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What army can field lists with the smallest number of models on the board and still be competitive?

IG armored? Nidzilla(is it still any good with the new codex?)? Grey knights? Other?
 

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You might want to look at Death Guard. It can be effective with around 44 models (30 Plague Marines, 9 Oblits, 2 lash princes, and Rhinos)

Another to look at would be a Marine Bike Army. They can sit around 50-60 models and are highly competitive.

Whatever you do I would stay away from true mech forces if you are looking for smallest number of models. This is due to the true mech list's focus: large numbers of transport filled with many minimally upgraded troops.
Example 1: My 1850 Sisters of Battle Mech with 66 infantry, 10 Immolators, and 2 Rhinos



Example 2: A Space Wolves mech list can reach 49ish marines AND 9 Razorbacks, 3 Land Speeders, and 3 Rhinos. That is 15 vehicles!

Point is, while mech lists seem like a good idea for a low model count they can't be competitive unless there is a level of spam, leading to overall more models.
 

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Hmm...it sort of depends on the point level, but I think in order for an army to be successful it has to have the ability to sit on objectives effectively, win assaults, move quickly, and shoot enemy armor to pieces.

A 1500 point nob biker list with a small unit of grots [11 models], two warbosses [2], two units of nob bikers [14], and 6 rokkit buggies [6] would have 33 models.

A 1500 point Grey Knight Land Raider list with three land raiders [3], three units of six grey knights [18], and one HQ without a retinue [1] would only have 22 models.

Finally, a 1500 point Chaos Daemonzilla list with two small units of plaguebearers [10], two bloodcrushers [2], three daemon princes of nurgle [3], a lord of change [1], and the Fateweaver [1] would be a mere 17 models, and that's probably going to be the smallest possibility that can still win.

Are these lists competitive? Possibly. It really depends what type of enemy you face, because a small army inevitably relies heavily upon their units, since they have far fewer of them, so if the enemy is prepared to take them out, then you'll have nothing to fall back on.
 

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Are we talking competition competitive or fun gaming competitive. No competition army based on the "spend less money and time" principle is going to get very far I think. Like Kej noted, there will be spam...so much spam. For fun gaming I think almost any army can make a compact 1500 point list with not too many models and not all expensive models. You can always got for a "suited" Tau army, but like most spam it'll cost you.


@mynameisgrax: That Grey Knight army is not what I'd call competitive. It will die to anything with model count/anti-tank/fast/combat/anything else really. You point is well made though and in fact most small armies (now that Nidzilla is dead) will do poorly against an experianced player.

If you want to go Grey Knight inquisition you can always get 3 Orbital Strikes. Thats like 400 points (I think) and 3 heavy slots filled using 0 models and costing you nothing. :) The rest of the army can be a tortoise of Grey Knights. I'm pretty sure your enemy will come to you rather than sit in cover while S10 AP2 (I think thats the expensive one's stats) fall from the sky.
 
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The land raiders have twin linked lascannons, and the grey knights would have incinerators. That's more than enough to potentially deal with anything. I'm not saying it's the most competitive army, but all things considered you could do a lot worse.

The orbital bombardments wouldn't use up nearly as many points as the land raiders. The most expensive orbital bombardment is 90 points, I believe, so even though it's 270 points for 0 models, you're losing out on the land raiders, which are 750 points for 3 models. You'd have to fill up somewhere else, which would add a lot more models to the army.

EDIT

After a little though, I managed to lower the bar again with a relatively competitive 16 model 1500 point Chaos Marine list:


2 Daemon Princes of Tzeentch w/warp time, wind of chaos, wings

1 unit of 5 plague marines w/2 plasmaguns, and aspiring champion

1 unit of 5 plague marines w/2 plasmaguns

2 Land Raiders

1 Greater Daemons (to possess the aspiring champion)

1 Vindicator


You could also drop the greater daemons, aspiring champions, and one daemon prince, and instead field a land raider with abaddon inside, to get the model count down to 15, but I'm not sure if that'd be competitive at all.

In the same fashion, you could replace the Lord of Change in the Daemons list with Kugath or the Fateweaver, and cut out the bloodcrushers, to get the model count down to 15. Again, I don't know how effective that would be.
 

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Here's another 16 model 1500 point list that should work fairly well, this time from the Space marines:

Librarian

5 Scouts w/4 sniper rifles, and sgt w/powerfist, combi-flamer

5 Scouts w/4 sniper rifles, and sgt w/powerfist, combi-flamer

Venerable Dread w/TL lascannons, missile launcher

Venerable Dread w/TL lascannons, missile launcher

Venerable Dread w/TL lascannons, missile launcher

Land Raider

Land Raider
 

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Here's another 16 model 1500 point list that should work fairly well, this time from the Space marines:

Librarian

5 Scouts w/4 sniper rifles, and sgt w/powerfist, combi-flamer

5 Scouts w/4 sniper rifles, and sgt w/powerfist, combi-flamer

Venerable Dread w/TL lascannons, missile launcher

Venerable Dread w/TL lascannons, missile launcher

Venerable Dread w/TL lascannons, missile launcher

Land Raider

Land Raider
Well, I'm pretty sure 10 troop miniatures wouldn't be enough for objectives, even if they ARE embarked on Land Raiders. Although the list seems fun.
 

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Hey, I never said it was the best idea. I just said it could 'possibly' work. ^_^

I reckon they have half a chance though. They have 3+ cover saves, and the rest of the army can contest other objectives.

You could also do a 15 model 1500 point Nidzilla list. Again, may not have the most objective grabbing capability, but it's not hopeless, and it'd be quite fun:

Swarmlord

10 Devourer Gaunts

Tervigon w/crushing claws, acid blood, regeneration, cluster spines, and catalyst

2 x Trygon Primes w/regeneration

Tyrannofex
 
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