So what is the formula that you apply against your HQ choice to judge it’s effectiveness on the table? For many it is straight up points- how many points did it cost to field the models vs. how many points did it kill in the game. What is the difference in points?
Another way to get the most out of your HQ is by applying an active or passive tactical plan- see this blog post here about that idea.
In this post I want to give you a third consideration- timing.
Warhammer 40K is a game of fine turns. The game will end after X number of turns, and as each turn passes your army gets weaker and weaker- you lose models either through the tactics of your opponent or your own mistakes.
Your HQ unit is often one of the most powerful in the game, especially if it is an active unit, but at the start of the game throwing at your opponent’s army will have it meeting the full point or power level capacity of the army.
What if you hold your HQ back till the end of the game- when many of the threats on the table have already been removed or self destructed. When your opponent might not have as many full units or units that can put up a fight left- what if THEN you move out with your HQ and wreck?
The timing of when to unleash is KEY.
Sometimes that is at the start of the game to earn those points, other times, tactically when there is no path of resistance that is the time.