View Full Version : What is the most tactically challenging army to play ?

03-05-2007, 11:28
Heya all Its time for a not so rousing game of pick my army ! Category as follows.

- No Horde type armies - Nids, Orks and IG are out. You can recommend these if they won't be horde.
- No Eldar, Space Marine, Chaos Space Marine, and Nids. I already have these.
- I don't want a Close combat army it must have ranged firepower, be it close, medium or longrange.
- It must be something that is tough to win with, I'm talking about a real tactical challenge with very little room for error.

This narrows it down to:

Dark Eldar: - Interesting but a bit similiar to their fairer bretheren.

Tau: - We already have a Tau player, so I'm thinking something fully mechanized ie. 6 Devilfish with 12 Firewarriors with pulse carbines or something. Pirahanas.

Imperial guard: - Some kind of expensive mechanized Heavy infantry list. Possibly grenadiers in Chimera's.

Witch Hunters: - Nuns, Guns, flamers, Melta's, Faith - hmmm promising.

Daemon hunters: - Nice models, Nice Rules but I don't know about that T4 3+

Necrons: - Monotonous, Boring no thanx.

So what can I play that's fun yet very challenging ? anything esoteric really will do. I just want something difficult to win with - that's why I play allmost pure Iyanden - 20 Wraithguard for troops + 3 wraithlords for Heavy and 15 Wraithguard for elites and spiders for fast attack.

As you can see its compact, expensive and slow as all hell, but so funt to win with. I'm looking for something similiarly challenging. At the end of the day this is not really a help me pick a army thread, as more a help me find something tactically challenging.

Oh and Please if you say example "ig are difficult to play". then atleast give a example of said army list IE no heavy weapons on squads or all close combat weapons or whatever.

Gorbad Ironclaw
03-05-2007, 11:32
Either of the Inquisitor armies should fit the bill. Neither are exactly powerhouses, so should be challenging enough to win with. And they can range from very few to a good number of models if you want.

Thommy H
03-05-2007, 11:33
You've discounted everything but WH and IG, haven't you?

With that in mind, given that if you took IG you'd take Grenadiers in Chimeras, you might as well go with WH and take Storm Trooper squads with them, since they amount to the same thing.

And if you really want a challenge, take those Storm Troopers as Adeptus Arbites (i.e. with shotguns) instead.

03-05-2007, 11:48
Yeah, it looks like the only options you've left yourself with are WH and IG. I would go with the IG if you were looking for a challenge.

Edit-Something I just realized is that you didn't eliminate tau. A markerlight themed army would be difficult to play, and I doubt that the other guy you mentioned is playing it.

The Laughing God
03-05-2007, 11:49
Dark Eldar are the hardest army to play. One little mistake can lose you the game right away. Dark Eldar can lay down a load of fire power, and are fast in cc and short range firefights. They do a lot of hit and run tactics with raider, and such.

03-05-2007, 11:50
I havn't discounted anything - if somebody said that there was a space marine army that blew themselves up to kill the enemy I would be interested, because it would be difficult to play. I just hate relying on a 3+ save. I like hard fought battles.

The other tau player actually uses a markerlight tau army. That's why I was thinking the mobile.

03-05-2007, 12:04
How about a kroot merc army? To prevent it from going horde, take a lot of Krootox minis with it. Knarlocs too.

Chaos and Evil
03-05-2007, 12:11
It's difficult to talk about 'tactically challenging' and '40k' in the same sentence. :D

Difficulty ratings:

40k Marines: 1
Most other 40k armies: 2
40k Dark Eldar: 3
Most Epic armies: 7
Epic Marines: 10

And that is the truth...

03-05-2007, 12:13
Very nice suggestion Barbarossa, but I hate the Kroot Models - KFC indeed.

Voodoo Boyz
03-05-2007, 12:30
There's tactically challenging, and then there's retarded.

Witch Hunters are tactically challenging, Demon Hunters are near retarded underpowered.

If you want somewhat challenging, but still elite, small model count, and good chance to still win army then Mech Tau fit that bill nicely. Less firewarriors, more Tanks, and a whole bunch of Crisis/Stealth Suits and you're good to go.

IG can work well with Mechanized options used heavily, but are best when combining big tanks with a good amount of squads with heavy weapons. So possibly not for you.

03-05-2007, 13:00
Voodoo makes a good point on the mech tau. That's one of the armies I play. I don't know how challenging it is to use though. Some games I walk all over people and other games I don't have much chance. How well this army does depends somewhat on what you're facing.

Mech tau vs markerlight tau - I've played this match up and I wiped him off the board by turn 3.

Mech tau vs Noise CSM: only won once here - summoned demonnettes are my ban because he is able to engage the crisis suits with them.

My mech tau are crisis suit heavy (because I love the models) with only 2 fish for troops (with FW inside - that only come out near end game). Backed up with 3 HH (usually 2 rail and 1 ion), and as many pirahna as I can fit in the points. CAn be very challenging, but once you learn it, you may not find it very difficult.

KOS orks - you may want to hold off due to the new codex coming out in 2020 (yeah, I'm a pessimist). But here's a fast, fragile army for you that doesn't allow for any mistakes: Only buggies for troops, bikes (outriders) and deth koptas in fast attack, warboss on bike, stormboyz in eiltes, 2x BW and a looted leman russ/demolisher in HS. Except for the bikes and stormboyz (which can be dropped) there is only models with AR10 (and 3 with higher armour, but 2 of which can be popped fairly easy). If you screw up one turn, you're dead.

03-05-2007, 13:02
Dark Eldar are definitely one of the most 'tactical' armies you could play. It has to be when your T3, 5+Sv troops are all sitting around in cardboard skimmers. IMO it's an awesome army to play and I'm not biased at all...honest...:D

Tau can be challenging but Mech Tau is pretty strong IMO, especially when the damn Tau player uses that stupidly annoying 'fish of fury' tactic.

SOB-heavy Witch Hunters are pretty good, so long as you don't mind relying on acts of god to win games for you. ;)

Pure Grey Knights are tough to use. I've seen someone win a local 2000pt tournament with them but he took 3 Land Raiders to do it. Up to you I guess.

An Inquisitor-heavy army would be very, very characterful and probably underpowered, but at least they'd look cool and they would certainly offer you a challenge. :cool:

Personally I'd recommend Dark Eldar, but you could probably have guessed that. :rolleyes:

03-05-2007, 13:29
Dark eldar play VERRYYY differently than regular eldar.

First off, their transports, although wet paper bags, can deliver troops that can assault right off in that turn, and you pay 55-60 points(i think?) for a moving lascannon or plasma cannon after that.

Ravagers are just MEAN marine killers, but keep them away from anything that can damage it(keep it in LOS of one unit at a time if possible).

10 wyches in a raider will MESS people up.

Then you can also create mini ravagers by putting 10 warriors in a raider and equipping special weapons.

Incubi are just nasty. WS5, S4 power weapons.

03-05-2007, 13:31
[QUOTE=Griffin;1523733]I havn't discounted anything - if somebody said that there was a space marine army that blew themselves up to kill the enemy I would be interested, because it would be difficult to play. I just hate relying on a 3+ save. I like hard fought battles.QUOTE]

How about Deathwing? I understand they can be very tough to play (similar to Grey Knights) due to low model count. Termies are tough, but there are plenty of weapons that bring them down. Plenty of bad die rolls too :). Plus with no teleport homers (they are only on Ravenwing bikes in the new DA) you would have to deep strike with scatter.

I read a battle report in one of the issues of Firebase where a Deathwing army was butchered by 'nids when some genestealers managed to close with them.

03-05-2007, 13:31
OK - Hows this for a Idea ?

Doctrines (correct me if I am wrong on these)
Allow Storm troopers

Command squad with Heroic Senior Officer and Master Vox (a type of High command unit, so lightly armed, not expecting to see combat)

9 Grenadiers armed with a Grenade launcher and Flamer + Seargent in Chimera, vox

9 Grenadiers armed with a Grenade launcher and Flamer + Seargent in Chimera, vox

9 Grenadiers armed with a Grenade launcher and Flamer + Seargent in Chimera, vox


9 Stormtroopers + Veteran Seargent + 2 Melta Guns and melta bombs Deepstrike

9 Stormtroopers + Veteran Seargent + 2 Melta Guns and melta bombs Deepstrike

Heavy Support:

Leman russ with hull heavy bolter and Sponson Heavy bolters

Leman russ with hull heavy bolter and Sponson Heavy bolters

Leman russ with hull heavy bolter and Sponson Heavy bolters

Total: 1509 Points - what do you guys think of something like that ? my only real heavy hitters are sitting on 3 Platforms, and the infantry isn't all that numerous. I could get better mechanized infantry with marines point for point but I like the Idea of a veteran army. The Vet Sergeants given the dangerous tasks (suicidal), a poncy git officer in his plush chair and a bunch of wily old vets in chimera's as rapid reaction infantry racing in under the cover of the tanks to destroy badly mauled units hit by ordinance.

03-05-2007, 13:47
It seems a bit bland. I'd at least take one demolisher rather then 3 russes. Or possibly a bassie instead. I took my KOS against a very simliar list a couple weeks ago. I got first turn (which has a huge impact when playing KOS) and he was gone by the top of turn 3. It was 1750 with the addition of some sentinels, another chimera, and a hellhound. It just didn't have the firepower to stand up to a fast assualty army.

I guess that leads me to ask - what would your tactics be with this army? If you're facing a horde army that is well spread out, the russ isn't getting that many kills per turn - unless you play on planet bowling ball which I doubt since you like tactical games. You basically have zero AT until the ST come on, and they have to get lucky on their DS to have a good chance. And except for the russes, your anti-infantry is lacking also - especially if they are in their chimeras. MEQ's will be saving against everything but the russes (and the meltas if they ever get to fire).

I think it's a fun theme, but vastly underpowered.

03-05-2007, 14:40
Like I said - bouncy idea - thats rough draft version one. That's a rough idea of what I want to do - maby replace the russes with basilisks, or give the Chimera's heavy bolters or something similiar. Like I said - idea version one. I'm open to any wacky army suggestions. Especially concering WH/DH.

03-05-2007, 16:17
I'm open to any wacky army suggestions. Especially concering WH/DH.

...which is exactly what I thought when I read that list. You could do a very similar list with an Inquisitor army. Something like;

Inquisitor Lord with random nastiness in a Chimera/Rhino/Land Raider
4+ Inquisitorial Storm Trooper squads in Chimeras
2-3 Exorcists
whatever else you can fit in

You could also find the points to cram in 2 Armoured fist squads and replace an Exorcist with a Leman Russ.

The great thing about it is that it gives you the opportunity to include all kinds of neat extra units like SOBs, assassins, arcoflaggelants and whatever else takes your fancy.

I like it (but not as much as Dark Eldar). :D

03-05-2007, 16:42
I play a WH that is pretty different from what you'll normally see in the tactics forum; however, I find it does provide a fun (usually). With a minimal amount of work you could transform it into something that sort of looks like what you menitoned in your guard "first draft".

Jump Canonesse w/ blessed Wep, inferno

2X battle sister squads w/ vet sister (stormbolter) and 2X stormbolters.
20 Zealots w/ 4 eviscerators and priest with MC eviscerator.
1x Armored Fist w/ stnd pattern Chimera, ML and plasma.

6 Dominions w/ HB Immy, vet sister (combiflamer) 3 flamers, and 1 melta
1 Exorcist

add additional FA and EL choice to suit. (I use 1 Seraphim and 1 Acroflag.)

You could easily change out the zealots and armored fist for Inq Stormies in Chimeras or Rhinos and add extra exorcists and/or mechanized celestines.

03-05-2007, 19:06
If you have a permissive gaming group you could play your marines with 4+ saves say 12pts a guy, landspeeders become open topped and if you want a greater challenge don't use 'And they shall know no fear'

You won't need new models and it'll probably force you to drastically change your tactics for an army few (if anyone) has played.

04-05-2007, 07:50
Now whats a Idea.

04-05-2007, 08:52
How about a Lost and the Damned army utilizing plenty of Blood Pact troopers?

04-05-2007, 10:27
Dark Eldar: - Interesting but a bit similiar to their fairer bretheren.

The only thing i could say, when i was this was the following ..


.. Allow me to elaborate? How on earth are they a little similar?
I can't even think on how to elaborate on that, i think you're nuts :p

04-05-2007, 10:39
Dark Eldar with only one unit including Incubi OR Wyches.

The army that my brother and I play has two units of Wyches and two with Incubi (I believe). It's fun to play, but it wins too often to be genuinely challenging. Limiting your CC power will make you use more finesse, which is what it looks like you're after.

04-05-2007, 10:40
Pure Raven wing wuold be a change from your Iyanden and probaly about as hard to win with (if not more). 2000 points come to about 30-35 model depending on how you equip them. you basically operating with a standard 5 toughness and 12" movement. Fire power is really almost al you've got with the exception of a few power swords.

i regularly play a Mech Guard guy. The chimeras give me heck all game long but I usuallly kill all his infantry, The list ain't exatly fast but it shoots like a soprano.

04-05-2007, 10:47
Raven wings sounds like my cup of soup.

04-05-2007, 17:00
The first 3 that spring to mind are Deathwing, Ravenwing and Adeptus Sororitas.(sisters of battle)

Deathwing: Not a MEQ army. (meqs are known for having 3+ saves)
It's not a horde. (can barely fit 31 models in 1500 points, leaving little to no room for heavy weapons)

Ravenwing: closer to being MEQ, but bikes help to differentiate that. And are, like the deathwing a bit fragile and low on numbers.

Sisters of Battle: can't really be called MEQ. And is, imo, the best choice if you don't want any more marines. (even if non-power armoured)

04-05-2007, 17:09
Dark eldar!

they are only similar in the fact that they are T3, other then that they are very different.
And they are tactically challenging, but still very nasty!

i mean if for example any unit gets caught out in the open, consider it dead.

Dark eldar have to limit their enemies effectivness be it through itesm such as night sheilds, or just terrain. But the units do strike very effectivly!

Slaaneshi Slave
04-05-2007, 17:19
I play three armies regularly (my Guard are still being built, so will soon be 4). I find Marines to be the easiest to play and win with (duh), my Sisters of Battle are next, and my Deathwing is very hard to win with, but thats probably just how I have it set up. :p

04-05-2007, 18:19
I would have to say Dark Eldar (played them a while ago). To make them good in 4th edition you have to use crazy tactics people wouldn't normally think of. Using raiders as mobile terrain (move them into position and hope the enemy shoots at an empty raider and volia you have a piece of lvl 3 terrain to hide other raiders behind) Or a 27 to 32" charging lord on the first turn of the game. Things like this can surprise the heck out of your opponent and really put them back on their feet. Challenging? Extremely.. Learning curve? Extremely Steep Effectiveness? Best units in the game for their points cost 8 point model with BS 4 and access to weapons that can blow open landraiders or mow down squads of guys. Not to mention a 135 point Archon which can kill any single model in the game.

Lots of character and lots of combo's that require interesting tricks and tactics to get to work. Let's say this much.. when your playing a game, you have to get the proverbial ball rolling to start winning. Consider Dark Eldar's "ball" to be the size of a mountain, almost impossible to get moving in some circumstances, but once it's going it's almost impossible to stop.

Hope that helps :P

04-05-2007, 18:28
Here is a Nid army that I play that is challenging ...
I know that you said you want some type of shooting but then where is the challenge?

1 broodlord geared however
the rest is Stealers

you get a cool theme and also you have the challenge of getting across the board. Now with scuttle and extended carapace this makes this a viable army but is very challenging to play.
[dice0] did it rend?lol

04-05-2007, 20:23
Having played Deathwing, Ravenwing and Dark Eldar i can honestly say all 3 are very hard to play. Personally I suck at playing Dark Eldar so much that I don't even pull them out anymore, just can't get get used to being so fragile... (not that i'm much better at the other two mind you)

So I'd say in this order

1. Dark Eldar (fast and fragile, I have seen more than 1 first turn wipe out against dark elder.. thankfully I wasn't one of them, i don't use webway portals)
2. Deathwing (you're slow, nothing you can do about it really)
3. Ravenwing (fast and tough, few models, but still easier to play than the others)

05-05-2007, 13:33
i believe DE to be the most challenging at the moment. this is because they have so low Toughness and thus you should make no mistakes. the high mobility they have, gives you the option of making the first move and therefore the army itself forces you to act instead of reacting.

05-05-2007, 18:33
Dark Eldar shoudl be fairly complicated ot learn and challenging at firzt, but after you start understanding how they work (which is in essence, not allowing the other one to work), then they become fairly easy.

You only have to always repeat the same tactic with one or two small modifications, that such won't trully affect'em.

I'd say, Imperial Guard using only grenadiers, storm troopers and chimeras, aswell as one or two Leman Russes, shoudl be fairly challengin to play.

06-05-2007, 00:47
Ravenwing is looking mighty tasty - I already have a Iyanden army so Deathwing is very similiar (3+ rerollable save with 5+ cover, is just as resilliant if not more so, T6) so I want to avoid deathiwng. Dark Eldar are cool, but I don't like the models at all - they have some nice toys though like the afore mentioned night shield and combat drugs. That pretty much leaves Ravenwing and Soritas. Soritas are Lead ( I hate lead) and Ravenwing plastic. Hmm - I don't have a non mechanized fast army, and I don't have time to paint alot of models so - I think ravenwing will be best.