Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Scared of plasma little boy?

Just a brief post tonight, I've been thinking a bit about our perception of what's dangerous and what's not, then a few thoughts on tailoring army lists.

I was writing an army list last week for my cobra guard, and my match against a chaos force. I was conscious that plasma is great for taking out marines, so I was trying to fit enough in to cause damage whilst being aware of options to minimise casualties from it on my own side. That got me thinking, why do we focus so much on what the enemy might use against us? As my alternative army is dark eldar, I think I've got a pretty good take on both sides of this fragile/tough coin, and I think that an alternative perspective can do us all a bit of good. Let's look at it this way, as a dark eldar general, I know that my army is designed to be fragile but hard hitting. Taking a typical basic troops unit, I get a 10 man warrior squad in a raider for 150 points, assuming no upgrades. A typical 10 man marine squad, again with no upgrades costs me 170 points. Not entirely dissimilar points wise I'm sure you'll agree.

As a dark eldar general, if I get shot by the marine squad whilst out of my raider at close range, I can expect to lose 'most' of the squad, even if they don't have a flamer. So I need to hit first, and do some real damage. If the same situation is reversed this squad is likely to cause 2-3 wounds on the marines. But in my guise as an archon, plasma guns don't scare me in the slightest, the only difference is it's slightly more likely to wound me than a bolter. As a guardsman I'd feel exactly the same. As a marine, that plasma gun is really unnerving, it can easily double the damage an enemy squad does on its own and negating my save just makes it worse. As a marine therefore I'm far more likely to get obsessed about avoiding that one gun than I would as a less tough figure. Ironic, that a model that 'knows no fear' should have cause to avoid something the weaker ones don't bother about.

So where am I going with this? Nowhere really, except that in the future I'm going to focus a lot more on how to kill the enemy than I am worrying about them killing me.

It's kind of an extension of that then to talk about tailoring army lists. Some people do this all the time, writing a specific list to deal with the opponent they're about to face, others are vehemently opposed to it, thinking that every list should be capable of taking on all comers. I must admit to falling slightly more into the second camp there, in that I'll usually write a list of squads I want to collect for a particular army, with points total lists taken from that, which are intended to be pretty balanced. It got me thinking though as I've been refining my lists recently, is there a reason we shouldn't tailor a list? How many occasions would these scenarios we play not give the armies taking part the chance to equip themselves appropriately for their opponent? Probably very few, marines aren't likely to be poorly equipped with no choice of special weapons, tau and dark eldar only fight on their own terms. The list goes on, but it does provide us with the very best excuse for list tailoring.

That being said, I think I'll stick to my formula, but I might feel a bit more justified about taking a few different units at different times to keep things fresh.

Till next time, mud for the mud God! Shells for the shell throne of Khard