Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Better Playtesting: The Stelek Litmus Test

Stelek made a strong point here.  Essentially, he is creating a single army playtesting gauntlet.  I have long advocated creating a few archetypal lists to playtest against in preparation for a major event, and so I'd say Stelek is right here: this is a challenging list to beat, and if you can't do it there is a good chance you will run into other lists you can't beat at the top tables.

But I think this bears repeating: just beating one IG list is not a large enough sample to predict tournament success.  I think there are many lists that can beat that one, that won't win tournaments against a balanced field, and vice versa.  

So can my Purifier list beat that one? 

No clue.  I'm not as confident as the commentors in that thread who seem to believe their lists will trounce it.  I don't really care what army you play, you won't steam roll that IG list: it's going to be bloody.  What gives me some confidence in saying my GK have a chance is that a lot of its power relies on...

1.  Autocannons.  If any army isn't afraid of Str 7 Autocannons, it's GK.  I don't care if you Shake every one of my tanks/dreads each turn.  Won't slow me down or stop my shooting.  And when you do de-mech me, Autocannons aren't marine killers.

2.  PBS.  I'm Fearless.  You won't be running my army off the board.  You have to actually kill them before they kill you.

So while I'm not crazy about my chances, I'd have to say that my chances aren't horrible compared to most other 3+ lists.


  1. Personally I think his litmus test is silly because there are more armies being played than an imperial guard army. For example, can your army succeed against an ork hoard? How about missile spam from space wolves? Or even an overly aggressive daemon player.

    More armies have to be taken into account. Not to mention that a lot of the game is still determined by player skill not their armies. I have seen matches where the "better list" was supposed to win but the better general with the weird list won the match.

  2. Oh I agree, as you can read in my Better Playtesting series, I advocate a full panoply of play test armies.

    That said, I think there is some value in Stelek's challenge. If you list struggles to beat it, there are probably other optimized builds it struggles against.

  3. If an army can take down 20 vehicles and over 100 infantry, then it can take down anything... that's the point of the litmus test. I'd say you'd have a good go Nikephoros, but I think any army would struggle to destroy it. It would be more of a game of attrition, survival and positioning.

  4. But you don't necessarily need to kill all those units. Your army even if it can't kill 3-5 vehicles a turn. In fact, show me the army that can easily kill 3-5 vehicles a turn.

    Which as Stelek says, "can you beat it", NOT "can you table it." This is a smart observation of his, however when you put it in that light, well it becomes just another army in the gauntlet that Nike has advocated.

    Running a gauntlet for playtesting will always be best, however if you are short on time, doing a litmus test style playtest is definitely better than just random games against random lists.

  5. Hm, it's a rough list to figure out how to play against. Especially for my up-and-coming Dark Eldar. I think I could do it though- just gotta play smart is all.

    I think it's a good list to playtest against, but like you said, I think there are a few of them out there- 180 Ork Boyz being one, 60 FNP Assault Marines being another. Oh yeah, 30 Terminators being a third- with GK's you could actually take 40 Termies, along with Libby to give them 3+ cover :-p

  6. Heyo - posted about your better playtesting series using Stelek's challenge as the lead-in; as usual with a Tyranid slant. Quite a bit of inspiration here and in the comments. Thanks for posting and cheers!

  7. I think Timmah makes a good point. The goal shouldn't be to table it, because that will be hard to impossible for most lists unless you can get off multi-charges left and right.

    Kill points? Not too hard, since that list gives up like, what, 30ish kill points? And the units are fragile.

    Objectives, the list doesn't have the capability to come to the objectives in my deployment zone and take them so that is already an advantage for a lot of lists.

    Victory points? That's where it gets hard. It would be really tough to beat it in victory points, since everything is so cheap.

  8. Maybe I am just not thinking clearly but that list doesnt seem to be the benchmark all other lists should be judged. Has anyone tried to place 20 vehicles down in their deployment zone? I am a guard player and in a normal 2k game I place anywhere from 9-14 vechicles. When you place that many down your mobility is constricted. You fire power isnt really able to focus. You can put some things in reserve I suppose but then you lose the power of the horde. In many games your not going for straight out tabling each other. If Stelek said table this... that would be much more difficult than defeat this in the current edition 40k where there are numerous objectives. This list lacks mobility and to a large extent true anti-vehicle punch( no long range lascannons or mid range anti tank, and most of the melta guys are regular guardsmen at BS 3). Its just an attrition army.

  9. The point isn't that list isn't the be all, end all Guard list. The point is that list is an extreme list, that presents a certain challenge: it puts down an enormous amount of models on the table and dares you to kill them all before getting killed.

    He isn't saying, "this list is great, start using it at tournaments." Stelek is saying, "this list is very challenging to beat, if you think your tournament list is good, can it beat this? If not, might need to think about your list harder."