bikers don't belong in close combat. Flamers aren't the best choice on bikes either as they entice you to get too close in order to use them. Most lists you'll find on the Internet take melta weapons on bikes as they do quite well with the current conditions of 5th (lots of vehicle spam). Depending on your local meta, plasma can also be a very lucrative choice on bikes. There's many different opinions out there, so I recommend trying them out and deciding for yourself.
I wont be posting my final list till just before the tournament next month, but lets just say I'm hoping to bring plasma back! I'll leave you with a picture I saw on Kirby's blog and White Scars, both great sites in general and especially for learning more about biker-based tactics and lists.