(I did not write this. It was written by what appears to be a new forumite named Iktah on the PP Boards. The Original Post is HERE. I think this is a very interesting post and a very interesting take on how to build you first lists when learning to play)
I am sure that many players find it the most confusing to just pick a force that plays to your strengths as a player (especially if you are new to miniatures gaming as a a whole) To have a list that plays to your strengths is weary rewarding and when building an army list there are a few things to consider: first it is your personal play style.
If you look at me I am ruthless with evasive units and have a real knack for playing with them (been playing Tau in 40k for a while, and in almost every new game I pick up I tend to always lean more towards the evasive game rather than the assault)
I have been playing miniatures games for a while and I know my weaknessess as a player all to well but for a beginner it can be really hard to just sit down and analyse yourself so I thought of something to think about when constructing a list.
I know for a fact I tend to be on the downside when determining when to assassinate so I generally go for the attrition game since it is one of my strongpoint’s and to minimize my weakness for assassination.
This is opposed to one of the best opponents I have ever played. He is more geared towards assassination and he is an absolute genius when it comes to delivering the safest possible way to assassinate the enemy caster or warlock often with his own, and he plays with rear warlock/casters with high mobility and damage potential to suit his “sit back and wait for the killing blow” play style while remaining on the offensive.
What every new player should do is to at first look at what aspects of combat do appeal to you and ask a series question: How will I keep my forces unharmed so it can deal damage to my opponents force? How do I avoid the destruction of my fighting men/jacks/beasts? Head on relying on mass and armor or evasiveness for personal protection? Could it be speed that keeps you safe? If you ask yourself this question you can look at your unit rooster and ask if they fit your description of said attributer which you are looking for and what role they have in your general plan of attack.
One thing I always have in mind is that I don’t plan a list based on defense, I always plan for offensive actions since no force is good sitting there since it will in most cases lose you the initiative. I tend to use units in conjuncture with synergies towards my caster when he/she is on the attack or units that work well under his/her feat attacking or units that go well with my theme of attack so I don’t lose momentum.
Ask yourself this to be sure what your casters theme of attack might be: is my caster/warlock a frontline or rear caster/warlock? And how will it affect my strategy?
It is an important question to ask since the casters and warlocks are for the most part the deciding factor when it comes to how your force plays out on the tabletop, she/he decides what you might excel at and what you might not excel at and a caster that synergize with the rest of the army will be a bit more effective and will be discussed later so for now keep to: how will I attack? With what method will I attack (attrition, assassination, massive damage at one point etc)? And how will I avoid damage?
To sum things up ask yourself:
– How is your force going to fight the enemy? Head on Relying on speed and armor or sheer evasiveness? (method of attack?)
– What units in my faction fits the descriptions of being said attribute? (what units fits into my method of attack?)
– Is my caster a Frontline warcaster/warlock or a rear warcaster/warlock, and how will it affect my strategy? (what do I need to keep him/her safe?)
So let’s start with a 15pts Legion list. I ask myself these questions and I quickly decide that I want to fight mostly with sheer evasiveness and I want to inflict damage in two ways. The first beeing attrition and the final beeing a final deathblow and I want to be able to clear out or heavily damage targets and then engage them at a time of my choosing. After these decisions it is time to choose a warlock and some warbeasts.
What I have learned is that a warbeast or a warjack is not a separate unit, so use them to augment your warlock. It is easy to try to think that a warbeast or warjack is a separate unit or feel like they are since they don’t share the same activation when they are in fact an extension of the caster/warlock itself and should always be picked so that it can aid the warlock to accomplish specific battlefield goals.
If you look at a warlock like eLylyth she is an excellent medium to hit, highly evasive anti-unit/assassination warlock and so her warbeasts should help her to be just that. A Seraph helps her with the evasive part with slipstream, has a good ranged attack with a high rate of fire with equal range and synergies under her feat so they can work well with each other clearing out a unit of infantry or attacking an enemy warlock/caster. Since both the warlock and beast has eyeless sight and a high mobility they can operate in the same type of terrain, Lylyth has pathfinder and the Seraph has flight. So whatever Lylyth undertakes you can be damn sure that the seraph can always follow her lead and will not be hampered by Lylyth’s choice of action.
The same should apply with warjacks and how they should operate with their respective caster. (Lylyth + mvmnt + wpn range + feat range is a long threat range and is hard to really avoid, the seraph sports an almost impressive range with its attacks under her feat)
So choose warbeasts and warjacks that can undertake the same course of action as your caster and which can operate under the same conditions. I am not saying that you should only go for Warjacks and warbeasts that fill the role your caster does since it will hamper your choices of action to just the one/ or two.
Take our eLylyth list as an example. You now have your Warlock eLylyth and a warbeast the seraph but they don’t work well in a melee and you can always almost in every game hope to be beaten in melee with these two if they get caught in it (The Seraph can sometimes shine but it is no melee beast compared to the factions other choices) eLylyth has a good movement, this we know. She is not hindered by woods and has eyeless sight so she likes to keep close to forests and rough terrain for protection. She can easily hide inside of them using the forest as a screen towards the enemy and she should if possible be played to utilize that strength to the limits.
The seraph also benefit greatly from those conditions but when the enemy finally close and melee is inevitable you need a solid multipurpose killing melee machine with a high damage output towards what it attacks.
If you look at the Carnivean both the warlock and beast has eyeless sight and a high mobility they can operate in the same type of terrain, Lylyth has pathfinder and so does the carnivean. So whatever Lylyth undertakes you can be damn sure that the Carnivean can always follow her lead and will not be hampered by Lylyth’s choice of action and he is not left out when she pops her feat.
The carnivean also has a deadly spray and is ferocious in melee and has a long threat range with slipstream so assassination and troop clearing is not unknown to it and its battlefield role is not far from Lylyth but she does it from far far away, so they do the same thing but from completely different angle.
If you consider what I want to be able to do taking into account my theme of attack (This lists theme is: I want to fight with sheer evasiveness and I want to inflict damage in two ways, attrition and one final deathblow and I want to be able to clear out or heavily damage targets and then engage them at a time of my choosing).
If you look at those three models they all work excellent together and all three models benefit greatly from each other via spells, animi and her feat and as a plus they can do exactly what I want them to do. Shadow pack grants stealth to her battlegroup so they don’t really fear enemy firearms, slipstream will help keep all three models out of harms way and to add to charges or to maneuver a model in place to get a better shot, spiny growth adds to the armor of both the carnivean, Lylyth or the seraph, pin cushion synergize with all three models since an extra die discard the lowest will help them up the damage with their sprays and ranged attack against their targets.
What you have with those three models is potent combination well within the specific theme of attack and they play to my strengths as a player, so why should I treat them like they where there different units when they are tailored to suit all my battlefield needs as a whole and not as one? When they have so many battlefield tricks by the three of them listing just them all would be something for another write up. It would be redundant since most players by now get it: They work excellent with each other and fits the theme.
– I have also asked myself a series of sub questions when choosing this force and these should be applied to all factions: The first is how will my force manage to be as fearsome as it possibly can while maintaining the theme of attack without losing focus and how will the units/warjacks/warbeast manage under these conditions?
– By which rate will you attack the enemy, by attrition or a final deathblow dealing massive damage to multiple targets at the right time?
– How will my force manage to be as evasive or fearsome/heavily armored as it possibly can?
– By which rate will you attack the enemy? By attrition or a final devastating strike dealing massive damage to multiple targets at the right time?
– What is your plan of attack? What type of caster are you facing? The Frontline or Rear caster/warlock? How will it affect your game plan?
– How can you draw the enemy caster/warlock to engage your force into striking range of my assassins or warcaster/warlock?
– How will my caster/warlock be free of retaliatory strikes? How will I keep my units safe from retaliation as well?
Know yourself and your guys.. because if you can analyze your own list/tactics/approaches it’s quite easy to se the holes in your opponents plans..
//Best Regards Iktah