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‘Warhammer: The Old World’- Five Tips For Building “The Best” Army

6 Minute Read
Apr 3 2024

Need to craft the best army you can in Warhammer: The Old World?  Have no fear; here’s how to do it.

Warhammer: The Old World is alive and well! With armies coming out left and right, and people playing games all over the place. While there is still some debate over what size games we are all playing, mostly it seems to have settled around 2000 points. So you know what faction you want to play and you know how many points you need to field, the next step is to point out and build an army. Of course you can just throw whatever you want on the table, but you my friend want more than that. You want the best army, or at least a good army.

Now, “the best” army is one you have fun with and like. However, that’s neither very concrete nor useful advice. So, let’s take a look at a few tips that will help you build a winning army, one that can compete with others, even if it doesn’t have to be the most competitive around.

Plan For The Old World Meta

If you are trying to build a god list, you want to pay some attention to the meta. This doesn’t mean you have to restlessly track stats from tournaments around the world. Your meta is going to be made up of the people you plan to play against. It could just be your local store or friends, or it could be all of North America. Having a basic idea of what people are playing and what you might face should help inform your army building. This doesn’t mean tailoring lists to beat one friend, though it could if you want, but more building for common threats. If everyone in your local group is running a lord on a dragon and you have no way to deal with dragons you won’t have a very good time.

Understand The Point and Role Of Each Unit

Taking units because they are cool and you like how they look is great for a casual list. However when you are trying to optimize a list you need to really think about what each unit in your army does. Ideally each unit should have a role and fill a place in your army. It can be there to tank enemy charges, or strike into the enemy back lines, or whatever.

The point is it should have a reason for being in your list beyond, “I needed to take units”. Luckily, list building in The Old World is really flexible and robust and you normally have a lot of options. If you can’t tell yourself why a unit is in the list and what it does on the table, don’t take it! Once you understand the role of each unit, not only will it help with list building, but also with playing.


Have A Plan For Your Magic

Related to the above point, you need to have a plan for what you are doing with your magic. Each of the lores of magic has a different focus. Within them, there is a big variety of spells. It’s both tempting and easy to just slap a level 4 into a list give them some spells and let them do… stuff. However, this is rarely effective. Some spells need you to be in units or in combat. However, most other spells, and dispelling, don’t work if you are in combat. Getting this kind of thing wrong can take a potent wizard that can cast 4 spells to a turn to suddenly not casting at all, or only being able to cast only once. You need to figure out what magic and spells you have access to and how you want to use them. Don’t take a wizard just to take one, have a clear plan for them.

Think About Controlling The Table

Another key thing to think about when building an army is how you can control the table and the flow of battle on it. Some players will call this “putting pressure on the enemy”, others will talk about “taking initiative in the fight”. It all boils down to the same thing – how can you dictate what is happening. How can you make the enemy react to what you are doing, rather than reacting to them? Ranged units, warmachines and wizards can be really good for this. They can project damage across large parts of the table. This can force the enemy to come to you and move out of good positions, rather than allowing them to do whatever they want.


Ranged units aren’t the only option here. Scouts, Ambushers, and fast, flying units can also let you project power forward into the enemy deployment zone easily. These are all things that put pressure on the enemy and force them to react. In short, they should be thinking about what you are doing to them, not what they could be doing to you. When building a good list you should be thinking about what units you can take to help with this.

Figure Out How To Concentrate Your Power

In theory, both players start with a level playing ground of 2000 points.  One of the key ways to think about building a list and winning games is how you can better concentrate your points to overwhelm theirs.  Effectively (and this is somewhat theoretical) , if each 200 points of your army fights 200 points of their army, it’s going to come down to sheer luck who wins that fight. However if you can make 800 points of your army fight 200 points of theirs… well then you should win handily and be able to fight the next 200 points and so on. Being able to concentrate your forces, your points, is a key to winning and this starts when building a list.

Ranged units and artillery are, again, a good way to concentrate points on a target. Powerful units and or monsters are another. Putting characters into units can be your answer. Running lots of fast-moving units that can combine to attack a single target is another way. These are all ideas you can plan around during The Old World list building. Now this isn’t to say you should put all your points into one unit. Do that, and not only will you have no mobility, but the enemy will also be able to focus everything vs that unit, and you are back to being equal. Rather, it is a balance between flexibility and concentration that you should be thinking about mastering.

Bonus- Don’t Forget Fun!

Lastly, fof Sigmar’s sake don’t forget to build a fun list. You can build the most optimized killer list, but if it isn’t one you enjoy playing, what’s the dang point? Make sure whatever list you do end up with is one you can enjoy playing with, and ideally your opponent can have fun with as well.


Let us know your list building tips, down in the comments! 

Author: Abe Apfel
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