Kirb your enthusiasm!


"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Devil's Advocate: Balanced Armies


Heya folks, Satan here; yeah, that's right, Old Scratch himself, posting to the blog. Long story short, I sometimes get called in for things like this on some old technicalities to provide a second opinion. Y'know, just to make sure that everyone understands both sides of the story nice and clear.

Kirby has been telling people that balanced armies are the be-all end-all of 40K army design. And hey, who am I, the Prince of Lies and Deceit (isn't all warfare deceit?) to say he's wrong? I mean, with a convincing article like that, seems like you'd naturally just want to agree with him, right? 'Cause balanced armies are strong against everything, aren't they?

Oh, but wouldn't that be nice, to get something for nothing! Alas, it is not to be, and take it from me. Whenever you gain something, you must give up something else- but, of course, they needn't be the same value. You might, if I may be so bold, trade some worthless imaginary thing like a "soul" (whatever that is supposed to be) for everlasting wealth and power, guaranteed. Or, to be more relevant, you might give up some of your utility against hordes, or heavy infantry, or monstrous creatures, to gain effectiveness against tanks. Your army might trade reach for power, or speed for resilience, or numbers for mobility; there are lots of trades to be made, lots of things you want, and you can only have some of them.

A balanced list has a little bit of everything- hopefully enough to handle whatever strategy your opponent has. It consciously chooses not to make any major trade-offs, preferring to stay instead a generalist. (I mean here the army as a whole, of course- most balanced armies contain plenty of specialists, but balance them across different roles.) The inherent weakness to this plan, of course, is that it's going to be worse at any given thing than a specialized army is. While your half-dozen Autocannons will be sufficient against most transports in combination with your other guns, an army with two dozen Autocannons is going to fare a lot better, friends; it's only natural. They were willing to pay the price in other guns and gain a huge advantage in one area, and while it may hurt them when that Land Raider comes along, I think you'll find that it makes games against transport-heavy armies easier and can salvage even bad situations, ones that would cripple the balanced army and leave it reeling. But we never get stuck rolling strings of 1s and 2s with unit after unit, every one of our elite troops seemingly having morphed into prize morons, right? That basically never happens.

Folks, I come not to praise unbalanced forces, but to bury them. Who wants to be weak against one specific, niche army and strong against the most common force you face when you can be mediocre against everyone! Right? Let's hear it for mediocrity! Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzza-


Folks, I don't hear you cheering with me. It can't be that you want to win games, do you? Down that path lies the WAAC, the asshole, That Guy, the unfluffy; lead us not into temptation, as they say. But for educational purposes, if you WERE to want to unbalance your army, you would want to do so only after long and careful consideration. Think about what it is you're giving up, and what you're gaining. If y'all just cram your army full of Flamers or Plasma, I think you'll find things not going quite as well as you might hope, because the terms of the trade are a little more complex than that. Not that you'd ever make such a bargain, of course, but if you were, you'd need to understand full well what pulling out those pieces does to your army. After all, you wouldn't just pull out whatever doohickey you find under the hood of your car that's rattling around and hope it goes faster, would you? (Well, perhaps you would if you were the type who writes articles for BoLS, but it's not kind to draw too much attention to such benighted souls.)

So this terrible crime, this aspecting of the army, is not such a crime after all, it seems- it's merely not for you. Gentlemen such as Kirby and Stelek mean no unkindness when they warn you away from it- after all, certainly you don't have the prowess to dissect your army so finely and discern its every mechanism, it's vitruvian essences, the way they do. Their warnings are for your own good, and well you should heed them- though, of course, if you choose to press onward and try these forbidden arts I would be bound by duty to do my best to assist you, as it would weigh heavily on my conscience if your stratagem took a turn for the worse.

So, say I, if you are deft of mind and proud of talent, there is no shame in biasing your army. Tread lightly, but fear not where the angels will not go- though the way is steep, the rewards are doubly so. And I'm sure you know exactly what you're doing, right?

(Warning: It is probably not a good idea to listen to a man who claims to have invented the very concept of lying, whether that particular factoid is true or not. Several users have noted that the Devil Satan, who is the Fallen Angel and Dragon of the Pit and Adversary of All Mankind, may not have your best interests at heart in his recommendations, so perhaps this article should be taken with a liberal dose of skepticism.)

7 pinkments:

Purgatus said...

Hilarious. Nicely written. Bravo. :D

Anonymous said...

The daemon only speak truth when it will be thought a lie.

VT2 said...

We need secret inquisitor Kirby to take up his rod, his staff, his psycannon, and go forth.

Kirby said...

*eyeroll* Puppy I thought this was going to be an article of awesomeness relating to our conversations on msn!

MorbidlyObeseMonkey said...

What is this I don't even...

Roland Durendal said...

By utilizing my Holy Monocle of Memnoch I was able to discern the true meaning of this article!

Overall Puppy, very well written and a joy to read. Funny, yet with a very good point hidden beneath the humor.

GreyICE said...

You made my point with less words and more amusingly. Bravo!

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