Friday, September 24, 2010

The Wild Hunt, Warherd of Drakwald. Three Generals, Three Lists. One decision!

Alrighty,  I'm down to ten models left for my Wood elves to paint and base.  This means that I have almost completed my goal of having my first army done before assembling my second army.  I spent a lot of time debating on which army to collect next.  

I really liked how the Skaven army book presented a horde of ratmen with chaotic warmachines that could be just as bad for me as it could be for my opponent.  The Clan Eshin really appealed to me because an army of Rat-ninjas just sounded pretty awesome.  Sadly, I had purchased the previous army book after the new one had come out by mistake.  The newer army book is really, really good but the power and might and flavor for Clan Eshin had been diminished.  The Island of Blood starter sets however made collecting Skaven even more attractive since getting 2 sets of it = 80 rats, 4 weapon platforms, 4 characters, and 4 rat ogres.  Not a bad deal if you think about it.  
The Beastman army book also appealed to me as well.  Again, I made the same mistake of buying the Beasts of Chaos army book after the Beastman book had come out.  The idea of a Minotaur army had me chomping at the bit to make an army with these guys. book did not provide me with that option.  I did however get a very reasonable offer for a Beasts of chaos army via one of my buddies and that made my decision to obtain Beastmen as my next army very simple.

I've currently collected enough models to make an army out for both armies but I'm going to do the Beastmen first.  Enter the Warherd...

List Creation:
This aspect of wargaming is one of my favorites.  Not everyone has the same process.  You have various different styles of army building - all of which are perfectly fine and acceptable.
Here are the Core list building methods:
1. The Fluffer - pornography reference aside ... this army builder enjoys creating lists that follow the lore and overall theme of the army book.  They use units that fit the roleplaying and history theme of the book and the armies look fantastic because the overall theme shines through when placed on the table.
2. The Min-maxer - This army builder makes lists that capitalize on the best units and the best combos.  They generally take the minimum allowance of Core or Troops and concentrate heavily on strong Characters or HQ's.  Their armies generally function well and are designed to do one thing.  Win.
3. The Collector - This army builder makes his army out of the units that look cool.  He cares nothing for combos, fluff or lore. The model looks amazing, he uses it.  These armies generally look amazing because the collector is in the game more for the hobby than the actual game.  The armies are painted well beyond table-top standard and usually have a lot of artistic conversion done to them.
4. The Casual - This army builder generally buys an army book/codex, looks at a few units that he thinks are cool and builds an army based off that.  He doesn't really care about painting the army to pristine starndards, nor does he care about the combos.  His army is there to play against his friends and have a good time.  He will generally have 100 models and throw a list together in minutes to play against his buddies.
5. The Douche - This army builder is also called the Tourny.  The Douche will intentionally find the absolute best combos and exploits to ensure that he dominates his opponent.  He cares nothing for the theme, fluff, lore, look of his army.  His army is designed to capitalize on one sometimes two mega-combos to ensure that he is victorious.

I believe over the course of someone's wargaming experience that they go through all five stages of list building.  Each stage may only last a few days or may stretch on for years.  However, after people get used to  a game system and figure out how they like to play they will then develop their own hybrid style of how they make their lists.
Me for example:
I've gone through all five stages, some of them I've gone through a few times =).  Let's take a look at my thought process when making a list in order:
1. Theme - The roleplaying nerd inside me requires this be the first step.  I decide who I want leading the army or something the army is based around.  Example:  When I was making my Wood elves - I wanted Sylvos (my Elven ranger for the last 20+ years in D&D) to lead an army of elven rangers. I also look at what models I want to include into the army. i.e. I wanted to use the Waywatcher Lord model in my Wood elf list - vioce` Sylvos!  Once I have decided the theme I can then move on to the next step.
2. Strategy - How do I want the army to work?  Do I want it to be mobile, devastating in close combat, powerful at range, all of the above?  I will sit down and figure out what I want to be accomplished with the army.  I also sit down and read through the book and figure out exactly how the developers intended the unit to be used.  I take great pains during the Strategy phase to make sure I'm understanding how a unit is supposed to work.  No sense in grabbing a fork when you need a spoon.
3. Unit selection - After I've made my decision on theme and strategy, I look into what units will flip the bill.  This will normally boil down to - what units do you like John?  Does this unit fit the theme and strategy?  How do I want my characters/HQ's equipped?  
4. Synergy - I think playing Eldar has permanently warped my ability to look at an army book or codex and not be able to search for unit synergy.  I look at the units I have chosen to be in the army and decide how they will work together.  In every army I make, no one unit operates alone.  I will separate units into groups.  Those groups are labeled either "Kill teams" or given some retarded roleplaying name in order to keep them separate and operate as one mega-unit.
5. Douche check - I review my list to ensure I'm not powergaming.  Do I have something in my list that is unstoppable?  Have I created a group that will steamroll everyone I play?  If so, I remove the unit or tone down it's effectiveness to a reasonable level.  - Note: During Tournaments this step is intentionally ignored.  It's a tournament after all...
6.  Final review and posting - After I've gone over the list a few times and I feel it encompasses everything I wanted to get into the army, I will post the list for review with my friends.

This process is used in my own personal list building and is probably unique to how I play. I know a few of my friends don't even bother with some of the steps I utilize during my process and they add their own.  I feel my process helps me make balanced lists that fit my playstyle.  I also don't really change my list after it's finalized.  I learn to play with what I have chosen and make it work. I may tinker here and there but no changes I make should affect the theme of the army.

Now that you all have had a glimpse into my thought process for creating lists, I now present my final three beastman lists that I have created.

The format will go as follows:
List name 
Theme and Objectives.

I will leave out my standard fluffy role-playing add-ons for the sake of easy reading.  Once I have made my decision on what list to make I will fully nerd out my list to make it impossible to read without at least one eye roll.

Beastlord General List

Lord - Beastlord: General, Tuskgor Chariot, The Steel Claws, Armor of Fortune, Gnarled Hide - 310
Lord - Great Bray Shaman: Level 4, Lore of Beasts, Brass Cleaver, Talisman of Endurance (5+ ward), Ironcuse Icon  - 300 - Goes with Gor Herd
Hero - Wargor: Battle Standard Bearer, Sword of Swift Slaying, Shield, Heavy Armor, Dragonhelm, Talisman of Protection (6+ ward) - 166 - Goes with Bestigors
Core - 30 Gor Herd - Extra Hand Weapons, Full Command - 265
Core - 31 Ungor Herd - Spears, Full Command - 201
Core - 5 Chaos Warhounds - 30
Core - 5 Chaos Warhounds - 30
Core - Tuskgor Chariot - 80
Core - Tuskgor Chariot - 80
Special - 6 Minotaurs: Shields, Full Command, Terror Mask on Bloodkine - 429
Special - 19 Bestigor Herd: Banner of Eternal Flame, Full Command - 268
Special - 6 Harpies - 66
Rare - Cygor: 275
Total: 2500

This list capitalizes on the LD9 of the Beastlord.  His 18" LD bubble will help with the Primal Fury rolls for the Ungors, Bestigors, and Gors.  General moves with the chariots.  Chaos Hounds screen the Minotaurs and Bestigors while the Great Bray Shaman augments and smashes whatever he comes into contact with.  Straight forward close combat list that capitalizes on fast movement and Primal Fury.

Doombull General List

Lord - Doombull: General, Sword of Swift Slaying, Armor of Fortune, Gnarled Hide, Uncanny Senses, Shield - 326 - Goes with Minotaurs
Lord - Great Bray Shaman - Level 3, Mangelder, Talisman of Endurance (5+ ward), Ironcurse Icon - 285 - goes with one of the Gor herds.
Hero - Wargor: Battle Standard Bearer, The Steel Claws, Talisman of Protection (6+ ward), Heavy Armor - 164 - goes with Bestigors
Core - 24 Gor Herd - Extra Hand Weapons, Full Command - 217
Core - 24 Gor Herd - Extra Hand Weapons, Full Command - 217
Core - 30 Ungor Herd - Spears, Full Command - 195
Core - 5 Chaos Warhounds - 30
Core - 5 Chaos Warhounds - 30
Special - 5 Minotaurs: Shields, Full Command, Terror Mask on Bloodkine - 370
Special - 6 Harpies - 66
Special - Razorgor Herd - 55
Special - 19 Bestigor Herd: Full command, Banner of Eternal Flame - 268
Rare - Cygor: 275
Total: 2498

This list is meant to be absolutely brutal in close combat.  It's fast, it's tough and it has enough bodies to make long term combats worthwhile.  I lose the LD9 from the Beastlord but can really capitalize on Terror and lots of attacks.  Doombull unit with minotaurs alongside the Razorgor and Ungors will provide a strong hammer and anvil unit as well as the Bestigors having 2 Gor herds on flanking.  I also have the option of Ambushing with one of the Gor herds as well.  So far this is my favorite of the 3 but I'm still waffling on what to decide.

Great Bray Shaman List

Lord - Great Bray Shaman: General, Razorgor Chariot, The Steel Claws, Talisman of Protection (4+ ward), Gnarled Hide, Level 4, Lore of the Wild: 475
Hero - Gorebull: Battle Standard Bearer, Sword of Swift Slaying, Gambler's Armor, Ironcurse Icon, Shield - 239 - goes with Minotaurs
Core - 30 Gor Herd: Extra hand weapon, Full Command - 265
Core - 30 Gor Herd: Extra hand weapon, Full Command - 265
Core - 32 Ungor Herd: Spears, Full Command - 207
Core - 7 Chaos Warhounds - 42
Special - 6 Harpies: Scout - 84
Special - 5 Minotaurs: Shields, Full Command, Terror Mask on bloodkine - 370
Rare: Jabberslythe - 275
Rare: Jabberslythe - 275
Total: 2497

This list is going to actually use the Lore of the Wild and a Razorgor Chariot.  The GBS will hopefully get Savage Dominion and summon a 3rd Jabberslythe after casting Beastial Surge on the first turn.  This list is meant to be very fast and capitalize on Ambush.  Having a unit of scouting fliers and then hopefully 2-3 flying monsters will ensure I reach the opponents line as soon as possible and start mayhem.

Each army has 9-10 units and at least 3 banners + BSB.  The armies are close combat oriented and all of them have at least one of the themes I wanted to utilize in the army.  The main problem I ran into while trying to create a single list with the Beastmen was that I wanted to have everything that I thought looked cool and felt was fun but I couldn't due to point costs.  I probably could have gotten everything I had desired if I had really tried but then the army would be really small and that also does not work.  I think I will end up using all three lists and rotate them out since I have the models to support all three of them (well I need 1 more Jabberslythe model unless I decide to use the 3rd model as a Ghorgon...but yeah even then need 1 more thing!)  

Any feedback is appreciated but for the most part I have no idea which of the three lists will be the primary Beastman list.