A view on the command struggle not only for beginners in Warhammer 40k: Conquest by Renechiteck.
Many Conquest players find it hard to manage a solid command struggle. Due to faction card pool and allying factions this is quite a hard task.
Especially during deckbuilding one has to weight carefully between the cheap 1 cost units with 1 hammer, the 2 hammer units which in most cases lack of punch and the efficient battle units to win a battle and so to get nearer to the real goal of the game.
I am totally aware of the fact that a lot of cards and resources win games but with a handful of cards only good during the command struggle (low attack like Sanctioned Psyker or Vashýa Trailblazer ) will simply be wiped out if it comes to a battle at the respective planet. One of course may not simply ignore the struggle as the opponent would get too much support if completely unchallenged. I, for example, reduced the amount of “command oriented units”. By lowering the numbers you simply open up deckbuilding possibilities like additions of shields, units with battle synergies and even some late game support cards which might win you the last needed planet. I may not give you a concrete number. This simply is due to the faction/ally you want to play and your local meta. Due to my experience it is still handy to have three copies of your favourite 2 hammer unit in your deck to just counter the opponents` ones.
If you see that you are flooded with cards or resources on a regular base analyse your deck. If you have many cards, make them count. Exchanging supports for a shield for example adds direct value to the cards drawn in command struggle. Many resources may lead to choices of more expensive (and powerful) events or unit cards. A Space Wolves Predator might be a huge investment and might be the wrong choice for an early planet but it saves your ass on the last one. With Captain Cato Sicarius as your warlord it is not even challenging to play it even without adding Rogue Trader to the deck.
Cato leads to the next thoughts which should be given to command struggle. How can I get effects that mimic the bonuses from planets. Cards like Ammo Depot or the Homing Beacon make you independent from winning planets in command. Factions cost reducers are a great way to delay your deployment plans and generate the resources in the same round you play the card. Cards like Crushface generate a great economic advantage on the planet you want to deploy our army and can be reused every second turn or even more often by moving Crushface around with the planet ability.
FFG thought of dealing with your opponent’s units. Cards like Imperial Fists Siege Force, Ork Kannon, Indescribable Horror, Weirdboy Maniak or even Warpstorm. The biggest issue with some of those cards is that they are Combat Events, so your opponent is able to gain the bonuses during the command step. This delayed removal, in my opinion, is often too late and the cards drawn already cost you the game. Or you are spending your combat action with something you do not need to win that planet. A Warpstorm might work well on a pirate infested planet but also might help you to remove a lot of bad stuff from the HQ of your opponent. I think pressing for the real goal of the game and simply take planets can work, but one should not ignore enemy unit’s setups.
There are some useful things to do with your weaker units if battle is brought to their planets: I love Suppressive Fire and try to include it in any deck possible. Nothing hurts as much as exhaust a Rogue Trader to exhaust the biggest enemy unit. Or use them as food to fuel Torquemada Coteaz to run crazy. Nazdreg is giving brutal to all units at his planet, so do not underestimate the power of a damaged Sanctioned Psyker for example.
Experiment with your deck! Try new ways to surprise your opponent. Even a winning deck from the nationals becomes stale after a while because it is well known to your opponent. The days to start your Conquest deckbuilding with three Void Pirates and Rogue Trader are in my humble opinion over. Promotion for example is still in all of my decks…three copies for sure…at least two if you are running crucial Limiteds like Recon Drones or Ripper Swarm.
I hope you enjoyed this small beginners guide to command struggle. Hope to see you soon on a tournament!