“Adaptability is not imitation. It means power of resistance and assimilation.”
A guest editorial by Jason Sniegowski.
The world of 40k has seen its meta change and change again, but now
it seems as if it has been turned on its head as the favored son is now at the
top of the mountain and looking down on the many enemies it has laid waste to. You can not have gone to a 40k tournament in the last few weeks, or months, and not seen an overabundance of Space Marines armies running rampant with their new-found strength. As a marine player myself, I am loving the time at the top, but my true love of the game is the competition aspect and learning how to dethrone the newest thing winning events.
To take a look at the current 40k meta and what could dethrone it, I have started looking at the places we have been in 8th edition. I remember the
beginning days of smite spam with the proxied forge world chaos models,
because they didn’t exist, the dark Eldar flocks, gunship spam (even ran 5
Corvus Blackstars at ATC), but as the rules changed the meta followed. Soon
after at the top of the heap was Eldar, more specifically Ynnari.
Looking back to the original days of Ynnari we find one of the first counters to the new marine dominance. Shining Spears, a forgotten unit that has a ton of fire power and in melee does a significant amount of marine killing. The speed and flexibility of this unit does an amazing amount of work and with the usual array of psychic powers backing it you can make a resilient unit that can withstand the mediocre melee of standard marines and make short work of the front-line troops holding those objectives. Also, a throwback is Dark Reapers. These wonderful, accurate, and devastating units can deal massive amounts of damage to most of a marine army. The new abilities presented in the Psychic Awakening book now allows also for an answer to the character dreads from iron hands on top of a squad or three hanging out in wave serpents just waiting to punish most marines and other forms of armor. Don’t even get me started on how awful the wave serpents are in countering Imperial Fists!!!
Which brings me to my next army of note, Chaos. In the near beginning of 8th edition we saw a surge in smite spam lists. This list currently is in shambles but has some very interesting ideas to present moving forward. Any marine army that relies on some alpha strike or strategic deep strike has to navigate an army that controls the board, and demons have quite a few great options for that. If we look at the historically most selected units, they are also quite cost efficient to act as simple screens, Plague Bearers, Nurglings, Brimstone Horrors. All of these units represent a very resilient line, but the issue has always been what to put behind them, and against marines such a tough shell (3+ armor) is often hard to crack. Thousand Sons present an answer that was once everywhere but now mildly overlooked. With options like Ahriman, Sorcerers, Tzangor Shamans, and Demon Princes, there is a mass of cheap smite that can be brought to the fore front and will quickly be able to remove the key models to an elite army. Even a squad or two of centurions being brought down into a buffed unit of Plague Bearers will still be quickly removed by the weight of power brought in by a tested smite spam list.
Let’s look a little further back however but now with a new flavor. The Bash Brothers list was around for a while but found its home more in the team events where it could be paired into favorable match-ups. In looking at this however I saw an old favorite. Mortarion. I am not saying that he is an automatic answer for marines, as most marine armies have enough firepower to put him down, but a newer idea of Morty with Disco Lords, especially winning first turn, may be a destructive force not yet considered against the elite marine forces massed at most events. Morty’s aura ability alone counters a lot of castle based marine lists, and warp time putting him up in the mix gives an opportunity for the Disco lords to get in position to bring in the hammers such as Obliterators, particularly with their new points reduction!
I have not yet had a chance to test this next idea thoroughly, but I believe that there may be an idea here as well. The reason why marines have been so effective is through the effectiveness of their weapons. Even the intercessors have access to a two-damage gun. Which brings me to wonder how the Tyranids would fair. There was an ETC list that was running around in one of the first years of 8th edition. This list had massive amounts of Hormagaunts, I believe like 4 full squads with Biovores and hive guard backing it up. The board control fixes most of the deep strike issues, a Mlanthrope can make the screens negative one to hit and wrapping units with fearless garbage can hinder the objective claim. My thought on this with the weight of elite firepower could a massive horde army be more than what a marine list could handle. Again this idea is yet untested.
I’ll wrap up my ramblings with a current thought that has won many big events. The basis of this list is the two damage weapons. Tau has risen to the top of the lists lately because of their ability to be a defensive power house with the mass of drones and a nasty fire power castle that most armies fear to even try and assault. Tau brings an interesting answer to marines, when the big guns can be ignored (wounds given to a drone) and the weight of fire being thrown down field is amazing (always been Tau’s thing) an army that reies on an elite troop will lose mass amounts of objective claim ability early. The key here however is the two damage weapons, and I believe with some more time to research the masses of codices out there, there is likely more answers to marines than people have yet to look at.
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