Monday, January 13, 2014

The Invincible Screamerstar...on a day the Chaos Gods were fickle.

By Newbreed

Hey everyone!

Newbreed here to talk about everyone's favorite list Screamerstar again.

I recently had the chance, along with TheGraveMind, to participate in a local tournament (Trial by Fire) allowing EVERYTHING from both Stronghold Assault and Escalation.  This to say the least.  Overall it was a great time run by a great local TO.

If you want to see something less focused on Screamerstar I suggest you catch his post on the Back40k blog!

So.  Screamerstar.

Most days it is ridiculous.  8-9 Screamers and 3-4 heralds re-rolling everything with a 2++ save.

That was not this day.

In retrospect, the event was fun, but I think that overall my expectations and the outcome just didn't match.  I will admit that the event forced me to get my force painted and based to at least a little bit above table top standard.  Which I consider to be a great thing since I have a tendency to let models hang around just primered for a stupid amount of time!  I also got a chance to check out some of GW's new technical paints which I will cover at another time.

So back to the Trial By Fire and my horrendous day of 40k (gaming-wise, not enjoyment-wise).

My list was as follows at 1500 points:

Tzherald on Disc - ML 3, Exalted Gift
Tzherald on Disc - ML 3, Exalted Gift
Tzherald on Disc - ML 3, Lesser Gift, Locus of Conjuration
8 Screamers
2 x 10 Pink Horrors with Iridescent Horror
Tz Daemon Prince with Wings, Armor, ML 3, 2 Greater rewards and 1 Lesser Reward

The Plaguebearers and Slaneesh Heralds in the photo are spawnables for my portal and the warpstorm table.

Also sorry for no pictures.

Game 1: Grey Knights

I knew the tournament was going to be rough when I drew Grey Knights as my first opponent.  His list was Coteaz, 2 big groups of purifiers (one with hammers and incinerators which he combat squaded, one with psycannons), a standard GK Dread (no autocannons), the Crowe tax, a Vindicare Assassin, a Calldus Assassin and a Stormraven. 

The game is The Crusade with Vanguard Strike Deployment.  Night fighting is in effect.  I fail to seize initiative.

He gets first turn and deploys the psycannon squad in the far upper corner that had some ruins and Crowe towards midfield.  I am in the far lower corner and try to spread out as best a possible in order to attempt to force his Vindicare into a bad position.  It didn't work and the first turn, first shot fired, finds me with 2 wounds going into my Grimoire herald. Saves failed. Grimoire down.

I knew at this point with a Screamerstar I had exactly 1 chance to beat him with my Grimoire down in an objectives game.  It was to table him turn 1 and attempt to get the secondaries.  I push my Daemon Prince, Fateweaver, and my screamerstar up the board to midfield.  I thought I had casted everything and start shooting.  It was at this point, I realized I have forgotten to roll for my 4++ save.  DOH!  I still had hope though.  He only had a few number of models on the board.  I could do this!  Then the Chaos Gods decided I couldn't.  I use Fateweaver and fire 4d6 (re-rolling to wound and to hit due to Foreboding) Flickering Fire at Crowe.  I get something like 16 shots.  I thought the day was going to go well as I land the majority of them and wound with most of them and Crowe goes down.  Then I use my Heralds to unload 8d6 S6 flickering fire into the Purifiers.  I again get something like 16 shots...on 2 heralds.   

I still had hope as I was rerolling to hit.  I wound with something like 14 times and thought I had it!  He removes 3 models.  Yes out of all of that I killed 3 models.  I knew at this point the game was over.  I had made a number of tactical errors and saw a stormraven packed to the gills come in and clean everything up along with Fateweaver getting grounded and annihilated.  He denied something like 5 or 6 psychic powers and then I failed a large number due to improved aegis.  

I played it out but my heart just wasn't in the game as I ended up getting tabled.  I feel bad and owe Ken (my opponent) an apology as I am pretty sure I was big douche to him when he was just being nice.     

Screamerstar Lesson Learned:  Do EVERYTHING you can to deny a vindicare assassin a shot at your grimoire herald.   

Game 2:  Tau/Marines

The game is Purge the Alien (Kill Points) and Table Quarters deployment

Game 2 pits me against TheGraveMind. AGAIN!  Not much to say in this game.  I deployed the way I should, tried to do everything I could to prevent it, but his Alpha Strike with 5 lascannons and 2 meltaguns plus the Tau shooting left me with a couple screamers and 2 Heralds plus Fateweaver and my Daemon Prince alive. 

In this game, between amazingly bad rolling on my part and crazy good rolling on his I essentially got tabled turn 3 and other than changing the list, wasn't sure what I could have done differently.  I am going to work with GraveMind on this as he and I are going to play in the team tournament together for the upcoming FrostyCon.  

Screamerstar Lesson Learned:  Sometimes no matter what you do, a list can counter what you have on the table.

Game 3:  Imperial Guard/Daemons

The game is Crusade with Vanguard Strike Deployment

 By this point, I was upset.  I did however start feeling better when I saw the matchup and thought I could win this game.  I want to scrape out some dignity.  We start and I get deployment and first turn!  At least I thought.   

I deploy everything as far forward as I can, in an attempt to get a turn 1 multi-assault or at very least a good round of shooting as he had positioned himself quite far forward as well.  We get ready to start and HE SEIZES!  Of course he does.  With my deployment, I knew I was in trouble.  

First round finds him putting 3 wounds on Fateweaver and a couple on my Screamerstar.  I thought it wasn't such a bad deal considering the circumstances.  I start flying my FMCs and move Fateweaver away, while moving my Prince forward.    The Screamerstar grimoires up and  starts shooting.  I figured I needed to take care of what was in front of my (a Slaneesh Prince) and unload into him.  Here is where I made my second big mistake of the game.  I misfortune the Prince and proceed to forget I had misfortuned him.  So all of that shooting does no wounds and doesn't force him to land to give me a chance to kill him with my Prince. 

Instead what happens is I end up in 5 rounds of combat with the Prince due to some atrocious rolling (1 round saw me whiff 14 Re-Rolling AP2 hits).  I did force him to take 4 instability checks but due to IWND and some good rolling on his part he makes them all but the last due to putting all of my attacks against a daemonette squad that came to support the fight.  Making him lose the combat by 9.  Problem is his second Prince had engaged by this point and I basically was in no position to last second contest.  

Screamerstar Lesson Learned:  You MUST get out of combats as quick as possible to allow the Screamerstar to move on.

I definitely think that the event allowed me to learn some lessons and has made me reconsider my support options at this level.  You learn nothing by winning all the time so this was definitely humbling.  1500 is just a tough place to have 800 points locked up in 1 unit but it makes your strategic choices just that much more import.  I am definitely reconsidering the Prince in the list as it definitely ties up a lot of points as well. 

Well that's my rant for tonight.  

I hope to be posting some more hobby posts soon.

Thanks for reading!


  1. This is ken, your round one opponent. Apology accepted, and really, you were not as bad as you think you were. And anytime you want another match, you can find me in the facebook groups for 40k in the area.

  2. I do think not getting first turn any game really did hurt you a lot. That and playing at 1500, really makes you rely on screamer star to do its work, where it didn't get to.

  3. Even playing it myself, I don't have faith in Screamerstar at 1500 as an all-comers list. It's too low for it to function properly.

    For me, I end up with a blindspot toward Flyers and heavy anti-MC, because I'm not willing to play a 300+ point MC on top of it at 1500; stacking another expensive model into that list at that point level is a nightmare, and a single DP is just too easily countered by the vast majority of armies if you don't hit the right rolls.

    And a note: I think you're making a mistake by trying to "balance" your Heralds, in that you're putting your Locus on the Herald who doesn't have an Exalted Gift.

    It's one of those things that most people do by habit, but there's no real practical reason for it. It's honestly better to have a "worst" Herald (or two, at full 4) in the event that you have to sacrifice one for whatever reason--I always put my Locus on the second Exalted (Portalglyph) Herald, since he is hypothetically the most protected.

    That way if there's ever any situation that requires a Herald being put at risk (splitting off early, challenges, etc) it's no longer a hard decision of having to give up something important no matter what.

  4. Great points! I will definitely look at making the herald change. 1500 is crazy rough and I am addressing both troop vulnerability and fliers/mc with the new firestorm redoubt ( at leasty for Frostycon).

  5. Just as a suggestion, I run the screamer star but I only run it with 2 heralds and 6 Screamers. Now I took it to a 1250 point event and came in second only because the hounds I was running counted as a scoring unit and we tied the last game. Here is my list

    1 Kairos
    2 HoT 1 has the groire both are P3
    2 squads of Horrors (11 each)
    20 seekers
    20 Hounds
    6 scremaers
    (for 1850)
    2 SoulGrinders with Phlegm Bombs

    Now I know this is a rudimentary list but I have only lost 1 tournament game with it. I also use the grimore to buff the seekers or the hounds round 1 because they are the in your face danger and most people shoot at them first forgetting to take out the screamers, also the screamers can jink for a 4 up cover save. I gave up on Demon Princes as they just don't get enough done fore the price, 20 dogs = 40 wounds and 60 attacks on the charge, 20 seekers = 20 wounds and 80 attacks on the charge with rending. also happens at init 5. Just some thoughts for you to consider.

    My email is if you want to kick around or share ideas,