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40K Editorial: Why are Allies Sacred?

3 Minute Read
Dec 19 2013

I have a simple question for you in this era of scary superheavies and unbreachable fortresses – why are Allies getting a pass?

OK here’s something that is been rattling around my head for a while.  Let’s take a look at what the game looks like now, and how you build your army.

Here is what the GW Design Studio says the legal Force Organization Choices look like right now for 40K(discounting funky stuff like GW Digital Formations and Inquisitorial Allies)

But the funny thing is in all the howls at the moon about game balance, you would think the chart looks like this:


It turns out that that convenient Allied Detachment is just as optional (or official) as Lords of War or Fortifications (see how they ALL have that word “Optional” under them), but its funny how players who run around like chicken little regarding the slim possibility of one day just hearing that an Eldar Revenant is in the next game store over, are happy to use that Allied Detachment to build crazy insane deathstars that min-max anything they can find across multiple codices to cram down your throat.

Yet somehow using the Allied Detachment makes them superior players and is good for the game – while having to face down superheavies or D armed fortifications that can hurl their min-maxed deathstars off the board without breaking a sweat is bad for the game.


In my experience of watching and talking to players at all skill levels here’s what I’ve observed:

Players take Allies out of GREED

Players shun Lords of War out of FEAR

Players are still on the fence regarding Fortifications 
(go read the Aquila Strongpoint/Void Shield  rules – then decide)

But basically I can count the number of times on one hand I’ve seen an army use an Allied contingent for some reason that was done for narrative, or simple variety’s sake.  Almost without exception, players take allies to shore up their own codices deficiencies and pull dirty tricks.  Love to blow folks off the table with Tau Riptides, but are worried that you may one day have to deal with Assault or Psychics? – Well we have Space Wolves Allies to help you with that…

The list of Allies shenanigans go on, but I have this funny feeling that what is really going on here isn’t the arrival of superheavies or super fortifications “ruining the game”.

To me it smacks of a tiny vocal shard of the player community clinging to their real ace in the hole that they use to lord their superiority over their fellow gamers – exploitation of the Allied Detachment.

Is There a Simple Solution?
How about treating all the optional sections equally, either get rid of them ALL, or none at all.  Heck you could even just set a percentage cap (say 25% like we see in the Horus Heresy books) for a player to use in total for all the optional FOC add-ons (Allies, Lords of War, Fortifications).  That gets rid of a lot of the moaning (and BS min-maxing) real fast doesn’t it…

I just find it odd that while everyone wants to ban this or that – so very few are just willing to play the game like this?

But then that would level the playing field wouldn’t it – and we certainly can’t have that…


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