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 40K Army List Building, Part 1 - Army Roles

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HalflingScribe

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PostSubject: 40K Army List Building, Part 1 - Army Roles   Tue May 24, 2011 8:25 pm

It has been brought to my attention that I have been lazy and not posted here. This will be the first of a number of posts describing my philosophy of army list design. I will touch on Fantasy as well, in the appropriate forum.

While I am trying to address army building, it is necessary to touch somewhat on tactics. The central point is that one must consider how an army will operate on the battlefield while assembling a list.

In the interest of being thorough, I will no doubt state the obvious at times but I will attempt to be brief to keep this simple to read. Please post if you have questions, disagreements, or want to add something. Now without further ado...



40K ARMY LIST BUILDING - ARMY ROLES =========================

When building a list, it is important to keep in mind why a particular unit should be included. There are a number of things a 40K force must be capable of performing to at least some degree. There are many different ways to perform these roles, which I will cover later, so I won't go deeply into that yet.

Capture Objectives --------------------------------------------------------------

Troops, troops, troops! This is first on the list because it's the easiest to forget. It's not just a matter of taking units from the troops force organization. In order to win objective-based missions they also need to be able to get to objectives before the enemy or drive faster enemies off objectives. Non-scoring units may be used to assist in this of course, by killing or driving off enemy units so Troops can consolidate the objective. They can also contest objectives that you cannot get a scoring unit onto.

Some armies are blessed by fast troop choices such as bikes or assault marines. For the rest, a few transports can go a long way here.

Remember that objectives are often placed in areas of cover. This makes it more difficult to defeat enemy objective-holders (see below) by shooting alone.

Hold Objectives ------------------------------------------------------------------

Slightly different than the above, this requires a little bit of explanation. The difference between capturing and holding is key. Objective-holders, unlike objective-takers, obviously must be scoring units.

These also must be durable enough or numerous enough to survive the attention of enemy forces trying to drive them off their objective. They are also mid- to long-range firefighting units like SM Tactical Squads. Blood Angel assault marines, for instance, are not good objective-holders despite being troops since enemies can shoot them off the objective while the marines are left to choose between being unable to fight back and abandoning their objective to attack.

Anti-Tank/Monster ---------------------------------------------------------------

I lump these together because most units that are good against heavy armor (13 frontal armor or higher) are also good against monsters. This is not always the case, though, and one must consider both monsters and heavy armor. Weapons with the melta or lance rules are the king here.

The key difference between the two is that even the toughest tank can be destroyed by a single high-quality hit, while monsters have four or more wounds to lose.

Anti-Light Armor/Transport ------------------------------------------------------

Transports, dreadnoughts and other more lightly armored vehicles tend to be more numerous that their heavier cousins. While the meltaguns and lascannons used on the heavier targets work here, this role can often be filled by lighter, more versatile, and cheaper weapons. Strength 6-7 weapons with 2 or more shots (e.g. autocannons, scatter lasers) work here and fill some of the anti-infantry role below.

Defeat the Horde -----------------------------------------------------------------

This is the ability to fight large numbers of light infantry. Generally speaking, light troops are those with 5+ armor and/or toughness 3. There are exceptions (e.g. orks despite T4), but that's the rule to consider. This requires being able to dish out a large number of wounds quickly. Remember that, unlike tanks and fearless monsters, infantry can be routed. Light infantry tend to have poorer leadership and are vulnerable to being defeated by combat resolution and morale tests.

Defeat Heavy Infantry -----------------------------------------------------------

Generally, this is everything with a 3+ save or better. These units also tend to be toughness 4. Yes, I'm talking about Space Marines. Obviously, power weapons and guns with low AP are going to be effective against such targets. However, volume of fire can be effective as well. Get enough wounds and some of those saves will come up ones and twos. Anyone who's been on the receiving end of the Guide-Doom-Bladestorm combo can vouch for this.

Worthy of special mention are units with 2+ saves such as Terminators, high toughness units like Wraithguard, or multiple-wound units like Tyranid Warriors. Plasma and melta weapons are often the way to go here. Many of the anti-armor weapons like lascannons or power fists will work just as well here. Fortunately, these troops are expensive and tend to be few in number.


Afterword ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Obviously, this is just the introduction and doesn't mean that much on it's own. There are many ways to meet these roles/needs. Assault, fire support, counter-assault, firefighting, mechanization, and others will be discussed in the next installment. The difference between is that these "secondary" roles is that they answer the question "how?" whereas the above items are "what" an army must be prepared to do.



Coming Soon: 40K Army List Building, Part 2 - Unit Roles
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Event Grot

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PostSubject: Re: 40K Army List Building, Part 1 - Army Roles   Tue May 31, 2011 11:28 pm

Keep posting, I'll learn your secrets and then I'll use them against you! Dun Dun Dun!
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