9th edition has had a huge impact on the way we all build army lists. Whether you’re building a battle forged army for competitive play, or just for a fun campaign with your friends, it is hard to argue that the way we assemble our forces has change dramatically from the last edition.
A little context if you are new to the game or didn’t play any 8th edition. When the then new edition drop, players had more freedom than ever before to create whatever army their heart desired. You see, most editions of 40k forced you to pick a single faction for your army. Sure, some editions allowed allies, but most of the time players had to stick to one codex when building a list. However, the newer editions of the game allowed players to mix and match forces to create and army, provided they all had an overarching alignment/faction (i.e. Imperium, Chaos, etc).
Depending on the size of your game, you would have access to a number of detachments from which to build your force. Much like in 9th edition, each of these detachments worked as a mini army list of sorts, with their own personal criteria and force organisation slots to fill, and can be from any faction provided all your detachments share at least one Faction Keyword with each other. However, unlike 9th edition you didn’t have to pay Command Points for these detachments. Instead, each detachment gifted you with a certain number of Command Points, depending on the type of detachment.
Chaos Soup is the Best Soup.
This meant you were rewarded for taking the maximum number of detachments allowed (three in 2,000 point games) in order to get as many Command Points as possible. Now for forces like Orks or Necrons, this simply meant taking a Battalion or two, alongside a Spearhead or Vanguard in order to get a decent number of Command Points for the battle. But if you had several armies that all shared the same Faction Keyword (for example lets say Imperium) you could take a cheap Battalion of Astra Militarum for +5 Command Points, some Space Marine characters to deal out maximum damage for +1, and three Imperial Knights for +6 to take advantage of all those CP’s to inflict a world of hurt on your opponent.
This practise is called Souping, as it involves mixing a bunch of different “ingredients” together to create something better than the sum of its parts, much like a delicious bowl of soup. At first this seemed like a great idea, as it allowed for a greater degree of army compositions and a level of list building rarely seen in Warhammer 40,000. But as time went on and people began to “solve” the meta as it were, lists started to appear that were copy pastes of the most efficient and devastation army build seen in competitive play. Players stopped innovating and instead just brought the best units from whichever factions they had access to.
However, as 8th edition came to an end, we started to see some changes that pulled players away from these soup lists to more mono faction builds. Firstly, things like the rule of three stopped players abusing things like Daemon Princes, while point changes to Knight Castellans made their auto include status more questionable for imperial players. However, the biggest change came with the inclusion of faction specific special rules like Space Marine Doctrines and Grey Knight Tides.
Tides made Grey Knights top tier, without needing other Imperial Forces.
These objectively powerful abilities were only made available to certain forces if they ran a mono faction list, leaving players with a unique choice. Stick to one codex (and its supplements) in order to have access to these great new abilities, or mix and match in the hopes that your soup list could make up for the loss of these rules.
This was made even more interesting when Games Workshop revealed that 9th edition would place every player on the same number of Command Points, and you would have to spend those CP’s in order to take multiple detachments. As a result, more and more players started to tune their list to fit inside a single Battalion, in order to get a hold of the Maximum number of Command Points available to them. Which begs the question. Is the concept of souping now a thing of the past?
Well not so fast my friend. Don’t rush off to sell all those interesting detachments you put together to ally up with your Space Marines just yet. You see, while to classic soup list that were based on the Loyal 32 are very much a thing of the past, I think that some factions still benefit from been able to soup up. And what’s more, I think it will be vital for them to do so in the coming year.
You see, while some armies like Space Marines get their bonus for going mono faction, some other forces like the Death Guard and Chaos Daemons (without Greater Daemon support) are unaffected by such restraints. What’s more, they complement quite nicely and as a result work better as part of a semi-soup build. And even forces that do get faction specific benefits, don’t always make the best use of them depending on your play style. After all, if your all about getting into close combat as soon as possible with your Space Marines, I’m guessing you’re not too bothered by starting off in the devastator doctrine.
As for the cost in Command Point, that isn’t as big a deal as it might first appear. Sure, spending three CP on a second Battalion or Vanguard detachment might not be too cost effective. But adding a Patrol detachment to you army for some added support only sets you back two CP, and gives you a decent amount of addition force organisation slots to play around with. and considering you gain one of those CP’s back at the start of your first turn, it hardly seems like a hinderance now does it.
“But that’s still going to put me at a disadvantage isn’t it”. Not as much as you might think. You see, a lot of players are choosing to spend a decent chuck of their starting CP on pre-game stratagems, whether that be adding reinforcements or gaining addition relics. As a result, most lists I have seen from the few tournaments that are going ahead, have players starting with around nine CP anyway. So even if you decide to soup up, your unlikely to find yourself been out classed in the Command Point department.
And speaking of those events, while it is true a lot of the top lists are predominantly mono fiction, there are a few notable outliers that choose to forgo the benefits of mono and instead soup up. A prime example is this 1st place list by Dan Sammons. Winning the thirty-one-man event at Wizards Asylum with a combination of Sisters of Battle and Imperial Fists, Dan’s list just goes to show that you don’t have to be mono faction to succeed in 9th edition.
Of course, its still very early days and the meta is a long way from settling. But lists like Dan’s show that there are a lot of unique builds just waiting to be discovered. Hopefully, the world will soon get back to a level of normality, and we can see for ourselves what 9th edition has instore for us.
I hope you have enjoyed todays article. If you want to share your thoughts on 9th edition 40k, or just want to share your unique army lists, then you can leave a comment below or contact me via twitter @MTGTengu directly. If you have enjoyed todays article, please like and subscribe to keep up to date with all we do here at Master of Magics. You want to support the site directly, you can join our Patreon for as little as a $1 a month. Until next time though remember, “no plan survives contact with the enemy.”