Adam here to talk shop about horde vs elite armies in the game and why players are pulled to each.
Over the years I’ve played a lot of armies. Up until 8th edition, I have played every codex. These range from large sprawling armies with over a hundred figures, to armies with just five models (thank you Knights). There are a number of options available to a player that is just starting out, in both 40K in general and the competitive side. This article we will be focusing on one aspect of an army that many players think about, the size of the army. The way that the game has currently evolved, players tend towards a horde army or a more elite army.
As the name suggests, a horde army is just that, an almost endless amount of bodies. If you like painting models, and batch painting in particular, then you’ll love horde armies. You will typically have at least a hundred models, with the actual number of models reaching closer to 200. There are a few benefits to running a horde army. Horde armies usually have a lot of low-cost options, especially when it come to their troop choices. All these bodies help when it comes to board control. They are able to cover a lot of the tabletop, control multiple objectives, and can really help keep those scary units at bay, whether through deep strike denial or just by being meatshields for your more hard-hitting units.
With the good comes the bad. A horde army can be unwieldly at time. Depending on the number of models you have, a horde army can find it hard to fit in certain deployment zone setups. Although the troops are cheap, a lot of times they have weak armor, so almost every successful wound inflicted result in a lot of dead guys. This can sometimes give you a negative experience early in your games because you are removing a lot of your models. If you have back issues this can also be a reason to shy away from this type of army, as moving this many model can put a strain on your back. Time is also an issue, although as you become more proficient with the army you begin to play faster, and this makes the clock less of an issue.
Elite armies tend to be a low model count army. Typically, around 20-30 models and less. In extreme cases, if you want to run all Knights for instance, you can count the number of models on one hand. Although low on numbers, elite armies tend to a bit more resilient than other units, and even hit hard enough to compensate for their lack of numbers. They are usually very quick to play and can sometimes be very forgiving if you make a mistake during a round. They are usually easy to setup, takedown and, if you’re not too worried on the quality, an elite army can usually be built and painted quickly. There are a few drawbacks if you go the elite route. Although they are durable, your units can be brought down through weight of fire, even from the most basic gun. The loss of each elite model in your army, especially early on, can really hinder your plans. Movement during the game is more important because a bad placement may cause you to lose a good chunk of your army. Elite armies are usually expensive in terms of points and command points. The latter can be rectified with a cheap battalion from an ally, if you have access to them. The former is a bit harder to get around since you can only do so much with the points available to you. This makes unit choices for your elite army even more important.
Who’s the Best?
I really don’t have a preference, although I know my back does. I know currently the Chaos hoard of plaguebearers is a thing and that massed Astra Militarum is also a consistent game winner. I am also seeing armies with half to a third of the normal number of models winning, whether it’s an Adeptus Custodes army or Eldar fliers. My current list seems to lean towards the elite side of things. I have a few hard hitters but enough models to control my backfield and deal damage from afar. I like that it’s not the hundreds of models that I have to carry around, but there are enough models so that it looks like an army. We’ll see how effective it is and how well I do. In any case, I’ll probably change it up because I can’t just stick to one type of army for very long.
~That’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed the article. Let me know what you think and the type of army you play, and/or prefer, in the comments!