40K: Maximize Your Command Points

TO’s are driven mad by this one simple list to enlarge your command point pool.

Command Points (CPs) are one of the core aspects of 8th Edition. They are also a new addition to the game, and many players aren’t paying then as much attention as they should. Let’s dig in to why people ignore CPs and how they can get more of them.

Index Army’s Didn’t Need a Lot of CPs

When 8th came out it wasn’t immediately obvious how powerful CPs would be. At the time we were limited to just the 3 basic stratagems, which while powerful didn’t dominate the game. Sure you wanted some CPs, and 4-6 is really easy to get. But people weren’t really building lists to get as many as possible.

Once the Space Marine Codex game out we got our first good look at how powerful stratagems could be, and how many each army might have. As more and more books have come out people have started building armies around using stratagems and trying to get the required number of CPS. However Index armies, even with the aid from Chapter Approved, still don’t need that many CPs. So a lot of Index players still place them low on the priorities list.

Old Habits Die Hard

Ahh the classics.

A second, more subtle reason people are not getting as many CPs as they should is they are stuck with old habits. In prior editions of 40K when you could only take one detachment one of the big skills of list building was fitting as many things in that one detachment as you could. Many players are still building lists with this mindset. However in 8th almost the opposite is true, with you normally wanting to take as many detachments as you can.

Players Are Leaving CPs on the Table

I end up looking at a lot of lists, from casual players and from events around the world. One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of players are not maximizing their CPs in list building, often costing themselves command points here and there. They do this by a combination of the things I’ve talked about before. Lets look at a couple of examples:

Example A1: Basic Mistake

Battalion

Daemon Prince

Chaos Lord

Exalted Champion

10x Chaos Space Marines

10x Chaos Space Marines

10x Chaos Space Marines

3x Obliterators

10x Havocs

1x Chaos Predator

6CP

So here we have a pretty basic Chaos Space Marine List. This list all fits in one Battalion Detachment and works just fine. It’s something you might see in a normal casual game. It’s also leaving a free command point on the table.

Example A2: Rectifying the Mistake

Battalion

Daemon Prince

Chaos Lord

10x Chaos Space Marines

10x Chaos Space Marines

10x Chaos Space Marines

Spearhead Detachment 

Exalted Champion

3x Obliterators

10x Havoks

1x Chaos Predator

7CP

Here we’ve taken the exact same list and spit it into two detachments thus gaining us an additional CP. Again this is the same list, and didn’t cost us any more points. By reorganizing what we were taking we’ve now gotten more out of the list. I see this kind of mistake a whole lot out there in list building, and it’s easily fixed once people know what to look for.

 

Example B1: The MSU Option

Battalion

Primais Captain

Primaris Librarian

10x Intercessors

10x Intercessors

10x Intercessors

Repulsor

Vanguard

2x Primaris Lieutenants

3x Aggressors

3x Aggressors

Redemptor Dreadnought

7 CP

So here we see anther pretty basic Primaris list. Again this is something you might see in a causal game. The player who made this list is thinking in the right direction. While they could have put this all under one Battalion detachment they split things out and took two thus giving them the extra CP. However this list has a pretty easy way of still getting more CPS

Example B2: MSU for Life

Battalion

Primais Captain

Primaris Lieutenants

5x Intercessors

5x Intercessors

5x Intercessors

Repulsor

Battalion

Primaris Lieutenants

Primaris Librarian

5x Intercessors

5x Intercessors

5x Intercessors

3x Aggressors

3x Aggressors

Redemptor Dreadnought

9 CP

By splitting some of the large 10 man squads into 5 man squads, and splitting the 2 Primaris LTs into separate HQ choices  this list can actually fill out two Battalion detachments thus going up from 7 to 9 CPs. This is an easy way of getting more CPS, that again costs no additional points. Now certainly you could argue that you wanted the big Intercessors squads. However, unless your army plans on using a stratagem or power that the bigger unit will get more out of there is no reason not to take the smaller ones. In fact taking the smaller squads has the benefit of giving you more Sergeants, and less vulnerable to morale losses. Overall, unless you had a trick planned that needed 10 man squads, this is a better army with more CPs at no extra cost.

Final Thoughts

To a lot of people this isn’t really ground breaking news. However this kind of list optimization is what the good tournament players do when building lists. It’s a minor change in mindset and how you look at lists that will help improve your overall games. Hopefully these pretty basic examples will help you reevaluate the lists you are building and get the most out of them.

Well folks, thats all for today! Let us know your tricks for getting most CPs down in the comments!

  • Jeremy Larson

    Don’t know where the author’s been playing, but the race for command points started almost immediately in my area. Hell, most of the local stores are sold out of AM infantry squads to fuel the desire to add “CP batteries” to existing lists.

  • Sir Postalot

    Lol you are better off with grots

    • Jeremy Larson

      Don’t know about that. 180 points for 3 cp, and you can make ’em Vostoyan for 30″ range. The commanders double their fire power for free. I’ve been having surprising good luck with them. Either they die as a cheap screen, or people don’t bother to shoot them, and they just dump cheap shots down range all game.

    • I think you have a good point. 3 mobs of 10 and a weird boy.
      Could be good.

      • Koen Diepen Van

        nah grots are a waste of points and you need 2 hq anny way.

        • OK, so 2 Weird boys then. Or what ever HQ’s don’t cost very much. Grots don’t usually let me down. Besides I’m simply mining for command points.

  • Majere613

    The last example is interesting. Sure, you get 2 more CP, but you go from 10 to 15 drops, making it very unlikely that you’ll get first turn. We’ve been using the +1 bonus to the roll-off rather than the flat ‘first to finish deploying starts’ method at my FLGS but I can’t help thinking that that rule was originally designed to balance the CP advantage of MSU by making you have to choose between CP and a shot at first turn.

    Of course that last army is also a bit too full of Intercessors, but that’s beside the point 🙂

    • orionburn III

      That’s one aspect about CPs that I like. Sure, you can chase as many as possible, but you increase the risk of having more drops than your opponent and lowering your chance at going first. It’s a mix in our group of people that seem to care less about the number of drops and others that make that the priority over CPs.

      • Drpx

        And everyone knows going first > all the Cps.

        • orionburn III

          One thing within our local group that is rearing its ugly head are the abilities to let you get command points back. That’s one thing that I wish was never introduced. Couple that with going first and it doesn’t make for a very fun game.

          • Pete McGwire

            Now we are seeing dual imperium lists getting command point reuse rolls from both factions for the same point used.

          • eMtoN

            That seems incredibly wrong

          • Bootneck

            The combination I believe you are referring to is illegal as you need both detachments to be the warlord for it to work, and it clearly states in the Heirloom sections and Warlord traits that to be able to pick from them it must be the warlord – of which you can only pick one Warlord per army.

            Illegal =
            SM detach with Girlyman (Adapt of Codex Warlord trait) and an Imperial Guard Detach with a character with Kurov’s Aquilla.

          • TenDM

            If you want to put a limit on that make a group rule so after you successfully regain a CP you can’t regain any more that turn. It’s still a good bonus, and you’ll probably regain one every turn if you have the rule, but you can’t sit on full CP the entire game.

        • Koen Diepen Van

          Depends on the scenario some scenarios now just give +1 on the roll. Also if you have a lot of deepstrike you can still effectivly go first even if you go second.

    • defensive

      Not that it matters all that much.
      With the new rules for the +1 to roll and being able to seize, it’s essentially random chance who gets the first turn.

      Maybe my math is bad, but the added 1/6 chance you get from deploying first is canceled out by the 1/6 chance your opponent gets to seize.

      • Majere613

        That was sort of the point I was making- I suspect the old version, where whoever finished deploying first got first turn, was intended to balance out the CP advantage of having lots of units to fill Detachments.

      • Jesse Sinclair

        Your math is bad, your ability to seize when they go first cancels out their ability to seize when you go first.

        And because it is opposed rolls, not flat rolls, +1 to going first actually gives you a much bigger increase in going first than just 1/6th.

        In 6 out of 36 options (where you tie dice rolls) you gain the benefit of winning instead. In a further 5/36 rolls (where you are lower by 1) instead of losing you tie and re-roll (and you still get your bonus to that roll).

        I haven’t done the full math (since you win the roll off more often they have increased chances to seize which skews it slightly) but I think that +1 to a roll off gives you a 20-25% buff instead of 16%.

        • defensive

          Being lower than one is essentially a null result though, and shouldn’t change the chances, since you’re just going to roll again.
          If the dice were just rolled with no modifiers, you would still have a 6/36 chance of rolling doubles, and having to reroll.
          Only now you’ve skewed it so you cannot get double 1s or double 7s (i.e, you win if you roll a 6, or they roll a 1, no matter what), so you have an added 2/36 chance to your 1/6 for the +1 in general.
          But the seize roll gives your opponent a 1/6 chance to steal it after you win this roll, so your total chances only really go up by 2/36 for deploying first.

          So you are right, that it goes up to about a 22% advantage, but the seize roll right after drops it down to about 5.5% in total.

          • Jesse Sinclair

            That’s not how statistics work. If you are going to add in the Seize result for them, you have to add in the seize result for yourself as well.

            There are only 31 “end” results (5/36 results cause a reroll, which sets us back to the beginning of the loop, so they need to be discounted). Of those of you succeed on 21 results, and fails on only 10. That’s a 68% success rate compared to a 32% failure. You literally go from having an equal shot of first turn to having double the chances compared to your opponent.

            They will then Seize 16.6% percent of time, which works out to 11% of all games.

            So your 68% drops to 57%. Except you are forgetting to ADD when YOU seize from them, which should be 16.6% of 32% of games, or roughly 5% of games.

            So we add that back to your 57% and that brings you up to going first on 62% of games.

            You will go first 62% of games versus your opponent going first only 38% of games. You go from a percentage point spread of 0% to a spread of 24%.

            Because this is a zero game sum (any gain on your part requires a reduction on theirs) it’s important to remember that you are just increasing your chances, you are decreasing theirs at the same time.

            There are a couple ways you can look at the gains:

            1.) Narrowly: you go from a 50% chance to a 62% chance, a 12% buff.

            2.) Broadly: You have a 62% vs 38% spread, so a 24% buff.

            3.) Relatively: You will win 62 of 100 attempts to go first versus 38 of 100 loses, which means you will win 61% MORE roll offs than your opponent. 61% buff.

            However you chose to look at that, even if you decide to look at it in the most narrow sense of only a 12% increase, its still factually incorrect to say that seizing “nullifies” the advantage of your +1 bonus.

  • François Nicolas

    I don’t understand how you count your CPs. On my rulebook, it is written that a Battalion gives me 3 CPs, and the others 1 CPs.
    When I read your formations, it looks like you get 6 CPs for a battalion …

    • denzark

      Counting the extra 3 for battleforged army?

      • Simon Chatterley

        @Denzark – I know a guy that went to 2 events before he realised you got 3 CP from battleforged so it’s easy to miss I guess.

        • denzark

          Ha Ha its true! And I only won one of them!

    • Itrogash

      You get 3 CPs at the start, then CPs for detachments. So your starter CPs + CPs for battalion together give 6 CPs

      • Sean Temple

        Not quite. You get 3 at the end if you’re army is all battlefield.

        • Itrogash

          Yeah, that. I tend to forget that. In our group we do not play aby other way than matched play so I’m used to thinking of battle-forged as the only way to build your army

      • François Nicolas

        OK, when I read the rules, I thought you only got 3 CPs because the base is the battalion, which gives 3 CPs.

  • Drpx

    Load up on Cps.
    Get nuked off table turn one by triple spearhead.

  • Snord

    The Primaris example isn’t very good – or rather it’s an example of chasing CPs at the expense of effectiveness. In order to take all those Intercessor squads, the list has sacrificed important firepower, such as Hellblasters.

    I see I wasn’t the only one who missed the extra CPs from being Battleforged…

  • Gamecock13

    Command points? Cute. Give my army another 7 months before it is codexed and then I’ll circle back around to this article.

  • Ronin

    Save your command reroll for late in a phase by targeting your opponent with small guns before moving onto to your bigger ones. Resolve units with high rate of fire shots first because who cares about rerolling a heavy bolter.

  • Damien 1.0

    The last example is interesting. Sure, you get 2 more CP, but you go from 10 to 15 drops, making it very unlikely that you’ll get first turn. We’ve been using the +1 bonus to the roll-off rather than the flat ‘first to finish deploying starts’ method at my FLGS but I can’t help thinking that that rule was originally designed to balance the CP advantage of MSU by making you have to choose between CP and a shot at first turn

    • Bootneck

      With the addition of the new eternal war and Maelstrom missions in Chapter Approved – its much fairer now for armies with a large number of units, only losing +1 on a roll off.

      I won’t bother with the missions from the main book now, automatically winning the first turn for a small army isn’t fair imo, glad they brought the changes in.

    • TenDM

      I think it was also meant to make small elite armies more viable too. In theory to make a first turn assault force work I’d need to take a low model count. It’s the only way to ensure I get the first turn that sort of playstyle needs. That balances out for my opponent because even though I get to attack at full strength my army isn’t going to be able to take out heaps of targets. Likewise I get to attack before my key units suffer major damage.

      Obviously that doesn’t pan out that way in the real world but I prefer that sort of thinking because it makes army construction more strategic, and in turn forces GW to dull the impact of getting to go first. Everyone seems to hate drop based turn orders because they’ve been taught that a roll off is fair, but it’s not. It limits what some armies can reliably do while giving armies that don’t need first turn a random boost.

  • Tushan

    The CP system is broken.

    Do tell how for example a GK army is ever going to compete with stealer cult for CPs point for point?

    • Bootneck

      Tbh CP’s aren’t game breaking. Played lots of games against Ultrasmurfs who couldn’t spend CPs for want of trying.

      At the end of the day a re-roll here and there, strategems etc are nice.

      But if your playing properly they won’t have any units at the end of the game to spend them on anyway.

      • Tushan

        No but they are extremely strong here and there, flamers that kill flyers, death company etc etc.
        You bypass the whole issue by saying it is not important.

        If it is not then by all means add a rule saying that if one player simply doesnt want to use CPs then the game is without CPs.

        How do you think this would be received?

        • Bootneck

          Yes your right they can be exceptionally powerful – used in the right circumstances on the rights units etc, but I just think people get caught up in the hype of them.

          I’ve had many “amazing stratagems” turn out to be terribly underwhelming.

          The last two tournaments I’ve been to I’ve only had 4cps a game when most people were rocking 9+ cps.

          And I never found it a hindrance or a disadvantage, you just look at them more tactically rather than iwinbuttons every time which they aren’t.

          • Tushan

            Yes and no, they can be game winning but for most part they are rather meh.
            Some are even outright waste of command points bad like shelling out through the nose for a orbital bombardment that does nothing and often needs yet another reroll just to get some range.

            My point is however that the CP system is a broken design in that it punishes elite armies from obtaining many while making other armies swim in command points.

            That is not “fun”.

  • ellobouk

    you want to get the most out of your command points son? Join the guard!
    You spent CP? ROLL SOME DICE, GET SOME CP BACK!
    Your opponent activated a strategem? ROLL A DICE AT THAT HERESY, GAIN SOME CP!

    You can take 7CP to the game, spend 1 to get an extra relic, turn up at deployment with 6… spend 11 or 12 in the game, and maybe have some left if the dice are kind.

  • Crablezworth

    8th is such a garbage fire