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August 7, 2012

40K EDITORIAL: The Most Powerful Armies in 6th (Allies Edition)

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Let's stare at the Allies Matrix.

I SAID STARE.

OK, now that we're done staring, let's think about all the crazy combinations. Lets hit it.


 Keep in mind that Battle Brothers come with the best benefits because all allied units are treated as "friendly units."  This means ICs can join them and confer their special rules and psychic blessings and what not can be shared.  Allies of Convenience cannot be joined by other ICs and you can't cast psychic powers are them.  I'm not too fond of this type of alliance because you can't really do any cool combos, but at least they won't just stand there like idiots on a roll of a 1.  That's what Desperate Allies has to offer.

I'll start by listing what I think to be the strongest elements from each codex.  You know what?  I'll do it in groups.  But before I do, I want you guys to see the Allied FOC chart:

1x HQ (Mandatory)
1-2x Troops (Mandatory)
1x Fast Attack (Optional)
1x Elite (Optional)
1x Heavy (Optional)

Get ready to do some reading.


For now, I'll look at SW, Eldar, IG, GK and BA as allies.

When looking at HQ choices, who are the superior choices?
  • Rune Priests from Space Wolves because they can take 2+ AS and 4+ to nullify still.
  • Farseers from Eldar because of Divination and Runes of Warding.
  • CCS from IG because they can take board-wide effects with their officers.
  • A cheap Inquisitor or more expensive Libby? They can only cast stuff on themselves really.
  • Librarians from Blood Angels have access to Divination and Jetpacks.

What about Troops?
  • Well, with Space Wolves you have access to the best "tacticals" in the form of the Grey Hunters.
  • Eldar you are pretty much out of luck, but you do have access to Jetbikes and Pathfinders.
  • IG can put up Veterans or AT troops without much issue.
  • GKs can put out 2+ scoring Terminators.
  • BA can take Death Company or even a full squad of 10x ASM w/ Meltas or Plasmas.

Fast Attack?
  • Space Wolves have Thunderwolf Cavalry, which can be a serious CC unit.
  • Eldar, I'm not really feeling it.
  • IG have access to Vendettas in this slot, probably the strongest and most cost effective flyer.  What makes it even stronger is the fact that 390 points buys you THREE of them in a squadron.
  • GKs have their teletubbies and access to the Stormraven in this area.
  • BA can put out MM attack bikes and Baal Preds.

Elite?  Now this slot is fun.
  • Space Wolves can take Wolf Guard Terminators, Dreadnoughts maybe but BA does 'em better, Lone Wolves are kind of waste for 1 slot.
  • Eldar can take a Fire Dragon Exarch and make him man the Quad-gun.  As of right now, he can transfer his Exarch powers to it for no cover saves and Tank Hunter.
  • IG have the Psyker Battle Squad in a Chimera that can make someone really cry.  We all know how good these bastards can be.  If you want something cheap, Marbo is right there for surprise pain and abuse.
  • GKs have Paladins, Purifers and the Vindicare.  These are all bignames that everyone should be looking at for BIS (best in slot) units.
  • BA elites will probably always go to the Sanguinary Priest if you're planning to take a Libby and a ASM squad, but if you take DC you won't need them.  BA Termies don't really work because you won't have any FNP bubble to support them, but a Furioso Dreadnought is always good.

Last but certainly not least, we have Heavy.
  • SW has what? Long Fangs?  Buy a unit with MLs and give them a RB and call it a day.
  • Eldar has pretty poor heavy options except for the Scout (Outflank) War Walkers.
  • IG has some pretty good stuff here man.  We got Leman Russ squadrons, the Manticore, Hydra Flak squadrons, or heavy ordnance batteries in once again, squadrons.
  • GKs have the Dreadnight, which really stands out as something unique and frightening, especially when it ends up teleporting across the map.  Rifleman Dreads just don't do it for me when you can only take one.
  • BA Heavies are very nice, the main ones here is the Stormraven and Fast Vindicator which can move 12" and lob its Demolisher shell at someone's face.

Let's tally some stuff up.  I'll give high marks to units I find effective (performance vs. cost) in each of the fields above:

Space Wolves - 3.5/5
4 Blood Brothers + 5 Allies of Convenience = 9 combat-effective allies
  • Really strong HQ, one of the strongest here. +1
  • Really strong troops as well. +1
  • Strong Fast Attack choice in the form of Thunderwolves. +1
  • Weak Elite choices, not very impressive here. +0
  • Weak Heavy slots, the singular Long Fang just isn't impressive. +.5

Eldar - 2.5/5
2 Blood Brothers + 7 Allies of Convenience = 9 combat-effective allies
  • Really strong HQ, has a Farseer which gives board wide psychic protection. +1
  • Weak troop options, only the Jetbikes and the Rangers/Pathfinders are worth it. +.5
  • Weak Fast Attack. +0
  • A really strong ADL candidate in the form of the Fire Dragon Exarch, but that's it. +.5
  • Only one real Heavy Attack choice in the form of WWs. +.5

Imperial Guard - 5/5
6 Blood Brothers + 6 Allies of Convenience = 12 combat-effective allies
  • Very versatile HQ that provides board-wide mechanics (Astropath, OotFleet). +1
  • BS4 Veterans with meltas or plasmas or just cheap heavy long-range firepower on demand. +1
  • The Vendetta is overpowered. +1
  • Elite slot has the undercosted Marbo and the PBS if needed. +1
  • It's the Heavy slot that has everything you need:  D3 S10 Large blasts, AA or just AV14 Battlecannons. +1

Grey Knights - 4/5
10 Allies of Convenience = 10 combat-effective allies
  • Pretty limited HQ choices who can only cast on themselves. +.5
  • The strongest anti-MEQ troop choice with 2+ TDA, or just GKSS. +1
  • Not a lot to choose from, but the SR is just really, really good.  Teletubbies too I guess. +1
  • Elite slot has access to some of the most ridiculous units in the game, but at a price. +1
  • Heavy slot is decent since it only really has the Dreadknight and Rifleman. +.5

Blood Angels - 3/5 or 3.5 with Priest
5 Blood Brothers + 4 Allies of Convenience = 9 combat-effective allies
  • Decent HQ choice, but nothing to write home about. +.5
  • Troop choices are decent, it really needs the FNP/FC bubble. +.5
  • Fast Attack is not bad, I just wish you can take more. +.5
  • The Elite slot is just weak, with only the Priest to give you what you really need. +.5
  • Heavy slot is where it's at man.  Bloodstrike Missiles and Fast Vindies. +1

Additional Comments about the above:
  • The IG have the best units in all categories as well as the most flexibility out of ALL armies to who it can ally with.  IG can obtain Blood Brothers with 6 factions and Allies of Convenience with 6 more.  If you look at the IG army in terms of HQ, they don't need the help of psychic abilities to carry on their game.  They have pseudo buffs in the form of Orders to help their own troops.  This gives IG an unprecedented degree of usefulness as allies to 12 armies out there.  For the ragers on my last article about who the most powerful army is in 40K 6th Ed., it's time to look at the Allied chart and see where you're wrong.
  • Grey Knights is the next runner up with some pretty good stuff, but most importantly, some really unique stuff that other races don't have.  They have access to the coveted Divination lore, but they can only cast it on their own units.  That's just fine because once a unit of 10x scoring Termies drop on the field, the name of the game changes completely.  The same could be said about Paladins and Purifers coming into the mix, as well as teleporting Interceptors and Dreadknights.
  • I gave SW and BA both a ~3/5, but that's really due to their lack of options compared to other armies.  In fact, regular vanilla marines would of scored something similar.  If you think about it, only a few things separates the marine armies:  Access to the Divination lore, Grey Hunters and Thunderwolves vs. really pissed off angry, scoring FC/FNP ASM + Stormraven.  Regular marines give you what, the SR and TH/SS Termies?  That's still pretty good, but that's why I kept them there.
  • Eldar, is definitely the weakest out of the bunch.  It has the best psychic defense in the entire game; it's board-wide and works regardless of your affiliation with Eldar, but otherwise everything else is trash or just really weak.  The only thing they got going for them imo is scoring Jetbikes, Outflanking WWs and a Jetbike Farseer who can offer Runes of Warding and Divination Prescience to friendly units.  The Fire Dragon Exarch on the Quad-cannon or whatever else is just icing on the cake.

More Notes:
  • The biggest missing ally from this is is... dun dun dun... Tau.  Tau have 2 Blood Brothers in the form of the Space Marines and Eldar, and 9 Allies of Convenience.  That's 11 armies right behind the IG and most of the units are self-efficient.  You can take suits for HQ and Elites, Pathfinders for FA (Markerlights only useful on Tau stuff), basic Fire Warriors as scoring troops, and a Broadside team in a lot of lists.  So why are they off the list?  Because I don't think any of their stuff is super unique and adds as much effect as the others above.
  • OK.. then why are Necrons off the list?  Because only 4 armies have them under Allies of Convenience and none of them can take them as Blood Brothers.  Ah ha, so another reason why I didn't think Necrons were the strongest army.  No sir, and this is their biggest weakness.  As ripe and powerful as that codex is when it hits 6th Ed., it gets pretty lonely out there in techno-gizmo world when only CSM, GK, Orks and Tau can stand your presence.  Even so, CSM would rather see Demon allies, GK have better synergy with other races, though Orks and Tau can need some Necron love.  Too bad Necrons don't feel the same because Necron-tech is frankly, just that much better.
  • There's a ton of combos out there for sure.  You can have more scoring termies that come with CMLs from Dark Angels, Shadowfield + Fortune Eldar/DEldar tricks, Epidemis + Plague Marines from CSM, or some other unforseen stuff that no one thought of yet.  All I know is, all these mixed Allies combos opens up the playing field to unimaginable levels.

When I said the most powerful armies were Necrons, GK and IG, I meant it.  However, many people lashed out that I thought I looked at the game in a vacuum.  Yes, and no.  In order to be knowledgeable about a subject, you have to break it down to the very core.  It starts with the army book; the units, the cost, the effects, the balance (both internally and externally)..etc.  After you see the power in any given book, you can then choose to expand upon allies.  You see what the strengths and weaknesses of your army are and then look on the Allies Matrix to fill in the holes.  It just happens to be that IG fills most of them and Tyranids get no one.  Welcome to the game where Imperials just dominates the Xenos.

 Your thoughts are welcome my fellow gamers.
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