Old School here to present a few questions to the community regarding allies; What do you think of Allies so far? Have they been worth it from a gameplay perspective? Have you seen any cool themes? Does it all just rub you the wrong way? Of course I will give you my opinion, while also exploring the ideas and opinions I have heard from fellow gamers.
My Personal Allies Experience
I always liked playing doubles games and I did invent the End of Days format which is like Allies on steroids, so having played games where anyone could team up and benefit from each others powers, transports and independant characters gave me the working knowledge that it is very hard to break this game when it really comes down to it. When the rest of the world was thinking the sky was falling, those of us with the EoD experience were just shrugging our shoulders because their system was EoD with the volume turned down.
I think GW did a very good job of balancing how allied armies interact with each other and they made it work on the table very well. That being said, as a guy who also enjoys his fluff, there are some weird potential match-ups, like GK and Crons or Tau and Chaos ect., but I can get over that pretty easily.
From a table top perspective, I share the sentiment that CVinton and Seerk have as well - "Most of the time, Allies are a trap." What I mean by this is that while some people (and entire FLGS communities) think allies are "cheesey" and "just for powergamers." I have not really seen a whole lot of really impressive matches where the primary detachment wouldn't have been better with more stuff from its own codex.
For example, there really isn't much, if anything, I can think of matching my Necrons with that would make them more effective for competitive play. I have had some fun combining them with Orks and Chaos Marines, but that's what it is for me; fun.
So, I would simply encourage people to play more allies and whip out their additonal armies (if they have them). I think they will find that it is a lot of fun. I think the naysayers will find there isn't much to fear from Allies and that there are actually some great opportunities in the Allies matrix that go beyond performance.
For me, I just really like the idea of putting two painted armies on the table at the same time and showing off what styles of painting and conversion I have done. I wish sometimes that that I had less stuff so I could start fresh and theme two armies together for Allies purposes, but right now, I have a mostly painted Chaos army, a fully painted Necron army, a fully painted Deathwing (no good allies for them), an unpainted Ork army and a collection of Daemon conversions that include a couple of painted units. In my case, I just like to show off my paintjobs more than my fluff expertise. I may try to mash the Daemons and the CSM together soon, but that will be after I finish making more new Chaos conversions.
So with that said, while I haven't seen any armies yet in person that have been specifically themed together, I have had some fun with Allies and I think there are opportunities there for all types of gamers and hobbyists. I think some of the older books can get a boost from the chart, while newer armies can have some fun with it as well.
This brings us back to the original set of questions. What do you think of Allies so far? Have they been worth it from a gameplay perspective? Have you seen any cool themes? Does it all just rub you the wrong way? I would love to start a great conversation about this topic!