Recently, in a trip overseas I visited a local hobby centre were a number of gamers were playing. Going against what many say is the current meta (in Australia), Codex: Space Marines was by  far the most popular army of choice.


In conversation with these guys, they told me that Necron flyer spam and other meta builds held no interest for them. This got me thinking as to how the fluff in the game can change the hobby. It led me to consider what collectors and hobbyists see when they pick up a model and decide to collect an army. Obviously for some, choosing an army is about what can currently be used to utterly destroy an opponent, but for many, it is based upon what we can connect with on a day to day bases. While there are a number of different paths this connection can occur, the simple allocation of an armour save can change how we feel about an army.

Armour saves are one of our hobby's most identifiable factors. A 3+ you say? Most likely a marine variant of some sort. 4+ or worse? Everything else. Of course there are exceptions to this rule (such as Striking Scorpions or Tau Crisis suits) but it is fairly standard procedure to expect good saves from humanities finest and bad saves from humanities enemies.

Xenos armies suffer heavily from the wrath of template weapons or from what I like to call "wooden army lists" simply because they die in droves from a single flamer.

I read a lot of comments about Games Workshop only making codex's of marine variants good because "Space Marines are the top selling miniatures." Well there is a good reason for this. A 3+ armour save does not only represent a 2/3 chance of saving a wound, it represents human endurance at an all mighty level. With much of the 40k fluff revolving around the Imperium, the save represents what many of us come to expect of humanities superhuman soldiers: bravery, honour and sacrifice. Soldiers who will endure whatever is thrown at them in the stand against evil.

No matter what you collect, be it Tau, Orks or even Tyranids, we still hold a fascination with superhuman soldiers charging stoically across the battlefield. When introducing younger players to the hobby, a un-killable super soldier is by far the best starting point. Games Workshop is a business, and like many businesses, need to sell models to keep our hobby going. I myself collect Dark Eldar, and after many a loss to flamers, sometimes consider about throwing it all in and starting a marine army. Except at the end of the day I don't want to. While my armour saves may be as fragile as a piece of cardboard, my connection to the army keeps me going. So what, if anything, keeps you connected to an army?

My name is CrAzY424 and I have been in the hobby for a good ten years. This is my first article, but look forward to writing more. Cheers!

41 Comments:

  1. I guess that really depends WHERE in Australia. Space Marines are popular (I think they are everywhere), but the last few tournaments I've read up about or been to myself in my area, the top contenders were Guard and Wolves. For awhile one Tau guy was doing pretty damn well too, so take it as you will.

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  2. nicely done. My First army was Imperial Guard, but I was demoed on space marines. I didn't like the "unkillable super-humans" and connected with the frail humans fighting impossible odds against things much bigger, meaner and tougher then they ever could be.

    Call me the fan of the under-dog.

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  3. However childish it may be, what keeps me connected to my army (also Dark Eldar), apart from a love for the models, is a desire to not be a part of that 3+ majority. I certainly enjoy the fluff and the Space Marine models, but there is just that desire to keep from taking the "easy" way out.

    I have found myself looking more into Fantasy and other games lately just for the sake of variety in armies. Space Marines are cool and all, but it's almost frustrating to play anything else just because of how much attention they receive from GW. How many of the last 40k releases have been some form of power armour? So for me, Dark Eldar it is.

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    1. Yep. We've seen DA, CSM, Necron (who even have some 3+), GK.

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  4. I sympathised a lot with the idea of bitter twisted creatures, resented by the rest of their race for doing only what they thought was right.
    Chaos Space Marines, then Astral Claws as soon as I discovered them.

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  5. Space Marines for me are the army of choice. Not because of the armour save, or the way they've played, but because I was able to create my own Chapter and immerse myself into my own history of them which in turn I could immerse into 40k.

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    1. That is my favorite part of the hobby actually- The creation of your own chapter/army. I am starting a new army based of a splinter chapter and I love just even thinking about it.

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    2. I play daemons, and you can do something similar with a daemon prince and his retinue- Xava'res'xu'tris, and the Phasmae Noctis!

      It is so fun to make a story around something we've dumped to much time and money into :)

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  6. That 3+ save makes it a lot easier to play at a decent level.

    DE, for example, one mistake or your troops being out of their transport and they're all dead. You never get to take that 5+ save. A flamer could destroy nearly an entire troop squad.

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  7. I am connected to the Daemon army because... well I love playing the bad guy! Every-time a hero fails I shall be there to laugh :D also I like the whole idea of the Daemons being extensions of the Chaos Gods that are mirrors of what is happening in the Imperium and all of the galaxy

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  8. I am connected to the Daemon army because... well I love playing the bad guy! Every-time a hero fails I shall be there to laugh :D also I like the whole idea of the Daemons being extensions of the Chaos Gods that are mirrors of what is happening in the Imperium and all of the galaxy

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  9. Chaos for me all the way. Only reason is fluff. i started playing during the previous csm codex. needless to say i lost a lot. But i love the characters fluff, especially Ahriman.

    Army wise csm have units that are not even close to anything marinss have, such as spawn, daemon prince, helldrake, etc. i like this because i can enjoy my marines while at the same time enjoy my "not marines".

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  10. I'm a Chaos player, through and through. CSM, Daemons, WoC... I love both the fluff and the models themselves, they're so much more interesting to paint and to look at.

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  11. I started as Space Wolfs way back when because at the time they were the most characteristic of the SM's. Then the chaos started whispering in my ear and I went over to Death Guard. I love them because they are decayed and rotten and i prefer the story of Typhus. After that the warp pulled me deeper and i have since been playing Demons a lot. Just went further down the Chaos rabbit hole.

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  12. I started with the marines, it was the Ultra marines for me, I loved the idea of rigid discipline and dogma. I then mixed these with sisters and the guard(back then you could) to have a large imperial army. I loved the way the imperial army could absorb so much punishment. This got old with me and I opted for the Tau, I wanted to shoot and scoot.

    It was very hard at first learning a new way to play but I got rid of all my imperial stuff so I could not take the easy way out and go back to what I knew best. I am glad I did, I love the Tau, yes they are squishy. I love them for this, Like most Tau players I would like something we could use to make close combat a bit less one sided but I do not want to become blue, skinny space marines. I cannot trade punches with anyone but I sure can shoot the arse of you from a long way off, and when you get close I jump into my devil fish and scoot to the other side of the battlefield. This to me is the skill of the game.

    When I talk to people who want to get into the game I advise them to start with some kind of marine army, with the marines they have a more forgiving army with an easier learning curve, then as they get more experienced they might want to try one of the harder races to fight with. So that they can continue to grow as a gamer and the game will not get to stale after all it is harder to fight nids or orcs when you know that you have no chance once they get to grips with you.

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  13. I feel very connected to Dark Eldar/eldar and orks. It is the amazing models, fluff, feel and game play that draws me in to these three armies. I have tried playing other armies, but they just don't feel right for me. So I always end up back at one of my fave three. This has not changed in 20 years of gaming for me.

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  14. I started out with space marines and quickly moved to the Blood Angels mainly because I liked the look of jump infantry, and the idea of these marines rocketing themselves through the air at the enemy. My motivation has never been winning games (I usually play against my brother's Grey Knights, so I lost quite a bit). More recently, I've started reading the Horus Heresy novels, and the background in the codexes which has really brought my interest to other armies (Space Wolves, Chaos Marines, Traitor Guard). The thing that really drives my army selection is the models, the opportunity for conversion (hence Space Wolves and Chaos) and the stories behind them.

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  16. I started with Eldar back in 2e, but everyone in our was always clowning I n orks as being a bad army. I took it as a personal challenge and started an orkish army, and 4 editions later I haven't looked back. Sure, flamers are my bane, but there is always loads more orks, and once the boyz get stuck in, you'll be in for a good krump'in!

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  17. I started with Space Slann and then Squats. Bad choices...

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    1. I bet you had a betamax VCR player as well :-)

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  18. The background of Warhammer 40k draws me in like nothing else I have found since I was 10 playing zelda ocarina of time. The scope of events-the grittiness of combats-the tactics and heroes just suck me in and I havent been able to escape for 11 years. I cant even imagine starting an army just to be competitive. If I dont love that army for some reason than its a no go for me (because I love the backgrounds so much there are very few armies that dont interest me at all but I just pick me favs). Both my beginning armies are tied to William Kings books- about Gotrek and Felix (Dwarfs with slayers were my very first army) and Ragnar of the Space Wolves (you guessed it, my first 40k army was Space Wolves). I moved to 40k completely over fantasy because of the background being so damn awesome.
    One major drawback of love for this universe though is a lot of my friends dont get it though.

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  19. Space Marines, Necrons, whatever: they're all just biomass to my 'nids... :D

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    1. Necrons dont have much "bio" in them though. Nothing organic. Besides we have null fields so you dont even want to eat us :)

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    2. That's why Nids avoid tomb worlds like the plague. Nids need the biomass to keep the "warmachine" going, Necrons provide 0 Biomass. Necrons would win that war of attrition.

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    3. And necrons smell like feet. It's true: it's science. Besides, nids eat metal and everything else they can chomp off a world.

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  20. I used to play as Imperial Guard, but got tired of them being so weak without having like half a dozen or more tanks/artillery on the field. I switched to Tau and haven't look back! I love their fluff, that whole setting aside selfish desires to better the whole, Greater Good stuff. I like the look of the models, and not to mention having one of the most powerful weapons in the game doesn't hurt either! The Battlesuits are insanely customizable, and really hope they stick with that, and maybe enhance it further. The Imperium to me represents an ugly, superstitious, bigoted side of human history, and none of the factions in it really felt right. Space Marines are there for players who don't want to work at winning, just charge forth and kill, no real strategy or finesse. Tau require that understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses, and demands strict accountability for every model on the table.

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  22. Tau all the way. esthetics as well as some(even if not many)really cool toys to play with. Not just the guns but we can get a 3+ cover save just by moving now (2+ for flat out) for a woping 5 points. Who cares if your marines get a 3+ save, my tank gets one. Also having the best gun in the game is pretty wicked sweet.

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  23. Orks is da best! Only complaint for 6th edition is they didn't give us orks the same allies options as nids. "Allies? We don't need no stinkin allies !

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  24. Eldar all the way for me.

    The idea of a galaxy spanning civilisation brought low by their own desires and desperately clinging to existence through superior technology and rigid discipline captured my imagination back in 2nd ed and I never looked back.

    I do have a soft spot for csm and tau as well though.

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  25. Eldar all the way for me.

    The idea of a galaxy spanning civilisation brought low by their own desires and desperately clinging to existence through superior technology and rigid discipline captured my imagination back in 2nd ed and I never looked back.

    I do have a soft spot for csm and tau as well though.

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  26. i only started collecting my ultramarines because i want to one day have the entire chapter assembled and painted

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  27. I agree with you Ryan. But I do have a soft spot for my DE that was the first army I collected. Never one for an easy win game. I love the challenge of playing a piratical raiding force. Capture the enemy and torture them beyond wanting death.

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  28. Im a Gaurd player through and through though i have a soft spot for the orks and for anythign Chaos. For me its all about the painting and building. I love just painting and building those guys just to look as nasty and a dirty as possibl. Where as when i got a scout squad given to me for my birthday i couldnt bring myself to make the marines dirty just because of the wqay they are protrayed. However i have created a small dark angels army which hav never returned to caliban in their hunt for the fallen and so are very scatched and etc so thats the only reason why i find collecting the marines fun.

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  29. Over the years I've started collecting plenty of different forces, and I'm currently amassing a large DE raiding force, but I always keep coming back to marines. over the years I've designed and/or started painting 9 different chapters, two of which I've completed collections for (still painting though) and one is forming the base of my current project. I've loved them ever since 2nd edition and the fluff regarding the blood angels on armageddon.

    The thing you have to remember about marines to my mind is that the only thing they're much better at than other races is not dying. Try outshooting Tau or Imperial Guard with them and you'll lose, same with trying to outfight tyranids in close combat. There are plenty of armies out there that specialise in one area of offense, but marines are the only ones who win by being defensive.

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  30. Always a subject that fascinated me this. I got my first army in 1988, and it was the ubiquitous Marines. But mainly because that was the only way I could afford to get any sort of force on the table (despite Rogue Trader being meant to be a small scale skirmish affair), and my mate had already bagsied Orks.
    But after collecting lots and lots of old school marines (which I am currently in the process of resurrecting 25 years on: see blog!), I think I felt like I should progress from my 'starter' army to something a bit more 'grown up'. Said the 41 year old man playing with toy soldiers. And please don't flame me; it was a long time ago I thought that. Since then I have had squats (why did I sell those guys...), Nids, Necrons and Eldar. I've always gone back to Eldar though. I think it's everything about them: they are alien-y and high tech, their aesthetic is cool, and the army can play so many different ways. I got bored of 4th ed Nids because it always seemed to come down to 'you have a couple of rounds of shooting to kill me before I get to you and then I will eat your brains' gameplay. Which may well just have been how me and my buddies played, admittedly, but there you go. Nobody wanted to play against my Necrons; something to do with it not being fair that once they were killed, they kept coming back. And I got a bit bored with them because back then there were only about 3 models for them. Well, -ish. And the Nightbringer is still the coolest mini ever, bar none. But I love my multicoloured circus space elves. Can't wait for new stuff!!

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