Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Perfect Is the Enemy of the Good

I had been planning to start this off with a BatRep featuring an old gaming buddy of mine who just moved back to town, but I keep stalling out on writing that up, and I figured it would be better to get something going here than to just sit around waiting until everything magically came together. So, instead, I'm going to kick this off with a bit of a ramble about perfectionism and trying not to get paralyzed by it.

I'm representing Khorne DaemonKin in the Elvensword Ambassadorial Tournament on October 10th. I just locked in my list last week, going with the following:
Combined Arms Detachment
55        Herald
58    8 Cultists
58    8 Cultists
170    Heldrake (BaleFlamer)
130    MaulerFiend
130    MaulerFiend
130    MaulerFiend

Blood Host (1 extra Blood Tithe per Turn) 
* SlaughterCult (Units benefit from an extra Blood Tithe effect less than the paid for effect)
205    Chaos Lord (Juggernaut, Goredrinker, Axe of Khorne, Sigil of Corruption, Meltabombs)
80    8 Bloodletters
80    8 Bloodletters
185    5 Possessed, Rhino
160    5 Chaos Spawn 
* Gorepack (Flesh Hounds gain Hammer of Wrath. Bikers gain Shred on their Hammer of Wrath Hits)
111    3 Chaos Bikers (2 Meltaguns, Champion with Combi-Melta & Meltabombs)
111    3 Chaos Bikers (2 Meltaguns, Champion with Combi-Melta & Meltabombs)
256    16 Flesh Hounds
80    5 Flesh Hounds

Is this perfect? Far from it. Is it even what I would ideally run within the Tournament's restrictions? Nope. But due to a bunch of Metagame factors, it's what I'm running.

"Metagame" is usually used these days to refer to the Armies and Units one is likely to see in a given setting, or as a shorthand for how casual or competitive a given setting is. In its broadest sense, however, it refers to all factors outside the Rules of the Game itself, and it's these factors that have pushed the list into this form.

First off, there are the additional Rules imposed by the specific event. The Ambassadorial Tournament has a couple of twists. The core restriction is that each Player may only use a single Codex, and each Codex may only be used by a single Player in each bracket. So it's gotta be pure DaemonKin. The next biggest impact on what I took was that no Forge World Units are allowed. If that hadn't been in place, you'd better believe there'd be a Brass Scorpion in there. The third big factor here is the Detachment limits. Three total Detachments are allowed, one of them must be a CAD. The overall Detachment in a Decurion-Class Detachment doesn't count, but each Choice within that does count as a Detachment, whether it's actually a Formation or just a single Unit. Without those requirements, I might well choose to ditch the CAD entirely, and just run the Blood Host, using the extra Points freed up to add more MaulerFiends, Flesh Hounds, Spawn, or Bikers, and trusting entirely to my ground game to hold out against Flyers.

Other restrictions are based on what Models I have available, or can get by the 10th. I only have a single Heldrake, and given what a nightmare it was to build and that I still haven't finished painting it, getting another ready to go by the 10th would be difficult at best. I also don't own a BloodThirster. I probably wouldn't use one as a basic Choice in the List anyhow, but a Biker Lord with the Axe of Ruin (Bearer turns into a BloodThirster when slain) is a great cheap Unit to fling at the Opponent to make difficult choices for them, and would give me far more utility than the Herald. But I don't have a Thirster for him to turn into, so that's not an option. I also only have three MaulerFiends, and none of them have Lasher Tendrils. A fourth would have strongly pushed me toward a double CAD build so I could run all of them, and probably just folding the Flesh Hounds into the CADs and ditching the Bikers as well.

The last big factor was time. I'm really not sure if the Blood Host is worth taking the Possessed and BloodLetters for. The extra Blood Tithe is great, but that's 345 Points worth of Tax Units, on top of the 171 for the Herald and Culties in the CAD. I'd been going back and forth on that, and if there had been more time, I might well have ended up with something more like:

Biker Lord with Axe of Ruin
2x8 Culties
2 HelDrakes
5 Spawn
3 MaulerFiends
2x3 Melta Bikers
15 Flesh Hounds
2x5 Flesh Hounds

Some sloppy shorthand there because I didn't have this one handy in a nice form to copy and paste, but you get the point. Basically only the Culties are chaff here, and even they can do some good by hiding in Reserves and holding Backfield Objectives in the late Game. But I didn't get enough testing in, and when the deadline hit, the first list is as far as my evolution had got to. This is also true on a smaller level, too. I've been constantly going back and forth on whether or not the Axe of Khorne is really worth the extra 15 Points over a Power Sword for the JuggerLord, which would also give him an extra Attack (and also let me get the big pack of Flesh Hounds back up to 16 for the sacred number), but wouldn't give him any at-Initiative AP2. Again, that's just where my thought was when the deadline rolled around.

Add in the option for Forge World stuff, and removing limits on Models I don't have, and the picture changes again, to maybe something like:

2x8 Culties
4 MaulerFiends, 2 with Lasher Tendrils
16 Flesh Hounds
Brass Scorpion

There's actually one more class of Metagame considerations in play, which I didn't really give enough thought to when working on the list, which is the Scenarios that are being used. I generally play Maelstrom, but all of the Scenarios used for this Tournament are based on end-of-Game scoring. These lists all have a bunch of fast stuff that can run around and capture Objectives Turn-by-Turn, but not much that's good at just sitting and camping them, and the aggressive CC Playstyle the list demands doesn't always leave me with a whole lot left at the end to jump on things then.

The third Scenario has another twist as well: The Primary Objective is to clear out FOC sections, so if you wipe all your Opponent's Troops, that's 9 Points, if you wipe all their FA, that's another 9 Points, and so on. The catch is that any FOC area that you leave empty (except for LoW), your Opponent automatically scores. This was another factor that pushed me toward the Blood Host, because none of the KDK Elites are worth taking on their own merits, and I didn't want to leave any slots empty. On further reflection, I've gone back and forth on that, thinking that perhaps the free 9 Points I'd give up there would be worth it to make another slot that much harder to wipe out. But again, the deadline came down, and that's what I had.


  1. Yes! Good to see you here man, been meaning to comment but I can't access blogger at work unless I use an isolated PC, stupid security system. Are all those models yours in the pictures? Some of them are kick ass!

    Also, just a personal thing, I found the light lilac hard to read when it crossed over the chaos symbol, but a nice dark looking blog overall :)

    1. Thanks! Yep, those are all mine. Well, except for the dog at the top, he's just from tumblr ;) It was really the idea of the MaulerFiend Conversions that got me started down this whole road with the DK.

      Yeah, I noticed that with the background too. Haven't gotten around to fixing it yet, but it is a known issue.

    2. Well they are all brilliant! MOAR pictures please dude.

      My personal favourite is the Khorne lord, old school cool there for me.

      Though the maulerfiends are really really good

    3. Thanks!

      I'm working on some Bikes and Culties for the Elvensword on the 10th. I'll do a photoshoot when I get them done, or more likely sometime the week after the Tournament, since the week before is pretty busy. I'm also working on an even more over the top JuggerLord, using the Chaos Lord from the AoS starter. He won't be painted by then, but I'll get some WiP pics.