Monday, November 19, 2012

Allies in 6th: Your Take and My Experience Thus Far



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!

32 comments:

  1. I like allies. It makes for more unique games. But as a daemon player, I am seeing a lot of Grey Knight allies in my area.

    I like adding Chaos Space Marines to my Daemons list. Usually its a Sorcerer, Cultists, and Heldrake. The cultists abd sorcerer stay on my side of the board, behind a defense line with comm relay. I really like rerolling reserves.

    The obly really good combo for allies that I've found is Nurgle. Tally lists seem crazy with potential.

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    1. I like the tally lists too and I think it's a cool way to have the Allies work together. I always wonder if GW is going to chop in in some future FAQ drop or not, but it looks like a lot of fun right now.

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    2. The only FAQ change I could imagine is to change the FNP buff to a 4+, Epi has always affected all nurgle models, no matter what, taking that away would really change the internal consistency of the book.

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    3. Well, the thing I am curious about is the ability for typhus to pop his power and kill all the models in base with him and thus pump the count up very quickly on the first turn. I get that it is very chaos style to sacrifce stuff for power, but it just seems gimicky for the table. That's the only thing I think they would FAQ. Other than that, it is certainly legit!

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  2. I think it acts as an excellent bridge between the codices that are lagging behind on the times. While said codex may have been written in 5th edition you can always look to ally yourself with another that was made for 6th edtion. This is big as it levels the playing flied. With changes to rules and new unit types (Flyers) allies act as a bridge between the old and the new.

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  3. For the most part I agree with the allies are a trap comment. I do think there are some useful allies however I haven't done much myself. IG and there flyers do seem attractive. As for my eldar, the only allies I've used with them are corsairs, which are essentially eldar. The eldar/dark eldar alliance is clearly a trap as the armies don't compliment each other.

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    1. I agree on the Eldar/ DE front. Wolfson and I playtested his lists with those Allies many time with each side in various roles as primary and secondary detachment and he is currently running pure DE with much greater success.

      Personally, Orks are cute with Necrons, but the Necrons do it better alone. I have been toying with a Chaos main det and Necron allies, but the real plan is just to get more fliers with those beautiful Tesla Destructors into a list that has some facebeating potential with lots of objective grabbing as well.

      IG is great, however, with most of the space Marine codices just to provide scoring blobs, Vendetta and one of the great HS options they have. I know that as a Xenos player (and many others have pointed it out), that it seems the imperials get a ton of good ways to work with each other while everyone else gets some awkward alliances.

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    2. I think the key to allies combinations is looking at what you have and what you need. Since most of the time its a question of adding either cheap troops or tough troops, I tend to avoid desperate allies. You may want to think about Tau with your Eldar, they offer a lot of static shooting that will draw target priority and help keep important Eldar units alive.

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    3. Tau do have some interesting options for the eldar. A stupid 9 war walker 3 broadside gun line is probably decent on the table but doesn't seem interesting. Mid strength volume of fire isn't really an eldar problem. I think the IG offer the best option, Space Wolves probably #2 (but no rune priest)

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  4. Being a Tyranid player I hadn't thought about it but I just recalled that on release everyone was saying how great it was to be able to open up more Elite slots with another Tyranid FOC. However, I was looking for the first time the other day to see how it works and found out that only happens 2000pts plus. Anything less and the allied detachment has to be from a different Codex than the Primary Detachment. I was so surprised by this, given 1500pt being a common points list I wrote a post about it on my blog, although it's still to be published.

    Once again it feels like we're being penalised. As far as I understand it everyone else gets to take an extra HQ, Elite, Troop, Fast or Heavy but nids are confined to their minimum FOC.

    GW is primarily trying to sell figures with the in game purpose of allies being to 'enable the the gamer to try and field whatever they want'e xcept nid players.

    Meanwhile the fun stuff I did hear about at a recent Throne of Skulls was: Necrons with Imotekh the Stormlord night fighting for most of a game whilst their Tau allies with night vision shot with impunity!

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    1. Having a background as a tyranid player, it is frustrating to not have the toys everyone else has access to. I would have liked to have seen a special set of "swarm rules" or something similar where a nid player could take a secondary attachment of Tyranids limited in the same fashion as any other army within the allies matrix. I can say with confidence that it wouldn't have "broken" nids at all to do so, though I wil say that I really think Allies operates oddly for most armies at 1500 pts. Whenever I tried to stuff Orks and Crons together at that point level, I just had two armies that didn't add up to the sum of their parts, though they were fun to use.

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    2. I agree that allies can be a trap, but if you keep the ally contingent small and just focus on the gaps in the main force they can really help.

      I have DE as well, and psychic defence is lacking and mid str shooting (ie. str6/7). Rather than going for Eldrad like some people do, a cheaper farseer with runes of warding and the cheapest power, plus an optional jetbike if joining beastmasters or hellions, is efficient and doesn't take too much away from the DE list.

      A cheap eldar troop unit can replace any small wrack unit that might have taken to hold a back field objective, either 5 rangers or 3 jetbikes. Jetbikes may cost twice the cost of wracks but their speed allows them to move to any objective late game.

      War Walkers are optional for str 6 shooting, and if forgeworld is allowed a nightwing is nice (being fast attack rather than heavy support like the DE flyers).

      Outside of these few units I agree that existing DE units can do the job better.

      Rathstar

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    3. For Ork allies, I'd focus on spending as few points as possible and squeezing additional flyers into your list, as investing too much in anything else will end with what you described, two armies, worth less than the sum of their parts.

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  5. I know its not a legal combo in single player games, but the Necron Dark Eldar team tournament army we ran into this weekend was brutal.

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    1. I love doubles tourneys! Don't worry, End of Days is coming back soon!

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    2. The ability of DE to ignore night fighting and the Necrons to cause night fighting was brutal.

      With that said I'm looking forward to another EoD

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  6. I was excited that they brought back the allies matrix, even though some of the allied options made me raise an eyebrow. Being a fluff person there are some combos that pain me (GK/Necrons) but I suppose there's room for the argument for "it's a big universe, anything can happen".

    I think the fact that the allies rules are back in means that hobbyists have more incentive to work on a couple different projects, which I've always found helps keep my enthusiasm for painting and modeling moving. If I get tired of working on the guard, well why not switch gears and paint some Ad-mech, or work on some chaos?

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    1. It's funny that you mention it because I took that for granted I guess until you put it into words. The matrix really has allowed me not to feel guilty when switching between projects lately because most of my stuff matches us in the matrix. If I feel fatigued at painting Yellow Crons, I can switch to my Chaos renewal and not feel bad since I could field both and have pretty much everything on the table painted anyway.

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  7. When I got back into 40k in 4th Edition (Didn’t play 3rd at all) my overall goal was to take my existing Guard army and expand them into an imperial ‘based’ Apocalypse force, with Sisters of Battle (who I was keen to get an army for) and a gimmicky Space Marine list to round off the force, with the principle ‘fluff’ for the list being based from a shrine world of significant importance (explaining the SoB and IG planetary forces) with a near-by chapter planet / cruiser from a chapter someway indebted to the shrine world. Having these three lists would enable be to play themed games from 1,000 to 10,000 points, so off I set collecting my Sisters and updating my Guard.

    Now, with the arrival of 6th, I can actually play my ‘army’ as I intended it; a planetary defence force comprising of several imperial elements. My sisters and my guard are painted and modelled to compliment each other; I have female officers in my guard representing SoB ‘in training’ with the planetary army, Numerous priests in the guard army and all of the vehicles are painted in the same scheme (and to a lesser extent, the guard paint scheme is a variant of the white and red of the sisters, combined with urban camo). I even have an imperial cityscape set of terrain based to match my lists!

    From a gaming perspective, a ‘White Dwarf Presents…’ list being released for the Battle Sisters has really cut deep into their effectiveness. I mean, they have two elite choices, two fast attack choices, three heavy support choices and a whopping one troop choice. A pure sisters of battle list is almost written for you in what you must take against what (limited) options are available. I haven’t lost faith (get it?) in the sisters getting re-released and re-vitalised in the next few years, however in the mean time being allowed to ally with the Guard Army lets me keep using an army I love for fluff purposes without becoming disjointed fighting with the same army each and every single time I play. Allies gives me the variation in this force I need to feel like I’m playing a wargame and not a chess equivalent

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    1. I have recently finally started on my marine element of the list (I never realised it was going to cost me nealy £1,000 to build a sisters army, god damn metal models!!!). Fluff wise, I’ve fitted them into the army as a Dark Angels successor chapter who have ‘returned’ to Codex Astartes after besieging the Ecclesiarchy to forgive them of their parent chapters sins. Queue link to the Sisters and the duty owed to the Shrine World. The Angels of Repentance are embarked on a journey of penetence which may last a millennia, answering to the call of the Ecclesiarchy as they present them with opportunities to ‘repent their sins’ until they deem their sins forgiven in the eyes of the Emperor! From a game perspective, having my existing ‘parent armies’ of Sisters and Guard already built, I can build up my marines one unit at a time and still get a feel for how the army is progressing and what will be needed to stand on its own feet as it grows. Wanting a gimmick army, and impressed by the ease and cheapness I can acquire and convert Dark Vengeance bikes for, I’ve been amassing bikes since the box set came out. So far I’m up to 2 squads of bikes, Commander on bike, 2 Attack bikes, plus the tactical squad and terminator squad DV. I’ve spend about £80 on this army, and rather than it being sat on a shelf because no one wants to play 1,000 point battles or me getting fed up with getting tabled with a fledgling force, I’ve managed to get in about 5 games using some or all of the models as allies for either the Guard or the Sisters and have gotten a real feel for where I want to take the army now (for example, I will not be running 100% bikes like I intended, having drop-podding and teleporting deep strikers both fits the theme of the lighting fast assault force and allows a good level of flexability for ensuring my army can overrun sections of the enemy reliably to offset there main advantage; numbers) Without the ally system I would have ended up with 1,500-2,000 points of bikes and then gone ‘this doesn’t work for me’.

      From a competitive point of view, net-list gamers are all too quick to point out that allies are a ‘points sink’ and you have to pay ‘tax’ on getting the units you want. Bullcrap. I don’t care if unit A is slightly better on a point for point basis than unit B, unit B fits the way I PLAY my army, and therefore is better suited for the role I want it for. For example, when playing local comps I’m using an Imperial Guard list with allied sisters. People argue with me that ‘Veterans are better troop choices than Sisters of Battle because they can take a chimera instead of a Rhino’ but I don’t care what’s better on paper, I want units which work with my lists. Two big units of Sisters is what my army NEEDS, regardless of what’s better than them, I need durable power armour wearing blogs to support my vehicles, which I can auto-rally on a 3+ if they break. I need this because my guard struggle to take and hold objectives in sixth, and since I allied in these two sisters units, I no longer struggle to hold objectives. Added bonus? I can take Uriah for 90 points to give one of my units stubborn on Ld10, +1 attack and feel no pain. He usually goes in my 40 man blob, giving me three scoring units which are very difficult to shift. I could not achieve this without the use of allies, thus I don’t consider it a point sink as it allows me to field an army which I enjoy to play and fits my style of play.

      Allies have quite literally changed my gaming life, for the better.

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    2. Now that is a powerful testimonial. You not only got to improve the tabletop ability of a codex that got hosed, but you also field tested a new army AND maintained a strong theme! That is awesome and I really think that was the intention behind the allies matrix ... and of course, selling more models! Thank you for the great feedback RAU.

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    3. No problem, just my 200 quids worth, and half an hour in work well spent! :)

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    4. What's even crazier to me is that there's basically no sisters book anymore, since you can't get the 2 part white dwarf without piracy.

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  8. My favorite so far was actually in an escalation league I am taking part in. I started with my guard up till the 1750 mark then added a death company, chaplain, and storm raven. It actually works really well since the death company provide a great Melee punch at about the time my opponents are just hitting my front lines. The death company wipes out pretty much all assault unit and leaves my opponent with something to think about other than my big guns. Its actually served me well in many games now.

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  9. I haven't had a chance to use them, nor play against them. However, I am planning an Ork detachment for my Necrons (don't worry, I have a suitable fluff reason for it).

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  10. I think for myself, the best aspect of allies is that you can include the army you are currently working on into your games without necessarily having to play seriously reduced points limits. I'm currently starting to run some marines alongside my Necrons, not because they will make the 'Crons any better, but because I've been spending ages painting these marines and can't wait to get them on the table; Allies let me do that.

    I'm also a massive fan of the thought of being able to combine armies to produce more fluffy lists. Ultramarines with Ultramar PDF guard squads, Tau with almost any army that has been converted to the Greater Good, although its not possible, I really think Tyranids should be able to ally with guard (and maybe orks) to represent them infiltrating worlds prior to invasion. All of these things just give us gamers, modellers, and painters more chance to explore the worlds and stories of the 41st millennium which has to be a good thing.

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  11. I like allies, although I tend to think that there are some combinations that are way, way out there, as you mentioned (GK + Necrons? Really?). I think that some armies were far too gifted with allies, and some were not given enough options. Dark Eldar for example really need an ally with tough Troops, and Tyranids don't have any allies at all. What really, really annoys me, though, is when people argue up and down how awesome and ballanced allies are, but HATE double force-org. I feel very, very strongly that if you're okay with one, you should be okay with the other.

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    1. I totally agree. People fear the double FOC the same way they fear Allies and it really is for no reason. Most times, the game is at 2000 points and double force still isn't super awesome. For example, my buddy found out that 6 packs of long fangs actually isn't that great at 2000 and scaled it back, what you ended up seeing from him was a seventh troop choice and an additional long fang squad to what he likes to run. Opposing him, I had four Heavies on my side and that was the only thing that broke FOC standards on my side ... so again, it really is a case of bad players and armchair generals thinking the sky is falling.

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  12. I've gone the very typical route of adding a space marine element to my IG list. I've got 1500pts of IG, and grabbed the Dark Vengeance box for the Chaos bits, so worked out an extra 500pts of space marines just for when I need to bump the points to 2000pts. The marines don't particularly add any elements to my IG in gaming terms, other than maybe psychic powers, but it just looks cool and was of a fluff decision than anything else.

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    1. There are some excellent things that Marines should be adding to your IG. Bikes as Troops for example. Other notable things: Librarian for Null Zone, Sternguard for close-range encounters, Hammernators for counter-assault, Terminators for mobile firepower, landspeeders for rapid pain delivery, Stormtalons for more flyer saturation, and riflemen (up to 2 with the right HQ) for general awesomeness. Keep in mind that because of Combat Squads, you can take huge squads and split them, to essentially get 2 Elites and 4 Troops if you are so inclined, drastically changing the makeup of your army.

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  13. There was an awesome ultramar PDF/ultramarines army on the gw blog with chimeras with predator turrets and scout bike rough riders. I can't find it but it was a great themed allies army

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