Wednesday, November 4, 2009

FTW "Must Have" Unit

The bandwagon's usually where the beer's at, so I'll jump on! My "must-have" unit? 2 Troops and 1 HQ. That's it.

Say it with me: 2 Troops and 1 HQ. No, I'm not trying to cop out here. Yes, I know the request was for "[not] the compulsory choices we all have to take... [but] the one unit you always find a way to squeeze into your army, regardless of how well it does or how points effective it may or may not be."

When I'm designing an army list, I'm trying to make it as competitive as I can. That Chaos Lord I spent 60+ hours converting? That Autarch with the spiffy free-hand but sub-par wargear? Those Thousand Sons with the awesome background? All meaningless. I love the modeling, the Fluff, the stories, the camaraderie, and all of the other bits of this hobby... But at game-time, it is only about the logical exercise that it the game. When a unit goes into a list or is set on the table, it is nothing more than a playing piece.

Cold? Yeah, probably. But if I want narrative out of my 40k, I'll go play Apocalypse or Inquisitor. Would you play a game of chess and replace your bishops with pawns because pawns they have cooler background? Would you pass a good chance to checkmate because you don't want to risk your nicely painted rook? Making logical decisions based off emotional expectations is a good way to lose games.

Notably, this works both ways... you can manipulate emotional players by finding that "must-have" unit and defeating it. This is something I've talked about before on other sites, but can't find the article. So I'll just link you to Fritz's take instead.

Coming back to the original question, a different way to look at this would be as a strategic question rather than emotive. I'd originally written from this view, reread the request again, and decided it was more the emotive connotation. But since I'd written a bunch anyways, you're getting both non-answers. From a strategic bent, there's one thing that makes a show in all of my lists: Force Multipliers.

What is a Force Multiplier? Terran Forge touched on this recently, though classified purely within the aspect of HQs. Warhammer 39,999 comes from the other side, in the idea of units that balance out your list by creating a counterpoint. To me, a Force Multiplier is either of these, both and more. They are the catalyst; units or upgrades that creates an army gestalt and makes the whole greater than the sum.

Some examples:
1. A Farseer casting Fortune to buff defense while Doom and Guide increase offense.
2. An Autarch's Master Strategist making Reserves Denial more reliable.
3. Logan Grimnar for his unit buffs and change to the Force Org.
4. A Commissar stuck into a unit of Conscripts to mitigate their low Ld.
5. A Fire Dragon Exarch with DB Flamer, shifting the unit from pure anti-tank to something capable against infantry too.

Meh, there's more I could probably go into on this, but I'm easily distracted. So instead, go make yourself a better 40k gamer and human being by reading Danny Internet's latest articles.


  1. Thanks for the nod in your post.

    Also, I'm curious as to what you mean by "Reserves Denial." Autarchs let you reroll your own reserves, not your opponents, right? Typically that wouldn't be associated with "denial," so if you have a moment to elaborate...

    On a side note: you should move up to Alaska--I could use a level heading gaming buddy.

  2. Always glad to give a link when someone is doing nice stuff. I've even updated the link with your new domain...

    As to Reserves Denial, rather than elaborate here I went ahead and wrote up the idea as a new post.

    Alaska? Heh. Maybe to visit. I've lived in cold climes and learned that I really don't like ice. Still, I've a game with a guy from there tonight... I'll see if he still has any decent contacts up your way.