Null Deployment Builds

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gunrock
Shas
Posts: 110

Null Deployment Builds

Post#1 » Feb 08 2018 01:45

Howdy Guys!

Cadre building has been a little dormant as I'm sure we're all eagerly awaiting the codex, but I wanted to throw out a list I've been milling on trying to integrate some of the ideas from other threads, as well as give people a place to discuss null style lists.

So here are the guidelines:
- Null deployment - as much as possible aim to minimize vulnerable units on 1st turn. Deep strike elements need to be equal in number to starting units. Ideally, units that do start on the field should be difficult targets)
- Minimize markerlight vulnerability/dependency - Avoid marker light units that are likely to die before they are used. The null deployment principle also discourages pathfinders or most other conventional options (but feel free to propose them). Based on this most 'pure' null deployment builds require either mark drones or forgoing marker lights all together.
- Scoring potential - This is a game of points. Having to ability to put units on objectives is important along side considering firepower.
- Versatility - strong against common/competitive matchups, adequate against bad matchups. Basically, this is still an 'all commers' list, but meta considerations should be a priority.
- minimize drops - sort of a secondary consideration, but if at all possible.

Unit availability: If adding a build feel free to use whatever, just pick the best unit for the job and keep in mind the null deployment principle if making exceptions.

At the moment I have access to:
- 20 fire warriors
- 30 pathfinders (9 ion rifles, and 4 rail)
- 4 commanders (magnetized, convertible between coldstar and regular)
- 3 xv-8 commanders (magnetized, but intended as shas'nel MP commanders)
- 9 xv-8 (magnetized, all weapons available)
- 9 xv-25 (all magnetized)
- 3 ethereals
- 1 fire blade
- 14 gun drones
- 14 shield drones
- 6 marker drones (will add more if needed)
- misc recon/Grav/pulse accelerator drones
These will be available shortly, so add if they're relevant:
- 10 vespids
- 10 breachers
- 1 devilish/hammerhead
- Y'Vahra
- whatever drones are needed
These will be added if I can find a rationale for adding them:
- Kroot
- Kroot hounds
- R'Varna
- Anything useful
- XV - 9 (mostly for burst cannon)

Here's the list:

6 CP(Supreme command + Outrider + Vanguard)

Commander - 4x Fusion Blaster, 2x Shield drone (176)
Commander - 4x Fusion Blaster, 2x Shield drone (176)
Commander - 3x MP, 1x ATS, 2x marker drone (176)
Commander - 3x MP, 1x ATS, 2x marker drone (176)
Commander Coldstar - 1x MP, 1x HOBC, ATS, Shield generator (150)
Commander Coldstar - 1x MP, 1x HOBC, ATS, Shield generator (150)
XV 25 (3) - 3x BC, 2x Shield generator, 1x Drone controller, TL+ML (136)
XV 25 (3) - 3x BC, 2x Shield generator, 1x Drone controller, TL+ML (136)
XV 8 (3) - 8x CIB, 1x DC, 3x marker drones, 2x gun drones (321)
XV 8 (3) - 6x CIB, 3x ATS, 6x gun drones (306)
Tactical drones - 4x Shield generator (32)
Tactical drones - 4x Shield generator (32)
Tactical drones - 4x Shield generator (32)

1999 pts.

FAQ:
Two coldstars? - This is an element I'm playing with based on R'kai's analysis. Alone, they're alright as on offensive unit, but in pairs can do a lot more assassinating Psychers, punching through screens, protecting XV-25, and otherwise putting out fires. Open to change, but one seems almost manditory for a null build without a Y'Vahra. They make excellent scoring units.

Mixed XV-8 loadouts? Why not a CIB commander? - Yes, xv-8 is worse then a CIB commander on paper, but the xv-8 is a superior DC platform, and the difference between taking a commander starts to level out when considering markerlights+gun drones. The split load outs is somewhat preferential as the ATS CIB XV-8 can pair with either stealth team or the second XV-8 team to get DC without loss of a weapon. XV-8 also benefit commanders character rule as screening units is a way a pure commander build can't.

Shield generator is redundant with shield drones. - Sort of. XV-25 is also screening unit for both MP commanders and Coldstars. The limited number of targets on the opening turn makes marker drones untenable directly attached to xv-25 team, hence their displacement to the MP commander. In a sense, they provide added 'virtual durability to both MP commanders and coldstars.

So that's my current idea. I'm open to whatever feedback people have. More generally, if people want to use this thread as a place to propose lists, please do so! My only request is to keep it centered null deployment style builds and how we can build the best possible lists. I'm really open to anything, even pure commander spam if you can make a case for it being the superior option.

Cheers!
All the rivers run into the sea, Yet the sea is not full; Unto the place whither the rivers go, Thither they go again.

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Lostroninsoul
Shas'Saal
Posts: 324

Re: Null Deployment Builds

Post#2 » Feb 08 2018 12:50

Another reason for dormancy in cadre building maybe because a lot of lists seem very commander heavy with little variance. It's hard for me to feel inspired to actually try to comment and think about lists that are super linear like this. It's great list, but plays the same. My playstyle preference is to catch my opponent off guard with not common tactics.

User avatar
Draaen
Shas'La
Shas'La
Posts: 158

Re: Null Deployment Builds

Post#3 » Feb 08 2018 02:47

This was my TAC list which has been very successful and operated on the null deploy principle. Some of it isn't optimal due to personal preference and models being equipped a certain way but I felt everything worked well within the game plan of the army.

Deep Strikers
Commander Quad Fusion 2 Shield Drones
Commander 3 Ion and ATS 2 Shield Drones
3 Cold Star Commanders - ATS, Shield Generator, 2 Marker Drones Each
3 X Crisis Suits - 2 X MP 1 Flamer each, 6 Gun Drones

Ground Units
Fireblade
3 X Piranhas - Fusion Blaster, Seeker Missile Each
3 X 5 Fire Warriors - Pulse Rifles, 1 Markerlight
2 X 5 Stealth Suits - Homing Beacon, Drone Controller and 2 shield drones

This list always punched hard and could take a hit and was good at the objective game. I didn't have a real deployment drop until drop 8 and even then it was a piranha that can be super fast. The two stealth suit squads take position by two targets I would like to engage and then I choose one and hammer it with a stupid amount of dakka. Then the list keeps moving down the line killing anything in its way.

The 3 cold star commanders were amazingly fun to use and quite effective. Very good at killing marines, guardsmen and assaulting into non-combat units to deny them shooting.
All empires fall you just have to know where to push

User avatar
Shas'O R'Kai
Shas'La
Shas'La
Posts: 140

Re: Null Deployment Builds

Post#4 » Feb 09 2018 05:06

gunrock wrote:Howdy Guys!

Cadre building has been a little dormant as I'm sure we're all eagerly awaiting the codex, but I wanted to throw out a list I've been milling on trying to integrate some of the ideas from other threads, as well as give people a place to discuss null style lists.

So here are the guidelines:
- Null deployment - as much as possible aim to minimize vulnerable units on 1st turn. Deep strike elements need to be equal in number to starting units. Ideally, units that do start on the field should be difficult targets)
- Minimize markerlight vulnerability/dependency - Avoid marker light units that are likely to die before they are used. The null deployment principle also discourages pathfinders or most other conventional options (but feel free to propose them). Based on this most 'pure' null deployment builds require either mark drones or forgoing marker lights all together.
- Scoring potential - This is a game of points. Having to ability to put units on objectives is important along side considering firepower.
- Versatility - strong against common/competitive matchups, adequate against bad matchups. Basically, this is still an 'all commers' list, but meta considerations should be a priority.
- minimize drops - sort of a secondary consideration, but if at all possible.

Unit availability: If adding a build feel free to use whatever, just pick the best unit for the job and keep in mind the null deployment principle if making exceptions.

At the moment I have access to:
- 20 fire warriors
- 30 pathfinders (9 ion rifles, and 4 rail)
- 4 commanders (magnetized, convertible between coldstar and regular)
- 3 xv-8 commanders (magnetized, but intended as shas'nel MP commanders)
- 9 xv-8 (magnetized, all weapons available)
- 9 xv-25 (all magnetized)
- 3 ethereals
- 1 fire blade
- 14 gun drones
- 14 shield drones
- 6 marker drones (will add more if needed)
- misc recon/Grav/pulse accelerator drones
These will be available shortly, so add if they're relevant:
- 10 vespids
- 10 breachers
- 1 devilish/hammerhead
- Y'Vahra
- whatever drones are needed
These will be added if I can find a rationale for adding them:
- Kroot
- Kroot hounds
- R'Varna
- Anything useful
- XV - 9 (mostly for burst cannon)

Here's the list:

6 CP(Supreme command + Outrider + Vanguard)

Commander - 4x Fusion Blaster, 2x Shield drone (176)
Commander - 4x Fusion Blaster, 2x Shield drone (176)
Commander - 3x MP, 1x ATS, 2x marker drone (176)
Commander - 3x MP, 1x ATS, 2x marker drone (176)
Commander Coldstar - 1x MP, 1x HOBC, ATS, Shield generator (150)
Commander Coldstar - 1x MP, 1x HOBC, ATS, Shield generator (150)
XV 25 (3) - 3x BC, 2x Shield generator, 1x Drone controller, TL+ML (136)
XV 25 (3) - 3x BC, 2x Shield generator, 1x Drone controller, TL+ML (136)
XV 8 (3) - 8x CIB, 1x DC, 3x marker drones, 2x gun drones (321)
XV 8 (3) - 6x CIB, 3x ATS, 6x gun drones (306)
Tactical drones - 4x Shield generator (32)
Tactical drones - 4x Shield generator (32)
Tactical drones - 4x Shield generator (32)

1999 pts.

FAQ:
Two coldstars? - This is an element I'm playing with based on R'kai's analysis. Alone, they're alright as on offensive unit, but in pairs can do a lot more assassinating Psychers, punching through screens, protecting XV-25, and otherwise putting out fires. Open to change, but one seems almost manditory for a null build without a Y'Vahra. They make excellent scoring units.

Mixed XV-8 loadouts? Why not a CIB commander? - Yes, xv-8 is worse then a CIB commander on paper, but the xv-8 is a superior DC platform, and the difference between taking a commander starts to level out when considering markerlights+gun drones. The split load outs is somewhat preferential as the ATS CIB XV-8 can pair with either stealth team or the second XV-8 team to get DC without loss of a weapon. XV-8 also benefit commanders character rule as screening units is a way a pure commander build can't.

Shield generator is redundant with shield drones. - Sort of. XV-25 is also screening unit for both MP commanders and Coldstars. The limited number of targets on the opening turn makes marker drones untenable directly attached to xv-25 team, hence their displacement to the MP commander. In a sense, they provide added 'virtual durability to both MP commanders and coldstars.

So that's my current idea. I'm open to whatever feedback people have. More generally, if people want to use this thread as a place to propose lists, please do so! My only request is to keep it centered null deployment style builds and how we can build the best possible lists. I'm really open to anything, even pure commander spam if you can make a case for it being the superior option.

Cheers!


Hi Gunrock,

This is a really interesting concept! I try to build null deployment into most of my lists in one way or another. I have one question though, do you not want to use pathfinders because you think they're not any use for null deployment? Or do you just not like the unit? I've found that Pathfinders are one of the best null deployment units in the game because of their vanguard move. Deploy them out of line of sight, then if the opponent gets first turn, leave them there. If you go first, vanguard move up and into position and have clear fields of fire. Sure if you go 2nd you shoot at -1, but if you take 3 units of 5, you can still fairly reliably mark up the targets you need. Just a thought I had, because I've found them to be so good!

As for your list, I really like the inclusion of the coldstars, mostly for reasons you've already mentioned. They're hyper fast, nice and shooty and shut down shooting/assassinate characters. Maybe not the best in terms of raw firepower, but otherwise a perfect addition to the null deployment list. I'd probably start them on the board out of line of sight, getting ready to use a mont'ka to get to wherever they need to be. Although deep striking them is valid of course.

Regarding the shield drones you've taken, can I ask what the thinking is behind them and how you'd use them? Are they there to simply hold some objectives and force your opponent to waste shooting on them? Or will they be advancing up the board to try and link up with deep strikers? Going back to my comments about the pathfinders, you could replace the shield drones with pathfinders and have much more reliable markerlight sources, in exchange for a loss in durability from turn 2 onwards.

Another option from looking at the models you have, is to include the Y'Vahra, which actually works quite well for me in null style lists. You'd probably want to drop a crisis team and a missile commander, keep the shield drones as they are and use the extra points (67 if you drop the ATS crisis team and a missile commander) to get more drones or markerlights built into your list. With the threat of a Y'Vahra on the board, this also almost guarantees your stealth suits to live through initial firepower, so you could pop a fusion blaster on each of them. If you don't take dedicated markerlight sources, I'd think about switching the shield drones with the Fusion commanders to marker drones so the commanders are more self sufficient. I've had this really work out well for me in the past.

Anyway, that's my thoughts on it! I like the list you have, and any tweaks I would make would be down to personal preference/playstyle. Let me know what you think of my suggestions :)

R'Kai
Playing with a short reach since 2007 :crafty:

User avatar
gunrock
Shas
Posts: 110

Re: Null Deployment Builds

Post#5 » Feb 09 2018 06:48

Shas'O R'Kai wrote:
Hi Gunrock,

This is a really interesting concept! I try to build null deployment into most of my lists in one way or another. I have one question though, do you not want to use pathfinders because you think they're not any use for null deployment? Or do you just not like the unit? I've found that Pathfinders are one of the best null deployment units in the game because of their vanguard move. Deploy them out of line of sight, then if the opponent gets first turn, leave them there. If you go first, vanguard move up and into position and have clear fields of fire. Sure if you go 2nd you shoot at -1, but if you take 3 units of 5, you can still fairly reliably mark up the targets you need. Just a thought I had, because I've found them to be so good!



I agree with you on the vanguard move on pathfinders being great. I actually really like pathfinders both for practical and stylistic reasons. Part of the rationale for thier exclusion is building a 'humane' tau list, that avoids unnecessary loss of life :D. I tend to include them in the vast majority of lists, but I wanted to examine alternative builds specifically, but I've yet to find a marker drone build that doesn't lose anything.

The tactical advantage in deep striking drones seems to come in guaranteeing you'll get to use your marker lights before they get shot. There's also some potential for bleeding kill points running them as they're less durable then drones. Not using pathfinders, raises a number of issues with coordinating a drone controller to make drones viable, which almost always results in some sort of trade off. Coldstar loses shield generator, XV-8/commander lose a weapon or ATS (essential on MP commander), XV-9 loses ATS. The least bad option is XV-25, which just loses the potential for taking ATS on the shas'vre, but is mostly irrelevant when taking a 'defensive'/markerlight loadout.

Because of the character rule, shield drones are not explicitly necessary, and pathfinders could do the same job screening while cheaply filling out the markerlight base. My issue with them is still their fluffiness. I tend to support the view 'if they die, you can just run more', but considering the targets available I think they'll take a total wipe running any less then three squads, while normally that strain might be better distributed on your other opening units.

Shas'O R'Kai wrote:As for your list, I really like the inclusion of the coldstars, mostly for reasons you've already mentioned. They're hyper fast, nice and shooty and shut down shooting/assassinate characters. Maybe not the best in terms of raw firepower, but otherwise a perfect addition to the null deployment list. I'd probably start them on the board out of line of sight, getting ready to use a mont'ka to get to wherever they need to be. Although deep striking them is valid of course.

Regarding the shield drones you've taken, can I ask what the thinking is behind them and how you'd use them? Are they there to simply hold some objectives and force your opponent to waste shooting on them? Or will they be advancing up the board to try and link up with deep strikers? Going back to my comments about the pathfinders, you could replace the shield drones with pathfinders and have much more reliable markerlight sources, in exchange for a loss in durability from turn 2 onwards.


They're basically just screening for turn one and are essentially a throw away. 12 may be a bit over padded, especially with shield generators on the coldstars, but there was not a good way to fill out a 3rd detachment for less without taking Kroot hounds. If they manage to survive they're goal is to link up with the stealth teams, with the idea is that both the coldstars and MP commanders can use the stealth teams as a screen and should be very difficult to remove with the -1 to hit, shields generators, and drones. The XV-25 are primarily defensive, fusion blaster seemed like a points drain as well as taking ATS. I thought about switching the whole formation to a ground drone cluster (12x gun drones, and 3x markerlights) or something similar as its almost a direct slot in and works with the DC build while padding a few more markerlights in. The problem is there's basically no good way to DC into the backfield to make the marker drones viable unless you put it on the coldstar (which is alright I suppose). Or as you were suggesting go back to a pathfinder build.

Shas'O R'Kai wrote:Another option from looking at the models you have, is to include the Y'Vahra, which actually works quite well for me in null style lists. You'd probably want to drop a crisis team and a missile commander, keep the shield drones as they are and use the extra points (67 if you drop the ATS crisis team and a missile commander) to get more drones or markerlights built into your list. With the threat of a Y'Vahra on the board, this also almost guarantees your stealth suits to live through initial firepower, so you could pop a fusion blaster on each of them. If you don't take dedicated markerlight sources, I'd think about switching the shield drones with the Fusion commanders to marker drones so the commanders are more self sufficient. I've had this really work out well for me in the past.


For sure on the Y'Vahra, who gives a big bump in firepower as well as being a strong opening unit to tank shots. I'm sure that list is also very strong, but necessitates a some adjustments to build around. There's some clear advantages to him too: built in shield generator, higher toughness, gives a better answer to TEQ and MEQ, still a good scoring unit. With the Y'Vahra the whole thing starts to lean towards an almost pure commander build as you have even less reason to run markerlights.

here's what I think that list loses:
- Has to get up close to answer certain threats you'd otherwise grind out with MP commander
- less bodies on the field to score
- warrants robust deep striking drone support
- no character rule: cannot screen behind stealth suits
(Which are all pretty minor considering how beast the Y'Vahra is)

I'm sure the Y'Vahra build is totally valid. I have a few versions of that build I'll put up soon.
Playstyle wise, I'm considering generally how important is scoring versus taking more firepower? I'm not totally sold on this build, but I also have been trying to figure out the best way to use stealth teams (I have the models and have hardly fielded them). All the units in the list seem to hit upon this problem of what is a reasonable trade off of firepower for resiliency and scoring ability. Why should you ever take, two coldstars when I could fit a Y'Vahra? For scoring. Why run stealth suits with such poor offense? scoring. Why would you take an MP commander over extra fusion? scoring! On paper it looks weaker to me then some of the alternatives, but also has more robust scoring potential. Grabs two objectives right off the bat, MP commanders can drop anywhere and sit on an objective, two coldstars are an easy two objectives, plus everything else in the list.

Thanks for the thoughts R'Kai. Good solid analysis and basically all things that I would agree with.
All the rivers run into the sea, Yet the sea is not full; Unto the place whither the rivers go, Thither they go again.

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