In the 40k universe one voice stands above the rest as the defender of non-competitive play that person is Andrew Sutton otherwise known as Stelek founder of the website Yes the Truth Hurts.

…this is his story.

As I was going through YTTH this week I was pelted with so much fruit from the tripe tree, that I was giddy with excitement. Then, Friday came and one article rose above the rest for its Jurassic understand of current 40k state. Not only was the article fraught with inconsistencies, but it was the love from the comments that sent me into a frenzy. So it is for those that just don’t know any better that I attack this article with such vengeance. In other words Blood of Kittens is doing this for the kids…

Hey Stelek, here’s idea #1 for Friday:

I’d like to see an article looking into unit redundancy, and ways to find it within a codex aside from just using multiple identical units. I think most people have a grasp of why it’s important to have redundancy, but not how to achieve it without just copy/pasting throughout each force org chart slot. That’s fine for many marine armies, but IMO, some units just do not work when flexed across a whole force-org section(ie Zoanthropes).

–I think it is easy to grasp redundancy when you have no foresight in list design. As well if you are always playing at 2000-2500 taking the same units is kinda inevitable.

If you disagree with me, how about an article touching on why redundancy can only be achieved through absolutely identical sqauds.


Well, I think both points are valid but for different armies.

First thing I consider when looking for redundancy, is what is my unit going to be doing?

Is it going for long range?

Is it hunting high toughness?

–How about what does unit do when working with other units? This is a constant problem with Stelek he puts units in vacuums without thinking about synergy.

Marry the weapon to the task is the next imperative.

If I want a ranged anti-high toughness weapon I’ll usually go with an autocannon, missile launcher, or lascannon.

Effective against Monstrous Creatures, Bikes, and Vehicles.

–Effective at causing wounds, but with the exception of Lascannons they do not stop the basic armor saves of most armies. Not to mention cover saves. Stelek’s constant reliance on firepower in his lists and his play (that is if he even plays games anymore) leaves you wondering does he even know about the Assault phase anymore?

They are also useful against infantry, but generally the farther you go towards high strength the less effective against infantry you become.   All things you should know, of course.

–Another reason assault units are so important.

If you want high power anti-tank or MC busting and don’t mind getting close, that generally means melta weapons but you can use a lot of less capable shots to achieve the same goal (i.e. lots of autocannon teams).

–Did you know that if you run assault units with high str weapons you can accomplish the same goal and if done right not die the next turn.

In Imperial armies, you generally have access to ALL of these weapons; across every single FOC.

Sometimes it’s on a vehicle, sometimes it’s only on infantry–sometimes it’s on both.

This is why you generally see Imperial armies being not only more ‘cookie cutter’ or ‘spammy’ but they are also more capable of building diversified lists because you can find the tool you need in every part of the toolbox.

–It also could be that Imperial Armies make up half the codices and also happen to be the most popular and thus you tend to see more than one type of army. Oh, come to think of it surprising that the most popular armies happen to be the most recent ones to receive codices pesky marketing.

Compare to say Eldar, who are not very good outside of a single build (mech, mech something, mech bikes, mech bike something, etc) a topic I addressed here, they need to be able to move a lot of their FOC choices around because not only are many individual units relatively useless against sooo many things (due to the Eldar being ‘specialized’ in a single role where most Imperial forces are ‘generalists’, GK and Sisters being the real exceptions) but you really have to build the army around sufficient anti-tank which means Fire Dragons.

–Oddly enough my tanks hardly ever die to Fire Dragons. What they do die to is star cannons, bright lances, and scatter lasers. Hell I even have had them blow up to webspinners. This is not to say that fire dragons are not good they are, but they are pretty one-dimensional tools.

Nothing else comes close to that unit for popping tanks and MC’s in terms of efficiency, which is great, but you are very limited not just in how many you can bring but really…there is very little else you can bring in your army that can truly smash tanks or MC’s like they can.  A seer council sure can, but that’s very pricey and nowhere near the efficiency level of other units.

–Never lost a MC to a fortuned War Walker or your transports either? How about Wraithguard never gotten blow up by them? Bright Lance never took you down? As Stelek is the greatest player ever to throw dice I am sure it was never allowed.  I wish I could live off my past deeds of victory or is that the past deeds of boasting.

So Imperial armies look like they are Spamming, but really–that’s just the way the Imperial armies are written.

–Honestly, if you got out more you would notice that armies only look spammy on the Internet. In person they are like made of solid things that you can touch and feel and stuff.

You can, if you wish, take a long ranged anti-tank unit from Elite, Troops, Fast, and Heavy in say a Vanilla Marine or Imperial Guard army…but why would you?  Simply to be different?  Well, most people don’t really like having 4 different units that all do the same thing.  It’s easier tactically if the weapon married to the task at hand only does the one role.

But they rather take the same one unit over and over? That also doesn’t sound very exciting.

For example:  I could bring in a IG army…

A Stormtrooper squad, a Veteran Squad, a Vendetta, and a Manticore.

All of these can be outfitted to kill tanks, but they also do other things.

I am so glad that all armies just run empty tanks because I wouldn’t know what to do if they didn’t…please continue

Stormtroopers can deep strike, or outflank.

Veterans are scoring units.

Vendettas are big vulnerable targets but require no orders and often deny cover to enemies, and can scout.

Manticores blow the crap out of disembarked Marines.

So while all of these can be used for the same role, would you really build your list with these 4 units as your anti-tank teams?  I certainly don’t think that’d be a good idea, because each has a big ‘other role’ it fulfills.

So you don’t want me spamming now? Do I spam or not I have to know!

In short, these units can work together to achieve their aims, but they all do it differently.  Which leads back to range.  You have threat bands your army projects.

What does this even mean?

Stormtroopers have a ‘anywhere’ threat range, but also don’t show up all the time and can still deep strike badly and do nothing.

–Sorta like ANY deepstriking unit.

Veterans usually need a ride to get into the face of the enemy and deliver their shots, but any Veterans that kill a tank usually die immediately, denying you a scoring unit in midfield.

Vendettas have a powerful attack, but are rather easy to shoot down.

Manticores also have a powerful attack, but are prone to missing two-thirds of the time; and in the end…they are one-shot wonders, susceptible to being removed as an effective weapon with one good shot to the cannon.

–I am glad Stelek can finally see flaws in some of the units he worships I am glad you came to this realization… a year late .

So to me, redundancy isn’t really the issue for Imperial armies–it’s reliability.  You can almost always get redundancy, but what you really want is reliability.  Imperial armies excel at reliability.  They often don’t do anything excessively well, but for sureness they have that in spades.  Running 4 units like the above technically meets the requirement of redundancy, but it sure as hell isn’t reliable.

That’s my take on the Imperial armies.

Reliability is now the new redundant I get it, but they both start with the letter “R” how will ever know the difference. So I am not supposed to take three of the same redundant units, but if I call them “reliable” I am safe. Also I am confused what Imperial units do you think are good again?

On the Xenos armies, well you don’t have ‘Hey I can use a Rhino for 25 different units!’ syndrome to fall back on when designing the books.

— I agree, harder to make a Xenos codex than Imperial one.

Each is different, requiring their own set of models…which will almost always sell less than the Imperial versions, not because the Imperial versions are better…just because GW has no freaking idea if a Rhino was bought for Chaos, SM, BA, BT, Sisters, etc.

— What does this have to do with the tea in China? Is he implying that GW doesn’t think people are buying Rhinos for various armies? Or does he think that every army (xenos or not) should have a rhino? Hope this does not lead into some rant about tin prices again.

A Hammerhead?  98% of the time, bought for a Tau army.  2% of the time, bought for an Ork army.  :p

— I did not know that, thank you diviner of truth.

Without the Rhino to fall back on, the Xenos have to use their own model ranges.  Thankfully, GW has finally realized people will buy a Hammerhead kit (or turret upgrade) once Devilfishes finally get the Ion Cannon as an upgrade–and Tyranid players will buy their own way around the world if you give them lots of options, look at all the Carnifex kits being remade into all the new MC’s, and Warriors into non-metal versions of the Warrior genus (which are everywhere).

— I never knew that the Rhino was the center of the 40k universe.

This is where you get into trouble though, as despite the improvements…it’s very difficult to give every army everything they need straight away.  Tyranids are, I think, the first successful Xenos book in a very long time.

I like my Tau and my Eldar, don’t get me wrong.  Tyranids though, can at least scale up and have multiple builds available to them.

–I agree there are multiple builds, but you can actually find them in all the codex you just have to play games against people instead of sitting behind a computer screen to figure that out.

Unlike the Imperial armies, Xenos tend to gravitate towards finding the unit that does the job you need it to do, and then filling up a FOC with that unit.  Eldar don’t have good anti-tank choices in anything but Elite.  Tau have them in Elite and Heavy.  Tyranids have them in Elite, Fast, and Heavy.

— This is where my brain starts to hurt. Not only does he overlook all Eldar transports he does not understand that with the exception of Land Raiders and Monoliths you don’t need to spam high str/melta weapons! Also didn’t Stelek rave about Piranhas like one year ago a fast attack slot for Tau.

Arguably, in HQ too for Eldar, Tau, and Tyranids–but given the limit of 2, and usually need elsewhere for points or HQ buffing; you often don’t find many armies spamming those units in the HQ slot.  Now don’t get me wrong here, I like variety.  Lots of Razorbacks can be boring, but it’s as fun as you make it.  For a long time, Sisters bored the hell out of me because everything is the same.

–So if an army does not have an “anti tank” unit in every FoC slot the codex is auto fail?

It’s up to you to find the fun in a list with a lot of identical units, or at least…incorporate some units that aren’t identical!  lol

–Finally some truth and it does hurt. Either Stelek has fun only playing one way or he doesn’t know how to play any other way.

This lack of redundancy across all FOC slots is what cripples many Xenos lists, giving you few choices but to spam Fire Dragons.  Any Eldar list without at least two units of them–my incredibly bad Necrons will crush you into the dirt, because you can’t kill off units I will use to beat your face in with.  Sad, but true.

–Really true well I challenge you…wait I am not competitive enough and I play 40k games on tables…with dice…and people. Will we ever talk about the Assault phase?

Nob Bikers will annihilate your Eldar army if you can’t cripple them with Fire Dragon shots.  That’s really really bad.

–What is really bad is your tunnel vision. Tank Shocking anyone? Seer Council? Warwalkers?

Compare to Tyranids, who have the ability to zap you with just about anything they want to in virtually every slot.  Sure they don’t have Rhino bunker style troops, but neither do Tau.  You don’t NEED tactical squads to win the game unless you are playing SPACE MARINES.  Playing a Xenos army?  Well, you don’t GET the Space Marine tactical squad or it’s choices.  You get something else entirely.

–Tactical Squads are only for Space Marines OMG!!?!!?

For Tau, this often means you minimize your troops and take a beating in objective games.  This is a problem with an older Codex not being quite suited to the current rules.  Of course, you do get game breakingly good things like denying cover saves, BS5 plasmaguns and autocannons, twinlinked S10 AP1 shots at 72″, and your mom.  But hey, who’s counting?  Tau are the suck, says the internet.  😉

–Stelek is a Tau player all his arguments revolve around shooting everything to death without thinking about the other half of the game called Assault. His points might be valid  through that prism. The true problem with the Tau codex is not for lack of shooting it is for lack of assault. At best they have tar pitting units, even with follow-up assaults gone it is hard to dislodge or finish off say a unit of TH/SS termies.

When you look at Orks, everyone takes the same basic building blocks because they HAVE to.  Lootas, Kannons or Kans, Buggies…and yeah, fill in the fucking blank.  BORING and generally ineffective without a major investment in spam-a-lot.

–So four different units? at least that is better than just being forced to take only fire dragons.

Sometimes when you chum the shit out of an army, you get way more than a single shark.  You can get many sharks out of it.  That’s what Imperial armies do, that virtually no Xenos army can do.  Of course, then you get people whining it takes the superduper ‘Leafblower’ 2 turns just to kill one Tyrannofex in cover, and you wonder if people really understand the difference between Imperial and Xenos.

–Let me repeat for you Assault phase! I have seen your battle reports when you still played real people I know you know it exists. You know what a Tyrannofex also has a problem with– is horde armies because two str 10 shots really doesn’t make a difference.

Imperial armies have duality, redundancy across all FOC slots, and reliability in virtually every army they can field–across every slot.

–What you mean is they can shoot high str weapons across all FOC slots then you are right.

Most Xenos armies have singularity, redundancy only within a single FOC, and their reliability is usually a gimmick (cough Wraithlords).

–Didn’t you just say that Orks and Tau have redundancy of two or more slots? Also Nids have it in all slots like two paragraphs ago? Does the word “single” have a different definition in theory land?

That’s the key difference between spamming, and not spamming.

You can *choose* not to bring those Fire Dragons in your Eldar army or not to ‘spam’ 2 of them, to suit some counterproductive fluffy notion of ‘spam is bad’, but don’t quit the fucking hobby when you get owned.

–If one squad of fire dragons lives because of the other units I use to complement it, then I will take that over two units of them dead by turn 3.

At any rate, each Xenos army need a major rewrite to bring them in line with the current game system.  I’d say Dark Eldar and Tyranids are exempted, because Dark Eldar DO get the ‘Imperial’ pattern for the most part.  Tyranids have been rebuilt recently, so they are in a much better position.

I think your “game system” needs a rewrite. They need major rewrites because they are old, have rules weirdness, and the figures need updates.

Everyone else, MIGHT have a mono-build available to them but that doesn’t make them anywhere near as good as the Imperial armies.

–Tell that to all the Chaos Space Marine armies that keep on winning– almost forgot they aren’t competitive for the non-competitive player like yourself.

This concludes another installment of This Week in Non-Competitive play. Next week Stelek uses his automated user email generator to pat himself on the back for more unoriginal ideas.

As always go visit Yes the Truth Hurts or just come here for your weekly dose of everything painfully tragic in the world on non-competitive play.

Disclaimer: Blood of Kittens has always been douchey so please do not put Blood of Kittens on any pedestal. Blood of Kittens has and will always be petty so don’t expect any change in behavior.