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  • Starting a Second Army

    52 Weeks of 40K - Week 2

    It happens to every wargamer. After a year, or more, of fielding variations from the same Codex against one of the fifteen armies in the 41st millennium, a gamer begins to wonder. Perhaps Dark Angels being able to take Bikers as Troops with Sammael has got you considering the possibilities of leaving Chaos for loyalists. Or maybe the withering, long-range firepower from a Tauís Broadside has left you wanting to abandon your boltgun. For some of us, simply wanting to change up your available tactics is enough to cause you to venture out and get a second force to bring to the table. But investing money and time in acquiring, assembling, not to mention painting a new army can be daunting. With some thought you can assemble a new force that is rewarding to collect and play without wasting money or time.

    Know Why Youíre Playing

    Many gamers will already have an idea of which Codex theyíll want to play next. But even if youíre absolutely sure Eldar are the next best force for you to field, itís worth taking a moment to consider a few things. First you need to know why youíre choosing that particular force. Is it because they have cool-looking models? Or maybe itís because your next army of choice is smashing face on the tournament scene. Perhaps the fluff youíve read about your next army was inspiring and you canít wait to see if itís as awesome on the tabletop as in the stories. Whatever your particular reason for wanting a second army, knowing what about the miniature wargaming hobby you enjoy the most should be a deciding factor in why youíve made your choice. Once youíve answered that you can start exploring your options with a clear purpose.

    Research Availability and Cost

    One of the main deterrents for investing in a second army is availability of models and cost of said models. Before you jump in head-first on an eBay spending spree, head over to your local gaming store and see whatís filling the shelves. Be careful at this step, as it will be tempting to pick up a favorite model or battleforce box which would defeat the point of this exercise. Make note of which units are available and how much they cost. Some models can only be purchased second-hand or through Games Workshopís online store. Take this in consideration as well, as I can speak from experience, there will be times where youíll need just one more specific unit to complete the army list you made for this Saturdayís tournament and your local store doesnít have it.

    See How the Army Plays

    After youíve got an idea of how available the models you need are, make some time to watch a few games of how the army plays. You can do this either at your local store or by looking at video battle reports like the ones at (just be sure youíre watching videos with your army of choice in the current game edition). The advantage to heading to your local store to see how your possible second army plays is that you can ask questions of the people playing the games and get a better understanding of why the army plays as it does. Just be polite and donít interrupt the people playing the game and you should get some insight into what specific units can do and how effective the army is. Itís also a good idea to head to online forums and read army lists, battle reports and view conversion/painting threads as they can give you ideas of the potential (and drawbacks) of the force you may not have thought of.

    After having done this research you should have an idea of the armyís playstyle and whether it aligns with your own. If youíre a player that enjoys aggressively charging at your opponent and sweeping them in close combat, you might want to rethink going with that Tau gunline army. Hopefully you know somebody in your local area who fields the army youíre thinking of trying out. Ask if theyíd be willing to meet up with you and loan you some models to play a small 500 point or less skirmish. Whether itís assault tactics, psychic trickery or mechanized heavy weapons Warhammer 40K armies each bring something different to the table and itís important you are comfortable with the style of play that works with your potential force.

    Get the Codex & Build Lists

    If you've gotten this far in the process and are still loving the idea of fielding this force, your next step is to get the Codex. Some game stores have a lending library of books where you can borrow an army Codex for a day or two. Otherwise you can buy the book new at your local store, online or at a used book store if you want to save some cash. A big consideration is whether the army youíre wanting to play with has a Codex created for the current edition of the rules. Older edition Codexes might be fun reads, but they have a limited shelf life when they wonít be any use in tournament play. Pore over that army book to see what unit options are available, what wargear they can get, how many points they cost and start making an army list.

    Try to make a list at different point sizes and experiment with which units you include. While you could just look online for whatever netlist is dominating the tournament scene, youíll get a greater understanding of what the armyís potential is by creating your own combos. Itís all theory at this point, so all youíre investing is a bit of time but this step will help determine the most efficient path to acquiring the models youíll want to field in your next army. One last consideration before taking the plunge into buying models is whether your second army can ally with your first army. If youíre planning on keeping those models around itís worth considering if they can fill gaps in your second force. Some of the most devastating lists Iíve played against have been a combination of 2 armies that have amazing synergy together.

    Once youíve gone through these steps youíre ready to buy, build, and paint the models for your next 40K army. Youíll now know which models you need to start playing the new force and remember, 40K armies usually start small and evolve over time. If you take your time to study the army first before buying models, youíll see the benefits of fielding most, if not all, of the models you have purchased and will have reduced time, as well as cost, of trial and error.
    This article was originally published in blog: Starting a Second Army started by flatscan