December 4, 2009

Basics of the Budget

So I covered my first budget army and started thinking of others. This got me thinking about the basics of the concept of a "budget" army: points-to-cost ratio. Granted, this ratio can be skewed with the use of conversions or counts-as (such as I did with my Space Wolves Thunderwolf Cav), discounts, currency conversions, etc. But it's a good baseline for determining the "value" of your models.

Oddly enough, this means that the archetype de jour, mechanized, tends to fall on the rough side of value. Rhinos are 35 pt models that cost $30 or 1.17:1 ratio. If you were to do a whole 2000 pt army at this ratio, it would cost you over $1700! (Hmm, that's about on target for my Immolator spam... man was that army wallet-unfriendly.) Razorbacks are 1.14:1 to 2.14:1, depending on weapon options. Chimeras clock in at 1.57:1.
Expensive transports fare a little better. Wave Serpents from 2.42:1 to 3.75:1. The standard Warfish version of a Devilfish is 2.85:1. And the granddaddy of them, the Land Raider clocking in at 4.33:1.

Even that though is close -  a 4.33:1 ratio 2000 pt army costs $462 retail - or $370 with online discounts. So our target ratio is 4.5:1. That's not to say that we wouldn't have room for things of a lesser ratio, just that we need to balance them out.

So really, where do the best ratios occur? HQ's and Special Characters of course. Nothing quite beats a 270 point Logan Grimnar that you bitzed together out of a Wolf Pack box (1 out of 10 models in a $35 box = $3.50) for a 77.14:1 ratio. Of course, even official models are generally good - $20 Logan is still a 13.5:1 model. A $15-20 figure for a 150-225 pt game piece is quite good.

For basic guys though, you're still going to have to find a way average this out. And probably come up with some basic model swaps too.

My Space Wolves army breakdown goes as follows:
Canis Wolfborn 180 pts, $8.45 ($4.95 horse + $3.50 marine parts) for 21.3:1.
My mounted Wolf Lord costs the same in points and dollars.
2 x Iron Priests plus 4 Cyber Wolves are 165 pts and cost $24.75 ($4.95 horse + $11 tech priest + $8.80 for 4 chaos hounds). This is one of my more expensive units, but still comes out at 6.67:1.
3 x 10 Wolf Guard at 155 pts and $35 are at 4.42:1. Below my target, but just barely.
2 x 10 Fenrisian Wolves are 80 pts and $22 for 3.63:1 - the lowest in my army, but also so few in points that it's not likely to bring the overall ratio down by much.
3 x 4 Thunderwolf Cav at 225 pts and $33.80 (same $8.45 from Canis x 4) for 6.66:1 ratio.

So what are some of your favorite high points-to-cost models/conversions/counts-as?
Mine are, of course, the ThunderCav conversions I've done so far, as well as the characters.


  1. 10 Wolfguard, Termie, Arjac upgrade, and 2 Cyclones runs 740 without extra combi-weapons or close combat upgrades. Cash cost is $100 retail, so you can easily get an 7.5:1 or greater ratio.

    Or drop Arjac and run Pfists. Pick up 2 sets of AoBR Termies (average of $15-20 on Ebay) and you're talking a 13:1 or greater ratio.

    5 Dire Avengers and a Falcon. $56.75 retail, 250 points, 4.4:1 ratio. (Which, sadly, is a great ratio for Eldar...)

  2. Now you have me doing this with all my armies and all my prospective purchases.

    I hate you :P

  3. Coffee Can, free from wife.

    Toy arm found in DI trashbin, also free.

    Proud owner of 'counts as' Gargant.

    Alternatively, visit:

    Turn it over.

    What? It's efficient. You can find these "for free" in almost any neighborhood in America! ;)

  4. I have a friend who might be interested in making an IG army. What would be a good bang for your buck IG army at 1850?

  5. Write more! Talk about marine bikers, talk about life as a witch hunter player. Talk about the possibility of DH + WH codexes coming together. Write!