Offense vs. Defense is a topic I’ve wanted to touch on since I made the very controversial statement in my metric series that points correlate to Defense and not Offense.
I’ll restate my theory now so we are all up to speed: In 40k, a unit’s points cost correlates more directly with its defensive capability than its offensive capability. A unit pays through the nose for FNP, 3+ saves, etc. Adding a Missile Launcher (or 4!) to a unit doesn’t really cost that much more considering the vast increase of firepower.
|Offense always wins.|
In 40k, defense is also multi-directional. Units can be resilient due to increased individual toughness, or by multiplicity of bodies. A unit of 30 Orks can take a lot of pounding before it dies, so even though each Ork isn’t so hard to kill, there are a lot of them to kill. What this means is, we can make any army more resilient by purchasing more bodies. This is a key bit of information.
Since any army can be made tougher by purchasing more bodies and vehicles to house the bodies, we will find that even at 2,500 points, we will run out of points before we run out of bodies to purchase if we are trying to make the toughest, most defensive army available. Thus, the limiting factor of defense in 40k is points.
Offense, on the other hand has other limitations. Yes, points are a limitation to offense, especially at low point level games. But once you hit 2k and above, points cease to be the primary limiter on how much offense you can pack into your list. At 2k, your Force Allocation slots become your limiting factor for many 5th Edition codices. At 2,500, it is the limiting factor for all codices. This is because units don’t gain offensive power by adding more bodies or more vehicles to existing units, but by adding more units with special/heavy weapons. Playing a strict MSU list in order to absolutely maximize your firepower, you will fill you troops, elites, and heavy support before you run out of points. Thus, the limiting factor of offense in 40k at higher point levels is Force Allocation slots.
But wait, there’s more. Defense is, as I said, multi-directional. More units ALSO makes the army more resilient/defensive. This is a big validation for the MSU playstyle, because we can conclude that the “optimal” way to maximize your defensive ability is to add units before you add bodies. Since adding units also maximizes your offense, adding units increases both at the same time, which is a far more efficient way to create a powerful list.
So did I really write 500 words to explain why MSU is the superior play style? Basically so. Aren’t you glad I’m here to repeat what you already knew? Jokes aside, besides the MSU validation, it does support my thesis that defense is correlated to points to a much greater degree than offensive power.