Wednesday, July 12, 2017

8th Edition Stray Observations

#1:  Plasma pistols are good.  Like really good.  We are in a new world now in 8th edition and the ability of plasma pistols to put a huge dent into an MEQ unit before a charge is really helpful.  I’ve been experimenting with Vanguard Vets instead of Terminators per the suggestion of Laeroth, and getting great results.  For HALF the points a Veteran with Plasma Pistol and Chainsword hits far above his weight.  Thats 23 points for those scoring at home, compared to 44 points for a twin LC terminator.  

Yes, the terminator has 2 wounds and 2x Lightning Claws are way killier than a chainsword but its important to remember the role of the close combat rock in a shooty army.  If the enemy is a close range, aggressive enemy, their job is to take out their scariest close combat unit that threatens your fire base.  If they are a shooty army, the job is to push forward, delete their best shooty unit and then sow chaos in their firebase until they are finally wiped out.  

The terminator squad is undeniably better at the second job.  Terminators are built to take more hits and keep killing, which means when they jump out of the LRC and attack the enemy fire base, it will take tons of attention off of your shooters.  In that role, the terminators crush the Vets.  However, in the counter-charge, or defensive role, the Vets are just as good.  If you count their pistols as an extra close combat attack at Strength 7 and -3 to save, that closes the gap to the terminators nicely, and since they should almost always get to strike first in combat, they will erase whatever target they wish.  But what makes this possible is the pistol.  If we dumped the pistols and just gave them all Power Axes we could save some points but the killing power of the unit would be much reduced.  Plasma pistols tie the room together.  Plasma pistols are a force multiplier.  

#2  Razorbacks are god tier.  I know this may seem obvious, but it was the first thing I noticed.  Razorbacks became way way harder to kill or shut down in 8th Edition, and with the change to twin linked weapons, became way killier.  The two best options are twin ass-cans or twin las-cannons.  Obviously, these two weapons have almost opposite roles and you’ll have to pick wisely.  I will give you this A+ grade advanced skills tactica: don’t pick twin-heavy bolters.

All jokes aside, with no formations, there are very few free points available.  Since the price of heavy weapons are standardized, the key is finding the cheapest platforms to carry the most heavy weapons.  A Razorback competes with Predators, Devastators, and Dreads.  From a firepower perspective, Razors have less firepower potential than all three but cost much less than Preds and Devs, and are about the same survivability as Dreads.  I couldn’t really justify the cost of a Predator in 8th while Razorbacks exist.  I really think Dreads are quite good with double shooty weapons, which is why most of my lists bring lots of razors and dreads.  I don’t bring preds and devs since they are so inefficient.  

Lastly, the Razorback doesn’t take up a FOC slot.  In Marine armies the best stuff is in Elites.  Depending on what Detachment you use, Elites get filled quickly.  If you want Dreadnaughts or Vanguard Vets or Terminators and still want a Battalion, you’re going to run out of FOC slots quickly.  Razorbacks bring heavy firepower on a sturdy platform without using up a FOC slot, so you can get the firepower you need without maxing out the detachment’s allowances.

#3.  Space Marines have no great second HQ choice.  With the exceptions of Black Templars, who can make a deadly close combat rock with Helbrect and Grimaldus combo’ing with each other, other chapters have no satisfying second choice.  If you want a Battalion, you need a second.  This is a hefty tax.  Let’s say you do something smart, and bring Pedro Kantor as your first HQ choice.  What is your second?  A vanilla chaplain adds basically nothing.  A librarian is probably the best choice, but expensive and underwhelming.  On the cheap end, the best option is a vanilla captain with combi plasma sitting in a squad with lots of plasma weapons using the re-roll 1 aura to go ham.  What you’ll notice is that even the cheap options are around 100 points.  This is 5% of your force going to a tax just to open up the battalion formation.  I’m rapidly becoming disenchanted with the idea of Battalions being worthwhile unless you desperately want the +2 command points.  

#4.  These early tournament lists are offputting.  Early reports have lists with 6 fliers and Guilleman winning tournaments.  This is pretty gross to me.  While I love a lot of the changes with 8th Edition, cutting down on this sort of cheese was something they needed to do, but didn’t.  5th Edition worked because of the troop requirement.  Yes, many armiers (Eldar) took the bare minimum troops and moved along, but the basic 1 HQ 2 Troops skeleton of 5th edition armies forced people to take “real” armies rather than balls of flier cheese.  

You guys know I play to win.  But I’m not so WAAC that I’ll bring a stupid flier army.  I’d just rather not play.  For the people whose only hobby is 40k, if they have a competitive mindset, they are stuck.  For me, I can do other stuff with my time, so I can just walk away if the game becomes unfun.  My hope is that this list is just the result of specific tournament rules or ill prepared opponents.  If this is what every 40k tournament looks like, 6 fliers and a lord of war, I’m out.  I suspect it won’t but we’ll see.  Perhaps as pathetic and anti-WAAC as it sounds, I might actually prefer a tournament where you had to use only battalion or brigade detachments and others were banned.  I think in a tournament like that you’d see “real” 40k.

I will say, the Tzeentch cheese ball army with Magnus and Changeling is a broken, cheesey army but it doesn’t offend me for some reason.  It seems like a “real” army with several stacking synergies that combine to be insanely over-powered, but doesn’t cross over into me asking “am I even play warhammer?”  Hopefully this is toned down for competitive purposes, but at least playing against it feels like playing the game.  Playing against 6 fliers and a LoW is not 40k.  Then again, maybe it is 40k, and I just don’t like what 40k is?


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