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GUIDE: Design, testing and adjusting your army list


The Jabber Tzeentch

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Age of Sigmar is a game where there are many opportunities for your plans to go wrong, things to change and unexpected outcomes to happen. Therefore it is important to minimise these risks and you can do that by ensuring your army is efficient and no unit is wasting crucial opportunities.

Design
In Age of Sigmar your army list should comprise of many synergies and complimentary combinations, just because a unit is seen as being powerful doesn't mean it will always work great in your army, a well designed army should defeat a more powerful foe more often than not. As you design your army list and select each unit you should consider the following points:

The unit should synergise with the rest of your army or another unit in some way. There is no need for every single unit to synergise with every other unit in your army, there is such a thing as over synergistic, but having two or three "synergy groups" in your army is a good way to go. Hammer, Anvil and Support groupings for example. 

You also need to ensure that the unit and synergy is useful, just because a unit has an ability that works with another, doesn't mean it will win you the game. A unit which buffs the movement of an already fast unit may not be too useful for example. 

You must also make sure each unit in your army has a use within its own synergy group. Ask your self what you want that group to accomplish and whether you really need that unit or can something else better fill the role. 

Whilst efficiency is great, redundancy can go a long way. Have a bit of crossover between your synergy groups so a unit can switch roles if required. This is especially important for less mobile armies. 

Test
Once you have designed your army list the only way to test it is to have a game! I love writing lists, but many (potentially great lists) will be changed and forgotten about by the time I get round to my next game. So sort out a game at your local club and test out the list. 
Make sure you try to use each element as you have designed it but at the same time don't be scared to try something different if the opportunity arises. Sometimes a unit can surprise you and be useful in ways you would never consider. 

If can also be a good idea to make some quick notes during the game on how your units perform. A simple checklist or even a numeral scale rating could suffice. Quick bullet points are what I use: "Runefather - very bad when debuffed. Needs support unit."

Adjust

Once you have finished your game you need to look back and see how your list performed, whether you won or lost. It's easy to have a lucky game with good dice rolls, don't let it go to your head and assume you're a tactical genius with Russ Veal like abilities!

Use your notes that I'll assume you made, and try to figure out which units did what you wanted to do, and which ones were subpar. Some units may just need a small boost to become effective, others may just have no viable use in your list. Remove the under performers (unless you think it was just bad luck) and use the points in your list for something that buffs another unit where it was lacking. 

Be careful of changing too much, just one or two units at a time and have another game to test again. This is how the whole test and adjust process works, if you change too much at once you won't know what were good or bad changes. 

Finally don't change things just for the sake of it. If nothing seems to be particularly bad, maybe you just need to get some more games under your belt and keep making notes on each unit as it performs. 

Theoretical Example

Auric Runefather
Auric Runemaster
15 Vulkite berserkers
20 Hearthguard Berserkers
10 Auric Hearthguard


With the list above my design plan is to use the Runesmiter to tunnel the Hearthguard Berserkers offensively, whilst being defensive with the Runemaster, Vulkite berserkers and Auric Hearthguard. 

During the test game I notice that the Vulkite Berserkers aren't survivable enough and that the Runefather doesn't deal enough damage, but the Hearthguard Berserkers don't need so many models to do well. 

So after the game I adjust my list, swapping the Runefather for a Grimwrath Berserker, reducing the Hearthguard and increasing the Vulkite Berserkers. I will them retest to see if these changes make a good difference. Small changes, not changing the main concept of the list. 

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