Episode 80.7: The Disappointing State of the 40K Meta and How I'm Playing In It

No Battle Report from me last week, I had two games lined up one of which I canceled. The other I played which was against a bit of a different Ynaari list featuring three Autarch Skyrunners and two Shining Spear units. I didn't throw that game up as I got meaningfully tabled on Turn 2 and just wasn't even trying, I haven't wanted to play in a bit so I'm not putting my best play forward.

A big reason that I've been turned off from the game lately is that the meta is more or less solved, worst still it's solved in a very boring way. Right now Aeldari are on top by a huge margin when you look at what they can do as a whole. Dark Eldar is running rampant because of under-priced units and Agent of Vect disabling some popular lists or Factions. Ynaari is also still extremely good, the nerfs Games Workshop applied have done almost nothing to them other than make the list a bit smaller when running Dark Reapers (which are now required).

On the other side of the coin Imperium armies are still starting with a Guard base and then adding some combination of Knights, Custodes, and Blood Angels. Knights are VERY popular right now and will likely stay that way as they're extremely easy to play and get results with. I've definitely noticed a lot of less skilled players shooting up tournament charts both locally and reading reports online because of Knights. Fortunately the meta has pretty much accounted for Knights and by the end of July/August you should stop seeing poor play with Knights perform well.

Sadly few other armies are viable right now competitively, making the game feel like last years LVO Meta where Ynaari was the only viable list but not everyone knew it yet. Chaos is trying to pretend it's relevant with Thousand Sons Detachments and Obliterators but when you run the numbers they just don't have the juice to handle Aeldari or Imperium builds. Chaos players will continue to be stuck with that build and/or Alpha Legion all in lists until there's a massive shakeup, if one even comes. Tyranids are also trying to hold on but have a very hard time countering Knights while staying balanced. Hive Guard are needed in huge amounts and have to all stay hidden or they disappear while most melee threats struggle to be delivered or with damage output.

With 40K maybe not even getting a Codex in July because of Kill Teams and AoS 2.0, the game has grown very stale on the competitive stage. Most armies simply can't handle both Knights and Aeldari at the same time which means you're likely to go even at an event, at best, by making a read on your meta. Recalling my recent RTT Report one person brought three Baneblades, a hard read on Knights, but then lost to Ynaari. Softening the list against Knights would have only made those games he won harder, likely losing one to going second, to improve the Aeldari matchup some amount. Probably not worth it overall.

I could go into all the reasons for where the meta has settled but they're fairly obvious. Ynaari is still a huge obstacle for Games Workshop as the game simply isn't made to let units act twice. It would be best if they put out a temporary Renegade Knight e-Codex and just dismantled the existing abilities, unfortunately that's unlikely to occur. Dark Eldar is working off their most competitive options also being too cheap for matched play, I expect Venoms, Blasters, Disintegrators, and Fliers to all go up in points and probably tack on around 200 to existing lists. Knights are too cheap for a viable skew list and need to settle back somewhere between where they started and where they are now, making it much harder to fit three Knights into a list with other powerful elements. They'll also of course be touched when Guard gets nerfed which I think will also balance Blood Angels. Custodes are also too cheap on their units that see play with Shield-Captains being at least 30pts too cheap and Jetbikes being around 10 points under where they should be.

Fortunately the problems with 40K right now are obvious and I hope all of them get changed in the August/September FAQ, although since most of it is point changes they may wait for some until Chapter Approved. Guard are an easy fix in an FAQ and Agents of Vect will likely eat its nerf there too but it's likely the game is looking at another 4-5 Months in pretty much the same state as points are the main issue.

To that end I'm basically giving up on making or playing a list that's inventive or interesting in tournaments for the time being. I was making my previous lists works, which certainly had all the elements of powerful Imperium lists but had some flavor and tweaks that I thought set them apart. I particularly wanted to see if I could go back to Deathwatch but they just don't work in this climate and are going to be very bad once you can't get Command Points back with Guard, hopefully Games Workshop gives them a break. In any case I'll likely be building the following:


[b]++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Imperium - Astra Militarum) [67 PL, 1004pts] ++[/b]

[b]+ No Force Org Slot +[/b]

[b]Regimental Doctrine:[/b] Catachan

[b]+ HQ +[/b]

[b]Company Commander [2 PL, 31pts]:[/b] Boltgun, Chainsword

[b]Primaris Psyker [2 PL, 46pts]:[/b] Force Stave

[b]+ Troops +[/b]

[b]Infantry Squad [3 PL, 40pts]:[/b] 9x Guardsman
. Sergeant: Chainsword, Laspistol

[b]Infantry Squad [3 PL, 40pts]:[/b] 9x Guardsman
. Sergeant: Chainsword, Laspistol

[b]Infantry Squad [3 PL, 46pts][/b]
. 7x Guardsman
. Heavy Weapon Team: Mortar
. Sergeant: Boltgun, Chainsword

[b]+ Fast Attack +[/b]

[b]Artemia Pattern Hellhound [18 PL, 270pts][/b]
. Artemia Pattern Hellhound: Heavy Flamer
. Artemia Pattern Hellhound: Heavy Flamer
. Artemia Pattern Hellhound: Heavy Flamer

[b]Artemia Pattern Hellhound [18 PL, 270pts][/b]
. Artemia Pattern Hellhound: Heavy Flamer
. Artemia Pattern Hellhound: Heavy Flamer
. Artemia Pattern Hellhound: Heavy Flamer

[b]Artemia Pattern Hellhound [18 PL, 261pts][/b]
. Artemia Pattern Hellhound: Heavy Flamer
. Artemia Pattern Hellhound: Heavy Flamer
. Artemia Pattern Hellhound: Heavy Bolter

[b]++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Imperium - Blood Angels) [30 PL, 552pts] ++[/b]

[b]+ HQ +[/b]

[b]Captain [6 PL, 129pts]:[/b] Jump Pack, Storm shield, Thunder hammer

[b]Captain [6 PL, 129pts]:[/b] Jump Pack, Storm shield, Thunder hammer

[b]Captain [6 PL, 129pts]:[/b] Jump Pack, Storm shield, Thunder hammer

[b]+ Troops +[/b]

[b]Scout Squad [4 PL, 55pts][/b]
. Scout: Boltgun
. Scout: Boltgun
. Scout: Boltgun
. Scout: Boltgun
. Scout Sergeant: Bolt pistol, Boltgun

[b]Scout Squad [4 PL, 55pts][/b]
. Scout: Boltgun
. Scout: Boltgun
. Scout: Boltgun
. Scout: Boltgun
. Scout Sergeant: Bolt pistol, Boltgun

[b]Scout Squad [4 PL, 55pts][/b]
. Scout: Boltgun
. Scout: Boltgun
. Scout: Boltgun
. Scout: Boltgun
. Scout Sergeant: Bolt pistol, Boltgun

[b]++ Supreme Command Detachment +1CP (Imperium - Blood Angels) [21 PL, 444pts] ++[/b]

[b]+ HQ +[/b]

[b]Captain on Bike [6 PL, 136pts]:[/b] Storm shield, Thunder hammer, Twin boltgun

[b]Captain on Bike [6 PL, 136pts]:[/b] Storm shield, Thunder hammer, Twin boltgun

[b]Librarian Dreadnought [9 PL, 172pts]:[/b] Furioso fist, Storm bolter

[b]++ Total: [118 PL, 2000pts] ++[/b]

Those who have paid attention to GTs will know that the Artemia Hellhounds are completely busted, clocking in at 90pts on a chassis where taking damage largely does nothing and sporting a huge threat range. These pretty much beat Aeldari lists by themselves as they kill all the common threats except Wave Serpents (which do nothing to them in kind) and Dark Reapers (although you can dice them down). The tanks also Explode on a 4+ for d6 Wounds which invalidates Custodes heavy builds as they must melee them to death or be slowly flame'd to death. In general the Hellhounds are probably the most broken single model in the game right now, they just aren't pursued because the cost is so high and they're certain to be nerfed. Fortunately for me I'm getting them for ~$10 each so why not put some filth on the table?

The rest of the list is the Guard CP farm, which I don't need but you might as well take it if you can, and a ton of Blood Angels to smash Knights and other big targets. With all the Stratagems two Captains have a 50/50 at one-rounding a Knight (likely losing one Captain even without going against a Thunder Gauntlet) while the Librarian Dreadnought will take one out if it dies after attacking (using the fight again Stratagem) which makes it an excellent candidate against Gallants. Against smaller targets like average Tanks/Monsters the Hellhounds can pitch in a few wounds, allowing the Captains to drop something in one turn without Stratagem reliance.

I'm not very excited about playing the army as it reminds me a lot of the Plagueburst Crawler Spam army I had, although it's not that unbeatable and not that same level of boring. Most of the "skill" will come from keeping the tanks apart so they don't explode on each other and the Captains. Against Aeldari in general the list will be criminally simple as I'll just run at them and flame stuff while eating through their CP trying to play the game. *sigh*

That's where I'm at for now, and where the game seems to be at. I doubt there will be any big changes until Games Workshop dishes them out, Orks may prove to be a thing but with Custodes being so prevalent it's hard to see them being top tier. I look forward to bringing you some filth-ridden Battle Reports until things switch up, although I will try to play some games with my more normal lists that are actually interesting to pilot.

2 comments:

  1. Can you share where you are buying hellhounds that cheap?

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    Replies
    1. They're just 1:35 WWII Tank Models. I need to convert them still but they were good enough to be used in a tournament.

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