Thursday, July 20, 2017
Hi everyone !!! Black Blow Fly here again with the second part of my report covering the recent American Team Championship (ATC). I don't want to beat a dead horse but then again this horse ain't dead just yet. Today I bring you an interview with the mighty Aaron Aleong who is the coach and player on Team Happy - they came in first place this past weekend and this is the third time they have won this arduous event. Three times is very dominating to say the least and Aaron has won many of the major events at events across the country. To me Aaron is a lot like the Randy Couture of Warhammer 40k in the US... he even kind of looks like him too.
So let's introduce the other members of Team Happy and what roles they all play for three years running:
Tony Grippando - Captain
Aaron Aleong - Coach
Justin Curtis - Rules Master
Aaron Towler - Lore Master
Tim - Finances (aka Chief Bean Counter)
To quote Aaron...
"As a team we all give input on lists and test each other to include playing our lists against each other. Our team mixes well and therefore I believe performs well together. Also in our team no one had an issue with biting the bullet and taking a bad matchup for the team. I have seen many teams that aren't willing to sacrifice in this fashion."
Those word of wisdom are solid gold ! So now onto the interview:
Q1) Why did you decide to run Ravenspam and how'd you learn about it ?
Looking at the matchup opportunities of isolating a small drop list againt a large army guaranteeing first turn (except on a seize), and the damage output of A Stormraven (40-44 shots with up to 6 different targets) it was a no brainer to take two Raven lists. I saw numerous Raven lists that were not optimized to do well.
We heard about the list a few months back from an event out west, tested it, and built two seperate lists that were able to perform well. Though I will say in an event where deploy first go first isn't automatic this list won't do as well and I fully support changing this mechanic.
Q2) What are the best natural counters to Ravenspam and what are its worst matchups ?
Natural counters are the bird list, high rate-of-firepower lists with lots of models (i.e., some guard lists), and of course mirror matches. However I f there is deploy first-go first with no rerollable seize.. ravens are too powerful. I am working on a counter at the moment.
Q3) Did you have to play any mirror matches and if so what were your tactics to ensure the win ?
I did not, but my teammate Tim played a Grey Knight raven list and played three other raven lists which he all beat soundly taking home the award for best GK player. Tim had a definite advantage by having less drops and therefore went first most games. He got seized on one of his game but deployed defensively and was still able to crush his opponent.
Q4) How important is it to go first with Ravenspam and are you willing to burn a command point to reroll Seize the Initiative to still have a chance to go first ?
At ATC you couldn't reroll seize. The go first is too powerful in a list like this. See above. :-)
Q5) What are the best buffs for Ravenspam ?
A Chapter Master equivalent is vital... Dante, Draigo, etc. Being able to keep up with the ravens is the tricky part. Some people took Robby G, but I feel that is a waste since Rowboat can't keep up with the ravens. Any type of probability alteration is extremely valuable with GW limiting the number of re-rolls.
Q6) If you would have had to have fielded a different army what would you have taken instead to ATC this year ?
I would have taken my top secret Nova Open list. Which wont be shown here. My list is imperial and doesnt have flyers... hurrr hurrr !!!
Q7) How do you foresee Ravenspam playing out over the next 6 months with soon to release codices ?
I really hope they are adjusted. It's too powerful the way it is now and I don't really see the new codices fixing them. My hope is GW will step up and alter them... maybe removing POTMS, or increasing costs, etc.
Q8) Will Ravenspam still be competitive at NOVA this August ? If not so much then why ?
I think it will be less successful because of the +1 change. If this list doesn't go first then it's in trouble. Also I feel the missions are better with progressive objectives but then again 5 or 6 ravens cab table most armies quite easily. :-(
So there you have it from the proverbial horse's mouth ! Team Happy had not one but two Ravenspam armies and that's definitely a big deal... so far spam is king.
Hi everyone Black Blow Fly here to stir the... errr bringing enlightenment to the filthy unwashed masses 24-7 ! Last weekend was the first major 8th edition tournament in the US - the American Team Championship (ATC) and wow what a doozy it was. Do you remember when you were just a kid and you found out the truth about ole Santa Claus... BAAAAAAWHAAAAA !!! Tears were flowing amirite ?! Well basically the same thing happened at the ATC. You see lots and lots of people were saying and even believing 8th edition is basically uncheesable (see foot note before you post). But then the unimaginable happened... like almost every team was spamming the Ravenspam !!
What is Ravenspam:
It is like five to six nearly unkillable Stormravens with some uber buffs (see Dante) and if it goes first well see ya wouldn't wanna be ya ! Yer cherry just got popped real hard... hurrrr !
So this week I have none other than the captain of the third place team Wobbly Modelers here as my guest - yeah you know none other than my man Kelsey Haley ! Kelsey - one heck of a dominant tournament players in the US... I equate him on the Chuck Lidel level of the competitive scene. Something very interesting to note is that his did not bring any Ravenspam and still took home their newly acquired skulls - that's a tall order too.
A lot of people are really up in arms about the Ravenspam and want something done about it because you know... the dream is gone. I'm gonna be completely honest and say I really don't want to see any house rules from sources external to GW. My philosophy is just let it play out to its natural course. Codices will soon be dropping left and right... things are gonna change just like they always do. GW love some change, it's more money in the bank. If and when GW nerfs it I'm totally okay with that - they are the SOLE entity that should change rules.
So let's dive into the interview with Kelsey now.
Q1) I was very impressed your team placed third overall this year ! I have played in ATC several times and consider it one of the most competitive tournaments in the country if not the most due to its unique format. Top players come from all over the country come to participate and the team format is very challenging. Could you provide a quick run down what army you and each of your team mates brought and what was your overall strategy for pairings each round ?
Sure. I ran 2 shadowswords and a stormlord with 5 commanders and 4 man plasma squads with Sergeant Harker.
Ernie ran 8 Nurgle Princes and Belakor with as many Brimstones as he could he fit into his list.
Max ran 32 missile launcher Devs with Guilliman.
Austin ran 98 purestrain genestealers, some characters and 9 armored lascannon sentinels.
Juice ran 7 Crimson Hunters and 4 Ravagers.
Our basic strategy was to figure out which lists on our opponents' teams everybody didn't want to play. If somebody only had one list they didn't want to play then they often became a defender. Past that... we were winging it.
Q2) I was really impressed your team did not bring the much dreaded Ravenspam army list. What was y'alls strategy to counter this list and how did that work out for you ? Did you know going into ATC last week that you needed a solid overall strategy to counter the Ravenspam ?
We knew it would be a thing but never cared too much about it. Going into it we accepted that it was something we'd each have to play at some point. Luckily we planned on playing stormravens with multi meltas... but we only played versus heavy bolters.
As good as they are Ravens are easier to counter than GSC.
Q3) There is a bit of an uproar on the internet about the Ravenspam now. What is your opinion - should TOs change rules to nerf it ?
I like the idea of 0-3 of the same unit, but this early in the game I'm generally opposed to changing the rules at all.
On a side note I think Guilliman and the Yncarne need to be nerfed more than anything else.
Q3) Which round was your toughest and how did it go overall ?
My toughest round came versus Dallas on Quality Control. He had a pretty solid GSC list. I really only played him because nobody else wanted to. I wound up being able to hold the genestealers off long enough to scrounge up 9 points.
Q4) What was your favorite game/opponent and why ?
My favorite opponent was probably Jason from Forgeworld Columbia 2. He played a similar list, though he had extra drops. That meant I went first and took advantage early. The game ended after about 10 minutes with me maxing.
The reason I say its my favorite because Jason exemplified class during brutal defeat. He laughed and we both knew that had he siezed I would've been the one picking up models.
It was also my favorite because we had plenty of time for "beverages". Haha
Q5) How do you like 8th edition so far compared to 7th edition ? Is it better designed for competitive play ?
I think its better designed in the sense that good lists are easier to make. Tactically it's become easier, but its nice that more people are better able to run competitive lists well.
Finally feel free to add anything you like. :D
I'd just like to throw shoutouts to Battlegrounds (our local store in Midlothian, VA that tolerates our drunk playtesting) and The Long War for their endless support.
So there you have it... the Ravenspam can be managed in a tournament environment. Of course the ATC format is unique from other large events but at the end of the day you still have top players versus other top players. I hope that 'The sky is falling' mantra will drop to wayside soon. Of course there is the NOVA Open coming soon which features a more traditional format... it'll be interesting to see what competitive players come up with to counter the Ravenspam and beat it plus there's plenty of time to properly prepare and endless play testing.
Is uncheesable an actual word ? Of course not but it's no big deal irregardless how much it might upset you. :P Get over it.
Sunday, July 16, 2017
Large crowds had gathered outside the assassins' Temple. The people were dressed in bright colors and wore their favorite clothes. Citizens from all walks of life made up the masses, high gender stood elbow to elbow with common folk. Vendors lined the streets serving various dishes and many types of different colored spirits. Fireworks exploded overhead and the crowds roared. A large troupe of mimes performed beneath the towering spires displaying their acrobatic skills to the amazement of all who watched. The mimes wore tights cut in swathes of black and white. More fireworks boomed overhead driving the crowds into a frenzy of mirth. Leaping to the top of the Temple entrance the lead mime did a hand stand then crouched down assuming the shape of a gargoyle. The crowd grew quite for a moment then the acrobat leapt back down leering at those closest. Her face was painted like a Harlequin with a bright red tear dripping from her left eye.
"Make way!" boomed a projected voice emanating from from a small cadre of golden warriors at the end of the main road leading to the Temple. They stood taller than even Space Marines and carried long guardian spears. Sensei immediately recognized the Custodes and stepped out from the crowd. The master bowed deeply then slowly righted himself. "It is truly an honor to have you here with us today." his deep voice carried along the length of the suddenly open path between him and the Custodes. There came a dull clanking sound then appeared a dreadnaught looming above his golden brethren. "Continue with the festival!" its voice droned into the crowds.
The mimes immediately sprang back to work again throwing a dizzying myriad of white rose petals into the crowd. People exclaimed in surprise as they touched the petals. They somersaulted through the people then one by one sprang up onto the close by rooftops. Bowing as one the troupe then disappeared.
"I hope you have enjoyed the performance." said Sensei. Everyone clapped and many cheered as another burst of fireworks touched the sky. "Follow your guides and they will take you to the next Temple. May your day be bright with never ending joy." Slowly the crowds began to dissipate until all that remained was the Custodes.