N18 New player - Advice on Van Saar list building

LazyLion

New Member
Dec 6, 2020
8
2
3
Hey everyone!

So I'm pretty much new to necromunda and today, I finally got my first Van Saar box. I was getting ready to assemble and magnetize everything first and then figure out a 1k credit list for a campaign with friends (they'll be playing Escher and Palanites).

Checking the box content I see this would be most likely a nightmare to magnetize (it seems perfectly fine doing so from the shoulders but from the gun bits... Not so much, yet doing it from the shoulders I'd probably end up lacking shoulder pads (or arms lol)) so I stopped assembling and I've been trying to work on the list first to figure out my initial Loadout and what I should save credits for as the campaign goes and there's where I'm a little lost.

Going by goonhammer post about Van Saar (y'all probably know which one I'm talking about) I'll definitely want to go for plasma or melta, mesh armor for my leader, champs and eventually build things up to get a few shields. I also read that the biggest weaknesses of van saar are they're slow, fairly vulnerable despite being semi elite and small scenarios or smoke grenades rend them useless (oh and that they're not optimal in melee though the shield helps)

So all that said, I'd like your input about Van Saar, what's a solid Loadout and skill set to balance out their weaknesses, how much of what's at goonhammer is true, what should I take in consideration when playing against Escher or Palanites and what sort of gear and upgrades I should work towards to so I get an idea of what exactly I should magnetize.

Anyway, thanks in advance for the help, guys!
 
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Heart of Storm

Gang Hero
Mar 8, 2019
941
1,426
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So, in general Van Saar is considered very strong, up there with Gene-smithed Goliaths as the strongest gang in the game. The challenge you find with Van Saar is often trying not to build a list thats an absolute horror to play against, and its easy to do it accidentally.

Decision paralysis with a new gang and all those weapon options is normal, so it may be worth suggesting a couple of warm up games to your friends, where you use partial built models or proxies to experiment with a few loadouts before committing. Though the reality is if you get into the gang your probably going to end up with another box or so to create some alternate loadouts (my Escher gang stands at 31 models right now)

However for general Van Saar advice, building your leader/champions for ranged is the best use for them, hanging back, giving them a strong gun like a plasma gun (or a lascannon if you hate having friends) is where they do best.

Gangers generally work best with lasguns, building into hotshot packs as a game progresses, and exist to stand in front of your leader/champions and get shot/charged before they do. As such going the cheaper route and using subteks instead is viable as they have a 4+ BS, which makes them as good as other gangs basic units.

Thats probably optimum van saar, however its probably not a lot of fun to play with or against, so mixing in some other weapons to diversify your line up will make your games more fun. Energy shields are expensive, and not that great for their cost, but they do look cool, grav weapons allow for shenanigans and meltas are more high risk/high reward then a plasma gun for your leader/champions.
 

cz_Samuel

Juve
Dec 3, 2019
19
4
18
"or a lascannon if you hate having friends" - rolling on the floor laughing!

in our campaing van saar player tried to play them with las pistols and mainly on short range, I was really surprised, when I saw his list and I am really curious how it will be working.
 
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MrAndersson

Gang Hero
Sep 18, 2018
754
565
98
Halmstad, Sweden
Van Saar are tricky because they have one huge strength (ballistic skill) and a plethora of small to mid sized weaknesses. Their house weapon selection, in particular, limits them. They have no weapons I would consider top tier. Lascannon might be the exception, if you build your gang for it (meaning you take overseer on your leader to have it fire twice per turn). Plasma guns are good and suppression lasers are decent, but VS don't have anything that competes with boltguns or grenade launchers.

I disagree with the notion that it is easy to build an overpowered Van Saar gang by accident. If you just take a bunch of lasguns and las carbines (or even worse, pistols), then you are going to end up with a pretty weak gang. Lasguns are absolute garbage, unless you upgrade them with hotshot packs. Strength 3 with no AP does not cut it in the harsh reality of the underhive.
 
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Stompzilla

Ganger
Jan 11, 2013
224
307
63
If you're looking for a Van-Saar list that is maneuverable, hard hitting, elite and can do a number of different things, you can't go too far wrong with something like this:


Get the Archeotek a Bolter ASAP.

The main strength of this gang is point blank firepower and the resilience granted by a 4+ armour save on everyone. Plasma guns are +2 to hit at 12", so your champ can move 8" and shoot at someone in light cover, 12" away and still hit them on a 2+.

Buy a specialist with a grav gun, and some mooks to flesh the gang out as your campaign progresses and you can start adding hotshot packs and infrasights, as well as shields.

Which grows into something like this:


It's not optimised to a razor's edge and there is some characterful bloat but that's not a bad thing. You'll be playing a few activations down, most games so will have that to overcome (Which should make the game more fun for you and your opponent), but if you want that elite, hard hitting, rapid action strike force feel, rather than a gun line that people groan at the thought of playing against, this is the sort of thing you're aiming for, just set to your own preferences. You could go plasma gun mental, but I prefer a bit of variety and some blasts and templates are always useful when you're outnumbered.

Of note: That Archeotek has an infrasight equipped Boltgun with plentiful ammo. That's the sort of thing that even the enforcers can only drool about and he's an absolute terror to anything that is daft/ unfortunate enough to be within 8" at the start of his activation. Still only T3/ 4+sv 2W, so can be taken out but if you get good with him, he's a monster.

Hope that was helpful. Happy to answer any questions.
 
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LazyLion

New Member
Dec 6, 2020
8
2
3
So, in general Van Saar is considered very strong, up there with Gene-smithed Goliaths as the strongest gang in the game. The challenge you find with Van Saar is often trying not to build a list thats an absolute horror to play against, and its easy to do it accidentally.

Decision paralysis with a new gang and all those weapon options is normal, so it may be worth suggesting a couple of warm up games to your friends, where you use partial built models or proxies to experiment with a few loadouts before committing. Though the reality is if you get into the gang your probably going to end up with another box or so to create some alternate loadouts (my Escher gang stands at 31 models right now)

However for general Van Saar advice, building your leader/champions for ranged is the best use for them, hanging back, giving them a strong gun like a plasma gun (or a lascannon if you hate having friends) is where they do best.

Gangers generally work best with lasguns, building into hotshot packs as a game progresses, and exist to stand in front of your leader/champions and get shot/charged before they do. As such going the cheaper route and using subteks instead is viable as they have a 4+ BS, which makes them as good as other gangs basic units.

Thats probably optimum van saar, however its probably not a lot of fun to play with or against, so mixing in some other weapons to diversify your line up will make your games more fun. Energy shields are expensive, and not that great for their cost, but they do look cool, grav weapons allow for shenanigans and meltas are more high risk/high reward then a plasma gun for your leader/champions.
That's fantastic advice, thank you! Yeah I think I'll try to diversify things a bit to have some cool tricks to play around then! But keeping the leader and champs at what they do best! And if my friends give me a hard time there, now I know I can always backlash with a Lascannon... Lol
 

LazyLion

New Member
Dec 6, 2020
8
2
3
Van Saar are tricky because they have one huge strength (ballistic skill) and a plethora of small to mid sized weaknesses. Their house weapon selection, in particular, limits them. They have no weapons I would consider top tier. Lascannon might be the exception, if you build your gang for it (meaning you take overseer on your leader to have it fire twice per turn). Plasma guns are good and suppression lasers are decent, but VS don't have anything that competes with boltguns or grenade launchers.

I disagree with the notion that it is easy to build an overpowered Van Saar gang by accident. If you just take a bunch of lasguns and las carbines (or even worse, pistols), then you are going to end up with a pretty weak gang. Lasguns are absolute garbage, unless you upgrade them with hotshot packs. Strength 3 with no AP does not cut it in the harsh reality of the underhive.
Yeah usually S3 no ap isn't great in 40k so I assumed the same would happen here. I imagine the optimal lasgun build would be hotshot+crystal and having the lasgun being master crafted but it still seems like low damage and a huge expense 🤔 however, from what I've been seeing, I can take boltguns and grenade launchers too, just not right off the bat but on the trading post when they're available so... Maybe starting with lasguns if I just use them for pinning wouldn't be too bad, and then upgrade to a boltgun, right?
 

LazyLion

New Member
Dec 6, 2020
8
2
3
If you're looking for a Van-Saar list that is maneuverable, hard hitting, elite and can do a number of different things, you can't go too far wrong with something like this:


Get the Archeotek a Bolter ASAP.

The main strength of this gang is point blank firepower and the resilience granted by a 4+ armour save on everyone. Plasma guns are +2 to hit at 12", so your champ can move 8" and shoot at someone in light cover, 12" away and still hit them on a 2+.

Buy a specialist with a grav gun, and some mooks to flesh the gang out as your campaign progresses and you can start adding hotshot packs and infrasights, as well as shields.

Which grows into something like this:


It's not optimised to a razor's edge and there is some characterful bloat but that's not a bad thing. You'll be playing a few activations down, most games so will have that to overcome (Which should make the game more fun for you and your opponent), but if you want that elite, hard hitting, rapid action strike force feel, rather than a gun line that people groan at the thought of playing against, this is the sort of thing you're aiming for, just set to your own preferences. You could go plasma gun mental, but I prefer a bit of variety and some blasts and templates are always useful when you're outnumbered.

Of note: That Archeotek has an infrasight equipped Boltgun with plentiful ammo. That's the sort of thing that even the enforcers can only drool about and he's an absolute terror to anything that is daft/ unfortunate enough to be within 8" at the start of his activation. Still only T3/ 4+sv 2W, so can be taken out but if you get good with him, he's a monster.

Hope that was helpful. Happy to answer any questions.
Yo this looks FANTASTIC, that's exactly the feel I want to have with van saar, elite, powerful, not impossible to beat but definitely a threat that doesn't fold at the first shot/hit without having to just be working around a gun line that would get messed by smoke grenades. Thank you, this is great to work around!

I intend to buy the archeoteks/neoteks box at some point fairly soon so it totally works, though I might start the campaign without them with about 7 fighters, so I could just recruit them as I go, right? That way I could possibly have a boltgun saved but the archeotek too.

And a few more questions:

1. Would it be better to upgrade the rest of the juves/teks with hotshot or boltguns?

2. Besides the shield, I can eventually take power swords and such for my fighters (provided they have an available slot or are the champs or leader ofc), ideally i don't wanna get charged of course, but if I do, since swords have parry, would that be a good choice?

3. How effective are combi weapons? I see you took one of them and I've heard they're a pain due to the ammo issues

4. Should I invest in hanger ons as i progress? I see the ammo jack could be pretty helpful giving rerolls without even battling, seems more effective than the munitioneer skill. Also the slopper seems like a good hanger on since I could potentially bring back my injuried fighters with cyberteknika enhancements more reliably. And lastly the trader also seems like a good option so i can search for the weapons i need more effectively
 

Stompzilla

Ganger
Jan 11, 2013
224
307
63
Honestly, they're an amazingly fun gang when played aggressive shooting style.

1. You'll see in the later list I've added hotshots to the Juves. You can put infrasights on them eventually too. Grenades are not a bad shout too.

I like incendiary grenades (Which you'll have to get from the trading post. ).

You can't give Juves bolters because they can only take weapons from the House list. The Archeotek gets one in the second list because he can take any weapon type from the trading post.

As mook weapons go, hotshot lasguns are pretty sweet.

2. Rather than power swords, consider plasma pistols. You don't want to be in combat, you just can't do it very effectively. If you're in a position to charge or be charged, a plasma pistol shooting at short range can be a very efficient means of ending that threat by melting it's face. If you do get charged and miraculously survive, you can still use the plasma pistol in Melee for reaction attacks.

3. A combi weapon is a trade off. In that first list I took a combi because I needed 5 creds to give everyone mesh. 4+ with the combi ammo rules is not so bad and if it fails I've still got a laspistop I can use in Melee. Ideally I'd just take the straight melta but the combi's not so bad.

4. Yeah, hangars on are fun. Rogue Doc might be worth thinking about, or you could go straight to Ambot if you make some decent cred in your early games.

Yes, add to the gang as you progress if you want. No reason you can't take 2 Augmeks as champions to begin with. The neotek box is especially good because if you choose to, you can make 2 Neoteks and 2 subteks, if you don't think you'll ever use 4 Neoteks in a gang.

Neoteks with hand flamers and maybe even eventually web pistols and shields (They can take weapons from the trading post because they're prospects) are utter terrors.
 
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LazyLion

New Member
Dec 6, 2020
8
2
3
Honestly, they're an amazingly fun gang when played aggressive shooting style.

1. You'll see in the later list I've added hotshots to the Juves. You can put infrasights on them eventually too. Grenades are not a bad shout too.

I like incendiary grenades (Which you'll have to get from the trading post. ).

You can't give Juves bolters because they can only take weapons from the House list. The Archeotek gets one in the second list because he can take any weapon type from the trading post.

As mook weapons go, hotshot lasguns are pretty sweet.

2. Rather than power swords, consider plasma pistols. You don't want to be in combat, you just can't do it very effectively. If you're in a position to charge or be charged, a plasma pistol shooting at short range can be a very efficient means of ending that threat by melting it's face. If you do get charged and miraculously survive, you can still use the plasma pistol in Melee for reaction attacks.

3. A combi weapon is a trade off. In that first list I took a combi because I needed 5 creds to give everyone mesh. 4+ with the combi ammo rules is not so bad and if it fails I've still got a laspistop I can use in Melee. Ideally I'd just take the straight melta but the combi's not so bad.

4. Yeah, hangars on are fun. Rogue Doc might be worth thinking about, or you could go straight to Ambot if you make some decent cred in your early games.

Yes, add to the gang as you progress if you want. No reason you can't take 2 Augmeks as champions to begin with. The neotek box is especially good because if you choose to, you can make 2 Neoteks and 2 subteks, if you don't think you'll ever use 4 Neoteks in a gang.

Neoteks with hand flamers and maybe even eventually web pistols and shields (They can take weapons from the trading post because they're prospects) are utter terrors.
Thank you so very much, this helps a lot!

Actually, I had made this list before

Initial List

Thinking about balancing out fun and gun line because I wasn't really sure how to bring out something a little more aggressive, but after your input I made another one which I think looks a lot better, let me know what you think!

Here it is

The idea is to add on later 1 archeotek with weaponsmith just like yours and 2 neoteks eventually with flamers and shields to round things up. There's a specialist Tek there with just a las pistol which should be temporary as I wanna give him a grav gun, I also checked that i could give subteks boltguns but only if they become specialists so maybe the hotshot is a simpler/faster upgrade for sure 🤔
 

Stompzilla

Ganger
Jan 11, 2013
224
307
63
Yep, looks fine. 👍

Gangers and Juves are basically restricted to buying weapons from the House list, so no bolters i'm afraid. S4, AP1, +1 acc at 18" is not to be sniffed at though.

Even if you're only scoring pins, you're still making it hard for your opponent to deal with the run and gun champions.
 
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Stompzilla

Ganger
Jan 11, 2013
224
307
63
If you drop the two laspistols in the gang, you can get a lasgun for the specialist which will be more immediately useful and also a better backup weapon, when you finally grab your gravgun.
 
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LazyLion

New Member
Dec 6, 2020
8
2
3
Yep, looks fine. 👍

Gangers and Juves are basically restricted to buying weapons from the House list, so no bolters i'm afraid. S4, AP1, +1 acc at 18" is not to be sniffed at though.

Even if you're only scoring pins, you're still making it hard for your opponent to deal with the run and gun champions.
Ah you're right, I got to necromunda from 40k so whenever i read "wargear" i assume it's everything in the loadout including weapons but necromunda is more specific about the categories lol. But hey, if need anything better than a hotshot lasgun I can always make them go for specialist and give them a house special weapon huh, sweet

And yes! I changed the two las pistols for a final lasgun 😁 I'm a little concerned about special weapons failing with scarcity or jamming, and also about melee survivability so that's why I've been putting las pistols on everything lol but I can always give that to the folk with special weaps and a plasma pistol to the folk with lasguns 🤔 provided they're specialists ofc
 

mateyboy3000

Gang Champion
May 29, 2017
275
280
63
Crystals are that thing you throw on a lasgun ganger late in a campaign when you're opponents are running around with 4+/3+ saves on everyone, even then give them a regular lasgun if you can to avoid blowing them up if you find yourself against a weaker target for some reason or you just want to pin them and damage is of secondary concern
 
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Stompzilla

Ganger
Jan 11, 2013
224
307
63
Ah you're right, I got to necromunda from 40k so whenever i read "wargear" i assume it's everything in the loadout including weapons but necromunda is more specific about the categories lol. But hey, if need anything better than a hotshot lasgun I can always make them go for specialist and give them a house special weapon huh, sweet

And yes! I changed the two las pistols for a final lasgun 😁 I'm a little concerned about special weapons failing with scarcity or jamming, and also about melee survivability so that's why I've been putting las pistols on everything lol but I can always give that to the folk with special weaps and a plasma pistol to the folk with lasguns 🤔 provided they're specialists ofc
Everybody can take a plasma pistol. They're on the house list. (y)
 
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Wasteland

Gang Champion
Apr 7, 2018
418
521
103
Germany
Four things to say:

1. 2D- or 3D-Terrain:
3D-Terrain is favoured by Van Saar to keep melee at a minimum. Your group might want to do both to give all the gangs a bit of a challenge and not favour one in particular.

2. Scenario selection:
Write down scenarios which have been played in the past and try not to repeat them. Back in the day our group ran mostly Ambush & Raid scenarios which made the campaign stale.

3. Choice of gear:
The vintage Escher models were mostly equipped very heterogeneously. This made every ganger unique. Try not to fall in the trap of fielding faceless 40K lasgun firing squads as they don´t have a place in Necromunda. Skirmish games are all about character and individuality. So try to equip every ganger differently would be good.

4. Custom rules:
Those will mostly ensure a smooth gameplay. You might also wonder, if the Overseer skill is a good option as a starting skill as it is generally seen as too strong and therefore kind of a no-brainer option.
 
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MrAndersson

Gang Hero
Sep 18, 2018
754
565
98
Halmstad, Sweden
Crystals are that thing you throw on a lasgun ganger late in a campaign when you're opponents are running around with 4+/3+ saves on everyone, even then give them a regular lasgun if you can to avoid blowing them up if you find yourself against a weaker target for some reason or you just want to pin them and damage is of secondary concern
No, crystals are that thing you never ever use. At least if you know even the slightest about probabilities.

If you need to combat high armour saves, there are other weapons for that. Weapons that don't kill your own fighters.
 
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LazyLion

New Member
Dec 6, 2020
8
2
3
Everybody can take a plasma pistol. They're on the house list. (y)
They can? I mean, the house of artifice book says the teks can, but the subteks can only choose weapons from their subtek list, and that list doesn't have plasma pistols, it has just las pistol and las sub-carbine, so I'd have to turn those juves into specialists before having them take a plasma pistol, right?

Either way, thank you 😁 managed assembling and magnetizing together my gang from the list made greatly based on your advice 😁
 
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LazyLion

New Member
Dec 6, 2020
8
2
3
Four things to say:

1. 2D- or 3D-Terrain:
3D-Terrain is favoured by Van Saar to keep melee at a minimum. Your group might want to do both to give all the gangs a bit of a challenge and not favour one in particular.

2. Scenario selection:
Write down scenarios which have been played in the past and try not to repeat them. Back in the day our group ran mostly Ambush & Raid scenarios which made the campaign stale.

3. Choice of gear:
The vintage Escher models were mostly equipped very heterogeneously. This made every ganger unique. Try not to fall in the trap of fielding faceless 40K lasgun firing squads as they don´t have a place in Necromunda. Skirmish games are all about character and individuality. So try to equip every ganger differently would be good.

4. Custom rules:
Those will mostly ensure a smooth gameplay. You might also wonder, if the Overseer skill is a good option as a starting skill as it is generally seen as too strong and therefore kind of a no-brainer option.
This is fantastic advice, and that's exactly what I wanted to hear, character individuality, thank you! We'll definitely make sure to switch scenarios/terrains and balancing things out as much as possible for everyone. We basically wanna have one of us an the DM/arbitrator so i think it'll go well 😁