Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mechanicon 2010 Recap (Part 1)

I should have done this last month when it was fresh. Since this blog is about my Eldar army and 40k in general, I will give an accounting of how the army (and I) performed.

I took part in the Friday Night Fight as I was lucky enough to get Friday off. This allowed me to get 3 critical practice games in that I learned loads. Although IA lists were allowed, I only played against one player using them.


Game One

Played against Mike's (Showcase Comics guy) Mega Dread/Kanwall/Grot Tank IA army. Basically I had horrible rolls the entire game. Mike was gracious and we had a great game despite my horrible rolling and the fact that I was unable to really lay down more than 1-2 vehicle damage results with each firing unit I had. His squadrons were able to pretty much keep putting all damage on one poor sap in the squad. His Grot Tank commander was also a little bastage and blew up 2 of my transports. Essentially since he got first turn I watched him deploy all over the field and I castled up in a corner. I didn't realize that megadreads were large blast templates (doh). We never really got into combat as I played keep-away fairly well, but the losses I took when I lost tanks because of the megadread kannon vaporizing my guys. In the end it was all down to die rolls my deployment being a bit too conservative. I lost but had a GREAT time with Mike.

Game Two

I played against a guy using a 4 drop pods (two ironclads, two tac squads) and a Land Raider with Darnath and a Hammernator squad. I thought I had this one in the bag due to the spearhead deployment and the fact that I had Prisms. Again, I started to consider the full on reserve with my Autarch's bonus. I should have done it, but I decided to castle up, use my vypers for some cover from the impending pod-naughts. When they came in, they each popped a tank (yeesh) and then I fired everything I had minus the prisms and lances at them. I didn't even manage to do anything but shake one of them. I didn't manage ANY damage on the Land Raider advancing. I knew I was boned. I had two ironclads in my hair with nothing but a few inches between them, if I ran his second drop pods would come in and wreck me and the Land raider would have been closer to me. Again I had nothing to take care of termies except mass fire. I did, however, choose to deep strike my Warp Spiders and Autarch to not have them get pod-flamed on T2. They did fine for me, wrecking a few things and maiming some squads. But on T3 the Land Raider arrived and my forces were in disarray. I had no answer to the terminators but throw everything at them, so I did. My fire dragons were in a limp-wristed slapfight with an Ironclad and unable to kill him which was ridiculous after 3 rounds of shooting. That was another testament to my horrible rolling continuing. I started to get frustrated and even let it show... but I fought like a daemon possessed marine but still got massacred. I was unable to use mobility (I had none left really) and shot after shot did NOTHING to his units/tanks. The terminators I was able to bright lance/pulse laser/prism cannon down to Darnath and one guy, but Darnath even at one wound left killed my Autarch with some tac marine help. However, he did find out the hard way that little space elves with high init and power weapons in a 'shooty' spider squad was a bit of a knock he didn't expect.

Game Three

I played against a really nice guy with a really cool White Scars list - All bikes and a couple typhoons. One of the bike squads were scout bikers with grenade launchers. Awesome army, awesome game, for me at least. I used my mobility and mass fire solutions like prisms, and vypers (I know, you can't believe it) to absolutely slaughter him. It was pretty one sided and even when his typhoons scored a kill on a tank I just ran over and dropped my spider/Autarch death on them and they disappeared. Then I just hopped the spiders on the far side of the board chasing him as he chased the rest of my army in my infield. The spiders/Autarch killed over 700 pts in stuff as he had no real answer for their range, mobility and harassment powers. I came into my own this game and took him apart. Massacred, he suggested he and I have a beer. It felt good to have a great game finally (skill and dice-wise) and a great beer with a great opponent. The 5 game tournament looming in the morning after a LONG Friday tourney was more appealing after getting a win.

What I learned: Mass fire kills marines. It's not elegant, but it works. Strength 6 isn't as good at killing rhinos as I'd hoped. Even with 7 shots a vyper might only get one glance (if that) if I don't roll super well on penetration on an 11 armor vehicle. Warp Spiders make short work of ANYTHING AV 11 and below due to the sick numbers of shots and the extra Autarch fusion gun. The power weapons are necessary (along with Withdraw) in order to give them hitting power on backfield infantry so they can bounce and get free movement where they want to go without using the assault jump pack moves and losing a guy half the time.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Truly Dire.

Today marks a seven day countdown to Mechanicon GT 2010. This is what I've been playing, learning up on 5th edition, getting my army complete to 1850pts for. This, as they say, is it. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I'm pretty excited. I'm also scared as hell for two reasons.

1) I didn't realize they used painting scores and somewhat encourage/score for diorama/army displays. 2) I have had a rough time at work the last two weeks so I was backed up on painting (and I'm a slow painter). However, I'm not easily spooked. These two things mean that when I got Friday off that I had to really put some time in on my last 15 Dire Avengers and my two HQs, Farseer Nilendrel and the newly acquired Autarch (conversion progress below).

I had to use Friday, because this weekend I'm also using my nerd powers for good as DM in my weekly Saturday session, and playing a pre-tournament game playtest on Sunday morning ... followed by Halloween festivities with my now 1 year old son and my wife. Busy weekend

This blog will chronicle my pre-tournament angst and painting escapade. Usually before tournaments I remake lists 10 times. The more and more I read about last year's scenarios, other peoples' lists, etc. The only thing that I have really tweaked is to add an Autarch and drop Eldrad. I need more reserve capability, and a little counterassault, which people won't really expect from a Warp Jump Generator Autarch and his Warp Spider Exarch friend. The extra fusion gun won't hurt either.

Here's the conversion on my Autarch (to be painted next week... I hope)

So, essentially, I am using Mandiblasters, so I kept his face, but he's no Scorpion so I sawed off his tassel and hangly-danglies which were replaced with some GS on his shoulder and back of his head. I added a DA Exarch plume for some regal appeal and the fact that my army is DA heavy. Also, he's got a fusion gun, but rather than convert his left hand scorpion chainsword into a PW, I used the right handed DA Exarch power sword... Then was struck with the idea to make his fusion gun a 'fusion blaster' wrist-mounted version. Just a little GS tubing to his shoulder and added the fusion fuel and blaster nozzle. So far, I'm pretty happy with him but I have to sand down the GS work. I haven't gotten good enough at sculpting it right without sanding.

Without further digression, here's the beginning work on the DAs after the blue aerosol work to base coat them (over gray primer). I was too stupid to prime the heads white separately... so.. I chose to make the helmets bone and painted them brown over the blue in 6 shades up to the antique white/bone mix that comprises the picture below. Pic 1..

I was pretty happy with the way the white started to erupt from the blue overtones of the base coat. So I decided to keep the overall antique theme. Then I decided to start the white highlight process and start on the blue basecoat fixes/highlights, then the gun highlights. The next pic is just after the white helmet highlights.

Sorry for the crappy camera-work (it was done on my phone for easy uploading) but you can see here I chose the ubiquitous yellow/black/red for the Exarch plume. The rest are all yellow for the moment until I decide if I want to Yellow/Black them or keep them straight Yellow. I used some flesh wash for the faceplates as I thought the reddish brown would accent the bone / off-white helms. The helms are updated with white highlights on the breather intakes, oval surfaces, edges of the faceplates, and also the front of the helms.

Also touched up a bit of the washing between the plume/helmets on the ones that were way darker than I wanted. The exarch's metal is just bronze with flesh wash to redden/shine it. It's something I used when doing my LotR dwarves copper-tone armor that I really like for accent details like that. Next up... all the highlights on guns, armor, and spirit stones.

I wish I could get a game or two against mech guard, space wolves razorspam, and chaos daemons just to get used to them... C'est la vie though right?

Thanks for reading. I will post a BATREP tomorrow on how I performed using 2009 Mechanicon rules against my friend's Marines. I rarely get to play MEQ armies right now as none of my regular opponents use them. I know, crazy...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cult Insider: A Day in the Life....

(Seriously, if you miss another shot with BS4, you'll never make Exarch. I got a Sunrifle gun last year, but it takes real dedication to wear this helmet and these wings. Keep working, maggot)

Lord Farseer Nilendrel gathered his warlocks and acolytes in the Dome of Seers after the Cult received its latest setback to review his force for proper application of skills for effect. The assembled leaders of the Cult murmured in anticipation of the news. None were able to divine what this meeting was about, but all sensed an uncertain or turbulent future.

As the Lord Seer entered, there was a psychic recognition and all turned in deference to the approaching master. Immediately, gasps were let loose in an uncharacteristic breach of composure that those on the Path of the Seer strive to maintain. Striding alongside the Lord Seer was a figure never before seen in this sacred place. If the Lord Seer registered the psychic shock of his underlings, he made no mark or mention. He rested his hand simply at his side and gestured the outsider forward, nodding almost imperceptibly.

Thus spoke Kaluren, Autarch, Herald of Ynnead: "War has ever been the purview of those set upon the Path. Our great leader and master, Lord Farseer Nilendrel--" at this some glanced at an impassive Lord Seer "--has recognized that recent.. setbacks.. have showcased the need for some changes in our great plan. Disposition of our strike forces will no longer be decided by the Seer Council, but be decided by the War Council with the Lord Farseer's blessing"

The slight, airy, but beautiful Warlock Farandiel's face formed what only an Eldar could tell was a grimace. Kaluren continued unabated, "I realize this is somewhat out of keeping with our tradition, but our craftworld brothers and sisters have thwarted us because they rely not just upon Vision, but honor skill and understand the importance of even an individual Warrior to change the fate of a battle."

"We must continue our fight against
She Who Thirsts, but we must do more than that. We must succeed. Our sacred goal has only two outcomes: Ynnead's holy victory or our entire race's damnation." This added by the Lord Seer. There it was. No longer is it acceptable to fail, and that means accepting the input of the Warriors instead of relying on a calculated manipulation of the timeline.

SO... in the Ynnead Cult's sailing of the road of blood and slaughter, reliance upon psychic powers and farseer augmentative effect on the force I have neglected to consider the strength of even an Autarch's simple +1 reserve roll increase. Reading tournament and battle reports recently, I've had to try and decide what to do against first strike lists like elite Force Recon Space Marine Scouts in land speeders (I know, I know... it's funny), or more realistically - the all-powerful mechanized guard--especially Air Cavalry. DoA Blood Angels, although not particularly scary could be concerning if I sit around to get melta'd.

I have a list I like at 1850, but is Eldrad worth it for Divination and 3 powers a turn if, admittedly, I'm primarily using him for Guide on the Falcon? On the flip-side, am I ignoring tweaking other units because I'm too dependent on the psyker blanket?

This, and other things have plagued me. I don't want an Autarch to sit there for 70 points doing nothing. I LOATHE units that exist just to exist (like 'so-called scoring vehicle squads'). How do I fit an Autarch in? Maybe....

Eldrad gets dropped. Junior Varsity Farseer Doesn't-have-a-cool-name who JUST learned Guide after flunking out of Fortune and Doom classes in the Dome of Seerstakes over the Falcon and I get Warp Jump Generator Autarch with ubiquitous fusion gun for romping with my Spiders (potentially dropping a spider for points for Runes of Witness/Warding).


The DAVU squad in the Falcon (60 points of suck) get dropped along with Eldrad, and instead of a lame 115 point Autarch with burny-gun.... I get farking Prince Yriel of the Burning Spear of Doomslaying with the Monocle of Marine Killing to add onto the Storm Guardian squad. That gives me 2 singing spears in that squad for tank popping alongside the Tri-Flamer templates. I get the +1 reserves, but I get Yriel to throw at things in the bargain, again... with a Guideseer only. However, I roll with 2 troops and recognize that in objective games, my objective is really to mutilate my enemy in the hopes that we draw or I garner a minor victory.

However, all these things hanging in the balance, the real change in paradigm is no longer relying on the 'civilian leadership' and making sure I listen to those military instincts sometimes. Not everyone needs a Doom or well-timed Fortune to be effective. Bladestorm can be effective without augmenting if the squad size is right.

This leads to the next post, where I plan to talk about purely military issues. What is the right squad size and load-lout for Exarchs leading their squads deep into enemy territory--outside of the aid of the Seers. Specifically, Warp Spiders and out-flanking Scorpions. What does it take to make them go from 'meh' to critical mass effectiveness? We'll talk soon, friends. I have experience to impart.

Symbolic of this, and honoring what is done when an Exarch steps alone into the Temple of the Bloody-Handed God to wake the terrible Avatar in times of dire need, all around the Autarch, bows of respect were given. His helmet in hand, the Autarch departed the Dome, eager to gather his Exarchs for war... for in the end, there is only war and death.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

News at 11: Waaagh! Incited by Eldar Death Cult

Some of Nilendrel's fellow Farseers might call him crazy. What with being obsessed with the noble death of his own entire race so She Who Thirsts can be destroyed by Ynnead. He tries everything, really. He's tried being diplomatic, he tried forcing them or killing them. However, with his own dwindling cult numbers starting to be a burden to his plan. Instigating conflict is the logical next step.

After last game's direct confrontation against D'Ork's Camo-world Eldar BDA here, Lord Farseer Nilendrel assembled his small Warlock contingent to seek out the easiest enemy to incite against the resistant Eldar craftworld. The opposing Farseer is powerful, perhaps as powerful as Nilendrel, so Mon-Keigh mercenaries and other agents of the cult were dispatched to create the proper conditions for the time-line to be born.

Orks were considered the easiest to manipulate, and most likely not care that they were being manipulated even if they managed to figure it out--so long as the Waaagh! was successful. As D'Ork's Eldar were transiting an Ork-held system, stolen communications gear was used to send a fake distress signal from Camo-world Rangers that the web-way had been found and was in danger of being overrun.

The truth is that the Orks' local water supplies were poisoned by the Cult (blessed are their works) and the Orks mobilized to find a fresh supply near the hidden gate. Camo-world Eldar came through the gate and engaged the Orks to protect the gate so it could be saved or sealed if discovered.

In this rematch, neither D'Ork nor I relished another floating grav-tank slap fight. So I suggested he bring his Orks over as well as his Eldar. After last game he's made some adjustments to his list, namely scrapping a couple dragons, putting the Farseer in a DA serpent, adding a second Holo-Prism (which he borrowed from the Ynnead Cult reserve force for the battle).


Farseer, Guide, Doom, Runes, Stones
7x DAs, Exarch, Dualcats, Bladestorm
Serpent, Scatterlasers, Stones

7x DAs, Exarch, Dualcats, Bladestorm
Serpent, EMLs, Stones

6x Fire Dragons
Serpent, Scatterlasers, Stones

6x Scorpions, Exarch, Claw, Shadowstrike

3x Scatterwalkers
Prism, Holo-fields
Prism, Holo-fields

My list, made from his Orks:

Mek, Cybork, KFF
19x Shoota Boyz, 1x Big Shoota, Nob, PK, Bosspole
Battlewagon, Ram, 2x Shootas

Mek, Cybork, SAG
19x Boyz, Nob, PK, Bosspole
Battlewagon, Ram, 2x Shootas

12x Boyz, Nob, PK, Bosspole
Trukk, Planks, Big Shoota

12x Boyz, Nob, PK, Bosspole
Trukk, Planks, Big Shoota

10x Kommandos, Big Shoota, Burna w/Snikky

2x Deff Koptas w/TL Rokkits
2x Deff Koptas w/TL Rokkits
2x Warbuggies w/TL Rokkits

Well... The Orks were unsuccessful in defeating the Eldar Host, but managed moderate damage. The scenario was Dawn of War deployment with objectives, but since we forgot to set them up (brainfart) we went for Victory Points. Dawn of war seemed like a boon to the Orks against a full mech force, but this is when I REALLY wanted to be able to be able to throw Nobs in a wagon.

I really wanted to find out the finer points of infiltration, scout moves, outflanking, etc. Since Dawn of War screwed up my scout moves on the Koptas, I wasn't able to run up and make him shoot me. Instead, he (even through cover) neutered my two trukks that I was able to deploy. could have been worse.

Essentially the game went as it should have gone if *I* was playing against Orks, he shut down my mobility, stood off from me, and shot my boyz down slowly and painfully as I trudged across the board. The real winners were the right/central koptas and buggies. They managed quite a few damage results on tanks, taking out a prism's weapon, and destroying another. Snikky didn't make it in until later. He hadn't finished smoking a cigar or something, so he had no armored targets to get to within 12 inches. However, the Farseer and DA retinue that had GuiDoom Bladestormed, then finished off my KFF Mek and friends in assault was licking his wounds near their wrecked transport at his board edge. That's pretty much the only thing I really 'accomplished.'

Snikky murdered him and the remnants, then looked around and realized that the battle was already over. The remaining prism, EML Serpent, and by then outflanked scorpions and walkers were on my left, while I was right-center trying to get to him on foot. Luckily the game ended on bottom of T4 or I would have been tabled T5.

In contrast to the previous game, his rangers were near worthless, inflicting one wound the entire game. The scorpions took their chance on T2, coming in and annihilating my 'cleverly' left flanking koptas. They spent 2 turns running across the board before taking out the SAG Mek with pistols and engaging the scattered remnants of the second BW squad.

These 'brother' Eldar are canny opponents. They have thwarted our plans for too long. The next engagement will have to be a decisive victory or the Cult will lose focus. I believe another direct confrontation must be forced.

Until next time, brothers..

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Warp Widow

Well, D'Ork came over with his burgeoning Eldar army and we played a 1500 point game as I mentioned in my previous entry. The outcome was definitely something I was anxious to see, but more importantly i was just happy to be playing again after months of inactivity. My squeezed down 1850-into-1500 points list had some good firepower, but it also had some flaws that I was hoping didn't get exploited.

I think D'Ork is planning on doing up a full on BATREP, so I will just do a tactical review on some of the more important maneuvers. Scatterlasers shook my tanks repeatedly. This was something I was unused to playing against Orks so often. Spirit Stones until this game had been a strategic move so I didn't get too used to playing against range-handicapped enemies. I will pretty much say they are a necessity in an Eldar army.

My attempt to use Spiders, Dragons, AND a Warlock with a Singing Spear to open up his right-flanking DA Serpent really failed horribly as all I did was lay it out on the table for the impending outflank. When it happened, it happened bad. Both Scorpions and the Scatterwalkers came in on my right flank while my dragons and storm guardians were just sitting ducks. The Scorpions owned my Guardians. Walkers downed some spiders and were sorta killed shortly after.

My inability to do anything to Pathfinders in mid-field without committing a unit that would be dropped instantly by one of the Bladestorm units in left or right flanks is what really killed my strategy. I was really timid while he was bold and had fire control of the field. He shook my tanks repeatedly. Bright lances are pretty useless on a single 2+ invul save ranger so I started really, really wishing I had some scatters. My Shuricannon serpent tried in vain to stop them.

These rangers... They killed Warp Spiders, they dropped one of my tanks, they controlled the board and kept me away. This allowed the Fire Dragons, which admittedly he mistakenly put forth WAY too early to pretty much run unabated killing things before I finally ran in with my Farseer to stop them (that stupid combat against 2 dragons lasted the rest of the game... )

However... one truly scary thing happened. My Warp Spider Exarch became the Black Widow of Death. He just jumped around alone after his squad suffered death after death. He wounded a hiding Farseer, dropped Warwalkers, troops, tanks, everything. He even tried to be a hero and help the Farseer against the dragons... Someone wished they'd spent 10 points on powerblades after that! Anyway, he kept my losing battle going for a while. I lost the game, but for him I would have had more than just a 100 point difference lost.

I think I'm going to call him Warp Widow now. He's a super hero of the future. He will hate Pathfinders and their ilk for all eternity or until he dies, whichever comes first.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Eldar on Eldar Crime

Today's entry is a two-part foray into the miniature wargaming hobby: First - (Left) is a shot of the front of my new Fire Prism as professionally done by the Man in the Mask at The Phantom Project. I'll get to that shortly. Second: I have a game scheduled for Saturday after what seems like months since my last one... oh, wait - It has been months. Needless to say, I'm excited.. but I'm saying it anyway!

Normally I would blog about these things separately, however today they are related. First, Man in the Mask finished my tanks within a week and a half (2 Prisms, 2 Vypers) and they will complete my 1850 list. They look amazing and even after the insane heat cracked the dullcoat, he sanded it down and repainted the affected parts immediately. His dedication and quality are outstanding. I have never been able to use a non-proxy prism and it really makes me happy to finally have it on the table. You complete me, Prism. Really. Also, my list only included Prisms at 1850, but since my game is scheduled for a little Eldar on Eldar action at 1500 points: I'm going to scrap my old 1500 list and completely remodel it based on my current 1850 list.

So, there you have it. They are related! So, it occurred to me that D'Ork of Wasted Knights blog fame has shared his list of ever expanding Eldar miniatures with me, and I know I'm going to be facing all of them plus a proxy or two. To level the playing field, I'm going to pony the list I intend to use this weekend here.

The only requisite unit will be one or both Prisms. So let's get cracking. I've got a Cult to mobilize: YNNEAD RISES!

Here it is:

Ynnead Cult Strike Force - 1500 pt list

103 - Farseer Nilendrel, Guide, Runes of Witnessing and Warding, Singing Spear

96 - 6x Fire Dragons
120 - Wave Serpent, TL Shuriken Cannons, Shuriken Cannon, Spirit Stones

152 - 10x Dire Avengers w/Exarch, Dual Avenger Catapults, Bladestorm
145 - Wave Serpent, TL Bright Lances, Shuriken Cannon, Spirit Stones

130 - 10x Storm Guardians w/2x Flamers + Warlock Faeress w/Singing Spear, Destructor
145 - Wave Serpent, TL Bright Lances, Shuriken Cannon, Spirit Stones

Fast Attack
165 - 6x Warp Spiders w/Exarch, Dual Deathspinners, Withdraw

Heavy Support
190 - Falcon, Bright Lance, Holo-fields, Spirit Stones
125 - Fire Prism, Spirit Stones
125 - Fire Prism, Spirit Stones

1495 pts

This list centers around mobility, keeping the opponent at arm's length, and doing my best to fire a shotgun point blank if they get too close for comfort. I've never used Warp Spiders or Fire Prisms at 1500. I took stock of my 1850 list, and reduced the potency of some units and took out others completely to make this list. Nilendrel got demoted from 'counts as Eldrad Ulthuan, to a middling Guide-seer, the Vypers are gone, the Warp Spiders are down 2 Spiders, and I dropped the Farseer's Dire Avenger guards. I pointedly kept it to a scaled down version of my 1850 list because D'ork's working with what he's got. I wasn't going to try to build a tailored list.

I hated to drop the Vypers, but I really love Warp Spiders and they are a unit that if you get out of practice with, will burn a deep hole in your list that you will regret. I've never had a unit that I treated with deference and respect, but believe me when I say this: Warp Spiders have a relationship with the Dice Gods. If you fail to show them the proper respect, you will regret it.

Can't wait to crack open a beer, set up the modular table and terrain, and see just how much my Eldar are devoted to the cause. My guess is, no matter who wins, many Eldar souls will head to the infinity matrix. I guess that means Ynnead wins no matter what!


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Community of Error

On the road to competitive gaming, it's easy to get jumbled in a chorus of often conflicting advice and data. What I want to open up with a scalpel is what happens when people repeat ideas given by others over and over until there is no real conversation on a given unit or tactic's use.

Even good ideas, when they're practically dogmatic can become bad ideas in certain circumstances. There are blogs on the internet such as this one dedicated to gaming, but there are also forums and websites where things are discussed ad nauseum. Posters who get sort of persona dramatis status usually do so because they have a record of success or are viewed as the elite amongst a flood of amateurs.

These personas need only drop a condescending helpful hint that x unit, y wargear, or z tactic is the correct one, implying contradicting posters are obviously wrong, to scare off new posters from using contradicting methods. However, worse is when new posters don't read the historical discourse and ask the question.. garnering responses from peripheral posters espousing the original thought that they are immediately wrong. Then it becomes the telephone game. People start repeating advice without knowing the context of why and how it was given. It's not ALWAYS a bad idea to take hunter-killer missiles on all your tanks if your intent is to form an alpha strike style list. 100 points to have 10 more S8 shots on T1 may be totally acceptable to you.

Eldar are definitely an army that new people are basically given a list of good and bad based on community affirmed knowledge and not any thought on the tactics, models actually owned, or anything else the original poster had behind his/her list.

Not to say these opinions don't change. I believe that they do. For a while, it was considered forum etiquette for at least one person to suggest a new Eldar player load up on a Seer Council (wargear up for debate somewhat) and that they were the icepick to the enemy's skull. However, in recent months I've noticed a switch. People previously touting mechanized or jetbike councils have been somewhat mute. When people post that they are making a list with a council, there are usually voices to suggest they neuter the squad for point vs. efficacy reasons--or drop them altogether in favor of the newest spam units like Dire Avengers and suicide Fire Dragons.

Use these communities to see what other people view as 'the norm,' competitively, but do not take it as the gospel. For a while people thought the only viable build for Eldar was mechanized until players like Blackmoor started winning - not just friendly games mind you - but tournament games regularly with a ground pounding list using some pretty unorthodox units. I found it easier to just rip these forums for knowledge about how people play the armies that I don't get to face often. I read army codices for ideas on how I would play them and make army lists to fit that theme.

If I read the Imperial Guard codex and I am suddenly filled with awe at the idea of a mass troop blob assault guard list -- you know, something ridiculous like 150 guardsmen backed up by Straken, a couple of eviscerator missionaries, several armed commissars, and a good bit of artillery backup -- then I want to know how to make my vision work, not be told something like 'Drop the missionaries, they suck' when they are, besides Straken, the heart of the strategy. It may be a simple strategy. It may be weak in the end, but when people don't give you rationale besides knowledge they gained as mere hearsay, they aren't giving you sound advice. I'd probably get told to take 6 Vendettas, 5 Vet squads, and a Company Command Squad and call it good right?

My point exactly. People want advice, or at least tried and true reflections of why their intended strategy could/will fail. They don't want you to tell them they are incapable of playing unless they use the newest flavor of the month list. Take care to form strategies in your lists to counter the newest lists, but don't drink the kool-aid before you test the waters yourself. Proxy that Vyper before you write them off because someone told you they suck or they don't fit in your list. They may be repeating conventional knowledge that turns out to be not so conventional.

Sometimes, my friends, moar dakka isn't so great.