40K: The Shifting Paradigm

What it do!!! Reecius here to talk about the new cool way to play 40K

I’m just going to come out and say it: spam is so last season.

Variety is the new black, folks.

As 40K shifts further into 6th and we all acclimate to it, I have noticed a change that I am very enthusiastic about: the increased power of non-spam lists.

You could do very well with non-spam lists in 5th, but the spam list was pretty damn good, I don’t think anyone will deny that. The reasons are simple: redundancy, increased efficiency and less rules to remember.

There are a few reasons why I believe a move to varied lists will benefit the skilled player.

  1. The meta is blown wide open with allies. You aren’t nearly as likely to know what you will be facing at a tournament or pick-up game.
  2. The meta is changing rapidly. With GW picking up its release schedule and the move to include Forgeworld units in 40K (and listen to the latest edition of 11th Company to hear MANY To’s of major events saying that, not just us here on the West Coast), the amount of units, combos and builds in play increase dramatically.
  3. A focus on objective based play. No longer is smashing your opponent the primary goal of the game. You need troops, and either lots of them, or very durable troops, to reliably win the day. Not being able to score from within a transport means they also have to be exposed. Transports are much less useful defensively than they were, so we are seeing more and more boots on the table. That means the standby of maximizing heavy weapons isn’t going to be as reliable. That means more anti-infantry weapons.
  4. Having a tool for every job allows you to minimize bad match-ups.
  5. A wide variety of unit types keep things fresh, and allows you to surprise opponents with combos and tricks that people may not be as familiar with on units that aren’t used as often.
  6. You get to prove the internet wrong when you do well with “bad” units, which is always fun!
Crazy Kitty approves of variety!
Considering that going to an event or into a pick-up game where you are faced with an enormous amount of variety and with a meta that is changing extremely rapidly, a Take All Comers (TAC) list is going to be a good bet. Am I saying that spam lists are dead? No, not at all. They still have all of the same strengths they did before, it’s simply that now they have more weaknesses that they previously didn’t when the field of opponents was both smaller and more predictable.
Here’s an example of what I am talking about.
My IG army is really big, so I have the benefit of being able to try lots of options. Previously, taking 3 Vendettas was a given for a truly “competitive” list. However now, in a troop heavy environment, and as AA options increase, I don’t feel that way anymore. I now take a Hellhound, Vendetta and a Devildog. With the improvements to both blast weapons and fast vehicles, the Devildog is a beast now! The Hellhound was always great, but now even better as he will have a lot more viable targets. A str6 Template is no joke against light armor, either.
Barrage weapons have become extremely useful, but Leman Russes with the Heavy upgrade they received, and the reduction in AT weapons, are now really, really good. No longer do you see 3 Manticores as frequently (although they are still damn good). I am running a Leman Russ, a Demolisher or Plasmacutioner and a Basilisk and loving the versatility.
For troops I take a variety of Vets (vets on foot with triple Plasma or grenade launchers are great!) and Platoons. I get a really solid mix of scoring units that fill a variety of roles.
By taking this wide range of units and weapon types, I find myself lacking no tools, no matter who I come up against. I also find it more enjoyable to play this way and also more enjoyable for my opponent. Almost all of my lists have been going this direction, with few to no repeated units and versatility as the main focal point.
I find this to be a really good change to the game and feel that it will benefit the competitive as well as casual player.
How do you all feel? Do you think spam will still reign supreme or is variety truly the spice of life?


About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

16 Responses to “40K: The Shifting Paradigm”

  1. Spoonfunk September 26, 2012 3:56 am #

    I am all for it for two reason’s

    1) I have only recently even begun attending tournaments. Collecting as a casual player I would basically pick up a variety of unit Because of this I can’t even play a spam list unless I want to either proxy or completely retool my entire collection. Now I may not be the majority but I am willing to bet that I am not the only person that has this problem out there. Variety is good just because it means that more people can field viable competitive lists (even if this is an uncommon problem)

    2) With a greater variety of builds entering the meta means that armies themselves can field either less than optimal choices or at very least you will see a greater diversity of tactics to go along with those list. This makes the games more interesting and takes another step at making the game more skill based IMO.

    • Reecius September 26, 2012 1:20 pm #

      It’s more fun too, IMO. I think the game is more enjoyable this way.

  2. General Oadius September 26, 2012 8:39 am #

    Variety is the spice of life and the spice of life is a birthing excretion from the great desert worms of Arakis(the desert planet).

    • Reecius September 26, 2012 12:50 pm #

      Dune is the shizzle!

      • Kralizak September 26, 2012 8:58 pm #


  3. David September 26, 2012 9:19 am #

    Nice article Reece. I agree with your synopsis entirely. When 5th was winding down and we were all on a Warmachine kick for a bit I really enjoyed it. The reason I enjoyed WM is that there are so many crazy things you can do and like 100+ casters that all do dynamically different things. You don’t really know what your opponent will bring or do. I think Games Workshop is doing an admirable job at moving in this direction.

  4. David September 26, 2012 9:22 am #

    ALSO, for the aforementioned reason above! 6th makes my ATF unit Sternguard Vets THE SHIZNIT. Cool ammo AND it is actually useful??? NO WAY! Cant wait to get those bad boys on the table.

    • Reecius September 26, 2012 1:09 pm #

      Totally agree! I love the move to more variety.

  5. Mark September 26, 2012 9:37 am #

    I agree Reecius. However, I would argue that redundancy is still good, just not to the level of spam.

    For example, two ghost arks supporting two units of warriors, supported by two units of wraiths, supported by two annihilation barges, with a couple of Destroyer Lords.

    Pairs of different things, so your answer to problem ‘X’ can’t get destroyed on the first turn. For example, as a Necron Player, if you took an Annihilation Barge to deal with Flyers, and your opponent popped it on turn one, you’d be a sad panda. If you’ve got a pair of ’em, chances are you’ll get to shoot at a flyer before you lose them both.

    • Reecius September 26, 2012 1:08 pm #

      Good points. And I wasn’t in any way saying that redundancy is bad, or that spam is bad, just that the old standby of maxing out single units isn’t needed anymore. You can make a more flexible and dynamic list with many different units.

  6. Kingsley September 26, 2012 11:22 am #

    One important thing to remember about Leman Russes is that while they can fire all weapons, it doesn’t remove the restriction that all other weapons have to Snap Fire if you fire an Ordnance weapon– so your hull and sponson weapons are basically worthless if you fire a Battle Cannon or Demolisher Cannon, since they have to Snap Fire. In many cases (heavy flamers, plasma cannons) they aren’t allowed to shoot at all!

    • Reecius September 26, 2012 1:18 pm #

      Yeah, it’s lame. I don’t think that is what they intended for it to do.

  7. General Oadius September 26, 2012 1:55 pm #

    honestly any Leman russ with much more than a main weapon is a waste, imo. Throw a las cannon on there for some long range punch but at WS3 or FURTHER upgrading to KC Pask you aren’t getting a huge return on investment. Remeber that one lance can end this 150+ point model’s day really quick, a dark lance even quicker.

    • Reecius September 26, 2012 4:09 pm #

      The guy who won Comikaze had 2 decked out Plasmacutioners behind an Aegis. It was pretty brutal. I agree though, that running them lean and mean is often the best bet.

  8. Kralizak September 26, 2012 9:02 pm #

    When I start my Dark Eldar soon I’m going to build a list of variety simply because there are so many cool choices! Scourges, Kabalites, Wyches, Reavers, Razorwing, Hellions, Incubi….that’s what my list will look like 🙂 but I’m gonna go over it with you before I build it in case I make a critical error

    • Reecius September 26, 2012 9:26 pm #

      Yeah, bring it by, I’d be happy to help with the list.

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