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The Art of Static Wargear
Old 09 Oct 2008, 21:47   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Art of Static Wargear

You hear a lot of talk of magnetizing your models so you can swap out weapons to face a given opponent, well, this article will (hopefully) offer a little advice on how to get by without those magnetic little wonders!

The Build-Time

Being able to field an effective army on the table top with "wargear* static" units is won and lost during the build time, that is when you actually put the models together. You can happily assemble 70%-90% of most squads without worrying about weapon load outs as most armies (barring Tyranids gaunt/stealer broods of course as they must all be armed identically). This is because most of the units come with standard weapons on most of the models. Space Marine Tactical squads will always have at least seven models armed with a bolter, so building those seven bolters first will give you chance to think about your unit's other weapons.

Of course, if your assembling your very first squad, you have little choice but to go with whatever is given in the box as you won't have an extensive bitz box (or even one at all ).

When it does come to building those last few models, think very carefully about what you want the squad to be able to do on the table. Is your list lacking anti-armour punch, then drop some anti-tank weaponry in there. Sometimes, the decision is very tough one, and getting it right will help you win more games.

Advantages to Static Wargear

When you do have an army where your units are "set in stone" so to speak, this will afford you a number of advantages.
A) You get to know your unit capabilities. Put simply, you will be able to gauge the effectiveness of your units over the span of multiple games. Or if your trying a new unit for the first time, then you can simply concentrate on taking note of what that new unit is capable of without having to worry about how the rest of your army performs as you'll slowly get to know their inherent strengths and weakness.
B) Lack of in game list references. When you fight with the same units game to game, you can often forget to bring your list as you already know what each member carries, and will often put an end to those "Did I give him X in this list?"
C) Speeding up List making. Perhaps the biggest boon is the speed at which you can put together an army list, as after a while, you'll be able to remember the point costs for each of the main units instead of having to total up each and every upgrade.
D) More narrative. Over time, you'll notice distinct trends develop in how your units interact. For example, in my Khorne army, I had two units of Khorne Berserkers, both led by Aspiring Champions on Juggers of Khorne (now illegal in the new codex ). One was named Caltox and the other Taltion and the pair became well known within my gaming group. Taltion always bit the bullet, whereas Caltox was far more lucky - often laughing in the face of apparent death when a five man Plasma-cannon armed Devastator squad opened up on him and he still survived despite taking four Wounds (lucky Invul saves). I also noticed another interesting trend that when one of my main units died (like Taltion/Caltox/my Daemon Prince), Morbid, my Khorne Dreadnought would often go into blood frenzy the turn after and slay the unit that slew the other unit.

However, as you would imagine, this way to battle also has it's draw backs:
A) Bigger army then your metagame. To make the static wargear army builds work to it's fullest, you ideally need to have a bigger army then what you normally play, to allow you to swap out units as and when needed should you need to. If your facing a gaunt heavy Tyranid army, then being able to change your lascannon devastator for one with heavy bolters would be ideal, but not always very practical or possible.
B) Slower Build times for units. Unless you have a clear role for your unit before you build it, it may take a while to find a weapon loadout that your truly happy with. For example, if your having a difficult time deciding which one would be best for an anti-tank unit, a meltagun or the longer ranged plasma, and once you commit to paint them, it can be pretty hard to change it later if you find that the other option was preferable for the unit!
C) Enemy knowledge. Your gaming group will often be able to hazard a guess what will be making an appearance in your army after a while. "Hey, FT always takes two Dreadnoughts, two berserker units, and a prince" will often allow your opponents to tailor their lists to face yours, but that may also be viewed as an advantage, provided you like the extra tactical challenge it gives.
D) Wrong units for the enemy There will come a time when you simply don't have the units to make an army to defeat an opponent. By that I mean, carry cases only come with so much space inside them and you can't always take your entire army to combat any eventuality, or you may require a unit which is still being assembled/painted. But this may also happen for any way to build an army.
E) Points Don't Add Up This is perhaps the biggest problem with building an army around set units. Unless you built your army around a pre-set army list to begin with, you'll find you'll be at a loss what to add to your army to cover that gap between your points total for the battle and the running total of all your units.

Overcoming the Disadvantages
There are a few things you can do to help offset the aforementioned disadvanages (I'll tackle them in order they appear above).
A) Pre-design an army list. By designing your army in advance, you will be able to proxy it for a few games, or at the very least get some advice from other members here (and elsewhere).
B) B can be overcame with the same solution as for option A, by predesigning your list before you collect and/or build anything. If you already know what you have in the proposed unit, you can simply concentrate on making sure each member is armed according to your list.
C) Minimising the "core". By "core", I mean the units that you will always be fielding. In my Khorne army (alluded to above), my minimal "core" would be two units of Berserkers and the Prince (as they are the required units for the Force Organisation Chart), and the Dreadnoughts may be swopped out for a unit of Terminators, more Berserker units or whatever else I feel like throwing at my enemies lines. This will keep your opponents on their toes, as they be unsure of what you will be taking, and will have to make balanced lists to compensate.
D) Take a Balanced Army with only a few additional units This problem may not always be solved, particularly if your using an army that has a high model count like Guard or infantry based Orks, particularly if your transporting your army to a shop or friends house without the aid of a car, but if you ensure that the units to make the army you do take with you are balanced when taken in the combination you can field at the given level, then you will have a good chance of victory without having to juggle your army too much.
E, Option i) Take "rounded" units Your first option would be to take units whose total after all upgrades ends in a nice, round number, like 200, 250, 150 etc. Slotting together ten 150 point units is far easier then to try to jumble between units which are 212 each .
E, Option ii) Take "blocks" Pre-arrange your army into discreet "blocks" of say 500 points, and just throw together these blocks into whatever you need. For example, one block for a Marine army may be a Lascannon-armed Devastator squad and a Predator Annihilator, and this would obviously be an anti-tank block, designed to destroy tanks from afar. If you know each block is 500 points, then you can easily work out how many blocks are needed to build an army of any size.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this, and have found it useful.

C&C are always welcome.

[size=7px]* By wargear, I'm mainly referring to weaponry that will swing the purpose of the unit either towards anti-armour or anti-infantry[/size]
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Old 09 Oct 2008, 23:49   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Art of Static Wargear

I like it. A lot.

It is very useful, I think you should receive karma for it.


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Old 10 Oct 2008, 03:08   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Art of Static Wargear

Aye, a most excellent read.

*presses the "dispense cookie" button*
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Old 10 Oct 2008, 03:31   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Art of Static Wargear

Great article FT. Yes it is true I like units with a round cost a bit better. That is one good thing about chaos space marines. I really think the narrative thing is valid.
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Old 11 Oct 2008, 03:41   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Art of Static Wargear

Originally Posted by Doctor Wu
Great article FT. Yes it is true I like units with a round cost a bit better.

I really think the narrative thing is valid.
Agreed on all points. A very useful article.

Thanks FT!
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