Sunday, April 24, 2011

ATC Adventue: Chapter 1

I have the amazing opportunity to travel with DaBoyz crew from Rochester, New York to Chattanooga, Tennessee next month for the American Team Championship tournament.  This is exciting to be for several reasons.  At 31, I'm the youngest on the team and with only 12 months of 40k under my belt, I'm the least experienced.  As such, I had no expectations when Aldonis dropped by our local forum to promote the event and I volunteered to represent the Tyranid codex.  You can imagine my surprise when somehow I made the team, especially with so many prominent nid players in the club.

This article and discussion will act as the first chapter of an adventure through list building, army painting, playtesting, and concluding in our trip to the event and my tournament batreps.  If you aren't familiar with the format, the information is here:

So here's the quick break-down:
- 5 players per team, team captains take turns pairing their members for games
- Each team may only bring one army from each codex (i.e. one SW, one IG, one BA)
- Every game will have 2 c&c objectives, 3 seize ground objectives, and score killpoints
- Points are awarded for drawing on objectives and KP's

Here's my take-away:
- If I feel an SW army with 4 JoTWW priests in drop pods would annihilate me, the pairing system allows my team captain to pair me against other potential opponents.  This allows the potential to build lists that take advantage of the scoring format and are less worried about taking "all-comers".
- Since points are awarded for drawing any of the objectives, it's much more important to the overall good of the team to draw than lose objectives.
- The combination of game objectives and player-driven pairings will encourage some teams to tailor lists leading to lots of scoring units and few killpoints.

At this point we've already had team meetings, discussed strategy, made test lists, and playtested several games.  I can't discuss those things yet without compromising the team, but we can compare thoughts on tyranid lists and applications in the format.  I have already narrowed down my list and gone to work painting it up, so I won't be making any major changes. 

I would, however love to see some list ideas or thoughts from readers.  Tell me what you think and the discussion will serve as a transition into Chapter 2, where I discuss the evolution of my possible lists.


  1. What points value per player?


  2. Ok, so it sounds like you dont need an all comers list. Me persoinally in your position I would personally slant it to lets say...attack IG. Lots of MCs, Flyrants, things to pop tank spam. That is going to be my guess of what you might want to gear the nids on your team for. Then your Captain can shoose you to fight tank spam. But then agai nthats how I play nids and you do something a little different.

    Oh and by the way "Drawing" is like kissing your sister, no fun. Warning is formats that give points for draws force people to play mediocre. Also this is sorta counter-culture to American gaming.

    Again this format you may want to consider "Too many Wounds on my MC List". Venomthropes, Regen, and stuff that reaches out across the board to kill things would be what I would build.

    Will they score spawned termagaunts from termagaunts as KPs?

  3. Sounds very ETC, but I guess it has nothing to do with qualifying for ETC?

  4. @ pitbull - I believe they are using INAT which means spawned gants are worth KPs.

    If - tailor my list to attack IG (which many other armies could do better), there's still the chance of getting paired against an opponent that is radically different. Since KPs are scored every game, do you think mech will be a minority? Won't tailoring my list to kill one specific codex or army type make me weaker against all the other possibilities? My train of thought eventually leads back to an all-comers list that focuses more on the objectives than beating certain armies or builds. Drawing may be a weak tactic, but is still more beneficial than losing. Certain teams at the ETC had players paired who's singular goal was to take on an opposing team's strongest player or list and draw, thus nullifying their best chance at high scores. I'm not saying I will go into any game with the goal of drawing, but for the good of the team I will do what I need to ensure I at least score some points.

    @ N.I.B.- its a very similar format to ETC, but has no bearing or connection. The US ETC team was decided at adepticon. I am, however lucky enough to have two of America's ETC members on my ATC team.

  5. No takers? Ok, let's look at two successful nid lists from ETC 2010:

    Shaun Kemp - USA Nid Player, USA took 5th overall (1750):
    Hive Guard x3
    Hive Guard x3
    Termagants x10
    Termagants x10

    Marcin Budzinski - Poland's Nid Player, Poland took best overall (1750):
    Hive Guard x3
    Hive Guard x3
    Hive Guard x3
    Termagants x10
    Genestealers x20
    Genestealers x20
    Genestealers x20 + toxins

    Two very different lists and playstyles. I think both could function as an "all-comers" list, but they're probably tweaked for the pairing format.

    Shaun's list is made to dominate the objective missions (ETC was straight book missions). With 4 tervigons spawning gants and a mawloc kept for last turn contesting, it's hard to lose an objective game. I don't know what his strategy or pairing plan was for KP games, but I've played him and can tell you he's very cunning.

    Marcin's list is much more aggressive with 60 genestealers and less KP. I can't say much about how he played it and I also don't have nearly 60 genestealer models to even test run. I'm sure you can use your imagination and figure it out.

    The biggest differences between ETC and ATC are:
    1. 2000pts
    2. 1 special character is allowed per army (ETC banned them)
    3. Every single game will have 5 objectives total and score KP's

    So, do you think these lists can scale up to 2k and still be effective in the different scoring environment, or should I take a totally different approach?

  6. I was typing up a response in regards to the special character limitation and had to erase what I was going to say several times. Initially, I didn't think it would affect Nids much, but then I thought about late objective grabbing & leadership modification (Deathleaper).

    Also, with KPs being scored ever game, people will think twice about loading up on transports, so that makes Doom a bit more of an option.

    And of course, who doesn't run Old One Eye? :)


    If you run something like the Poland list, you should ask Shaun to play his Dual-Lash list. It'd be interesting to see how that'd play out.

  7. With both objectives and KPs to worry about, big troop units would ultimately be more valuable than many small piles of gants; that said, you still need FNP.

    I think a variant of the list Purg posted today might do well:

  8. Tervigon + FNP best thing ever

    Surprise people are not useing Harpies more, for the price and the maneover and TL HVy Venom Cannons + Cysts I prefer it versus a carnifex for clearing out light armor/heavy infantry

    For special characters, Standard Deathleaper.
    But at 2K is it worth the cost? Maybe. Depends o nthe opponent and their psychic prowess.

    Better Idea:

  9. Congrats and good luck at the ATC ! I'm sure you'll do well. Bring home the gold !

    : )


  10. Thanks BBF. You're going too with the WC team yeah?

    @ Pitbull ~ Agree on tervigons. I rarely play without them anymore. Harpies and Deathleaper are both nice, but also easy KP's. Since every game scores KP, I'm trying toonly bring more resilient units.

    @ Ghostin ~ I like Purg's list, I just don't think I can get my second Tfex painted by then. Nids don't do anti-mech as well as other armies and the pairing system means I will probably face less mech than usual.

    @ Crispy ~ I tested DoM in my lists before the wedding and again, I just think it's easy KP's. The FAQ allowing cover saves and granting embarked units immunity killed him IMO. A smart opponent can out-play the unit. That, or you can arrie too early, too late, or scatter out of ange.

  11. It's kind of hard to understand the flow of a pairing system before you've tried it IRL. My guess is that you can get away with a build to counter certain armies, whereas in a "normal" tournament you do better with an all-comers build. Budzinski's list above was made to counter IG mech, he was drilled again and again until he could play against IG in his sleep, and they pitched him against IG in every game, IIRC. With pretty devastating results. But I’m not sure you can hard-counter that way in ATC.

    You need a list that suits your playstyle. Myself I like to put the pressure on early in my games, so I include fast elements. Here's what I'm taking to a 2000 point tournament in a month:

    Tervigon – Adrenal Glands, Toxin Sacs, Cluster Spines, Catalyst, Onslaught, Scything Talons

    3 Hive Guard
    3 Hive Guard
    3 Hive Guard

    10 Termagants
    Tervigon – Adrenal Glands, Toxin Sacs, Cluster Spines, Catalyst, Onslaught
    20 Genestealers - Toxin Sacs

    15 Gargoyles - Adrenal Glands

    Trygon – Adrenal Glands
    Trygon – Adrenal Glands
    Trygon – Adrenal Glands

    I usually play it in two waves, with Trygons, Gargoyles and infiltrated Genestealers in the first wave. The second wave sets up to dominate the center and claim objectives, Onslaughted Hive Guards surprise many with their range. Everything in the army can threaten AV 10 and moves in layered cover or terrain (except Trygons, they are there as T6 target saturation that need to die early or cause havoc). HQ Tervigon act as a conduit between first and second wave. Works very well in my test games, have whiped a few Loganwings, Black Templar mech and Dark Eldar.

    In an objective or draw-oriented tournament, I’d take out the third Trygon to fit in more Genestealers or a third Tervigon. Three Catalyst would mean both Trygons and the Genestealers gets FNP, or possible 3x3 Hive Guards running and shooting. Very nice tactical options.

  12. I like that list a lot. I'm not much of a trygon fan anymore, but I can see it working out in your list. Have you played any GK lists yet with them?

    The ATC pairing system works as follows:
    1. Both teams review lists for 30 min and make a plan.
    2. Team captains each secretly choose a champion. Champions will play each other and be revealed last, taking the last available table.
    3. Team captains roll a dice. The loser offers up the first player.
    4. The winner counters with a player of their own. The loser chooses the table to play on.
    5. Roles are reversed offering up players and countering.

    Here's an example:
    Team 1
    Space Wolves
    Chaos - dual lash
    Mech Guard
    Mech BA

    Team 2
    Mech Dark Eldar
    Horde Orks
    Grey Knights
    DoA Blood Angels

    Let's say team 1 chooses Mech BA as their champion. He has shield for cover and speed so terrain matters least to him. Team 2 chooses mech DE as their champion as he doesn't have a great pairing.

    Team 1 wins the roll and team 2 puts up GK as their best overall defender. Team 1 puts up space wolves as they have the best armor and psy defense against the GK shooting and powers.

    Team 1 then puts up Mech Guard and team 2 counters with DoA BA.

    Team 2 puts up tyranids and team 1 counters with footdar.

    Team 1 only has dual lash chaos left and team 2 only has horde orks.

    It can go many ways, but based on this scenario, team 1 has a huge advantage by winning the dice roll and having better counter lists. Of course, general talent has greater weight than lists alone.

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. Sorry NIB I did not mean to delete that comment. Hand slipped on the blackberry and I don't know how to undo it. Sorry mate.

  15. lol don't worry mate, nothing close to Shakespeare in that post :)