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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

BoLS's army rankings rebuttal (40k army analysis): Bad armies

So JWolf has posted his 'bottom' tier armies in relation to 40k competitiveness so it's only fair about my rebuttal to his previous post to do the same here. You can see my previous post here which has the appropriate backlinks. The beginning of that post should also be read in relation to my army rankings. I've also had a question relating to what is "competitive." The short answer is lists which come from a certain book and are good in any environment. No meta-game. No fluff or "friendly" crap. So without any handicaps the armies that I explain here are not competitive generally because they cannot deal with a certain type of army (generally mech) or rely on super-units to get anywhere near "competitive" and are thus unbalanced. So, like my previous post I'll list what I think are the worst armies with the last being the worst and will relate this back to what JWolf has posted. I will also be writing specific bits on Tau & DE because they are excellent armies and were included in the other post whilst JWolf has put them in his bottom armies. So for the lazy, JWolf's continuing list is as follows:
  1. Daemonhunters (9)
  2. Orks (10)
  3. Dark Eldar (11)
  4. Tau (12)
  5. Black Templars (13)
  6. Chaos Daemons (14)
  7. Dark Angels (15)
  8. Necrons (16)
Again, what the hell are Tau and DE doing here? Let's look at my list then continuing on from the end of the list I posted in the previous post.

Black Templars

JWolf is spot on in pointing out "Codex Marines and newer armies are simply more effective and capable" but not why. BT still have a couple of builds open to them (foot Termies, shooty, Pods & Raider lists) due to their Marine nature (i.e. Preds/Speeders/Dreads/Termies/Tacs) but don't do it as efficiently due to the points decrease for the newer Marine books. However, BT are still capable of making a balanced 5th edition list which is capable of deal with mech & hordes whilst maintaining some form of mobility. Whilst BA are certainly a better book atm, preferred enemy across the army is nothing to be sneered at and BT termies are still some of the best in the game thanks to Furious Charge and Tank Hunters but suffer in terms of survivability.

Dark Angels

The "lesser" bike army compared to Vanilla marines. Whilst you can pack in more meltas/MM's into a Ravenwing list, there is a lot less staying power and anti-infantry power across the army due to the smaller squads necessary for this. Scout is pretty awesome (imagine Scouting Command Squads) and Fearless has its own bonuses but with the lack of combat tactics and Command Squads, this list isn't as balanced in terms of being able to deal with everything as effectively as a Vanilla biker list. Otherwise JWolf is again pretty much spot on with "Nothing in the Dark Angel Codex is better than the same thing in Codex Space Marines, and in a lot of cases you pay more for less."


With the FAQ change to making deff-rollas doing what they should be doing, well Orks have a somewhat reliable way to deal with heavy mech. This still doesn't make them any decent though as their primary army style (lots of guys in assault) doesn't work. Mob rule sees to that and their ineffectiveness in small squads highlights it. Their reliance on using Elites & FA slots for suppression fire/anti-tank for the rest of the army to actually be able to move around, there is little flexibility in the codex.

JWolf thinks Orks used to be good...not sure what changed but they never have been highlighted by this quote "Orks used to be able to charge out of their Trukks and Battle Wagons and decimate almost any opponent." What....? Orks never scared good armies with their charges out of Trukks and Wagons because Trukks suck and Wagons aren't spammable enough. Add in Orks' inability to shut down mech en mass and I'm wondering where this comes from. Remember Orks relying on numbers to do damage in combat? Trukks kill that. Battlewagons don't get AV14 against most armies, not just BA JWolf. Everyone else is mobile, too (you know, Eldar? Dark Eldar? they're even more mobile :O!). Nob Bikers were never good either. Massive point sink for a unit which is still less efficient than TH/SS termies...let's make an army around it and fail but get called cheesy WAAC gamers because people don't understand how to play. BA & SW didn't invalidate the Ork codex (it's become better since then thanks to the FAQ), they were always bad. 40k mechanics FTW.


Jwolf put these guys as number 5 overall...we'll get to that later. Chaos are essentially more expensive Marines much like BT & DA but have crap Fast Attack choices (and JWolf placed them 8 & 10 spots higher than these armies...). Simply reducing the price of Bikes/Raptors to something actually usable as sac melta would make the book just a bit better. Lash is a terrible power which no one understands because all good lists are mobile now anyway and shooting at clumped units with Oblits means you're not shooting at Mech. Oblits and havoc launchers on Rhinos are about the only good things this book has going for them.

So JWolf seems to understand Chaos are just crap Marines through "Yes, they are overpriced and weaker versions of Marines" but I'm still not understanding the discrepancy between DA/BT and Chaos and especially why Chaos are above armies like Eldar, DE, Tau, Witchunters & Tyranids. Cult troops outside of Plague Marines are terrible and Plagues are just plain excellent at holding midfield being no more killy than your regular Tactical Marine/Grey Hunter. Were Lesser Daemons really referenced as a pro for a codex...?


Based on the pure merits of their army list they are again expensive and worse Marines. Adding in IG platoons to Daemonhunters and they vault up behind Witchunters but still aren't great and are really only good because of the platoons so they slip down behind Chaos in this list. Outside of this Daemonhunters are lacking across the board in anti-infantry and anti-tank due to super expensive units and a lot of useless units.

JWolf put these guys as the best of the crap armies and when taking IG platoons, this is spot on but mystics have nothing to do with their effectiveness here. Most armies don't DS anymore because it's crap (hi daemons) or if they do (i.e. Blood Angels) they aren't going to drop within range of your mystics. Whilst this is a good tactical move, it's not a singular reason to make them a better army than others when they are crap to begin with. If they were on par with Space Marines though, well that might vault them higher. They invalidate Fateweaver? He was valid? Why?


Necrons have some awesome shooting. Unfortunately their only way to deal with heavy mech is luck and mass glancing due to guass weaponry. WBB on Destroyers is just awesome fun and keeping this type of army viable with the new codex would be fantastic. As it stands, Necrons are just too weak in combat (Stubborn please), too vulnerable to a wipe out thanks to the Phase Out rule and just don't have enough oomph to deal with mass mech. Add in everyone continues to use C'Tan & Monoliths which making Phasing Out easier and don't add a huge amount to the army...well you can see why Necrons don't get the respect of walking robots of doom they deserve. JWolf is pretty spot on here again though so no need to whine =D.


Hi my name is Daemons and I am forced to Deep Strike half my army on T1 and I don't even get to choose which half. My shooting is also only okay and my assaults kick ass! Shame anyone with a brain is going to stick some bubble-wrap around and shoot me to death. Shame I can't deal with tanks either because of my poor shooting. It's almost like the world is against me! That's the life of a Daemons army. Whilst against other assault armies (like the Blood Rodeo & Jumpers) which rely on combined arms and mass assaulting to win Daemons are particularly effective, against the majority of competitive lists out there they just die due to being stranded in midfield. JWolf is again correct with his analysis on Daemons (wow that was 2 in a row).


Again, most of these armies have trouble dealing with a specific type of army list and are therefore unbalanced. The lists which can deal with all army types and be classified as balanced are generally more expensive and inefficient in comparison to the newer books & the older books which do have competitive builds (i.e. Eldar, DE, Tau & Witchunters). So let's now look at JWolf's comments on DE & Tau. These two armies (and Chaos) are the biggest discrepancies in JWolf's rankings (ignoring his analysis) so let's see why he thinks these two rather excellent armies are crap.

We'll start with Dark Eldar as JWolf rated them above Tau. In my list I ranked them 5th tied with Eldar due to their similar playstyle. The main problem with DE is poor Fast Attack and scaling past 2000pts. Neither of these are mentioned by JWolf. Whilst SW Long Fangs are annoying to Raiders, they do die to Ravagers thanks to Disens and due to Night Shields, DE get to start out of range. Go fast vehicle status and long ranged weaponry coupled with Night Shields. It's almost like that's their defenses... add in DE's horrendous amount of S8 lance weaponry and your tank army isn't going to be shooting that much unless you get the first punch in which thanks to Night Shields & fast tank status isn't always easy unless you have weapon ranges greater than 48". They certainly aren't afraid of Tyranid MCs (oh how will I kill TMCs with my 20+ lances!?) and if they are in combat with BA or SW significantly, well they've already lost. DE aren't a combat army. This is again a misunderstanding of 40k mechanics and specifically the DE book as I believe JWolf isn't actually analysing from their effective list of DL Raider/Ravager spam but something like Wych Cult or assault based. DE do not do assault well but shoot very well. Play to their strengths.

And now Tau. These guys ranked 2nd on my list and are easily one of the best 2 armies in the game atm. As I stated before they are just below IG for me because they really have to be used well and are not forgiving at all (compared to IG) but have the firepower to knock any army off the table. The "rocket science" JWolf describes of getting close to Tau is lot easier said than done. Here are my Piranhas. Here are my drones. Here are my Kroot. Here is my firepower hitting you all the time and I don't care if you kill my Pathfinders or not because that means my guns are still shooting. How to lose against Tau 101. I recommend everyone who thinks JWolf is right reads this article. Not sure how bubble-wrap to limit alpha strikes hurts Tau know, they practically invented it with Kroot right? Tau don't rely on close shooting meltas or getting close so bubble-wraps do...well nothing against Tau. What game are you playing? Uphill struggle my rear. Another classic example of not understanding game mechanics and specific army mechanics.

So there we have it. All the armies have been ordered with appropriate analysis. To reiterate, the top armies are all capable of beating each other due to the balance GW has created in their game (if there wasn't balance, how could all of these armies beat each other...?) whilst the older books who didn't have the 'good fortune' of fitting into 5th edition and are waiting for updates either are not costed correctly or can't create balanced lists which deal with all opposing armies.

20 pinkments:

Anonymous said...

While its true that the CSM codex is outdated in many aspects it definitely is still competitive. I don't know why you think PMs are the only good Clt Troop, but Berzerkers are some of the best assault units in the game. Noise marines are niche, true, and TSons suck, but PMs are not the only usable choice. Lash is not really used as much anymore due to mech as you said, but its still a great power and shouldn't be written off completely. I'd never thought I would meet a chaos player who considers havoc launchers "good". You obviously either don't play chaos or haven't played in a looong time. I guess if you hated Demon Princes, Lords, Sorcerers, Chosen, Plagues, Berzerkers, Oblits, Defilers, Abaddon and Kharn with a fiery passion. Yeah, all those guys suck. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

Plague Marines die to dedicated assault units...Berzerkers have to go in Land Raiders to get charges they like off, and afterwards they're usually stranded in the open shot quite easily.

Lash does nothing you can't do with a Tank Shock and proper threat saturation. Keep me from charging? Tank shock me back/use bubblewrap tactics to delay the charge. Draw me in? Kill me then die to shooting next turn. Template/Blast maximization formation? Tank Shock.

Demon Princes that are T5 are a pushover, T6 helps a bit. Sorcerers? Countered by Psy Hoods...and they have no Hoods of their own...fancy that. awesome choice...pity they are obvious to shoot back and aren't they competing with slots for Defilers? W

Same with Abby and Kharn...You have dual lash and Kharn and Abbaddon in the same list? What Force Org are YOU using?

AbusePuppy said...

None of those are "bad" units (except maybe Defilers and Abaddon), but the problem is they don't solve the fundamental issue CSM has: can't kill mech. What do you do against any kind of tank-heavy army? CSMs or Chosen with Melta will get wrecked for being in too close; Oblits are expensive and not all that stunningly effective for their price (their main advantage is flexibility); Preds and Land Raiders are both pretty vulnerable; Termicide, as the name implies, is a one-trick pony, and not all that reliable a trick even.

I could write a book full of units that are awesome and, put together, make a terrible army list. How about 2pt S3 A3 WS5 units? Sounds pretty sweet until you realize they can't ever kill a tank. Chaos, while not that bad, suffers from the same syndrome- there are too many pieces missing from its puzzle to make an effective force. Like Orks, it does fine in casual play and against middling opponents, but as you approach the top tiers, it suffers a lot.

Brent said...


You listed Daemons as dead last?

Why not just kick me in the nuts and get it over with?

This hurts, Kirbs - this hurts.

Chumbalaya said...

What AP said. CSM have some good units, but nothing that meshes together into a good army. Too many cooks in the HQ and Heavy Support kitchen.

Kirby said...

Yay for Anons...; Let's compare CSM to say DA/BT. Main difference is Cult Troops, HQ, Oblits & Fast Attack. Fast Attack is where BT/DA and Vanilla Marines make up a lot of their competitiveness. Add in the CSM book has poor point efficiency (look at the list I just did on request compared to a SM Mech list; even with oblits it's being outshot badly before fast attack is even considered). Cult Troops don't make up for it because they suck bar Plagues and Plagues are only good for their midfield staying power. Zerks are essentially BA ASM who rely upon a Transport and the only good assaulting transport is the LR which sucks in CSM. And when you mass tank shock, havoc launchers + flamers = bloody awesome torrent. Everything else has been covered by other posters.

@Brent; sorry :P. It's the flaw of deep striking and Not Brent.

Messanger of Death said...

I am offended that you consider Daemonhunters with IG platoons better than the awesomeness that is the Righteous Fury of Black Templars. I declare that Brent's Daemons and all Black Templars join forces in a holy crusade to prove Kirby wrong :)

@ 1st anon - you fails at understanding 40K Game Mechanics 101. Please write a 1000 word essay on inductive vs deductive reasoning and how some units might look awesome on paper but under perform on the table top.


Anonymous said...

C&P from a DakkaDakka thread that compiled HB semis qualifiers. I'd say it supports Jwolf more than it does you. This is, however, missing 10-15 people. I've heard there were 90-some qualifiers in total, and 74 listed here.

So far the army distribution looks like this:

IG: 13 (12, due to 1 winner not going to the finals)
SM: 11
BA: 11 (12, due to 1 IG winner not going to the finals)
Orks: 9
Nids: 9
SW: 7
CSM: 6
Eldar: 5
Daemons: 3
WH: 2
Tau: 1 (probably not attending finals)
Necrons: 1
BT: 1
DH: 0
DA: 0
DE: 0

By first places:
IG (9)
SM (4)
Nids (3)
SW (3)
CSM (3)

Anonymous said...

We have covered before why Tournament results aren't everything, lest must we bring up Necrons winning in Iowa or something similiar?

"Yes, I'm undefeated with Necrons, I only play my retarded Dog Sparky, but I'm UNDEFEATED!"

Anonymous said...

Or do I have to make a tournament with all the local dogs in the neighborhood to prove my point?

All the dogs in the world?

I'd take 'em all on, I'd be undefeated.

Kirby said...

What the 2nd Anon said first Anon. Until you can actually get a representative sample of good army lists played be competent generals (which is only going to happen at invitiationals) you're not going to get what's really "good" from tournament results. I draw your eyes to the GTs in 2008? when 5th was released. Daemons were topping a lot (and cheating) and they suck (sorry Brent!).

Anonymous said...

There is no better data until the finals, and if you were talking about the first round you would be right.

The second round weeded out most of that effect, but not all. Enough to make the overall trends clear, since you had to take the top in a feeder tourney to get there. It's the same difference between ranking Magic decks at Friday Night Magic and doing so with PTQ results.

Besides, Demons suck now. They won in 2008, when lists were different and the meta was different. Winning is a large part of the definition of 'good'.

And to end, nice dismissal of what you don't want to hear. Perhaps you would like to actually address the results?

Kirby said...

Give me each of the lists everyone used and how each person played and I will. The Ork players are unlikely to have consistently played against mech lists. Same with Chaos & Daemons or they just played bad players. The tau who don't appear up there prob failed at list building and tactics. Same with DE & WH. There are basic aspects of 40k which make lists good or not and if you don't want to face the facts of why they are bad or not, fine.

Like the 2nd anon said, I can go take a crap list and versus a bunch of crappier lists or bad players and place. Does that mean my crap list is good? No.

Meta hasn't changed, we're still playing under 5th edition rules yes?

Anonymous said...

The meta always changes with time. Even if the rules don't change, new codexi hit, new ideas are founded, and there is an ebb and flow of tactic-countertactic.

Why are you willing to address Jwolf's semi-arbitrary codex rankings, but not that list of semi-arbitrary codex rankings? If nothing else you rated Tau and DE highly, while they got stomped in the semis. Both of your rated Orks poorly while they performed pretty well.

Oh well. I'm sure this discussion will crop up again after the finals. I'll be waiting for it.

Kirby said...

What meta changes have their been with SM/IG/SW/Tyranids/BA? Bring psychic defense? Should of been brought from the get-go but I'll give it that. Mech up? Happened with 5th. No more static gunlines? Happened with 5th. I honestly cannot say any of my lists have changed with army book releases or adaptions of tactics because good armies are balanced anyway. If an opponent tailors (like Vince did with mass meltagun sisters :P) I pull out a list which goes against the tailoring (i.e. Eldar in this case).

The problem with tournament 'rankings' in that sense is you've got a ton of confounds. Comp/sport aren't in 'ard Boyz thankfully, but other tournaments do. Then you've got the fact that you're play 3 games out of 20-50 players at a venue so the winning players could of had favorable match-ups (remember, Orks hate mech) which is fixed with Swiss pairing (but you need to have the right numbers then). We also don't know what the player's skill levels were or what the dice rolls were like (but we should assume over all of these games they average out) or terrain. We don't know what the army lists are like and whether or not they accounted for the scenarios, etc.

JWolf's rankings had explicit reasoning attached to them which is what I was rebutting for the most part. Again, there is a ton of subjective nature to the rankings and if you wanted to tell me something like Space Wolves were 1st and Tau was 4th, I wouldn't bat an eyelid as long as your reasoning was sound (i.e. not going OMG RAGNAR IS A BEAST).

Anonymous said...

First of all, as a die hard daemons player, I completely disagree with your views on their strengths and weaknesses (no matter how well founded they are)

Second, Jwolf is not correct in his analysis of daemons, because he did not analyze them at all. He made blanketing statements that could be applied to almost any army. Which is kind of insulting considering how glaringly obvious the strengths and weaknesses of daemons are.

Kirby said...

Very well then Anon, tell us why random deep striking without benefits and poor anti-tank is good in an army.

Anonymous said...

That first point was meant to be a joke(like "la-la-la-la-la, I cant hear you!") I was simply remarking at how you actually pointed out the flaws of the army where-as jwolf pointed out the flaws of the players. But there are few hairs I'd like to split you :P

1. "deep striking without benefits" is simply called 'deep striking'. I realize it is a forgotten art in this new era of codex writing but it still goes by the same name.

2. I wouldn't call the daemons anti-tank "poor" but it is pretty limited. Usually consisting of some bigbad monsterous creatures, bolt of tzeentch, breath of chaos(if you've got nothing better to use it on), and some changling shenanigans.

The only real benefit that I see demons gaining from Demonic Assault is that you always get to see your opponent deploy, declare deepstrikes, outflanks, reserves, and scout move before you even divide your forces into assaulting and reserved groups(with the exception of mirror matches). It lets them make the first mistake, and allows you to react accordingly.

Kirby said...

Sarcasim on the internet is an art...^^.

1) BA deep strike with benefits. I.e. no splitting of army, VV can assault on drop, re-roll reserves, D6 scatter. Drop Pods/Trygons deep strike with benefits. I.e. no mishaps.

2) Was breath of chaos just called good anti-tank? Bolt is the only reliable anti-tank through shooting and then you're relying on close combat. Fiends can do this with rending/a bunch of attacks/calvary status but ask Tyranids/Orks without re-rolls or suppression fire how close combat anti-tank goes. Poorly.

Raven said...

I agree with you there Messenger of Death. The Black Templars were given the shaft in those rankings. I'd put them at #8-9. I think that I'll be joining you on that Crusade...

They don't have the toys of the newer space marine codices, but a competent general can easily overcome those downfalls. Gunline or Drop Pod BT are easily as good as anything the Eldar/DE/Witch Hunters can put out, and those armies are pretty mono-build.

~Marshal Laeroth~

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