Raw Dogger on the Warpath: Your Screamerstar is Bad and you should feel Bad!

Raw Dogger is back and pissed! Readers be ware, this is an article full of strong opinions. For more of Raw Dogger, go to his Kimchi Games blog!

If you are even remotely interested in competitive 40k then you are already familiar with the new hotness, the Screamer Star.  The Screamer Star, much like Riptide Spam or the 5th edition IG Blowjobber, takes advantage of over powered and under costed units to take advantage of weaknesses in the overall  structure of the game.  They also tend to take advantage of rules loopholes that Games Workshop either doesn’t realize exist or don’t care enough to change. For those of you unaware of how the Screamer Star works (and to a lesser degree the Khorne Dogg rush) the Demon player uses several different spells, demonic gifts, and war gear options to create a multi-wound unit that has a 2+ re-roll able invulnerable save.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Yes, your breath does stink.  It’s probably from the Doritos and Mountain Dew you had for breakfast, tubby.  Anyways, there is now essentially a ‘god mode’ cheat available to Demon players.

Unfortunately, this is far from a recent phenomenon in our little niche hobby.   Think about the last tournament you attended.  How many players were sporting 2 to 3 Helldrakes or Riptides?  How many people had armies that were so new you could SMELL the primer on them?  As long as Games Workshop continues to create units with over powered abilities primarily to sell models we will have asshole players who gleefully choose to buy these models instead of paying their minimum credit card payments on their 23% interest Citibank credit card.  That’s a run on sentence.

This recently got me to thinking about how little respect I have for people who run these lists.  Now, I’m not talking about someone who has a Riptide here or a Helldrake there; I’m talking about the all out cheese dick lists that make you shake your head in disgust.  Much like the image of your parents having sex without a condom.  You’re welcome.  I truly have no respect for people who take these army lists to a tournament.  I used to think that list building was a large part of the game and we should stand in awe of these killer lists that demolish dicks on the table top.  Now?  Not so much.  How much skill does it take to realize that a 2+ re-roll able invulnerable save multi-wound unit or 3 Helldrakes that have a 360 degree flamer template that is strength 7 AP 3 is a good thing?  Why should we respect these people?  Because they can read?  Because they can break the game and give their opponent no chance to beat them?  Guess what?  I can put my fat ass in my Taekwondo dobok and beat the shit out of a 5 year old in the studio across the street, but was I better than that kid or was I physically bigger than them?  Would you feel good about winning a fight like that?  If so, congratulations on having Tau-Dar list.

When I was 10 I figured out the invincibility code for Doom and I beat the game a couple days later.  Sure, it was nice getting to the end of the game but it wasn’t satisfying.  The cheat code had cheapened my experience.  I view these cheese ball lists the same way.  When 6th edition broke I played a game with my Grey Knights using Draigo and a unit of Paladins.  This was before the FAQ took away the Paladin’s ability to look out sir each other and all of their shots were precision.   The game was a slaughter.  The look on my opponent’s eyes as his entire army shot at this unit and couldn’t take out a single model was enough for me.  I packed that unit away and never played it again.  I realized that I had unlocked the invincibility code.  I now have far more respect for players that can win tournaments with armies that do not take advantage of the latest hot shit.   Much like Mr. Glass searches for lone survivors in the movie Unbreakable, I scour the major tournament standings for players that win with generic lists.  Those are the truly good players.  Those are the ones to watch out for.

Thanks for reading.



About Reecius

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

51 Responses to “Raw Dogger on the Warpath: Your Screamerstar is Bad and you should feel Bad!”

  1. Avatar
    Fagerlund October 31, 2013 1:17 am #

    To my knowledge the Screamerstar hasn’t won any major tournament though?

    • Avatar
      Gordy October 31, 2013 5:20 am #

      It’s game-breaking-ness is a little too dependent on rolling the right combination of psychic powers and avoiding certain matchups (like, say, Tyranids, who can just bog it down in an endless wave of gaunts, but who plays Tyranids at tournaments anyways?).

      • Avatar
        Bigpig October 31, 2013 9:07 am #

        Me. Killed two screamer stars at the last one. Sorry Lyz 😉

        • Avatar
          Daemonette October 31, 2013 12:59 pm #

          If I remember correctly, It was the only thing left ;P

          • Avatar
            bigpig October 31, 2013 2:30 pm

            Shhhhh…. the story gets better every time I tell it 🙂

      • Avatar
        Bigpig October 31, 2013 9:21 am #

        I’ve said before, this is indicative of the state of our culture. Culturally we look for easy buttons, cheat codes, and ways to glorify self by finding an advantage. Years of left left down a b a b up cheat codes and Easter eggs have made it ok to make things easier by exploiting advantage rather than improving self throughmlong arduous work (or at least as a way to give that little extra kick in addition to self improvement). Not saying that as judgement, because judgement would rest on world view and everyone’s is different on the topic. That is why you can’t say, “you won with a broken list, you should feel bad.” Many people’s world view says it ok because everyone has access to it and free will allow everyone to choose to use it. It no different than some people not feeling cheated finishing the video game in invulnerable mode.

    • Jason
      Rawdogger October 31, 2013 8:09 am #

      The title has Screamerstar in it but the article was about all of the broken stuff in general. More about the players who actively choose these lists.

  2. Avatar
    Phil October 31, 2013 2:05 am #

    To me, part of the rules (its on page 8 of the BRB after all) is following the spirit of the game to ensure that everyone there has fun, if you’re taking a dickhead cheesey list then you’re not considering that your opponent will have a miserable time getting knocked off the board on turn two, that breaks the rules

  3. Avatar
    Sniperjack October 31, 2013 2:05 am #

    Let’s wait for the next big german tournament. With 72 participants and til now 11 named demon players. Followed with 7 each of Grey Knights, Eldar and Tau. I expect 2-3 screamerstars. I played the screamerstar myself. Could be invincible, But only if u roll good 😉 and quite point intensive.

  4. Avatar
    Egge October 31, 2013 3:29 am #

    My god! This was an amazing post! 100% agreement from me!

  5. Avatar
    Lawrence October 31, 2013 3:54 am #

    It is sad to see that a player, who goes to tournaments can’t figure out a way to beat a death star unit..

    The screamer star has so many flaws and is dependend on so many factors that it really is a gimmick unit..

    Get your codex out, figure a way to shut it down, be it barrage sniping, precision shooting, T8 4++ wraithknight, Earth-tide, mobility, forced challenges or whatever..

    Make a post on that instead of laying down and taking it..

    • Jason
      Rawdogger October 31, 2013 8:12 am #

      Lawrence, if you write an article about that I’ll go on YOUR website and leave a snarky comment.

      • Reecius
        Reecius October 31, 2013 12:11 pm #

        Keep it civil, fellas!

      • Avatar
        Cruzcontrol39 October 31, 2013 3:31 pm #

        lol… I love this guy Rawdogger!!!

    • Avatar
      Bard October 31, 2013 8:35 am #


      yes, lets build a list tailored to beat an extreme build, rather than one you want to use *facepalm*

  6. Avatar
    Jay October 31, 2013 5:10 am #

    I love the article Raw Dogger!

  7. Avatar
    Gordy October 31, 2013 5:25 am #

    Doesn’t Frankie run Khornedogs and multiple Heldrakes?

    • Jason
      Rawdogger October 31, 2013 8:12 am #

      This article was a loosely veiled critique of Frankie.

      • Avatar
        Hippesthippo October 31, 2013 7:43 pm #

        Hahahaha. But Frankie can’t read?! Combos must come to him through osmosis.. Or dreams? Tell us your secrets, Francis!

        • Reecius
          Reecius October 31, 2013 8:42 pm #

          Hahaha, he seriously does not read the interwebs at all, he thinks it’s boring. I have to force him to go into OUR forums! He comes up with his cheese purely on his own, so at least no one can call him a net lister! He is still Captain of the Cheese Dick Express, though, haha

  8. Avatar
    Shinkaze October 31, 2013 6:29 am #

    How about an article about ways to exploit the screamerstar and meta choices like Rune Priest or Riptide with Nova and FnP with stubborn from Ethereal? I’m sure there are quite a few more ways to deal with this latest “Nob Bikers list”.

    • Avatar
      Jason Brown October 31, 2013 6:48 am #

      Another funny one is a seer council with Horrify. Lowering a LD to sub 5 is great fun for massed psycker BS. Also with a Screamerstar you can run around and kill everything else. Its why you dont see to many on the top tables, good players kinda ignore the star and kill all the troops.

      • Avatar
        Mandor October 31, 2013 11:24 am #

        Horrify. And then use a Crucible. Watch Daemon player’s face. Take picture. Post it here. Thanks.

  9. Avatar
    Baal Viper October 31, 2013 6:39 am #

    Just wanted to agree with Raw Dogger. Play the game to win because your a good general, not because your able to field the most broke/ push button list.

  10. Adam
    Adam (Thediceabide.com) October 31, 2013 7:03 am #

    People are STILL complaining over Heldrakes? It must be rough seeing all these CSM armies baleflamer their way to first place because of their Heldrakes… Oh wait. 🙂

    • Avatar
      Gordy October 31, 2013 11:29 am #

      The problem isn’t heldrakes winning, it’s heldrakes knocking a lot of armies out of the running. They simply prevent certain lists that are otherwise good from winnning, which means a more limited array of armies at tournaments.

      • Adam
        Adam (Thediceabide.com) October 31, 2013 12:43 pm #

        So an army that can’t handle a unit in another army should have a chance of winning a tournament over an army that can handle it?

        I can’t handle riptides, so we should ban them? My list can’t handle Land Raiders, so we should absolutely ban them too. And if you run a unit that I didn’t take into account when I was building my list, they should be banned too!

        There are tons of spoilers in 40k, it’s just the game. If you make a list that is only good against tau, but then you go against orks and get your butt kicked, you didn’t make a very good list.

  11. Avatar
    DiceGod October 31, 2013 7:27 am #

    I came here hoping to see some new, creative way to beat a screamerstar. Oh wait, it’s just another post whining about how broken 40k is? Silly me.

    • Avatar
      David October 31, 2013 6:32 pm #

      Go to BoLS if you want to troll, jerkoff.

  12. Avatar
    Kraggy October 31, 2013 7:38 am #

    I always take great pleasure in beating these lists and people.

    When Grey Knights came out I didnt (still havent really) use Paladins, Purifiers, Dreadnoughts, Henchmen Spam, Psybacks

    The same goes for my Crons (which I owed from when they came out) I dont use the flyer spam, or wraith spam.

    The end result is that you can come clsoe to doing something broken and unstopped with a fair few codexes out there, in your friendly games dont play the people being a dick, and in tournaments, well hopefully you have considered it and know what you need to look at doing to stop them.

    Most armies out there have a hard counter now, winning a tournament is about being a lucky player as well as a good player, if you come up against something that is designed to kill your army, you are unlikely to win, or unlikely to win by enough to get a top table position (depending on the win conditions).

  13. Avatar
    Embrace Your Inner Geek October 31, 2013 11:48 am #

    Amen brother. Lists like this are “Hobby Killers”. The point is not whether the list wins GTs, there are hard counters to the list, and it is dice dependant. Rather the point is how much fun is it to play with and against? You have an unkillable unit that can kill most of your opponents army ….. what fun!.

    And I’ve heard all the arguments about tournaments being competitive and you should expect to see lists like this etc, I’ve even made them in the past. But the fact of the matter is that 40k is horrible imbalanced at the moment and by taking stupid lists like this you make the game unbearable for your opponent.

    I’ve given up on competitive tournaments at the moment, they are just not fun anymore. Taking the army I love, that I’ve played for years, and that I’ve spent hours and hours converting and painting, and facing armies that I have no counter to, just isn’t fun. Until (hopefully) all the nonsense settles down, or somebody comes up with sensible way to “comp” 40k to make it fun again, I’ll stick to Throne of Skulls and similar hobby events.

    And of course I could “get my codex out” and build an army that might counter the death star monstrosities, but you know what – I really cant face it. Because if I do that then it cant deal with 2 or three other armies. A balanced all comers army, that can deal with pretty much anything is almost impossible in the current state of 40k.


  14. Avatar
    North October 31, 2013 11:58 am #

    I agree with Rawdogger. I have always had an issue with “net decking” lists (thats a reference to magic…). Just cause you can win with the great list that some one else made doesnt mean your anything more than a talented copy cat. Now, I have no issues with running 2 riptides, or 2 hell drakes or 3 annihilation barges, go do that if you want to more power to you. But build your own damn list. Figure something out for yourself and play what works for you and what you enjoy playing.

    An example is I played vanilla marines before the new codex at a bunch of grand tournaments and went middle of the road and in some cases top 10, against drakes and necrons I had to be tricky, bust my ass and exploit every rule and option I had. It was fun, i got my but kicked a little, but it was my list that I made and honed and worked on. Now I am playing Tau / Marines. I dont use the unique riptide, or super commander, or shadow sun, I use a skyshield and ethereal. On occasion I run two riptides but they are not the cookie cutter must includes they are my own brews.

    Just make your own lists, and play well, dont worry about got mode.

    • Avatar
      sniperjack October 31, 2013 2:12 pm #

      Well said.

  15. Avatar
    Hippesthippo October 31, 2013 7:45 pm #

    Looks, fellas, there’s a reason every list I play has a tarpitting element. Their uses are valuable and many, and in my opinion, a vital cog in any TAC list.

    • Avatar
      bigpig October 31, 2013 9:50 pm #

      Alas, not all armies can field or (more importantly) deliver to the place and time needed an effective tarpitting element 🙁

      • Avatar
        anonymou5 October 31, 2013 10:17 pm #

        Plus you can’t tarpit a Seer Council. Hit and Run at high Initiative; not happening

      • Reecius
        Reecius October 31, 2013 11:23 pm #

        Exactly. Screamers come with tools to mulch light and heavy infantry.

  16. Avatar
    anonymou5 October 31, 2013 9:06 pm #

    I was on a long drive recently and actually managed to listen to an entire 11th Company Podcast (which should come with a medal, I think) and Neil brought up what I thought was a fantastic point about the meta. Eldar and Tau can put out just an insane amount of wounds per turn. Eldar in particular, can do it from 60+12 inches, so they can literally cripple you from turn 1. With tournament terrain being how it is, this lead to the creation of “invincible” units. Screamerstar and Seer Council. Now a good portion of tournament games are either Eldar, Tau or something designed to handle Eldar and Tau firepower.

    I mean I do it too, Invincible FW isn’t as annoying as Screamerstar or the Council, but it’s the same council. It’s something Eldar/Tau can’t kill, who can reduce them to a manageble level before I let the rest of my Army actually play the game. It’s lead to some straaaange games.

    • Avatar
      Hippesthippo October 31, 2013 10:37 pm #

      True. Every unit I start on the table has either a 2+/5+fnp, or 2+/4+wbb. How else you gonna stay alive? That being said, it doesn’t bother me. Nor does playing against it.

      I have a feeling all those invincible deathstar armies will have biiiig problems vs the new Ork and Nid books when they come out.

      I mean.. I WANTED 40k to be more like MtG.. Now it is. 🙂

      • Avatar
        anonymou5 October 31, 2013 10:50 pm #

        Haha. I suppose it is.

        I played a tournament game against a Serpent spam Army recently. I played like, the ultimate hide and seek game; with Fateweaver flying around being annoying. I killed one Wave Serpent. He killed 11 Pink Horrors and 7 Flesh Hounds or something like that. I won 20-0 on tiered objectives because I contested all of them with Daemon Princes at the end of the game. That said, it was an EXTREMELY tactical game, and super fun to play. Although it was about as unfluffy as you can get. Daemon Princes staying 49 inches away from Serpents whenever possible (to prevent twin linking), Serpents traveling along the board edge so Fateweaver couldn’t nuke rear armor with Flickering Fire. Daemonettes hiding entirely out of line of sight to deny an area of the board from a Wraith Knight…

        • Reecius
          Reecius October 31, 2013 11:36 pm #

          But those games, if you can appreciate what’s happening, are the best! Darklink and I had a game several years ago with his triple raider.gk and my melta attack bike marines that was all movement and just a brilliant game,.ultra tense and.nothing died till the very end when we had to stop dancing around one another and go for the kill on turn 5! Just brilliant and so challenging despite being what a lot of folks that don’t play at that level would consider boring.

          Again it’s all about not feeling helpless when faced with a challenging matchup and only experience and knowledge can give you that confidence.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 31, 2013 11:22 pm #

      That point right there is why I don’t take a reactionary chance to hyper powered daemons builds. They provide a way to fight taudar dominance, however, they come at the price of dominating everyone else that doesn’t know how to counter them.

  17. Avatar
    Julnlecs October 31, 2013 10:11 pm #

    I took the screamerstar to Brawl in the Fall earlier this month with only 2 weeks of playing Daemons to see what everybody else was saying was right. And they were right. Its unkillable, every player i faced had not played against it before, and I easily won my first 2 games. At the top tables on round 3 i faced Paul Mckelvey and his Tau. Paul playing Tau is like someone being an expert with a swiss army knife. He knew exactly how to use his army. It was a tough game, we both fought hard and at the end I lost the title of Best General because of my inexperience of both armies. Failing grimoire at a critical moment was bad too.

    But one of the reasons I did this was because the other list I had isnt capable or even close to beating Tau or Eldar. It easily gets blown off the table in a couple of turns especially if seized on. At the Golden Throne Gt I faced 3 Tau armies out of 6. Only won one of those games because that player was new to the game. (I took Azrael ig blobs with dakka bikers). The reality is you cant take TAC lists anymore.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 31, 2013 11:30 pm #

      I agree and disagree.

      I watched a screamerstar player win all his games at duelcon silently when he should have lost two of them to armies that had the tools to win but the players commanding them lacked the knowledge to counter screamerstar, which you can do. However, without knowing what to do, it feels impossible which is what pisses people off about it.

      If you have the knowledge of the counters, you can still win with a balanced list. Getting to that point though, becomes increasingly difficult as the pace of releases and allies, etc. creates a game that approaches effectively infinite complexity. It’s easier to just take the power combos.

      • Avatar
        Embrace Your Inner Geek November 1, 2013 12:08 am #

        And, IMHO that’s the problem. The more casual tournament goer, who doesn’t have the time, ability, or inclination to practice against such extreme builds, will just get mauled by them. And I don’t mean they will just lose, everybody loses, and that’s OK. But there’s a difference between losing a game and watching “helplessly” while your army gets torn apart by an unkillable death star. It’s not a fun game, in the same way as playing necron flyer spam wasn’t fun, or on the table off the table flying MCs isn’t fun.

        In the UK there has bee a decline in the number of people attending tournaments, and I suspect it’s a result of this kind of “hobby killer” list. If you’re on the top tables, and have practised against these lists, and honed your list and tactics to deal with them, that fine. But if you’re at the tournament for 5 or 6 fun games, and content with mid table obscurity, as long as you get those games…….not so much.


        • Reecius
          Reecius November 1, 2013 1:39 pm #

          That is a good point, and I think that is why we as a community need to focus on increasing awareness of general strategies that help the casual player to at least have some tools in their tool box to make a game out of it.

  18. Avatar
    Julnlecs November 1, 2013 2:07 am #


  19. Avatar
    Shrinedawg November 4, 2013 12:36 pm #

    ” I truly have no respect for people who take these army lists to a tournament” – You realize tournaments are places people go to try and win, right? Why would you not put your best foot forward and use the best tools available? You think triple-helldrakes are/were scary? Perhaps you never met this new fishy army called Tau. Oh, what, you mean they are COUNTERS for your lists of DOOM? Say it ain’t so? So, Tau beat most things, esp Heldrakes..Eldar beat Tau, Screamers beat Tau and some eldar, jetseers beat screamerstarts, Sister ally’s (melta dominions and condemnor’s) beat screamer or jetstars, etc.

    Protip: A screamerstar is about ~650pts in that one unit. Focus on the rest of his army, or even better, his TROOPS!
    Protip: A jetstar is even worse as you can’t lock it in combat as it has Hit and Run.
    Protip: An X-star is a distraction, just screaming SHOOT AT ME! Don’t be that guy and play his game.

    BAM!! You now have the super-duper-secret way to beat screamer/jetstar. Your welcome.

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 4, 2013 12:41 pm #

      Hey, hey, hey, no room for rational solutions in Raw Dogegr’s rants! 😉

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