Friday, 25 February 2011

But I thought Stelek was a bastard?

Since I got into truly "competitive" 40k I've been sending some questions to "the best (by record)" in the hobby. So, I thought Stelek was meant to be a bastard. Yet here's his breakdown of the email I sent him:

In particular, the second one got a fantastic response, well thought out answer, and some good feedback from the community.

All the posts are below, but some of the comments are really good. Now, Stelek gets a bad wrap from a lot of people, but based on this I'm quite happy to say.

Good guy, that Andrew,


Hey Andrew,

Bit about me. I’ve been back in this hobby for bout a year now after I took a gap of maybe 9 months or so, in which I played a lot of WM. Now, I was a major WHFB player, but I’m not a fan of 8E for tourney play (the VP system is fucking retarded, more than double to win ftl) so I’ve been moving over to 40k. Now then, quite a few questions. Sorry about this, but it’s going to be quite a big email :P
Skaven in 8E. What’s your take? Masses and masses of units and 2 level 4s? MSU shooting with blockhammer to delay the enemy? Finding people who’re actually good at WHFB at the moment is fucking difficult. Would love to hear back about this. Also, what’s your take on the new O&G? I can actually see them running MSU pretty fucking well, if I’m honest.

The VP system is meant to encourage friendly games by removing the ability of players to decisively win. IMO, so is the terrain system.

O&G will get looked at when they ‘officially’ release. Same with the Grey Knights.

Skaven have so many possible builds it’s not funny. Really the only thing you cannot do with Skaven is run heavy cav or mass chariots. They are fast enough they don’t really miss either, not that elite super units really fits them anyway.

So I’m not sure what you want, a list or something? I’ve posted a few. There are, imo, at least half a dozen solid builds in the Skaven army book. What is it you are looking for?"


The more important ones, competitive 40k. Got a few questions here. Since I’ve been taking 40k “seriously” (as seriously as you can take a hobby like this) I’ve been talking to a fair few folk I’ve seen do well in it, and asking some questions about the hobby. So, you’re not getting off the hook. ;] Few things.

Why do you think some of the top players of the hobby have such wildly different ideas in regards to lists? You for example like your mass MSU very dakka, Mike Brandt runs a very interesting strakenguard list, Alex Fennel has rockhammer termies etc, why do you think this is? I’ve had some interesting responses to that question. (:

Another thing is how important do you think lists actually are at the top levels of play? Personally, something I’m coming round to more in more is reliability. Not redundancy (of course it does come into it) but I don’t think I could field a list like your SW list. I much prefer things to be able to take more punching. Don’t take this as a slight to your list, or list building abilities though, I do see why you made the choices you did, but I just think the ones I made are equally valid. Horses for courses. I.e. I run 4 big units of Grey Hunters. You know why, midfield, beat up weaker units, hard to get rid of about 40 marines in time whilst dealing with the rest of the army etc. Not necessarily better or worse, just different. How important would you say that these little differences are at the very top levels of play?

1) I don’t think they are truly different. While I don’t think Mike’s Strakenguard is bad, I don’t think it’s optimized either. He loves his bubbles, or auras, or whatever he calls it–his CCS standing around making everyone brave. If only I was scared of guard in assault (I’m not) or cared if dead men don’t run (they don’t, but they’re dead, so who cares). It is, however, a list he runs well and seems to enjoy using. Alex is in the same boat. I wouldn’t run his army either, but does that make it not ‘good’, or just not optimized for my style of play versus optimized for his? So I don’t think it’s a matter of wildly different. It’s not like I don’t own IG, or mass terminator lists. Not that I’m trying to use a big brush and paint ‘IG is IG’ or ‘termies are termies’. Each list has it’s own soul, if you will. My lists suit my playstyle, which is about mobile tactics and applied firepower. I think the core of miniature gaming IS that, and how well your army does it, determines how far you can go. As an example, I would have loved to have played against Mike’s opponent in the game before me, and let Mike play my opponent. Why? I’d have sailed past his opponent, and he’d have had a bad time against mine. Worse than he did against me anyway, my army isn’t really built to throw back 80 IG gunning into my deployment zone. That doesn’t invalidate any of the armies or the players, trust me, despite me not ‘liking’ an army, I can see the skill in it’s use. There were no autowins around, or really ‘weak’ lists, merely ones I wouldn’t call optimized. For how I prefer to play the game. That said, those armies are a hell of a lot ‘harder’ than the usual crap you see at indy events and GT’s. While I had some seriously boring moments at NOVA and even at BFS, that was usually the terrain failing rather than my opponents or their lists. While many think I was ‘validated’, that wasn’t really the goal. Having fun and getting my ass kicked while I was at it, that was my goal. I had 2 games won on a single die roll, and 2 games lost on a single die roll. I’ll take that at any tournament, it’s a good sign when I see solid armies and solid play rather than 100 noobs and 2 semi-decent lists I won’t face because my lovefest scores are low. =p I am still waiting for that ass kicking. Maybe it’s just not possible, my army is very hard to deal with, so I dunno if that will happen anytime soon. Maybe I could run my flamer tau. ;)

2) I think lists are important, if you bring a crappy list I’ll rickroll you in no time flat. That happened at NOVA. Did not happen at BFS. Why? NOVA had some bad lists show up. BFS? I looked for bad lists from solid codices, and I really couldn’t find any. A tribute to that gaming club really. They have lots of good players who mentor quite well, judging from the level of play I encountered. Having a reliable list that can take a sucker punch and still come out swinging, that’s really what you want. I think you misunderstand my lists ability to take a punching. It’s not like one needs to run my list, you can run lots of lists from the SW Codex. Just don’t think having 40 Marines is going to save you from getting beaten. There are quite a few armies out there that will laugh in your face as you put your toy soldiers back in their box. Just the way it is. See, to me, when the game comes down to a single die roll–man, that’s a close game. Truly, the best games see your skills get matched to someone in or around your play level, you both have lists that are good (generally speaking, they can still not be optimized for how you’d personally play them and still be considered ‘good’), and it comes down to dice. Not as an excuse, it’s just the best games aren’t perfectly determined fate events. The dice intervene, and you sometimes come up short. Nothing wrong with that.

I hope that answers your questions."


"Ok, next up. See in about a fortnight, I’m going to be running an ork list, very heavily influenced by MVB’s at a 1750 tourney using NOVA format but with the 5×5 KP system. Now, I’m going to assume you know the list (the 1750 is 60 orks, a KFF mek, 9 kans, 6 buggies, 5 trukks, 2 wagons) but I’d like a tertiary opinion on playing it? I’m playing it at the event for fun mostly, having never touched orks before, but I do still want to do well. What matchups do you see being troublesome for me? Anything to look out for etc?

Ok, almost done now. Final thing is a SW list I’d like an opinion on.

 Quickly, it’s:
Njal in rune armour (not tda)
2×5 Wolf Scouts w/Melta
6 WG w/Fists + Combi Meltas
3×7 GHs w/Melta, Standard + Rhino
6 GHs w/Melta, Standard + Rhino
2×5 GHs w/Lasplas Razors
3×5 Fangs w/4 Missiles, 1 unit has a lasplas

I know you don’t like standards, but suck it up. I like this list, it’s tested well. The 32 marines in midfield do particularly well. (:

Yeah, it’s everyone’s Ork list. I think you can find it if you dig through the archives. It’s years old now though. lol

NOVA + 5v5 is really the same concept, bud. Balanced tournament scenarios help provide balanced tournament environments.

You rush forward, shock with trukks, try to blow up enemy tanks, and slam home with Kans. It’s a decent enough list at 1750. Kind of loses itself vs IG, SM, SW, and BA, as they can compete effectively at those points levels but some other lists are very meh. That said, nightshield dark eldar. Pray you don’t face them. Orks and Vulkan hate those guys. lol

In any case, matchups against current 5E Codices will be difficult. A well built IG army is going to light your business on fire. Jump Pack FNP BA’s will also give you fits, especially if they bring along storm shields to stymie your Kans. Other than that, really many matches will be close. Unless you go second, and your KFF fails. Or your KFF fails early and you lose squadrons. Which is usually what makes that army blow up. KFF can only carry you so far. =|

As to your SW. I’m not a fan of Fists. Haven’t been since GW made them crap. That was when 5th first came out. Across all of my armies I use, I believe only my TWC, Lone Wolves, and Terminators ever get them. Everyone else doesn’t bother. Hint: Because for my playstyle, they aren’t necessary.
Your army isn’t bad or anything, it’s similar to mine. You’ve given up TWC/Speeders for pfists and Njal. Who is impressive if you go first. Not so much if you don’t. Still not what I’d do, having TWC and Speeders gives me more tools than pfists or njal do. That’s why I didn’t end up bringing them along…"

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