Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Change of Pace or How to rid your reliance on the +3 Save

So my buddy Rich (or Tricky Dick if you listen to DLT) has a problem. I think he finally realized that he is burnt out on Space Marines. I would be too if that's all I played since 3rd Edition (not counting his stint in the Navy). Granted he switches things up and plays Chaos Space Marines and Necrons but in my book they are all the same type of army. I kind of know where he's coming from because my main army is Black Templars and I get burnt out with them as well from time to time.

The thing that these armies have in common is the awesome +3 armor save. Marines and their equivalents (necrons and other MEQs) are all tough as nails because of toughness 4 and armor save of +3. They also have a high ballistic skill of 4. I know almost all of you already know this but when you compare those stats to other non MEQ armies, their stats are pretty damn good.

I feel that people who only play MEQs rely on those stats too much and it kind of becomes a crutch. When said person goes up against an army that is built around solely killing MEQs, they become lost and helpless in a way. Their safety net is taken away from them because a good MEQ killing list does whatever it can to strip away the +3 save.

This is why I am a huge supporter of having a second army. Not just any kind of second army (I'm sorry but Blood Angels or Space Wolves don't count if you are already playing Vanilla Marines) but a non MEQ army, preferably Xenos. This is what I did by going with Eldar as my second army. Something that is totally different from what you normally play. I had a hard (but fun) time learning how to play an army that was toughness 3 and did not have +3 armor saves. It's a fact that if you try to play Eldar in the same manner you place Space Marines you will get your ass handed to you. I eventually learned the tricks of playing Eldar and I loved it because it was so different from my Templars. I was no longer burnt out and when I eventually went back to playing with my Templars I honestly felt like I became a much better player. I knew first hand how it feels not to have power armor to rely upon so I had to make smart tactical decisions and learn how to deploy and move and use cover. The jumping back and forth between my two armies is what keeps me fresh and eager to always want to play 40K.

So if Rich or anyone that is in his predicament is reading this, give a second army a whirl. Be warned, there is a high learning curve when you switch from MEQs to Xenos, but it is greatly rewarding. It will make you a better player in the long run and will prevent you from being burning out. I also hear the new Tyranid Codex is just begging for someone to figure out the hidden gems that are inside so give that a shot! (I honestly believe it is not as underpowered as everyone makes it out to be, but that's another topic).

So what's your second army, or what do you plan on using as a second army? Were you in the same predicament as Rich? How did you get out of your slump? Share your thoughts :D


  1. I have been playing Marine armies since Rogue Trader, and to be honest, have never gotten bored with them. You can call it a crutch if you want, but I enjoy them the most.

    With that said, I do own a Guard army, Eldar and a large Nid army that needs to be built.

    The only thing that bores me from time to time is the 40k rules system its self. Luckily I play a plethora of different miniature games spanning no less than 8 genres. So it is easy for me to break the monotony that 40k can become.


  2. I usually run guard and orks, when I do go with my marines I tend to stick to cover and think cover saves. Not that its a bad thing, but I forget that running out in the open is an option for them sometimes.
    My only suggestion is to make sure you get good with a force before you go with that second one. Or end up like me and not really a master of any army you own.
    As for marines being boring, they have a lot of toys to play with. I have so many ideas for lists and themed lists for them I doubt I would get bored.

  3. I started a Space WOlves army back in 1999, and this year i started a Imperial Guard army. I think the difference is great. I am planning on doing another army just not sure yet.... leaning to Tau.

  4. I would start a new army but I don't like the models as much as Blood Angles. I do like nids I just don't think I have the skill to paint them.

  5. But what if I LIKE my 3+ save!?

    Honestly when I switch to my Nids from time to time it's a shocker. "Oh wait... right... those are just dead."

    Sometimes I am pulling models off the table and I have forgotten that my opponent neads to roll wounds because I get in the habit.

  6. The Tyranid codex has a lot of gems but they do not work well together as a whole.

    The Gestalt for the codex fails.

    Played Warhammer Fantasy? Its like Warriors of Chaos... looks good on paper but when you try to play it, it reveals glaring issues that degenerate to mono-lists that eventually everybody will play because its the only one that is competitive / reliable.