Evening all, today I'd like to talk to you about list writing, specifically writing lists with some fluff justification behind them.
Nowadays, it seems as if the rise in hyper-competitive tournament play has caused the types of list we see to become stagnant and cookie-cutter like, with the onus on min-maxing the crap out of the best units in the codex or fielding ridiculous, hard to counter combos such as the screamerstar (seriously, who thinks of these stupid names?!). In my opinion, these kind of lists are killing 40K for the casual gamer. Now, I'll hold my hands up now and say when I write a list for attending a tournament, obviously I'll try and beard it up as much as I can to try and give myself that edge over my opponents to hopefully allow me to place in the final rankings.
However not everyone likes to play in tournaments and so aren't as hardened to seeing these sledgehammer lists go at each other all the time, and these players often naïvely agree to games which are effectively over by the end of turn 2. Think about it, how many of you have that one player at your club who brings the most douchebag lists week in week out even when you've arranged a series of silly, fun games? My old club certainly did and it got that bad that many members refused to play him. Those he did manage to convince to play then got pwnd and he lost yet another future opponent as they joined the growing ranks of gamers who ostracised him for being "that guy" all the time. Not fun for his opponent and not fun for him as he's running out of possible opponents.
Now I know some of you will be sat there thinking "What's wrong with using the cheesy, broken units GW has put in the codex? They're all legit choices!". Well to be honest, nothing at all. Like I said, I'm not averse to being "that guy" in a tournament situation, but when it comes to normal club nights, I like to be a little less cutthroat.
An that leads me onto the main course of today's post, namely writing lists which present a balanced challenge, yet aren't totally unbeatable, with a fluff justification for the list composition.
The below list is one I cobbled together this afternoon after reading some of the current Tyranid rumours on some of the forums. As you can see, it's an Imperial/Eldar alliance.
When I wrote this list, in my brain I had a storyline ticking along where the Imperium and Eldar had begrudgingly joined forces to repel a fledgling Tyranid splinter fleet. Led by an Inquisitor of the Ordo Xenos and a Deathwatch Kill Team, the noble Salamanders 2nd Co. have mobilised for war with an enigmatic Eldar psyker and a cohort of her warriors in tow, with the objective of purging the ravenous vanguard of tyranids from the system.
With that little narrative seed planted, I then started to construct the list on that basis. So starting with the Inquisitor, I got him tooled up for fighting nids, equipping him with the needle pistol and rad grenades to help with the releatively high toughness of the bigger bugs, power armour to try and keep him alive & kicking for as long as possible and servo skulls to create a defensive ring to keep enemy infiltrators at bay during deployment.
Once I'd sorted the Inquisitor out, I then moved onto the Eldar cohort. I knew that I wanted quick units that could keep out of harms way but that could lay down a fairly solid base of fire that had the ability to cause considerable damage. Enter the jetbikes with the pseudo-rending of bladestorm and the monofilament death delivered by warp spiders. I also gave the farseer a spear, providing her with the ability to try and rid the bigger bugs of the odd wound here and there should the opportunity arise.
I then went on to construct the marine list. As you can see, I've tried to strike a real balance of units. There's plenty of high strength shots from the meltas and missile lauchers mixed with the low AP grav-cannons. All of the missile launchers that were able to have them have been equipped with flakk missiles for AA support against flying gribblies, while the high amount of templates and blasts will deal with hordes. The Sternguard count as the Deathwatch Kill Team for the Inquisitor to ride with, while the Ironclad can mix it up in melee with the mid-sized beasties.
The final thing to note is the amount of psychic power this list provides also. Up to 6 powers per turn is nothing to sniff at and could be quite the game changer.
Through writing the list with an anti-Tyranid fluff aspect in mind, it's actually turned into a solid all-comers list that should provide competent players with a range of options in offense and defense an give both parties a good, challenging, fun game.
I'd love you guys to give it go if you can and let me know how it performs. If you do have a bash with it, hit me up in the comments and let us know how you got on! :)