Previously on Game of Thrones.... wait, stop, no, this is A Galaxy In Flames! Ok, previously, I wrote an article on building a 30k army for cheap, based around a few simple choices. This article can be found here. Today, I thought I thought I would take a look at some key considerations when it comes to list building, and how to apply it to your army/Legion.
Note: This is an 'in my opinion' article, it's not saying you MUST or SHOULD, it only is saying that you can use what's written here as a reference. In the end, always do what YOU want with your army, because it's your expression.
Note: This is a BIG, WORDY article. Prepare to read and read and read.
Warning: Strong Language throughout. I'd apologise, but in a game of beer and pretzels, if you're old enough to build a Forge World army, read fluff about Slanneshi followers doing what comes naturally to them, then the word fuck shouldn't blip on your radar.
Ok, now that that's out of the way, lets look into this a little more.
In the past, I covered picking a Legion here, and I got some great feedback from the readers. When building any list, it's important to pick this first, as it will affect choices made later on, such as the selection of HQ's and specialist troops. If you want a more detailed look, suffice to say, follow the link and you will (hopefully) be satisfied.
The reason that knowing your Legion (if it has been released, curse you Forge World, give me my damn Thousand Sons) matters, is that it will define certain characteristics. If you are running World Eaters, you will be better at close combat, and this will give you an edge if you use it correctly. Conversely, if you're running Iron Warriors, you can take a Rite of War which lets you have an EXTRA heavy support choice... but only at the expense of letting your opponent take an extra game turn if they so desire.
Basics 101: Legion Troops
I do apologize, as this section is a bit wordy, but only out of necessity.
When picking troops, there are two things to keep in mind:
1) Is it Zone Mortalis?
2) Are you running a Rite of War which changes how your FOC functions?
1) If you are running a game in Zone Mortalis, Void Hardened Armour matters. Legion Breachers are not the most points effective unit in standard table top games, although thanks to their special weapons slots, they do have their uses. In ZM however, they come into their own, not succumbing to the regular devices meant to slaughter marines by the dozens. In Zone Mortalis, Terminators and Dreadnoughts are key tools, with damage and survivability massively increased compared to the troops around them. A key example of this, (and tying in with knowing your Legion) is Death Guard Death Shroud and Contemptors. If you run chem-flamers on these units, they will absolutely decimate units in this environment. Try it out some time, test the brutality for yourself.
Anyway, ZM games aside, I ALWAYS recommend at least two Tactical Squads, with 10-15 the best size (personally, I think 20 is just a bit unwieldy in a game where everyone spreads out to avoid instant pie-plate related death..). Again, here is where knowing you Legion comes in handy: f you are running World Eaters, I suggest, for example tooling one or two of your Tac Squads up with chain axes. Nothing will break that close combat stalemate with Mechanicum Thallax like AP 4 weapons.... no armour saves champ.
Next, I always suggest taking 1-2 tactical support squads. These don't have to be big, but my golly, a few special weapons here and there can really help the war effort. What arms would I pick?
No, not Soviet Russian bear cavalry.... I prefer Volkites and Plasmas. Flamers can also work, again, armies like Salamanders salivate over that shit, but beware, if you play AGAINST Salamanders, they STILL salivate over that shit.
"Mmmmm yeah, +1 Strength on my flamers, -1 Strength on yours, yeah, that feels soooo good."
Lastly for stock-standard troops, Legion Recon Squads. These guys CAN be potentially brutal. Take them in a regular army, give them carapace armour for infiltratey-goodness, equip their SGT with artificer armour and stick him out the front for 2 up save lols. IF you're Raven Guard, you can infiltrate anyway, and Alpha Legion can choose to take Infiltrate as a free special rule, so in that case, fuck it, take power armour anyway, enjoy extra cover saves from cameleoline (or just from being Raven Guard badasses with stealth as well..) and watch as your frustrated opponent can't kill you anywhere near as easily as he could otherwise.
2) If you run non-standard FOC, the lines start to blur. Terminator Armies for example and bike-related shenanigans ensue. I am NOT going to cover it here, as it's a whole article in its own rite (get it, RITE instead of right? lolz).
There you have it, the troops section done.... for now.
After picking your troops, this is the next most hotly contended entry. Why not HQ's? Because you can only pick 2 HQ's, half the time one is a special Character, and the rest of the time he is just along for the ride, only doing his killing in CC which makes him less important the the kill causing, damage absorbing badasses that live in the Heavy Support section....
For a run-down on the tanks, you can see my point by point pros and cons here. This of course is another opinion based article, but it does have some real merits.
If you like fliers and infantry, then feel free to go with Legion Heavy Support Squads, just tool them up appropriately, I find a 5 man squad specialising in one field is better then a 10 man point sink asking to be target number 1. Volkites, Plasma and Lascannons are the guns of choice, but an argument can be made for Autocannons and Heavy Bolters (more popular in 6th edition thanks to vehicles being made of glass. With people making a move to 7th they are a little less common.) Fire Raptors round out your heavy options, but beware, they can be a point-sink, and are more situational then exceptional. (Yes, in 30k, fliers cost POINTS. We're all looking at you, Necrons.)
Ok, this is ALWAYS hotly contested. Basically, you MUST read your Legion special rules, look at your Rite of War, and balance up your fluff vs crunch.
READ YOUR DAMNED RULES PEOPLE, OTHERWISE THIS SHIT HAPPENS!
If you are going World Eaters, MAYBE Red Butchers are for you. They excel in close combat, and they are tough as nails. But maybe you already have plenty of CC oriented units. In that case maybe some scoring terminators, just buffed by your Legion special rules are a better choice. In any case my choices for Elites usually comes down to two choices: Dreadnoughts, specifically Contemptors, and Destroyers.
The merits: Contemptors are insane dakka beasts if you use them right. Take them with Kheres Assault Cannons or Lascannons in mortis form, and it's bye bye fliers. Conversely, drop pod or better yet, dreadnought drop pod them, and load them with a chain fist or two and a pair of heavy flamers, and watch your opponent cringe in fear.
The not-so-merits: Cost. Both $$ and points when doing dread-pods and full talons can really hurt.
The merits: Legion Destroyers, oh, myy. I FUCKING LOVE these dudes. I take two squads of 10. I don't take them for the fact they will tear the asshole out of anything with power armour, but because they will tear the mechanical asshole out of the Taghmata lists. Why? A little thing called Rad Missiles: AP3 blast weapons which wound ANYTHING (except Mortarion) on 2's, with re-rolls to wound, which if a multi-wound target cops a wound against it then plays on with MINUS 1 toughness. This effect, until FAQ's otherwise, is cumulative. That's right, drop two of these babies on Angron with his 3 up save, or on Castellax and watch the lols as they take the punishment and drop to more manageable toughness levels. Then you finish them off with a little tender bolter fire.
The not-so-merits: Legion destroyers, are by their nature, kinda brittle, and they cost a lot of points. But as always, fuck it, rule of cool, rule of pain, done.
Terminators make a solid choice, as they are scoring. Most Legion-specific units also score, but you have to weigh up the rule of cool and the rule of pain when picking. For example, Rampagers from World Eaters are better then Palantine Blades, (but Palantine blades LOOK really really cool...) so in a one on one fight, it might be against you to try and take on Rampagers with Palantine Blades. Of course, if you follow my method of operation, those Rampagers already ate fucking Rad missiles...
Rapiers: Good, but only when your mobility is not an issue. Wasted in long-ranged games, come into their own up close. Go for Grav-weapons or laser destroyer arrays. Thud guns and Heavy Bolters are a waste here, as you have units in your heavy slots which do that job better.
Legion Veteran Tac Marines, these guys see some use, but are sorta niche. Frankly, they aren't cool enough to displace Legion-specific special units, and they aren't the powerhouse units that Contemptors and Destroyers are. Take them if you're into that sort of thing, but don't expect them to be exceptional.
This brings me to the end of Part 1. In Part 2, I will cover Fast Attack, HQ's, and some general thoughts on Taghmata.
Continued in part 2...