Friday, July 6, 2012

Things That Were Awesome In 5th And Suck In 6th

When we last met, I made a list of things I’ve observed that were not as valuable in 5th Edition, but are going to be much more important in 6th Edition.  This time I would like to touch on some things that dominated 5th Edition, but are not nearly as overwhelming in 6th.  The title is misleading, most of these things don't suck now, they just aren't as awesome as they used to be.

Shaking like an epileptic
1.  Fortitude.  In a world where vehicles were suppressed by shake stunning, Fortitude was the king.  Most armies loaded themselves up with Strength 6-8 weapons in order to suppress as many vehicles per turn as they could, which allowed them to “deal” with the vehicles with minimum firepower.  This in turn allowed them to focus overwhelming resources on immediate threats.  Grey Knights trumped this.  If you wanted to suppress the Psyfleman dread, or the Rhino full of Purifiers, you had to kill them.  This was a force multiplier for the outnumbered GK, which allowed them to avoid being defeated by simple torrent of fire. 

Unfortunately (or fortunately?) this paradigm is over.  Vehicles will only rarely be shaken or stunned.  Vehicles are more likely to be destroyed before they are shaken.  Therefore, anything that mitigates shake stun effects are vastly reduced in value.  The very torrent of fire that they were designed to be immune from is now deadly.  Additionally, the downside of Perils on a Fortitude test used to be negliable.  A glancing hit, no big deal.  Most likely it would be another shaken result, which was what they were hit with anyway so it was no drawback at all.  Now suffering a glancing hit is downright deadly.  You have a Psyfleman with 1 hull point left.  You gonna take the risk of rolling Fortitude?  It used to be a no-brainer.  Now, you really have to weigh your options.

2.  Missile Spam.  Missiles are still good, make no mistake.  But as we came to find out, they dominated 5th Edition.  Not only were they great at playing the light mech game, but they had another function few give them credit for: they made Nob Bikerz go away.  The solution to the menace of Nob Bikerz was putting instant death wounds on them which ignored their Feel No Pain and removed whole models, which meant Strength 8, 9, or 10 wounds.  Missiles were the cheapest option of these, and most armies could take them.  Once most armies began loading up on missiles, Nob Bikerz stopped winning.  In 6th Edition, Missiles neither ignore Feel No Pain, nor remove whole models of Nob Bikerz.  Uh oh! 

Since missiles are no longer a win button against deathstars, their role is primarily anti-vehicle with some modular usage against infantry.  But as a primarily anti-vehicle weapon, they are outclassed by Auto-cannons (rate of fire) and Lascannons (quality of fire and all important AP2).  They are increasingly beginning to look like a jack of all trades in an environment where specialization is the key to success.  I don’t know yet if krak missiles will be totally sidelines in 6th, but they certainly aren’t going to be the kings of the battlefield anymore.

3.  Fire Dragons.  These took a big hit.  In 5th, melta was so vital that their existence was the only thing that kept Eldar on the map after the novelty of Bike Seer Councils wore off.  In 6th, melta is so much less vital.  Except against Land Raiders, melta isn’t required to stop vehicles reliably.  Now, any high strength weapon with decent rate of fire can do it reliably.  Melta appears to have gone from a generalist weapon, to a specialist weapon.  Since Eldar do not get cheap Lance weapons, they still need their melta to stop certain threats, so Fire Dragons are still obligatory.  So while they are still obligatory, they go from being a 5 star unit to a 3.5 star unit.  Also, you Eldar players are probably going to find that in a world where AP1 and AP2 is very valuable, you have a codex with no Plasma guns on infantry, and Fusion Guns will serve as a bad version of a Plasma Gun.  I predict Fire Dragons will be shooting a lot of shots at Paladins and Nobz in the coming months until you get a new codex with cheap lances, and Star Rifles (or something like that to fill the Plasma role).

4. Fateweaver.  Say what you will about Fatecrusher being a noob slayer: it’s powerful.  Fateweaver was previous stopped by focus firing and running him off the table or just killing him.  But, as many armies were composed of single shot missiles, there was a decent mathematical chance of him surviving the turn.  In 6th, I predict that the average rates of fire will tick upwards across most armies.  If this is so, Fateweave may be in serious trouble.  A world of 12 missile shots per turn at his head was scary.  A world with 24 autocannon shots per turn coming his way is a death sentence.  Oddly enough, if Autocannons come to replace missiles where possible, Fateweaver will get worse.  But the Bloodcrushers will get better.  Curious!

5.  Vulkan.  So the stuff I said about melta for Fire Dragons?  It is a knock against Vulkan too.  In 5th, marine armies having enough melta was absolutely crucial to success, and Vulkan made that game plan even better.  The fact that he also buffed Thunderhammers (which were super good) and Flamers (also good) was a bonus.  As melta goes, so goes Vulkan.  And in 6th it does not appear to be the game changer it was.  Oh but Thunderhammers.  They are good, but since they don’t do anything to vehicles anymore, they are Powerfists for all intents and purposes.  Which is fine, except outside of terminators you pay a points premium for them over fists, so bump that now.  Lastly, Flamers took a hit.  They were never mandatory in marine lists, but Heavy Flamers on a Speeder or combi-flamer on a sergeant were always strong in Vulkan lists. 

Those things are still decent, but with cover going from 4++ to 5++, the value of cover ignoring weapons is correspondingly less valuable.  In summary, all three things that Vulkan buffs are either directly nerfed, or paradigm shifted out of favor.  Vulkan, naturally then, went from being one of the best units in the game to being more marginal.  Still good, but not dominating.

Thoughts?  Comments?  Questions?


  1. I think Vulkan is still the man :)
    While melta probably isn't as crucial, flamers are awesome!

    Overwatched, TWIN LINKED, flamers are wonderful :)

  2. While I agree about ML-spam going downhill, I am more torn about the value of Vulkan. I think being able to snapshot twinlinked MMs and meltas is going to pretty solid. I'm not sure if that is worth his 190 point pricetag, though.

  3. Again, I'm not saying Vulkan is weak now. He just isn't as awesome as he was. Previously, unless you were running a bike captain or a fluffy list you had to have a good reason NOT to run Vulkan. Now that his abilities have been chipped around the edges there is a lot more internal balance in the book.

  4. Is one of the things LIFE!?

    nailed it

  5. I think I will stop using Battlewagons in sixth. Passengers get S4 hits when they explode (and they do get to explode pretty easily this days) and that's a huge ouchy for Boyz. Also the limitation you have on mobility (no run + charge with fleet, no disembarking after moving 6'') makes them even less useful. Of course they can move 19'' on the first turn but that way too close to the enemy lines. That practically inviting a hail of side/rear armour shots. Also killing vehicles in CC is much easier now so Deff Rollas aren't that necessary anymore.

    1. I dunno, it may be a waste of points, but the idea of Burna Boyz inside a battlewagon seems really scary to me.

  6. Really liking these articles. Used a Vindicator and Predator today, as you had suggested, and they were my MVP's! The Vindi made it 6 turns and wiped out over 3 squads, and the Pred made it the whole game and busted several Rhinos. I'm immensely pleased with them. :)