Goatboy’s Monday 40K Thoughts – MSU and You!

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Goatboy here again and MSU seems to be all the rage as people think of lists for the upcoming tournament season. Here’s what’s up:

Events are pushing a lot of Maelstrom/Maelstrom Lite versions so the idea of creating a list that can complete in those missions and still put the hurt on the opponent seems to be the key to finishing out on top.  I did a small blurb on the number one and number two lists from the LVO last week and they represent a big push in the MSU brand of 40k.

*** JUST THE TIP – MSU stands for Multiple Scoring Units.  In 5th and 6th edition this meant a ton of troops but in 7th this represents just having a ton of units on the table. ***

Why do MSU armies work?  Well there are a few things you have to have to ensure your MSU options are worth it.  Here is a quick and dirty run down of the things I think that make an MSU choice tick.

1. Point investment is low enough that any attention paid to the unit by your opponent nets you a gain.  Look at the LictorShame list.  Every time your opponent pays attention to a lictor they are most likely losing the war of point investment.  A Wave Serpent throwing all its shots into a lictor is a win for the Tyranid player.  That means that Wave Serpent isn’t shooting at a Hive Tyrant or other options that would otherwise win the Tyranid player the game. Heck if the Lictor survives the shooting then you just have denied your opponent points as they have to invest another unit in killing said Lictor.

2. Offensive ability of said MSU unit can make up more points then their initial investment in the army.  Nick’s scout army used the little chosen Sentinels of Terra Imperial Fists army option to get more points out of their scouts then other armies options.  They were twin linked when in double tap range so your Scouts all of a sudden had big boost in offensive potential.  You mix in some strong combi weapon options and you can easily generate more damage then other armies same point investments.

3. Ability to be outside the deployment zone or get somewhere on the board quickly and efficiently.  LictorShame had “deep striking” Lictors that could appear anywhere and cause problems.  The Scout list used outflank and reserve tricks to try and make sure they were at the right place at the right time.  Both opponents ensured objectives were in places that allowed them the ability to easily get the objective as well as make the opponent invest too much to contents/contain/control it.  Drop pod armies do the same thing as well as some of the massed Rhino armies that Reece has tested in the past.  They can be anywhere and everywhere to maximize their chances to score in these new tournament environments with maelstrom/progressive objectives.

4. The MSU armies also need access to excellent rocks/offensive options that help make the opponent have to make tough decisions.  The funny thing with Nick is that the trick to the army is making sure you get at the scouts.  They usually won the game for him.  Sure the Centurions killed things but their mission was to usually die by the end of the game while your opponent spent too much time trying to remove them.  LictorShame has most likely the best point efficient MC in the game with the Hive Tyrant and with a flying MC costing your army so much to actively remove the threat it makes every target a pain in the butt for your opponent.

I am sure there are other “rules” in making an MSU army tick but these seem to be the best 4 that should give you an idea if your army can work.  The biggest weakness I have seen in MSU is the dreaded Kill Point mission but a lot of the time you can mitigate that by using your Rocks to kill as much as you can while your MSU options just run and hide with their ability to deploy/move/etc.  This is important as you can easily have a ton of scoring units but you need those murder balls to really let you win all the missions.

Let’s see if I can get MSU to work with the Chaos Space Marine book.  I hope we get a fixed one in the future – but I get the feeling will just get more Khorne nonsense that don’t fit within the realms of balanced point costs.  Just give me Necron power with Chaos Guys dangit.  Plus it is a list with actual Chaos Space Marines so the normal comment hate could be less this time?  Maybe I should just map CTRL+C with the letter A.  That would just make my life easier.

spam

*** SPAM WARNING – CONTROL + C IS IN FULL EFFECT!!! ***

Chaos Space Marines – aka Please update this Book cuz I want to paint more evil dudesmen dangit! – Also – Hey Use all those Rhinos you used to use!

Crimson Slaugher CAD

HQ: Sorcerer, Bike, Lvl 3, Force Staff, Spell Familiar, Meltabomb, Gift of Mutation, Bike

HQ: Sorcerer, Bike, Lvl 3, Force Staff, Spell Familiar, Meltabomb, Gift of Mutation, Bike

Elites: Chosen X 5, Flamer X 2, Combi-Plasma X 2, Meltabombs, Rhino, Combi-Plasma

Elites: Chosen X 5, Flamer X 2, Combi-Plasma X 2, Meltabombs, Rhino, Combi-Plasma

Elites: Chosen X 5, Flamer X 2, Combi-Plasma X 2, Meltabombs, Rhino, Combi-Plasma

Troops: Chaos Space Marines X 5, Meltagun, Combi-Melta, Rhino, Combi-Melta

Troops: Chaos Space Marines X 5, Meltagun, Combi-Melta, Rhino, Combi-Melta

Troops: Chaos Space Marines X 5, Meltagun, Combi-Melta, Rhino, Combi-Melta

Troops: Chaos Space Marines X 5, Meltagun, Combi-Melta, Rhino, Combi-Melta

Troops: Chaos Space Marines X 5, Meltagun, Combi-Melta, Rhino, Combi-Melta

Troops: Chaos Space Marines X 5, Meltagun, Combi-Melta, Rhino, Combi-Melta

FA: Chaos Spawn X 5, MoN

1850 pts

The biggest issue is you have no real Hammer unit.  Yes you can make one out of Chaos Lords and other things but the Chaos Space Marine book just lacks that.  The Troops are so expensive and I didn’t go with Cultists because well – they kind of suck.  It is a terrible tax on your army and we all know – if I need to write such a copy and paste list I better use actual Chaos Space Marines.  The guns on each should do enough damage to big things as needed plus any “investment” by an opponent to kill them is usually more then the unit themselves.  The Sorcerers are there to generate Telepathy and hope they can let the Marines survive a bit more with Shrouding or other options.  Plus you have two Psychic Shrieks that might help out.  The Chosen set up is to allow them the ability to remove some hordes with Flamers.

Still this isn’t an exciting list beyond just using all those Rhinos you have.  Or I have.  Or your friend has etc.  If you see an event with progressive points scoring or heavy Maelstrom options this might be the type of list that would at least win you a game or two.  Plus it has Chaos Space Marines!  I hear they are just like Artisanal Pickles – totally in right now.

Comment with some other MSU style lists that aren’t just Eldar doing the copy paste Wave Derpent nonsense or Lictor Shame.  Can other armies make it in the MSU landscape?

  • Shiwan8

    I thought it was Maximum/Multiple Small Units.

    Anyway, that rhinoshow will not survive against the eldar regulars long enough to challenge them. Not gonna work.

    • Charon

      Correct, it is indeed multiple SMALL units. Nobody cares if they are scoring or not. The purpose is to overload the enemies shooting potential and make him waste more shots on units than he would need.
      Perfect example for an MSU focused army are DE spamming venoms.

      • Y’know, that’s always been somehting that’s appealed to me and I’ve wanted to try building a small force of. I think using my Skaven or Tau colors for them would look nice, too (a more drab-ish green with silver, maybe make take a note from my Tau for orange markings)

    • Cary Gould

      x9 rhinos with x5 man 3+ save models in each will be a pain even for eldar, not to mention potential invisible spawn. Goats didn’t say this was top tier he stated in a maelstorm mission environment this should win some games and be a force to be reckoned with.

      • Shiwan8

        As ling as there is nothing capable of killing the rhinos. So, never?

        • Cary Gould

          The point is your going to loose units its just highly ineffecient for the enemy. At 35pts each it is wasteful for the eldar player to use a 160pt wave serpent to kill it, especially if it doesnt take out in one go and has to waste a second serpent to take it out. All the while the MSU rhino marines are scoring Maelstorm points. It’s not an auto win list but would have some strong potential in Maelstrom which events are modifying and incorporating into tournaments.

          • Shiwan8

            No, it’s not. If it was, it would be something that is frequently in use in the bigger more serious tournaments. 😀

          • Cary Gould

            Last year major tournaments were not using maelstorm style missions, hence why LVO’s two top armies were Lictor Shame, and Sentinels of Terra Scout spam. Last year no one would have considered those as big contenders.

          • Shiwan8

            Aaand? You realize that this was a csm list. They do not stay in the game to the last man like marines for example. When the rhino breaks, they get 2 casuaties and they run.

          • Cary Gould

            On LD 8/9 some may run off the table but most wont.

          • Shiwan8

            The fact that they can + have so low Ld + cost so much = worthless.

      • benn grimm

        If you’re going marine msu, I’d suggest razorbacks over rhinos…

        • Cary Gould

          That is an option though in his example CSM do not have razorbacks. And second razorbacks start being too many points at a minimum 55pts for twin bolters to 35pt rhinos that the occupants can fire out the top hatch with the meltas/plasmas.

          • benn grimm

            Eh, sorry thought we were talking loyalists, my bad. I guess with csm’s you’d just stick havoc launchers on em; traitor-razorbacks.)
            Tbh though, most plague marine armies are basically this, min sized squads in rhinos, plus added beasts of whatever flavour takes your fancy; you just don’t get enough of them to get them across the board, then when they get there they just die and don’t really do much beforehand. I can’t see vanilla csm’s doing any better, in fact more of the contrary.

          • Cary Gould

            Also understanding the context that Goatboy is building the list in an environment where Maelstorm style missions are being used and not the standard traditional objective or kill point mission. His intent is to play the cards for the win not sweep his opponents off the table, which is manageable.

  • sjap

    nice list Mr Goatboy! To all who complain about spam: Really with so much going on in 7th, spam clears the mind and lets you focus on moving miniatures around to the best position on the table…nice and easy…for maximum player enjoyment. And if I also ever win a game, well that’s just dandy!

  • I think Farsight Enclaves armies are pretty much the definition of MSU. XD

    • Houghten

      Aside from the mandatory three-suit unit.

      • Or the fact the entire army can be made of them.

        Also, major kudos for the Bohrak icon!

  • RexScarlet

    MSU’s are difficult to get to work in 7e with all the “no cover” and pie plates.
    .
    I used to love MSU, just from a collecting and painting aspect, I could buy with real $$ more varieties of units to field in my core army, to make things interesting and look cool, but those days are gone.

    • TweetleBeetle

      What are you talking about? MSU has been winning all the big tournaments lately, so it’s clearly not difficult to get to work.

      Also, there was NO variety in collecting MSU (circa 5th edition, when the phrase was largely coined), because MSU universally implied spam.

      • RexScarlet

        No, Spam is Spam, if I meant Spam, I would have written Spamming MSU’s.
        .
        Minimum Squads from all the different slots (Troops, Fast Attack, Heavy Support, Elite, or HQ Command Retinues/Squads) are seldom seen on table-tops.

    • that’s the most positive thing I’ve read of yours
      in a long time

      • RexScarlet

        I wish GW 40k would make a sound skirmish game, heck even Space Hulk with all the different Races represented as it used to be, until then we will not see crap-tastic units, no matter how cool the models look. Tear…. ;(

  • Jaidyn

    There is also one drawback to playing an MSU style army .. towards the end of the game when most of your units are down to 1 or 2 models each then your opponent will easily be able to score those huge point swing maelstrom cards that are D3, D3+3 , D6+6 etc etc …. pretty much game over at that point

    • TweetleBeetle

      Tournaments are using modified objective cards, none of which are random “D3+X” points.

      Keep in mind that the MSU army has likely racked up a bunch of progressive objectives points throughout the game anyway.

      • Dragon2928

        I’ve always been annoyed that tournaments appear (consciously or not) to do everything in their power to stack the deck towards MSU.

      • CertainlyNOTmccarthy

        The tyranid list who won LVO is not spammy?!
        Flyrants
        Mawlocks
        Lictors
        Sporemines/Mucolid cluster

        Thats it!
        Hardly a big variety.

    • TweetleBeetle

      Tournaments are using modified objective cards, none of which are random “D3+X” points.

      Keep in mind that the MSU army has likely racked up a bunch of progressive objectives points throughout the game anyway.

  • Me

    Hmm… I have heard MSU described as many/multiple small units and minimum sized units, but never multiple scoring units.

    • TweetleBeetle

      It ONLY means Multiple Small Units. A 30-man blob of Boyz can be scoring, and you can run multiple.

    • TweetleBeetle

      It ONLY means Multiple Small Units. A 30-man blob of Boyz can be scoring, and you can run multiple.

  • MVBrandt

    Many small units.

  • CertainlyNOTmccarthy

    Booooring! 😀
    😛
    But hey! At least he gave us a spam warning.

  • The Battle Bro Show

    If you want Chaos Marines, why not Black Legion, where the Chosen are troops and the Plasma is plentiful?

    You could do something like Flying Daemon Prince, Lord w/ Spineshiver, 5x Chosen in Rhinos (3x w/ Double Plasma, 2 w/3x Melta), 2 Drakes, Great Unclean One, Daemons Flying Daemon Prince and Nurglings.

    • A.P.

      Expensive, must take VotLW and now your paying a premium for the extra wounds on your gunners, you still can only fire two weapons out the top so that is why you have the combi for the one shot you will probably have a chance to deliver before they Getout/Die

  • vonevilstein

    I like this list. I’ve always liked troops based lists, they just feel more military – although having a big monster on the table is always cool.

    Anyway whimsical thoughts aside, why Crimson Slaughter? Is that for Fear? If multiple scoring units is the premise of the list then I would have thought you’d want to go Black Legion to turn those Chosen into scoring units as well. Also I’d personally swap out a combi-melta for a combi-flamer on the troops so they are more toolbox (i.e. less logistics to worry about), but then I guess it depends on what you face/are likely to face.

    • A.P.

      When everything Scores Ob sec becomes less necessary.
      As I staded above black Legion is Premium Price for a lack luster unit and chosen at 19 pts a piece are very expensive to get an extras attack they will probably never get off.

  • Koszka

    2015. Year of the nova spells.

  • generalchaos34

    he should run melta havocs in rhinos, combine that with huron to get some super outflanking shenanigans

  • Tesq

    too much 5x units will let you opponent take 1rst bloon not the best when your 5 man unit need to test to double 1 when 4 got killed….

  • Red_Five_Standing_By

    Why Crimson Slaughter?

    • CertainlyNOTmccarthy

      Divination.

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        That makes sense.

  • Skimask Mohawk

    3 units of spawn 2 of 2 and 1 of 1. Honestly do you even spawn? 😛

  • Paternova

    What a boring army, that looks like no fun to play with or against.

  • Multiple Small Units. Just because a website gets it wrong doesn’t mean they can change a definition. At no point was 20 squads of Guardsmen in an infantry list an MSU list.