Editorial: Keep up with 40k by Simplifying Your Army List

Warhammer 40k has become increasingly more vast and complex. The release schedule is frenetic, with new Codices and armies being introduced nearly every month. It’s a lot for a casual player to keep track of, and I’m afraid the divide between casual and competitive players will grow – as the more competitive players will know all the rules and intricacies of the new books, while casual players will not.

One way to deal with this influx of new rules, is to keep your own rules simple. Focus on using just a handful of units in your own army and learn to get the most out of them. One of the reasons this works especially well for Tyranids, is that we have no Allies to work with, meaning we have to focus on units in just one Codex.

For example, if you have seen my Tyranid lists, you will see a common theme of units:

  1. Flying Hive Tyrants
  2. Malanthropes
  3. Lictors
  4. Mucolid Spores / Spore Mines
  5. Mawlocs
  6. Barbed Hierodule
  7. Void Shield Generator (not in the Tyranid Codex, obviously)
  8. Genestealers* (I used these in the Broadside Bash to try and increase my comp score)

Keep in mind, the Tyranid Codex has 38 unit options – so I’m only using about 20% of the units available to me. By only using a combination of these units, I don’t have nearly as much to worry about. I just have to focus on getting the most out of these units, and finding ways to play the missions as closely as possible.

How should you simplify your own army list?

  1. Focus on your favorite units to use / or based on their lore
  2. Determine which units will be best at achieving Maelstrom points using ITC missions
  3. Nab additional units that shore up any weaknesses in your army list
  4. Practice! Use a variety of units initially to practice, but refine and minimalize your list over time

If there’s one things I’ve noticed over my years of attending and following tournaments, is that it’s the same players who are finishing near the top, regardless of the current meta. They know the army they are playing inside out and backwards.

I recently played in a team tournament with my Dark Eldar. I played a Venomspam army pretty exclusively in 5th edition, but haven’t touched the army in 6th or 7th. I played a very simplified list with just Venoms, Warriors and Lhaemons. My teammate and I ended in 3rd place (losing 8-14 to an Eldar / Wraithwing spam army), but the one thing I noticed was how quickly I was able to pick up playing Dark Eldar again. Once you master a simplified army, it will stick with you for years.

The last army I play is Eldar, and I’m going through my massive 25,000 point collection, and downsizing it to keep just what I use on a regular basis. (Note: I’m not thrilled with the new Codex, so I don’t plan on playing this army too much). My army will focus on using:

  1. Warp Spiders – because I think they’re the coolest unit in the Codex
  2. Wraithlords – they’ve been a long favorite of mine
  3. Scatter Jetbikes – because they’re the best ObSec option in the game
  4. Skyrunner Farseer / Warlock – synergy with a fast moving army
  5. Crimson Hunters – for air support
  6. Wraithknight – I hear they’re pretty good
  7. Wraithguard – see above

Again, I’m only focusing on 7 units out of a possible 40 – right around 18% of the available army. I feel that with these 7 units, I can make a wide variety of armies that can be competitive in the current meta.

Here’s the challenge: pick a Codex of your choosing, and limit yourself to 7 units from that Codex. Which 7 would they be, and why?

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About Nick C

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