My Entry for Dave Taylor’s “Steel Legion” Contest

Image copyright by Games Workshop

In December of last year, Dave Taylor had a contest entitled “Cold Dark… and Steel Legion” which challenged his audience to craft a themed list for his steel legion force.  Naturally, I entered, and was picked as one of the finalists, but alas, I didn’t win.  I wasn’t hurt at all though, because this particular contest was really fun to participate in.  So my list doesn’t drift away into oblivion, I thought I’d post it here, along with my underlying logic.

Before we get too far, let’s get into the requirements.  Dave was looking for a themed list that was balanced, fun, and competitive.  Yeah, good luck, right?  On top of it, it had the following requirements:

  • The list had to have options for competitive play (at 1500, 1750, and 1850 points) and a 3000 point Apocalypse varient.
  • The list had to fit the theme of a Steel Legion force (and Dave dutifully provided this link to the 40k Lexicanum on the army)

I’m a fan of contests which allow me to be creative, so I figured I had to enter.  So, I took what I knew about the Steel Legion (mostly from reading the Lexicanum article) and went to work.

There were some things that I just had to include, based upon the background fluff:

  • Commissar Yarrick – The most notorious character in the IG army, founded on Steel Legion fluff… he had to be included.
  • Steel Legion Sentinels – For those of us dinosaurs that were around when CODEX: Armageddon was released, we recall that prior to that point, lascannons weren’t an option for sentinels.  Because of this, when I think Steel Legion, these guys immediately come to mind.
  • Tanks – Being a mechanized force, this was a no brainer.  I had to include troops in chimeras, and at least one Leman Russ, but really, the more then merrier.
  • Apocalyptic Boom! – A generic term (which I will soon copyright) meant to indicate that the list just needed some pizzazz when it scaled up to the 3000 point Apoc variant.  The likely culprit here was going to be a Stormsword, because the Lexicanum referenced those multiple times.

Then there were other things that I wanted to include, but weren’t strictly necessary:

  • Hellhound Variants: Since they’re billed as being “extremely mobile”  and as a “rapid assault force,” having fast tanks would fit the theme nicely.
  • Big Guns: From the way the list is shaping up so far, I wanted to be sure to include some sort of big guns into the mix.  Not so much to keep with the theme, but to ensure that the list could be relatively competative in a metagame saturated with other mechanized armies.
  • Ratlings: Ok, it doesn’t have to be ratlings per se, but something to give the list a little character and set it apart from the other entries.  I wanted to include ratlings because of a comment left in response to this House of Paincakes article: “While Lexicanum says Ratlings are fine, I remember the original Steel Legion fluff from Codex:Armageddon, and they certainly were not fine then. I trust me more than I trust Lexicanum.”  Perhaps that’s me just being an antagonist though…
  • General Fluff:  Just to ensure things are tied in as best as possible, I wanted to include other things that were referenced in the article, such as a predaliction towards missile and grenade launchers in the squads.  Such changes would make the list less competative, but more fluffy…

Image copyright by Games Workshop

When I started to make the list, I did so as I would any list.  I included those “must have” things in the first section (starting with an HQ and two units of troops) and tried to build the smallest list variant (aka. 1500 points).  I ran into problems though, as Yarrick is pretty pricey at that value, and I knew I had to include him the Apoc game.  I then spent a couple of hours trying to fiddle with how to configure chunks in the list that could be bolted on to increase the points levels as he grew the army.  Yes, I said several hours (mostly spent coming up with oodles of ideas that just didn’t quite work out).  And then, logic entered the equation.

I’m sure many of you immediately thought: build a 1500 point list, a 100 point addition, a 250 point addition and a 1150 apocalyptic addition: that way, you can just snap a larger list together like from the smaller building blocks.  Perhaps you’ve done this sort of thing before, or perhaps you’re just smarter than me.  Either way, I came to the realization eventually…

But then I quickly discarded the idea as rubbish.  My core problem is I couldn’t find a solution that I liked which enabled me to snap 100 points of anything to a 1750 point list in order to expand that to 1850.  Try as I might, I couldn’t seem to do so in a fashion that would: 

  1. Not require Dave to paint up a seperate model (so upgrading a flamer to a melta gun was out of the question) and
  2. Not put him over on FoC slots when coupled with units used previously.

Seriously, what can IG get for a nice even 100 points?  Most tanks are too pricey, as are units (considering each really should be mounted in a chimera).  For those units that are less than 100 points, what would I do with the remainder? 

So, I decided to trounce that idea, and instead compartmentalize my force into smaller blocks.  The idea would be that the 1750 army would not simply be the 1500 with 250 more points added to it, but instead be a force on it’s own that could use parts from the original force, or new parts as necessary–pulling from the spare 1150 Apoc points pool.

With that in mind, I again began with the must haves, and filtered them into the list where I could.  Yarrick, a Stormlord, and an Apocalyptic formation of Stompa Hunters (enabling me to use the sentinels, and theme an a true Battle for Armageddon style list) were the first additions.  This core would give me a fun and thematic list at 3000 points, and would make a competitive list in Apoc (Titans quake at the thought of double-tapping str10 lascannons).

Then I went to work on the forces themselves.  I started by adding an infantry platoon and a squad of vets, all in chimeras.  The platoon command squad would then be used as is, or as a company command squad in some of the lists.  Sentinels were included at every point level (with 9 of them–the minimum for the Apoc formation–you really have to), and then threw in some hydras, a Manticore, and a Leman Russ for support. 

With the 1500, 1750, and 1850 point lists completed, I had a few more points kicking around, for apolcaypse, so I added a Deathstrike Missile Launcher.  How can you beat that for fun?

I’m proud of the end result: a list that I feel is “competitive” (just don’t let someone from YTTH hear that), but still fluffy and fun.  No, the list didn’t have any vedettas (which I felt was necessary, since that unit didn’t exist when CODEX: Armageddon was released), and no, it wasn’t purely melta spam.  I would’ve liked to have slipped in a devil-dog variant or two, but the sentinels did a number on my available fast attack slots. 

Click to download a copy of my proposed list

Click here (or the picture to the left) to view the submitted list in it’s entirety.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the list isn’t min-maxed, but it still has enough solid elements that it should hold up in a competitive situation.  In the end though, Dave opted to go with a different list.  The winner’s suggestion also provided a fluffy list, and I really can’t say anything bad about it.  It had many of the same aspects as my list did, but was more focused on tanks (including 2 hellhounds and 4 Leman Russ variants).  One idea that stood out particularly well is the use of Salvar Chem Dogs as penal legion.  Stuart obviously had a better grasp of the fluff, and knew these shock troops were used during the third War for Armageddon.  Good work there!  You can see his list in it’s entirety at Dave’s website.

So, congrats to Stuart on a well-crafted, beautifully themed list.    I’m not sad in the least that I didn’t win, and that’s because I had so much fun trying to think up an out of the box solution to the problem at hand.  Perhaps it’s because I so very rarely encounter scalable lists (seeing as I make a completely new list for every game I play), or perhaps it’s because Dave didn’t even say what the prize would be for the winner.  But if you’ve ever seen Dave’s models, you know the real prize will just be to see the finished product.

Get to painting, Dave: your public awaits!


3 comments on “My Entry for Dave Taylor’s “Steel Legion” Contest

  1. WOO a list post !!!1!

    You should hit me up if you find another contest like this, nothin i love better then list building…

    I like your lists, i of course love the stompa hunter formation….i have the models for it i just need to get back to converting the rest of them into my mecha sentinels so i can field it some day….. Combine a stompa hunter group with precision strike, or the Valkyrie character steel eagle for some insane super heavy killing power. If you bring steel eagle, you can forgoe the precision strike and buy them plasma cannons instead, this makes up for their accuracy and helps make em useful against anything you face.

    Yarrick is a good close combat asset, but he really needs something to support. Be it a large clump of basic troopers with some power weapons buried within, or a tricked out command squad(my preference) basically i look at Yarrick as a vastly more expensive, but much better and survivable, version of the Ministrum priest.

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