Skewed List Building and Missions


Warhammer 40,000 – 8th Edition 40K offers so much variety in list design, I get lost just seeing what kind of crazy combinations I can put together and have a functioning list. One of my favorite exercises is picking an element and overloading my list so it's almost completely skewed to do one thing. Most of the time I don't do really well with a skewed list like this, but most most recent build has done really well on the table, considering I didn't think it was very good to begin with.

My local group has embraced Power Level for all our games with a +/- 2 PL on the cap, that way we almost always have at least a minor difference in power for the times we use the Open War Deck. The biggest change using power level has caused in our group is the extra equipment that now gets taken. Having that hunter killer and the storm bolter on most tanks gives them a little extra firepower that I typically wouldn't spend points on in Matched Play.

When I decide to build a skewed list I typically start with either a Spearhead or Vanguard Detachment and work up a core list focusing on what I want to do. For this list I wanted a solid core of heavy support lead by Sergeant Chronos in a Landraider. Tyranids are once again something that I'll be playing against quite often so I picked a Hunter and two Stalkers as the core of this force. Supplemented by a Landraider Achilles, Techmarine on a bike, and a Thunderfire cannon my spearhead should be able to put out some serious damage. 

As a complement to the above detachment I put together a small Outrider Detachment to help me with claiming objectives and dealing with threats my big guns can't. I opted for three land speeders led by a Captain and two Lieutenants. A double heavy flamer land speeder is great against hard to hit targets, while the double multi-melta and a multi-melta/assault cannon speeders do a little more of the heavy lifting. 

I thought this list wasn't going to do great, but the first time I took it for a spin it was against a heavily Dark Eldar focused Ynari list. Almost everything in his army had the fly keyword so the hunter and stalkers really became super stars. The lieutenant/captain combo walking between the landraiders was a mobile wall of pure power that decimated everything in front of them. When my opponent was able to put some wounds on either of these massive tanks the Techmarine would just drive up and heal them. At the end of the game I still had most of my units on the table.

The second game using this list was against Deathwatch using the Maelstrom Cards. I figured that the first game was a fluke, however I was wrong. Employing the same tactics as I did against the Dark Eldar, I turtled up in the middle of my deployment zone and sent the speeders off to do work. Sadly while my tactics for eliminating his force were sound, a lone Culuxes Assassin at the back of the board proved to be to difficult to kill so my opponent won based on the points awarded from the Maelstrom Deck.

When the Maelstrom Deck was first introduced I like it. Forcing players to move about and play a dynamic game seemed fresh and new. Over time however I've grown to despise it as a bad couple of draws can destroy your gameplan. Against an opponent that has had lucky draws for objectives they're already sitting on or have accomplished creates a points disparity that is nearly impossible to overcome. The deck also makes the game incredibly random, there is no skill involved in setting a unit on the objective in the back or your deployment zone and drawing that as the objective you need to claim or defend several turns in a row. At that point it's pure dumb luck that nets you double-digit points quickly. 

One of my opponents loves the Maelstrom deck as it "punishes" skewed lists, which is correct in some ways. If the grab objective X cards come up you can't plan on turtling and win the game, but if the other cards come up with random Kill X or Jump through hoop Y dumb luck might just net those points for either player.

I think what I want to do is play a combination of the eternal war and maelstrom missions. Using the cards for secondary objectives might help reduce the random nature of wins and having the fixed objectives from the eternal war missions worth more as primary objectives could be the hybrid that rewards a variety of forces as well as sound tactics.