Living in the Era of Internet Advice

Sometimes I wonder how much we're capable of learning from blogs and forums.

It can be a bit depressing. There is so much information out there, but it can be difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. Leaving that out of the equation though, I think we put ourselves in too much of the argument.


I replied to comments made about Daemons in this thread.  Paul S says that Daemons work best when:

a) Your opponent doesn't have a clue how to properly deploy
b) Your opponent still believes transports and tanks do not dominate 5ed
c) He does not take three Preds and five Razorbacks
d) He asks you what target priority means
e) You roll a lot of sixes - he rolls a lot of ones
f) Your reserves don't arrive turn four
g) you are allowed to control the center of the table
h) Your opponent thinks that he can go H2H with Daemons and prefers to attack rather than shoot
i) You are satisfied with a draw or minor victory  

So he's basically saying a Daemons player has to play an idiot to win.  All things being equal, luck and someone who doesn't know how to play are what is required for me to do well.  (Please note, this is not an attack on Paul S.  It seems like he is venting a bit, or trying to make a point.  Still, this seems to be the overwhelming opinion.)

See what just happened?  I put myself into the equation.  It's hard not to, since Daemons are literally the only army I play at the moment that I consider competitive.  

I have Space Wolves, Blood Angels, and Imperial Guard, widely considered to be the top three competitive armies in the current meta... so why do I consider my Daemons better?

Not better as in a better Codex... not better as in more competitive overall... I mean better as in increasing my chances of winning.

Guard = Rock
Space Wolves = Paper
Blood Angels = Scissors

(Yes, these are rampant generalizations.  Many arguments made in these type of discussions are.  Let's move on.)

Daemons = Claw

If the analogy is lost on you - either because it is stupid or I haven't made my point - I'm playing a fringe army that offers something most players aren't used to facing.  My army doesn't play like most.  My army doesn't play like most Daemons armies have played in the past.

Fatecrusher < Bolt'n'Beast 

In the thread, I went on to say - and I'm not repeating all of it, read it if you're interested in more:

Okay, I still don't get the anti-anti-mech Daemons thing.  My Daemons army is the only one to hand our local mech guard consistent losses.  Daemons are a tough nut for them.

Most IG are anti Mech and anti MEQ.  IG don't have Land Raiders.  Daemons can drop close to the line, weather the storm, then pounce.

IG can drop a shitload of artillery, which I tend to ignore.  I don't like getting shot, but since I have an invulnerable save I'm more survivable than most.  Fiends are the likely target but they're two wounds apiece... and I only need a few to survive.

Sandwyrm posted a reply.  A word here; I really enjoy the Back 40K.  That's a blog with more than one personality that actually works.  Most don't.  

And before you think it, Strictly Average isn't a multi-man show, it is my voice.  I let Evil Homer and Big Whit post on occasion, and I've offered to let others, but that really never got off the ground.  It is easy to see why: creating a successful blog requires passion and endless effort... how can I expect anyone to feel about this blog the way I do?  I don't expect anything, so I can be satisfied when I read the occasional post they've felt the desire to write.

Anyway, Sandwyrm, Farmpunk, and the boys have a successful collaboration for their brand of mid-west wargaming.  Good stuff: you can check this link in my blog roll.  Don't expect to see Strictly Average on theirs though - I don't think they know who I am.  If they do, they don't care!

Sandwyrm said: 

The problem with deep-striking against mech IG is that, unlike the gunline variety, you're dropping into their most lethal (0-12" ) kill zone. If they know how to castle up properly, they can focus fire as you come in piecemeal and chew you up real good. 5+ invul saves aren't much good versus large volumes of high-str wounds.

I think this is another example of the problems with such discussions, which is generalizations and assumptions.  No, I'm not being critical of Sandwrym; he makes a fine point.  What I mean is this:

Why does he think I would deep strike in the red zone?  Also, I think Guard armies are used to thinking of their armies as having a large volume of high strength wounds... while those builds do exist, most IG builds have a large volume of quality wounds.  What's the difference, you ask?  A high strength wound is a Missile Launcher: Str. 8, AP3... that will insta-kill your average Marine and stand a decent chance of popping a transport.  A high quality wound is a Battlecannon... that is Str. 8 AP 3, but it drops an ordinance template that will kill the same Marine and most of his buddies.

High Strength:  Autocannon
High Quality:  Plasma Gun

Again, some Guard builds have a large volume of high strength shots, like Punisher and Autocannon builds.  Most Mech Guard armies are designed to kill Mech MEQ and rely on a volume of high quality shots.

So what if your high quality shots are wasted on me?

(I wrote a reply to Sandwyrm but it was a dead thread.  I doubt he saw it.  If you'd like to read it, follow the thread.)

As I was giving these things some thought I realized I was falling prey to my own assumptions.  More than anything, I value honesty, and I try to recognize how easy it is for people to mislead themselves.  (Sorry, clunky sentence.)  Basically, to test myself I asked Evil Homer to write me a few paragraphs about why my army has had more success against his Mech Guard than any other in our area.

Here is his answer:

Brent asked me to write a few paragraphs about why his Demons might have been successful against my IG with regularity.  Now I’ve won games against his demons but I think generally they have gotten the better of my Guard, especially when it counts, heads up in the 3rd round of tournaments.  Now as to why…
            I actually think the answer lies more in particular lists and play styles than in broad generalizations concerning the respective codices.  Brent’s Demons are configured to kill mechanized elements with rear drops and while it struggles against av14 its does reasonably well against av11-12 which is to say transports containing squishy bodies inside.  He drops Bolt in pretty much every slot possible and those Bolts have been reliable against my guard.  The secret here is aggressive dropping and the opponent has to help, which I am kind enough to do...see what comes next
            Unlike many guard armies I forgo an Astropath so no bonus on the reserve roll.  I also forgo the Inquisitor/Mystic that many guard players utilize to combat deep striking opponents.  I skip this =I= and company because I think they will eventually go away and don’t want to be caught unprepared.
            I also don’t place my army in reserve.  This is a choice on my part, and something I may reconfigure my army (add Astropath) to accommodate.  I generally feel its better to have all my firepower available rather than be stuck with a portion available when the Demons strike.  Given that this strategy has been generally unsuccessful means I may to rethink it.
            Finally my army lacks a large number of shots, instead I have a good number of quality shots.  I rely on breaking units with psykers, instant death, and defeating armor saves, all of which demons ignore.  I could build a guard list with 27 autocannons or heavy bolters but I don’t like that many static elements.  I also toss a lot of pie-plates which are hit and miss, and my dice seem to pack themselves up when I play Brent.  I think they are scared.
            In short Brent’s ability to capitalize on a strategic choice on my part (putting everything on the table) by dropping Bolt carrying units in close range with good shots against sides and rear armor values lets him destroy my main advantage of mobility.  If I were to change my play style the results may be different.  I could certainly reconfigure my list somewhat to put more shots in the list but am fairly comfortable with what I am playing with.

I really enjoyed reading this, because while it reinforced some of the things I was thinking, my working theories that is, it also knocked some of my assumptions off the pedestal.

I'll parse Evil Homer's thoughts tomorrow.


Dethtron said...

And this is why forums are scary- high potential for bad/misinformed advice and way too many arguments. couldn't agree with you more Brent.

Now for a slightly different take on a similar subject here's an article that most of you probaly didn't read, as I only had a few readers at the time:

Chumbalaya said...

And I got no love for my post :(

This is where internet arguments tend to fall on their faces. Everybody brings in their own experiences and assumptions and because the game can vary so wildly between gaming groups and even individuals we all end up butting heads because your experience doesn't match mine exactly.

I play Daemons, I have almost the same army you and Stelek do, and I win the vast majority of my games with them. Cavalry movement and redundancy keeps my stuff alive and where I need it. Daemons are a unique army and can really throw a spanner in the works for a lot of people, Evil Homer in particular it looks like :P

Even though I do keep winning, I don't rate Daemons very well. It's a random, gimmicky army that has 1 or 2 decent builds. Against people who are unprepared or when they get lucky they will dominate, but they really suffer when the clippers to their claws show up. Obviously I'm speaking in general terms as player skill accounts for a considerable amount.

Having these sorts of discussion is a good way to give everybody perspective on where folks are coming from.

Warhammer39999 said...

Long-winded posts tend to bore me, but I guess that's where this differs: as it's merely long, not long-winded.

I'll admit that I didn't read the links from the post, but I didn't skim any content either.

If demons are considered to be inferior by the masses, doesn't that just help you? Having your opponent underestimate you is a veritable gold mine. I haven't played chaos daemons much, nor have I played against them (at all), so I don't have much to add there.

I'm sure that the reason they get no love on the internet though is because "Mech is King" and they have virtually no mechanized options (assuming you can consider 'grinders mech). People will come around soon enough though. :)

AbusePuppy said...

I, personally, wouldn't rate Daemons as competitive for a couple reasons:

-Very random. You can put all the redundancy you want in your list, but at the end of the day you are rolling for deployment, rolling for reserves, and rolling to DS each and every unit you bring in. If you DS aggressively, this is only magnified

-Limited anti-mech options. If you are facing down 10+ vehicle hulls, it is going to be a long time before you kill them all. Bolt will help; so will MCs and other stuff. But a castle of vehicles moving 6-12" is going to severely limit what you can do to them, and some faux-Meltaguns just aren't going to be enough to make the army on their own.

-Strong counters to their gimmick. An Inquisitor with Mystics is widely-available and can severely ruin a Daemon player's day. It's not an auto-win, but it generally forces your deployment back so as to give them an extra turn of shooting. Even Mystics aside, most (good) armies are prepared to deal with drop lists- be it by reserving, by castling, or by delaying your reserves. You are often stuck in an uphill battle against such opponents.

With all that said, Daemons do more than fine in a casual environment, and as mentioned, they function extremely well against opponents who don't understand how to fight them- they are like Orks in that regard, although they definitely reward skilled players more than Orks do. In "high level" play, however- and I am speaking largely conceptually here, because my experience has been that even at 'Ard Boyz up through the Semifinals the level of competition is only limited in scope- I do not think that Daemons stand up well, because they have no answers to many of the strongest armies that 5E dictates.

(A new favorite!) Anon: I haven’t even bothered playing a game of 6th yet, cause I have read the rules, and actually understand how they interact with units. I know my armies no longer function how they should, and so I need to change them.

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