N18 New player - "Friendly" Van Saar starting list and how to expand it

WCWill

New Member
Mar 26, 2022
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Wise Yak tribe folk, I have fortunately been tempted back into wargaming after 20 years and would appreciate some advice. I'm building for a 4 player campaign with a 'rule of cool' lock down hobby project Delaque gang and two (as yet undetermined) proxy gangs from folk that go to lots of 40k tournaments.

I going for the Van Saar gang I always wanted back in the day, basing the gang on Woden and the Valkyries from The Wicked + The Divine. I'm aiming for a gang that is fun against the modeller but don't want to be completely stomped by the tourney guys.

Radnarok Pantheon

I love the look of plasma weapons so will try to convert a ganger to hold a heavy plasma incinerator and give that to the specialist later on. I assume I should try to get everyone some mesh armour first thing out of the gate though. Should I then get extra teks/subteks (mixed weapons for variety?) for more bodies or more elite expensive stuff? I like the idea of a second plasma pistol on the gun fighter, a spider rig Arachnotek, second neotek with a hand flamer, flash grenades for the neoteks, rad grenades for the gangers, and energy shields for the leader/augmeks.

A different option would be to give the grav gun to the specialist and start the second Augmek with a basic weapon and get something fun from the trading post like a seismic/grav cannon or even just a rad cannon? I've heard that plasma cannon champs are frowned on but wysiwyg shouldn't be an issue so I could give him anything.

Hangers on - I'm thinking Rogue doc then slopper in case it helps with cyberteknika upgrades? I'll try to kitbash an arachn-irig if the campaign has legs.

Thanks for any and all advice!
 

MrAndersson

Gang Hero
Sep 18, 2018
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Halmstad, Sweden
I would say that your gang runs the risk of getting stomped.

You have almost no proper firepower at good range. Pistols don't belong in a Van Saar gang (one could make the argument that they don't belong in any gang, although I wouldn't necessarily go that far).

Lasguns are pea shooters, unless you upgrade them with hotshot packs.

Your juves can take lasguns, why give them a laspistol?

And finally, the grav guns is a heavily overpriced weapon. I could potentially see a use for it late in a campaign, when people generally sport heavier armor, and possibly have lower strength values (from spinal injuries). But I wouldn't sink 120 of your starting creds into one.
 
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MrAndersson

Gang Hero
Sep 18, 2018
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Are plasma cannon champions frowned upon? If anyone says the plasma cannon is overpowered then they don't know what they are talking about. I mean, it's not bad, and depending on how your group uses tactics cards it can even be considered good, but there are much better heavy weapons out there.
 
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WCWill

New Member
Mar 26, 2022
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Thanks for the in depth response! I'd completely forgotten about hotshot packs, they'll be high up on the shopping list then.

I'd envisaged the pistol champ, neotek, and suppression laser ganger as an aggressive little squad going after objectives or trying to CDG downed enemies, so I'd assumed they wouldn't need much range. Eventually the Arachnotek and second neotek would join them. Is close range just way too dangerous for Van Saar to venture into?

What would you recommend over the grav gun? I was aiming for crowd control rather than kills from it, does it manage that at least? Any top heavy weapon picks instead of a plasma cannon for a champ or specialist?
 

MrAndersson

Gang Hero
Sep 18, 2018
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Halmstad, Sweden
I'd envisaged the pistol champ, neotek, and suppression laser ganger as an aggressive little squad going after objectives or trying to CDG downed enemies, so I'd assumed they wouldn't need much range. Eventually the Arachnotek and second neotek would join them. Is close range just way too dangerous for Van Saar to venture into?
Sure, but in order to CDG an opponent, you need to first make them seriously injured. Who is going to do that? Right now, your only real firepower is your leader.

It's not so much that close range is too dangerous. My issue with pistols is that they are not properly costed for their lack of range. If they had been significantly more efficient than weapons with longer range, then it would have been a tradeoff. Compare a lasgun and a laspistol, for example. For a measly 5 extra creds, you get double the range. Same thing with boltgun and bolt pistol, 10 cred difference, and you even get rapid fire as part of the deal.
 

MrAndersson

Gang Hero
Sep 18, 2018
719
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Halmstad, Sweden
What would you recommend over the grav gun? I was aiming for crowd control rather than kills from it, does it manage that at least? Any top heavy weapon picks instead of a plasma cannon for a champ or specialist?
The best crowd control is taking enemy fighters out of action. The second best is to make them seriously injured. Both those require you to inflict wounds, which the grav gun is really bad at (in relation to its cost). A plasma gun would be much better. And herein lies the problem with Van Saar, as far as gang creation goes. They have such a crappy weapon selection that it basically forces you to spam plasma guns, at least if you want to stay reasonably competitive. Either that, or you bring two lascannons, but that is a sure way to lose friends.

I would consider the heavy bolter as the most destructive heavy weapon. But its efficiency drops a lot if you start facing toughness 5 or 6. So if you will be up against gene-smithed Goliaths, it's not going to be as good. Lascannon is another very strong heavy weapon, with no real weakness. Both autocannons and missile launchers are much better than plasma cannons as well.
 
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WCWill

New Member
Mar 26, 2022
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I've dropped one of the tek down to a subtek, which gave me some credits to play with. I switched out the grav gun for a plasma cannon on the Augmek, gave the Prime a proper plasma gun, plus upgraded the neotek to a lasgun and flash grenades.

Eventually the specialist might get that grav gun and suspensors have jumped up the shopping list.
 

Stompzilla

Ganger
Jan 11, 2013
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Agreed. If you're looking to upgrade your Teks and have already got Hotshots for all your lasguns, you can't go far wrong with a plasma pistol to give them some up close and personal punch.
 

WCWill

New Member
Mar 26, 2022
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I originally had a neotek with just a las pistol, so the comments were possibly aimed at that? Hopefully the (eventual) dual plasma pistol welding augmek will be able to do a bit of damage, even though it is at short range.

The expense of the future spider rig champ, suspensors for the plasma cannon, weapon for the specialist, second neotek with a hand flamer, and arachnirig are all a bit eye watering. How much cash do gangs tend to have by the end of a campaign? Is that shopping list at all feasible?
 

spafe

Executive Officer in charge of Hats
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I would consider the heavy bolter as the most destructive heavy weapon. But its efficiency drops a lot if you start facing toughness 5 or 6. So if you will be up against gene-smithed Goliaths, it's not going to be as good. Lascannon is another very strong heavy weapon, with no real weakness. Both autocannons and missile launchers are much better than plasma cannons as well.
no love for the multimelta? The ability to always hit on a 2+ with such a brutal weapon, and the added bonus (once you have the suspeonsors you want for all heavy weapons but actually need less thanks to blast on the multimelta) of insta ooa at 18.5" on effectively a 2+, 2+ roll is crazy good.
 
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spafe

Executive Officer in charge of Hats
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if some folk in a campaign aren't aiming for an optimised list
You'll need to qualify this. A goliath forgeboss with minimal upgrades, or a natchghul with one of their fancy phase weapons, or some cawdor using bomb rats and certain spells from their magic... all of these without trying can be very powerful. A multimelta, in an unoptimised list is fine and comparable to that (a normal ganger who meets the business end of the mulimelta or any of the above is having a bad day indeed).

Going for a overseer boss, suspensor multimelta champ etc etc to maximise its output would be a bit mean, but one floating about in your list... personally I'd say thats going to be priority 1 for your enemy but not overwhelmingly unbalanced.
 
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WCWill

New Member
Mar 26, 2022
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Rhats really hpful, cheers!

My pal with the delaque gang just built models that he thought looked cool, without ever looking at stats or rules. Even if we end up being relaxed on wysiwyg he might end up with something suboptimal. I'm trying to roughly nail down a list before I finish building my gangers. I don't want to, through ignorance, take things that would make him really struggle though.

Seeing as he hasn't actually made a list yet either, it's an impossible task to ask you all to help me match his level of optimislation. The discussion has been really helpful though! If we have a couple of pre-campaign practice games hopefully we can suss each other out and tune the lists accordingly. If we get slaughtered by the 40k players we'll just have to all have a chat about it and work out some kind of balancing measures.
 
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locleos

Ganger
Apr 19, 2022
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sounds like you have a fairly healthy relationship to list-building then. If you can match that across the rest of the players, you'll be fine.
 
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MrAndersson

Gang Hero
Sep 18, 2018
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Halmstad, Sweden
no love for the multimelta? The ability to always hit on a 2+ with such a brutal weapon, and the added bonus (once you have the suspeonsors you want for all heavy weapons but actually need less thanks to blast on the multimelta) of insta ooa at 18.5" on effectively a 2+, 2+ roll is crazy good.
The multi-melta really depends on how your group uses tactics cards. Every time your opponent holds "Click!", it's basically a one-shot weapon, and that's not worth spending 240 creds on.

If, on the other hand, you don't use tactics cards at all (or at lesst have banned the more overpowered ones), then yes, the multi-melta is a very destructive weapon. Although, its short range still puts it below heavy bolters and lascannons, IMO.
 

MrAndersson

Gang Hero
Sep 18, 2018
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There are 2 auto-reload cards so click shouldn't be that bad?
That's why I said it depends on how your group uses the cards. If you are allowed to choose freely, like some do, then you would just pick Lucky find and the problem goes away. Then again, if you could reliably get Lucky find, you could instead of a non-scarce multi-melta have a plentiful heavy bolter every game.

If you choose cards and draw randomly, then there are still going to be games where your opponent holds Click and you don't have a counter. Let's say it happens in 25% of your games. That's still a big enough drawback, IMO.

And the range issue still holds true. The multi-melta only has an advantage within 12".
 

spafe

Executive Officer in charge of Hats
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The multi-melta only has an advantage within 12".

well, 13.5 as its a blast, and if you have suspensors then on a van saar thats 17.5 potentially, but yes, it is short range so will depend heavily on if you play 2d or 3d and how much terrain you have.


Let's say it happens in 25% of your games. That's still a big enough drawback, IMO.
I think thats rather big assumption. If its true random from a large set of cards.... 25% is not happening, if its a smaller deck to be picked from... like a custom 15 or something, thats probably worst case and might(?!) get that high. But any method that allows your opponent to reliably pick click will allow you to reliably counter. So it hardly is as bad as 25% I wouldnt think. esp as Topsy says, there are twice as many cards that allow you to counter as can be used against you.