For instance, would you consider having a push-back unit to be essential - something cheap and/or durable to force back enemy deployment? Similarly, would you never leave home without an infiltrating unit, just to deny enemy infiltrators? Do you always have some sort of response to indirect weapon fire, or do you always ensure that you have indirect firing of your own? Would you always recommend commanders to purchase a psychic hood if they had access to it?
With the help of the members of the Dakka Dakka forum I came up with this list.
- Optimise for escalation. Build your army either all-infantry (the whole army starting on table) or all mechanised (whole army starting off the table). This stops your force being destroyed piecemeal by heavy infiltrators or deep strikers. On table is preferable as you cannot be hampered by poor reserve rolls, though off table does give you a chance to observe the enemy and blow them away as you arrive.
- Emphasise firepower rather than assault. Shooting units can begin to inflict damage early in the game and can potentially hurt more units, without exposing themselves to too much risk. Mobile firepower is preferable as it can outwit static shooters and keep away from assaulters. Some counter assault is necessary, though. If you rely on assault, then you must have a reliable method of getting there.
- Include several mobile objective grabbers. Objectives are important in most missions now. Be careful, though, as you usually sacrifice firepower for mobility.
- Be durable. Tougher armies can take more damage and are more forgiving than fragile ones. It should be hard for your opponent to significantly reduce your killing power in a single turn. Tough armies could be MEQ’s (T4 3+ save) or have a lot of bodies (Guard), or even be able to hide well (Tau). Eldar Falcons are particularly durable if they select the right wargear. Another way to be resilient is to specialise. If you go all mechanised all of your enemy’s basic guns are useless. Similarly, if you go all infantry all of their anti-tank guns are much less effective.
- Build an anti-MEQ force. 60% or more of your tournament games will be against MEQ’s. (MEQ - Marines or EQuivalent)
- Include a push-back unit to limit enemy deployment. Otherwise you will have to concede ground during deployment or place a valuable unit in harms way.
- Include at least one infiltrating unit to hamper enemy infiltrating. Just one cheap unit can cripple armies that rely heavily on infiltrating.
- Maximize your number of scoring units. Missions are very important due to the victory points they give and only scoring units can achieve the missions.
- Try to fill out the force organisation chart. This allows you to outmanoeuvre the enemy in the deployment phase.
Would you add anything else to the list?