Goatboy’s 40k Thoughts: Best Formations


Goatboy here again and today I want to do a quick ranking of the best formation per Army book.

It is a simple list and based on my own experiences and ideas on what makes a decent competitive list.  So much of the time our experiences and gaming situations will define the types of armies we regret throwing down against on the table top so you might not agree with my rankings.  If you have some thoughts on better options then comment away.  There are so many formations now it becomes a chore to actively play against ever little random “mini army” GW types up in their own PDF creator.

With that – let’s begin with the most popular army – The Space Marines.

Codex Space Marines 2015

Space Marines
Best Formation: Librarius Conclave

Why: This is the formation that creeps up into almost everyone’s list.  It gives you some power psychic abilities and with its “guarantee” of casting said abilities it makes it a go two for any Imperial army that can’t invest a crap ton of points into becoming a psychic power house.  Beyond the whole psychic potential it is also a way to grant out some annoying USR’s without having to invest in all those pesky troops and other options that would weigh you down.  You need some Hit and Run in some units – take a WS Sorcerer Conclave.  Do you want a decent set of protection versus the Alpha strike with massed Stealth around the table – Raven Guard Spell Slingers are great.  How about just having a ton of guys with a pain in the butt FNP roll – those Iron Hands do a great job at that too.  There is no true tax with this unit as you just get to take 3 HQ choices and kick some butt with them.  If the Dark Angel Librarius Conclave didn’t force you to take a single Special Character you might see them ranked as high as they easily grant Fearless across the table top.  Heck depending on where you play this is also one of the most abusive summoning combos you can have out there.

Honorable Mention: The Battle Company – This is part of one of the strongest Marine armies we have seen in awhile.  While it is pretty easy to counter deploy with Servo Skulls the Gladius is a pain in the butt.  Hey the Librarian Conclave can combo with the Battle Company too.  Yay I am good at making armies…


Dark Angels
Best Formation: Battle Company

Why: Normally we see Dark Angels as a combo to make your Thunder Wolf Death Star more annoying – the Battle Company for the Dark Angels is still pretty strong. They get all the sweet benefits the Marine one gets plus the added bonuses of shooting overwatch at Full BS.  This can make for a very rough game as you try and figure out how to get a hold of them.  Oh and guess what – they get Grav Cannons too so they can shoot the heck out of you.  It isn’t as good as the Marine one as the Chapter Tactics for Marines can be extremely powerful but it isn’t a “bad choice” when playing non Death Star combo Dark Angels.

Honorable Mention: Ravenwing Support Squadron – This is one of those units that if there wasn’t so much anti cover options out there would be just a pain in the butt.  They can shoot a ton, ignore most of your shooting and just give so much to a Dark Angels Battle Company list.  Heck floating behind Rhinos means they don’t even need to jink to ignore a crap ton of your firepower.


Space Wolves

Best Formation: All the ones from the Campaign books are overcosted – so will ignore the Puppies for now.  Lucky for them – they have the Detachment that activates all the Death Star stuff we love to hate.

Blood Angels Codex-cover

Blood Angels
Best Formation: Angel’s Fury Spearhead Force

Why: This started some of the initial anger at the power of formations as it allowed some First turn attack issues.  Of course if it wasn’t attached to the “bad” Blood Angels Codex this might actually see more play.  A buddy built the list and had some fun as he throw around some bigger based Marines.  Overall this is just a one shot combo that while hilarious when you drop in 8 Thunder Hammer Terminators it does lose a lot of punch as soon as some interceptor and other options knock down those sky Goldfish.

Honorable Mention: I think there are some Flesh Tearer ones and other things in the Campaign book – but overall they are just not nearly as interesting as their combo providing Flesh Tearers Detachment.


Grey Knights:

Best Formation: I don’t think they have one… yet.


Sisters of Battle:

Best Formation: I think they want a real book in print first.


Astra Miliatrium/Tempestus
Best Formation: Emperor’s Wrath Artillery Company

Why: Holy crap this is gonna hurt a lot of armies out there.  Ignores cover big guns is rough for anyone to face so expect any person playing an AM list to pack this formation.  Heck we have a buddy that is gonna shame people with his Sisters/AM army and this formation just makes it sick.  I was hoping for more formations out of this Campaign book but if we get one good one that isn’t too bad.  It is sure better then what Chaos has gotten.

Honorable Mention: Most of the other ones have too many taxes and a lack of focus to make it worth wile to mention.


Adeptus Mechanicus/Skitarii
Best Formation: War Convocation

Why: Remember how we all know “free stuff” is extremely powerful in a points based game?  Well this formation gets free upgrades on every unit.  Holy cow does it get a lot of powerful options.  I know the West Coast has had a derth of War Convocation wins lately so I don’t expect to see it going anywhere soon.  Its always nice to have a Knight, lots of powerful guns, and a ton of other stuff for you to use and abuse.  The small taxes are not nearly that big of a deal as everyone gets upgraded for free.  If you see an Adeptus Mechanicus army on the table top – expect it to get a ton of free stuff and pass rules around like its everyone’s best friend at a concert.

Honorable Mention: There are some cute stuff in all the books – but right now it needs a true Decurion like set up to allow for interesting armies and formation usage.

Codex Chaos Daemons

Chaos Daemons

Best Formation:  Coming soon – in a few weeks expect people to complain about their Herald Council of X

Codex chaos space marines

Chaos Space Marines

Best Formation: Not coming soon enough as will maybe see something end of the year.  Sad pants all around.

Codex Khorne Daemonkin

Khorne Daemonkin
Best Formation: The Gore Pack

Why: This is the one of the stronger choices in the KDK book.  I wrote a review about on Frontline and think this is the special sauce to make KDK work well in most competitive environments.  I don’t know if it kills enough – but this is the pack to bring if you want KDK to work.  It brings all the stuff you need – characters to turn into Bloodthirsters, fast movement, and hard hitting troop killing options.  The ultimate form of Chaos MSU spam this is the main component of what I want to take to try and make Chaos work.

Honorable Mention: The Slaughter Cult is also not a terrible option as it gives you a free Blood Tithe per turn.  Of courser as you play KDK – getting Blood Tithe as you kill and get killed isn’t too hard so this is less of a seen option.  Most of the time I see a CAD plus a Formation or Ally.


Dark Eldar
Best Formation: Corspethief Claw

Why: This is one of those units that even works in almost every other army.  Who doesn’t love 5 MC’s that shoot ok and hit like a ton of bricks versus normal stuff.  Plus they get more VPs when killing things too – making them a great Maelstrom generator as well as a crazy strong brick to throw against your opponent.  This is one of those units I keep thinking about if I ever want to throw down with some Eldar like shenanigans.  I wish the rest of the army was good enough to hang with these guys but this is the only real “strong” choice in the book.

Honorable Mention: Scalpel Squardon – This is part of a combo that lets an Eldar army basically Null Deploy.  This army is rough as heck and a buddy plays it when he wants to do a bit of trolling with the Space Elves.


Craftworld Eldar
Best Formation: Aspect Host

Why: This formation is so strong it even showed up in other lists who just want to abuse the sweet little Warp Spider.  Every time I look at it I just wish I could take it in another army easily.  You get 3 units of bad asses without any taxes other then having to upgrade to an Exarch in each unit.  Depending on the FAQ you locally used – this could be an extremely annoying mini army to play against as you have a ton of bouncing Warp Spiders who cause you so many dang problems.

Honorable Mention: Seer Council – You need some mind magic?  This gives you a ton of good mind magic.  Just be glad the Farseers can’t just break off of the unit.



Best Formation: Converting them to Corsairs

Why: This book just doesn’t feel fleshed out enough to be useful.  Sure they have some cute things but it is just an uphill battle to play with them.  I know some people have had good luck with them – and I applaud that as obviously I am not good enough to throw down with the space clowns.  If only the one formation that gave you 1 of each special Elite Character would let them keep their IC status.


Imperial Knights
Best Formation: Baronial Court

Why: This one lets you get a 2+ front armor save knight if you want (The Green Knight plus 2 other knights).  I have used this one pretty well with a Bike MSU ally and have found the +1 to their Ion Shield save to be extremely powerful.  If you have good Objective secured options in your ally then this is the good Knight formation to take.  It also helps you could create a mean all knight army using this as it can let you take up to 5 Knights.

Honorable Mention: Admantium Lance is still a pain in the butt.  If you could take other Knights in it, it would be pretty powerful.  Thank goodness you don’t get an automatic 3+ save Knight now.



Best Formation:  They don’t have one – but maybe will get one with this whole 13th Company thing and what is most likely a 2 part Campaign?  Some GK and Inquisition love?


Best Formation: Canoptek Harvest

Why: Cuz this dang thing can be so hard to kill.  Its a tough unit and when events allowed you to take multiple Formations it was another part of a strong army list.  These guys are little out of favor as there are some issues with it – the Spyder can be very fragile and hard to protect all the time, It doesn’t automatically start with the Reanimation Protocols on, and some places need you to always stay close to the Spyder to get the benefits.  This just makes it harder to utilize what is already a strong unit.

Honorable Mention:  Reclamation Force is a pretty strong formation.  The lack of Objective Secured plus movement tricks makes it a lot harder to play with in the days of the Gladius.  Still this is a strong formation.


Best Formation: Mogrok’s Bossboyz

Why: This gives you a ton of HQ options all in one formation, a dang good Warlord Trait, and extra rules on top of it.  Plus you can customize all the characters in there as well.  The only true tax is the Weird Boy but even he can be amusing if you roll for Daemonology and try to convert him into a Lord of Change.  The only issue is you have to make Mogrok your Warlord but that is ok as you can throw on a Finkin Cap and get to town with an extra Strategic roll.  Almost every Ork list I try to think about starts with this formation as it gives me enough extra HQ bodies to start to pull off some goofy Ork combinations.

Honorable Mention: Bully Boyz from the Waagh book are another great formation.  Getting some Fearless Mega Nobz are just the perfect amount of annoyance for a lot of armies to deal with.  Those Klaws will get to work and there isn’t much to stop them from hurting all your friends.

60030113008_ENGTauEmpireCodex01 (1)

Tau Empire:
Best Formation: Riptide Wing

Why: 3 Riptides that all get Earth Caste upgrades for free as well as some extremely brutal shooting is always a bonus in my book.  I expect a lot of ally based army lists to throw in this formation as a catch all to answer just about anything.  I am kinda surprised they put this formation together as it feels rather simple in its make up an something kinda scary when trying to get them into assault.  Still if you like Robots this is the thing to take.  I hear Knights and Robots make for a great tag team.

Honorable Mention: We haven’t seen enough to really make a true thought on this.  The Piranaha Factory could be abusive but with most events limiting that potential and the fact it doesn’t score/contest objectives makes it feel less special.  The Ghostkeel formation also seems good too but I haven’t had a chance to face it to tell the tale of how it kicked the crap out of me.



Best Formation: This gets hard as the book really isn’t about formations anymore – it is about how many detachments it can use and abuse.  They initially were the starting point for army useful detachments and I have a soft spot in my heart for the Lictor Shame Detachment.  Right now Nids are just in a rough spot as so many things hurt them even with the FW upgrades.  Here is hoping we see a new release with tweaked formations to better suite their style of play.

Honorable Mention: I have played a few times versus the Endless Swarm and have found them pretty dang annoying.


I didn’t do the Assassins as they only really have one formation to judge.  These thoughts are really based on what I face from time to time.  Sure there are so many formations it just gets hard to figure out what might actually be good on the table top.  There are also a ton that will make for some really fun games.  I wish all the armies had these options as it feels kinda sad when some lists just don’t have the tools to get the job done in todays age of mini armies within the overall grand scheme of your warlord.

~How does this line up with your favorite formations?


  • Spacefrisian

    Kabalite Stormsurge formation paired with some cheap DE gear, i dare you to bring a Librarian conclave against it.

  • Lewis Everitt

    40k is dead.

    • TweetleBeetle

      Except it still has the largest consumer base, the largest sales (by a lot), and the largest turnout at events (by a lot).

      Other than that…yeah.

      • Lewis Everitt

        Players quitting in droves, the tournament scene dying, GW’s sales dwindling. So maybe dying is more correct.

        • A. Kocher

          Interesting, In my local scene we’re seeing nothing but growth. Seems like i meet a new player every week. Sure GW sales took a dive, but that was because Sigmar was so lackluster. it has nothing to do with 40k.

        • Spacefrisian

          End of teh world…doom doooom doooomed we are i tell you.

        • Secundum

          Nobody ever cares about tournaments-competitive players make up a minority of the playerbase.

          And sales dropped because Age of Sigmar cost them a bunch of money, not cause of 40K.

          Plus, these arguments have been going on for 10 years-it’s stale and boring, and hasn’t happened yet.

          • Shawn

            I’ll politely disagree regarding “nobody cares about tournaments.” In my area, most players are tournament players, thus they make the majority of the player base and not the minority. Fortunately, most of them are able to turn the competitiveness down to acceptable social levels for casual play. I would also go so far as to say that all of them are more than willing to show people strategies and tricks to use and remind you of forgotten units in play.

        • JoBane

          Not in my local scene. While Fantasy is almost dead, 40k is striving! More than the last 5 years.

        • Muninwing

          see, this is much like the WHF/AoS debacle… it’s inconsistent in different areas.

    • tau4eva

      Fortunately there are other options

      • Lewis Everitt

        Kudos to bols lately in that they have actually increased Non-GW games.

    • Muninwing

      undead, undead, undead…

      sorry… wrong audience?

      • Joe Daniels

        Bela Lugosi was a Night Lord.

        • Muninwing

          and Andrew Eldritch staunchly denies that he is one…

    • nurglitch

      It’s dead? Yet I’m still playing/buying/posting on BOLS? Hail Nurgle, I suppose.

      • Muninwing

        X is dead. long live x.

    • Runefyre

      Damn you’re a pessimist.

    • Benderisgreat

      Only when the Shrine of the First Flame is rekindled in Nottingham will it see life again……

  • Crablezworth

    Remember when 40k wasn’t apoc? I miss that

    • Heinz Fiction

      Yeah, stopped playing with 7th edition. 6th was still good, if you didn’t use allies, flyers and fortifications, but then you could just play 5th instead…

      • Drpx

        I didn’t mind forts. Everyone could use them. Allies were/are a cash grab to get people buying other armies. Fliers wouldn’t have been so bad if it weren’t for GW’s horrible codex release schedule that royally screwed anyone until their army got AA options.

        • TweetleBeetle

          Because nobody ever owned more than one army ever…

          • Drpx

            Some people have more than one army, so what?

        • Seismic Ghost

          I loved the allies rule because I played Chaos. Marines and Daemons following the same God. That’s all I ever want. Fluffy and coherent.

          Then I realized that everyone else was building god-awful Blood Angel / Dark Eldar / Ork hybrid armies or whatever the hell they were doing because if made their armies unbeatable.

          • Muninwing

            allies and formations are great tools for the fun fluff players.

            they are terrible for competitive environments.

            GW has had no coherent plan on this divide since they stuck their heads in the sand after withdrawing prize support.

            it would be difficult to offer everyone what they wanted. but it would not be impossible.
            – rebalance everything at once
            – FAQ-neutralize the worst combos
            – add in a comp system or other regulatory mechanism (the old was points vs slots… and the FOC limited certain options… but formations and the like have knocled that around a bit too much without replacement)
            – in effect, care more about the quality of the product than GW does.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            There is a coherent plan – say no to the competitive players.

            This game is fully beer and pretzels now.

          • Muninwing

            but i don’t want beer and pretzels. i want whiskey and loud punk music (for a real WHF successor) or electronica (futurepop for 40k) and tacos and teethgrinding.

            in reality, i want to be assured of a fun game. and if it’s too easy, it’s not always fun. i do consider myself a good player with a decent amount of experience, so i don’t always have fun with a “teaching game” with newer players.

            the reason i protest against WAAC and speak up in favor of balance is that i want to play the game, not your army. i want to know that if we switched armies i’d do the same even if you did worse. i want to see that it’s gamesmanship and strategy, not a cheap internal trick, that caused me to win, or to lose.

            a balanced game is more fun to play, because you can play nearly any list you can think of, and it’s viable without getting stomped into the dirt. thus, you see more variance. and sure, you would see variance in a beer-and-pretzels version of a game, but that takes out any sort of playing skill in favor of an “everyone gets a participation trophy” kind of nonsense.

            the real problem is that it’s harder to do. it takes effort, quality control, playtesting, good writing, and fixing problems once they arise. and somehow, for some reason, GW has decided that it’s just not worth their time, despite this kind of rift (or others… like the 5.5 exodus, or the death of WHF 8th) their balance issues cause.

            it’s why a company should not be run by people not invested in its products.

        • Muninwing

          i do wish they’d tighten up allies… while it opens up some interesting options as far as fluff goes, it often just gets abused.

      • TweetleBeetle

        5th was Grey Knights or you lost. Hardly a healthy state of the game.

        6th was vanilla and boring.

        In 7th, every army has a chance.

        • Moke

          Necrons were horribly broken in 5th as well.

          I agree with you that in 7th there are more good armies than there were in 6th, but still. Dark Eldar, Orks and Chaos Space Marines are just awful and don’t have a chance against any post-necron dex.

          • Muninwing

            i’d love to see a competent redo this time. the 6th/7th codex blitz was a noble idea, but without a proper foundation.

            – 40k look at 6th/7th’s new stuff, 4th’s everything-except-vehicles, 3rd’s simplicity, 2nd/RT’s gumption and chutzpah, and bring it together into a game with reason and balance behind its systems… keep formations, but make sure that any form of fielding an army has its benefits and drawbacks, and redo the points scales for all armies to make sure of their consistency. more than anything, reject input from the sales people trying to push one or another product by making it more competitive… focus instead on every unit and every army being able to hold its own

            then do campaigns every year that focus on different groups, give new stuff, update the old stuff, and keep the game going via storyline. but get the foundation done right first.

          • Muninwing

            and adding to that, apply the same to the rest of their product.

            reopen WHF as a concept. look at doing a 3-pronged approach.
            1. keep AoS, but field it specifically as the skirmish version of the greater game.
            2. take WHF 5th or 6th and start over from there, cutting all the mistakes made since. keep it playable with smaller unit size (rank up at 4+), and allow for some mechanics that best fit smaller mobile units.
            3. do what Storm of Magic failed to do, and incorporate larger mechanics into a larger version (almost apocalypse style) of the game, for the veterans. unlock certain abilities at points-levels… so a game at 1250 and a game at 2000 and a game at 3000 might be remarkably different in terms of what kinds of units one would focus upon.

            for setting, broaden it out to cover for the incomplete nature of AoS. claim that the “realms” were always there as a form of greater plane, heaven, ethereal existence. the wars in AoS would be between greater-powered incarnations of the great heroes or embodiment of noble concepts of the peoples of the worlds.

            then, start with a new incarnation of something not unlike the old world as the setting, with a new setup/continents and new special characters and new locations and new political alliances… in effect a dimensional shift of the other setting. every few years (3-5) release a new setting with new groups and alliances and SCs, but keeping to what exists.

            bill it as “the Old World was one of many.” Bill AoS as “the war in heaven” for control of the multiverse/reality/fabric of fate. sell events by stating whoever wins the AoS events/campaigns changes the type of world next introduced (will it be a lush garden world ridding itself of taint, a postapocalyptic hellscape trying to survive, a dense continent of political intrigue with undercurrents of politics and backstabbing, or a snow-covered land emerging into its first spring?).

            have many worlds and many altered rulesets available to play, and use both traditional rules for larger armies and skirmish rules for others. give players opportunity. then, there’s advancement, variance, theme, fluff/background, connection to what was for the veteran players, and a wider range of options that a good creative team could explore.

          • Shawn

            Not bad ideas, something more than a few fans want/need from GW’s games. Of course, it would definitely help if they listened to what we had to say. I think with Kevin Roundtree as CO, their going in the right direction but still need a bit of a nudge here and there.

          • Mr.Gold

            you know there was a post on BoLs in the last couple of days asking for games/rules designers, maybe you should have a go?…

          • Muninwing

            i’m american, i have a family here, and they won’t pay my going rate.

          • Shawn


          • Benderisgreat


            And I say that as a Necron player.

          • Muninwing

            well… necrons with their flyers had a huge advantage at the end of 5th and start of 6th, until people adapted. less of a window than GK, but still there.

            i mean, we are talking about an army whose base troopers carry effective antitank without need for specialized weapons.

            they should be scary… reading about them in the fluff, they should be beefier than they are. but, playability matters too.

          • Benderisgreat

            Anti-tank on a 6, which I can honestly say is less than reliable than, say, a trooper or three carrying lascannons or equivalent. Honestly, the first Necron book was pound for pound more devastating than the recent ones, even with the new vehicles, bikes, etc. Destroyers with S6 AP3 Heavy3 guns could scythe down just about anything, and back then Wraiths, although not as tough, had WBB and both moved like jet bikes. Yes, they had very few entries, but they were somewhat playable.

          • Muninwing

            to each his own… and dependable en masse versus in small doses is different.

            there are a lot of things (pariahs actually high on the list) in the necron changes that are just not as good. but they gained a little more versatility. they have benefits and drawbacks, just like any army.

          • Benderisgreat

            Mostly designed around the models GW wants to sell, just like any army.

          • Muninwing

            which is sad. the game will sell models. the models do not necessarily sell the game.

          • Benderisgreat

            Right, and it’s what’s increasingly disheartened me about the game. The player base in my area is smaller than ever now, so it’s definitely affected others.

          • A. Kocher

            This is patently false, if you can’t build a winning list out of those books you’re doing it wrong, now if you said there were no wining lists in those books that you’d want to play, that I can understand. A good player with plenty of disposable income can build a competitive single dex (non allied) list from any of the current books, that doesn’t mean they’re fun, just that they can win.

          • Muninwing

            ” that doesn’t mean they’re fun, just that they can win”

            this is a great summation of how i feel about overpowered dexes. and the longerm effect.

            the short term effect is that mor epeople buy a more powerful army, and play it.

            because on one hand, winning is fun

            on the other, though, winning is fun because you achieve something. you’re not actually achieving if you’re on massively easy mode. if you’re winning every game before you begin, why even bother playing it?

            then, after a while, nobody wants to play against your army on easy mode, because winning is fun for them too, and it’s frustrating to put in a lot of effort to lose against someone who isn’t even playing well (because they do not need to).

            so all the players have less fun eventually because for some the game is too easy. their opponents have less fun because they get frustrated, and everyone decides the game is dumb and starts playing x-wing. or malifaux. or WoW. or Catan. or watching movies, bass fishing, spending time with family, or anything else that is actually rewarding or relaxing, instead of a new source of stress that is supposed to be fun and relaxing.

            which is just what happened to WHF 8th, only that edition’s rules being particularly bad (and then made worse) magnified it.

          • Shawn Pero

            Not entirely – I play Orks and they really only fall regularly to hardcore Eldar tournament lists. Big blobs of Boyz with KFFs/Painboyz are still really good and tough to get rid of, even against spammed templates and blasts.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            To be fair with both GK and Necrons, they did come out at the end of the edition.

        • Heinz Fiction

          Every Edition had and has broken army lists. The difference is that 3rd to 5th edition core rules were a pretty solid foundation whereas 7th is a total mess.

          • Muninwing

            7th has its benefits.

            what i really think they need to do as a company is hire a director of creative that is not beholden to the suggestions from sales or marketing or any of the other execs, answering to the CEO alone.

            then, they need a comprehensive plan for each game, and how they are to fit together. have the rough equivalent of a showrunner to be in charge of direction for each line.

            then, have a directive for each game (specifically the two main ones) to get back to their roots.

          • A. Kocher

            Honestly, in terms of Core rules, 7th is by far the best edition I’ve played (been playing since just after rogue trader). they’re a good solid rules set with not much garbage. My only real complaint is that I don’t care for random psychic powers. However that is simply the core rules. the codexes are another story. so far I haven’t seen much to think its too broke except for Eldar wraith host. Being that Iyanden was one of my first and most loved armies fluff wise, it saddns me that I can’t bring an army built the way I want that others will want to play against. If I could find opponents I’d be running 3 wraith knights, 4 wraithlords, and 6 squads of wraith guard in wave serpents with spirit seers attached. unfortunately, nobody likes that much D.

        • Muninwing

          no. not every army has a chance. most armies have a power-build that might stand a chance, unless they come up against the power-build that neutralizes them.

          past that, it’s about playing for fun instead of catering to the meta/WAACs, and at that point you just do what you want to do anyway.

          • Shawn

            Well said Muninwing. It also irks me to no end how some of the players hang their hats on ITC, BAO, et al. What it boils down to is that they’re gamers just like us trying to create the game they want to play FOR COMPETITIVE TOURNAMENTS. This is well and good for tournaments, but not necessarily how I want to play. I have as much credentials as any other gamer when it comes down to the way I want to play.

          • Muninwing

            i get bored playing head-to-head competitive builds. often because sometimes the matchup is made and settled before any choices are made on the field. i took a horde, and you have nothing but knights? i cannot scratch your paint, you just have to target me properly and not roll badly…i like CSM, and you play virtually anything else? oops, i’m probably used to losing. your two wraithknights might as well be modeled to be dancing a tango, with my face underneath, if i’m dumb enough to bring certain lists against you.

            GW pushes the “well, competitive isn’t the only way…” but then offers zero support or organization in order to provide viable alternatives.

          • Shawn

            Agreed. In casual games there is a greater chance for both players to have a fun game with a fairer chance of both taking the win. Some talk will have to ensure about listing, unfortunately.

            I know how you feel about those lists. A local player had the Deamonkin and insisted he was playing a “fluffly” list. Sure summoning 250+pts of free blood thirsters is always fluffy, along with your super-cheap troops with auto MSU slaying swords.
            I faced a unit of three knights, along with an allied Tau force made up of a Riptide and Crises suit team. That was a one sided fight from the get go.

        • Shawn

          For the most part agree, but even in 7th some armies/lists have a better chance then others, because they simply have the better options and abilities

      • Spacefrisian

        Odd, 7nth is an improvement on 6th, you sure you played 6th?

        • Muninwing

          i quit during the second half of 5th. it got stupid fast.

          i jumped back in with 6th, and had a lot of fun with it. we houseruled a lot of the holes, and play was actually easier in a lot of ways.

          part of me would rather see 4th, with 7th’s vehicle rules, allocations for flyers/MCs/FMCs/GCs/FGCs/Superheavies (but more limitations placed upon them), and a toned-down mechanic for overwatch.

          a lot of the problems with the game could be solved by recalibrating the points metric used to price units.

    • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

      I’ve noticed several tournaments round here banning allies and formations to make for less auto-losses.

      • To make less auto-losses you need to ban scrubs. Allies and Formations aren’t a problem.

        • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

          sorry what are scrubs?

          • OrksIsMadeFerRockin

            *Insert TLC lyrics here*

          • Captain Raptor

            “I don’t want no scrub

            A scrub is a guy that can’t get no love from me

            Hanging out the passenger side

            Of his best friend’s ride

            Trying to holler at me.”

          • euansmith

            A scrub is a guy that thinks he’s fly

            And is also known as a buster

            Always talkin’ about what he wants

            And just sits on his broke a$$

            So (no)

          • Severius_Tolluck

            The original “F”boy phrase

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            I am still none the wiser!

          • Severius_Tolluck

            urban dictionary my friend

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            thank you

        • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

          I think the problem with allies and formations is they exacerbate the already uneven power level of codices, tending to give powerful codices even more power.

          • Muninwing

            i’d love to see an alternate ruleset that allows for the non-broken stuff, fixes some of what’s broken, tones down the largest imbalances, and maybe fixes what each army tries to break.

            but to do that there’s a certain amount of philosophical agreement that needs to happen.

            can you mess with rules as written?
            can you mess with points costs?
            can you take away expected advantages?
            can you add what isn’t there that should be?

            and, after deciding on all that, are you still really playing the same game?

            it would be a lot of work, but it would be doable to release a “game standard” ruleset companion, a FAQ set that fixed the game in the name of balance, that was compiled by those in-the-know and informally adopted as game/club standards.

            if GW isn’t going to care about the quality of their product, i’d love instead for the TOs of major events, some former designers who still play, and maybe some people online with influence and understanding of nuance.

            it really would create a benefit to the community as a whole. and there’s precedent… when M:tG was new, informal rules emerged to balance the game a bit, and by unlimited/revised, it was already far less about wallet and more about the game. that might not have lasted, but it was a start.

          • They actually make the power level much more even, because it becomes feasible to mix units from different Factions to build a solid list which never “auto-losses”.

            You seem to be trapped in the fallacy that all Factions can or should be equal, and possibly also in the regressive thinking that armies should be composed of a single Faction only. Factions have never been equal in 20+ years of 40k. Allies and Factions now mitigate the inequalities between Factions, if you can adapt to the modern game and learn how to build multi-Faction lists.

            And if your counterpoint would be “but I want to play pure [weak Faction] and win” then the problem is not the game…

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            I played single faction armies for 20 years. I didn’t ask for the game to change to its current lunacy. Whilst factions have never been particularly well balanced, the FOC meant take all comers armies were a viable option.

            I don’t mind how it was in 6th, a single allied contingent mixed things up nicely, but Battle Brothers and being able to pick and choose units from everywhere is unfluffy, it destroys the narrative that GW says it is trying to create, and worst of all it enables armies relying on combos that are boring to play against. I suspect GW designers saw the success of Warmachine and over the last edition or two have tried to make 40K function in a similar way.

            Obviously the type of game you want to play is a matter of personal taste. I could certainly write multi faction lists, but I don’t like them. I don’t like playing against them either, if they are unfluffy combinations (Space Wolves and Dark Angels anyone?). The game has changed and I don’t like what it has become.

          • So your fundamental premise is that tournaments could/should change the rules to suit your personal preferences to the exclusion of others’? That is entitled nonsense.

            Played by the rules, 40k offers players the freedom to build whatever type of army list they like, anywhere on the spectrum between strictly themed and fully optimised.

            The alternative proposed by supporters of comp, ITC and other artificial restrictions is that some players should be denied their freedom to pander to others that cannot or refuse to adapt to the evolving game.

            If you can’t handle the natural game, stay away from organised play where you can’t control all the circumstances of your games. Don’t advocate the ruination of the game, especially not by certain event organisers whose primary objective is maximising attendance for financial advantage.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            no, my fundamental premise is that as a customer who buys a product from Games Workshop my views and preferences should be taken into account by them. If they fail to take enough customer’s preferences into account then they will go bust.

            I am glad that enough other people share my preferences to create tournaments that reflect them.

            A diversity of options in the tournament scene has to be a strength surely? Or are you one of those people who thinks everyone should play like you?

          • lol, I think you need to find a different game from a different manufacturer. You’re dreaming! When you do, don’t crap on that game and tell its community to change their tournaments to suit you.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            I started playing this game in 1988. It has had its ups and downs, but it has changed beyond all recognition in the last 3 or 4 years. And its me who has the problem? I am hardly alone in not liking the way the game has gone!

            Besides if you actually read this thread you will see I wasn’t even telling anyone to change their tournaments, if you actually read my post I am celebrating the fact that local tournaments to me are changing to single CAD and no formations, which suits my vision of 40K.

            So not only are you rude, and have thus failed at being a considerate human being, but you have also failed at reading comprehension.

          • I understand exactly what you have written: “I refuse to keep up with the game, I still think it’s the 90s, GW should bend over backwards to keep me happy, cry, cry, cry”. And by “celebrating” the degradation of the game in your local tournaments, you are directly contributing to the dumbing-down of 40k.

            Sure, I might be rude, but you are the entitled, arrogant Luddite gamer who can’t keep up with change, and you represent the single biggest problem in the 40k community. Please go find another game to complain about.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            oh dear, is someone having another opinion different to your own hurtful to you? If you get this upset over a game I hope I never have to discuss politics or religion with you.

            All companies should try to keep their customers happy, that seems like common sense. I suspect GW are really keeping very few people happy, as narrative players are put out by the easy to abuse combos which make for boring games and lack of balance which renders large parts of their collections useless, and tournament gamers are put out by the lack of FAQs, imprecision of rules and a ‘meta’ which shifts so fast no-one can keep up. They seemed to be keeping both groups relatively happy up until 5th, but its been a gradual slide which has damaged their profits and player base.

            Ultimately all games are canvasses for us to paint on. 40k especially so, even GW encourage people to make up their own way of playing, in fact they always have, its been a central feature of the game since the beginning. So if you think there can be only one ‘correct’ way to play, you are fundamentally at odds with GW’s design philosophy. Maybe it is you who needs to find another game?

          • Given that I am perfectly happy and comfortable playing the game by its actual rules, and you feel the need to change/ban things to mitigate your own inadequacy as a player, it is clearly you who needs to gtfo of 40k.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation
    • nurglitch

      7th edition works really well for small games too. You don’t have to play with all of your toys.

      • Spacefrisian

        Yeah i had more fun playing 1500 points games than 1850, and its just a 350 opints difference. Realy makes me think about what to take, i like that.

        • Guido Hockmann

          I find that 1000 points is fun too. You gotta really want that formation or allied detachment at that points level, and build the rest of your army around them.

        • Muninwing

          there are merits to many different kinds of games.

          i’ve always enjoyed escalation leagues for that reason… it’s not only motivation to paint, it’s also a way to experience the game at varying levels of points and see how your playstyle changes as you increase.

          i’ve got a project going… it’s a prepackaged narrative league, done up on a free discussion board. when it’s done and i have more time, i plan on pitching it to my local club. the players create 2500-point lists to start as representative of their troops that land planetside and their available reinforcements. but each mission allows them to choose a certain number of points from their resources. so one game might be 1200 points, another might use killteam parameters, another might be 1000 and require a CAD. and the missions are not always evenly paired, but scoring compensates for that.

    • Bronne Bruzgo

      Yeah, they’ve jumped the shark.

  • charlesthoss

    Iron Hands Conclaves do not give the whole unit FNP as it is limuted to the models that actually have the Chapter Tactic or FNP rule, whereas Stealth and Hit and Run work as soon as one model has them. Get your rules right for once!

    • Shawn

      the psychic power Endurance gives the whole unit FNP 4+, in effective giving the whole unit (1 whole unit mind you) 3+ FNP. I can’t remember if it’s the psyker and his unit or targeted unit.

      • charlesthoss

        But Endurance is not Iron Hands only and again, the +1 to FNP is only for models with Chapter Tactics Iron Hands, so it does not work on allies as the article suggests.

        • Shawn

          No, I know. However, your first sentence you were suggesting that the conclave doesn’t give a whole unit FNP, but Endurance would (even if the IC was from a different chapter), and I only mentioned it would be better with Iron Hands.

  • The Butcher

    GK has a formation, the Nemesis Strike Force.

    • Nate Cable

      That’s actually the Name of the detachment. The Formation is called the ‘Grey knights Brotherhood’ as is pretty crap seeing as you have to take so many models to field it. It more of a pre-designed Army list than a Formation :/

      • The Butcher

        You are correct. I blame waking up at 5 am for confusing detachment and formation in my head.

  • Frank O’Donnell

    The worse thing to come to 40K imho, just makes an already unbalanced game more so.

  • Moke

    I just want to say that the Canoptek Harvest is easily the most overrated formation in the Necrons book. It’s sticky as all hell but the units in it just aren’t very good. The wraiths are… okay but pretty much everything else in the book is better.

    Compare this to the Justicar formation or even the Destroyer Cult. Those things are *mean*

    • Andrew Thomas

      Wraithguard, Artillery, anything that can consistently drop ID on them, really, can dispatch the harvest easily.

      • Benderisgreat

        If they’re by themselves on the battlefield with nothing else to shoot at, sure, same as anything else.

  • extrenm54

    Gorepack is the key to making chaos work. And believe me, it works!!!

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      Until you meet Scarabs.

  • Muninwing

    DA’s Librarius conclave is up there too… requires a SC, but gains a boost to one of their signature lore.

  • Muninwing

    and i love that i can (even if it won’t win) play something like my old Armored Company now… that Emperor’s Wrath artillery company is great backing for an army mostly comprised of ten Leman Russes of various types. and maybe a set or two of outflanking scout sentinels.

    there’s just something about that much armor on the board… and it’s a lot of fun to paint.

  • Seismic Ghost

    What I took from this article:

    Some armies have astounding game-breaking built-in mini-armies that you can use to obliterate absolutely anything.
    Oh yeah and some armies don’t even get access to anything like that.

    • Dennis J. Pechavar

      Some armies get free vehicles and lots of toys for taking a good amount of what you’d take anyway. Others (IG as example) you have to take a ton of weird things to get a minor bonus. Not sure how this makes the codex battle fair.

      • JJ

        Which would be great if Ezekiel could take a bike!

    • Muninwing

      … and it’s a known thing, the parent company does nothing to fix it, and it makes the game less fun for everyone…

      yet the company wonders why they lose players and sales…

      and they just went through the same thing with their longest-running game, so you’d think they would have learned…

      sorry, but i could care less about the tournament scene and “the meta” — i want fun games, but i also want ones that have parameters and a sense of fairness, so i can see how i’m doing and get better.

  • nurglitch

    I love how formations mean that fluff players and competitive players can play the same game.

  • A. Kocher

    So hate to break it to you, but riptide wing can take up to 9 riptides. It’s 3 units of riptides And riptides can be fielded in units of 3.

    • Spacefrisian

      9 Gundam kits on the table, i think i can do that.

    • Benderisgreat

      And killed by poisoned (2+) because they’re MC’s and not walkers as they should be.

      • Kyle Goguen

        Ah yes all of that 2+ poison running around that can kill 9 riptides with 2+ armor and FNP

        • Benderisgreat

          Yeah, because those FNP rolls are reliable, and there are plenty of flesh bane and poison weapons out there. Hell, a bunch of deep striking Deathmarks with their rapid-firing rifles could make mincemeat out of them.

          Enjoy your big expensive kits, though.

  • Andrew Thomas

    Ok, before the thread-crappers get us locked out, I just want to say that Spore Fields are an auto include in any competent Nid army, Cohort Cybernetica is a tough nut to crack, OSC’s biggest problem is massed Ignores Cover shooting, and Armored Company is worth it in most TAC lists, if you identify what needs to die first (anything with D, Grav, Melta, Haywire, or Lance).

  • greenskin

    Surprised it wasn’t Best SM formation: Gladius; Honorable mention: Skyhammer Annihilation Force.

  • Fanboy

    It’s crash and burn burn burn for 40k in our region with these 7th Ed rules. We still play with 4th and/or 5th Ed rules…….

  • Kytech

    How did a riptide wing beat the out the Retaliation Cadre….. which in itself can have a riptide wing+broadsides that can move and shoot at full BS due to the formation being relentless, not to mention a comander and up to 27 FREAKING CRISIS SUITS!?!?!?! Lets not forget that this entire formation can deepstrike as a unit together and get a +1BS on its first turn. Just think of the crisis suits alone firing weapons at BS4 at no cost in markerlights……

  • LordKrungharr

    The Space Wolves best Formation is Brethren of the Fell-Handed! Besides the all IC detachments. Couple Bjorn and the shield Dreads with an allied detachment (or Flesh Tearers detachment) and make the Libby Dread do Quickening on Bjorn lets him relive the olden days of ripping apart nearly anything.

  • Kyle Goguen

    CSM have formations you know. Its the Hellbrute formations

  • Red_Five_Standing_By

    The Grey Knights have formations in their book! And one of them is taken in a ton of GK lists!

    Chaos Marines have a ton of formations. Sure most are more fluffy than good but still, they have them. You act like they don’t have any.

  • Red_Five_Standing_By

    To be fair, the allies in the old Daemon/Witch-Hunters books were really basic. They spelled out exactly what you could and could not take.

  • Michael Hartley

    I found that playing Skyblight (Tyranids) is really useful – Especially in a 2k game where you can fit Sky Tyrant and Spore Field in the same list. Looks amazing on the board.