Monday 14 October 2013

Dealing with "Screamer-Star"

So, those of you who follow "the meta" of 40K will have heard a little about a particularly horrible build called "The Screamer Star".

For those of you who don't follow what particular finest cheese people are working on at the moment, the build works as follows:

- Take a massive unit of Tzeentch Screamers
- Take Fateweaver
- Take four Tzeentch heralds on discs
- The heralds all try and get the Demonic Reward called the Grimoire
- Take lots of divination magic

These all combine together to end up with the Screamers gaining a 4+ invulnerable save, which the Grimoire then adds a +2 to result in a 2+ invulnerable save - and Tzeentch demons get to re-roll and saves which roll a 1. In short, a very fast 2+ invulnerable save unit which re-rolls the 1s.

This is something which people have been having a lot of trouble dealing with, unsurprisingly. In general, people have been looking at:

  • Sniping out the guy with the Grimoire
  • Waiting for the turn when the Grimoire reduces the save instead of increasing (unlikely, due to Fateweaver's reroll)
  • Shoot Fateweaver in the face to increase the risk of the Grimoire failing
  • Putting a tough resilient unit into close combat with the Screamers to tie them up for as long as possible
So, I started wondering how else you could murder them dead. I worked out if volume of fire could do it. Well, it would take 144 lasgun shots using "First Rank Fire" to take down a fully buffed up Screamer, and 1,296 to take out a full unit. So . . . that won't work.

I then remembered the Grey Knight Banisher, who is a Henchman who forces any demon within 6" to re-roll their successful save. Yes, there are some challenges in getting him in place. But that would take it down to 24 lasguns per Screamer - much more achievable for the Guard. Why so good? Because of the rule on Page 5 which states that no-one can be allowed to re-roll, no matter the source. If the demons re-roll their successful save, they can't then re-roll it a second time..

What I'm curious about is if there are any other, more commonly available powers which also force re-rolls of successful saves. Anyone got any ideas?


  1. On my Battlefield Birmingham 4 tournament post that went up on G+ WH40K community, someone asked much the same question. Here's the reply I gave:

    Any anti-psychic is worth its weight in gold - top candidates include Rune Priests (Space Wolves), Shadow of the Warp (Tyranids), and Mindstorm missiles (Grey Knights) all put the fear in.

    They try and keep their Troops off the board until late-game, using Divinations powers/comms relay/etc and spawn more using late-game Portal Glyph, so do everything you can to neutralise those. Remember that you can kill the Portal Glyph.

    For objectives-based games, try and keep your Troops out of danger as much as possible - either by reserves, transports, outranging, every method you have to keep them alive to sit on objectives at the end.

    Fliers are not safe despite lack of Skyfire in the build - Fateweaver can vector-strike, and three-four Heralds can roll a LOT of dice using Flickering Fire, re-rolling with Prescience. They will also likely Ignore Cover due once again to Divination powers, so no Jink saves or the like.

    If you plan on tarpitting the unit, be advised the Screamers can choose to do a nasty single S5 AP2 Armourbane attack in melee instead of their normal 3 Attacks each if they wish.

    Leap on any chance you can get to kill the Heralds - if the Grimoire roll fails, or Forewarning fails, pounce as hard and as fast as you can, remember the Screamers have more than one wound and are a tough screen.

    Don't waste time trying to kill a 2++ rerollable save unit. It's also mostly a waste of time to try when they're 3++ rerolling 1s, but not quite as much.

    Finally, kill their Troops. Troops win 5 games out of 6, as a general rule. All you need to do is hold one more objective than them, pretty much - eyes on the prize. With kill-points, kill what's killable and try to limit what the Screamer Council can do as much as possible since your chances of killing them are remote.

  2. as soon as it's obvious that someone is pulling this tactic, remove all your models and put them back carefully in your figure case, saying not a word. Shake your opponent's hand and leave. If enough people do this, maybe he'll eventually work out that playing the meta means he's not playing at all.

    1. It depends on the circumstances. I don't mind playing a tweaked out tournament list of death if someone told me in advance that's what the game of the day was, and I'd had an opportunity to be unrepentantly full of vile abuses of probability back...

      Its all about etiquette. Hell, even if someone said "Hey, I'm trying to get some practice in with my Screamer-Star list, would you mind" before they put their models on the table, that's cool - as long as it wasn't that game every week.

      For all the headline "2+ invulnerable save", its actually quite hard to set up all your ducks in a row to get it working as 'designed'. There's a lot of things that can go wrong.

  3. This list will rarely win a tournament - it's random enough that it won't reliably get everything that it needs, every game. It'll do well, but it's not something that you can use personal skill to overcome it's issues when it has bad rolls. Granted, it'll win games - but it won't win tournaments.

  4. Dual con screamer star went 1&2.

    If your not playing wolves or nids or GK I think the best option is to tar-pit, and try deal with the rest of the army.

    the star normally doesn't score and costs in excess of 800 points, so the rest of the army will probably be thin on the ground.

    1. Odds are that that'll happen every now and then. :-) They didn't at Battlefield Birmingham 4.

  5. And now we can add new Sister of Battle to list of Screamer-Star counters.