Friday, January 23, 2015

Tourney Prep - Blood, Sweat and oh so many Tier(list)s

‘Sup folks!? I haven’t posted anything meaty on this thing in a while; mostly because I’ve spent my time making battle reports and delivering crack Warmachine content for Bell of Lost Souls. Today, I want to talk a little about Templecon, and more importantly preparations for one of the most interesting formats on the event roster; Blood Sweat and Tiers (or BS&T for the acronymically hip).

For those who don’t know, BS&T works just like a normal Steamroller, except that all your lists need to be Tier 1 or higher (with the added bonus of throwing character restrictions out the window). Obviously, this is a little difficult for Cygnar which, unlike some Factions (*ahem* Legion/Convergence/Trollbloods!) doesn’t have a particularly strong ‘stable’ of Theme Forces. It also has the added benefit of making a wildly skewed meta that asks a bunch of brand new questions without allowing you your comfortable suite of answers (WHERE IS MY EIRYSS2!?).

Based on recent tournament experience, Wold War (Bradigus) and Runes of War (Doomy1) are wildly popular and are probably the two most common theme forces in the running right now, next to Mechanitions of Shadow (Vayl2) and probably Body and Soul (Deneghra2). On the other hand, the format gives me a chance to bust out some of my favorite theme forces for a couple test runs, and as such I played Weathermen (Nemo2) and Wrecking Crew (Darius) into the absolute dirt!

Going into this event, building for Wold War and Runes was my primary concern, so I built a pair that I feel very strong with in those particular matchups:

List 1: Wrecking Crew (Darius) – Tier 3

Captain E. Dominic Darius (*5pts)
* Centurion (8pts)
* Centurion (8pts)
* Hammersmith (7pts)
* Stormwall (19pts)
* Squire (2pts)
Sword Knights (Leader and 5 Grunts) (4pts)
* Sword Knight Officer & Standard (0pts)
Sword Knights (Leader and 5 Grunts) (4pts)
Journeyman Warcaster (3pts)

Darius is one of my favorite skew ‘casters, and BS&T is the home of the skew! This list has gone over a couple revisions (you can see me playing an earlier, albeit slightly illegal version of the list in WotS Batrep 22, here [linky]), but the points don’t really work out quite right. This is the first time I’ve actually wanted a Reliant in a list, because another anti-infantry gun in the list would do very nicely. Instead I get a crappy Hammersmith.

The original idea of the list was to put a TON of armor on the table and make it impossible for lists like Wold War or Mechanitions to chew through the original version had a 3rd Centurion in place of the Hammersmith and Squire, which makes for a disgusting amount of repairable armor. It can also play a weird attrition game against a lot of infantry-swarm type lists, using lightning pods, Jackhammers and mines to clear dudes while dropping Polarity Fields and Covering Fires to slow their advance. So far, the weakest link has been Darius, as people normally realize that they can’t kill the whole list and end up focusing on him instead.

List 2: Stormbringers (Tier 1)

Major Victoria Haley (*5pts)
* Stormclad (10pts)
* Dynamo (10pts)
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)
* Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer (2pts)
* * Stormclad (10pts)
Black 13th Gun Mage Strike Team (4pts)
Stormblade Infantry (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
* Stormblade Infantry Officer & Standard (3pts)
* 3 Stormblade Infantry Storm Gunner (3pts)
Captain Arlan Strangewayes (2pts)

It took me a while to come up with a worthy pair to Darius’ crew of wrecking; I worked through both Weathermen (which was alright, but Nemo kept letting me down) and Sons of the Tempest (for which I couldn’t get my hands on enough Hunters for my liking) before making this list on a whim.

While I normally like hitting Tier 4 and doing all the lightning shenanigans with Stormbringers, I wanted a list that both had a game against a lot of infantry AND didn’t fall down to the high ARM and control effects of a list like Runes of War. This is the happiest medium I could come up with, and I think that it’s pretty happy.

The idea is simple; this list can play a lot of different games over the course of a match and is obscenely flexible. It has enough RNG 10-12 guns to act as a gunline (especially with the Sniped Stormclad gun, no one expects that), the flexibility to skirmish later on, TKing models where they need to be and pushing enemies away with Thunderbolts, then charges in *hard * when the time is right. It’s one of the most fun and dynamic lists that I’ve played in a long time, and I might even try to fit it into a ‘normal’ SR pair with some changes (the Black 13th and a Stormgunner=Junior/Squire).

The one debate I’m still having is between Dynamo, a 3rd Stormclad and Thorn. Dynamo’s gun has been fantastic, especially when he’s TK’d or Shifted out of threat range after pumping shots downrange with it, but his melee output isn’t nearly as impressive. It still needs more play before I make a final decision, but the idea behind the list is solid and this one ends up being a very solid all-rounder.

Getting ready for tournaments is always fun, but the most exciting part of an interesting format like this one is playing around with unique lists and trying to guess what will actually be there. Given that BS&T events are so uncommon, the meta is anyone’s guess! It might just be filled with Armies of the Righteous (Harbinger) and Divided You Fall (Sturgis2), although I sincerely hope not!

Keep it classy, folks and see you all at Templecon!

P.S. It's weird the stuff you find by googling the names of theme forces.

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