Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Formations in 40k: The Best or the Worst?

TJ here to talk about Formations in our 40k. Formations were a hot topic when they first came out and caused quite a stir. Since then, many more formations have been released and an entirely new edition came out that made room for them ... but does everyone agree that they fit in?
I have to admit that I was one of the initial folks out of the gate that hated the idea of formations. Why?

Well when they first came out it was really the Tau Broadside/ Riptide formation that seemed ridiculous and with nothing to really compare it to, except for two completely inequitable formations released alongside it.

At the time, the issue was that they just got free rules and corresponded to a money-grab kit GW had released. At the time Tau/ Eldar were also a runaway combo in the tourney meta. This brought some heart burn to me as a person who was regularly competing (successfully I might add) against those two armies almost exclusively at local events.

Was my hatred founded then or was it a knee jerk reaction? I would say it was a combination of not knowing where this new type of unit would fit in and yes, a knee jerk reaction, the knee jerk part really being that I was offended by things that aren't real in the game. Yes Meta is real in a tourney community, but in the game, not really. Never seeing formations before and getting mad at a GW cash-grab also aren't really part of the game, but they still had me hot under the collar and I wouldn't necessarily blame others who were up in arms either.

So what now?

Now I have played a few games with formations on either side. I have played against the accursed Tau formation now in 7th twice and it really added a little tactical flexibility to my opponent's list, but didn't throw the game in any direction. I ran the deepstriking Helbrute formation and had some success, but really it was fun and could have been countered. It wasn't unstoppable.

I have since enjoyed seeing formations on the table and also writing lists that incorporate them. I see them as a new form of tactical flexibility and a new way to make kind of crappy unit (like the brutes) shine a little. In my opinion, none of the formations are game breaking and all can be countered by people just being smart in the list writing step.

In a lot of ways, stepping back from the hobby for a few months on deployment has allowed me to approach the game without some of the "old set in stone ways" I had before and allowed me to try new things and what I have discovered so far is that many of the things we competitive players feared or hated before, really aren't that bad once you see them applied to the table and face them down.

How about you?

Have you tried out formations? Fought against them? What do you think of formations in casual play or tourney play? Do you totally oppose them, favor limits or do you say "bring it" and say take whatever you please?

Let's hear your thoughts.


  1. Based on the last three codexes (AM, Nids, and Orks), it's obvious that GW is completely overhauling the entire FOC system. It will now be impossible to take HQ's who turn units into troops, to provide certain types of builds (i imagine it will be stripped from all armies, including SM). This leaves formations as the only way of running different builds outside of unbound (and still having objective secured within your main force).

    Based on how much nerfing is going on lately (i imagine the horrific screams that will be coming from space wolves players in a month), formations are pretty much required to make the new codexes work. Look at the nid and ork codexes. Without formations, they're hurting. With formations, fun and good armies!

  2. Now in 7th I don't mind as much. It was partly that these armies were able to basically get free Foc and free rules for no reason. With 7th, the foc has all but been thrown out so its much more flexible for all armies.

    I still thing a good batch of formations would make dark angels playable again. Instead of my deathwing sitting on a shelf and my ravenwing waving the whitescars flag.

  3. It won't just be formations. Now all codexes will have their own force org charts. Looks like the ork ones weren't very good, but that might improve.
    Prediction: Space marines with force org chart for assault and devastator companies.