IMPERIAL LECTURE SERIES

Scoring Units Aren't Neede in 6th ed.

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When 6th edition came out, it appeared at first glance to be a game that was more determined by objectives and scoring units than its predecessor. After a year of solid play, I've found the opposite to be true - scoring units are actually rather pointless.

Firstly, not all missions need troops. On purge, you don't need them at all, and on Big Guns and Scouring, non-troops also score. Furthermore, not all missions are REALLY objective missions. I've only ever seen one or two games of the dozens of Will and Relic games that didn't end up as a draw on primaries and the winner determined by secondaries. Even more, on games with an odd number of objectives in which you get to place first, you have so much of an advantage (especially if there are only 3 objectives) that you don't really get much of a benefit by bringing more scoring units.

Secondly, you don't need to capture all of the objectives on objectives missions. You just need to have one more objective than your opponent, not a lot more. I'd take this even further, though. I'd say that you don't even need more objectives than your opponent if you build your army to win the game on secondaries.

Because of the existence of secondary objectives, on ANY mission, you can win the game without having more objectives than your opponent. You just can't have fewer.

And that opens up a lot of possibilities. For example, you don't need to control a single objective on any game so long as you can always prevent your opponent from scoring, whether this be by applying enough firepower to kill your opponent's scoring units, or whether it's bringing durable or fast enough units to simply contest your opponent's objectives.

In this case, you can think of non-scoring fast or durable units as being just as useful as having scoring units. After all, a 10-man non-scoring terminator squad that's contesting an objective is doing just as much for your relative points totals as your opponent keeping that objective with you scoring one more.

To bring this to an abstract level, then, you have to ask yourself, what is stronger in 40k nowadays, the durability of scoring units, or the firepower of anti-scoring-unit units? Clearly, to me at least, 6th edition favors the latter than the former. If you sink all your points into killing stuff, you will have more killing power than your opponent will have the durability to resist it.

Or, to put it another way, it's more efficient to blow your opponents off of their objectives than to sink those points into defending your own.

Then when you consider the other advantages of the pro-firepower, rather than the pro-scoring. Pro-firepower means that you do better on those half of the missions that aren't REALLY objective missions to begin with (purge, will, and relic, or other missions with an odd number of objectives where you get to place first). It also means that you are going to kill off your opponent's stuff more quickly, which means he has less to kill your stuff with, a benefit that cascades down through the entire rest of the game after you make the kills.

And, of course, because you're more or less obliged to take at least a couple of scoring units, having more firepower is still better, because if you can shut down your opponent's anti-scoring-unit firepower in a giant salvo on turn 1, then you only NEED to have a single scoring unit or two, because your opponent will simply not have the means of seriously threatening them, because whatever they were going to use to threaten them is now dead.

Or, and I'm going to need to take a shower after saying this, it's like Sun Tsu said. You can defend with nothing but a line in the sand if your enemy can't attack you. In this case, if your opponent can't attack you because you killed their attacking stuff, then you can defend (or, in this case, score) with even the crappiest, flimsiest units that you spend the fewest number of points on.

So, combine objective missions that aren't really objective missions with the fact that you never need to score more objectives than your opponent does (because of secondaries), and the many benefits of just taking more killing power, and yeah, I wouldn't put much value, per se, on troops choices anymore nowadays.

Now, that all said, that doesn't mean that troops are completely pointless, it's just that you can't give them very much credit for being scoring. For example, imperial guard mechvets are still worth taking, in my opinion, because it's an AV12 vehicle that can take 3 heavy weapons and 3 BS4 melta/plasma guns. That kind of killing power means that they can still be worth taking in their own right, whether they score or not.

And there are a few other small examples I can think of, like thawn or SiTNW conscripts, because they fundamentally defeat your opponent's efforts to equalize on objectives and play for secondaries.

Otherwise, though... yeah. Not much point to troops. At least, not by means of being scoring.