Friday, 5 November 2010

A new approach...

Ok then folks. Now I have previously professed that deathstars are bad. And they are. However VP denial is not. Now the big problem with deathstars is they're damn easy to redirect about the board, which makes them feel like quite the fool. However, there is a pretty easy way around this.

Take more.

Armies with one big, super, not-maneouverable horde fail. They fail hard. Armies with one big, super, not-maneouverable horde with a high threat range win. Seriously. If your opponent only gets 200VPs by killing your support elements and you get 500 for taking out 2 units, you win. problem is against any opponent worth his salt that super horde is going nowhere before being hit by his whole army at once. So, how do we stop that? Simple really. Take more than one super unit. Wanna try dealing with 5 super units at once?

See, there's a certain amount of overkill I feel goes into deathstars. It's kind of like a tangent. At first the value seems to be increasing pretty rapidly, but you get to a certain point and then the distance between your values decrease, until it is barely noticeable. What I'm trying to get at here is more easily summed up in this diagram:
X is ability to pulp, Y is efficiency.
Now if we can imagine folks, the intersection at the black line is zombies, or goblins. The intersection at the red line is an empire swordsman, or a clanrat or something. You can see for a pretty minimal move forward you get a fair bit of gain, but it's not much compared to other stuff along the line. Blue can be something like a unit of chaos warriors, or white lions, or something. They're a fair bit further along the line, and do a lot of damage, for not much gain points.

The green line however is one of my deathstars. It does kill more than those units, yes. But it costs an awful lot more. Not necessarily a bad thing when VP denial is brought into it, as it means it denies those points. However at the top of the graph you can see one of those deathstars that the internet seems to love (the one that is 65% of your army in pts). Sure it'll crump everything in the game. But look how many wasted pts you're spending! In addition they're really easy to make do whatever the hell you want, because they're so blocky.

"Right ok Archy, but where are you going with this?"

Somewhere around here I reckon:
Grey Seer, Bell, Power Scroll
Plague Priest, Furnace, Flail
Plague Priest, Furnace, Flail
90 Clanrats, Full Command
10 Stormvermin, Standard, Storm Banner, Warpfire Thrower
25 Plague Monks, Full Command, Flaming Banner
25 Plague Monks, Full Command
Hellpit Abomination
Hellpit Abomination

Now considering you get 3 cannons below 3k, what army can deal with those 5 big things marching toward them? In addition, like 1800pts of that army is unbreakable. Sure you can make them not unbreakable, but there's another 4 big things to kill and you have 2 or 3 turns of shooting, max. With a Storm Banner. Nope, I reckon this list will do fine for itself. Sure, magic will hurt, but it falls under the same category. 2 or 3 turns to live.

Ok, but I play 2k, so here's what it looks like at 2k;

Grey Seer, Bell, Power Scroll
Plague Priest, Furnace, Flail
60 Clanrats, Full Command
10 Stormvermin, Standard, Storm Banner, Warpfire Thrower
37 Plague Monks, Full Command, Flaming Banner
Hellpit Abomination
Hellpit Abomination

You may question the loss of a furnace over the bell, but the seer gives this army range and a way to get through chaff. In addition he can evaporate units like slann, teclis and whatnot with the 13th, while remaining vulnerable only to cannonfire. In addition, he makes that big chunk of rats that goes in the centre of this army unbreakable. That's something that's good. Means you have an epic tarpit. You can reform to show them your flank so they have to hack through all 60 before hitting the seer, while he rains spells from on high.

Now this list isn't without it's weaknesses. But I do think it's scary as shit, as I don't know many armies that could deal with that running across the board. Sure you could get yourself into a winning situation, but actually winning the game against something with so many points tied into such big unbreakable units?

Not something I'd like to try.

Hope you guys enjoyed the article.


  1. Certainly worth thinking about. I tend to run one horde in my Dark Elf army and, well, it's not as effective as it could be (possibly because I'm relying too much on rolling Occam's Mindrazor without sinking in the effort to make sure I do). Compare that to the Vampire Counts army I saw a while back, which had two decent hordes and a few support pieces lurking around the sides and back, and which tends to do very well for itself as long as the enemy can't get around it, and I'm starting to wonder...

  2. yknow, over in 40K, there's a thing called "power blobs" for horde armies like IG, Orks and Nids.

    I understand it works something like this- ramp up a buncha no-name MSUs intoa huge group and stick one or two special characters in there to give 'em Ld. Apparently it works. Maybe that's worth considering for your conundrum?

  3. I do hope you mean horde literally Von, not as in the rule. I wouldn't bother hording these units because a few extra WS3 S3 attacks isn't going to change very much. I'll probably go with 4 +bell/furnace. Which is roughly 7 wide. I was tempted however to go with 2 + bell/furnace. Which is a rank of 5. Anyway, that's pretty much the idea for this army. Run up, smash 3-4 units, then hold fast until the end of the game. Simple and (should be) effective.

    Well it's the same principle Loquacious. The difference being that IG Commissars can't be picked out of their unit so the unit will always be stubborn. As opposed to this army where characters are easily picked out their units.

    In this army I am (of course) worried about redirectors, but I aim to rely on my seer and stormvermin to deal with them. In addition, there's something to be said for causing panic all over the place (which you can do against redirection hordes). It's not always effective right enough. However if I do smell a lot of redirection coming my way I can fan out so my units are stupidly wide. Means I'm very likely to hit something on the overrun. Basically it all comes down to how I move and if I do it properly. I trust myself enough to know that I will. :P

    Not like my last game though. >_>

  4. Really nice, I love the look of giant hordes (not as in the rule) of rats ploughing forward into another army, and I imagine this could be a very effective force. It will take so many rounds of combat to wear down those units that you'll end up with the rest of the board to do with as you like.

  5. Ok after crying as read that list I have one thing to say salamanders.

  6. One thing I absolutely cannot stand is people who put forward an argument without reinforcing it with a point, or evidence.

    Because you say you were crying as you read my list that suggests it was awful, but you didn't say why. In fact, you didn't actually say anything constructive.

    Now, this isn't meant to come off as aggressive, I'm not like that. But if you're going to continue to make criticisms and say that you dislike something then please provide a reason why you dislike it. It gives me something more to work at rather than just "salamanders".

    Speaking of which, you suggested Doomwheels are good against things such as mobile skirmishers because they can't run around them. What do I have a pair of in this list that is actually better in combat, and more resilient (by virtue of being able to kill things that threaten it in CC). They couldn't possibly be there to deter the very same units such as sallies. I mean, that's an extraordina-

    Fuck it I'll get off my soap box. I put in Hellpits because I'm very aware the flanks of this list are vulnerable. I also put in a storm banner to hamper enemy shooting. However being hit on the flank isn't necessarily a bad thing for one of these lists. If it's the furnace unit I can turn it round and if it's the bell have fun hacking through 90 clanrats. Admittedly being held in place is a problem, but you can reform to mitigate that (for example having the rear of the unit facing the enemy table edge, have fun with all that unbreakable).

    Hopefully that'll show you that I am aware of the threat of salamanders, and have actually put in adequate countermeasures. Perhaps you can mop your tears off the floor and put forward a constructive argument that will help me improve my lists rather than looking down on them from this soapbox altitude and scorning them.


  7. Andy, thanks, that's one of the main attractions to that army for me. A big horde of 200 rats backed up by 5 big contraptions sounds like a lot of fun.

    You have the general idea, in that you'll almost never get the points for the bell unit. If the bell unit can't beat you in combat, it'll just reform so the bell is out of combat and you'll have to hack through 90 clanrats. Have fun with that. The seer can still cast magic from his vantage point. Lol.

    Unfortunately in the 2.5k the 25 plague monks per unit aren't so resilient. They're much more like hammers than anvils. In the 2k list however the unit of 37 is much more anvil-y. Especially at T4. To be honest I'd really like units of 30-35 in the 2500, but I can't see any way of fitting that in without dropping something. And hell, I also want gutter runners in the list. Ha!


    Thanks for the feedback though :3