Tuesday, June 14

The Old Guard Perspective: Vol.2

The Old Guard Perspective Vol.2: "Catching back up" 
  If you have not read my first article, it was posted just a few days ago on this blog. You should read that, before you read this one.  For those of you who did happen to read my first post, or those who don't mind... read on.

      One thing I've known my entire gaming life is that regardless of what game you play, you have not mastered it until you understand your opponents’ options and strategies as well as your own. For board games this usually means a simple understanding of the mechanics, and how to best leverage them in a given situation. For games like warhammer and almost all collectable games, this gives rise to the "metagame".  
     For a long time, I had a firm grasp of what any given faction I was remotely likely to see on the other side of the table was capable of, and how it could be overcome by what I had brought to the table. It has now been two and a half years since my last serious endeavor into a competitive setting. I found myself staring at the army builder screen last night, trying to think of a solid build for what I expect to face. As I sat there, I remembered the last tournament build I had done. I had built a list for that day in less than five minutes, at two in the morning, the night before the tournament, based on who I knew would be competing. I didn't have my opponents specific lists, but I knew that Joe would have his Necrons, and they'd look something like this, and that Mark would have Dark Angels built about like that, and so on. I was so in tune with what worked and what didn't that I could probably have built that list in my sleep. I came in second that day. Missed first by two bonus points.  :(
  And then, in a moment of horrified realization, it hit me:
I no longer understand the metagame.
     The enormity of the task I have set for myself is now fully apparent. As I sit here and think about what I do know, I realize that I have never played against a 5th ed Guard list controlled by a skillful player. I have never played against a Dark Eldar player, nor a serious Grey Knights list, nor really any Blood Angels, and only one Space Wolves player. I am not fully aware of what Tyranids can do anymore.
  Oh sure, I've done a pretty good job of keeping track of what the general abilities of each army has available to it, but I haven't a clue anymore how these factions prepare for each other, nor if there are new tricks that are becoming popular. I have ten days before I am set to compete in a local tournament, and now realize I am going to be walking in blind, prepared as I am now. I guess I have a lot research to do between now and then to fix that...

  Dragoon 6


  1. interesting thoughts. things sure have changed an awful lot in two years, and i am not surprised you feel a bit out of the loop! when i read your previous article my thoughts were something along the lines of "poor sod, if he thinks he can compete with this army, or anything like it, he has another thing coming!". this is no reflection on you, you understand, because for a 4th ed list, using the the 3rd ed codex, it wasn't a bad army.

    However, i wouldn't worry too much, the best way to get back in the saddle is to play at a few tournaments, take the loses (or even the wins) and learn from them. you will soon see what does and doesn't work in 5th.

  2. Can you handle 6+ Av 11/12 tanks, maybe 1-2 AV 14 tanks? Can you deal with 100+ light infantry? Can you cope with 15 ML/Dark Lances/Lascannons, maybe the same number of autocannons? Do you have something that can deal with an uber character, like a Wolf Lord on mount or Mephiston or Abbadon? Can you take objectives/hold your own?

    If you build an army that can handle these things, you should be fine regardless of what army you face, because your list will be sufficiently well-rounded.

  3. Heres my tourney list, our local meta is real competitive so this should give you an idea of an effective 5th ed guard army.


    -Chimera w/pintle mounted heavy stubber

    vet squad
    -3 metlaguns

    vet squad
    -3 plasma guns

    vet squad
    -3 flamers
    -chimera w/heavy flamer

    Fast Attack
    Valkyrie w/multiple rockets pods
    2 vendettas

    Leman russ Vanquisher
    -Heavy bolter sponsons
    -knight commander pask

    leman russ squadron
    -leman russ battle tank w/lascannon and heavy bolter sponsons
    -leman russ executioner w/lascannon and plasma cannon sponsons

    Manticore rocket launcher

    I have tabled all of my opponents at the last 9 local tourneys. I have never lost with this list, its deadly and flexible.

  4. Dragoon: what I would love to see is for you to develop a good hybrid mech/foot list and wreck people's face with it just to prove that you don't have to be in vehicles... Challenge accepted?


  5. @ Atreides

    While I freely admit that I almost certaintly could not do well at a larger event with the list I detailed in my first article, what I will say is this: I use a similar list in my pick-up games (The vets turned into Company Commands). I will vouch that it still beats face. Hard.


    Hard to say. I'm pretty sure I've got an idea that'll work, even if it's not optimal. List to come soon.

    @ Anonymous

    That list looks very impressive indeed. Unfortunately,I have a collection that reflects 3rd/4th ed thinking. Here's a list of the units you mentioned that I am lacking:
    2 of the Chimeras
    all of the Valks/'dettas
    Leman Russ Executioner

    With the exception of the two chimeras, none of these units existed. and back then, you were doing something very unussual if you had more than 2 Chimeras. ussually mechanized units. Considering the sheer size of my collection so far, if at all possible I'd like find a way to leverage what I already have. Spending $300+ to get yet more is a very last resort.

    @ Duke
    I'll do you one better Duke! I've settled on a foot list (Still tweaking it though). The next article will focus on what that has and why, and how it did. It will also focus on the lateral thinking that created it and strategic planning. Test games of the list, as well as reactions of people it is described to, are promising.

    Dragoon 6

    Dragoon 6

  6. Afternoon, Dragoon.

    How efficient are you with the speed of movement and resolution of shooting and combat?

    Reading this post and your comments to Duke, I would like to point out just how utterly daunting a foot list is.

    A good friend of mine, and fellow Guardsman, is infamous in local circles for his approach to infantry. To paraphrase him: he is happiest when a million men are following a single guy waving a flag for the purpose of dying en-masse to satisfy his whims. If they win in the process, so much the better.

    Point being... It's an incredibly cumbersome army, and one that is physically and psychologically draining on the opponent. It's a masochistic and sadistic army whose main strength is to grind the opposition in to the mental equivalent of a child sobbing in the corner, curled in to the foetal position.

    I've fought it a handful of times with my hybrid list. Most of the time I've come out top trumps, but on every occasion I can't say I was enjoying myself. It became an exercise in removing models more than tactics.

    I am still encouraging the hybrid list as Duke has wisely suggested... A healthy mix of veterans, ground pounders, leman russ tanks and artillery with a smattering of heavy weapons squads is not only classic, but downright scary if you nail the balance. The impressive part of it is just how much of each you will be able to field in an 1850 point list.

    In the (likely) chance you do take the foot list though... Then my advice is thus: Be merciless, unreserved and callously professional. The only thing worse than fighting a mind-numbingly massive wall of Guard infantry with "First Rank Fire" orders is fighting that wall when there is someone with the emotional depth of a river stone behind it.

    In the words of Longshanks - "We Have Reserves".

  7. @koppenflak: Yes, yes and yes! All great points... I particularly love the longshanks part, lol.


  8. I have come to understand in my years and years of playing this game that ANY list can be viable... given the right player with the determination and skill to pull it off. I have seen tier 2 and 3 armies go head to head against tier 1 armies and win. Likewise I have seen armies that all the nah-sayers claim are no longer competitive wreck shop. Why? Because the player knew his army. Knew his opponent, and knew the rules. All attributes of an experienced player. He knew his army better then his opponent did. He knew his opponents army better then they did, and they knew the rules better as well. At the inaugural feast of blades a tier 2 army, Eldar, made it to the final table. He lost there to the Tau-like honor-less Space puppies (nothing against the player, he was great, its just a weird meta-game to see shooty Space Wolves to me).
    My point: Anyone can play anything, and with enough experience you can be competitive... but it helps to have Razor spam or Paladin Deathstars.
    Seeing Masses of foot guard will be a breath of fresh air to the meta-game stink. Best of luck to you Dragoon 6!


  9. Also, I'd like to comment that this is the 100th Duke's Inferno Blog Article!

    Game on!

  10. Well I had a big reply all done but the internet ate it. -_-'

    So Here's the jist:

    Koppenflak, you are a sharp fellow. I selected the build I did specificly to exploit the human factors of a tournament setting.
    I expect that I will be exhausted by the end of the day, but I'm willing to deal with that. And Heck! why own 15 infantry squads if you aren't going to use them once in a while?

    To address the specific points you mentioned:

    1 Time contraints. The army build is strategic, not tactical. the build needs you to make a few quick initial decisions, and then
    only needs minimal input after that. Moving quickly, and making critical decisions under pressure is a reality of not only my previous 40K experience, but my job as well. I have confidence in my ability to control the army effectivly.

    2. Being "Cold". Ummmmm.....yeah. I think I got this one. it'd take too long to explain why.

    @ Immortal

    thanks for the support! I do think I have the advantage of Shock Value on my side here. While that won't win me very games at higher levels, hopefully it'll be enough to win some product to get a couple of the "essentials" in the competative scene. Maybe then I can try and break into the "Big Leagues", so to speak.

    Dragoon 6

  11. Happy 100th!!!

    I think we need to do a video bat rep dragoon...is your list painted?


  12. Good luck Dragoon, I would like to see a video bat rep.

    Also I agree with the fact that you just have to jump in and start playing again to get back up to speed.

    If I dont play for a few weeks I think I get rusty, a few years would make me think I was never going to get back.

    but thats not true, in a game or two you will be right back in the mix.

  13. Well look at that im loged in but under a different name.

    Im getting closer, he he!

    Swags was here!