Motivational List Building

Monday, December 19, 2011

The other day I started talking about ways to motivate myself to finish the backlog of models that have built up over the years. It's not that I haven't wanted to build them all but finding time is a constant challenge and it always ends up that I prioritize based on what I intend to use in my army lists at that time. I didn't let myself jump fully into Dark Eldar this year because of all the unfinished marines I had lying around. Now with the Necrons re-emerging from storage and piquing my interest I'm starting to get that same feeling; I don't want to leave my first army unfinished before starting on a new one because I think it would be 100 times harder to come back to them, especially if I really enjoy the way the new stuff plays. I'm most worried about this with DE because I've often felt that my marine list is just trying to play like them and also because their models are the best in 40k (not biased at all...). But I want my marines to be finished so I can jump back to them at any time and have all those options available that I've collected over the years.

It can be hard to follow through with a unit, especially if it's one that the Internet hates and doesn't have a single positive word to say about it. Legion of the Damned models look really cool, but if you're not a collector type who gets enjoyment from just having a nicely painted squad in a display case, you'll be hard pressed to find anything positive on fielding these guys and may find it difficult to finish them. It all comes down to how you enjoy the hobby, whether you're all about collecting / painting, all about playing the game, or somewhere in between.


I have no problem fielding what some may call "sub-optimal" units if they contribute to the overall theme of the list. Play with what you want because after all, it's all about having fun.


When I look at the remaining marine models in my collection that are unfinished, I see an opportunity to try a list that I've never done before, not just because of the unit composition but the tactics that each of them can bring to the table when taken together. I started to get into this the other day but to quickly recap, the focus of this new motivational list is centered around "reliable" deep strikes by employing Locator Beacons with the Scout Bikes and Drop Pods. Also in the unfinished pile of models is a large squad of Assault Terminators and a bunch of Land Speeders. Both of these units can take very good advantage of well placed beacons on the board. But lets take it a step further. I haven't fielded my Assault marines since 4th edition, same with Shrike's wing since they were taken out in 5th. With the units I've selected so far, I see an opportunity to further capitalize on these locator beacons with another "sub-optimal" and  generally disliked squad from the vanilla marine codex: Vanguard Veterans.

These awesome looking Vets were done by Grajo over at Of Wolf and Raven
Basically, Vanguard can get very pricey for what they do and are often compared to Assault Terminators in terms of points, wargear, and utility. I agree that TH/SS termies are an awesome buy for the points, but I don't think it's necessarily fair to compare this squad to a squad of Vanguard Vets. Here's why.

#1 - These two squads fundamentally serve two different roles in the game. Sure, it's possible to give them both the same weapons and play them to serve the same role, but Vanguard Vets can be geared for many different roles and allow for more customization than any other unit available in C:SM.

#2 - When you include a squad of Assault Terminators you also need to account for how they are going to get across the board in order to be effective in the game. It could be a Land Raider transport or an attached Librarian with Gate of Infinity, but either way you're talking more points that should be included in this particular comparison. What about Deep Striking, that doesn't cost anything extra?

Herein lies the biggest reason why Vanguard Vets are priced at a premium: Heroic Intervention. The ability to assault the same turn you enter from Deep Strike is huge. Now, we're not Blood Angels who have a much better chance of landing within assault range due to Descent of Angels rules, so vanilla marines take a bigger risk of missing out on the Vanguards single greatest advantage. That is, if you don't have beacons on your side to mitigate that scatter risk. I plan to run at least 4 if I'm going to take these guys; 1 with the Scout Bike Sgt. and 1 on each of the 3 Drop Pods.

We're basically looking at an army that doesn't deploy anything on the board, which can be really awesome. Your units don't get shot up if you don't go first and it can really screw with your opponent's head. The downside of course is you also aren't sure when your own units will arrive. This is something Khan has helped me get a little more accustomed to, but there's always going to be chance involved and it sucks when everything you need doesn't show up until the very end of the game. The only option to improve the Reserves roll is to take Tigurius for his re-roll ability. I'm still playing around with a few ideas to make this whole beacon list work, but here's 2 lists I threw together over the weekend. The first one is based off my Khan Bikers list and looks something like this at 2000pts:

Khan - Moondrakkan

Command Squad - champion; company standard; 2x meltaguns
Drop pod - locator beacon

8x Bikes + MM Attack Bike - 2x meltaguns

8x Bikes + MM Attack Bike - 2x meltaguns

6x Scout Bikes - Sgt. w/ combi-melta, meltabombs, locator beacon

2x Land Speeder Tornados - both w/ MM & HF

7x Vanguard Vets - jump packs; 5x meltabombs; Sgt. w/ PF; 2x LC

5x Sternguard - 4x combi-melta; 1 combi-flamer
Drop pod - locator beacon

Dreadnought - MM, DCCW w/ HF
Drop pod - locator beacon

The second list gets away from Khan and the bikes but currently only clocks in at 1975pts with the following (still deciding on the last 25 pts; it's enough to put combi-meltas on each of the Tactical squad sgts. or add an extra body somewhere):

Tigurius

10x Tacticals - flamer, MM
Drop pod - locator beacon


10x Tacticals - flamer, MM
Drop pod - locator beacon

7x Assault Terminators

5x Tactical Terminators - assault cannon

5x Sternguard - 4x combi-meltas; 1 combi-flamer
Drop pod - locator beacon

7x Vanguard Vets - jump packs; 5x meltabombs; Sgt. w/ PF; 2x LC

6x Scout Bikes - Sgt. w/ combi-melta, meltabombs, locator beacon

2x Land Speeder Tornados - both w/ MM & HF

For either list, nothing would be deployed except for the infiltrating Scout Bikes. Then you bring down 2 Drop pods turn one. If things work out, you'll have 3 beacons on the table when you start rolling for reserves. It's all about delivering the unit/squad for the job with precision, whether that be Vanguard, Sternguard, Terminators or Land Speeders. I think both will be interesting and fun to try out. Now that I've got the lists, it's time to finish building and painting the models necessary to make it happen.