Is My Army Any Good?

So you’ve decided to invest in a new army.

Maybe your bored of your old one, need a new a challenge, have discovered some hideously broken combination in a new codex or are attracted by some new pretty models or interesting background material…whatever the reason, I’m presuming your going to use the army at some point and perhaps would like to win a game or two with it.

Of course if you don’t care about whether your army is going to win a game then feel free to ignore this article completely or just skip to the end and I’ll include a picture of Kate Beckinsale for no apparent reason.

Lets break it down a little and make sure we have the essentials…In no particular order,

1) Anti-armour.
2) Anti-infantry.
3) Scoring units.

Of course it’s a little more complicated than that. Some armies can include the required elements easier than others while a few more unfortunate codices have trouble including them at all.

As were still playing 5th Edition and I’d be extremely surprised if Games Workshop ever now decided that making us buy a unit and a transport was a bad idea and made vehicles rubbish (especially when they now include some kind of giant expensive flyer in pretty much every new army they release) we’re going to have to deal with vehicles.

Though most armies main vehicles will be approaching you with an armour facing in the 10-12 mark there’s still a few that will be pointing armour 14 at you in some quantities. Giving my uncanny ability to miss with single weapons it’s always a good idea to have 2 or 3 anti-armour weapons in a single unit. Imperial Guard, Marines of all types and a few lucky others can do this easily but some others may be less lucky *cough* Tyranids *Cough*…Though I have some issues with their effectiveness, Tri-Land Raider lists still turn up on the tabletop and in tournaments so your probably going to have to deal with one at some point in the armies lifespan. So three units that can take on ‘Heavy’ armour are (imo) essential though some armies are going to have ways around the problem (weapons with the ‘Lance’ rule for a start). Ask the average Dark Eldar player  how many vehicles he kills with his single raider mounted Dark Lance and get ready to duck as a spiky vehicle gets propelled towards your head 😉

Lighter transports require less specialist weapons to deal with but in general they will be opposing you in larger quantities than the more heavily armoured vehicles and therefore require an equivalent increase in fire-power to deal with. It has been advised by some people that you can still reliably destroy vehicles in close combat…I don’t happen to agree and maths appears to be on my side…

You really need to be able to reliably incapacitate at least three transports a turn and if you can cripple or destroy them then more the better. The other factor is range…Generally the transported unit is scarier than the transport so you want it useless at the maximum range possible.

So the other primary concern is going to be neutralising your opponents scoring units which are (except in a few rare cases) going to be infantry. As with vehicles, infantry can consist of both heavy and light types and your going to need to deal with both. In some cases you can deal with infantry with the same weapons you used to kill their transports but there’s going to be a lot more of them. Killing two Terminators with Meltaguns is going to irritate your opponent…killing two Orks won’t have the same effect though….

With the current main rulebook missions meaning that two thirds of the missions involve you holding objectives then your going to need scoring units. These need to be either resilient, numerous or if your lucky…both. As your probably going to be sitting at the back of the board with at least one of these units then it makes sense to give it some kind of long ranged weapon so it can contribute in some other way than simply ‘not dying’ though this is less of an issue if the units irritatingly cheap…grots in cover that have gone to ground spring to mind in this latter category, lol.

Another consideration is whether you’ve included small units or single characters that your army absolutely rely’s on for success. If your Librarian/Psyker has an ability that you need to make your army work then you best hope you never play against Eldar…or another army with a Psychic Hood. If your army ceases to function after the elimination of a couple of units then it could probably use a significant redesign of some description.

Much of that was obvious but considering the amount of armies I’ve seen that miss out essential elements…maybe not. “My army cannot deal with….” shouldn’t be an excuse you ever need to use.

So this conclusively proves that you need another dual melta unit…hey you…look at the board…

I’ll use my current army as an example.

Librarian with Combi-Melta and Shield of Sanguinius and Fear of the Darkness…

This guy gives my army some general psychic defence and his ‘Shield’ power adds some minor extra protection to my dual melta units as they move forward but is hardly essential. Occasionally ‘Fear of the Darkness’ does something awesome but I don’t really need it to. The Combi-melta is there as one of my units only has a single melta weapon (due to points considerations).

Tactical Squad + 5 Marines, Combi-Melta, Meltagun, Plasma Cannon
Razorback, Assault Cannon.

This unit (and an identically equipped one) combat squads to give me two objective holding units with a long range weapon that can kill heavy infantry and occasionally annoy the odd light transport. The rest becomes a dual melta unit and their transport can do both anti-infantry and anti-vehicle duties.

Assault Squad, Meltagun.
Razorback, Assault Cannon

This is the before mentioned single melta unit that gets a Librarian to tag along with it.

Assault Squad, Infernus Pistol, Meltagun.
Razorback, Assault Cannon.

There’s three lots of these. The unit can deal with vehicles, the transport can do a bit of everything.

Attack Bike Squad, Multi-Melta.

This unit is just an extra melta weapon with a bit more range that hides behind the other units and pops out to hopefully kill something expensive. There’s two…because one always misses…sometimes both miss but that’s another story…

Baal Predator, Heavy Bolter Sponsons.

Anti-Infantry, though the Assault Cannons have occasionally killed a vehicle.

Predator, Heavy Bolter Sponsons.

The other anti-infantry tank so I have some redundancy.

Predator, Lascannon Sponsons.

and two of these give me some additional ranged anti-tank.

So that’s a 2000 point list that can deal with pretty much everything.

and here’s the Kate Beckinsale pick I promised…

Thoughts and comments are (as usual) most welcome.

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