Thursday, June 2, 2011


Following on from yesterday’s post about spam in 40k, I thought I’d expand on any idea I touched on in my diatribe.

I called it “Duality”, picking up a term that has become popular, but I actually think in the very top lists it is even more.

Effectively what it means is that when you look at building a list you need units that can have multi-roles depending on the circumstances. For instance for me in 40k the three key roles are:

1. Anti-infantry
2. Anti-mech
3. Scoring

In my list I have Plague Marine units that fulfil this role. They are 7 strong with two melta, a Champ with Combi weapon and Fist in a Rhino with pintle combi-weapon. For me this fulfils all three of the roles above. However it comes at a price, my Plague Marines come at a cost of 23 points.

When I look at Space Wolves I see the same type of unit – Grey Hunters – who can do the job far cheaper. They are so good at this role that they form the backbone of any SW army.

So when digesting a codex I look for units that can do all three of these roles – or failing that do at least two of them very well.

This can come down to weapon choice in individual units. For example, missile launchers are the new black. And so they should be. They have the ability to fulfil both the first two functions at the flick of a switch. In the very best units, e.g. Long Fangs, you get a further force multiplier of this duality with the ability to split fire. Win-win. Compare that to say a SM Devastator Squad or a Chaos Havoc squad. Back in the day, the success of the Emperor’s Children was very much a consequence of the duality of the 3rd/4th Ed Blastmaster (and its Assault/Heavy option).

Looking at my Death Guard my Oblits are a far better option than Havocs. Why? Because of the weapon options that I can tailor to situation and the ability to move and fire (and Deep Strike at a pinch). They are therefore tactically far more flexible.

A key aspect of the new codexes is the flexibility in the list to create units that achieve the third aspect above, Scoring. This transforms a unit that may normally have a single function and deliver to it a dual role e.g. Minimum sized Wrack unit in Venom. Another of these is the ability to combat-squad for instance in Grey Knights especially when combined with Deep Strike.

For me the day of the single purpose unit is very much in the past. Now you need multipurpose units and the tactical nous to maximise their potential.

1 comment:

  1. I do think 5th ed and newer codexs with cheap vehicles has pushed this. In 4th you could build an all infantry list and be competitive, in 5th its not very viable at all.

    Interesting point on Missile Launchers, I see another huge benefit however, well 2; good at hurting MCs as well, but most importantly, S8, which allows the to instant kill most multi wound infantry. Also, it seems in most codexs they are the best points per value squadron.

    As far as duality goes, most marine armies get anti mechanical by default to some extent with Krak grenades, before you even pick options, its default. I think its sad and rules bias that xenos, DE are a great example, have to pay points to upgrade to be as similarly versatile... a tad unfair