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Need some help with getting a friend started in the hobby


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So I'm trying to get one of my friends into the hobby, he seems keen to properly try (has had a few tutorial games and plays 40k already) but's not really too sure where to start, he likes the look of the models for idoneth deepkin, fyreslayers and kharadron overlords but would be open to most other armies and he plays ad mech in 40k.

I play seraphon myself (summoning with shadowstrike battalion) so I don't know much about any of the armies so not sure what is good for him to get for any of them. We will mainly be playing against each other so being able to have pretty even games would be great.

But yeah basically he's looking for advice on where he would start with each of the armies,what they're good for and what would be needed to upgrade them.

Thanks for the help in advance

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Not sure about where to start with the above models but if you're mostly playing each other there is a bit of a balance solution I read about once.

Basically each time you play a match you adjust point values for the next match. For example the loser gets an extra 50 points and the winner has 50 less. Eventually you'll hit a sort of balance with the models you both have and the armies you play.

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I really like that idea. :D


As for armies I'd only caution Kharadron as they have a steep skill curve right now for effective match-play. However since it's a friendly set-up between you two it's more viable, though not top-notch in Match they still have really fun options and Gorgeous models.

There's a article from the Kharadron thread that might help in that area.


Otherwise Fyreslayers and Deepkin are both solid choices. The Deepkin Battleforce out right now would be a great way to start into that force.

Honestly Deepkin are amazing all round in playstyle, models and magic. So you can't go wrong there.

Fyreslayers are a little more hedged in because as duardin they don't do magic so no endless spell goodies. That said they're still a tough as nails army in both offense and defense, plus they got a nice start collecting and Underworlds warband that's helpful in building up their army.

Also, he can always ally the Kharadron and Fyreslayers together for an interesting mix. (Plus more anti-magic duardin stuff to help against your magic star lizards 😛 )


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Pyro5torm I'm not sure what your local community's playstyle is like be it casual, narrative play or competitive, matched play but it honestly doesn't matter which of the above armies your mate collects if you don't self-restrain yourself as a seraphon player.

Until he or she gets up to speed, take it as an opportunity to try units and battalions or scenarios that don't destroy like a deathstar pointed at Alderaan.

If you go too hard, too soon then all you'll achieve is putting your mate off the game. Such is the disparity of "top tier" and not.

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I don't recommend considering matched play for teaching someone new, not in the slightest. In the most likely scenario, they'll wanna play casually anyways  for the great many first games. I recommend a hero and a squad to start playing games with (start collecting boxes are great as well). Regardless of battletome supported/competitive  armies, you're friend (and yourself) will get better at the game if you focus on tactics and scenarios on small scale games. Heck, why not see how they like Warhammer: Underworlds or Kill Team first? Its a low entry to a very similar style of game. And lets not forget the hobby part. I would argue its the look and feel of models that can really keep a player going for a long time. Again, skirmish games are great for determining what kind of models and rules your friend will like. 

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My tips:

1) Choosing an army is based on two polar extremes for most people:

a) The visual look of the model. How it appears, what it represents, its lore, its style, etc... Ergo the physical model and its looks. For some this might even include how easy it is to paint up and how numerous (eg Skaven need loads of ratmen whilst Stormcast need only a handful of warriors - numbers affects both painting time and price - esp for something like fryslayers where basic troops are quite expensive).

b) The mechanics of the army on the battlefield. Their playstyle in terms of ranged/close combat/magic heavy; the variety of unit choice and composition; the power of their typical armies; how many models are needed (again some like swarm armies others like elites). 

The "balance" of those two elements varies from person to person, some are almost purist in their view of one over the other and others are more bit of both. There is NO right balance, its all up to the individual. Often those starting out tend to weight more toward a and the visual and lore aspects. This is partly because they are new to the game and don't really even know what playstyle they like playing and balance and power are often of a little less importance at this stage (beginners will lose with overpowered armies). 

You tend to see b become more popular as players gain experience and might want something specific from the army they play.

2) When choosing an army based on visual style one thing I do is go to the store page for the army on the GW website. I open a new browser tab for each model/unit in the army. I then go through each tab and view each model - look at each picture, the 360 view heck if you want punch it into google images and look at painted ones in different schemes. I then close each tab on a model I don't love outright. 

By the end you can get a feel for what one really likes in the army. Might be you close a lot of tabs and find that perhaps you like one or two hero models but not the greater bulk of the army - fine that suggests you might be happier with a couple of hero one off purchases. Or you might find you really like skaven warmachines, but dislike all the troops that are required to be built to make the army work etc....

So it can give a person an idea of what they really like in an army and can help them pick between a few.

3) I would start with matched play. Matched play is just the game working as it should, with the rules as written in the core and the book functioning without modification, alteration or change. This makes it a LOT easier for new people to get to grips with the game because they can read the rules and apply them. You aren't doing modifications to them and changing things up which can be confusing to new players who are still getting to grips with how movement works; how phases work etc..

Once they have a grip on the rules you can move onto showing them more narrative game types and even open play. Both of those modes rely on the core rules and understanding them anyway; they are just alterations to those core concepts (and honestly narrative is just core rules with links between each game and a story woven in). 

Of course early games might be simplistic and contrived. You might play leader and a few troops at first; might play games where the fights are already setup; might muck around with lists that are not that optimised, proxies and the like. That's all fine, so long as you are running the rules under the game the same.

4) Don't lose on purpose. First few games they might not notice, but even beginners can start to see when a more experienced player is playing down their game. Losing on purpose can thus undermine their self confidence, but it also can teach them bad habits too. If you keep moving your anti-monster units away from monsters its going to confuse a beginner because they are grasping basic concepts and learning from interpreting your actions all the time. So if you play sloppy too much and often they will pick up on those methods.

Furthermore if the time comes that they do find other players to play with you can run a huge risk that they will go from an even win rate to being utterly crushed by others because you've been letting them win too often and weakened their grasp of tactics and how to play.


I guess what I'm saying is yes you will play softer, you will setup contrived situations and build lists that likely don't use a powerhouse component - heck you might leave out summoning for a good while until they can tackle a single army without it getting reinforcements etc.... (heck often its good to play early games with everything deploying to the battlefield that can save those that "must" appear offtable to start with - and avoiding using those units yourself to start with). But in all that you are still playing sensibly. You are not rushing your archers into close combat without good reason; you're not leaving flanks unguarded or leaving half the objectives uncontested. 

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As others have pointed out, don't go all out in the besinning, you'll trample him and put him off the game.

I'd also avoid kharadron, they're just to hard to play now, especially in a local meta where summoning-seraphon is a thing. He won't last long in the hobby. 

Hell, direct him here while you're at it. Also remind him that there are no Castellants in AoS. ;)

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Thanks for all the advice guys, think I'm going to do something a bit like path to glory, start with a leader and a battleline then play a few games and depending on who wins will try and give that person a buff, or another unit to try and keep a balance. 

Feel like starting with only a few units should make it easier to get a basic understanding of the game and making it easier as he won't have a tonne to paint right off the bat

Any recommendations for game scenarios that would be good for this sort of thing?

Going to get him to look at all the units for the armies he likes so he can decide which he wants to play, I'll probably be playing Skaven as I want to play them in this campaign thing.

Was also thinking about adding endless spells after a while so he can learn that aswell

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