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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

UK Masters: Requested Review

So I had an e-mail about the UK Masters to review it and the army lists presented. Oh goodie? Let's be clear here, this isn't an attack or a you suck! it's an 'un-biased' review of the armies and format. First off the format seems pretty good for the most part. There aren't any stupid missions and the missions are generally based off the good combinations from the rulebook. Minimal innovation but effective. There are some issues though. The 26 page 'FAQ' document (and seriously question 231? No thanks. My Tervigon is yay big, is MC sized, uses this base and is WYSIWYG. Now if I had modelled my Tervigon to be as tiny as a termagant, then ya go for it but not when it's based off of a new Carnifex model. I also like how there is no FAQ for a T-Fex *models 2" tall T-Fex*) which I haven't bothered reading is really extensive (okay I skimmed it and there are some issues like Q 125. GW even said this wasn't the case. 48 is mind blowing...). There are not that many issues pertaining to the rulebook and armies that we need 26 pages. It's not as bad as INAT but it's not really needed. Some quick "beasts do not get Pain tokens but beasmasters do," "Libby gates out of combat," etc. would of been fine. And requiring both a 1500 and 1750 list (and naively thinking both will be different and diverse armies) is meh. Pick a point size and stick with it otherwise your tournament is even less valid than normal. I'd prefer 1750 of the two as I think that's where most lists balance out but either way, pick one.

No comp or painting scores which is nice but still using Battle Points though at least there aren't minor and major victories. Rather just W/D/L points system with extra or less points based on VP differential. This still encourages baby seal clubbing as Sandwyrm covered on his blog even though close games are covered by this system. Less of an issue one would expect with it being the 'Masters' though. Bla bla bla bla basically, again it's a decent system considering the paradigm of tournaments currently and not having terrible missions is nice. Oh and we'll ignore the fallacy of running a 'masters' event when there isn't actual a standardised tournament template on which to rank players :P. Let's take a look at the lists and we'll go from 1 through to 16.

Josh Roberts - Imperial Guard

1500: Double up the PBS please and put them in Chimeras. Lot of chassis and middling strength firepower but not a lot infantry. I'd rather see Vets in Chimeras (I know; boring) and PBS in Chimeras as well to make midfield more secure but solid list.

1750: Straight upgrade from 1500 so no diverse lists here (I'm not going to say this every time unless the lists really are different). Additional CCS and SWS and two chimeras. Still no double PBS or Chimeras for them which would of been the obvious upgrade and a bit light on scoring for 1750. Not a huge fan of plasma CCS (particularly pistol) and the loss of autocannons from the blob essentially makes them a 135 point paperweight. Still a decent list but lacks that little bit extra at 1750 I feel.

Gaz Jones - Dark Eldar

1500: 5 Haemons at 1500? 5? Wyches without Shardnets aren't as great tarpits and a lot of points are being dropped on FNP counters. There also isn't a good WWP unit which can withstand early firepower as the Wracks are too small. Incubi are the obvious choice but this gives your opponent an extra turn to attrition them down. Trueborn also are easy to shoot down if they start on the table (even with FNP) or lose a minimum of two turns shooting if in reserve without a lot of saturation going for them.

1750: This looks a bit better but 6 Haemons is still a lot at 1750 and still suffers from Incubi being the WWP carriers, Trueborn being easy to torrent off/lack of saturation and Wyches not having shardnets. Better scoring capacity with 3 Wrack squads and mildly improved anti-tank though Heat Lances would be good for both lists.

Filippo Cipriani - Tyranids

1500: Heavy reliance on the Hive Guard to do much with their shooting and I'd rather see multiple Carnifexes in Fexstar alignments to buff the MC numbers. Genestealers are nice but MCs are nicer when there is less pewpew on the battlefield. Tervigons get nerfed with bad FAQ.

1750: This takes what I just said and adds it to the 1750 concept but still not enough MCs to really saturate the board. The lone Tervigon is really a target at this points level. Hive Guard are still carrying the load but backed up now by the Fexes. Also not getting the 18 man Gant squad.

Rob Madeley - Chaos Daemons

1500: It's a fateweaver list with none, zero, nada, zilch, squat, zippo, crap-all shooting. This is bad.

1750: It's a fateweaver list with more points and less shooting!

Lee Brown - Eldar

1500: Minimal troops. I know they are to be reserved but eh, it's like spotting your opponent 228 points. One or two? Sure but your whole Troops? Not a fan. Falcons + Dragons are nice but the Dragons are better in Serpents as Falcons hate melta. Jetlock is nice if you can keep Eldrad close enough to double cast fortune (which is hard) to ensure it goes off but single rock meh. That's 1500 though. War Walkers are okay but the list would be much better off with Serpents and Prisms added in.

1750: No more Troops and an added Autarch which makes the single rock scarier in combat but that's about it. Same issues as 1500 list.

Chris Green - Tyranids

1500: Similar to the other Nid list but no Heavy Support. Too much reliance on Hive Guard and genestealers and 2 MCs staying alive.

1750: Same issues again. We've gone up in points but not MC numbers and we still have a ton of Genestealers. This list won't have issues with objective based missions but will have trouble killing mech armies though I haven't seen any mech armies yet...

Peter Cooke - Blood Angels

1500: Nearly a double rock list with Mephy and Termies but waste of points on Chaplain. Corb is nice but isn't bringing much more than a normal Priest to this list. Very minimal firepower since there are 600-700 points in the Terminator unit and no idea what the Razorbacks have thanks. Minimal scoring without FNP and contains 2/3rds of the army's melta. Very egg baskety.

1750: We've added a Third troop and some LasPlas upgrades which is nice but there are still nearly as many points into your egg basket as the rest of the army combined.

Richard Fielder - Space Wolves

1500: Another huge rock list (seriously people?). Single melta troops which often don't have a top-hatch and 700-800 points in a single unit backed up by again minimal firepower.

1750: Increased firepower is good and doubling up the meltas on the Troops but now has a scoring issue with only 15 scoring bodies at 1750.

Rob Buckley - Chaos Space Marines

1500: It's called Lash marines and it's one of the better lists I've seen so far in this range of lists. With 2 lashes it is likely to nullify super units and overcome psy defenses. It has generally equal or greater firepower with the Oblits compared to most lists (IG has a bit more) and although minimal troops, they are sturdy. You can now see why people still think Lash is good.

1750: The list goes backward with Zerkers and an LR added to the mix. I'd rather of seen more Plagues, 3x3 Oblits and Chosen in Rhinos for saturation, blocking, etc.

Stu Peterson - Dark Eldar

1500: Wyches are not MSU units and the Void Raven is probably the worst of the Heavy Supports. 195 points for AV11 w/5++? If the Wyches were Warriors w/Blaster + Pistol and maybe a couple extra smaller Hellion squads instead of the Wracks (and the Void = Razorwing) this list would be very balanced. As it is those Wyches aren't tarpits and there isn't much anti-tank whilst there is a whole lot of anti-infantry.

1750: Token incubi upgrade? Still anti-tank issues. Still Wyches which do diddly.

Luke Nurser - Space Wolves

1500: Much better than the other SW list we saw. Still a single rock but isn't as monstrous whilst still going to smash most of what it meets (except that other rock...). Grey Hunters are much more capable of midfield holding and all have 2 meltas which is nice (and Ld9) and Rhinos so they don't have to get out to shoot. Double fangs for down-field firepower which is nice but still suffering from the issue of a single rock.

1750: One Wolf Scout doesn't scare much and downfield firepower has stayed relatively the same with losing some fangs but gaining a Priest. Better at 1500.

Neil Kerr - Chaos Daemons

1500: There's some shooting here which is nice but still not much.

1750: Some significant upgrades in shooting with Soul Grinders and a very solid Troop; I think this is one list which upgraded really well so far but still suffers from lack of good anti-tank and susceptible to being blocked. However, other than the IG list there hasn't been a lot of tanks and there has been zero blocking units available. The Crushers and Fiends of both Daemons lists will enjoy seeing the rock units of the other armies.

Alex Harrison - Imperial Guard

1500: It's like a copy-paste job of the first Guard list... Still double up the PBS. Get them Chimeras. Stop relying on S7 firepower only! These two lists are still some of the better lists out there and would dominate the field if they had multiple PBS. Oh you took damage, here's 3 weaken resolves as I force my way through your defenses. Leave. Now.

1750: The platoons aren't paperweights this time which is nice and the SWS clearly have a roll but 3 BS3 meltas isn't reliable. Luckily they don't need to be since there isn't a lot of mech. Still only single PBS and no Chimera.

James Taylor - Chaos Space Marines

1500: It is a copy paste from the first CSM list... And it still looks viable in this climate.

1750: I like this 1750 version better. Wee bit light on scoring but 15 plagues isbetter than what most are bringing and I'd still like to see those Terminators turn to Chosen but better than the other CSM list and still looks good against all the bloody rocks out there.

Kiran Reddy - Eldar

1500: 365 points on HQ is a lot but compared to other lists here...well it's still a lot for an Eldar army. Much better use of Dragons w/Serpents and Dire Avengers in Falcons but Yriel makes no sense. Particularly in this rock climate all you want to do, is play keep away, drop a bunch of shots into people and play keep away.

1750: The list went backwards as it too become a rock-list with less mech. Troops are better than the other Eldar list as the Jetbikes are token scorers rather than the only scorers though with the type of lists running around, both seem to be the same due to minimal firepower.

James Ramsay - Imperial Guard

1500: DOUBLE UP ON PBS and put them in a Chimera. Please England. It's an IG foot list with Straken so it isn't bad but there are no Heavy Weapon teams (which arguably would get targeted which is why Hybrid is better) and whilst 140 FC/CA Guardsmen with a bunch of power weapons is kinda scary, it's not scary to the massive rock units out there. It becomes a war of attrition and they win when they can put out a ton of attacks and get good saves against all of your attacks. Add in some of those units need to sit back and fire their okay firepower and how does this list win games? It'll draw a lot I imagine due to the weight of bodies needing to be shifted or get run off the table if Ld9 doesn't work.

1750: 45 more infantry please. Doesn't solve the problem.


So not one mech list in there. The best lists are the first two Hybrid Guard lists and the Lash lists. Lash generally deals with foot quite well and has as much if not more firepower than most lists here whilst the Guard lists have way too much mech for people to deal with (12 tanks I think) and the firepower to attrition rock units down. If any Guard had multiple PBS they'd have a clear one-up on everyone since rock units seem to be so popular. I expect Chaos or one of the IG lists to win because they are the closest thing to balanced and can deal with the super units effectively rather than throwing another super unit at said super unit and having a super unit super fight to see who is the super winner of the super fight whilst the non-super units of the super army sit around eating supper. I wouldn't however be surprised to see another army win as it is battle points and super units = win big or go home (do we see how that relates to seal clubbing? If you were new would you want to versus those type of units?).

Anyway, this isn't a knock on these player's ability or list-skills as it clearly shows a pardigm within England. You can now see why there are so many arguments on the Internet relating to meta, how awesome Lash is, mech sucks, etc. etc. When these are the 'best' players in a country and most of them are running mostly unsupported super units? Meh.

Would love to hear from anyone who goes or watches the podcast of this to see how it unfolds. Oh and posting at 11:11 PM on 1/11/11 is tickling me pink.

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