Hobby: Justin Shearer, building my next army.

Justin of the Freeborn Shard Podcast has been in a quandry of late – which Beyond the Gates of Antares army should he collect next, and how? 

We previously featured his decision-making process, to show how he landed upon his decision to collect Algoryn –  and today we follow-up with his initial thoughts on where to begin!

Justin: So, here we are – equal parts nervous and excited – starting on the second army. I’ve made more impulse wargaming buys than many people have had hot dinners, so, nowadays – a little older and wiser – I tend to overthink and plan new hobby projects. The most important thing for me to maintain a high level of effort is to ensure that I have a clear plan for buying figures, assembling them, painting them and getting them to the table.
Last time I had reached an important decision: I’ll be building an Algoryn force. So, where to begin?

Algoryn Header

For me, I like to look at where the army will be going first by reflecting on what I’d like to include and what I see the army eventually becoming. For me, I’m picturing my Algoryn force as being one centred around parking some Infiltrators up the board: the Infiltrators are my favourite Algoryn infantry and I really want to make sure they’re well represented in my force. With that in mind, I want some reasonably speedy units to support them and some big guns to leverage the incidental spotter drones that those squads will bring. Eventually, I’ll work towards an army of around 1000 or 1250 points and at that level I think I’ll support my Infiltrators with a Mag Mortar (maybe even two!).


My other favourite Algoryn models that I’ll definitely want to include are the AI Assault Squad infantry and the AI Avenger Attack Skimmer. I’ll definitely put some Assault troopers onto the table, but the Avenger might have to wait for larger games… maybe I’ll be able to work it into a 750 point list, but if not, I’ll definitely include it for bigger games to help punch through armour with its MOD2 mag cannon. At the moment, anyway, the model isn’t available – but I saw the mock up from Salute and I just can’t wait!


Now that I’ve had a bit of a think about some of the big picture for the army, I need to plan out the first part. I’d like to put together a 750 point army list that has a few options available to it for tweaks over time. I think 750 points gives me a great starting place to go bigger but is also big enough to have some really deep games with sufficient units and variety. I think it is a good point value to learn some of the faction’s strengths and weaknesses… but I’d be foolish to jump straight in and build the ‘end-point’ of this project. I’ll start by figuring out a good 500 point scouting force that will let me get them to the table quickly and will be a great springboard to add the next 250 point block after some testing. What is really important, however, is that I’m not building the most brutal scouting force imaginable – I want a playable 500 point force that will build into a great 750 point force… but one that also includes my favourite models.

A 500 point Algoryn scouting force must include 3 tactical units and can have an additional tactical unit, a support unit and an auxiliary unit. So, we should start with filling up the minimum slots to maximise the amount of dice we can put on the table. I get five dice with my Concord at 500 points, so I’d like to get at least five here too.

I’m going to start by adding an AI Infiltrator Squad. These girls are my favourite Algoryn units and I’m definitely going to have to paint them to realise my future army goals anyway. Their mag repeaters are reasonably good at taking on other infantry – after all, up close, they’re just as good as plasma carbines! In small games, I might ordinarily be better taking more bodies through AI Infantry Squads, but I’m confident that I can get good value out of the Infiltrators with my other choices and, frankly, I don’t want to plan to paint more AI infantry than I’ll realistically use in the future.

My next choice is my next favourite Algoryn unit: an AI Assault Squad. In general, I prefer Mag Repeater armed units to those armed with Mag Guns and these guys back those up by bringing D-Spinners which can really put the hurt on Ghar suits that might otherwise be difficult to crack in such small games.

I have a few options for my third required Tactical slot, so I might consider how I’ll fill my other slots up first. Seeing as I’m playing a squad of Infiltrators and they will bring their own, free, Spotter Drone, bringing an X-Launcher team makes a great deal of sense. The X-Launcher, with its own Spotter, will be able to utilise the Infiltrators to help ensure they have vision of targets for overhead fire. Although the X-Launcher lines up well with my army as it stands, I could also choose AI Intruder Skimmers or a support team armed with a Mag Light Support or Mag Cannon.

The Skimmers are exceptionally effective in scouting forces. They’re fast and are very capable of chewing up infantry squads with their Twin Mag Repeaters. On the other hand, however, I’m not sure that I’ll have room for Skimmers in my grand plan yet – because I don’t have easy access to Plasma Carbines and Plasma Lances as I do in my Concord, I don’t want to have too many units that can’t pin Ghar suits with their RES value of 12. As to the support teams, a Mag Cannon isn’t going to have many good targets in small games outside of Ghar matchups and a Mag Light Support, while it can pin suits, might not have a place in larger games. An X-Launcher team with a Spotter Drone is, on the other hand, easy to include into any list and is, if nothing else, a cheap order dice that has a useful synergy with my Infiltrators. Let’s stick with the X-Launcher team.

My auxiliary slot is also surprisingly versatile. Because numbers are decisive in small games like this, a Medic Team can really add a great deal of survivability to my forces. On the other hand, Targeter Probe Shards are exceptionally effective at increasing damage output, especially with high rate of fire weapons. For now I’ll opt for the probe shard, but I might try the Medics out too – I think both choices are excellent and if I had chosen AI Infantry Squads with their Mag Guns over the Mag Repeater armed Assault Squads and Infiltrators I think I’d have gone with the Medic Team.

So far, that gives me:

  • • AI Infiltrator Squad.
  • • AI Assault Squad.
  • • AI support team with X-Launcher and a spotter drone.
  • • Targeter Probe Shard.

In total, I’ve got 4 order dice and have spent 307 points – leaving me with 193 points to upgrade my units and add at least one more tactical choice to the force…

…which I’ll do, next time!

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