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Tactica – Beastpack

feb 27, 14 Tactica  – Beastpack

So there’s a new dominant list on the tabletops, and it’s a total big bad (blue in our case) meanie!!

Here’s an overview of what the Beastpack list does and how it functions on the tabletop.

First off: the list of course. There are a few variants out there, but the gist of it is always the same and built around the same core:

Primary Detachment: Eldar

HQ1: Eldrad Ulthran [205]

HQ2: Farseer (100), Shard of Anaris (40), Eldar Jetbike (15), Runes of Witnessing (15),

Singing Spear (5) [175]

Troops 1: 3 Windrider Jetbikes [51]

Troops 2: 3 Windrider Jetbikes [51]

Troops 3: 3 Windrider Jetbikes [51]

Troops 4: 3 Windrider Jetbikes [51]

FA1: 10 Warp Spiders [190]

FA2: 6 Swooping Hawks [96]

HS1: Wraithknight [240]

HS2: Wraithknight [240]

Primary Total: 1350pts

Allied Detachment: Dark Eldar

HQ1: Baron Sathonyx [105]

Troops 1: 5 Kabalite Warriors [45]

FA1: 5 Beastmasters (60), 24 Khymerae (288) [348]

Allied Total: 498pts

Total: 1848pts

There’s variations where people take a more smallish Warp Spider detachment and free up points for a nightspinner for some barrage sniping, or take a second unit of swooping hawks, but all that is flavour.

Beastpack

Beastpack

 

Eldrad

Eldrad

First thing that needs discussion is good old Eldrad. There’s lists out there that only take a second Farseer but they’re really selling themselves short. The thing this list is counting foremost is getting Fortune for putting a 4++ rerollable save on the beastpack (and the added psychic defense), basically ignoring 3 out of 4 wounds you shoot their way. A farseer only gets 3 rolls on the table, while Eldrad gets a full 4, which makes all the difference statistically. Factor in that he also gives your army an extremely useful army wide redeploy, that he has a 12″ stealth bubble to give away as his warlord trait, and that he is also an absolute badass where it concerns psychic defense (2+ deny the witch when you need it). He has a lot of additional rules like always wounding on 2’s that might be occasionaly game-changing when it gets through a MC’s armour for instance and you can insta-gib it with a psychic test. With a unit that has the very large footprint of the beastpack, the slower speed that Eldrad forces upon you is only a minor nuisance. There’s not a lot you can do as an opponent to stop Eldrad being effective, and if he gets fortune early, him and the farseer rolling on telepathy can really ruin your day as powers like Invisibility and Hallucination are potentially even going to swing the game their way even more.

sathonyx

Baron Sathonyx

Second key element to the list is Baron Sathonyx. Firstly, the Baron gives you a good chance of deciding who can go first with a +1 on the roll-off. This is HUGE, and extremely critical for the list, as it needs to either go second for late-game objective grabbing and contesting or go first to get fortune off to put pressure on the opponent in missions like killpoints for instance, or missions where you need to maximise on what little shooting you have. The Baron of course totes a 2++ because of the shadowfield, which is potentially rerollable with Fortune, though most players do not take the risk of him tanking wounds and potentially dying as without the baron, the whole concept of the beastpack kinda falls flat on its face. The Baron is basically there for giving the whole beastpack unit + attached characters Hit & Run. The unit is so durable that this is key really. You can get bogged down in assault, then jump away 3d6 to where-ever suits you, whenever it suits you (barring rolling a 6) and then just assault whatever you want, which are mostly weak troops to deny scoring capacity or to tally up easy killpoints. The boardcontrol and footprint of this unit is HUGE. It allows you to control where flyers will come in for instance, and dictate where the enemy will and want to move to. With a 12 inch move and fleet, the beastpack will move 24” + 8 inch almost guaranteed chargerange in two turns, so everything within 32 inches isn’t safe. With Prescience and Doom in the mix, the damage the beastpack unit can do is really a horrible thing to experience as an opponent. The Baron has additional advantages in that he brings grenades to the beastpack, which sees them always strinking at initiative even when charging through terrain. You can reroll the H&R distance, and he adds stealth to the unit. Those are no minor advantages…

Then on to the Beastpack unit themselves. They’re only T3, so almost every form of shooting will put a lot of wounds on the pack, but they’re extremely resilient when fortune is up. They’re also extremely fast being beasts. Eldrad will slow them down a little bit, especially when they have to assault through terrain, but a beastpack player can generally work around that. Plus, fleet helps quite a bit to mitigate this factor.

No need to explain what two wraithknights do. They’re there to tarpit, hunt vehicles or FMC’s with them lucky 6’es, and to generally be a pain in the ass. They’re also extremely agile and fast, so can also help to increase the board control, as if this list needed it really…

Swooping Hawks don’t scatter when they come in, and deliver a large blast every turn they do (skyleap is so nice), and can even target things they cannot see. The big thing here is, they can always substract their BS from the template, whether LOS is there or not, so you can generally always poisition the Hawks so they are safe from retaliation without loosing any part of their functionality. With three shots each, they’re good against infantry as well.

The Warp Spiders are another supreme mobile unit, and serve the triple role to hunt tanks and infantry and high toughness things alike with their Str7 shooting. Spouting a 3+ save, the’yre also extremelty durable.

Same goes for the Windriders, mostly coming in late game because of reserve shenanigans, who have a 4+ cover from turbo-ing and a 3+ regular save, which is nothing to sniff at. Their footprint is small enough to be able to hide them from too much incoming fire, and their mobility is off the charts, and the reason this army wins its games. Getting rid of them (as early as you can) is key to putting in a good result vs the Beastpack.

 

So what you’ve got here is an extremely mobile list (we haven’t even factored in Battle Focus), that is extremely resilient, both vs psychic powers, vs shooting and in combat. There’s no inherent weaknesses to the list (other than that it struggles vs high AV sometimes because it doesn’t have that much in terms of shooting), nothing really to exploit, or out-game your opponent by. If you’re facing a good player, who gets fortune, you’re normally in for a world of hurt. If you’re playing scouring or big guns, I think the most any list can do is go for the draw-ish kind of game, and play the objectives. It’s silly, but mostly I found it is the best you can do vs the Beastpack. Just settle for the fact you’re going to get a very rough, one-sided game. I’ve been playing this game for a long time now, and seldom have I seen a list like this dominate so much. It has no direct counters to speak of, and in a gaming environment that is currently very rock/papers/scissors/lizard/spock, that is potentially a problem. I’m not one of those doom and gloom type of speakers, but I do want to emphasize that there simply isn’t all that much you can do to counter this type of list.

 

free-advice-1-26-12

Our Advice

My advice is simple: ignore the beastpack for as much as you can, and go kill his troops in regular missions. In killpoint missions I think most armies are screwed, and when you factor in big guns and the scouring, it becomes almost impossible to beat the list if you play the game as it is intended. Instead, I’d just feed my army piecemeal to the beastpack, and be content to take points from it where I can. I know there’s slim chance of me winning the game, so i’m going to set up for not loosing by too much. Especially in regular tournaments, you are often not bound to get past turn 5, at which point either you have dedicated all your resources to killing off his troops but have no troops of your own left to claim anything with, or you were so busy with getting rid of the beastpack that he now still has all his scoring capacity, contests everything while grabbing whatever he can with a 48 inch move. I’d always choose the first option even if only to make the Beastpack player work for his points.

 

Because that’s what you’re staring in the face. The farseer on jetbike can split off and turboboost for 48 inches movement in one turn to contest what is needed, while the windrider jetbikes do the same to score whatever they can. If the game ends on turn 5, which happens a lot because of time called, it poses a problem because it’s an almost guaranteed win. If you can play a turn 6 and maybe 7, those jetbikes will be exposed, and the beastpack player will have had to make a choice to split off the council or not. More often than not, the game ends well before that in tournaments around here, so you need to incorporate that into your planning for what you’re going to do and how you’re going to play the game. For me personally, that would be making sure I stole as much points away from the beastpack army so they don’t end up winning the tournament. That, in my eyes, is a victory itself.

idea

Ideas?

So, as an opponent, there’s not much you can do to counter the beastpack. It has so many inherent strengths that are very difficult to negate. Points that spring to mind though are the following:

 

1. Beastpack list is highly dependent on Fortune. There’s not much you can do as an opponent to counter this, except getting misfortune through or sniping the model with fortune with either barrage or precision shooting, but the odds are fairly slim of getting that lucky. Multiple misfortunes would help of course, but only things like Screamer Councils can get that off reliably.

 

2. Dependent on H&R from the Baron. Going for the baron, and having him fail his shadowfield save (only failing the 2++ invul save once is enough for the shadowfield to go permanently based on how Fortune is worded) so he can’t tank for the beastpack, or so you can kill him in one round of shooting if he fails enough LOS rolls. Good players won’t be so silly though, and will settle for a 1 out of 4 wound/casualty rate on the khymerae instead of taking the chance to loose hit and run, something the pack needs desperately to be effective. If the Beastpack is very prominent in your area, consider taking necron allies and including Zandrekh to remove H&R from the beastpack and tarpitting them with high toughness units (riptides, wraithknights, canoptek spyders, …) or resilient units (2+ AS). The beastpack dishes out a whole lot of attacks, but they still have difficulty chewing through units that are as resilient as say meganobs or Centurions. The strength of the beastpack lies in getting multicharges off, having board control, and removing your weak troop units from the game while preserving their own.

 

3. Not a lot of shooting. Landraider lists can hurt the beastpack list in terms of the points they can score out of a game, but you need to make sure you have somewhat resilient troops inside as otherwise they will be eaten once turn 5 strolls around and passes. Consider taking these in your list, or things like a Bastion, where you can be generally safe from the Beastpack. Necron AV13 spam can also pose problems for the beastpack, but with two wraithknights and the warp spyders it should be manageable.

 

4. Somewhat susceptible to alpha strike. If you have the chance, do not hesitate to pump all the barrage and shots into the beastpack you can early on. The more kymerae you can kill early on, the better, as a reduced unit will really be a lot less effective. Once Fortune is up, I would simply ignore the unit as much as possible and hunt the troops, but I”d be tempted to put 8 blasts from two TFC and 2 Orbit Bombardments on them if i’d had first turn and if I’d be playing marines for instance. As soon as their ability to multicharge is downplayed a little, it becomes a lot easier to manage. Armies that generate a lot of wounds are golden here. It will take about 100 wounds to get rid of most of the beastpack, so that’s something you have to factor into your gameplan somehow. Reducing the beastpack early on is key to winning.

 

5. Include something with H&R in your list. White Scars and their chapter masters are an obvious choice here as they are extremely durable and usefull in all cases. But Commander Helpfull joined by O’vesa and another riptide is another option. Not only will the beastpack have trouble putting wounds on those kind of units, but they will likely not take the chance of you roaming free in their backfield with the 3d6 hit and run move. Because if you face off with the beastpack when having one of those units, the hit and run will become a roll-off, and you can influence the choices the beastpack player will have to make a little bit more. You might win the rolloff and decide to wing it 3D6 directly away from something you’d like to protect, which leaves the beastpack player with the choice to re-engage that unit or not later that turn, further limiting the effectiveness of the beastpack unit as a whole as he will have to string models out to engage, limiting the number of models he might have directed at the unit you’re trying to protect for instance. All this very situational of course, but things to keep in mind.

 

6. It has no immediate solution vs Flyers. A multitude of scythes and drakes for instance, are threatening enough that it will influence movement, positioning, and the way he plays his jetbikes. Use that to your advantage. Look for those kind of allies if you end up facing the beastpack a lot!

 

Happy hunting, and good luck! Odds are you’re going to need it!

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