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Saturday, January 14, 2012

UK Masters 2012

I had another e-mail this year about the UK Masters so here it goes. Again, I know nothing of the players and how good or not so good they are and am doing this critique based upon their armies. This isn't a personal attack or saying anyone or anything is bad but an objective review on the armies they are using.

So first, the tournament rules. There are still two army lists and the organisers are expecting two distinct and different armies - no idea why people would do this and it just throws a spanner into the works where none is needed. We're now testing your ability to have a list which can scale from 1500 to 1750 and play equally well at both levels unless you really want to carry around two armies.

Missions are generally okay if limited as the BRB missions are though having explicit explanations of each parameter would avoid any confusion - even if it was just a "these are the exact same as found in the BRB" disclaimer. Not defining how many objectives there will be in seize ground isn't good either as you're going to get a skewed sample.

No massive FAQ around that I was given this time so don't need to look at that ^^. Again though battle points are being used with a VP modifier to expand upon the 15/10/5 W/D/L format. So let's look at the lists then.

Grey Knights, Josh Robert:

1750 - A list after my own heart but very weak in terms of scoring and the single Chimera sticks out. I can be argued for running a couple Chimeras for backfield support with scoring units but just a single one and without a unit who's really going to be sitting in the backfield? Looks like the large Purifier squad is going to be transport swapping into this which really makes the Chimera a target - easy to shake that and force the Purifiers out. One squad is also missing a transport.

Regardless, lot of firepower here but weak scoring could be an issue without the Acolyte squads expanded.

1500 - Same as before really though we are losing the Chimera/large Purifier squad and turning all the Razorbacks into Psybacks. This could hurt the anti-tank of the list with only six psycannons and three Psyfledreads. S6 is great but the lack of melta or extra psycannons may hurt here. Same amount of scoring as above so less of an issue at 1500 but still quite light in terms of bodies.

Grey Knights, Sharan Reddy:

1750 - Draigo list with 20 Paladins and a Libby. I reference Puppy's article and highlight the lack of support the army has. It's a rock and one would expect players at an event such as this to know how to deal with them.

1500 - Same as above but with 15 Paladins.

Blood Angels, Alex Harrison (aka Meg)

1750 - I like. I think there's a little too much being put into combat options here (the LClaws on the ASM squads) and would prefer to see some more support options like Speeders or more Attack Bikes but overall I like the list.

1500 - This is probably one of the few lists which is going to switch out a lot of things between the point changes and I don't like the switch ^^. I've never really been a fan of Hybrid Jumpers with Mech and the lists I feel do better in this regard have Mech which pushes forward for the Jumpers to be a pain behind. At least in this the LoS of the ACLC Preds isn't going to be blocked.

Eldar, Gaz Jones:

1750 - Two tanks. Two MCs. Bunch of foot units. Rainbow list galore with a lack of anti-tank and staying scoring power. The Pathfinders are quite solid at this but the Jetbikes are not (even when reserved). The list has some scary options in combat (the Harlequins) but ranged shooting isn't a huge threat. It just seems to lack focus. As much as I dislike Footdar I'd rather see the list go in that direction or run a more Hybrid list with things like War Walkers to up the vehicle saturation so the Serpent(s) don't stick out like a sore thumb.

1500 - Another shockingly different army list in the points change, this one has a more secure army construct (foot) but throws a lot of points into HQ for any points level, let alone 1500 and runs around with Dark Reapers where in 5th edition, 4+ cover neuters them pretty good a stiff breeze can knock them over at range. Harlequins again add a nice combat option though with less support this time.

Black Templars, Paul Burke:

1750 - Missile spam and LasPlas spam - I'd have preferred the dropping of one of the Terminator squads for some more vehicles such as Dakka Preds or Razorbacks to add some saturation. Dakka preds could also help with the anti-infantry firepower at range as we all know that mass ML blasts can only take us so far. Not sure why the Vow is AAC - this is a shooting list. 20 Marines outside of transports is a bit light for scoring at 1750 but is one of the more durable armies so far in this regard.

1500 - Pretty much the same as above with the scaled back changes.

Imperial Guard, Dave Symcox:

1750 - Decent enough but multiple CCS without Heavy Weapon Teams? Waste of orders really though the squads do end up cheaper than meltavets. Lack of Astropath is also disappointing, 30 points generally well spent over a tournament. I'm not a huge fan of the PCS melta teams but they certainly aren't bad. PBS, as again from last year, needs doubling up for reliability. Scoring is decent compared to everyone else but if units make it into combat with those Infantry Platoons, there's not much else this army can do with only two small mobile scoring options.

1500 - Same as above but with less scoring overall. Lot of firepower in the list but not a lot of staying power. Three Vendettas are a lot scarier at 1500 than 2000 though as the firepower coming back at them is often less.

Grey Knights, Tim Smith:

1750 - Draigowing with support - aka much better than the other Draigowing. Still lacking on bodies but the Dreadnoughts and Vindicare add a bit of ranged firepower a lot more killing potential for the army. It still is a rock and will have issues engaging across a wide front but a more balanced attempt.

1500 - Another surprising army switch - this one becomes a full foot Grey Knight army with 10x GK Purifiers, Strikes, Terminators and Interceptors. Lots of anti-infantry possibilities and very durable scoring but can they withstand not having mech and being generally out-maneuvered by everyone else?

Blood Angels, Rob Simms:

1750 - Single rock - multiple Land Raiders. Curious why normal Land Raiders - if one is looking for more fire support go with just the three Land Raiders and buy some cheap Razorbacks/Land Speeders/Dreadnoughts. Otherwise this list has minimal firepower and if the Land Raiders are broken, minimal staying power. Meph and the TH/SS are scary if they reach you and it can be frustrating trying to take down 4 AV14 tanks and that's about it.

1500 - Double rock at 1500 is going to suffer just like the Draigowing, you're not getting enough support in around the army. 10 TH/SS + Meph is a lot scarier than 5 + Meph, particularly at a lower points value but the rest of the list is being sacrificed for this option. If your opponent stops those Land Raiders, the list can grind to a halt very quickly.

Necrons, James Taylor:

1750 - Pretty solid outside of Troops - 20x Warriors (plus their Cryptek buddies) just aren't that durable and they are basically being bunkers for the Crypteks. This is fine for a couple of more backfield squads but otherwise where are you going to generate anti-infantry from? Barges + Wraiths can only do so much. I'd have preferred to see some more Immortals here so you can have some advancing units to bring in some pewpew.

1500 - Way too many points sunk into HQ at 1500. Double Barge + Court is expensive at 1750/2000 and at 1500 it's just too much. I think the Fast Attack as it is now should have been what was seen in 1750 with the extra points going to more Troops or upgrading to Immortals.

Grey Knights, Gareth Donelly:

1750 - A Libby with only two powers? Yes Coteaz has Sanctuary but reliability for 5 points? Taken. The lack of scoring in this list is just, just teeny tiny. A nice amount of vehicles but there is no infantry durability in the army. The firepower is pretty decent but not OMG amazing considering the lack of scoring. In a KP mission there is no real advantage as you still have 13 KP and in objective missions there is jack all durability in scoring.

1500 - Same as above.

Dark Eldar, Nathan Roberts:

1750 - Venom spam with Hellions. Lots of anti-infantry, lacking on anti-tank, particularly without Blaster Warriors. I always prefer to see Venom spam mixed up with a couple Raiders for more Dark Lances. If the Ravagers/Trueborn manage to take enemies out of transports, the Venoms will kick butt but if they don' is going to lose a lot of firepower and there are a lot of armies out there with quite a few vehicles.

1500 - Same as above.

Orks, Courtney Rhodes:

1750 - Choppa Boyz aren't scary in combat and neither is a tiny outflanking group with Ghaz and Snikrot (if Ghaz goes with them, otherwise even less scary). Three MegaNobz (and maybe Ghaz) aren't really hard to take down either. Three Battlewagons and supporting Kannon and Loota fire is nice but there's no other vehicles to generate saturation with and there's nothing outside of Ghaz that's really bloody scary in combat unless the MegaNobz hit in full strength.

1500 - Losses the Battlewagons for more Boyz...again not scary. Even a 10-man Grey Hunter unit is going to tear through one of those mobs pretty regularly though some of these armies out there don't have that much anti-infantry, they do have a bunch of tanks which this army would find hard to deal with. At least some of the Boyz are shootas.

Orks, Andy Oakham:

1750 - Same as above really. Lots of Boyz isn't scary and this list has less fire support than the others. Against the lists with minimal anti-infantry and rock-like tendencies, the Boyz are going to get to where they want to go but good luck breaking open tanks or dealing with the balanced lists out there which do pack the anti-infantry needed.

1500 - Again, same as above.

Blood Angels, Kiran Reddy:

1750 - Triple Land Raider, 350 points in HQ, no support. The rock gets stopped, the list stops. No Land Raider Crusaders either.

1500 - Yay we have some support finally though the most expensive support available. No rock to fall back upon but there aren't exactly a lot of options or units for the army to use against the opponent.

Imperial Guard, Richard Grint:

1750 - Similar to the first IG list though we have a SWT for the Vendettas and no Manticore. Lack of this could hurt but we again see a lack of doubling up on the PBS (and considering how common Rocks are in England, this seems counter-intuitive). Firepower is solely based upon S7/S9 at range and melta up close which can cause some issues (i.e. AV14 armies).

1500 - Same again with some reduction in scoring.

Grey Knights, Neil Kerr:

1750 - You guessed it, Draigowing. This one has some support as did the 2nd

1500 - Same again, issues only heightened with reduction in points.


There's a bunch of better lists than we saw last year but still a lot of rock lists which is really a shame. I think the bests lists there are the Imperial Guard (Richard Grint, Dave Symcox), Meg's (Alex Harrison) Blood Angels, Necrons (James Taylor) and the first Grey Knight list (Josh Robert). Overall there are quite a few scoring issues with a preference for more firepower over scoring power and the usual rockiness we see from England.

Hopefully the more balanced lists will win out this year like they did last and people can stop running those rocks ( wishes).

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