How to make a balanced 40k army - Warhammer 40K Fantasy

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  1. #1
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    How to make a balanced 40k army

    The following is mainly a guide for new players who wants a competitive army list. Instead of writing a post that can only be used for 1 single army, I am trying to write the basics that every army should include. It is up to the individual player to make it work for their chosen army.

    In order for an army to be competitive and capable of dealing with any opponent, there are several aspects that your army must cover.

    1. Scoring units
    2. Kill points
    3. Capable of dealing with light infantry, heavy infantry and tanks
    4. Speed
    5. Choose upgrades wisely

    1. When rolling for missions, there is a 67% chance that the mission is about objectives. It is therefore crucial that your army includes multiple units capable of taking objectives. (If your army f.x. only includes 2 scout squads each of 5 models, it doesn't matter how strong the rest of your army is, because a wise opponent would just focus all his attention on your weak troop units and make you unable to win the game... The best outcome is a draw! Winning is a lot more fun!) A good rule of thumb is that 30% of your army's points should be spend on scoring units (not including transports). An army should include a number of scoring units equal to 1 + 1 for every 500 points (1500 points = at least 4 scoring units)

    2. There is a remaining 33% chance that the mission played is about Kill points, so your army must also be competitive in this specific mission. You should try to limit your kill points as much as you can, while still having a lot of scoring units in the event that you play an objective mission (this is where it gets tricky). Your army should include no more than 1 kill point for every 100 points being played for, (maximum 5 kill points for 500 points) Beyond 1000 points it is maximum 1 kill point for every 200 points (1600 points = maximum 13 kill points)... Hope this makes sense.

    3. If you play in a tournament you are likely to play any army whether it is imperial guard, space marines or tyranids. Your army should therefore always include a counter for each enemy setup. Remember that you should always have several options for taking out each specific unit. This means that if you only have 1 unit to take out tanks, you are in deep trouble if you are facing a tank heavy army and your opponent is focusing all his firepower on the only anti-tank unit you have got. Too much anti-tank on the other hand is bad as well if you face a horde army like orks. My rule of thumb is therefore that at least 25% of your army should be capable of taking out tanks, 25% anti heavy infantry. The last 50% spend on scoring units, support units and anti light infantry.

    4. Speed is the probably the least important part of the things I've listed, but it is vital though that your army isn't too static. Your army can then easily be outmanoeuvered and be out of position. If you need to grab objectives you also need some speed to transport your scoring units to their destination.

    5. Quality or Quantity army? I personally prefer Quantity over Quality in 40k, keeping my units cheap while still effective in numbers. Only ever give your units upgrades they really need them and they are well worth their points. If you make them too expensive your enemy will outnumber you.

    My suggestion is that no matter which army you play with you should always follow these 5 rules / guidelines. It may be hard to make your army include all these aspects but this is exactly what makes creating a good army list tricky. If you succeed in this you've got yourself a competitive army list.

    If you find it hard to make your army include all the things listed above you could go for hybrid units like the Eldar Fire prism tank (just to take an example). If you have 2 of them you can get:

    1 shot, str 10, AP 1, blast
    2 shots, str 9, AP 2, blast
    1 shot, str 6, AP 3, large blast
    2 shots, str 5, AP 4, large blast

    These guys are capable of dealing with almost any type of unit that your opponent might throw at you. Having units with a specific purpose is the way to go, but hybrid units can help you fill in the gaps.

    - Vezzax

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Hive Fleet Macarbe's Avatar
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    You covered all the basics that are good, also remember most army lists need to WORK together to do their best, units need to compliment each other.

  4. #3
    Slave to the flesh The_Outsider's Avatar
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    People often get list construction fundamentally wrong for their army - there are two types of list balance - on a micro and macro scale.

    The micro scale is the easiest to do and is often seen - for every squad that does X (say, anti-tank) you take a similar squad that does Y (say, anti-infantry). Repeat this across a list in the desired FoC slots and you will essentially have an army that works on paper. Whether it works in real games is something else entirely, generally marines and marine-like armies get away with this style of list construction due to a generally good statline. This does not mean the army will be good, merely that it will function as an army.

    The macro scale is far harder to build and such armies pretty much only exist because of actual playtesting and only very limited theorycrafting. Typically this is the domain of eldar, dark eldar and tyranids (these being the msot obvious examples). Such a force can be built 'on paper' to look unbalanced - either lacking the required weapons or enough bodies or whatever.

    Forces built this way are generally considerably more powerfull overall than the micro-style built ones but are less user friendly as they work upon principles that are hard to quanitfy in both the design stage and any number crunching a person does.

    In an ideal world a force should evolve from micro to macro as a player learns their force, tweaks it and generally gets a better understanding of what makes the army work as a whole rather than several elements held together by a common goal (to win the game).

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