June 27, 2012

Allies: Worst or Best Thing Since Sliced Bread?

That really is the question lately. The rumors are pouring out of the tubes via blogs, forums and... I don't know, MySpace? Is that thing still around? Anyway, from what I've gathered you either despise this "new" concept with the hatred of 1000 suns (pun intended) or you just cannot wait for its inevitable release. For those of you that fit into the latter category, go away. I have nothing for you here. Seriously, leave, we aren't friends anymore. As for the rest of you, I'm here to put your minds at ease from the nightmares of 2nd Edition and put a nice spin on things for you. That spin is entitled; possible reality.

First lets look at the hobby aspect of 40k and what can come from this concept that's about to be implemented.

Consider the following. Let's say you have a hefty Necron army as well as a well-rounded Grey Knights army already, and while you'd love to play Eldar and CSM, you really just can't justify spending that much time and effort on two more armies that will see little playtime as it is. Wouldn't it be nice if you could just spend some time and effort on a tiny force that can fight alongside your other army you play regularly?.. Okay, if you don't see where I'm going with this by now, I don't know how to help you along. Basically, this is where I'm at currently.

If I had all the time and money in the world you'd see my tables filled with Legion of the Damned, Harlequins and Slaanesh CSM. But I don't have all of the time and money in the world and I also like women and going outside, so I stick with the two armies I do have. However, with this new system, I can make small forces of these armies that will see regular play with a lot less time, effort and money needed.

Let me go deeper on this subject; we all know GW isn't the best at implementing... umm, well anything at all. But consider for a moment Sisters of Battle; this White Dwarf-released codex of shame left so much to be desired. The constant complaint is how incomplete it feels. There are obvious holes in the codex that need to be filled in so many ways, yet GW seemed to have overlooked them all.

Now, what if (and this is a big if) this is the plan for the future? What if SoB were created with the purpose of being an Allies ruleset? Taking it a step further, what if all of the dwindling codices of the past and the wanted-but-never-implemented dexes of the future are to be released like the SoB were; with Allies in mind. I'm not talking the big names that we have right now with full codices, I'm talking about the dead Space Dwarves dex. The old stand-alone Harlequin army. Adeptus Mechanicus (while it would probably offend me,) is another exciting prospect. Numerous Space Marine chapters that have yet to see the light of day rules-wise could be your next ally. Does anyone remember Genestealer Cultists? How would you like some rules to go with that fifteen year old army collecting dust next to your box of porn from the late 1980's?

It's no mystery that the competitive and WAAC (yes, there's a difference) players do not enjoy this incoming change. The more availability there is to make game-breaking combinations with any system is something that can and typically does destroy balance. My hope is that this formula can reach a point where it will implode in on itself. Confused? Gewd...gewd... Long story short, I'm hoping that Allies will bloat possible combinations so wide that there will be too many options for a "top build" to actually exist. We already see that in our current gameset with a lot of the new codices and even some of the old ones.

Examples that come to mind are Space Wolves, who have at least two competitive builds, as do Orks. Grey Knights have at least three as do Necrons. Eldar keep shifting on what their "top build" is. Vanilla Marines have like four or five good builds. It goes on and on. Now, toss in the element to mix and match small portions of armies. Suddenly the equation for possible strong builds is astronomical. Yes, I know IG seems like the choice for an overpowered ally on the surface. When you take into consideration things outside of the FOC and the fact that not everybody wants or needs nine (6 plus a platoon) to fifteen (6 combat squads plus a platoon) of Troop choices or more long-range shooting, the argument kind of loses its momentum. In the land of long-ranged firepower, IG are a top dog choice for a whole army, but when you just need a niche filled, the equation changes and suddenly you're looking for Lash, dedicated melee or some poisoned weapons.

Finally, if we've learned anything from rumors and rules and what is spawned from them, net-builds rarely work like their creators would have you believe. Either because each person will wield the same army differently or because the netlister is full of shit. There's no middle-ground here, people.

This can go either way, but with the points I've listed above hopefully you naysayers have a bit of a brighter outlook on things. I think everyone can agree it would be nice to not see 17 Grey Knight carbon copies everywhere you go. I also believe everyone would be thrilled to get a new set of rules for a new race, faction or SM chapter every few months rather than waiting 2-9 years for an update (Necron players know what's up.)

All in all, I can see this making the game so much better. It all depends on GW's... implementation...

I suddenly feel like this article was a waste of time... Bye.


  1. Nice post dude(and images!),

    I for one am excited for everyone, I think allies will be a hobbyists best friend as it gives us a huge amount or room for counts as armies and conversions, plus painting something same-same-but-different for your existing armies.

    My douchbag mates are already trying to break it ahead of time but I think generally, a conservative ally build will add diversity or strength to your usual armies where those points would have been previously lacking.

    I think the game just got bigger as well, we were playing at 1500 as a standard but I can see that jumping up to 2k as most allied armies contingents should be about 500pts to both look good on the table and give you a decent influence on your army.

  2. I wholeheartedly agree and had a very similar article in my drafts (Damn you and your nano-scarabs, Lantz). I play in tourneys, won a few end even TO regularly and can say that all I see with allies is opportunities for armies to stay fresh longer and for smart generals to have the world at their fingertips rather than just the contents of a single codex. Combine this with the new powers and there are too many combinations for there ever to be a top build.

    This doesn't mean you won't see the internet give birth to several combos, which will likely be great, but like netlists, will usually fall before experienced generals.

    Thanks for the great article!

  3. Thanks to you both.

    It truly does open so many avenues. As an example, I entered a contest for some Tau Stealth Suits. Tau isn't my playstyle, but I love the stealth suit unit and would love to give them a shot.

    I couldn't be more excited for 6th Edition.