I was actually writing an article outlining the fact that I had come out with two very new and different army lists for my Eldar that I would try fielding. However, as I was writing it, it got me thinking about two things. Firstly, I had not written the obligatory fiction blurb as to why. Whilst I could not put an exact reason there, I know I could write a small piece of fiction outlining why the army exists. Here’s a hint: desperate times call for desperate measures! Secondly, I was deviating off the topic a lot as I came to realise that people do not really make the most out of their army’s codex, a potential reason why some people feel the need to collect about seven different armies. Of the eight people that I know who play Warhammer 40k with me (though that number should increase. I have a cunning plan involving only using Warhammer World for events and pre-arranged games), I can think of one Tyranid player who truly experiments (such as a mass-infiltration list), another two players who deviate slightly, though they are both new and thus do not own all the models or have the full feel of their codex yet. However, the others keep their armies fairly static, always fielding the same units with the same weapons, using the same tactics. I imagine it must get quite boring and leads to more money spent on miniaturesm as multiple armies means multiple requirements (and it means that I can pull out more wins than I really should!)
Previously with my Eldar codex I have tried reconnaissance themed lists using mainly Rangers, Striking Scorpions, War Walkers and Vypers with maybe a squad of Guardian Defenders (I am even considering getting some Storm Guardians. No more than one squad as I really do not think that they are particularly fluffy, nor are they effective!). I have tried a foot-slogging Aspect Warrior army which went horribly wrong when they all got shot to pieces by bolters, though that was the first army that I played as Eldar when I was largely inexperienced with them. I have tried a mechanised Aspect Warrior army that has had great success and is the sort of army that I use most often. However, I do not own a Spiritseer, any Wraithguard or Wraithblades, Harlequins, Storm Guardians, Windrider Jetbikes, Shining Spears, any flyers, Vaul’s Wrath Support Batteries, Nightspinner, or a Wraithknight. To me, that is a lot of wasted potential for me and the Eldar codex. Whilst I do not have the money as of yet to buy any new units, I have been hypothesising how I will use them and plan to buy them in the future as I believe that this will give me multiple new avenues to explore.
However, from what I have seen, a lot of people pick an army, pick a theme and then stick to it. As I said, of the eight people that I know, I can accurately predict what all of them will take with the exception of the one Tyranid player who experiments. I am not saying that finding a theme and sticking with it is bad, I think that it is a great route to take, however what I am saying is that experimentation could liven up your game and get you more interested than you may already be. I will probably not replace my usual mechanised Aspect Warrior list as my main theme, however I do want to try out different armies whilst I am not playing in a tournament or narrative campaign setting. I believe that this is a large reason for people who start collecting multiple armies. Sure, people love other armies as well as their main one; I love Sisters of Battle as well as Eldar for example, but I hear a lot of people complaining about armies that I have played in the past, accusing them of not being able to do something that they can actually do. For example, “Space Marines / Chaos Space Marines can’t be mobile. I can’t reach out to my opponent’s deployment zone.” What ever happened to bikes? What about land speeders? What about drop pods? What about assault marines? What about stormravens/stormtalons? What about rhinos? (The cheapest transport tank ever) Sure, there are things that some races cannot do. Dark Eldar will never be durable. Tyranids will never field vehicles. Sisters of Battle will never be long-range specialists. These are just examples as to some things that some armies are unable to do, though when it comes down to it a lot of armies can do a lot of different things. I feel that it is good to vary your game and vary your army, though in the end it is up to the individual. Some people may prefer to vary their game by having multiple armies. Some people, like myself, will fall in love with the concept and background of a few select armies and then vary their lists within those armies. I will be posting up both of my experimental armies shortly (hopefully) and will be working on a few more in the future.
It’s funny that I become more avid for my Eldar when a new codex comes out for one of my other armies. There will be Imperial Guard lists coming up, though at the moment I am most certainly in Eldar mode!