Wednesday, 1 March 2017

40k Formations - your views!

Hi all - well as promised in my article extolling the virtues of formations, here's the follow up where you can find the thoughts of those of you who either commented on the original article, or emailed me afterwards!
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Siph from Weemen

I think formations can be fluffy, can be fun but are open to abuse just like army lists and tailoring army lists. I've played Skyhammer at 5000pts against 10 Imperial Knights and it was fun and needed! I've been up against it at 1850pts and it was not even fun. Deleted all my best units turn one with no recourse and left with basic squads to feebly fight for four more turns... losing heavily, it was not even a challenge for the opponent.

That's where formations depend most. Do both players want a fun game or does one just want to smack face at the expense of the other? So, I think formations can be fun, but are easily open to abuse, which kinda ruins it. In general if it was a simple for or against... I'd choose against.

TBE - I can totally understand what Siph is saying here - there is certainly the potential within formations to be game size dependent, larger games lean themselves more towards balancing out the broken elements in any list since the damage something can do is limited to a smaller percentage of your force, and you can bring more tools to combat them. The same can be said to be true of any broken combination - in the example he quotes, even an invisible death star of death would struggle I'd imagine if they got stomped on by 10 Imperial Knights!

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_Tryed_ from Reddit

Nice write up. I also think formations can and should be fluffy. They should represent the way different parts of the army combine together to fight like the faction is known for.

I particularly like formations which have special rules that depend on other units in the formation. Example: The formation that comes with the start collecting Eldar box has a Fire Prism that can reroll to hit targets in LoS of the Farseer in the formation. This is great as it is a common Eldar power for free when you take a fluffy combination of units.

TBE - I think to my mind these are the ideal types of formations, although they do tend to include a 'tax' unit, they make that unit perform a role in addition to its normal use, and therefore they add additional utility to it, which in turn adds value to a unit that would otherwise be overcosted (not that I'm suggesting Farseers should be cheaper!). Other good examples would be the landspeeders in the Raptor's Wing and Suppression Force.

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Steve Burden from 256th Imperial Battle Group

My main issue (apart from the few broken ones) is that there not universally available yet or so over costed its pointless (IG formations)

I can only see them becoming more common in 40k - they've introduced the same basic concepts into fantasy with Age of Sigmar, and as codices get replaced I'm confident we'll see more and more formations permeating the game and its factions.

Inevitably some formations will cover a bigger collection of units than others, and I think when the guard get their next book we'll see plenty more smaller level formations. It's frustrating having to wait (I played DE for a long time, so I know how it feels) but it will come, and I'm confident that the new leadership at the company will see a more consistent approach to things in the next edition.

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Alex from From the Fang

Rather than email you I'll try and write up a counter post. I'm in totally the opposite camp when it comes to formations and I'll be happy to explain why! 

This will most certainly be worth a read. I knew Alex was anti-formations from previous posts he's written, and we've discussed it before. He's good at putting his thoughts onto paper too (well, internet pretend paper at least) so I'll be more than interested to see what he says.

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Mike from St Andrews Wargaming

I quite like formations in general, but most of the time I will stick with a CAD. Objective Secured is a fantastic special rule and has won me many games in club games and tournaments. I like the simplicity of the CAD in making up a force. The benefit for me is that I run a bike-heavy White Scars force so get Bikers as my troops. Don't know how I'd feel if the tactical squad was my only option.

I am in total agreement with you about formations opening your eyes to unit options. I had never even considered the Scout Bikers before the new White Scars bike formation had them in it, forcing me to buy a unit. I hadn't realised how useful they could be until I started using them! Now they make a regular appearance in my CAD tournament armies and are great in a game.

This is the classic trade-off with formations, and I think where they work best. Mike plays very much to the mission objectives in his games, because he plays a lot of competitions and so scoring objectives is very important to his style of play. The Angels of Death supplement gives him a nested detachment that allows him to take a bike army with lots of nice bonuses, but they lose the objective secured rule in exchange for increased damage. You could certainly argue in this case that the scarblade detachment is the fluffier way of taking bikes, but is less effective at winning you games than a basic cad. Of course, it does help you do much greater damage to the enemy instead, which can also help win you games, though Mike is savvy enough to realise that going for the tabling isn't always the sensible option.

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Alun from Google+
Great post... In my very limited gaming experience I've enjoyed messing around with a couple of formations. I painted up a load of scouts just for the 10th company formation, I really liked the idea of the "concealed" special rule stacked on top of camo cloaks, I think I was able use 2+ cover for 3 game turns and they were an effective speed bump to slow the advance of the Ork horde! I look forward to messing around with some other formations too.

The 10th company formation will see quite a bit of use I expect since its such a cheap option to fill out the auxiliary requirements for a Gladius Strike Force - and actually referring back to Mike's comment above, it can be made using just Scout bikers.

As you can see above, the benefits are nice, but well thought out since they are lost once the scouts move in any way - very much encouraging you to use them as they should be - a supporting force that's a passive participant on the battlefield.

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