A semi-local store (Gaming Underground in High Point) is ramping up miniatures gaming, after having primarily been a card game (read: MtG) shop. They're taking a pretty serious stab at it, making lots of terrain, starting armies of their own, planning events and so forth. One of the things they're starting is an escalation league, starting in a few weeks.
I'd like to take part, and have looked over my existing forces and thought about planned ones to see who might be best to take given the escalation format and the restrictions.
I'd like to play if I can get out there on a regular basis. While there are prizes, I don't expect to win anything (I'd expect someone closer who can show up very often and get max games in every month to do so) but will hopefully get some games in, have fun, and meet some new folks. Well worth a $10 entry fee.
Space Sharks - too heavy in elites, out. Shame. Maybe this would prompt me to make more stuff for them in order for the various escalation steps to work, who knows. Distant possibility at the moment.
Scythiak Usurpation - A dark horse contender at the moment. The % restrictions put the kibosh on the huge Ogryn squad and put pressure on the other Elites like Khonan/Marbo and psykers, requiring some adjustments. I could use a smaller Ogryn squad (like 6 for 250pts vs the 410pt full squad) or ditch them altogether for some other things, but I'd have to think about what I'd like to include/model up instead.
Word Bearers/Sons of Horus - Either could work fine in the format, but I plan on doing new CSM soon, so if I use CSM I'd rather use the new Endless Ones.
Silver Skulls - I haven't worked out the details, but I think they'd escalate up fine. I don't know if I want to spring an all-pod force on what may be mostly newer players, and some of the weird battlefield effects could make them very unreliable (things like extra scattering).
Orks - They'll escalate up OK, especially once the Warboss shows up and moves the Megas and their wagon to Troops. They look pretty good, they're fun, and can help introduce new folks to how awesome Orks are. One of the leading contenders.
Endless Ones CSM - The other leading contender. I planned on them being the next project anyways, so the extra motivation would be convenient. I've worked out some basics that should escalate OK. May not be the most effective, but I didn't plan on winning the league anyways! There's also rumors of a new Chaos Marine codex due sometime in the next few months which may well change things, though that's equal parts opportunity and headache.
SO - I haven't worked out yet how I'd like to adjust the Scythiak to attempt to fit, but below are my thoughts on how I'd structure the Blood Axes and the Endless Ones.
Escalation Blood Axe Orks
Troops - 30xshoota boyz, 3xbig shootas, Nob w/big choppa, eavy armor, bosspole (220)
Troops - 12xslugga boyz, nob w/PK, eavy armor, bosspole, Trukk w/rokkit and ram (162)
HQ - Big Mek, KFF, eavy armor (95)
+Troops - 12xslugga boyz, Ardboyz, nob w/PK, bosspole, Trukk w/rokkit and ram (205)
+Fast Attack - 1xDeffkopta w/TL rokkits (45)
+Elites - 5xMega Nobz, 3xKombi-skorchas (215)
+Fast Attack - 1xDeffkopta w/TL rokkits (45) (debating whether to do as two single units or to double up - double up knocks down one KP, but some goals will include things like table quarters, and spare koptas could be handy there).
+HQ Warboss Mega Armor, Cybork, bosspole (115)
(Moves Mega Nobz to Troops)
+Battlewagon for Mega Nobz - Grot riggers, armor plates, grabbin klaw, ram, 2xbig shootas (125)
+Fast Attack 6xbikers, nob w/PK, bosspole (190)
+Heavy Support 3xLobbas, 2xammo runts (81)
Escalation Endless Ones CSM
Troops -10xCSM, champ with PF, 2xplasmaguns, icon of Tzeentch, Rhino (295)
Troops - 10xlesser daemons (130)
Heavy Support - Obliterator (75)
+Troops - 8xBerzerkers, champ w/PF, icon, rhino (248)
1000pts (at this level I need an HQ)+Heavy Support - +1 Obliterator (75)
+HQ - Chaos Lord, Mark of Tzeentch, Deathscreamer daemon weapon, wings, meltabombs, icon (175)
(I'm up in the air on the HQ, several other options will be discussed below)
1250pts+Elites - 8xPossessed, icon of Tzeentch (248)
So some other possibilities:
+upgrade one possessed to champion, Rhino for possessed (45)
+Greater Daemon (100)
+8 lesser daemons (109)
+8xRaptors, 2xmelta, champ 2xLC or PF, meltabombs, icon of slaanesh (245)
1491 total (maybe add a dozer blade to a rhino or something too)
+3xBikers, 2xmelta, icon chaos glory (129)
+3xBikers, 2xflamer, icon chaos glory (119)
1494 total (again, maybe add a dozer blade)
The other conundrum with the Chaos Marines is the HQ. The daemon weapon lord could be fun, but some other options:
-Chaos Sorcerer, Mark of Tzeentch, wings, bolt of change (175) - not as brutal vs marines, but another AT shot and a force weapon.
-Kharn the Betrayer counts-as - (165) Ride with the Zerkers, brutalize whatever he encounters. Plus cheaper.
-Huron Blackheart counts-as - (170) Again, ride with zerkers, extra PF/PW, heavy flamer. Warptime could be good for bad PF or HF rolls.
Thoughts on which force to go for, and which way to go with the CSM? The CSM decisions don't need to be finalized immediately, but I'd prefer to know where I'm headed.
Regardless, hopefully I'll be able to make the league, leading to a bunch of battle reports here in the months ahead!