What Chaos Wants

If you were in charge of a codex revamp what would you like to see added/changed?

So like a stereotypical internet Troll I’ve been grumbling about the latest leaked information for Chaos Marines.  But the good folks at BOLS responded not by arguing, but by asking what would I do if it was up to me.

First off, I’d want to see a coherent concept that drives the CSM rules and makes them different to other armies, particularly loyalist marines.  Right now it’s just an ad hoc grab bag of rules that sound kind of ‘chaosy’.  What would I do?  Build it all around three concepts to make Chaos Marines themselves the must take unit:

  1. Chaos true power is corruption of its enemies. The dark powers didn’t fight humanity’s greatest defenders head on – they turned half of them traitor first
  2. Chaos has strong leaders at all levels looking to elevate their status however they can
  3. Chaos has selfish grunts who know the key to winning the ‘Long War’ is to not die

So how about some rules that get these ideas across, and also give something distinctive?  Let’s start with 1: Corruption. A recurring theme of chaos armies should be the corruption of the enemy through betrayal and weakening.  The new shroud of deceit power does betrayal well via shooting, and the old lash of submission power did similar for movement.  We need to see more of this betrayal concept of using your opponent against themselves, not just isolated in a single ability.  As regards weakening, penalties to opponents that are flavoured to your warlord’s chaos mark would be great (as this also feeds into 2: strong leaders) e.g. maybe a Khorne warlord would add 1 to your opponents warp charge required to cast psychics (while he lives!) when within 24″ of Khorne Marines maybe a Nurgle version would be negating FNP when within range of Nurgle Marines.  You could come up with similar for non aligned legions (Iron Warriors, Alpha Legion etc).

Besides the warlord, what else could we do with Strong Leaders? Well I like the idea of mandatory champions leading squads, and I don’t mind the implied hubris that challenges are mandatory.  But a better risk reward model for challenges would be getting a boon roll when challenges are issued or accepted, and getting to pick one when you win (except spawn/daemon result).  I’d also suggest that a champion led squad is fearless or Ld10 stubborn while the champ lives, but that basic marines themselves are say fickle Ld7.

Ld7 without a leader would fit the selfish (I’m outta here!) concept, but it’s not fluffy that masters of long term guerilla warfare would get wiped easily by being swept/overrun.  So as a twist on ‘they shall know no fear’, CSM that fail their Ld7 in combat don’t get wiped they make a ‘tactical withdrawal’ (like when Horus died) and just fall back normally.  On a more basic level I always felt that CSMs veteran status (and focus on survival) should be recognised in better survivability, like higher T or FNP or some other mechanic.

Outside of all this of course I want to see fluffy legion specific stuff – my own army is Alpha Legion and there’s no end of cool and unique ideas to bring them to life.  Similarly for the others.  It could really be great if they tried.


ETC2013 getting to 5th place

So, as I may have mentioned (every 5 minutes or so), team Ireland got its highest result to date at the ETC this year.  More than a few people were surprised (delighted?) that we reached 5th place so I thought I’d spend today’s post talking about the team and what worked for us.

irl serious

So firstly there’s the guys who have to take the punishment. Everyone has a term for them: bid lists, shields, prey lists, put forward lists etc. Basically if you lose the bidding roll off, who do you nominate? This year my shield guys were Necrons, and Eldar with Tau allies. They did their jobs magnificently with scores of 61 and 57 across 6 games, showing that even with a full set of choices of counterattack our opponents were only able to draw on average with them. Good job fellas!

The next three were our counters/finesse lists. Tyranids, Daemons, and Imperial Guard with Chaos Marine allies. These lists were generally used as counters to armies that the opposing team had bid, and there’s quite a bit of effort needed to find the right matchup for them. With the right pairing they can do serious damage, in the wrong one they can end up in bad place! I found it impossible to get a good matchup for everyone in every round, but as long as two of the three were good then I knew we could still do well in the round aggregate.

The final three were our all rounders, nasty lists that can take on almost anything. Here we had Chaos Marines with Necron allies, Tau, and Grey Knights. The strategy with these guys was just to avoid the small number of potential bad matchups and use them against whatever our counter lists weren’t able to handle. Here we were relying more on player skill and army strength rather than good bidding to get ahead. These guys really delivered. Our Chaos Marine and Tau players both finished both in the top 5 of all players in the ETC (also both were top player in their respective armies), and our Grey Knight player also finished ahead of the curve.

Practicalities aside, the ‘secret’ ingredient for us is team spirit. As anyone on the team will attest, everyone did a fantastic job of supporting each other and everyone worked well as a unit. I never heard a single complaint when anyone had to face a bad matchup so that others could get good ones. Simply put, everyone completely understood the joint effort required to win a round.

irl silly

The final point I’ll add is that we really do strive to play fair with our opponents and ensure that both sides have a good set of games whether we win, lose or draw. I think it’s the right thing to do, but also it has a psychological benefit for the team as we don’t end up totally stressed out by needless arguments throughout the day. I really hope that it’s something we can keep as a core value of our team now and in the future.


ETC2013 the view from the top

So my last two posts have been about the overall meta at ETC2013, and today I want to take a quick look at the top 3 countries and how they compare to the overall meta.

As a quick refresher the top performing armies were:

  1. Tau
  2. Eldar
  3. Necrons
  4. Chaos Space Marines
  5. Chaos Daemons
  6. Tyranides
  7. Space Marines
  8. Dark Angels

Whereas the most popular armies were:

  1. Necrons
  2. Chaos Space Marines
  3. Tau
  4. Grey Knights
  5. Imperial Guard
  6. Tyranids
  7. Chaos Daemons
  8. Dark Angels

Germany got the top spot (familiar territory for these guys!).

Germany

They ran with:

  • Tau
  • Grey Knights
  • Necrons
  • Chaos Space Marines
  • Chaos Daemons
  • Tyranides
  • Orks
  • Dark Angels

So this includes 6 of the 8 top armies (they left out Eldar and Space Marines), and 7 of the 8 most popular armies (they avoided IG, which was the biggest underperformer of the popular armies).

Spain came in second,

spain

and their team comprised:

  • Tau
  • Grey Knights
  • Necrons
  • Chaos Space Marines
  • Chaos Daemons
  • Eldar
  • Imperial Guard
  • Dark Angels

Again they had 6 of the top 8 armies, leaving out Tyranids and Space marines. They also brought 7 of the 8 most popular armies, just leaving out the Tyranids.

Poland were third

poland

and they brought:

  • Necrons
  • Chaos Space Marines
  • Tau
  • Grey Knights
  • Imperial Guard
  • Tyranids
  • Chaos Daemons
  • Dark Angels

This also has 6 out of the 8 top armies (similarly to Germany they left out Eldar and Space Marines), and interestingly all of the most popular armies.

So the top three countries all brought 6 of the 8 top armies (though not the same ones) and all brought 7 or more of the 8 most popular armies.  There is a big overlap in that all three countries brought Chaos Marines, Dark Angels, Daemons, Grey Knights, Necrons, and Tau.

So, what does that mean for the army rankings I described previously? Well firstly it shows that picking the top 8 armies is not necessary to win, and places more weight on my caveat that just going on army rank is a simplification that needs to be tempered by the roles needed or the team – and the skillsets of your players!


ETC2013 Popularity vs Performance

So last time I put up a table of how the various armies performed (on average) at the ETC in Serbia. There were some interesting results, and today’s post follows up that line of thinking by comparing the popularity of army choices with their score rank. Popularity in this case just means how many teams included that army, and the table below puts the armies in order of popularity.
RankVsPop
So the numbers in the ‘Difference’ column highlights any disconnect between how popular an army is versus how well it performed at the ETC. A positive number means that the army performed better than its popularity, a negative number means that its popularity was higher than its performance warranted.

Tau weren’t the most popular army, but really the first three are so close that it makes little difference. The captains made those choices fairly rationally: Necrons, Tau, and Heldrakes are solid performers.

There is an interesting hiccup in places 4 and 5 where Grey Knights and Imperial Guard were both quite popular but didn’t do as well as their popularity suggests. Both armies were in the bottom half performance-wise but were both present in more than 75% of teams (my own included!)

Tyranids were fairly popular, and by the results that seems to be justified – similarly with Chaos Daemons (slightly under-represented), and Dark Angels.

Eldar were quite under-represented and were the ‘sleeper hit’ of the ETC, doing quite well for the 11 teams that brought them. Of the remainder, only Space Marines have a big positive difference showing that they did a better job than their low popularity would have predicted.

There is of course a big caveat here: armies fill particular roles on a team so simply picking the highest average scorers may very well lead you astray with too much of one role and too little of another. So we don’t have a magic formula for army selection just yet.

It also creates an interesting mind game for next year: do you bring a team that works well against the popular armies of 2013, or do you focus on bringing what did well in 2013, or do you bring counters to what did well in 2013? How much will the new codices between now and Aug 2014 change the meta?

Lots to think about for the new captains!


ETC 2013 Armies and Stats

So the madness of ETC2013 is over, and the post mortem analysis can begin in earnest.  I won’t start with my own team (Ireland), but rather I’d like to take a look at the overall meta.  Thankfully my job has been made easier by the organisers who have already published lots of data on who took what armies and how they fared in the tournament.

So, what armies generally did well?

ArmyRanks

So the number 1 slot is probably no surprise to anyone, Tau are new and awesome, they wrecked face at the ESC and are probably doing well at a tournament near you right now.

Number 2, Eldar is probably a bit more of a surprise – particularly considering that it was the OLD codex that was legal for the tournament, not the shiny new one.  My prediction beforehand was that they would be a solid army to ‘not lose’ I wasn’t expecting them to win big.  The fact that they were often backed up by Tau allies probably helped a little too

Necrons, Heldrakes, and Chaos Daemons round out the ‘winners list’ (i.e. the armies that are averaging >10 which is a win).  Again this isn’t very surprising Necrons are still crazy powerful, everyone hates Heldrakes for a reason, and Chaos Daemons can certainly be deadly in the right matchup.

It worth taking a moment to think about the remaining armies.  Everything else on that list was losing on average (i.e. <10).

Admittedly, that’s a bit of a sweeping statement as the performance of an individual can vary greatly from the group average, and not just down to player skill but also down to the team pairing strategy.  The table also doesn’t factor in the use of allies – which is perhaps a project for me for another time…

But, that said, this table does give us a line in the sand as regards what the 2013 meta was like and I’m sure it will influence team and army selection for next year!


ETC 2013 Result

Well we had an amazing time at the European Team Championship in Serbia.  We had 6 great rounds against excellent opponents:

Day 1

Round 1: Latvia – WIN

Round 2: Belgium – WIN

Day 2

Round 3: Spain – LOSS

Round 4: France – WIN

Day 3

Round 5: Finland – DRAW

Round 6: Russia – DRAW

I’m so proud of each and every man on that team – the whole experience is a bit hard to describe in words, so here’s a video.

 

20130428-222804.jpg

In other news, I’m standing down as Captain so hopefully I’ll have more time to put into the blog!


The Road to 6N

In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a tournament, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire… The Six-Nations-Team.

Latest intelligence reports that Team Six Nations has been sequestered to a farm (possibly The Farm ) for a training weekend.

Our sources indicate that each will be pitted against the other using ETC missions to stress test their performance and matchup potential.  We are awaiting further updates…


Ireland’s Team Six Nations

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present Ireland’s Six Nations team

Each of them has been chosen for this team because they individually have a set of skills and experience that strengthens the whole, and that is what wins team tournaments.

The team (in alphabetical order)

Dan Ahern: Chaos Marine and Necrons
Alec Cornelius: Space Marines and Imperial Guard
Oisin McCormack: Necrons
David McHugh: Tyranids
Paul Quigley: Tau
Peter Scott: Imperial Guard and Chaos Marines
Ivan Sheehan: Grey Knights
Mike Tangney: Eldar and Dark Eldar (we may bring Tau into the mix here)

20130428-222804.jpg


Retrospective

Borrowed from Faeit212...

With 2012 now done and dusted, I’m taking the opportunity to highlight some of the greatest hits of WarHamSandwich.  In particular I’m homing in on the articles that have retained their relevance even with the many changes from 5th ed to 6th ed.

So, happy new year my friends, and check out some of the greatest hits below:

2013 will see plenty of new topics, and of course the updating of some old favourites for 6th edition.

Best wishes and a Happy New Year to you all!


Merry Fleetmas

I already gave you some basic rules for how to pick which dice to reroll for fleet, but they are specifically for charging in the open.  Charging through terrain means 3d6 drop the highest, which means more complexity in terms of which dice to reroll.

For your benefit dear reader, I’ve gone ahead and worked out the optimal rerolls, but they do require a more clunky set of guidelines than last time.  A key distinction here is that when you make your initial 3d6 roll I’ve called the lowest die the min, the highest the max, and the middle one the mid – the best choice for a reroll depends on what you got for min mid and max in your first roll.

Without further ado, here’s what you need to get the most out of Fleet in terrain:

Range Reroll all 3d6 Reroll lowest 2d6 Reroll Lowest D6
3″ 111 Not 111 Never
4″ 111 or 112 All others 122
5″ max<=2 All others 123, 133, 223
6″ All others max>=4 mid=max=3
7″ max<=3 All others max=4, mid=3 OR 4
8″ max<=3 All others mid=max=4
9″ max<=3 All others max=5, mid=4 OR 5
10″ max<=4 All others mid+max>=10
11″ max<=4 All others max=6, mid=5 OR 6
12″ No 6s One 6 Two 6s

This probably seems a bit impenetrable at first, so here’s a few notes on reading it.  The range column is the range to your target, the three other columns are the conditions for a given range that you would reroll 1, 2, or 3 dice.  For example, say you are 3” from your target, if you roll triple 1, then you should reroll all three dice, otherwise reroll the lowest two dice.

As another example, say the range is 10”, if the highest of your dice (i.e. max) is 4 or less then reroll all three, if the sum of the highest and middle dice is greater than or equal to ten then just reroll the lowest 1d6, otherwise just keep the highest die and reroll the lowest 2d6.

Happy fleeting my friends!


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