Goatboy here with some thoughts on what is wrong with TROOPS in 9th Edition.
As we slowly thaw out of the Ice Prison of Texas I had a lot of time to think about how much I miss events. How much I miss seeing my friends. How much I miss getting upset at dice rolls. As we all get vaccinated our outlook as the year move on looks good so that turns my attention to thoughts about the current state of 40k.
I’ve been watching a lot of videos in-between bouts of work-related nonsense (thankfully my real-life job is very busy and so my family is doing alright). Thanks to all the streamers with their house pods and areas where they can have events for the content. I really appreciate it as it gives me a glimpse of some friends, I have info to write about, and it gives me hope we can all get back to some kind of normalcy – even if we all will look like ninjas with masks on. While watching these videos I have come to some conclusions about 40k right now.
Why Are There TROOPS?
The big revelation I have seen is that troops seem really – well not needed. Now, this isn’t to say the Troops are not something that doesn’t have to show up on the tabletop – like the heyday of 7th. It is just that for a lot of armies to compete the need for a troop to do something is less – well needed.
Every time I build some Death Guard lists I keep thinking that – while the new Plague Marine is better than the old one it still doesn’t cut it for a true competitive list. A lot of other armies seem to fit in that boat as well with the idea that the only way a Troop can truly cut the mustard for your army is if it can truly trade up – or do more damage than its points investment. You see this in the lists that have Troops as their main representative – like the Golden Wall from the winning LVNopen list.
Both of that army’s troop options either do more damage than their cheap point cost or take way much more of your army to remove than normal for their point cost. This idea is important as I expect some of the other armies to start to move in this direction that have these options. I can see some DG armies moving into here as a lot of their powerful choices can basically take the role of a troop choice in a world where the majority of troop choices are just not nearly as good.
So what are you supposed to do for armies that don’t have these troop choices? Well, it’s looking at things that just kill a lot more than their point investment. I know we all understand that if you have units that kill more than their point cost – it means you are “winning” the attrition game with your opponent. This is a factor in all games of 40k – even if you don’t win in the end because you forgot to score points. In my Death Guard example it is myself looking at Terminators as the main build of the army as they fit into the tough to kill and able to deal a decent amount of damage versus their point cost.
How do We Make TROOPS Matter?
What do I think we should do about this move back to troops just not mattering that much? I think there are a few things we could do. I think moving some of the Secondary choices to only being able to be scored by Troop Infantry choices would be a big shift. This would force armies to have to take troops – again if you want to make the games about troops again.
We could also look just making troops more attractive to armies as well. Most likely this isn’t making them tougher but instead removing a lot of Objective Secured options that some armies get. Make that ability a very important one and not so easy to get to tougher and more attractive units. I think these armies should keep their CP benefits back but removing Objective Secured means that the army has to play on the same footing as some of the other armies that are not updated yet. Of course, this all could be moot if all the other armies start to get some interesting rules to help bring them up to snuff with the new books.
As a whole the best troops in the game are usually cheap with a decent weapon option. I take Sisters are some of the best examples as they can carry Melta weapons which can spike up to do a lot more damage than their cheap cost would imply. On top of that they also generate extra army usage by dying and giving up a Faith Point. Could you imagine if other armies would have an ability that if a Troop died you got an extra CP? Would that be too powerful?
I guess we could also force all armies to start with a Battalion and go from there – but again that would make a lot of armies extremely weaker when compared to other – more useful troop-based armies. I know a lot of events tried to do that – to force some different army building but with the majority of books not being updated we end up seeing a game of Green Marine vs Green Marine.
What do you think? I want troops to be more important as it kind of fits the game to have troops on the tabletop. An army of elite badasses feels a little bit too Jr. High fan fiction to me but really at this time I would just want to get a chance to play an event and feel safe about it. I think there is a lot of play in 9th that I haven’t had a chance to dig into just based on the circumstances of what is happening right now – so my opinion could all shift whenever I get a chance to pop open my Golden Girl’s dice and cry about rolling a Blanche versus the Cheesecake.
~Do you think TROOPS should be more important in 9th Edition?