Friday, December 31, 2010

"Balanced" armies and how you build an Apoc Force

Valkyries have been the topic of discussion at the Apocalypse40k.com Forums.  And a few people have complained they are too strong.  Well, they ARE strong.  But there are plenty of strong units in Apoc.

First, make sure you are using the Imperial Armor Volume 1 & 2 Rules Updates on the Forgeworld download page.  The link is permanently fixed to the right column of this blog too.

Here is where Forgeword has noted that a Valkyrie is a Flyer in games of Apoc.  You will also find that a Hydra is given an AA mount.  So they actually balanced these out pretty well.

And this brings up the need for a discussion of "balanced" armies and how you grow your armies. 

TYPES OF ARMIES

There are 3 different types of Apocalypse armies I see out there.  The big 40K army, the 40K army enlarged for Apocalypse and the Apocalypse army that is built from the ground up for Apoc games.

Now the first type I don't see many of, because before Apocalypse, there wasn't a whole lot of reason to have 10,000 points of an army.  Oh some of us did, but not a lot.  Often these players have added to these armies for Apocalypse, but not with an eye towards Apocalypse.  They think of big games and so build every codex unit they ever wanted, maybe add a War Machine, but the army lacks balance.   And balance is critical to a good Apocalypse army.

I am sure many of us took the middle approach.  We had a 40K army and then started adding units that we felt we needed after playing Apocalypse and seeing what we lacked.   And that is a good approach.  It is iterative, intelligent, probably fits our budget and is measured. It also allows you to respond to threats.

The final approach is what I wound up with.  Last year I started a new army, the Crimson Templars, and built it from the ground up for Apocalypse.  I built it for 5,000 point + games.  And now it totals over 25,000 points including Titans, IG, and an Air Force.  

Now, the difference between the good Apocalypse armies and the just average ones, is a combination of good planning, good choice in units and the aforementioned balance.

GROWING YOUR ARMY

When I started playing Apoc I was using the middle approach.  I had a Dark Angels army I was using and the first thing I did was add a unit of  Combi-melta armed Sternguard.  I needed to be able to Drop Pod them in and take out Titans.  And it worked well.  First mission they took out a Warhound.   But then I moved and 40K took a back seat.  I moved to Newport Beach, CA and started playing at the Los Angeles, Games Workshop Battle Bunker.  And there I started the SoCal Apocalypse club.

James Bell's original Red Templar, now my Force Commander

So a year ago, I decided that I wanted a whole new army.  I had being working on a color scheme and the new Bunker manager, James Bell, who is an amazing painter, had this 5 man squad that was EXACTLY what I had been thinking of.  I wanted to use Templar Iconography, but wanted them dark red with white helms and shoulder pads.

Since then I have steadily built up my army to include everything I think you need to have a balanced army:

1)  TROOPS  -  The basis of any army. You need Troops to take objectives.  Our house rule is anything with a WS that is not a Gargantuam Creature or has structure points can take an objective.  So Terminators, Assault Troops, Dreadnoughts all are good choices.

And in Apocalypse, always think INVUNERABLE SAVE.  So TH/SS Termies are awesome.  I now have 30.  Plus a full Battle Company.  And lots of IG.

2)  AT  -  You must have a ton of Anti-Tank weapons.  Everyone loves bringing their tanks, Titans and Warmachines.  You must have an army that can take out enemy Titans and Warmachines.  Think MELTA.

3)  FLYERS  -  This is the best way to apply firepower to any part of the board.  You must have Flyers to be competitive.

4)  AA  -  Well, if Flyers are important, taking out the enemy Flyers is just as important.  And most everyone I know ignores this.  I just don't see much AA out there! 

5)  WARMACHINES  -  Titans, Super Heavy Tanks, this stuff is hard to kill, and you need to force your opponent to deal with them.  Baneblades are the default.  They are awesome.  Titans are for the very big games.  I only bring mine when the other team has theirs.


OK, next we will discuss how to take these basics and go about building a fun, competitive Apoc Army.

Alec

You know you are in trouble when the newbie girl is talking smack to you in her first Apoc game!



1 comments:

GP said...

Let's see where to start.
Ok I am thinking about the method I used to create my current Apocalypse army and I guess it all comes from an existing tournament army and the original admitted company army list from White Dwarf. That was a great list and suprisingly fair when playing against troop based armies as it allowed even lasguns to harm my Leman Russes. So I built an armored company for that list long before anyone had thought of Apocalypse. My space marines are a different story. I like the models and I have been buying space marine models that catch my eye. I had a Dark Angels army way before they had a codex, I sold them off when I grew bored of them and finally figured out how to paint Crimson Fists so they don't look like Ultramarines with red gloves. I had always loved Chrimson Fists from back when they graced the cover of the Rouge Trader rulebook. My Fists don't see a lot of table time but I love them. I they built slowly and are now a respectable 10,000 points or so. There really was not much thought put into how the army grew but there are lots of Terminators and Dreadnoughts. Recently with Apocalypse and the new codex I added 2 units of Sternguard with meltas and plasmas and some more terminators. I think I have a bit over 30 terminators at this point. They are not all THammers and storm shields but I am looking to upgrade most of them to chainfists for maximum Titan killing.
My guard on th other hand are more geared towards Apocalypes. I have 2 platoons mounted up in chimeras plus 3 veteran squads also in chimeras all with meltas. The only models in the army without a ride are the heavy weapons and snipers. I have a company of baneblades plus a hellhammer, a shadowsword and a stormsword. I have grown to 2 Leman Russ companies and added a leviathan. I also have 3 basilisks and 3 bombards and a pair of hydras and a few other odds and ends. This is what I feel is a true Apocalypse army.
After Apocalypse was released and my local group, Siegeworld, started working toward record sized games I have looked to expand my army with an eye on adding as many points as possible without having a rediculous number of guards men. To this end I have been working on large models almost exclusively. The leviathan is one way I added a lot of points with just one tank. Baneblades Are another good way to get more points and only have one model to paint. This brings me to titans. I have 6 scratch built warhounds and a warlord with a second warlord planned and an emperor in the works as well. The other additions I will be making to my apocalypse forces are air cover. With the presence of Valkyries and other flyers growing on today's apocalypse battilefields air cover is becoming more and more important to that end I am planning on 6 thunderbolts and a few marauder destroyers to round out my airforces.
The one piece of advice I would give to someone building an Apocalypse army is everyone needs a ride or they should be dedicated to holding an objective. Do not plan on wading across the table with your space marine tactical squad. You will never get to the other side, and you will end up throwing them away. Most of your units should have some way to move quickly arround the table. Either dedicated transports or deep striking or teleporting, you need something. This is not to say that you cannot field an entire infantry army with no transports at all, just dont expect that army to go running around taking objectives.

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