Taking the Bait: Dishing 'Advice'

I started the new job this week - yea me.  The money is okay but the benefits are unreal.

Yes, I sold out.  Big Brother is watching me.  I work for the State.

Strictly Average is taking a bit of a backseat this week since it'll take me a bit to develop new blogging routines, but I did want to take a moment to address some questions.  The last post was one of those awesome rarities: the comments were far more interesting than the article.

Not because articles are universally great but because comments are hard to come by.  People live busy lives; they'll read your stuff, but they're probably not slowing down to chat about it - that's true of every blog.

By the way... King: You're always free to comment with whatever is on your mind!  I know where it comes from, so don't sweat it, my man. 

Anyway, I decided to prove the fallacy of internet advice by taking the bait and commenting on a few of the replies, specifically Da Warboss (the Official Strictly Average Criticizer... or O'SAC for short) and Wyatt aka Paintraina.

The Thunderfire Cannon

Wyatt:  I have a test that I used to determine if the tactical minds of a certain blog are worth reading. I check their opinion on Thunderfire Cannons.

Answer:  I think it's largely unnecessary in most builds but useful in some. Tremor and Bolster Defenses are a strategy to base counter-attack builds off of.

The largest downside is the Heavy Support slot it uses; it does free up a Techmarine from the Elites, but that's probably not a huge consideration if the decision to use the TF has already been made.

Commentary:  I doubt that's what you're looking for, but it's my honest take... and no doubt I've ruined any good opinion you might have!  Since it's probably not much, I think we can both laugh it off!

My theory is the decision to take less popular or less points efficient choices is less important that practice and strategy...

...as in, having one. Too many times players rock a hard list without actually knowing in advance what they plan on doing with it.  It's why netlists haven't taken over the world, despite everything.

Another Green/Black Blog Fly Interlude!

On that vein, Steve had this to say:

(3) Most of the top gamers dont share their ideas on the interwebs.

Since his little list absolutely ruined the thrust of the article, in spite I choose not to copy points 1 and 2.  So there!  Succinctness isn't welcome on Strictly Average!

GBF has a point, though... but I suspect it has less to do with the trouble it is defending one's success than out of any real desire to hide game-winning secrets from the Blogosphere.

O'SAC's Daemons List

So Brent (says Da Warboss Stalin), how about this list:

  • Fateweaver
  • x11 Bloodletters (Chaos Icon)
  • x11 Bloodletters (Chaos Icon)
  • x6 Blood Crushers (Fury of Khorne)
  • x2 Soul Grinders (Tongue Maw Cannons on both)
  • x4 Screamers of Tzeentch
  • x4 Screamers of Tzeentch
  • x4 Screamers of Tzeentch
  • 1,497pts

Commentary:  Since this is Da Warboss Stalin, who rarely has anything even remotely human to say about me, I suspect a trick question.  Either he's put a deliberately bad list together to see what I'll say or he thinks this is top notch... in which case, my analysis will fall on deaf ears and I'll get nothing but bitching.

That, in a nutshell, is the primary reason I tend to avoid talking tactics and lists.

Two caveats:  I've posted lists... my lists.  The only one I've ever said was top-level is my primary Daemons list.  It is, and I've got the history to prove it.  Still, no matter how much I've tried to change minds... I simply haven't.  It's a bit disheartening, but whatever.  It's the internet!

I will do generalist strategy on occasion, but that's a world of difference.  In the broadest sense, when it comes to 40K tactics is in-game and strategy is before-game.  My primary point of view is 1) Competitive is Consistent, where you plan and design for all games and opponents, and 2) practice.

Two is the most important.  There are no shortcuts.

Answer:  At best, this list is a Noob-Hammer.  When it wins it'll be a one-sided; when it loses it'll be quick.

I don't advocate for armies that depend so heavily on one unit.  If Fateweaver works, you'll probably do okay, if Fateweaver doesn't you'll lose.  He's the linchpin, and any decent army will target and kill him quickly.

And no, you can't stop it.  Unlike many situations, where uselessly dumping firepower into one unit is a bad idea, here it's the only idea.  It only takes one wound and a bad Leadership Test, then bye-bye baby. That's really not what you're shooting for, though - Fateweaver is only Toughness 5 with 3 Wounds: a reroll only does so much.

Blood Crushers are nifty enough, but there are some downsides.  They have a huge footprint, which is good and bad, but they're slow slow slow.  They can quickly be stranded after the first assault; also, they're expensive.

Fiends are better.  I like three units of Fiends, myself, but Goatboy likes one of Bloodcrushers to anchor the line and two of Fiends to flank.  I dig that, too.

Bloodletters are fine, though maybe not best.  The bigger problem is there are only two troops units.  Also, 2 Icons in 1500 points... especially when there are two points sinks (Fateweaver and the Bloodcrushers) already?  Icons aren't really necessary, and sometimes they encourage inferior moves - but all that is for another day.

Soulgrinders are fine, though Daemon Princes are better.  I'd say all the upgrades or none of them; definitely the latter when points are at a premium.

Between Tounge and Icon scattered across 4 units, that's 100pts you could spend elsewhere.

The major problem is what the choice indicates: the Tounge upgrade was chosen because the list lacks anti-mech.  Does two shots per turn - at best - with only a 50% chance of hitting really cover that gap?

I'd say, "Hardly."

Please don't say the Screamers fill that role; please don't blow that smoke up my boo... er, in my face!

The Screamers are there because the strategy behind this list is so obviously stacking the drops that it makes me want to scream!

Preferred Drop:  Fateweaver, Bloodcrusher, Soul Grinder, Soul Grinder, Bloodletters
Secondary Drop:  Screamers, Screamers, Screamers, Bloodletters

That's the worsts part about the list: it's so predicated on getting the primary drop that I just can't stand it. It's only a 66% chance... or, putting it another way, you want a 1/3 chance of fighting an uphill battle?

You've got Icons in both drops.  I see it.  Better to put it in the Secondary, 'cause that's the one you'll need when you inevitably roll a 1 or 2.

No, all Daemons don't have to play that tired gambit to be effective.  I've got multiple drop strategies in my list, depending on the scenario and the opponent... but more often than not, I'll go with an even split.  I'm not about throwing away my game on one roll.  It's just silly.

There's more but either I've made my point or I haven't.  I won't bother bringing up what happens when you see a Librarian with Null Zone.

333 points for Fateweaver?  At 1500?  I'll be the first to admit he becomes more potent when you can build a list around him at 2000+, but he's not close to being the competitive option in the Daemons book.

Sorry.  That slipped out!


As I read my response to Da Warboss I recognize my tone is slightly acerbic.  I wouldn't do that in normal circumstances, but I suspect Da Warboss was trying to trip me up so I reacted accordingly.  He enjoys seeing me fail!

I'll probably finish up Part II of my Internet Advice article, just because I'm a bit obsessive, but I doubt I'll put much effort in it.  This post took me over an hour, and chances are it did nothing to further my Blogosphere goals... and may have done more harm than good.

I find I will end with GBF's succinct comment:

(1) Most people just are repeating what they heard elsewhere.
(2) Most people are not open minded and feel threatened when they see anything that does not jib with their preconceived ideas, whatever they might be.
(3) Most of the top gamers dont share their ideas on the interwebs.


Dethtron said...

I'm offended that I wasn't quoted in this article. My Green Day links were integral to the central argument of your piece.

Brent said...

Your Greenday links were great!

I'll make it up somehow, I promise.

Mitch said...

Don't worry dude, I work for the state too. US Embassy in Ottawa Ontario!


Von said...

Raise your hand if you're a cog in the gub'mental machinery of repression!


BBF has a point. Some of the top Warmachine players in the UK appear on podcasts, one or two post on national forums, but you don't see them hanging around with peons like me in the blogosphere.

Thomas aka Goatboy said...

Any neat trick or idea I think of I will always tell people. Hell the amount of lists I have written or helped people build is nuts. Heck I answer any email that comes to me :).

I mean helping out those around me just makes for better games in general.

Anonymous said...

Almost everyone works for the state now. One way or another everyone will soon enough. Of all my family members who didn't work for the government before, they lost their job some time during the last 2 years. They all are now state and federal employees or contractors. I have a HUGE family too.

I don't want any discussion or anything, just saying I'm kinda worried.

Anonymous said...

that anonymous is CalPerr(this is too), your comments are acting strange.

Ash said...

Ha. I knew you'd get the Thunderfire question wrong. The correct answer is "Take three!" No one needs any other Heavy Support.

SAJ said...

Congratulations and good luck in the new job, may it never turn into grind.

And Ash is obviously correct, but he did fail to mention that all three Thunderfires need to be in drop pods. Automatic win.

Black Blow Fly said...

If only the TFC had FC... taht would be hte awesome p0wnage 4 sure .

: )

Jwolf said...

I used to write lists for the internet, back when our little blog was little (and I wrote for it). Overall I find that lists that work for me don't work for other people very well, except for the lists that are so obvious that anyone should be able to make them (and there are plenty of people who write about those, as if they were somehow providing insight). Truth is that anyone who can't figure out the basic rock lists in a Codex isn't going to win a lot of games against good players anyway, so why provide them an excuse for making their FLGS less F?

The trick is finding a list that works with your strengths, and there isn't a formula for writing a "best" list for anyone else. The closest to that is the push-button firepower lists that are all too common (razorspam, leafblower, longfangpalooza, flying circus, etc) and not fun to play or play against. And on a board with decent cover a good player is going to eat those lists like popcorn most of the time anyway - they generally help average players beat other average players, but they don't provide a lot of tools to help a good player be excellent.

The_King_Elessar said...

TY Brent, and I will. ;)

Warboss Stalin is a troll, and a pretty rubbish one. The thing with trolls is, once you get them out into the sunlight, and offer them some tasty morsels of real food, instead of garbage, they tend to adopt human-like features.

C'mon Warboss Stalin - I have nice juicy FACTS for you! :)

(Oh - article good, nice to see one a little different, I don't think *you* can possibly lose any internet support/respect for long!)

chimmast: an athletic chiminy sweep - see Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins

Black Blow Fly said...

Jon Wolf that was wel said by you.

Word Verification = natatc

Farmpunk said...

Heck, we see a LOT of Fateweaver/bloodcrusher builds around here. One of the local stores has 4 guys that play FW/BC.

It's not bad. It does give a lot of people problems, but if you can land around 28 bolter shots, you'll take him down.
Or take an Elite Inquisitor with Psycannon and he's dead the first time you shoot him.

Good lists help people compete better, but knowledge of how a list (and codex) works is very important too. I love watching people lick their chops when I let them choose between facing my WH (seen as my 'nasty' list) and My DH (seen as a really weak codex)

then take them down.

Da Warboss said...

Built it to try and take out a 4-battlewagon list I used to crunch a table a daemon player with no loses, because with me moving 7" his Uraka the Warfiend was hopeless taking down even one wagon...

I'd have split the list so there was a grinder in each drop as well as split groups of screamers.

That, and you said you disliked lists questions. Say, go to RedMeat.com and look in the meatlocker for Mr. Bix and Ted Johnson...so much like us....

Brent said...

JWolf: I'm glad to see you're still lurking - I always enjoy reading your comments. You've said nothing I'd argue with; I get where you're coming from!

Farmpunk: I know that it's still the most popular build, but I think that's as much to do with it being the first popular and effective build from the book. There's no doubt Blood Crusher builds are tough - add in experienced gamers practicing with it and it can be a brutal game.

I don't think Fateweaver adds to the 'Crusher build though - I just think he's too expensive and with a major downside for consistency across multiple games. For the points, you can get three Heralds on Chariot, which perform multiple roles consistently.

Still, I recognize these conversations are difficult across regions - there are always a ton of factors to consider.

Da Warboss: I don't dislike list questions: quite the opposite! I love talking about different builds, but it's just not an easy conversation to have, since (like I've alluded to) there are factors to consider which may be different from area to area.

Da Warboss said...

Welcome to the dark side...I've been working for the state for five years...watching you cattle on the TV monitors @ TSA muahahaha

Wyatt said...

Found It. regarding thunderfire cannons: I thought they sucked, and on paper yes they certainly seem to. 100 points for something that will get nuked by one lascannon most of the time. Once I started playing against them I realized the err of my ways. The TFC is a unit that can greatly alter the course of a game. Bolster is huge. You can use it to extend the life of your cannon, and to hide the rest of your firebase as well. 3+ cover is great. In this manner it is a army buff unit. Also, the destructive power of the cannon is such that it has a good chance of wiping out a unit every time it fires. The mech environment often ends up with enemy troops bunched together after disembarking to fire or huddling in a crater after their ride has been shot away. This is a great place for the TWC to shine. There are other uses as well:
*Inflicting difficult terrain on units which are going to assault so they go last. This wipes out 1/6 of a jetbike or jumppack squads
*slaughtering blob squads in cover
*bringing down any infantry unit with weight of wounds

Is the fragility an issue? yes, but a clever player can counteract this issue if you cleverly use screening units and superior range. Even if the cannon is destroyed, you still have a techie with full servoharness. He has plasma, powerfist, and a twin linked flamer(vulkan right) and can repair stuff.

Brent said...

Ah, Wyatt, you finally found your way back!

Being obsessive, I'll admit I've been waiting to hear your take. I pretty much agree word for word with your comment, though I'll admit I backed off in the article because I was convinced you were going to rock the anti-TF Net Wisdom.

I should have known better!

So did I pass? ;)

(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.

Strictly Average: 'cause 6-inches is all you get.

Stalking Jawaballs since 2009.

Jawaballs: "My butt just tightened up."

Brent, preferred 2-to-1 over Not Brent in a recent, scientific poll.

Brent: emptied the Kool Aid and DRINKING YOUR MILKSHAKE with an extra-long straw.

Unicorns don't exist.

Home of the Stormbuster, the Dyson Pattern Storm Raven.

I'm a comment whore and this whore is getting no play.

Not Brent hurts Brent's feelings.

I think, therefore I blog.

"You should stop writing for everyone else and worry about your crappy blog." - Anon.

Not Brent has been spotted lurking around with a green marker.

He's not like a bad guy from a cartoon, all devious but never quite evil, Not Brent is bad beans, man, bad beans.

Dethtron: "Again I feel obliged to remind you that trying to sound smart only works if you are."

MVB: "I am not one to join the unwashed masses of self-titled 40k experts out there distributing advice from their blogs about exactly how your list should be built..."

Shiner Bock on tap: that's how I choose hotels.

Strictly Average: The Home of Hugs and Gropings.

Don't feed the trolls!

MoD: "Welcome to Brent's head."

Competitive is Consistent.

Dethtron: "...you could use that extra time to figure out a way to get your panties unbunched and perform a sandectomy on your vagina."

Dethtron: “When calling someone an idiot, it's generally best to avoid making grammatical mistakes.”

Warboss Stalin: "You know, if it actually WAS funny, maybe I wouldn't mind."

Mike Brandt: "It's not a successful bachelor party if you don't misplace someone".

"The Master Manipulator (every store needs one): "...now, enough stroking."

Kirby: "I don't know about gropings. Seriously, Brent, keep it in the pants, please."

Loquacious: "No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get Hugs & Gropings or Stalks Jawaballs into Brent's little tribute."

Captain Kellen: "I rate this article a Brent on the Faith Hill to Nancy Pelosi scale!"

Drathmere: "Come for the balls, stay for the Brent? Kind of disturbing, man."

Go no further, lest thee see something thine eyes would fain look past!

Isabelle: "So, thank you for supporting your local and not so local unicorns. A noble gesture like that can show some scared kids out there that they don't have to hide from everyone and it's ok to be who they really are."

There is nothing more interesting than We The People... in all our beautiful, ugly glory!

On Internet Advice: You see, I have an almost religious belief that's it's a huge, colossal waste of time.

...I think I'll call it the Gun Shy Pattern Stormbuster, because after the Internet destroyed my first humble effort, I find I'm a bit worried about the reaction to this one.

Lauby: "Is it left over from that time you thought that you could just complete step one 12 times to meet the mandates of that court order?"

Not Brent: "I guess we'll have to read on and find out. Signed, Not Brent. Especially today."

Cynthia Davis: "I think the scrolling text is from Glen Beck's new book."

Grimaldi: "Spamming certain units creates interesting possibilities but also fatal weaknesses."

Purgatus: "Math can inform decisions. It cannot make decisions."

Thoughts? Comments? Hugs and gropings?

You'd be that much quicker to figure out what I mean when I refer to a Unicorn if I covered it in a rainbow flag.

SinSynn: (To Brent) "Curse you and your insidious influence on the internets..."

Dave G (N++): "You know you're an internet celebrity when your following is more akin to tabloids."

I prefer the term Internet Personality (or IP) myself, seeing as how I coined it.

Lauby: "Your attempt to humanize him as failed. I feel nothing but scorn for his beard - it's like a warcrime or something."

BBF: "I've always thought you are a good player but I finally figured out that you are a great player. It's hard to see sometimes because your personality is engaging, sincere and quite charming - to me that is kind of a rare combination."

'Clearly cheating?' I didn't misspeak: you jumped to conclusions. If you'd like to apologize I'll be happy to send you an autographed picture of my ass.


I thought I was doing alright before I realized I was losing.

Age and treachery beats youth and vigor every time.

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