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List Building
June 5, 2020
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Hello and welcome to another Tactical Tidbit by Skari. In the last article, we discussed how to perform a tri-point effectively. As the next edition of Warhammer 40k is upon us the tactical nuances of gameplay will change and we will adapt. I look forward to exploring and learning that together, so stay tuned for more articles. If you have any suggestions, send them in!

In this article, I wanted to talk about list building and how the use of stratagems influences the way we pick units and create combos. The use of command points to use cool rules and abilities throughout the game is something that was introduced in 8th Edition. I really enjoy how they impact the game and how some of them, when used properly, can really turn the tide of battle.


Stratagems and List Building


Have you ever read a stratagem in your codex, or supplement and thought you had to find a way to make that work in your army? Or how it could totally help you win your next game against your nemesis? Then this article is for you. So let's dive in:


Learn the Stratagems and Combos


Every army in 40k has access to command points. These are a resource that can be spent on certain stratagems. Each army, codex, supplement and specialist detachment has access to a list of these. These vary wildly and some are -REALLY- good (Vect, cough cough) or can be terrible (I'm sure you can think of one or two).

The first step you must take to use these effectively is to learn them, that's right... read... every... one...; sometimes a player will just skip through them and look for keywords that relate to units that they ALREADY have in their list. I recommend that you take the time to read each stratagem in your codex, or in any new release that you may have for your army. 

After you read them you have to understand in what context they become useful, and when you would use them. Stratagems can seem very situational at times, however, I find that these are the most useful ones at times. If you are unsure about the nuance of a particular one, reach out to a veteran player or someone that can explain why that one can be so incredibly powerful. Once you learn the why of a stratagem, then you can see about adding elements to your list that can take advantage of this.

For example:

In the Tyranid codex, there is a stratagem called "overrun" This allows a unit of bugs to make a move if there are no enemy models near them after they have attacked in close combat. Now at first, this does not seem particularly amazing.

However, when you contemplate what this allows a unit of Genestealers to do for example it can be quite amazing - declare a charge against two separate enemy units, then make the charge move and only engage the first unit, staying away from the second. Have all the steelers attack the first unit, and hopefully kill it. Use overrun to move over, close to the second unit however stay out of 1" so that the enemy unit cant attack you or interrupt to attack you.

Then, use the stratagem to "attack again" this allows the Genestealers to activate again (because they charged), pile into the second unit that they had originally declared a charge against and attack them, hopefully killing them as well. This means that the enemy has almost no chance to defend against the steelers or the ability to attack them before they have come crashing in and eaten two units.


Command Points


The use of command points and how many you will use for your combos and stratagems is also an integral part of the list building process. In 9th Edition, each army of a certain size will have so many command points. This is a finite resource and therefore requires some thought.

The combo I gave in the example is not a cheap one on command points and many of the awesome combos that you might have read, or heard of, are not cheap on them either. You will have to make a choice to take more command points, but have a more limited pool of stratagems to choose from?

Or will you take a larger pool of stratagems however fewer command points to spend on them (since you will be unlocking other allied detachments)? 

Another thing to consider is ways to regenerate command points. Many armies have ways, via relics, powers, stratagems or warlord traits that allow them to generate, reuse or recycle command points. When building your list, and wanting to make the most out of the command points that you have, take into serious consideration these options.

When I am playing competitively, I always have a form of CP regeneration built in the list so make sure you know what options you have within your codex.


To Mix or Not to mix - that is the question


The last thing I wanted to discuss is the option of mixing your army to maximize on the stratagems that you can use. There are two ways of mixing, the first one being allies (detachment of another codex) the second being a mixed detachment (using keywords to unlock stratagems).

    For Example:

    One of the simplest ways to explain this is by looking at a simple Harlequin Vanguard Detachment - As an allied detachment AND a mixed detachment in an Aeldari list. 

  •     Shadowseer 
  •     Death Jester 
  •     Death Jester (dreaming shadow)
  •     Solitaire  (midnight sorrow)
  •     6 Skyweaver Jetbikes (Silent Shroud)

This might look like a mishmash of rules however this is how it works: the addition of the detachment to an army gives us access to ALL the stratagems from the Harlequins Codex (take note however that not ALL detachments grant this, make sure you read the first paragraph on the stratagem section in your codex).

Then, we have used the specific masque keywords to unlock the stratagems respective to their armies for a tactical purpose: Dreaming Shadow - extra hits when shooting, access to a cool relic gun, Midnight Sorrow: Access to fight in death stratagem (so, can charge and fight, fight again and then potentially fight again in death!), Silent Shroud: Deny Overwatch stratagem.

This is simply at the expense of the unique (masque) benefits and gives us a concrete example of how the concept works within list building. 


All armies can mix and match units and rules from stratagems into detachments and this can sometimes really dictate the way a list is built and works. What combos have you come up with that allow you to make the most of these types of interactions? What stratagem within your codex do you wish your army had that you don't have access to?

I hope you take this information and place it into the bank of knowledge that we are generating together. The tool belt of tactical tools grows every greater! And with that, the tactical morsel is complete. I expect to hear some cool ideas from all of you!

Do you agree with the mixing and matching to gain tactical advantages with stratagems or do you think people should stick with the rules for their specific army?

If you need anything you can always reach out! Thanks for reading. This has been another Tactical Tidbit.

Skari - Out. 

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Game: Warhammer 40k

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