Goatboy 40K Fever Dream: ATCs Fight for the Meta

Goatboy here to talk about my first 8th tourney and the meta I see creeping into the new casserole that is 8th edition.

Goatboy here again and today I want to talk about the first major 8th edition tournament I have played so far.  I got another one this next week as well – but that will be for a future article when I end up coming back.  This time let’s talk about ATC, the butt kicking I received, and the things I see creeping into the new casserole that is 8th edition.  I enjoyed myself as best as I could with a list I wasn’t very happy with.  I think I didn’t put enough effort in trying to convince my team on my desire to bring a “bad” guy list which is my fault. Life got in the way with work being nutty, kid being nutty, and needing time for family before this 2 weeks of event hopping.  Oh well – at least at the BAO I got a bad guy army I just finished.

My 1st 8th Tourny

But enough about that – let me give a broad overview of what I saw and my thoughts on it.  First of all – there was a ton of spam.  If you could take a cheap and efficient unit – you took it 10+ times at this event.  I saw so many Razorbacks, Storm Ravens (article # 3 or 4? who knows but I am sure someone is “counting”), Exalted Flamers, Brimstone Horrors, Command Squads, and the dreaded C@ck Fl@ck.  The ability to take non tax units in detachments really added up to a lot of copy and pasted options throughout every army.  Heck all the ones that kicked the crap out of me had more the 3 choices of something and usually it was something putting the hurt to my poor Space Marines.  Heck I had 5 devastator squads as well so I didn’t help things at all.  After this event there was a lot of chatter that will probably see something at some point to discourage this or make it not show up in Matched Play.  I get the feeling something like say – you have to take a Battalion and then you can do 2 of the other choices?  Or limit everything to an 0-3 choice – but again that can cause issues later on as we start to see more “army faction” based detachments that need you to only take your army in a detachment to receive the proper gifts of butting kicking powers.  I do think once we see more books coming out will see the overall design goal and again I think this game won’t be the same as soon as we get closer to the end of the year with 10 books and a “Warlord Handbook” coming out to rebalance.

Keyword Abuse

Right now I think the biggest issue is the Keyword mechanics abuse.  Did you know the Keyword Imperium shows up over 300 times?  Think about that for a moment that a Imperium Army has access to over 300 units in just the normal game.  This isn’t counting Forgeworld – this is just a normal game.  I saw a ton of armies with 3 acolytes as troops in a Battalion to activate 3 Storm Ravens and get you 3 Command Points.  That one Keyword seems to really throw a wrench in building “expected” army lists as the other Factions don’t nearly have that many options.  I think Chaos, Eldar, and Nids are next and they are a 3rd of the amount of choices the Imperium has.  The Necrons and Orks just don’t have that many options.  But it isn’t like Orks need help as my teammate Bill took it to every opponent and won all his games.  Who said Orks were the poops?  How about 30 Boyz hopping into the warp, and popping out to crush your soul.

8th’s Proto-Meta

Let’s do a quick brief of the armies I faced to give you an idea on how the meta seems to be shaping.  I didn’t play the same type of army twice and I have forgotten a lot of names beyond a few guys I either already know, or have a distinct memory of due to an amazingly painted army (Hi Mark – your Marines look awesome as I put bullets into all of them).  Just a trigger warning for all of those Spam hating people – this article will contain a lot of Spam.  Also if you have a Salt issue you might want to stop reading.

Goatboy’s List

My List – which wasn’t very good due to the match ups I got – but hey everyone was prepared for something like this.

Heavy Detachment
3 Units of 5 Devastators with 4 Heavy Bolters, Armored Cherub
2 Units of 5 Devastators with 3 Missile Launchers and 1 Lascannon, Armored Cherub

Flyer Wing
3 Storm Ravens, Hurricane Bolters X 2, TWL Lascannon, TWL Hvy Bolter

Lord of War
Roboute Himself

Round 1 – Mr. 5th Edition Tony Kopach with 3 Units of Conscripts, Some Commissar,s like 6 or so drop Scion units with 2 Melta units and the rest plasma, 4 Taurox’s, 4 Units of Ratling Snipers, and some Primus Psykers.  I think that is it – just a lot of bodies.  Mission had multiple objectives and Kill Points.

I don’t remember the mission as I got my teethed kicked in – but I did get first blood as he couldn’t hide one Taurox behind the massive Wall I needed.  This was at least a somewhat normal looking list beyond a few – too many choices options. I think the drop Scions were the troop ones so they weren’t all command squads like  the initial oh crap this is too good phase happened when the new edition came out.  Still I shot and killed 1 Taurox and some Ratlings, Tony dropped in all his Scions and the first hit 3 times with melta, wounded all 3 times, and rolled 3 6’s for damage.  The next one did 8 wounds to another Raven and then the Plasma only needed 2 squads to murder out the last one.  This left me with just a ton of guys sitting on a rock as they shoot bullets at the wave of Prisoners that came for my goodies.  Oh Roboute failed his 4+ to stand back up again with a Reroll.

Things I learned – I think Conscripts shouldn’t get orders and I should have had more bodies to compete with things like this and this list is really boring.  Also a reroll 4+ is not the same as a 2+ no matter what the internet says.  Lascannons also started their process of failing to wound all the time even with a reroll.

Round 2 – Mark with an amazingly painted Marine army.  Awesome Yellows and just really put my mismatched no painted army to shame.  He was also playing Stormravens – the Blood Angel kind and had 5 drops to my 4 drops.  For those not playing ITC – ATC kept the rule if you drop first you go first.  I went first and that should tell you how it went.  He had 2 Dreads, Lemartes, some Assault squads, and a Callidus Assassin.  They all looked amazing and made me feel bad for not bringing a painted list.  Mission had objectives but it was over by turn 3.

Well Mark knew he had to seize to win – which he did not and I killed all his Ravens and a unit of guys turn 1.  I think killed both Dreadnoughts, the Assassin (who failed a charge), and some more guys.  Then I flew over and killed the last squad with 3 Ravens because if I don’t have a reroll my Ravens don’t really hit that much.  Mark was a great guy and while I won this wasn’t a feel good moment for me.  But at least I met a new player who I will hopefully see again with more insanely painted models

Round 3 – Name Escapes me but he had a crazy army.  35 Conscripts, the Saint, Bjorn, Samuel on his Bike, Greyfax, 3 Primus Psykers, 5 or 6 Eversors, 2 Callidus, and 3-4 Culexius.  I think that was it – just a crap ton of Imperial Characters from all the choices ready to beat me up – and they did.

This game showed you how annoying the Character rule can be when you can only shoot Characters.  I killed all the Conscripts and just left the table covered in heroes.  Of course the closet hero a lot of the time was a Culexius assassin which meant my shooting was pretty muted.  I could try to shoot one thing – but it was so hard to remove it and find the ways to get in and only have that option to shoot against.  The saint made a lot of 4+ saves from Overwatched lascannons and missile launchers.  I did kill her once but its was way to late to ensure I didn’t lose a Raven a turn.  Her ability to double move herself was rough.  Mr. Roboute killed all the Eversor Assassins and died twice for his troubles.  If he had gotten up with more then 1 wound (had to use the reroll to let him get up) it might have been different.  Oh well.  I didn’t get tabled this game and killed stuff so at least from my stand point of games it was fun.  If you haven’t figured out I lost this one again.

Woot – day 1 and I am 1-2. This isn’t looking to good but we figured out might as well throw me to the wolves, pull a bad match up, and hopefully get our guys 3 amazing match ups.  This is what seemed happen in the other rounds beyond the last one – where we played a rough team.  But hey lets move on down this story into Spam.

Round 4 – Again can’t remember the name but it had 120 brims, the Changling, Bel’akor, Nurgle Prince, Tz Prince, Tz Herald, and 12 Exalted Flamers.  Yup a brick of FU as it slowly moved/advanced up the field as I shot away at it.

I tried to shoot it all down – but he has played this match up a ton of times with his team mate and knew the outcome of the game.  I killed a lot of Brims, One Exalted flamer, and then died as his octopus of Smite got in range and shot everything out of the sky with Mortal Wounds and Exalted Flamer Lascannons.  This is the type of army I should have played but didn’t really work out the points for my team to look at.  I don’t think I would have had the Exalted Flamers as they always sucked for me.  I would constantly roll 1 shot and miss so I found them pointless.  Still this army needs to get hit by an assault option like our Ork player but I think they knew what to hunt for.  Lucky for me the other flyer armies they had got to dodge this and took it on the chin.  I got Tabled again this game with Roboute again not standing up as we “played” out the final rounds as he got into Smite Range.

Round 5 – Josh Death with his Fortress of Redemption, 6 or 8 Tech Marines with Conversion Beamers, Long Fang Squad with Missiles & Terminator Wolf Guard guy, 2 Vindicare, 2 Eversor, 2 Culexius, and 2 Callidus.  They all could get deployed in the Fortress and thus he has a 1 drop list.  So… he went first.

I’ve played Josh before so we know each other and the game was amicable.  I don’t have bad games really as I know it is a game.  We came into this one knowing I was taking this list away from our team and other bad match ups so my only plan was to kill the Fortress with bolters.  Which I did do and felt very satisfied.  I didn’t get tabled even and pulled First blood with Roboute all up in his zone punching things.  I think if i could have gotten lucky with some shooting I might have gotten his Warlord – but most likely at the sacrifice of mine and line breaker.  Oh well.  Fun game with lots of conversion beamer hits, man-beard dice rolls, and amazement at the power of a reroll to hit and wound bolder.

Oh and if you haven’t noticed – I am not talking about the missions because in reality in this extreme environment with an extreme list it was either I murdered everything on the table – or all my stuff died.  Thus the mission was somewhat pointless.

Round 6 – Sean Nayden and his C&ck Fl&ck.  This is the bad list – tons of Razerwings Flocks, and a bunch of Eldar Characters Sean likes to play.  We know this match up is bad – but I took Sean out of the hunt to hurt a list that we need to win this round.  So there you go.

We started setting up and we knew the outcome with me pulling first blood and maybe warlord if I can get the Ycarnne.  While setting up we got the good deployment (hammer and anvil like) and I sat prepared to murder a ton of birds.  Well Sean proceeded to roll a Seize and the game was pointless as he was already halfway up the board before I could turn on my bolter death.  At least I got enough time to pack up my army, help get other armies packed up, and be ready to rush out to Atlanta as over half my team was flying out that night.


So I ended up the weekend with a 1-5 record.  Pretty bad but I did get first blood every round.  This really showed me I need a list I have a lot more faith and options in to feel a lot more comfortable. But that is life and I know next time to work on lists that fit my style and push that I need my list versus something else that I don’t like as much.  Oh and play the bad guys cuz I ain’t no goodie too shoe.  Big thanks to Shane who ran the event and a big thanks to everyone I saw there.  I get to see a ton of friends I don’t get enough time with due to life, family, cash, and time.

Also I don’t think 8th is bad at all right now – it is just very new and not fully set up yet.  I do suspect will see some balancing options coming as well as lot more army variety as all the rules come out.  We just need to give it some time and will be happy with the outcome.  This new GW is working to get up to speed and I have faith I will be throwing out dice and enjoying my games – especially at the BAO.

~ How do you think the game is shaping up in it’s early days?

  • Charon

    So… where are the guys that told me multiple times that spamming conscripts, brims or razorwing flocks is never gonna happen and it is not broken as the units are so bad?

    • MarcoT

      While it sucks it’s nothing fundamental. Just adjust point costs and let people cry over their excessive purchases.

      The Character army is the only one that showed a fundamental problem, by abusing the Character rule. It can be fixed ofcourse, but needs a core rule adjustment (something about being able to ignore characters when shooting characters)

      • Charon

        spamming can be eliminated by giving units niches and introducing hard counters. But that would mean you actually have to playtest and think about it. So far it is the same like every other edition before. There are clear winners in the books and units that scream “leave me on the shelf!”. Winners get spammed, like every edition before.
        So much for the most balanced edition of all times.

        • ZeeLobby

          Yeah. Like you said, this is what happens when units don’t have their own unique purpose. Whenever there’s overlap the best unit at that purpose will almost always get taken.

    • piglette

      Honestly, for these big tournaments who cares if people play these asinine lists. The vast majority of us don’t attend such events, your local scene is probably much more fluffy and sane, and it’s kind of neat to see what the mad scientist tournament players will cook up next.

      If you show up to your local store and the guy across the table says “I’d like to play my 300 razor wing flocks” just politely tell him no you’d prefer a more standard game.

      • For me, this type of behavior leaks into the store play so that even casual games are a mirror reflection of this garbage… which is why everytime I see an article like this I cringe because I know its going to show up at the table at the store.

        The problem becomes worse as more and more people do it to avoid getting tabled themselves.

        • Richard Mitchell

          True, when someone shows up to the game store with a rule legal army and the community respones is “you may have spent a bunch of money buying what is competitive, and your army is rule legal, I am not going to play with you”. Creates an internal high school kind of community politcs that really pushes people out from going into the game. Stop eating each other. Obviously the issue is with the core rules and you don’t punish players who playing within those rules. This isn’t the sort of thing that shows up in other systems.

          You tournament scene is you external playtesting, not just for the game, but for what will be seen locally. Hopefully GW listens and introduces something that fixes these core system issues. What the fix will be? That is very hard to determine because when the issue is with your core rules, when you fix on thing it tends to only break another thing unless you do another edition rewrite. 9th edition release in a year from now petition anyone?

      • Koonitz

        The problem is when those meta armies start creeping into non-tournament gaming. Sure, you can tell “Mr. 300 Razor Wing Flock” guy to go sit on his razor wing and rotate, but if the general consensus in your group is “play matched play” not “narrative” (note, I mean these terms in a more fluid, catch all grouping, instead of the specific alternative play styles), your group will largely adapt to the meta. There’s a reason ‘netlisting’ is a thing.

        If your group is competitive in mindset and plays the meta, there’s really not much else you can do. It’s not “they won’t get a game”. It’s “you won’t get a game”.

        It very much matters what people do in these tournaments, especially when the armies and results get plastered all over the internet.

        A lot of tournament/competitive players have said “balance serves to benefit everyone, even narrative players”. I agree with them. As a hardcore narrative player who does not believe in taking meta lists, and one who believes in ensuring both players have as much fun as possible, I read these articles with great interest so I know what the tournament meta is, and what to avoid, both in my own lists and in opponents (I never once fielded a double-demi Gladius Strike Force in 7th Ed, for instance).

  • Bill Hicks

    Sounds ‘amazing’: no need to think about the missions and getting tabled with an unpainted army. Loved how you felt the need to join in, hopefully you too can run your spam brimstone army!!

    • Hrudian

      So true.. (and sad)

  • euansmith

    I’m guessing it is a bit early to be talking about the over all 8th Edition “meta”. The Codices are only just starting to arrive, so the rest of this year is going to be a constant round of chin rubbing and head scratching.

    There did appear to be an awful lot of Assassins in those lists and some barefaced min-maxing; still, I guess that is what some of the competitive scene crave.

    • Karru

      Yes, but we are already seeing one distinct pattern emerge, which is spam. Even if codices start to come out, I highly doubt that they “magically” fix the problems regarding that.

      • euansmith

        It sounds like weird spam too; using single minis to unlock transports means something is off. 😀

        • Karru

          Yeah. The big problem with simplification are noticed once people realise why “complex” rules are so complex. Like the Transports for example. Normally, there would have been the option for certain units to take it, but now since they wanted to simplify, they just made it so for each other choice, you may take a transport. Which leads to lovely things like a Commissar taking his own personal Taurox.

          This was always my problem with simplification. Sure, many things when thought “logically” usually won’t produce a problem. Why would I take a Razorback for my Land Raider for example, but the problem is that the rules that were in place to prevent doing that are no longer there. Less rules usually means less restrictions or hindrance set in place, which in turn leads to what we are seeing plague the tournament circuit.

      • Xodis

        Old habits die hard. The game is too new to have broken it down so Tournament players are falling back on the tried and true method of SPAM the good stuff. All we really need is a points adjustment. If Units/Gear was costed appropriately we will probably still see SPAM (why actually learn how to play with different units lol) but it wont dominate like it is.

        • Karru

          Unfortunately this edition is all about spam. From army construction rules to the way buffs works.

          The problem is that 8th edition made different unit types redundant. Why take Tacticals over Devastators for example? Both have the exact same role on the battlefield because both can cap objectives, but the Devastator unit has more firepower. 1 Special Weapon and 1 Heavy Weapon hardly makes it more worthwhile compared to 4 Heavy Weapons.

          Since you no longer have to worry about such silly things like running out of slots, many players can finally do what they always wanted and spam to their heart’s content because GW wants to encourage this behaviour. They reward people for doing it by giving them Command Points.

          Then there are the buffs themselves. Many buffs are very short ranged, usually only 6″. The effect is usually minor boost to whatever, shooting for example. Again, since the benefit is very minor, why waste points on things like Bolters to give that buff to? Why not just go all out on Heavy Weapons and really gain the full benefits of that buff.

          It’s not the case of “old habits die hard”. GW did this, they wanted this. Spam means more sales for them, especially if they keep changing the “flavour of the month” constantly with FAQs for example.

          • Xodis

            I dont believe that is true, I think its a flaw in the design that GW can fix and probably will (if the recent speed of a new FaQ says anything) fix the situation entirely. GW has allowed SPAM to go practically unhindered for a long time not, its why the game was so imbalanced, and also why they havent really grown as a company. The new direction of the company is what is selling 8e, and to not fix it is to prove the critics correct and watch the game die off (relative to what can actually happen to GW).
            SPAM might sell, but so does balanced units in a balanced game and I think GW finally learned that lesson.

          • Frank Krifka

            To be fair, we saw a lot of this in the opening year of AOS, with players only taking what was “the best”. However as battles tomes dropped and players became more familiar with the finer points of moving, synergy, and keyword management I see a lot less spam at competitive events.

          • Xodis

            Exactly, I find it hard to judge a game before its even fully released with the Codices for each army.

          • Karru

            I’m not judging the whole game, but I find it very difficult to believe that codices would magically fix all the spammability out of the game. At best they make it so people have to take 1 or 2 more different units instead 1.

          • Xodis

            No one said it would fix all the spamability, only mitigate its effects. I dont care if someone brought in their entire CSM Dragon Air Force army, I only care if its an unbeatable force due to the Power to Points ratio. Codicies are already bringing in a lot of neat options just from the C:SM leaks we are receiving, those options could be another contributing factor to balancing out SPAM, thats not even mentioning simple things like points adjustments we were told could happen for balance.

            “Unfortunately this edition is all about spam.” Are you sure you are not judging the whole game? Because that is how that reads.

          • Karru

            I worded it poorly, but I was mostly referring to the way army construction is done this edition and the way GW wants to encourage it.

            I mean, in past editions, even 7th and its formations, people were forced to take different units. In this edition the game literally rewards you by giving you CP for taking one and the same unit over and over again with an HQ “tax” which really isn’t a tax because they usually buff the unit(s) you just spammed.

            Don’t get me wrong, all these problems only appear in tournament scene, so I’m not facing it at all. I just find it annoying that part of me was hoping that maybe this time they might make the tournament scene more “casual” friendly. I was totally wrong.

          • Xodis

            They need to encourage that style of army construction though, as their entire goal was to allow players to continue to field the armies they wanted to play. Sure this new FaQ will kinda hit that idea pretty hard in the head, but I dont think many people will be too upset by it.
            As for forced “diversity” of units, I dont think that is any better, some SPAM lists actually make sense, so really it just boils down to SPAMed units losing that power that makes them so impossible.

            Tournaments/matched play will probably get their own expansion though, it makes total sense to cater to that meta while balancing forces through restrictions, mission goals, etc…

          • Karru

            The thing that really bothered me about the way the handled things was the hype they tried to put out with their “We want to encourage fluffy lists more!” comment. Well, I really don’t see how it is fluffy when you have 10 Assassins running around with random Imperial Characters and Conscripts.

            Anyway, like you said they will most likely release a tournament ruleset at some point. And like I said, I don’t play in tournaments so these dumb lists are no issue for me really as I am not the one facing them.

          • Xodis

            I dont think its fluffy either, but in 40K one mans fluff is another mans SPAM lol.

            I think GW actually DOES want to encourage fluffy lists though, so thats one thing I hope the codices really succeed on. As far as points go, that might not get addressed until after the major Tournaments that I was told are coming up.

          • benn grimm

            Excellent point. There should be a risk associated; like yeah, bring 10 of the same thing, but now you have a major weakness in one area. Not 10 of something which is so points efficient, good against everything, mobile and tough that you lose nothing by spamming it.

          • Xodis

            My exact sentiment.

          • Frank Krifka

            +1. In fact, until all the individual codexes are released and the first FAQ comes out, 40K 8th edition is basically in Beta.

          • Karru

            Well, the tournaments I’ve seen aren’t really that different. It is still the same spamfest with maybe slightly different characters but 2-4 different units spammed over and over again.

          • Frank Krifka

            If you’re counting the spam from the brand new codexes like we saw at Adepticon this year then yes; Skyfire spam did exceedingly well. However, I’d venture to say because it was practically a brand new codex. That same strategy didn’t do nearly as well once the meta had a chance to fully understand and counter the new units.

            It’s pretty much always the same. New stuff hits, new stuffs is spammed, counters are developed and things adjust. I’m not saying spam doesn’t happen in AoS, what I’m saying is it’s gone from all spam all the time, to a much lighter version. Certainly we see units duplicated or in max unit sizes, but thats not exactly the same as 5 Stormravens and a unit of scouts is it?

          • Karru

            Well, I mean the lists that were given here were actually very similar to what I’ve seen in AoS side. The list consists of 4-5 different units, slightly more if you count characters. It really isn’t that much better there either. It might look like it because they separated unit entries there a bit more.

          • Frank Krifka

            I’m not sure if we’re seeing the same lists. Top 5 lists at LVO this year had hardly any spam. The spamiest was the Sylvaneth list with 3 x3 Hunters, but that’s no really on par with stormraven spam. (Furthermore, considering how limited the Sylvaneth Lists are for choices it’s not like you have a lot of options if you want to run single faction.)

            Adepticon saw a lot of skyfire spam, but like I said, those lists only did well because the book was relatively new. Skyfire spam didn’t do anywhere near as well at 3rd heat of the AoS GT. So I’m not sure what your seeing that qualifies as “spam”, Certainly not like we saw in the opening games of AoS with 4-5 bloodthirsters, fleets of steamtanks or any of that type of nonsense.

          • Karru

            Lets see, Top 5 LVO armies for AoS.

            The Sylvaneth Army you mentioned had 3 different units if you don’t count the 2 characters it had.

            The Tomb King army had 3 different units if you don’t count the 7 characters it had.

            The Khorne army had 5 different units if you don’t count the 8 characters it had.

            The Ork army had 3 different units if you don’t count the 5 characters it had.

            The Sigmarine army had 6 different units if you don’t count the 6 characters it had.

            So out of all 5 armies, the most “diverse” was the Sigmarine army with 6 different units. It really isn’t that much different in AoS after all. Sure, it might not be 5 Stormravens with Scouts, Dante and some other characters, but it is close to and even comparable the lists you see here.

          • Frank Krifka

            You response is nothing but the letter “A” typed repeatedly if you don’t count any of the other letters you had.

            The Sylvaneth Battletome only has 5 unit choices if you don’t count characters. Spites, T-REv’s, Dryads, Treelord, and Hunters. An army that takes 3 of the 5 choices available for the army is using 60% of the codex’s available units (id really only say that spite are viable in a very particular way, and as such Id even say the Sylvaneth player only had 4 units to choose from taking it up to using 75% of the available codex).

            Ironjawz have a similarly limited range (4) to choose from if you don’t count characters. Black orcs, Ardboys, gore-gruntas, and brutes. Using 3 of 4 is using 75% of the available troop choices.

            Khorne sort of has more choices being it can pull from several different sources, but considering it used 5 different units there wasn’t really much point space for anything more (especially considering the largest point investment went into making his battleline choices as effective as they could get.) He could have possibly swapped out one of the bloodletter units for something else, but I hardly think 2 units of something qualifies as “spam”.

            Your standards for what constitutes spam are either ridiculously low (does “every” model need to be from a different type of unit to not qualify as spam? and why do characters not count?) Or you’re being disingenuous. There’s no way any of those lists falls under the same category of the 40k spam lists we’re talking about here and insisting they’re even similar is laughable.

          • Karru

            So in that case I take it that these armies above are not in fact spam lists by your standards then? I mean, they really have diverse amounts of characters in them on top of the units, so it doesn’t count as spam at all, I guess.

            AoS units are more expensive so of course there is less of them to spam. Also, notice one interesting notion about many of those lists, it is the same unit over and over again when it comes to the different unit loadouts. They have weapon options, so why not use them? It is not like they aren’t an option or more expensive, they cost the same no matter which weapon you choose.

            I also like the fact that you completely hovered over the Tomb King army like it wasn’t there. AoS is just as spam oriented as 40k. The only reason in some cases why it might not be as obvious is that in some cases people use Battalions which still follow the old GW way of enforcing certain units onto the players. If there were no battalions in AoS, I doubt you’d find the armies to be just as interesting as they are in 40k.

            I want you to tell me where the line goes with you then. If you think these AoS lists are in completely different league than those above, I want you to explain why. The only difference I see is that AoS has Battalions and small Battletomes which limits people to smaller unit pool or forces certain choices, but still offers them plenty of choices in terms of equipment with which to switch up their units.

            I constitute as spam anything that is copied more than twice in an army. Exceptions to this rule can be made in certain cases, like with Horde armies that have loads of cheap units and/or characters they critically need, such as Imperial Guard Officers/Advisers and Heavy Weapons Squads or Tyranid Hormagaunts.

            So for example, if I have a tactical squad in my army, I’m good. If I have two identical units, I’m still good. Once I get that ctrl + C going and have that exact same unit start to appear a third time or even a fourth time, I am starting to spam it. Tactical Squads have loads of options to choose from, even better is that you can even switch up their unit size. You don’t have to take 5 5-man squads with plasma guns for example, you can take 10-man squads instead and then one 5-man squad.

          • Frank Krifka

            Me thinks the lady doth protest too much.

            Firstly from what I can see, as far as the 5 lists we’re discussing weapon loadouts are pretty moot. Sylvaneth’s only option for ranged output is greatbows on hunters, so it’s not surprising that bows will appear on hunters more than once. If Sylvaneth had the option maybe we would see them, but as it stands now there’s not much choice. As far as the Khorne and Ironjaws lists go, the rest of the weapon choices are mathematically identical for the most part. So it really doesn’t matter what weapon loadouts are chosen, since six of one is a half dozen of the other. The same mostly with the stormcast list. The only real choice I see was on the prosecutors and there’s only two units of them, so really by even your standards that ain’t spam.

            Secondly, I omitted discussing the Tomb King list because the 4 chariots are required for the battalion. here’s not really a reason to run Settra without that battalion so I wouldn’t exactly call that spam. Especially since the units were taken in minimum sizes. It’s pretty obvious that they are taken to both make battleline (since chariots are battleline in a TK army) and the fourth choice is to make the minimum requirements for the battalion.

            A big part of competitive play in AoS is battalion usage. You seem to infer that doing so is spammy and underhanded but I see no reason to come to that conclusion.

            As far as what I consider spam, it’s pretty obvious when your 5-6 unit choices are all of a single type of unit at max unit size (generally). For example, the sky firespam I’m referring to was the 27 sky firelist that took SCGT just after DioT dropped. That book has the entire arcanite range, chaos demons (marked tZ of course) and slaves to darkness (also marked TZ) at its disposal with which to build a list. Instead 3 min squads of marauders were used (60pts apiece) and the rest was filled with skyfires at max unit size (3 x 9 man units). It’s a very low availability to usage ratio coupled with a high damage output unit taken at the exclusion of anything else.

            Secondly, it’s pretty obvious that sometimes multiples of a unit are required to pull off a certain strategy (such as the Settra battalion start used by the tK player) in those cases each unit was chosen to work in concert with another unit. That’s not spamming that’s simply making use of what’s available. Skyfires don’t really need anything else to function well on the tabletop and neither do stormravens. They’re taken because they’re powerful in and of themselves.

            I appreciate that you take the time to diversify your lists, and truthfully i do too. I have spam aversion as much as anything else, but themed armies in AoS generally only have 4-5 units to choose from. Even DioT which pulls units from 3 armies can’t really *field* units from every faction at once because the keywords don’t line up very well. Hell my DioT lists is more diverse than most and if you’re not counting characters (y again?), I’m only including 4-5 different unit types.

            When Aos was brand spankin new, I saw armies of nothing but huskars, lords of change chain-summoning other lords of change, fleets of steamtanks and so on and so forth. 1-2 types of units when one could reasonably field 5-6 (and still have everything synergise properly). Now there’s nothing like that on the tabletop. Not because you can’t field it, (you can) but because it doesn’t work very well anymore. Generally speaking I crush spam armies now. It wasn’t that way when the game started and the only thing that’s really changed is that I’ve (and most of the meta) learned how to handle them.

            I’m not sure how much AoS you play (you might play a little, maybe not I can’t remember and I won’t make assumptions) but those 5 lists posted above don’t look anything like the 6 demon princes of nurgle and Belakor, or 5 storm ravens and scouts or any other of that nonsense to me. A list has 1-2 duplicates just isn’t on the same level. It should be obvious that 1 duplicated unit doesn’t equal 5 duplicated units. Especially when you have to take 1-2 other characters choices and pay a battalion tax on top of unit prices for those identical units to be effective on the tabletop.

  • GravesDisease

    Sad (but predictable) that the one person with a nicely painted army ends up getting savaged by spam.

    • benn grimm

      Really only one guy with a painted army? Now that’s sad…

      • Sebastian Marrero

        I was there. I fielded a fully painted army (they even took a picture of it and posted it on their fb group without my notice). I’ll attest there was at least a dozen fully painted armies, even one Ork player I’m familiar with who had every squad individually named with a story behind it.

        • benn grimm

          I did find it a little unbelievable tbh. Thanks for setting it straight. That Ork army sounds very cool. What was he running if you don’t mind he asking?

          • Sebastian Marrero

            My memory’s a bit hazy but I remember Trukkboyz, Skorcha buggies, and foot slogging boyz.

          • benn grimm

            Understandable, I can barely remember even my opponents armies unless I take pics. Thanks for sharing.

          • GravesDisease

            I was referring to the armies outlined in the article’s contents. Did you read it?

          • benn grimm


          • GravesDisease

            Good! Then you’ll know i wasn’t just confabulating a point about unpainted armies out of nowhere.

  • DrLove42

    Least Razorwing and Stormraven spam has taken a hit now with the new FAQs.

    I think there needs to be a limit on Detachments. That might help temper Spamming units.

    • Spacefrisian

      And just when i was to order Sicaran tanks so i could spam those against flyer spam…Counters arent allowed either i guess.

      • orionburn

        This first year is going to be rough with changes. Seeing how quickly GW is changing things up I’m not commiting to chasing models in this edition (like I did building up a Lion’s Blade in 7th).

        • stinkoman

          yeah it will be a good year before i chase any models. when there are sufficient codexes out.

          • orionburn

            What worries me is the nerfing of weapons or wargear after only a few weeks. Don’t recall what weapon it was, but something on Eldar went from being pretty good to really soft. I’d be seriously peeved if I built a bunch of models only to be snapping arms off a month later because that weapon is no longer the same. I’d rather see them adjust points for a weapon than do something like taking it from D6 down to D3 wounds, or negating an AP value.

            The gamer side of me is happy with them being proactive on changes. The modeler side of me cringes when a new FAQ comes out…lol

          • stinkoman

            I’m actually sticking with whatever model configurations i have now until more codexes come out. luckily i game with a group of like minded folks who hate spammy lists. we all have large collections and would suck to not bring 90% of it in 8th.

            My big issue is having to carry around an FAQ for everyone of your books. they do this all the time. release a book, invalidate it with a 5-8 page errata/FAQ. I’ve stopped buying any rules from GW. they really need to go the free rule route and let you download updated copies so we dont have to go to the russians. it just adds to the mess when you try to play a game.

          • orionburn

            Would love to see that. It does get to be a complete PITA having to make sure you have all the correct FAQs. I’d go the digital route for books if they would update them as the FAQs come out. Would make life a lot simpler.

          • Koonitz

            The Eldar weapon change, if we’re thinking the same thing, was the Starcannon. It went from 3 damage to d3 damage.

            In other words, it went from “incredible, must take” to “Eh, it’s reasonable, comparatively”.

            Considering how much people loved the 3 damage Starcannon, and railed against the change to d3 damage, it is my assumption that it was always meant to be d3, and the cries were from gamers who didn’t like their OP beatstick being fixed.

            Like the 3 wound acolytes or the 4 point Razor Wing Flock.

            No real sympathy for those complaining about that change.

            As for being a modeler and cringing, I model because I like a particular thing. Not because it’s good. I use a unit because I like it, not because it’s good.

            Changes to wargear/stats never concerned me.

    • Jeffrey D. Gordon

      There are limitations on Detachments: 2 for less than 1000, 3 for 1001-1999, 2K+ is 4 – IIRC offhand

  • King Renegado

    Why shouldn’t conscripts get orders? They are still soldiers, apt to being executed by commissars if they don’t obey orders.
    You want to dissolve conscript blobs? Kill the commissars. They are LD 4. I don’t use them personally, but they are not as cheap s one thinks since they HAVE to have a commissar AND a commander to be even remotely good.
    50 man conscript 150pt x2 300
    Commissar 31pt
    Company commander 30pt

    361 pts for lasguns. Vs infantry units it is very strong, but that many lasgun shots is only apt to kill one vehicle in rapid-fire range with orders shots one unit…. Which, guess what… Half the points in lascannons can do the same thing to vehicles.
    1/5 the points in mortars will do the same to infantry.

    • Charon

      commissar -> character -> not allowed to be targetet unless closest. You can hide him surrounded by 50 conscripts.

      • King Renegado

        Snipers can target characters.

        • Charon

          and every army got them?

          • King Renegado

            Eldar have rangers. Marines have scouts. Tyranids can mawloc or use a lictor to kill a commissar. Orks can match them with fearless bodies. Tau have sniper drones. I don’t know much about necrons chaos though.
            Every psyker typically has smite.
            A commissar is T3 with 3W. They are not hard to kill.
            And 50 conscripts aren’t hard to kill either. Nor is it hard to use powers to decrease accuracy

          • Spacefrisian

            Faced 2 horde armies, battle canons made them cry.

          • orionburn

            The only thing I’d argue is that if you bubble wrap a character you can prevent a Mawloc from being able to target said character if there isn’t enough room. It’s not like 7th were it it goes back into reserves if it doesn’t kill enough troops to fit on the table.

            And for the record I don’t get the gripe. This is the old argument of people complaining that their spam isn’t as good as the other guy’s spam. Not going to shed any tears for those folks.

          • King Renegado

            Well said.

          • Heinz Fiction

            For many armies it’s not point efficient to try to sniper the Commisars (e.g. Eldar Rangers are vastly overpriced). Instead use cheap durable (transport-) vehicles preferably with the “fly” keyword to tie them up and concentrate fire on the heavy weapon teams and other main sources of damage

          • Xodis

            Thats part of it though isnt it? Do you really want to send a squad to snipe a Commisar? Nah, just bomb them until they die. Guillyman shows up and MAYBE those Rangers are worth their weight in gold.

        • Lucas Miguel

          Chaos has no snipers. Smite targets units that are the closest. At best, Chaos can try and kill him with a power that would take minimum 2 turns, likely 3.

          The argument that snipers are the be all counters to the Commissars allowing units to ignore entire phases of the game and Officers to ignore tons of penalties for it is rich when you are basically telling me the best counters are to play an entirely different faction.

          50+ conscripts is a ton of bodies to chew through, even for Berzerkers and the like, and the fact that every Imperial army has them makes them extremely potent.

          In many ways, they’re an issue just as much as Flyer spam is/was.

          • King Renegado

            Truthfully, the problem is not conscripts. If any army struggles with conscripts, they will probably struggle with all hordes.

            The problem is the rule changes to blasts. They don’t do enough to hordes anymore.
            Personally, I think blasts should do an extra d3 shots per ten models in a unit.
            Heck if all else fails nab some renegades. A stormlord will dissolve those conscripts right fast.

            I don’t use conscripts, personally- but from facing orks and nids constantly I know how to deal with hordes.

            But in fairness, you shouldn’t expect to kill 50 conscripts in one turn unless you are pumping out at least 100 attacks/shots.

    • Stealthbadger

      I thought this too. It just smacks of, “my cheese didn’t work against it. Nerf now please”.

    • benn grimm

      I guess it’s that they wouldn’t benefit from orders in the same way as a trained soldier. Like you can give prisoners orders; go that way, up against the wall etc, but put them on a battlefield and give technical orders they don’t understand and haven’t been trained in and they’re not likely to pay much meaningful attention.

      • King Renegado

        Conscripts are still soldiers.
        They are NEW, inexperienced soldiers, but soldiers all the same.
        The very first thing a soldier learns to do- before how to shoot, or even march- is to follow orders.
        Infantry squads are experienced, having a few battles under their belts.
        Vets are typically the last survivors of their group.

        • benn grimm

          I think it comes down to with how they respond to those orders, but it’s just a guess really at the intentions of the writers. Conscripts by their very nature vary wildly in efficacy and length of training depending at what example from history you want to look at; German children fighting at the end of the WW2, Russian peasants thrown into the meat grinder with guns that didn’t work (or no gun at all), child soldiers in Sudan, British citizens in WW1, Israeli’s doing national service in the current climate etc etc.

          • King Renegado

            Well, per fluff, whiteshields are not peasants with guns. They are soldiers fighting in battle as a later part of their training.
            Meaning they have learned to follow and execute orders.

          • benn grimm

            Per fluff not all conscripts are Whiteshields. And even they are described as being ‘rushed through basic training’. So I can see why the designers went the way they did. Makes a lot of sense that youths and the aged ‘rushed through basic training’ and ‘hastily conscripted men, raised from surrounding planets in dire situations’ who are mostly just civilians, wouldn’t benefit from the orders system in the same way as professional soldiers.

  • dave long island

    I hereby propose a 2 year moratorium on the use of the word ‘meta’. Those who fail to abide by this reasonable and sorely needed respite from this overused word will be punished accordingly.

    • Spacefrisian

      Meta pod is evolving intooooo Butter free

  • Zingbaby

    This is why we can’t have nice things.

    • orionburn

      Pretty much.

      I’d like to see at least one tourney give a try at limiting detachments. Make it 3 max and one of them has to be a battalion that takes up 50% of your points minimum. Maybe if the list builds were geared more to us common players we’d be more inclinded to actually take part in a tournament. In a community of thousands and thousands of people the game shouldn’t feel ruined because of a handful of people that want to use and abuse everything.

      • Drew

        Can’t agree with this enough. I’d love to be able to go to a tourney to get in a weekend of gaming, but not it this is what the scene looks like.

        • orionburn

          I’ve resigned to the fact that people will always bring spam when they can, but I’m going to try a few of the bigger tournaments in the next year just to be able to say I went. I figure I’ll make the best of it with the crap lists that people bring and hopefully find a few like-minded/level headed players to actually have a decent game with.

      • benn grimm

        Local tourneys do that sort of thing all the time, at least they did through 5th to 7th, can’t see why they’d stop now when it’s as needed as ever.

        • orionburn

          Locally, yes, that’s never been so much of a problem. It would be nice to see one of the bigger events try to reign things in a bit more. If the changes irk the spam community who cares. It might be a chance to bring new, and maybe even more, blood to the game.

          • benn grimm

            I have a feeling they will, given time. I still kind of think people are finding their feet with the new edition. A lot of these lists kind of look experimental, almost as if they are doing the real playtesting post release… 😉 Really I guess it’s down to attendees registering their preferences with the organizers before hand, during and after the event. If enough people want something, and communicate it clearly enough in the right context, it’s fairly likely they will get it.

          • orionburn

            True. It’s hard to believe at times that for all the rage against spammy tournaments people still sell the things out. Kind of makes it hard to upend the system when people are obviously still willing to play through the crap lists. Suppose in the end you have to make the best of it. Even with a more balanced approach it’s not like I’m going to be a contender, but it would be nice to build a decent list and not get murdered before you even have your chance to go.

          • Damistar

            Since it’s primarily the tournament players complaining about the spam lists that they themselves are bringing it’s kind of like a dog chasing its own tail. What gets me is that they all seem to blame the game for not stopping them.

          • orionburn

            lol…so true. That’s why I have no sympathy for these guys. Crying because you didn’t have enough time to build a super spam/cheese list? My heart weeps for you. (eye roll)

          • benn grimm

            A good, balanced ‘take all comers’ list which is also fluffy is like the holy grail on the tourney scene and possibly in the wider community also(imo). Rare but not impossible to achieve, it’s quite dependent on restriction, whether in the core rules (5th ed) or in the event rules packs (2nd, 6th, 7th). It’s also pretty desirable to most competitive players whilst being more acceptable to guys who aren’t.

            I mean a really straightforward change I would have implemented in the above covered tourney; no unpainted armies. At least then you have something nice to look at while getting your teeth kicked in…metaphorically of course…;)

          • No one wants to rock the boat. If a big event put out a massive restriction packet, the rage would only be slightly less than the rage inflicted on GW on AOS’s release.

      • David Metcalfe

        limit the points to 1500 would reduce the need for limiting detachments, but still allow people to have flexibility in that army they want to play with

  • benn grimm

    Glad your attempt to cheese met even worse cheese and was cheesed into cheese-blivion. It’s cool though, if nothing else it shows the value of restrictions. I’m looking forward to playing in a heavily comped environment with like minded folks and avoiding this sort of unrestricted event like the plague.

  • Koen Cambré

    Well, there still are some obvious flaws to 8th. But given how fast GW responded to flyer spam (1 major tournament and it got fixed), how they reacted to razorwing flocks,etc… I’m sure they grind down the rough edges in the future as well.

    • Karru

      Actually, unless GW goes down hard on their own army building mechanics, it will fall down to TOs to restrict these. The biggest issue with these lists come from the free army construction rules that we have.

      • Koen Cambré

        They easily could though for matched play. A 0-3 limit for units in matched play would be the easiest way to do it…

        AoS had it’s “rule of one” added, it wouldn’t be hard to add a “rule of three”.

        I’m just saying, they seem to be reacting really quickly to these sort of broken things compared to yesteryear 🙂

        • Karru

          Unfortunately the 0-3 limit would have to be enforced on some units and not on others.

          For example, 0-3 Heavy Weapons Squads for Guard would mean they have nothing to shoot with after the first turn really. Their Tanks can’t do anything and their Infantry Squads can only take 1 Heavy Weapon.

          • Jeffrey D. Gordon

            These types of limitations existed in 2nd Edition – before it was really a “tournament” game.

          • Karru

            And the game is totally different from those days now.

          • Jeffrey D. Gordon

            Completely agreed – the current game has a few rules revivals, but it’s nothing like 2nd at the end of the day (thank goodness they didn’t add range modifiers at this level).

    • Xodis

      I expect we will see some sort of Competitive focused rulebook in the future. If not, its a bad move by GW.

  • Jack Boland

    well that sounds Incredibly terrible. 8th has killed 40k.

    • mrbleak

      Why? i see 6 different armies with 6 distinct builds what is the problem here?? you want to return to the “Either you play this 1 army with it´s 1 build or you lose” era??

      • Jack Boland

        because it sounds incredibly boring.

        • Nico Young

          Haha 30k takes less thought then checkers. If you enjoy 30k you may also like tic tac toe but it might be hard for you.

          • Jack Boland

            that is an incredibly odd statement. Across the community, 30k is viewed extremely positively. Alan Blighe’s rule set is viewed as more or less a master piece. Plus, 30k is unrelated to this topic. If you recall, this is about 8th ed, which is just terrible. If you think 30k is simple, you must be devastatingly bored with 8th.

          • Nico Young

            I’m not bashing the rule system for 30k. 30k units are all space marines more or less with roughly the same stars lines. Also with such focused specializations in armies it leads to only needing to memorize a strategy and not learn tactics. Example if you told me you were playing iron hands in a Competative environment I can most likely guess your list and already have a built in response to that. It simply takes less thought to play a game with a predetermined strategy instead of having to adjust constantly. I find fans of 30m were also fans of 7th in the way that if I told you what I was playing you would know the detachment and then know my list and know how to play accordingly.

          • Jack Boland

            Well, thats just not factually correct at all. If anything, you are describing 8th edition and 7th 40k rather than 30k.

      • Jack Boland

        because it sounds incredibly boring, the hallmark of 8th edition

        • Koonitz

          Well, judging by the reactions of the majority of people I’ve seen actually play 8th Ed 40k, it has been the exact opposite for them. The feedback from these people have almost exclusively been “It’s quite fun”.

          If you have not yet played any games of 8th Ed 40k, I strongly encourage you to play a few games, preferably with an open mind, instead of one full of snark and unreasonable expectations.

          • Jack Boland

            I have and many at that. Its incredibly boring and immersion breaking. I gave it a solid try, even including the imperial armour units and its just terrible. I find the only people who like this game are 40k players use to a truly terrible system in 7th. This is the death knell for 40k for me. The rules are completely boring, the models are terrible, the lore is worse. This edition is meant for children. Simple rules. Comic book lore. Easy to build models. everything about it screams the hobby is now the domain of kids.

          • Koonitz

            Fair play.

            Can I have your stuff?

          • Jack Boland

            i used my 30k stuff and borrowed my local gws new marines. Plus, id never encourage anyone to play it by giving my stuff away!

        • mrbleak

          Variety is boring! Planet Alone, Population: You.

          • Jack Boland

            i never said that? yet, I do partially agree. Having a variety of absolutely terrible models with boring rules is indeed boring. Welcome to 8th edition.

  • John Garside

    This is like, the third time an article moaning about spamming in tourneys has been on here.

    • benn grimm

      Third? Lol, they’ve been posting these for years.

  • badmojo1966

    Reading this makes me laugh, and glad that I don’t participate with this kind of crowd. You deserve each other. Especially showing up with an unpainted army should be an auto lose.

  • mrbleak

    People complaining and crying about meta, and how the sky is falling yet I read this and see 6 armies with 6 very different builds and lists none 2 alike. So where´s the problem??? This is not meta, Meta is when there is 1 stupid list that dominates and the top 5 tables in a tourney have 10 mmmtards playing the same list. I thought variety was what we wanted.

  • Antoine Henry

    GW’s over-reacting for now. Razorwing Flock were not as much of a problem as other spamming lists… Now you can just throw away again those swarm. If they had just managed to put out a correct game and tested game, noone of this “more rules in FAQ than in book” would happen

  • Mark ADAM Abramowicz

    Thanks for the game Goatboy. I was in fact the guy with the yellow Lamenters. I was actually playing with all Death Company with the exception of the Ravens and Assassin. I even had DC Dreads. I thought this would have been a really solid balance of shooty and fighty. Typically, I’ve brought very well rounded lists to ATC, Take All Comers being a theme, but we both knew it when we walked through the army lists. If I don’t seize, I don’t win. That said, Thomas is a fantastic human being. I lost all but one game that weekend (three very close ones) and I think that says something about how Stormravens aren’t super OP when you’re taking three of them. I believe our lists plus one other at the event were the only ones who actually had units EMBARKED in the Stormravens. We are the proud three. Til next time!

  • AircoolUK

    No surprises here. It’s always happened and it’s always going to happen. Other games are just the same, look at X-Wing where everyone uses the same lists.

    There are just so many units in the game that there’s always going to be some cheese and there’s always going to be people (tournament players) who cheese it.

    I’m guessing these people don’t ‘collect’ armies, they just buy and sell on ebay and often have lazy paint jobs (look at that 3++ chap, Kirby. His paint scheme is horrible).

    It’s a tournament thing; people just don’t play in the spirit of the game, but why should they when they want to win?

    GW will plug the gaps, but they’re going to have to tighten up tournament rules rather than changing unit rules as casual or hobby players would get hit.

    • They collect armies in the sense that they collect an army at the top of the meta and a lot will pay someone else to paint it for them. Then when the meta shifts, they sell it on the cheap on ebay or a local buy/sell group and buy the next top of the meta and pay someone to paint it. Cycle continues indefinitely.

  • Tushan

    Told you about hordes and that there would be units all over the place that nobody in their sane mind will ever take.

    Now lets see about that promised balancing patchfix that was supposed to be coming every year that is going to make all units usable.

  • Sebastian Marrero

    I faced against two of those teams as well. Definitely remember the Fortress list and the Assassins list with Bjorn and St. Celestine. That Assassins list was crazy, but I heard the player quite after going 4 wins to a loss (rage quitting on the loss and causing a problem with his team).

    • smh.

    • Koonitz

      See, this is what we need stories of from the tournaments. Not “What’s the next meta list”. I want my rage-quit entertainment stories!

  • zeno666

    “Well Mark knew he had to seize to win ”

    This game has been playtested for a looooong time, right? 😉