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Allies in 6th edition Warhammer 40k

Updated on May 5, 2014

Introduction

June 2012 witnessed the release of Warhammer 40k 6th Edition. This new edition of the popular miniatures combat game has promised to re-balance gameplay, add new twists, and create cinematic battles of unlimited scope. In general, fans have been excited for the change, but also wary about what the new rules will mean for their armies and the tactics they've developed over the last five years.

In this article, I am going to cover one of the biggest rule changes in 6th edition: allies! These new ally rules will bring a whole new layer of tactics to the 40k universe, so I want to devote a whole article to this one big change. After we talk about the new ally rules, I will link to another article that covers many of the "pre-game" elements of 6th edition 40k. In addition to allies, these new elements include rules for fortifications, double force organization charts, and a new unit type: flyers!

After the pre-game changes have discussed, I will link to my next article which will focus on the changes happening through the different phases of each game turn (movement, shooting, assault). There are many changes; some major and some subtle. Please note, I am not writing the rules out as a poor man's rulebook! Rather, I am discussing the changes to the rules, so prior knowledge of 5th edition rules will be mandatory.

Allies

One of the biggest changes in 6th edition 40k is that now (most) everyone can take allies! These are for normal games and you do not need your opponent's permission. The new allies rule is built right into the core of the game. It's important to note, however, that the points you spend on allies MUST come from your general pool for your army. So if you plan to include allies, you are sacrificing points to spend on your standard army.

So how do you get allies? You take an allied force as a second detachment for your normal force. You must take a compulsory 1 HQ and 1 Troops choice from your allied army (if you choose to take an ally). Once you have filled out thee compulsory choices, you may then take 1 Elite, 1 additional Troop, 1 Fast Attack, and 1 Heavy Support. You MAY take independent Special Characters such as Mephiston for the Blood Angels. The only downside of taking special characters is that they take away points from your Primary Detachment.

I like this set up because it avoids some of the "cheese" people might have been dreaming up. Since you MUST take an HQ and 1 Troop before anything else, you are going to have to sink some heavy points into an allied list before you can pick up any of the Elites or Heavy Support options that typically make a list shine.

So why might you take allies? There are two ways to look at allies: aesthetically or tactically.

You might add some new allied troops to your army because you think they look cool! Half of this hobby is all about the modeling, so why not fill out your space marine army with some cool kroot mercenaries? They aren't statistically any better than your tactical marines (they might even be worse!) but their organic bodies create a real contrast to your armored marines and might provide you with some new painting/modeling challenges.

Also, most of us in the hobby collect more than one army. This is your chance to combine elements of your armies together to create new and interesting opportunities on the battlefield. Since you already own the models, there's no cost to start experimenting. I own a small Dark Eldar army, but I also have a large Ork army. Why not combine the two and create a larger Dark Eldar army with an Ork Warboss and a huge mob of boyz to soak up all those bolter shots? Story-wise, these could be ork slaves that have been press-ganged into battle by their dark eldar overlords!

So apart from allies looking cool, they can be a real boon tactically. We can use allies to plug holes in our army lists where we have obvious weaknesses. Let's look at my example with the dark eldar and the orks above. Dark eldar armies are fast moving, hard hitting, but very fragile. If my own models get hit before they can get into combat, it's hard for me to come back and win. If I could bring a cheap Ork Warboss and a mob of 25+ boyz, I now have a powerful melee unit that can take up a lot of table space and absorb a lot of shooting attacks. I have now presented my opponent with a difficult choice: do they shoot up my dark eldar units, but ignore that horde of incoming orks . . . or do they focus on the green tide of orks and hope that my dark eldar can be slowed down with some pot shots?

So before you go crazy with the possibilities, let's make a couple of key points very clear:

  • Not every army can ally with every army. There is a nice chart in the book that explains your options. Tyranids cannot ally with anyone!
  • Your allies come out of your normal points allocation. If you are playing a 1850 point game and you want to spend 400 pts on allies, you now only have 1450 to spend on your main force.

Let's look at that first point in more detail. There are four categories of allies available to you. Each of the categories describe how your factions get a long and explains how they can interact on the battlefield. Some allies may be more trouble than they are worth! The 40k rulebook gives you the chart of what allies are available. So the four categories are:

Battle Brothers - Your two forces benefit from each others universal special rules, psychic powers, and everything. They are essentially the same force.

Allies of Convenience - These two forces are joining to fight a common foe, but are not the best of friends. They do not benefit from each others Universal Special Rules or any psychic powers. You will treat each force as being separate.

Desperate Allies - Only the most dire of circumstances will bring these two forces together on the same side. If any Desperate Allies start their turn within 6" of your normal units.you must roll a d6. If a 1 is rolled then the unit does nothing for the turn as they refuse to act. They are either betraying your or watching you for betrayal.

Not Before the Apocalypse
- these armies can never be allies.

I wish I could post every possible ally combination in the game, but there has to be some reason to check out the rulebook, right? I will give you just one example, using my Dark Eldar. According to the rulebook, only Eldar are battle brothers, I have NO allies of convenience, I can NEVER ally with Blood Angels, Dark Angels, Necron, or Tyranids, and everyone else is a Desperate Ally. So there are lots of options available!

What do you think of Allies?

Will Allies in 40k will make the game more or less fun?

See results

Conclusion

So there you have it. The new allies rule for 6th edition 40k are going to change the battlefield as we know it. Expect to see experienced players using a mix of their armies to plug tactical holes in their standard lists. You will never know what you're going to be up against! Why not take the poll (to the right) and voice your opinion about the new Allies rule in 40k.

I will leave you with a couple of "builds" that are already building chatter around the internet.

  • Imperial Guard with Grey Knight allies (strong shooty army strengthened by elite melee)
  • Astra Militarum News - Imperial Guard
  • Grey Knights with Imperial Guard allies (strong melee strengthened by mass shooting and tanks squadrons!)
  • Tau with Space Marine allies (strong shooting army strengthened by troops with better armor and strong melee)
  • Orks . . . we don't need no steenk'n allies! Waaaagghh!

For more 6th edition coverage, please check out some of my other Warhammer 40k articles:

Comments

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    • profile image

      Clockwork_Master 4 years ago

      Thanks for the info.

      I am Working on adding to my Thousand Sons/Plague Marines with some Undead Renegade Guardsmen... I wonder where the Forge World Renegade Guardsmen would be in the Chart...

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 4 years ago from Florida

      Clockwork_Master, I'm 90% sure that the new Chaos Space Marine codex is coming out in a few months and that there will be "cultists" units included, so you could use those models for cultists. Otherwise, use normal Imperial Guard rules for allies and use those awesome Forge world models. I think any Imperial Guard regiment allying with Chaos would have to be renegade anyway! Are there rules for the Forge World models somewhere? I'd like to take a look.

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      Jack 4 years ago

      interesting.., but you failed to note about how many characters could be used. from the way I read this there's nothing saying I can't use: Draigo & Mephiston in an allied army..

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 4 years ago from Florida

      Jack, you are correct that I didn't go over the character possibilities. When we first read the rules, it seemed intuitive that there wouldn't be special characters allowed. This is untrue, however! We read again and again and there is nothing from preventing you from taking special characters. You are limited to one HQ choice, but you are correct that another character could be added if it is a unit upgrade.

      The biggest limiting factor is the points you are spending on those characters are points you are not spending on your Primary Detachment. It's a small point, but it might prove important.

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      John 4 years ago

      I've got a space marine army (quite shooty), and was thinking if allying it with blood angels- they're battle brothers, they're awesome at assault, and their fast, to fit in with the rest of my army. I was thinking of including (cos I play big battles) mephiston and Dante as my hq, but you're saying it's not allowed? The article was very good and informative, but I can't find where it says you can't take special characters in the Rulebook, (if someone could give me the page?)

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 4 years ago from Florida

      John, you are correct. You CAN bring named characters in as allies. We originally thought that this wouldn't work, but upon reading the full rulebook it looks like it's no problem. I need to edit the article to reflect that. So go ahead and bring Dante and Memphiston. The only bad part is the points you're sinking into them, but I'm sure they're worth it.

      Thanks for seeing my mistake!

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      John 4 years ago

      Thanks, I see how you could think that, as special characters are kinda expensive, Ill have to keep the rest of the force to rock bottom points, though.

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      jjmcguinn 4 years ago

      Hey I am playing a Black Templars army, and I am looking at adding some fire power to the list. I was looking at Crimson fist Veterans but it will cost a chunk of points to get to the point I can use them. It will fill the shooty side out and the fluff works as well... what are you're thoughts on this?

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 4 years ago from Florida

      Why not? I'm not very knowledgeable about Black Templar lists, but I'm guessing they are lacking a good shooting unit? If so, then some Space Marine Veterans from the standard codex would be great. Shooting has really been bumped up with 6th edition because Rapid Fire weapons can now fire out to their full distance when the unit moves. So a squad of Space Marines can move their full 6" and get their full shots out to maximum range.

      Just remember, to get any allies, you have to take 1 HQ and 1 Troops first. So you have to pump a lot of points into your allies before you can take an Elite choice. However, since you're basically allying with more Space Marines, just use those points on the HQ and Troop allies to buy what you normally would for your main army. So you're not really wasting points. Makes sense? I say try it out. You could always proxy troops to experiment. Just tell your opponent up front and maybe place some colored marker next to the unit so they stand out.

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      Lord Byte 4 years ago

      Just curious. Can you ally with the same race? For instance Orks... with Orks (a different clan/waagh). I see some advantage in a sub 2000 point list having... 3 hq characters :)

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      Lord Byte 4 years ago

      Apparently, no. Unless it's a forgeworld / Apocalypse battle group.

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      Chris 4 years ago

      Looking for a clarification here.

      Special characters like Memphiston, often require 1,500 points to field them. Not going all rule lawyer here, but I interpret that as you need 1,500 in the associate's army you bring that character with. Since the allies are just sub armies the same rules should apply.

      Put in another way; why, If I use a 500point blood angles should I NOT be allowed to bring Memphiston but suddenly can when that same 500pnt is attached to a larger allied force?

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 4 years ago from Florida

      Chris, sorry for the late reply. That's a very good question. If a special character has a points requirement to field, then that requirement would have to be met. However, I don't know if the points would have to be spent out of your allied force, or if you can count all the points total.

      In the spirit of the "fluff", I think you would have to spend the points in your allied list from where the character came with. After all, if the guy only shows up with a large force, then he's not going to be hanging around with a single tac squad.

      However, in the spirit of the game, I think including your total points for both armies would be justifiable. If the point is to only play the character in larger games, then a total points value for both armies would still create a large game. The size of the game is changing by including allies, just the composition of units that make up the army.

      The new Games Workshop FAQs are up, though. Maybe there is an official answer in there? Check 'em out at:

      http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/content/article....

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      Captain Kraken 4 years ago

      Before I read this. or the Rulebook in that matter. I was planning On getting the grey knights to buffer up my Imperial guard. I had No Idea that was going to be a major mixture. I don't feel like it's a unique idea anymore. I think I'll go do another battle soon and crack some skulls.

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 4 years ago from Florida

      I think that Imperial Guard are going to be a major ally for a lot of armies. They can just bring so many tanks with them! Their biggest weakness is a lack of assault skills and a general low armor.

      Don't be discouraged from trying what you want. However, I agree that finding a unique combo is part of the fun. I've run Orks as allies to Dark Eldar and Chaos, and of course Daemons as allies with Chaos. I wonder how Orks and Daemons would play? Sub-optimal, I'm sure, but I might try it for fun.

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      rhinosaur 4 years ago

      We are going to use a house rule that allows Tyranids to use imperial guard allies as long as they include a unit of Genestealers with Broodlord. I really wish it was official. It seems to fit the backround very well.

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 4 years ago from Florida

      I love the old Genestealer Cults from 2nd edition. There are some rumors out there that some cult models may be on the way in 2013. I could easily see a mini-dex released in White Dwarf, like they did for Daemons earlier this year. I would love to see it on the battlefield.

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      Oil 4 years ago

      Wht can chaos ally with could do with somin long range to balance it out

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 4 years ago from Florida

      I suggest allying with Imperial Guard (aka Traitor Guard). They have access to plenty of cheap heavy weapons and lots of tanks. Guard allies seem to be more popular now than Daemon allies at the moment.

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      GeekTinker 4 years ago

      Allies is one reason that I was looking forward to the release of the 6th Edition rules. As a long time player of Orks, I still have my OOP metal Ogryn's with Ripper Guns models. They used to be an Elite choice in the Ork Codex around 2nd or 3rd Edition. Sure, I could have repainted them and run them as Nobz in "Eavy Armor with TL Shootas or Shoota-Kombi weapons. I can't say that I was tempted over the years.

      Now, with just an Imperial Guard HQ and a Troop choice, I can bring those abnormal giants along for some firepower, backed up by brawn in close combat with high toughness and several wounds.

      Looking over the IG choices, my thoughts immediately went to the Catachan Jungle fighters as my IG troop style of choice. In my mind they would be the most apt to fight alongside Ogryn and have Orks as Allies of Convenience (it's not like I'm going to use Commisar Yarrick).

      Points cost wise, on the cheap side, a Company Command Squad is only 50. I could keep it low, or I could chose Colonel 'Iron Hand' to lead it, raising the points cost to 145. A Veteran Squad led by Gunner Sergeant Harker seems a good Troop choice at about 125 pts. And the unit of Ogryn led by an Ogryn Bone 'ead at 210 pts. That takes quite a chunk out of my points for Orks, but it would still be fun. Going a different route, I could also use those Chaos Cultist from the Dark Vengeance box set as a Penal Legion Squad Troop choice as well.

      Plus, this is a way to slowly build up another army of Catachan Imperial Guard, which would give me yet another way to play my Ogryn models. Additionally, IG would make a great ally for my other army, Dark Angels (which also happens to be an Ally of Convenience to Orks).

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 4 years ago from Florida

      GeekTinker, you've put a lot of thought into your allies choice! I love that GW made Imperial Guard available for most armies in the game. It makes sense that some desperate outfit would find themselves fighting alongside Orks or some other unusual ally to fight off a more dangerous foe. Also, for Chaos Marines or Daemons, the term "traitor guard" is apt because Horus had plenty of normal men at his disposal during the Heresy.

      Don't overlook taking a guard Vendetta flyer for some anti-vehicle (and flyer!) support. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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      GeekTinker 4 years ago

      That's not a bad idea to get those Catachan Jungle Fighters into combat. I also think it would be great to convert a Vendetta into an Ork DakkaJet or a Bommer.

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 4 years ago from Florida

      I like your thinking!

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      GeekTinker 4 years ago

      With a creative application of magnets, paint, and accessories, one model could be utilized for both roles. hmmm.... now I've got that seed planted in the back of my mind.

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      a warhammer 40k newb 4 years ago

      i just got into 40k at the end of 5th edition i have the army i need but i like what i got as most of it i repainted myself as my soon to be hubby didn't like the colors the army was painted anyway

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 4 years ago from Florida

      Don't worry, newb! I've had some space marine models for over 15 years and I've repainted them several times. In fact, I just stripped some paint off of them with an acrylic paint thinner (Simple Green kitchen cleaner from Walmart), and I discovered my original paint underneath! I'd originally painted them with enamel paints, but had just painted over it as the years went by. It was so neat to see the work I'd done as a young teenager :) It was even better to see how much better I've become over the years. Keep at it!

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      another 40k noob 3 years ago

      Sorry to dig up an old thread, but I have scoured the rulebook repeatedly and can't find any source for the requirement of 1HQ and 1Troop. All there is is a page saying "Hey, you can have allies, and here's a chart!"

      I doubt doubt that you know what you are doing, I just want to be able see every rule regarding the allies on a page in the official rulebook so when someone says "hey, you can't do that!" I can point to it.

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 3 years ago from Florida

      40k noob, you have a great question and I don't mind looking it up :) On page 108 of the big rulebook (think it's the same page in the mini-one) there is the Force Organization Chart. It shows the chart for the Primary Detachment on top, then for Fortifications in the bottom left, and Allies in the bottom right. The black boxes are mandatory and the grey boxes are optional. For the Primary Detachment, 1 HQ box and 2 Troop boxes are black (mandatory). In the Allied Detachment chart, 1 HQ and 1 Troop box are black (mandatory).

      That same page describes how to use the chart and mentions the "dark and light" boxes as I have described them above. It repeats the information for the Allied Detachment. I hope this helps and happy playing! Thanks for the read and the comment.

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