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Pimpcron: 40k Stratagems are a Crutch

5 Minute Read
Feb 2 2018
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Pimpcron whines about something else this week. Do strategems make you a strong or weak player?

I extend my warmest, sweetest salutations to you, dear readers. May the wind be at your back and the sun on your face dear friend. Unless, of course it is like really hot out, then just reverse those wishes. It’s kind of a subjective greeting I suppose. Ya know what? Screw you for questioning my good intentions. Now I don’t care what relationship the sun has with your face.

Okay, that was a little harsh. I apologize. I’m at least a casually concerned with your face-sun correlation. Wear sunblock.

Here’s my fake smile.

What is it I’m supposed to talk about again? Ah! Warhammer 40,000 is the random subject I drew out of my hat for the subject of this week’s article (and for the past 3 years, there may just be one slip of paper in there).

So let me put on my whining hat, work up a good sob, and pull the tissue box closer.


With no uncertainty I know this will be declared whining or crying by some, so I’m just rolling with it. It all started way back in my dark past one week ago. In case you don’t know, I have a 40k & AoS convention in Ocean City Maryland at the beginning of December each year. The main tournament is a Highlander, but the secondary tournament was my own brew called the Nutcrusher where you literally take whatever you want and it featured Kill Points, Maelstrom Objectives, regular Objectives, and a relic all at once. It was fun and crazy, but didn’t really fit the theme of my casual and fun convention. Attendance for that tourney was half of what the number for the Highlander was, so I decided to axe it. This year I’m going with something I’m calling the: 40k Danger Zone (Archer reference).


All the coolest models get the good stratagems.

It’s small points and each game in the 3-game series only allows certain force org slots and no codex stratagems allowed. It will be quite fun, and I found that the first thing I wanted to cut for this new format were codex stratagems. I am including the 3 basic stratagems, and adding some other ones that are unique to this tournament for use by all armies.

I Want My Mommy!

While I think Stratagems are way, way better than formations in terms of making units better, I feel like they have become a crutch for some gamers. I see the worst abuse with Chaos players, because they have quite a few good stratagems. Between Poxwalkers and Slaanesh Obliterators, it’s just rinse a repeat every turn. It gets very boring and there is no real thought in it.

And yes, I play Chaos Marines so I’m not just saying this out of butthurt. In fact, I haven’t even been angry over it from personal experience; I just find it lazy and a crutch. It was when I decided to take codex stratagems out, that I found that armies are much more even. No more Cultists returning at full-strength, no more double-shots for Slaanesh, no more Nid shenanigans. Noise Marines are still good, they just aren’t broken. Poxwalkers are still good, they just aren’t broken.


“Dammit, how does this go in again? Should have paid attention during the meeting.”

Suddenly playing this way makes all of the indexes and codices fairly balanced and equal. Of course it doesn’t solve all problems, but I realized that Stratagems help unbalance the game.

I May Need to be Changed

No, not into a more likeable person. Shut up. This got me thinking that stratagem points need a revision because some are auto-takes and others are never-takes due to their cost. Or instead of individual codex stratagems they could release a bunch of generic any-army stratagems. But that would probably too hard to balance, being that they can’t balance codex stratagems in a book that only pertains to one army.

I guess this is the old point-view issue of WAAC versus fluff in a way. My play style is to grab a random list with no intended synergy and see if I am able to make a win out of it. I take pride in not using net lists or the new hotness, and just trying to rely on strategy over cheese. Of course I use stratagems, but I don’t select units on their access to stratagems.

He’s not mad, he’s just disappointed.

I guess there is no real wrong answer here on how you approach a game, but it just seems like many players use stratagems in lieu of actual strategy. Just rinse and repeat the same under-costed, over-powered abilities just like they did with formations.


It’s kind of funny because stratagems make you feel like they give you more options as a gamer. But when they are so good they make you write a list around them, and they are auto-takes, isn’t that really limiting your options because you won’t take any others?

~So your honest opinion – Are powerful Strategems a boon or bane to the game?


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Author: Scott W.
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