Howdy Faeit212 readers! My name is Reece, or Reecius as I go by on the interwebs here to introduce myself and to talk competitive bugs.
I am one of the owners of a game store in Northern California called Frontline Gaming (come by and say hi if you are in our area!) where we sell discount hobby goodies, have a commission paint studio, twice weekly 30 minute or less podcast (which you can stream on our site every Tuesday and Saturday), and regular video battle reports, and do all sorts of fun stuff. I am an avid 40K player, painter, fluff reader and event organizer (we run the Bay Area Open, Comikaze, and Duelcon as well as the upcoming Las Vegas Open). I love all aspects of the game, but I especially love competitive play, tactics, and list building. I will be writing articles for Faeit212 regularly about those aspects of 40 specifically!
One of the cool things about being a game store owner and having a paint studio is that you have access to LOTS of different armies. Plus, as very active tournament players, our team (Team Zero Comp) loves to get together on a regular basis and try out new lists, tactics and match-ups to always stay on the cutting edge of the competitive 40K scene. My latest army of choice is Nids!
Why Nids? Well, I developed a love for playing what conventional 40K wisdom said was “bad.” I took all foot Eldar (The mighty, Mighty Footdar!) to the finals at Adepticon last year just to prove a point as the internet collectively told me they were terrible and I was an idiot for thinking that a list like that could do anything but lose terribly.
Nids similarly get a bad rap at this point in time. Most folks think they are under-powered this edition, but I find it very rewarding to identify the good elements in a “bad” dex and bring them together in a winning combination. Now, just to diffuse any thoughts that I may be implying that I am uniquely capable of doing this because I think I am the universe’s greatest 40K player, that isn’t the case.
Anyone can find a way to win with any codex if they approach it with an open mind and a willingness to learn from their mistakes, be patient and experiment. This article will hopefully encourage others to not slavishly adhere to conventional net-think when it comes to 40K, and find the confidence to follow their own ideas!
So enough of the pump up speech, let’s get down to business.
Nids as a whole have some incredibly good (Hive Guard), and some incredibly bad elements (Pyrovores). The depth in this book is actually much greater than in most codices we have available to us now, it is just not always easy to see because of some of the poorer choices. Identifying the best units for your list strategy is a key to success.
They also have something I absolutely LOVE in an army book, which are synergistic elements. I get a great deal satisfaction from playing lists where units combo off of one another to create entirely new ways to play the army. Nids do this in spades. With units like Tervigons, Hive Tyrants, Hive Guard, Ymgarls, the Doom, etc. you can adapt your army to changing conditions by playing your units in different ways and off of one another.
So, let’s lay some guidelines. I am writing this based on the assumption that you all reading this play book missions or close to it, and that you play against a wide variety of opponents and army types, as you would in a tournament. That in mind, any time I write a list suited for competitive play, I ask myself the following questions:
- How do I deal with hordes of infantry?
- How do I deal with heavy infantry/Monstrous Creatures?
- How do I deal with mech spam?
- How do I deal with AV14?
- How do I deal with death stars?
- How do I deal with fliers?
- How do I reliably take and hold at least one more objective than my opponent?
If your list can do all of the above, you are ready for tournament play.
Now there are two ways that I see to answer the above riddle. You can build an extreme list that dominates one aspect of the game. A good example of this is a SAFH (Shooty Army From Hell) such as my Bjorn, Space Wolf army was (min/maxed for maximum firepower with Bjorn to increase odds of going first for the alpha strike).
This type of army reliably dominates most other lists you will encounter to such a degree that you can ignore some of the questions in the above list. I have found that these armies win through brute force and are very reliable. However, they often have an Achilles heel in the form of a certain type of list they are poorly equipped to deal with. These match-ups can result in situations where you are almost certain to lose or be at a huge disadvantage. For me, this was Battle Wagon Orks, as the massed AV14 plus cover saves meant my huge amount of missiles were largely wasted. The Deff Rollas could destroy masses of my light vehicles in a single movement phase, and the assaulting Orks coming out of them were easily enough to deal with my Min/Maxed foot troops.
What I found was that in a large tournament with numerous rounds of play, the odds of pulling my hard counters (and Battle Wagon Orks weren’t the only one, just the best example) increased to the point that it become a very real liability. My odds of winning an event went down despite the fact that my odds of winning each individual game were very high.
Nids on the other hand, are extremely flexible when built right. You have speed, fantastic scoring ability, assault power (which is great for taking objectives away from your opponent), immunity to psychology (usually), a wide variety of flexible flexible psychic powers, board control, the ability to threaten your opponent from multiple axis of attack, and an answer for each of the questions I posted above.
In short, a well built Nid list can fight almost any army in the game with good odds of success. The only truly bad match-up I have found with nearly no exceptions for Nids is mech Dark Eldar. Those Venoms are murder. Combo that with an Eldar Farseer using Doom and it is a bad day in the neighborhood for the Bugs.
This article is running a bit long due to my introduction (which will be absent from subsequent articles) so we will close this article temporarily. In my next article we will dig into an actual list and talk in-depth about why each unit is in it, what they add to it, and how they can combo with the other units in the list to create a flexible and powerful army that is also a great deal of fun to play.