Please welcome Shinkaze for what I hope will be the first of many tactics articles for the site. In this article he shares some advice for building lists designed for the current tournament environment. ~TheWarmaster'sRevenge
In this article I will discuss modern list building for tournaments. These days many tournaments either use the missions from the 6th edition rulebook or in the case of GTs with their own missions they incorporate as many features as 6th as possible. Frequently in tournaments you see that Big Guns Never Tire and The Scouring are used. Generally speaking it seems every 2 or 3 missions has one of these 2 rules in effect. Since these missions frequently have the most Objectives I find that 3-4 scoring units is enough. Choosing Fast Attack and Heavy Support units over Elites gives you plenty of scoring units in the majority of objective missions. The only Elite I can think of that I find very useful is the Riptide. If a format really leans toward the 6th edition mission paradigm than I would only take 1 Riptide. Here is a sample of a Chaos list I like to play in tournaments. 70 Aegis w/ Comms Relay 170 Heldrake w/ Balestorm 170 Heldrake w/ Balestorm 170 Heldrake w/ Balestorm 152 2 Obliterators 152 2 Obliterators 152 2 Obliterators Note that though flyers are rather tall you can simply place objectives on hills and on the upper stories of buildings. In the case of the Heldrake if you inflict enough damage you don't have to worry about the game not ending on 5. Just drop into Hover mode if it continues to 6. Both Drakes and Obliterators are mobile so they take much of the pressure off your scoring units to be so. By now most people know that transports are quite a bit of a liabity in 6th edition so I like to stick to scoring units that can Deep Strike or Outflank. That isn't necessarily enough though since troops tend to berather squishy so I like this mix of units to supplement scoring in the majority of objective heavy missions. Here is another sample of moonlighting scoring units from a Tau and Eldar list. 95 5 Warp Spiders 95 5 Warp Spiders 210 3 War Walkers w/ Scatter Laser and Bright Lance 90 3 Engines of Vaul w/ Shadow Weavers 77 7 Pathfinders 282 3 Broadsides w/ Target Locks, H.Y.M.P., S.M.S., and 6 Missile Drones Not all of these are as mobile as the Obliterators and Heldrakes but they make up for that by being fairly tough to kill(Engines of Vaul and Broadsides)or in the case of the War Walkers they can outflank and rampage in the back lines. Having units that are multi-dimensional is a big help in performing consistently well in a tournament. Here are some more race specific examples of how to take advantage of the 6th edition missions. Most of these are at least in some way difficult for most of your opponents to kill and/or highly mobile. Orks - 3 Dakkajet and 9 Kannons Daemons - Hounds, Seekers, Plague Drones, Soul Grinders, Khorne Kannon Necrons - Wraiths and 3 Annihilation Barges Space Marines - 3 Storm Talon and 3 Thunderfire Cannon behind Aegis Sisters or Battle - 3 Exorcists behind Aegis and ally with IG for additional scoring units Elites have really taken a pounding in 6th edition. They tend to be slow, expensive and often not all that hard to kill. On top of being slow they frequently seem to have a assault role. In 6th I think assault is just as strong as shooting with the proper amount of terrain. The caveat to that is that your assault unit needs to be a Beast, Cavalry, FMC, Jump Infantry or have a vehicle with an Assault Ramp. These sorts of units are much more likely to be FA and HS as oppposed to Elites. Whether you will be playing in a Win/Loss or Margin of Victory tournament they usually are scored similiarly. In many missions you only need to control more objectives than your opponent to win the mission/goal. If you in fact score points for the tournament based on how many you control(instead of just controlling more than your opponent) you probably need 6 or more scoring units in your list. You would still benefit from taking Fast Attack and Heavy Support units over Elites or additional HQ choices. To give you an example of this kind of format I have a portion of a list I wrote(with lots of the help from Marc Parker) for Wargamescon 2013. Their missions were going to feature up to 8 or more objectives and your score was based not on controlling more but on how many you controlled. This seemed to really favor armies that could have more than 6 scoring units. This is the list I settled on before I decided it was a financially a bad year for me to be traveling to just to play 40k. 70 Aegis w/ Comms Relay 170 Heldrake w/ Balestorm 170 Heldrake w/ Balestorm 170 Heldrake w/ Balestorm 152 2 Obliterators 152 2 Obliterators 152 2 Obliterators 50 10 Cultists 50 10 Cultists 30 Platoon Command Squad 250 50 IG, I imagine we were going to give them axes and melta bombs 70 Lord Commissar(Arch Fiend model from Lost and the Damned) 260 5 individual Sabre Platforms with 1 additional crewman This list starts with 9 scoring units, would have 12 in Big Guns or Scouring and could get as high as 14-17 if I wanted to break the blob up! Wow I felt like I could do some serious damage with this. It was a shame to miss Wargamescon, it is an awesome tournament and always a great time in Austin with the BoLS boys. Even if you intend to conquer tournaments make sure you your priority is to enjoy the gaming you do. Meet people, learn about the game and yourself and when you run out of bubblegum don't forget to keep kicking ass!