Saturday, July 06, 2013

My Favourite 40K Units (Nerd Crush if you will)

I've recently discovered an excellent blog called Dark Future Games and one of their writers in particular "Fly Molo". Clearly I'm not the first to discover them, they have 800+ followers, but if you haven't had a read of any of their stuff they're worth checking out. I'll warn you though, some of the posts are even longer than mine! Imagine that!

Anyway, one article that caught my eye was about Nerd Crush Units. Those units from one of your armies that you're determined to shoe-horn into a list no matter what. They might not be the most effective or even the nicest models but they're one of the first things that go into any new list your write. Fly Molo writes an excellent post about trying to build your army list around a particular favourite unit so I'm not going to talk list building but rather some of what he would call my Nerd Crushes in each of my armies.

Dark Angels
I've really struggled to get excited about the Dark Angels codex. To me the most viable build, the bolter banner list, ruins what could be a fast and exciting army and essentially makes it into a gunline. With woeful flyers and useless LS Vengeance, coupled with an inability of mine to write a dual-wing list under 1,850 that I was happy with, I really haven't used them all that much.

However, the new codex did bring along one of my favourite units, Ravenwing Black Knights. They're the undoubted stars of the codex. I'm not trying to triumph the cause of an underdog here, Black Knights are, for me the best unit in the book. Twin-linked plasma, rending S5 hammers and fancy grenade shenanigans on a unit that has a near permanent 3+/3++ save makes for my kind of fun. In general I love units that are at their best when they're right in my opponents face and Black Knights are certainly that. As I say, the problem is the rest of the codex doesn't really get me going.

Dark Eldar
Of my current four armies this is the trickiest one in which to choose a favourite. The problem is that I still think all of the models are stunning. Wyches are great fun to use as they're flimsy most of the time but solid in combat and funny against dreadnoughts! Sadly, they just end up being a tarpit most of the time. Hellions are awesome models and with Baron Sathonyx they can be fun to use but they're too flimsy. The model that got me into collecting the Dark Eldar army was the Razorwing Jetfighter but I'm really not a huge fan of flyers.

One unit does stand out as a favourite though, Reaver Jetbikes. Their bladevanes attack is just brilliant fun to use. Of course a lot of the time they end up getting hammered after making a single sweep but your opponent can't ignore them. I love running two units to harass objective holding units and static units like devastators. Then if there's something squishy they have a solid amount of attacks to finish a unit off in combat. They're also not too shabby against vehicles when you throw in a couple of heat lances. Not the most effective unit in the book but a lot of fun nonetheless.

This is another tricky one. Tau are mostly a gunline army, sure you can mechanise them and they have some fast units but for the most part they don't really excel at getting stuck in. In some ways my favourite Tau unit is the humble fire warriors, often underestimated but to me they're fantastic for 9pts a piece. Another contender would be my commander and his helios crisis team (plasma/fusion). It's incredibly fun to risk dropping them into the thick of enemy units and annihilate an entire squad with a single volley! Model-wise I've always loved the Sky Ray but despite not being as bad as people think, it's still doesn't perform well enough to make it fun for me.

The new codex gave my a clear winner though. I don't think I win any points for originality but it's the Riptide that takes it for my Tau army. Initially I was distinctly underwhelmed by the big guy. He seemed to a be a lot of points for something that wasn't devastatingly effective. However, he's won me over with his interceptor shenanigans and for the fear he instills in flyers and deep striking terminators alike. Certainly not my usual get stuck in style but fun all the same. So much so that I've currently got a second of the fellas on my modelling table at the moment (more on him soon).

Space Wolves
My first love (sort of) throughout my 40K career from 2nd edition until 6th. Of course I never had a SW army in 2nd or 3rd edition but I always wanted one. The thing that always put me off was that I knew I'd never be able to do them justice with my painting at the time. However, there's still something about them that makes me want to keep writing lists for 6th edition even though the book is starting to show signs of age. The current codex is home to my all time favourite 40K unit but there are a number of other highlights first. I'm a huge fan of rune priests for how dirty I feel using Jaws, I love a lone wolf for the fear such a cheap model can cause to land raiders, grey hunters and their "brick wall" ability are great and wolf priests with outflanking shenanigans are a ton of fun. Back in 2nd/3rd edition I always wanted to use Ragnar and he's still one of my favourite characters despite losing out a bit to Furious Charge changes.

An incredibly close second is Arjac Rockfist. He's often overlooked by players who won't go anywhere near the special characters but for 188pts he brings an awful lot to the table. I've achieved some incredible feats with him over time I've used him and he rarely has a dull game. However, there's one unit I love more than anything else.

No prizes for guessing it's the thunderwolves. Anyone who's read this blog for a while won't be shocked. When I first read the codex I knew I wanted some but with a lack of models I was forced to source some from the Philippines of all places! They're a classic example of a hit and miss unit that's either devastating or a damp squib. Whenever I write a Space Wolves list I'm determined to squeeze some in. They're such a bullet magnet that I've had people shoot their entire army at them to try and slow them down. Of fourse they sometimes don't make it into combat but when they do it's brilliant to watch your opponents face when you roll 6 attacks each at S5 with Rending.

However, my favourite use of a thunderwolf, and ultimately my favourite unit, is the thunderlord. He may be the same price as a land raider but he's unbelievably fun to use. I run mine with a claw, shield and saga of the bear. With runic armour and a that 3++ save he'll nearly always make it into combat and when he does he always kicks someone's teeth in. There aren't many things that can deal with him easily assuming they even survived the initial onslaught! Couple him with some thunderwolf cavalry and you have my favourite deathstar. Horrendously unreliable but when they're winning they're stunning.

Ultimately for me, the best units are the ones that your opponents simply can't ignore. It may be that they aren't really that effective but their prescence on the board strikes fear into the unprepared. Whilst they may not technically be one of my units, Matt and I have always had fun with dreadknights (and indeed I'd say they're Matt's nerd crush). I just love getting stuck in with stuff. The reason our doubles list was soo much fun to play (to the point where we used the same list several times) was that by the end of turn 1 most of our army was in the opponent's deployment zone.

Many may claim that 6th edition is even more about shooting than 5th edition was towards the end but close combat is far more exciting. Shooting often just comes down to pointing at a unit and rolling dice until it dies. Close combat feels a lot more personal. Think about your favourite moments from action films, it's rarely the pitched gun battles. It's the hand-to-hand grapples between the hero and his nemesis that get your heart racing. To me 40K is no different and its why I find armies like the Necron air wing and Tau missile spam so dull. Shooting something off the table isn't fun. Now I realise I'm sitting here as a Tau player saying that but my Tau list has a lot of in your face stuff.

Anyway, I'm off to write some Tau and Space Wolf lists! What are your favourite units and why?


  1. Hi. Love your blog. Been following you for a few months now. I would have to say my NCU is the drop pod.
    I usually run a drop podding terminator Loganwing. Nothing like 2, 3, or 4 drop pods hitting on the first turn. I will run those with certain backup.

  2. So many to choose from! But I suppose I'd go for Grey Hunters in the end; great looking, great lore, and great in game!


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