Everyone knows that in Fifth Edition Troops are the key to winning games. Sure, you can slug it out and win by tabling your opponent, and the occasional Annihilation mission comes along to spice things up, but troops are properly the focus of offensive and defensive considerations. Here’s my list of the 5 armies with the best Troop choices:
#5 Orks – Ork Boyz are cheap and very effective for the points. If you take a Warboss, you can take Nobz as troops, giving you one of the most resilient scoring units possible as an option. Orks do suffer somewhat against fully mechanized forces that prefer existence to killing Orks, but the sheer weight of numbers that an Ork army can bring to the table makes their troops number five on my list.
#4 Space Marines – If you aren’t basing your army on killing Space Marine Tactical Squads, you’re doing it wrong. Tacticals are flexible, durable, and resilient, with plenty of options available to make them effective. The addition of Combat Tactics making it very dangerous to soften up Marine units before charging them means that assaults against them by lightly armored Eldar combat specialists are a lot more favorable to Marines than in their previous Codex. Chapter Tactics provide another layer of complexity to the equation, and give Marines enough variability to be number four.
#3 The Imperial Guard – Melta Veterans are the new pink; it’s hard to throw a rock and not hit 10 units of them (okay, I have to try to hit that many of them, but it’s more fun that way). Add in their ability to Infiltrate with Harker, Orders to make them regroup or twin-linked, cheap Chimeras, Valkyries, and Vendettas, and it’s easy to see why these killers get high billing. Infantry Platoons are cheaper and better in 5e as well, and make killing all the Troops out of a Guard army nearly impossible. Add in those Commissariat tar-pits that take forever to kill without a large dedicated assault force (not easy to get across the board against Guard firepower) and you’ve got our third place army.
#2 Chaos Space Marines – Oh how the mighty have fallen. Chaos Space Marines were comfortably at the top of the heap of troops, with double melta Plague Marines and LD10 Chaos Glory Boys abusing tabletops around the world. Khorne Berserkers are still the best assaulting Troop choice this side of Nob Bikers, and have the bonus of being cheap for their ability as well. Summoned Lesser Daemons are still great for dropping off of a unit deep in enemy territory or suddenly reinforcing your own objectives. But it’s time for the reigning kings to step down, because there’s a new Sherriff in town.
#1 Space Wolves – Grey Hunters have moved from “I have to have a unit in my army” to probably the best Troops choice in the game. Cheaper than basic Space Marine Tacticals, they come with holsters, slings, and scabbards (Bolter, Bolt Pistol, and Close Combat weapon, have excellent special weapons options, normal transport options, Acute Senses, Counter Attack, and And They Shall Know No Fear. Blood Claws have fewer Power Fists (who didn’t know that was coming?) but they still have Berserk Charge and they’re killers. Add to the mix that Wolf Guard are Swiss Army soldiers and can be assigned to Troop choices before the game starts, and you have cost-effective, capable troops with all the advantages of Chaos Space Marines plus ATSKNF and a non-Independent mission specialist to ensure that they have just what they need to get the job done. The king is dead, long live the king!
~If your army isn’t on this list, it does not mean they have terrible troops. It does mean that all other factors being equal (and that’s a bad premise), you’re facing an army with better troops than yours – in my opinion. Unless you try to tell me how Firewarriors are really good troops and Necron Warriors can do something other than hide and be effective against mechanized armies, I’ll be glad to listen. Your turn!