Prepping for Wargames Con 2018 - Part 1

Competition, July 30, 2018

It’s been a while since Warzone Houston and I’ve had a chance to put some thoughts together on where we go next. Wargames Con in Austin is coming up in August, let’s look at some options.

Warzone Houston

It’s been a few weeks since Warzone Houston. The reason it’s taken so long to get to writing this post-event deep-dive is because of how tough that event was for me - in a humbling sort of way. (In case you missed it, I had a big write up going into it) As we’ll get into more in a bit, there were some lessons I walked away with that were tough for me to accept right away.

Recapping What I Took and What Happened

My list was a very simple formula: 90 Plaguebearers and Smite Spam. By the end of Day 1, I was sitting in the top 10 at 3-0. It was the best start I’ve had all year and I was feeling pretty confident after some grinding wins against Sisters, Guard, and Drukhari. I was especially happy with that win over Drukhari and it was one of the main things I designed my list to take down. But something wasn’t sitting right with me - I was not scoring well. I knew the moment I took a loss, my ranking would suffer against those with the same win/loss.

In ITC scoring, rankings are first settled by win/loss - you get 1000 pts for each win. Then your battle points are added on top of that. In theory, this means you should never have enough battle points to be ranked higher than someone with more wins than you.

Day two arrived and right away, I could tell I was tired. I’m not someone who functions well on a low amount of sleep. Even some coffee wasn’t enough to get me going. To compound the issue, I was paired up against the one person who helped me design the list on our way back from Dallas last June - and he had an ace up his sleeve. Against his Custodes, I was pinned in a corner while his Culexus assassin blocked the efficiency of my smites. I was soundly defeated and I was humbly shown a huge flaw in my concept.

Still, I was 3-1 going into my last match. I had a chance to go 4-1, which would have been a great improvement over Dallas. That is, until I realized it took myself and my opponent (Tyranids) more than 30 minutes to get through pre-game. In ITC terms, this is not good and very slow. I also don’t think blame lies solely on myself or him for how slow it went - we just had big armies, with lots of complications, and both of us were making sure we understood things. Unfortunately, we just flat out ran out of time in round two. I felt confident I would have flipped that match into my favor after a couple turns but, that’s now how it works and from where we stopped, he was ahead for the win.

Lesson 1: Sleep is Important

As someone who knows the importance of it, I should have been home earlier and sleeping faster than I was, because I know this was the critical reason I was behind the 8-ball from a mental capacity on day two. For example, piling into a Hive Tyrant so it could swing back on my Plaguebearers. This is what got into my head and frustrated me after the event was over - I knew better but still made that mistake.

Lesson 2: Simple Concepts Have Simple Counters

When I saw that 1 model could basically counter my entire list, I knew there was a major problem. I didn’t have enough diversity of threats and I made my army too one-dimensional. You hear that a lot if you follow NFL games, defenses try to make their opponents one-dimensional - which results in knowing what they’ll do next because you’ve taken away all their other options.

It means as good as those 90 Plaguebearers are, we might not be able to keep the band together if we want to make it further.

Lesson 3: Time of the Essence

Clearly, I’m focusing on that last match of mine and why it went slow. I know there are thing I could have done to speed it up, and it’s an obvious thing to point at 90 Plaguebearers and thing the time-sink is moving them. I can tell you, it’s not. It’s the pre-game, picking target priorities, and being ready to go when it’s your turn - not having to sit and think things through.

The Crossroads

This brings me to a place where I’ve got some tough decisions to make. On one hand, looking at this past weekends BAO results, other TX events, and Warzone Houston armies - the meta is continuing to consolidate around Knights. Which means we’re in the right spot looking at 90 Plaguebearers.

On the other hand, I didn’t score well at all. I don’t believe that it was slow play, as there were games leading up to the event that I was able to get through 6 turns on. But the fact that a single model was able to render my army ineffective means I’ve got some work to do to make this a little bit less one-dimensional.

This means I need to look at a few things that really hurt this list.

Board Control

You’d think 90 Plaguebearers would make it pretty easy to control the board, and for sure, I did control the board where I wanted to. But what was tough to do, even with Scrivener, was get to where I wanted to control, even if it was the middle of the table. Since the rest of my army was trying to hide behind those 90 models, it meant my whole army moved at the pace of a snail.

Shooting Phase

If you look at my list, I really only had a couple models with any kind of shooting capabilities. Sure, smite is going to do moral wounds and absolutely crush whatever it hits. But the weakness of smite, as we’ve covered, is that you can’t pick what you smite if your opponent can out-position you. So, we have to look at options to introduce better shooting into the army.


These are always a menace, especially when you’re facing Eldar armies. You know you’re going to run into Crimson Hunters and their ilk. Smite works great against them but isn’t always the most convenient options.

Part 2 - Breaking Down the New List

In part 2, I’ll break down where I’m going with the list for Wargames Con as well as some other options I’m considering for wrapping up the ITC season later this year.