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Mastering a New Army

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Hello TGA!

I wanted to start a topic to talk about how you start, learn and master a new army. I´ve seen a lot of players having utterly different approaches on this. I´m talking about the learning progress from "What the heck do my even dudes do" to "Yeah, I know 101 ways how to utilizse each unit" including army building.

Therefore, I would love to hear what you´ve figured out to be the best approach for yourself! How do you get familar and comfy with your army?

To make things easier, I have some questions that may help to structure answers:

  1. Do you start projects for themes or rather gameplay ( maybe even competetive?)?
  2. Do you plan an army or start with impuls/opportunity buys? If you plan, what does your planning invloves?
  3. Do you have an approach or tactic for the first games that help you learning the new faction?
  4. Do you alter lists a lot in the first games?
  5. Do you use supplements? What tools are helpfull?
  6. How many games do you make until you feel familar with your faction?

Please see thoose questions as suggestions and not as mandatory!

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Overall theme of the army gets me interested. 


I proxy (as my group allows this in small amounts to test the waters of factions before wasting money) and dive in with what is powerful from a gameplay perspective (usually the stronger "build/builds" and units).


Once I establish that I like the faction, how it plays, basic combinations and unit abilities I usually begin purchasing at this point 


I then branch out to more complex interactions and combos. Really test the limits of the "strong" builds.


At this point I have built the entire strong build usually with a few extras and buy out the rest of the range, usually whatever I find most interesting aesthetic wise in the faction. I begin testing my own interactions possible combos and just strange fun lists really looking at ally interactions in the grand alliance. 


So Basically I go Theme -> Competitive play -> Casual fun lists. 

I  play 2 games a week. I have a modest memory and can remember most of my keywords and interactions within 2 weeks. After which I will with decreasing frequency forget gamechanging rules. Less "oh ****** I forgot X... moments after the game etc."

Where I derive the most enjoyment is crushing an opponent on my own terms. Usually at a disadvantage. Nothing sweeter than taking a compendium army and whomping FEC. This however is not for everyone, as once you reach the casual fun lists people may be not only gunning for you (because of your earlier competitive lists) but the stranger units are often unused for a reason. 

Edited by TheCovenLord
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Probably similar to @TheCovenLord process

Do I like the army?

Get some units around a concept or theme and then lose a lot

Read around and add units, as I like them but also with a view to doing ok

Keep playing and tweaking the list, all the time I learning the warscrolls by playing

Hit a list I like and understand 

Modify as needed based on the game


Yes I end up with more models than needed and it’s not a fast process, but it’s my army and I know it well

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Similar to above.  I will go for anow army based on either the message or looks. I have recently just picked up Deepkin due to the awesome models and the fluff, soul stealing underwater elves, yes please. ( the fact that I don't have to paint eyes is a massive bonus).

I will then build a 1000pt or 1500 pt list based on the models I like. As I am building and painting I then start reading the rulebook, battle reports on here and youtube videos so I get an idea of how the army plays.

Then I will begin playing some test matches and building up my army. Once I have a good understanding of the basic rules I will start bringing in more competitive units and planning for completions etc. Once again researching ideas through youtube Facebook groups and this forum.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Great idea for a thread and it caught my eye as i am considering picking up a second ( i am pretty new) army this year. 

That said my one and only approach was not at all like the others! I started Sylvaneth pretty much when Alarielle was announced.  Knowing nothing about the game i just picked what i like the look of and started building. It was only when i decided last year to actually start gaming that i got the battletome and dove in. 

From there I started building lists, youtubed and googled tons of info before coming here. Its hard to get games were i am as the AOS scene isn't that big so generally speaking its tough to play test lists/units so i am by no means near mastering them.  But every game i learn a little more about what works. 

Whatever i choose next will have a completely different approach now that i have a taste for gaming so i'll probably pick up a battletome and find a style of play that suits. 

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I usually seem to have a concept and then find a battletome to support it but limit myself to an army or list that is like playing. Currently thinking a rusted out overgrown army covered in vines and moss (probably stormcast or free cities) and a starry night painted army ( tzeentch or nighthaunt). 

Then I'll buy a box or so just to see if I like painting it and to try out some similar paint schemes. 

Then once I have the idea I'll pick models I like but also with an eye toward a relatively competitive list.

Finally I'll buy a few last models to branch out and give me options.

The hardest part for me is picking a battletome that can both support the theme and with a playstile I'd enjoy. I like nontraditional paint schemes and minor conversions throughout.

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When i decided to get into AoS i looked at what models i liked the most, then having a look at the armies those models were in. If i didn't like the range mostly, that's a no.

I then checked the internet's opinion on playstyle and competitive stuff. From there i picked a first few units i wanted to collect. Then i looked at opportunities to get stuff cheap.

The first core i built (1k list) i played for about 15 games, never changing lists so i could be sure that a) i knew my stuff and b) i could point out whether a unit performed because of my actions, enemies intervention or overall dice.

From there i took what i like, avoided the current cookie cutter and now i am the proud owner of some 3500 pts of Stormcast. I need to paint more and buy less stuff... :D

Nice threat btw, got me thinkig a bit and revel in the hobby!

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