Mr. Black here to speak on a tricky issue that has plagued Warhammer 40k’s internet community for about as long as I can recall: spamming samey units vs. every unit being a unique and special snowflake.
Now personally I have no care either way, if someone enjoys playing Razorback Spam then let them, and if someone feels the overarching compulsion to never field the same unit twice then more power to them. Some people feel that it’s better to always have a second of any given unit in case the first is destroyed, others will say that having every unit be unique and different is more tactically sound and provides more “lose-lose” choices for your opponent… The back and forth peddling of ideas can go on and on, as I’m sure any regular readers of BoLS can tell you. I’m not going to pick one over the other, simply because I have no strong biased either way, both are tactically sound in my mind for different reasons, and in the end I feel personal preference and what is individually comfortable to play should win.
I will say, however, I do enjoy making lists time to time that specifically never use the same unit twice. I do this not out of some feeling of merit or because I think that’s how it “should be” (I play Tyranids for god’s sake!) but rather because filling my lists with different units allows me to test different strategies that I otherwise would not have come across, as well as test different, and often unexpected, unit synergies that otherwise would have gone ignored.
It also forces me to adapt a better perspective on each unit, judging just when and where on the battlefield it will be of the most use- if you only have one of something, making the best deployment and tactical usage of it becomes all the more important. This is a strong skill to pick up regardless of what type of army you end up running, and playing the aforementioned style list helps to cultivate that skill for use in the future.
Now, of course the importance of an individual unit only goes so far, it is imperative for the player to be able to see “the big picture”, an army is a cohesive force, and while each unit/part must be understood properly to really pull it’s weight, one must remember that in the end they are just a single part of the larger machine.
This is where finding synergies comes into play. Now, of course it’s easier to play a list composed of six+ of the same unit, they each have the same strengths and weaknesses of the others, which makes thinking and critical processes all the easier, but limit yourself to a pool of different choices and now deciding just what should go where becomes another game entirely. It makes you think about a unit’s weaknesses and how best to work around them.
“Unit A is great at shooting but doesn’t pack the biggest punch in melee, well team it up with Unit B and now both grounds are covered.” – That is probably the most basic of the basic examples I can give, but the possibilities are endless and a good way to find these combinations out is to just play-test things!
I’ll once again state that I’m not saying all this to change anyone’s way of playing, if you’re happy with your style then more power to you. What I am presenting is merely an exercise in tactical thinking and leaving comfort zones. Taking your standard style of play and turning it around is a wonderful way to enhance one’s strategic prowess as well as just a fun style of play. Get some friends together and give it a try. Hell, doesn’t even have to be a full sizes game, try out 1000, 1500, etc, the more you limit yourself the more you can focus on an individual unit and it’s capabilities.
Just to get the ball rolling here are two 2000 pt lists using the above creation method:
- Librarian (Jump Pack)
- Honour Guard (Jump Packs, 2x Storm Shield, Blood Champion, 1x Power Weapon)
- Terminator Assault Squad x5 (Thunder Hammer x2, Land Raider Redeemer, Extra Armor, Multi-Melta)
- Sanguinary Guard x5 (Power Fist x1, Infernus Pistol x1)
- Sanguinary Priest x1
- Assault Squad x10 (Jump Packs, Meltagun x2, Power Fist)
- Assault Squad x10 (Rhino, Dozer Blades, Searchlight Flamer x2, Power Weapon)
- Assault Squad x5 (Razorback w/ Assault Cannon, Dozer Blades, Searchlight, Meltagun)
- Scout Squad x5 (Camo Cloaks, Sniper Rifles)
- Vindicator (Siege Shield)
- Tyrant Guard x2 (Lash Whips)
- Hive Guard x3
- Zoanthropes x3 (Mycetic Spore)
- Doom of Malan’tai (Mycetic Spore)
- Tervigon (Adrenal Glands, Toxin Sacs, Catalyst)
- Termagants x10
- Hormagaunts x20 (Toxin Sacs)
- Genestealer Brood x7 (Broodlord Upgrade)
- Warrior Shrikes x4 (Bonesword/Lash Whips, Toxin Sacs)
- Gargoyle Brood x20
~Limiting your choices and changing around your style can be a refreshing change of pace as well as an interesting mental exercise. What are some lists you’ve created without duplicating any units? Is this your preferred play-style?