View Full Version : Getting a balance

21-04-2006, 08:09
The thing I can never quite cope with is the balance of armylists in 40k.

Often I find myself writing a really 'cool' armylist with lots of units and generally this would make an awesome looking army on the table top and make for a really fun game.

On the flip side, I want to make an army that stands a good chance of kicking some ****. That's when things become repetitive, dull and boring. I'd go mad if I had to paint 6 squads of 8 marines armed with lascannon and plasma gun.

So how do you get an army that looks cool and is fun, but can also be competitive? I'm not talking GT cheese competitive, but I'd like my army to be good enough to take on 'better' players and not have its pretty **** handed to it just because his army selection is more min/maxed than mine.

21-04-2006, 08:43
Go for the in between baby. I'll admit that I find that the competitive lists to use have some repitition in them. On the flip side going for the boring ass hardcore 6 squads of lascannon and plasma wielding SM's is excessive. Not only is it boring as hell to play with and against but it lacks true adaptability.

I like having fun units in my army but I don't go all out with it. Just set aside a certain amount of points that for units you wouldn't competitively use but what you think are sexy. Like for 1500pt I'd maybe throw in 300pt of things I don't really use *cough* Dire Avengers. Inject only 1 or 2 new things into your regular armylist/ formula you don't end up screwing yourself over and can potentially find some interesting new things you've wouldn't have found otherwise.

As far as unit variety goes even for hardcore armies like Tau and Nids I like having a variety of different types. For nids i take lots of hormagaunts, spine gaunts and gargoyles. They all fulfill the general first wave role but some are uber fast, have actual killing ability or net me 32 models for 160pts :D. I'd also back them up with genestealers and raveners that way they can come in and really maul an opponent while he's still trying to squish the cannon fodder. <-- See variety w/ a deadly useful purpose.

Don't be afraid of taking duplicates of similar units when necessary but also branch out. Find units that fulfill similar roles but can cover areas that your main units can't. When I take Howling banshees i also drag Striking scorpions along for the ride. Sure they don't have PW's but the strength, armour and volume of attacks let them slaughter rank and file opponents far better than the banshees.

Variety may not net you the brute killing power of some unvaried army lists but it'll give you adaptibility. Trust me adaptability is really underrated and something that can save your butt countless times. Not only that but having variety in your army lists makes games more interesting and your armies prettier.

Gazak Blacktoof
21-04-2006, 08:59
Exactly, the density of terrain and the amount of movement both sides are required to make over the course of a game in order to fulfill their objectives goes a long, long way to determining the winner.

Dense terrain clearly favours armies with big movement distances, short ranged weaponry and close combat skills. A more open board suits those who just like to sit back and pound their enemy into the ground. Similarly forcing a close combat based army like nids to hold its own table edge or forcing an iron warriors or artillery heavy guard army to cap. objectives in the enemy's deployment zone can give one dimensonal armies like these all kinds of grief. Don't go overboard on setting difficult objectives though as this can just annoy your opponenet.

Finding the correct balance of terrain and scenario can make an obviously cut and dried game into a close run thing.

21-04-2006, 09:01
I'd suggest that instead of worrying about whether army-lists are balanced, you should worry about whether games are balanced. After all, army lists are just one part of games, and other parts include terrain, mission rules, and the players themselves.

Any two armies can be involved in a fair and balanced game, so long as the players make an effort to adjust the terrain and the scenario so that either side has an equal chance of victory, and that any such victory will be the result of a hard-fought and thrilling game.

A good game of Warhammer 40k isn't about finding balanced lists, but in finding those other players that want to play the kind of game you want to play.

Good point Nurglitch but that's a whole nother issue. We could wax all day 'bout terrain and mission issues but I don't feel that's the main topic he's looking for. (I think so at least... but I can't read minds so we'll have to wait for darkseer's response)

I think his main concern is just what models need to be taken to the field. The balance between going hog wild w/minnies or walking steady with a competitive army list. Anyways it's just fun to screw around with making up army lists, even if they're crazy.

21-04-2006, 09:02
A good game of Warhammer 40k isn't about finding balanced lists, but in finding those other players that want to play the kind of game you want to play.

The friends I play against at home are a good laugh because they will throw together all sorts of fun armylists. One guy's army leader is called Captain Suicide due to the number of suicidal charges he has led.

The problem is that if I want to go to any of my local(ish) wargames clubs, I need an army that can kick a little more bottom.

21-04-2006, 09:19
Yeah, I got the same situation at home. Your home buds who you screw around with and that store you bring your big bad army lists to. I could do anything with my buds and we've made up some crazy missions and army lists. But going to the gaming store is different, I like be competitive against the others.

All I can say is be creative. Like with 6 tactical squads look for alternative units that could do similar things but fill in necessary gaps. Like scout snipers, a dreadnought, devastators, terminators and/or landspeeders in place of half those tactical squads. Tactical squads are great generalists and should be the back bone of your army list. But being a generalist means you can't do a specific task as well as the specialist.

Taking a bunch of snipers, a predator annihilator and a squad of termies for instance can go a long ways. You get tank hunting power, assault power, mobility and covering fire from just those three units. The tactical squads are still there but they have support to cover alot of their shortcomings and vice versa.

21-04-2006, 09:42
Another reason I've brought up the question of balance is because I'm looking to start a new army.

Ork speed freaks are apparently a weak list, but look like a lot of fun to play, while Tau are a pretty strong list, look fun to play, but my unit selections are very repetitive.

21-04-2006, 09:58
Ummm can't help you there bud. It's your own decision, but I can Fed Ex a coin to flip if you want to decide ye old fashioned way.

Actually with the new Tau codex I think the army selection choices would be more diverse than the Speed freaks could ever be. I mean the Tau can employ buggy Vespids, birdish kroot, and monkiesh humans. They have four seperate races at their disposal.

21-04-2006, 10:07
For what things cost these days, I'd go for the Tau over the Speed Freaks. Orks are due something next year and a whole new slew of kits and rules should be out. Building a new army, then having all that (possibly) change can really be a put off.

The Tau are brand new and there won't be any changes for at least a few years. If you like them, it's a pretty good way to go.

-edit for spelling

Gazak Blacktoof
21-04-2006, 10:13
Ork speed freaks are apparently a weak list, but look like a lot of fun to play, while Tau are a pretty strong list, look fun to play, but my unit selections are very repetitive.

There's not really any excuse for repetitive unit selections in a Tau army. There are several units to fill any role.

Anti tank- broadside, railhead, fusion suits, piranhas

Anti Infantry, crisis suits with various load outs, kroot, fire warriors, path finders, strealth suits, gun drones

Anti MEQ, ionhead, plasma broadsides, plasma crisis suits, vespid, sniper teams

Support units, anything with a marker light, sky ray

If you can't make a varied list with Tau you're doing something wrong or you really like the options you keep choosing, in which case I don't see a problem.

21-04-2006, 13:30
I have always seen balanced lists as the best way forward. Although you may run up against unbalanced lists try to use your generalship to beat them or just use the rules. Play with plenty of terrain and go for missions over a straight 'let's just kill each other' as this should disadvantage to most min/maxed lists to the point were you stand a chance of winning.


pinball wizard
21-04-2006, 19:43
look, just accept that you can be hard or fun to play, not both, thats just the way it is

cav da man
21-04-2006, 19:55
yeh like it was mentioned earlier...Tau don't have to be reptetive. In my general army i have two squads of FW a devilfish a squad of kroot, a nice assortment of trigger happy suits couple broadsides a railhead and just about anything else. If it's repetitive it's you that doing it.

21-04-2006, 20:31
Tau are definitely a better choice, given that Orks are due to get a new Codex in a year or so.