Hello dear readers, Gunum here bringing you the second installment of the ground-shaking new column that I have dreams about daily. They’re wonderful dreams where your e-mails have become a giant piece of paper with a knife that only stops chasing me when I am at a computer reading through these lists. It’s a good thing I love thrillers because I have been very excited with the “quality” of lists that have been sent after me. So many of you have understood the assignment and culture I’ve tried to cultivate here at Goonhammer, and I’m thankful for everyone who has reached out.
Let’s break down what we’ve got going on for those of you who are new here: In this semi-regular series, I’m taking a departure from my own “Hear Me Out” lists to Hear You Out instead! Each week (or so), I’ll be covering lists that you – yes, you, the readers! – send into Goonhammer for us to review, comment, improve, or dish out some piping-hot takes fresh out of the oven. As list creation is kind of my entire bag for playing this game in the first place, I took it upon myself (as well as my standard rotating door of guest speakers) to go through our never-ending mail-bag and pull out a list or two that I would like to explore. To help you answer those burning questions!
Condit: And once again, I’m here to offer my (mostly uninformed) opinions as to the more even-keeled Goofus to Gunum’s completely out-there Gallant.
This week, I’ll be looking at a list sent in by our reader Jago and their intense (read: Intense?) attempt at a competitive Forces of the Hive Mind list :
I’ve recently had an idea. It’s a bad idea, no question about it. I’d feel inordinately fortunate to go 2 – 3 with it; 0 – 5 seems more likely. However, it is in my extremely-unbiased opinion too fun and too interesting not to make an effort to do something with it.
This list is an attempt to play Deathstrikes.
Insofar as that’s humanly possible:
Genestealer Cults Patrol Detachment – Cult of the Four-Armed Emperor
Acolyte Iconward, Amulet of the Voidwyrm, Warlord: Inscrutable Cunning
1x 7 Acolyte Hybrids, 1 Acolyte Hybrid Leader w/Cult Icon & Hand Flamer, 1 Acolyte Hybrid w/Heavy Rock Saw & Hand Flamer
Tyranids Outrider Detachment – Hive Fleet Behemoth
1x Neurothrope, Onslaught
2x 3 Ripper SwarmsElites.
1x 3 Venomthropes
3x 6 Meiotic Spores
3x 9 Spore Mines
Imperial Guard Spearhead Detachment – Brood Brothers
1x Company Commander
1x Master of Ordnance
2x Cyclops Demolition Vehicle
1x Deathstrike, Augur Array, Heavy Flamer, Hunter-Killer Missile, Storm Bolter, Well-Stocked Magazines
1xDeathstrike, Augur Array, Heavy Bolter, Hunter-Killer Missile, Storm Bolter – 163 pts, 8 PL
1x Deathstrike, Augur Array, Heavy Bolter, Storm Bolter – 158 pts, 8 PL
1x Arvus Lighter Dedicated Transport:
2x Trojan Support Vehicle, Heavy Flamer
107 PL, 5+D3 CP, 1999 pts.
Gunum: So. Okay. There is a lot to unpack here, or more accurately, to try and solve for our reader with this list. In our last edition of HMO: Gunum, we looked at a hefty list into an idea that we thought we could maybe do –fine- with when taken to a GT, perhaps better than fine at an RTT. This list is… well, it’s complicated, and it has a lot going on in it, that’s for sure.
Condit: I don’t even know where to begin. Actually, that’s a lie. I’m going to start in the pantry by breaking out the glogg.
Gunum: To start with, let’s do some general list analysis here. I think if I had to sit down and look at this list and what it is trying to do, I’d give it a C , maybe a C-. “Now Gunum,” you may be asking yourself, “why are we looking at a list that you, yourself are having a hard time finding a way to be successful?” That’s a great question reader, and it has a lot to do with that I was -also- looking at making Deathstrikes competitive!
Condit: Here we go.
Gunum: The things that Jago here is doing reflect a lot of what I think we can do to make these under-used* units a bit more realistic. The core of the Cult of the Four-Armed Emporer taking off some of the CP costs, as well as the Trojan Support Vehicles to make a second launch per-Death Strike is needed in this list.
Condit: Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with pressing the big red button as frequently and as enthusiastically as possible. But while that plan can be a lot of fun when you’re just hanging around having fun with some friends, if you’re actually trying to win, you’re going to need to play to the objectives. I’m honestly not sure how our submitted list does that, though.
Gunum: I really, really wanna see some big button pushes.
Okay, Jago, take the wheel here, how are we going to maybe win a game or three –
-Low Scoring for Opponent/Easy Grind Them Down, Bad units going a long way, Levelling the Playing Field, and Area Denial and Terrain Usage. What we are are looking at here is a list that is built around is poor cost and units. We should be able to force our opponent into only making bad choices when it comes to their counter punches. Their bullets will be wasted shooting at units that may be absolutely worthless. A real key stand out, I feel, is the Cyclopes and how they are great for secondaries like Assassinate, incidentally, since they’re auto-hitting explosions that must be resolved against every unit in range and will bypass Look Out Sir since that’s a targeting restriction and a Cyclops that explodes simply “resolves attacks,” thus skipping the targeting step. –
As I’ve spent time looking at this list I’ve been having a hard time trying to decide what we should do for secondaries. The only things that seem to stand out to me are taking advantage of table quarters, trying to make sure we’re picking kills secondary, and doing everything in our power to keep our big guns alive and firing. There isn’t much more of a game plan in this list outside of stopping people from touching our missile platforms. We could use the cyclopes as our dear reader described, but I feel like they would be better served as a screening unit to keep our opponent away from our big missile silos.
Condit: The thing that concerns me the most here is right there at the top: if the only choice your opponent has is to shoot at bad units, then none of their choices are really bad. The goal of target saturation is to present enough credible threats that your opponent might get tripped up and prioritize them incorrectly, giving certain units more time to get things done. The problem here is that there’s nothing you’re really buying time for.
Gunum: Using the MOY list building guidelines I had drawn up in our last article, (Mine, Ours, Yours) I think we can see some very clear directions here.
- Mine: Deathstrikes – Guard HQs – Venomthropes – Trojan Support. To my surprise, as I was analyzing this list there was a lot less sitting back in my home area than I expected there to be. If you did a fun little mental exercise at home and try to deploy this list in a meaningful way you’ll quickly find that the majority of your units don’t want to be in your home area – nearly everything we have needs to move forward to eat up space
- Ours: Spore Mines – Cyclops – Lictor – Ripper Swarms – Neurothrope: I was debating whether I wanted to put the Genestealer cult into this section or if I wanted to put them in the “Yours” section, but I found that the things I wanted fighting over the middle were going to be things like the spore mines as well as the Ripper swarms, and the lictor, because I want these units to screen the most space as possible. The Neurothrope has nothing to support by sitting back in our home area, so we’re going to want to move that up so it could be a psychic threat and participate. The cyclops is, the mines, all of these units as I spoke about earlier will be able to be a living threat for those center objectives, and it’s up to the rippers and the lictor to try and hold those objectives for one or two turns before our Genestealers show up.
- Yours: Arvus Lighter – All the Genestealers Cult: Honestly, this was a difficult one to look at as well, because we could use the Genestealers in our center area. But I think it’s important in every list that we make, that we have something that wants to get into your opponent’s deployment zone and the Genestealer cult faction seems to want to do that often. The units we’re using from this book in our reader’s list are not what I would consider the strongest force that we could drop into an opponent’s deployment zone, but it should be able to challenge an objective or two for at least a turn. Not only that, but to benefit the most from the things they bring to the table we need to have them fighting threats that they want to be fighting against, and that’s going to be things like basic troop units.
- Condit: While I agree with the organization here, I’m a little less optimistic than Gunum about contesting the middle and far sides of the board. The stuff we’ve got to push across the board with is just too fragile, and while the Deathstrikes are probably going to do something approximating a respectable amount of damage to one or two of the more threatening things on the table, most of the lists you’re going to run into are going to have more than a handful of credible threats to deal with.
Gunum: The interesting strengths of this list are the rerolling charges for all of our spore mines provided by Behemoth, as well as the board control provided by the Genestealer Cult detachment. I don’t see a game plan that will possibly work for us if we lose our spore mines early, we will have to make sure that we’re taking advantage of every piece of terrain on the table and really doing our best to keep everything as obscured as we can. We want to try and encourage charges through that terrain versus being shot, to maximize our spore mine activity. Also, finding a good opportunity for the Genestealer cult to be deployed in an offensive manner I think will take some pressure off of our deployment zone.
Condit: I’ve gotta say, I love the attempt here, but I’m not sold. I agree on the GSC detachment, but there’s just not quite enough of them there for my tastes: if you’re going to try to contest stuff with t3 bodies, you need a lot of them to make sure some will be there when the bolter shells start flying. And while I love the idea of leaning into spore mines, I’m more than a little worried about what happens when they’re off the board.
We have a general game plan here, looking at secondaries like Engage on All Fronts, Retrieve Occulus Data, and hopefully some kind of killy option. Jago had some follow up questions here he wanted us to field:
So, let’s have it: exactly how much worse is this than I think? Would Kraken for reliable no-chance-of-overwatch spore advance assaults be better than behemoth for longer yet riskier range? Would a different support infrastructure serve this list better? Onslaught or Catalyst on the Neurothrope? What should I take for the third secondary?
Gunum: I’m going to answer these questions to the best of my ability. The first question: is it as bad as we think it is or is it even worse? I’m going to be as honest as I can here and say it is probably worse. One of the things that I think is required in every list is some sort of anvil unit or something that can hold up our opponents in the middle of the table. Unfortunately, spore mines and toughness 3 bodies just aren’t enough to do that, so it will be very hard for us to screen as well as we want to.
Condit: The lack of a credible offensive objective holder is really the biggest weakness here.
Gunum: Kraken probably would be a better choice than Behemoth, purely because we don’t need to make charges with spore mines, we just need to get them within three inches for charge range explosions. A faster movement will allow us to do that, as well as the double advance provided by Kraken. I don’t see a different support structure, the Genestealer detachment may be a little bit better if built like my example, but I do think that if you were going to do this, that is the direction you would have to go in. And finally, for a third secondary, something that might be interesting is a psychic action one. We could use the Neurothrope surrounded by spore mines and perhaps Genestealers to provide us with the opportunity for a secondary choice like a psychic interrogation.
This list, in my opinion, will have a hard time doing any better than 1-4 in a 5 round competitive GT list. The issue is that if you don’t go first, you won’t eat up enough table space to keep your stuff protected. Not only that, but the odds of your Deathstrikes even getting to shoot before things like Dark Lances claim their lives is very, very low.
Hear Me Out Energy? Kinda.
The thing about Hear Me Out energy that people have been able to glean from my ramblings is that I try and take a core, off brand-idea and make it as competitive as possible. The list that I was presented with here, is taking a zany idea, and more or less just presenting it in a way that might be seen as more silly than competitive. Would I play this list? No. Would I play a list somewhat like it?
I think that you can do a list with these three factions, and slap in a Deathstrike that has a reloading missile and get some usage out of it. But here we don’t have a way to challenge objectives as well as I would like, which makes playing the game and going a minimum of 3-2 very difficult. Hear Me Out lists should be a middle of the pack, maybe depending on matchups, a 4-1 list. If I’m not seeing a list that is 3-2 possibly, I don’t think it’s going to have the right energy I’m looking for.
Here’s something I might try:
Hear Me Out, Jago! Gunum’s Three Finger Death Punch
Patrol Detachment (Tyranids – Genestealer Cults)
Genestealer Cults Patrol Detachment – Cult of the Four-Armed Emperor
Deathstrike: Heavy Bolter
15x Termagant (Fleshborer)
3x Hive Guard (Impaler)
++ Total: [115 PL, 4CP+D3, 2,000pts] ++
Condit: All that being said, there’s the start of something here that might be worth chasing down further. I don’t think you’re going to get past 3-2 with more than one Deathstrike unless your dice catch fire (figuratively) and your opponent does too (but literally). I’m curious to see what kind of results a list like this might achieve, so if you take it out for a spin, definitely let us know!
Gunum: On a closing note, dear readers, I just want to give a quick shout-out to everyone for putting up with the wait between my articles. Between the website redesign, and real-life things I’ve had a bit of a delay. I have some great lists that are currently in line to be written up about and I should be able to get to a regular schedule now.
Would you like Gunum and his zany crew of knock-off Dark Angels to Hear You Out? Maybe you have your own feedback on the list, or just want to tell Gunum his beard needs to be trimmed. If you have any feedback or questions, feel free to drop a note in the comments below, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.