Chapter Tactics #106: Using Game Design Concepts to Determine the Best Units for your 40k List

Chapter Tactics is a 40k podcast which focuses on promoting better tactical play and situational awareness across all variations of the game. Today Peteypab, Geoff, Sean discuss what it takes for a unit to be chosen as a part of your army, and get into the intricacies of game design and what makes an ideal 40k unit. 

Need help with a list idea? Got a rules question? Want to talk tactics? Then sign up for our Patreon where you can join our official Facebook group page, get in contact with all the show’s co-hosts, watch exclusive content, and win free prizes!

Show Notes:

 

 

Tags:

About Petey Pab

Aspiring 40k analyst, tournament reporter and Ultramarines enthusiast, Petey Pab only seeks to gather more knowledge about the game of 40k and share it with as many people as he can in order to unite both hobbyists and gamers. We are, after all, two sides of the same coin.

31 Responses to “Chapter Tactics #106: Using Game Design Concepts to Determine the Best Units for your 40k List”

  1. Zweischneid March 19, 2019 8:00 am #

    Funny enough, an 8 Piranha Tau list (at 1750 points) just won GW’s Grand Tournament Finals capping their 2018 season.

  2. Zweischneid March 19, 2019 8:26 am #

    (Extremely and arguably too) good Codex without good troops?

    Imperial Knights?

    • iNcontroL March 19, 2019 8:57 am #

      point of the question was to judge a codex off it’s troop choices not find the one codex where the choices don’t exist. That said you definitely get a gold star for being sO cReAtiVe

      • CWDub March 19, 2019 9:53 am #

        Bruh can I get a gold star by asking why you think the GSC book is lower tier? You were originally pretty high on it when you reviewed it and I watched that streamed game where you took apart an Ad Mech + Knight list.

        The RNG stuff can be mitigated (a bit) with the Vigilus detatchment charge bonuses but I keep finding that mono GSC drops in Turn 2, kills some stuff, and then is virtually wiped off the table by the end of Turn 3/4. Without a universal fight twice strat, it’s so much harder to take hostages to survive a turn of shooting.. and even if you do, T3 5+ lol.

        • iNcontroL March 19, 2019 10:29 am #

          When GSC does what it wants to do it’s very very strong.. so not fair to truly call it weaker/bad. That said it’s one of the most unforgiving codexes in that if they fail a charge or two despite rerolls and +2-3 etc.. or using a 3pt strategem to get them D6 closer (which can still be a 1) they die, hard. Like you said, mostly T3 with a 5+ save. They are also an army that has a lot of characters and bodies that are all fairly easy to kill so your opponent is scoring a lot and demands that you do as well.

          It’s tough 🙁 They are wonderful models but an entire army of lackluster shooting backed by bad toughness and saves NEEDING to get multiple charges off is a recipe for disaster.

          • ujayim March 19, 2019 11:13 am
            #

            Also literally all the vehicles and the non-rusted claw bikes are all actual poopy garbage, which is a shame.

          • CWDub March 19, 2019 11:39 am
            #

            Yeahhh.. pretty similar to what I’ve found. I had a close game (lost it 26-28 ITC Mission 6) game over the weekend that I lost to Deathguard/Nurgle Demons. Kellermorph barely did two or three wounds to Epidemius (same deal with the Sanctus, T5 for those guys is tough). I was able to kill a PBC and a bunch of plague bearers but just ran outta gas so fast. I gave up max head hunter and max reaper by Turn 3/4ish.

            Going to give Kronos Hiveguard a shot so we’ll see how that goes next game.

          • Reecius
            Reecius March 19, 2019 12:15 pm
            #

            Kraken Stealers pairs quite well with them we’ve seen, too. That speed and threat range on an Infantry model platform is no joke.

          • N.I.B. March 20, 2019 1:34 am
            #

            iNcontroL recent tournament results seems to disagree with you.

          • ujayim March 20, 2019 4:41 am
            #

            While “recent results disagree”, im curious how the faction as a whole is doing for events. For example, I won X RTTs with GSC. However, I would win them regardless with y or z army I played before. Does this mean the codex is good, or I’m capable of doing well with it?

            For example, my most recent event had 3 GSC players. I went 3-0. One went 0-3, one went 1-1-1.

          • iNcontroL March 20, 2019 9:19 am
            #

            @N.I.B – Imagine a world where a guy placing 2nd at a Warhammer tournament at Warhammer world doesn’t invalidate your opinion 😉

            Eddie is actually a friend of mine and is a great player.. him taking 2nd at that tourney is awesome. I also never said GSC can’t win or are terrible.. the most you can get out of me is I said the combo they feature is a “recipe for disaster” if you can avoid some bad charges and or fight out of it sure you can win. I don’t want to hope for those things personally and I am going to venture a guess that as time goes on and people learn how to fight GSC those recent results will become even more sparse.

          • N.I.B. March 20, 2019 11:50 am
            #

            @iNcontroL – Imagine a world were I said tournamentS, as in more than one. GSC won Visions of the Grimdark and the Westeros GT, plus the 2nd place you mentioned at the Warhammer World event. All in the last week, if I’m not mistaken.

            With that said, I agree with most of your conclusions based on my own games with GSC, and agree that they will have an even harder time going forward once people get the hang on how to screen against them. But currently they are winning some tournaments.

            I don’t think GSC is top tier, as a stand-alone faction.

          • vercingatorix March 21, 2019 6:23 am
            #

            I could be wrong but I think Incontrol is coming at it from an ETC perspective where GSC can’t ally in guard or nids to fix the army without hamstringing the team as a whole.

            So those tournament results with brood brothers and vultures are much less relevant to “how good is this codex by itself” which is a question not many folks outside team tournaments are asking.

            The answer to “is GSC a good detachment to add to my army?” is likely a much more positive answer.

  3. Zweischneid March 19, 2019 12:34 pm #

    I think there’s a very good example of named characters that do truly unique things and draw really deep from the “design space” and unique quirky found-nowhere-else field; i.e. the three triumvirate Eldar characters Yvraine, Yncarne and Visarch.

    They also kinda highlight how balancing some of the more unique and out-there abilities, even with using the sneaky 0-1 limitation of “it’s named” where it’s fallen out of use elsewhere, can be a delicate balancing act, simply because powerful and “game-changing” abilities on a character make it very, very hard to balance the same army with and without said character.

    • abusepuppy March 19, 2019 3:02 pm #

      I would largely agree, although the Ynnari characters are problematic not for their own abilities (which, in the case of the Yncarne, are totally unprecedented in the whole of the rest of the game) but because they give a blanket ability to the rest of their detachment. If Soulburst were an aura, or something more limited, they wouldn’t be such a problem.

  4. Office Waaagh! March 19, 2019 7:18 pm #

    Super interesting to hear the different takes on things. Really interesting discussion, especially the part later on about how to use the different battlefield roles to complement each other. I’m curious what you guys think of elites that are basically “troops but better stats and more points” – ork nobz, guard veterans, etc. Do they have a place and, if they do, do they make the basic troops less attractive?

    Totally agree on the fast attack slot discussion. If I could add a mechanic to the game, giving fast attack choices added durability against Heavy weapons would be pretty high on my list of things to change. With how lethal everything in the game is now a lot of things that can get places fast can’t do anything once they get there because they’re undergunned and/or die to a funny look from a passing snotling. Like helicopters in real life, speed should be an effective defense against powerful but slow-firing anti armour weapons – you could obliterate a helicopter with a HEAT rocket if you could hit one, but you’d never actually hit one (maybe not *never*, I did have a couple of buddies get shot down by an RPG in Afghanistan, but it was a hell of a lucky shot). As it stands, deep striking is often a better form of maneuverability than a high move speed in my opinion.

    • Dakkath March 19, 2019 8:56 pm #

      “I’m curious what you guys think of elites that are basically “troops but better stats and more points” – ork nobz, guard veterans, etc. Do they have a place and, if they do, do they make the basic troops less attractive?”

      Honestly the lack of obsec and not being in the troop slot holds most of those “veterans” units back in list design most of the time. They gain too little for what they give up in addition to the increased cost.

    • abusepuppy March 20, 2019 7:52 am #

      As a rule, I would say “veteran” units are not very good because what they bring to the table is neither unique enough nor useful enough to warrant their cost and lack of flexibility compared to similar troops.

      That said, some of them do have uses- ones with “bodyguard” mechanics, for example, or those who actually have rules/wargear that is unique to them (such as Sternguard) can be viable choices.

      It feels like “light” vehicles should be the ones with invulnerable saves and/or hit modifiers, while heavier vehicles just get more wounds and better armor saves, but GW doesn’t seem inclined to go this direction. Fast movement can be valuable, but not when you can’t expect to last through a full turn of shooting, or if you don’t have the weapons package to do anything useful with it.

  5. Ty March 20, 2019 9:34 am #

    I would argue coming up with great abilities and putting them on obscure forgeworld characters wouldn’t be a good use of design space.

    • AbusePuppy March 20, 2019 2:59 pm #

      But those poor, poor space marines, who hardly get any special rules or releases???

    • Petey Pab
      Petey Pab March 20, 2019 3:45 pm #

      Why not? A forgeworld Necron character that helps shut down psychic powers would be awesome. How about a Tyranid named character that hunts down knights? Like a special carnifex or something?

      The sky is the limit.

      Obscure forgeworld characters have been defining competitive 40k for years. I don’t want to argue if that’s a good thing or not. But it’s been a truth for years, even in 8th.

      Maybe for once GW can use FW for good, and make some money in the process.

      • Ty March 20, 2019 5:45 pm #

        Because you could use those rules for models much more likely to be used.

        Also, you’re suggesting they can be both obscure and defining? Interesting. :p

        • Petey Pab
          Petey Pab March 21, 2019 9:43 am #

          You’re right. Because no one uses Malefic Lords, Lias Issodon, Sayl the Faithless (AoS), Sevrin Loth, Chaplain Dreadnoughts, or any forgeworld characters. They’ve just been sitting in a webcart for three editions.

          I suggested Forgeworld because they honestly need the new models, need the sales, and need the redemption. I understand you hate forgeworld, but my point is still valid even if GW designs the models and they sell in plastic.

          I’m not sure what you’re actually getting at.

      • CWDub March 21, 2019 6:06 am #

        Petey Pab: Nids already have that carnifex, he’s called Old One Eye 😀

        And you’re 100% right about obscure characters. The Red Scorpions Librarian, Lias Issodon, etc etc etc.

  6. Golden March 20, 2019 9:08 pm #

    That was a good, honest episode guys. Glad to see the chips were out on the table for this one.

    In recent days seeing the new Vigilus & CSM rules and the announcement of the new FAQ, it just cements my realisation that there are a myriad of BIG changes that need to be made in order to shakedown matched play in order to make it better….

    Right now I feel like over the last 18 months of updates, erratas & FAQs that none of the core issues afflicting the game are truly being addressed; morale, terrain, how overpowered, is, vehicles being tied up in combat, horde-meta, multiple random profiles for the one weapon….the list goes on.

    Updates like the mentioned ‘Boots On The Ground’ really are reactionary and should have been written into the core mechanics of the game from the beginning. The current ruleset is still a shadow of its former self (7th ed), despite all the band-aid fixes, in my opinion.

    Here’s hoping that the rules will get better, because it’s definitely not indicative of the game I once fell in love with all those years ago.

  7. Duderus March 21, 2019 12:17 am #

    I’d argue there are some pretty cool designed named characters … but they do not work according to the army, because GW does not understand their own game.
    Lets talk Black templars.
    You have the emperors champion who is 75 points i guess.
    That guy has 2+/4++ wich is good. Targeting characters he rocks 5 attacks, 2+ rerollable hit, St7, AP -3, d3 Damage. Rerolling woudn rolls vs characters and monsters. Thats a hell of a profile for that points. Especially having “only in death does duty end” in the backhand.
    And in comes his 6″ move wich guarantees he will not be the one choosing the fight. 13″ avarage threatrange. Any opponent, even with melee characters will easily dodge him.

    You have High Marshal Helbrecht coming in at 150 points.
    Also having the 2+/4++ with 6 wounds.
    His offense is mediocre with 4+d3(in charge) attacks ST6/-3/d3 and a combimelta.
    But he has the full chaptermaster bubble in addition to a +1 Strength Bubble. That is a very good buffing capability for 150 points.
    Unfortunaly there is no unit in the codex he could possibly buff. There are no units that can reliably charge that he can keep up with. Best way i came up with was to drop in a unit with him in a droppod and hope for the 9″ rerollable charge with isnt to encouraging. But in and of itself the character is really good, if there would be fitting units around him.

    And there is some things GW should rework to fix many issues you also talked about, such as armies where e.g. elite units are just an alteration of the troops without any special things about it. Give Assaultsquads and vanguard veterans 1 more attack and the ability to advance and charge.
    Or give the emperors champion +2″ to move/advance/charge as long as there is an enemy character within 24″ plus the ability to advance and charge if he charges a character. Suddenly he would threaten a range of avarage 23″ against enemy characters instead of 13″ making him way more useful while remaining his flavor of a fearlessly zealot chasing down the bigges beasts and lords in the enemy army.

    I´d really hope for something like that.
    Right now Marine characters (especially named) are basicly mediore fighters in close combat without having any company in the army. Only the usual shield eternal captain blocking big things is a legit close combat option and that being more like a counter charger.
    Bringing the assault phase and some more mobility in the codex space marines would solve many issues, redefine the rolls of dedicated close combat units and giving room to be creative with the named characters.

  8. Duderus March 21, 2019 12:24 am #

    I’d argue there are some pretty cool designed named characters … but they do not work according to the army, because GW does not understand their own game.
    Lets talk Black templars.
    You have the emperors champion who is 75 points i guess.
    That guy has 2+/4++ wich is good. Targeting characters he rocks 5 attacks, 2+ rerollable hit, St7, AP -3, d3 Damage. Rerolling woudn rolls vs characters and monsters. Thats a hell of a profile for that points. Especially having “only in death does duty end” in the backhand.
    And in comes his 6″ move wich guarantees he will not be the one choosing the fight. 13″ avarage threatrange. Any opponent, even with melee characters will easily dodge him.

    You have High Marshal Helbrecht coming in at 150 points.
    Also having the 2+/4++ with 6 wounds.
    His offense is mediocre with 4+d3(in charge) attacks ST6/-3/d3 and a combimelta.
    But he has the full chaptermaster bubble in addition to a +1 Strength Bubble. That is a very good buffing capability for 150 points.
    Unfortunatly there is no unit in the codex he could possibly buff. There are no units that can reliably charge that he can keep up with. Best way i came up with was to drop in a unit with him in a droppod and hope for the 9″ rerollable charge wich isnt to encouraging. But in and of itself the character is really good, if there would be fitting units around him.

    And there is some things GW should rework to fix many issues you also talked about, such as armies where e.g. elite units are just an alteration of the troops without any special things about it. Give Assaultsquads and vanguard veterans 1 more attack and the ability to advance and charge.
    Or give the emperors champion +2″ to move/advance/charge as long as there is an enemy character within 24″ plus the ability to advance and charge if he charges a character. Suddenly he would threaten a range of avarage 23″ against enemy characters instead of 13″ making him way more useful while remaining his flavor of a zealot fearlessly chasing down the biggest beasts and lords in the enemy army.

    I´d really hope for something like that.
    Right now Marine characters (especially named) are basicly mediocre fighters in close combat without having any company in the army to really fight with them. Only the usual shield eternal captain blocking big things is a legit close combat option and that being more like a counter charger.
    Bringing the assault phase and some more mobility in the codex space marines would solve many issues, redefine the rolls of dedicated close combat units and giving room to be creative with the named characters.

  9. Golden March 21, 2019 3:16 am #

    That was a good, honest episode guys. Glad to see the chips were out on the table for this one.

    In recent days seeing the new Vigilus & CSM rules and the announcement of the new FAQ, it just cements my realisation that there are a myriad of BIG changes that need to be made in order to shakedown matched play in order to make it better….

    Right now I feel like over the last 18 months of updates, erratas & FAQs that none of the core issues afflicting the game are truly being addressed; morale, terrain, how overpowered, is, vehicles being tied up in combat, horde-meta, multiple random profiles for the one weapon….the list goes on.

    Updates like the mentioned ‘Boots On The Ground’ really are reactionary and should have been written into the core mechanics of the game from the beginning. The current ruleset is still a shadow of its former self (7th ed), despite all the band-aid fixes, in my opinion.

    Here’s hoping that the rules will get better, because it’s definitely not indicative of the game I once fell in love with all those years ago.

  10. JD March 28, 2019 1:00 am #

    Nice episode. Lots of interesting points. Even from Pablo. 🙂
    One thing Pablo did say that I have to agree with was about him not liking random damage. I think they messed up on that. Against infantry random damage is irrelevant. Against heavy infantry it rarely comes into play as they don’t have enough wounds, usually 2 or 3. Against characters they have their character rule for defense. But then against vehicles (potentially) large damage weapons under perform due to the reasons stated in the podcast. Of course you don’t want this to be chess, so you want some randomness.

    I believe there is a fix to that though. Add in a vehicle armor AP mitigation roll. Only for vehicle keyword units that aren’t flyers. Take the damage roll away from the attacker and make it a defensive roll instead.
    Basic concept is that after vehicles take a wound roll a D3 for each one and that’s the modifier to AP which the defender then rolls their armor save for. The order of operation being attacker rolls to hit and to wound. The defending vehicle rolls AP modifier then save.
    So for example, a lascannon against a predator where the lascannon hits and wounds, the predator rolls a 4 on D3 reducing the AP by 2 to -2 giving the predator a slightly better chance to make their armor save but if not saved it does the full 6 damage.
    It’s emotionally satisfying to both players as the defender gets an additional roll but the attacker can rely on their big guns more. It involves the defender more in the game when it’s not their turn. And also it reduces the effectiveness of the medium weapons, like cyclic ion blaster, against vehicles. (Which itself is a good case for fixed damage weapons, as it went from D3 to 3 damage and became much more useful.)

    Just to put it on the table, I can see how the AP mod roll as I laid it out could be cumbersome for quick play when facing lots of shots but there are already many cases of mixed rolls in the game. However I think maybe limiting the roll to effect all of one attacking unit’s shots instead of each shot could be an option.

    Anyway, we see that anti vehicle weapons need to have more reliable damage and that most vehicles in general need better defense (in particular to protect against medium weapon spam). Flyers get to-hit modifiers but other vehicles are SOL. Necron vehicles get their quantum shielding which is effective and we see the results in lists. QS shows that’s where the roll should be, with the defender not for damage.

    You could make the roll more versatile as well. Say Land Raiders get D3+1 to represent fluff. Or get really crazy and make a similar rule for SM FNP, say D3-1. Just as some examples.

    I’m getting off into the weeds now so I’ll stop there. Hopefully I put a little mind virus in your brains and maybe someone from GW reads this. 😀

  11. NeonKatt March 29, 2019 7:48 pm #

    I was listening to the flyer things. my important take as a Mechwarrior player

    jets are awful. but VTOL and helicopters SHOULD exist more its really weird they dont.

    the stormtalon is supposed to be like a police helicopter hovering through the city and laying down supressing fire.

    then you have valkyries and storm ravens, your gun ships that transport, they should fly slowly and close to the ground to pick up and drop off troops.

    Vertical take off and landing units are great, eldar jet fighters are silly compared to helicopters

Leave a Reply