Friday, February 4, 2011
Army "Cores" - Variety Via Inflexibility
So, not that I do tactics/list-building articles with any gusto or regularity, but I thought I would share what I do as sort of my "baseline" when building lists.
First thing I do is determine which components of my list are likely to always stay the same, and turn them into a "tax" of sorts on a list build ... in the case of my Imperial Guard, there are a couple of things that factor into this:
1) Models I like that look the best
2) Units that reliably function for me in a variety of roles
For my Imperial Guard, this boils down to the following building blocks that I really don't like to part with:
1) Straken + 2 Meltaguns + 2 Bodyguards + Carapace + Medic + Banner + Chimera - 315 points
- The reason for taking this is multi-fold; one, it gives me a serviceable combat unit for counter-punching, holding things up in a key moment, and "breaking" the backs late-game of shootier armies that foolishly eschew combat of their own
- Two, it gives me the auras I need to stretch my resources and get more out of the rest of my "core" and my army as a whole - 12" from the edge of his Chimera I get re-rolls of failed morale and pin tests (HUGE for guard), furious charge (my guardsmen charge like space marines), and counter-attack (which often doesn't come in handy against MEQ all that often due to initiative, but is huge against other guard units and the like)
- I'll OFTEN take an Astropath with this unit, maybe 75%+ of the time, as it helps with outflankers and keeping Vendettas alive ... but it's not MANDATORY for me in my core, so I don't always take one
2) 4 x Vet Squads w/ 3 Meltaguns, Shotguns, Chimera - 620 points
- This is Straken's "honor guard" of sorts ... it gives me fully assault weapon equipped (remember furious charge) scoring troop units with a total of 40 models in serviceable tank transports, and it gives me a dozen more meltaguns, for a 14 melta core ... this lets me shoot anything I really need to shoot
- I have the points costs memorized for 5 and 6 meltavet squads ... 775 and 930 ... but they aren't "mandatory" ... love 'em or hate 'em, 4 meltavet squads with aura support are a critical component of any mechanized, mobile, closer ranged guard list ... and that's what I most prefer to run
3) 2 x Vendettas - 260 points
- Try as I might, I often find Vendettas to be the best choice to support my army builds ... I may wind up with Ogryns, or Demolishers, or more Meltavets, or Al'Rahem ... but whatever happens, a couple of Vendettas to reserve or start on and bang up enemy mobility or silence/kill opposing long range shooters like Autolas BA preds or even opposing Vendettas just is too much of a big deal, and Vens are SUPER reliable at this ... against AV13 (preds) a Vendetta's damage odds are 3 x 3/4 (to hit) x 1/2 (to cause a damage result) ... it's just ... reliable. You don't have as strong a set of odds to your points level as you do with something like a Hydra perhaps, but the flexibility of the platform is just too good to pass up. I never expect them to live, either, but - and especially when I take 3 - I'll usually add an Astropath to the cost so that in games against shootier opponents, quarters deployment games, etc., I can reserve them and bring most on Turn 2 in better / safer positions, or lanes where their targeted tanks don't have cover
So, when you look at this, my personally assessed "tax" for building an IG list is a hefty 1,195 points ... I think a lot of us do this subconsciously, and it takes "effort" to get outside your personal core ... and it's related to more than just what's "best" ... lots of people like to listhammer on the net, with things they'll never personally buy or even own. 4 of my vet squads are really well painted for me, 3 of my Vendettas are really well detailed up for me, and my Straken squad looks good and is characterful. I want to use these models either way, and when I vary the list up (like I did adding Al'Rahem and the Brother Captain for BFS) it makes painting a lot easier when you've got a solid core.
It's also frankly easier when going 1850, for instance, to know that what I'm REALLY working with is 655 points ... and no real FOC restrictions.
What is YOUR "core?" And don't fret - NOBODY sticks to it all the time no matter what, but realistically we all have those building blocks we just can't stomach living without ... what are yours?