40K: Allying With Yourself – One Game Break Too Far!?

Is breaking the game the new black?  I’ve got a bone to pick with 40K Allies and the new supplemental codices.

Hey all, this article may be a bit of a rant, but it’s something thats been on my mind a lot recently and hopefully the same with other people

First of all, let me clarify something. When I talk about breaking the game in this piece I am literally talking about something that rips up the rules and ignores them for advantage, not a unit thats just a bit too good.

So…the issue at hand – allying with yourself.

Allies are the only part of the 6th ed rules I personally have never been too happy with, but I’ve plodded along and played against them (have never allied my 4 armies in the last year or so of 6th though). I’ve always understood why they were in the rules – to let people play whole armies, collect little side forces, thematic alliances and in some places support an army in one of their weaknesses. (And the cynical reason, of course; to make GW money). And I’ve largely been fine with that

But there’s a new trend sweeping in. It started, actually, with Imperial Armour 12. Forces of the Necron Dark Harvest could ally with codex Necrons. This was ok to a point as they each had unique units and characters and were suitably different. FW lists have previously allowed alliances with the “parent” codex. But they’ve always been unique army lists. Corsairs can ally with Eldar, but are picked from an entirely different selection.

Then came the Farsight Supplement. And then, just to break it a bit more the Black Legion book. Each one had a little less uniqueness in them when compared to the parent codex and was just the same army list again with some slightly different special wargear available. And now GW have reached the bottom of the barrel with loyalist marines being able to ally with their own codex, just by having two different chapter tactics.

So onto the titular subject of game breaking. One of the core facets, the most reliable things you can depend on when organising a game of 40K is the Force Organisation Chart that binds the army to a set structure. It restricts choices to balance the game. Building an army list within a FoC is as core a rule as shooting before assaulting, or rolling a D6 not a D20.

So why is it that the new ally with yourself simply breaks those rules. The FoC goes out the window. The internet has already jumped on the wagon, and triple Helldrake lists are being replaced by Quadruple helldrake lists as the worst kind of abuse of it.

You can argue anyone can gain the expanded FoC with allies (cept Nids who remain perpetually screwed). But with anyone else you gain the extended FoC with different units, have different requirements for HQ’s, and need a whole different force selection.

For example take a generic internety Chaos Marines list.

Lord
Daemon Prince
Cultists
Cultists
Cultists
Havocs
Havocs
Oblits
Helldrake
Helldrake
Helldrake

That’s a pretty standard core net list for a lot of CSM players (so yes it is spammy and unoriginal). Now in the old pre supplement days anyone looking at improving that list would have had to look at more Elites or Fast Attack options and spice the list up a bit. Or ally with another codex, with a new HQ and a new Troops choice as your minimum buy in for the 4th FoC slots. Under new rules….you’ve got 1 HQ for each detachments. You’ve got 2 + 1 core troops. So there’s nothing stopping you just adding more spam in a 4th slot for the army. In a normal army you’d likely have to give up some of the core from your primary list to free up the points to get that second alliance list. But not to the chosen few who can skip the “tax” on those coveted 4th FoC slots and add to the slot because they already unlock it.

In the supplements in particular, allying with yourself gets around some of the rules and restrictions in the supplement. The rules state “You can take Special Wargear from the Codex, or the Supplement”. Simply ally with yourself, and take whatever you want from both. Space Marines can have 2 Chapter Tactics. You can’t take Tigerius and Lysander in a normal list? Fine….just ally with yourself and ignore that rule!

I’ve always understood that the supplements were supposed to be fluff first, rules second, and so don’t mind the price tag for 2 pages of new rules, because you get all the lovely background. But with the internet whine machine in full spin over the cost every time one comes out, are they being used as little more than a spam machine for a given codex. If that’s the case why can’t the Iyanden book ally with Craftworld Eldar? 

So theres my sticking point. Its unfair, and potentially game breaking that some codices can ally with themselves for advantage whereas other armies can’t ally with themselves and pay a far steeper cost to get the extra slots.Will we see more codices get this kind of option, without using a supplement? Probably – early rumours suggest Nids can do it as long as they take 3 HQ’s in their next book. Does this mean it should happen? I’ve already made my opinion clear, so what are your thoughts?

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