Post by Andrew Campbell
Batman Miniature Game Tournament Meta
Knight Models has recently released the Crew lists of the Top Five finishers in the UK, Spain, and Canada World Tournaments. With these lists now published, I thought it was time to take a look at what models have brought success at the top level of tournament play.
[Editor’s note: the first article by BMG writer Andrew Campbell. Welcome to the SW team!!]
Batman and Joker/Harley gangs showed in great number. Ivy, League and Bane all made an appearance. Surprise absentees include Penguin and Two-Face who seem to have full-sized bands and skills that would lead to success.
There was only 1 Batman-led gang, and that was the Batpod. Very curious.
Titan Bane is a surprise. He seems too slow to actually engage and benefit from his high combat skills. And the lack of Blood damage could be a serious issue. But, maybe that’s just my preference for high movement rates showing through.
Nightwing was the only Sidekick used as Boss.
Only 4 lists had a Leader and a Sidekick; Joker/Harley, Batpod/Gordon, Ras/Talia, and Harley/Hammer. These were also the only lists that did not take any Free Agents.
Almost every list had at least two ranged weapons.
Large models made it into roughly half the top crews.
Catwoman and Deadshot seem to be the most prevalent Free Agents. Robin and Azreal were the only other Free Agents taken more than once.
A fair amount of “themed” lists make the top ranks. There’s a Gotham Sirens list, some Harley and her crew, and a pair of ninja-only Leagues.
Where are the hordes? A very common comment in terms of the game is that the horde gangs seem superior. But only two of the top 15 gangs had 10 models (and 10 being the most in a gang), while the most common number was 7. There’s even a 5-model gang that placed second in Canada.
While BMG might be a character-driven game in terms of setting, the tabletop is a different issue. There’s no Bat Family crew, Suicide Squad or Watchmen in the top lists. It’s the henchmen that are driving the games.
Evaluate and anticipate. Critically read your opponent’s list and try to figure out their plan. Is there a highly mobile model that is likely to chase after an objective? How do you counter? Are they using Arrest/DK Scarecrow to remove KO models? Is there an obvious close combat monster? Do you counter with a fair fight, a sacrifice, or by avoidance?
Some of the seemingly most feared combat models didn’t make the top tables. Not a single Deathstroke as a Free Agent. Only the Batpod to represent the Dark Knight. No Titan Joker, Swamp Thing, Clayface. Seems like, for the most part, there is not much need to plan for those ultimate combat engines. (Of course, please recall that Titan Bane won in the UK.)
Without much surprise, there were a couple of favored Free Agents.
Deadshot has such an incredible rules set that he can dominate the shooting side of the game. And he comes cheaply. Expect to have to deal with his high ROF, high ammo, and nightvision. Movement and placement are key to avoid this terror.
Catwoman is there to grab Loot, run away and rack up the VP. Once you see her on a list, you know this is the plan. It’s a good idea to have a fast model (Acrobat or Batclaw) that can chase her and contest. Remember, you do not have to KO her, just be able to keep up and stay in base-to-base in order to contest. It also means your opponent with have Loot on the table, so be prepared to try to take advantage of that.
Despite the fear they might dominate the game, swarms are nearly absent from the top lists. This might be a nod to the time limits, painting requirements, or just personal taste. But, for now, the tournament scene is not about the swarms. Recognize that you will not have to tailor your list for bringing down or stalling large mobs.
The shooting game is important. It often has Blood damage. It’s where your opponent will try to limit your movement by threating lanes. It’s usually the start of wounding. Therefore, you should consider some factors:
- Your opponent is fairly likely to bring an ammo crate. Take advantage. If you are using shooting weapons, stock up on ammo from their (usually closer) crate. Guard their crate, as it gives your opponent the highest per-turn VP. Deny them ammo by not bringing a crate yourself. Plan your own shooting with the knowledge that you might not have access to more ammo.
- This is not Infinity; you do not have to fear shooting while you move. Feel free to move in the open with your models, just be sure to end movement in some cover.
- Know the rules and abilities. Nightvision, Total Vision, Master Shooter, Short Range, Thrown, etc.
- Tactically understand the dangers. Can one of your models take a shot from Deadshot, if it means others are moving forward safely? Should you try to draw out poor shots to eat away at a model’s ammo?
- Turtling could potentially work. With Dodge, Ping roles from friendly models, and First Aid kits should be able to move an individual model where you need it to be, though maybe at the expense of another model.
Obviously, make lists that work for you and enjoy the game. I’ve been working on lists for Birds of Prey since the first day I got models. I’m constantly trying to find a use for Copperhead and Killer Frost. I’ve considered the possible effects of using a Sidekick for a boss with nearly every gang.
These are just observations from a BMG gamer that come from the top tournament lists from this year’s International Batman Day. Use them. Forget them. Share them. Add to them. But, make sure you enjoy the game.