Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Interpretation constipation

6th Edition is rolling on and more and more interesting debates are cropping up.  I'm literally blown away by the wierd arguments people are trying to make.  One thing I am sure of:  The supposed perception of "hazy"  GW rules comes mostly from hazy people.  Some of the blatant attempts to twist cause and effect in reading rules is pretty brutal.

One in particular has the fancy of multiple forums.  Assaulting from an Assault Vehicle.

To make a long story short, the rules in essence say that no one can ever assault the next chance they get after disembarking, by any means, for any reason.  That's really about it.

The one exception is Assault Vehicles.  They are allowed to ignore this restriction at all time when disembarking, for whatever reason they may disembark.

Simple right?

Except through some labrinthine set of linguistic gymnastics, people are coming to the conclusion that you can, for example, ram something, destroy your own vehicle, charge from the ruins directly afterwards (all correct so far) but then not be able to charge in the next assault phase!  WHAT?

One word:  ridiculous.  I don't care by what method you got there.  It's just silly.

Absurd conclusions should be your first clue, people.  FIRST CLUE.  If a rule creates something so absurd that saying it out loud would make any sane man laugh, why in the world would you "float it out there" and "see what people think".

This goes back to the whole Doom of Malan'tai thing.  People tried to argue that becasue the rule didn't say that it DIDN't affect units inside a transport, that it did.  WHAT?  This is the kind of self serving bollox that people come up with.

Folks.  It's an exception based rule system.  The system says what you CAN do.  Then it says EXCEPT when X.  So what you can do is strictly defined, no addition to it allowed.  And then rules occassionally say when it isn't true and they are explicit when that happens.  That's simple isn't it?  The large book you purchased for a whopping $75 is the law unless something SPECIFICALLY tells you otherwise.

So if Assault vehicles tell you you can assault from the vehicle after it gets destroyed in your own turn (terrain or skyfire being the most likely causes) you can by virtue of the rule that allows it.  So you can.  and thats it.  And if there was another rule that said "Assult vehicle rule is trumped when" great.  but there isn't.  So at all times, you can, after disembarking from an Assault Transport, assault, as there is no exception to that rule.

By the way, the Assault Vehicle rules dont say you can't fire all your weapons four times...  But it doesn't say you can't!  So hey...  Go wild.

Another thing bugging me:  Someone tried to tell me that Eternal Warriors could ignore Feel No Pain becuase Eternal Warriors ignore the effects of Instant Death.  Feel no Pain is not an EFFECT of Instant Death!  Does nayone rational see a cause and effect relationship?  NO!  Feel No Pain works just fine against Eternal Warrior blows that aren't double the toughness.  Kay?  If Double toughness, then no Feel no Pain, no matter how Eternal you are.

People.  Be better to one another.  Stop trying to get one over on the other guy; and when you do discuss this stuff, be willing to roll a die and move on if you dont agree.  Blogs are made for opinions and mine is clear; but what troubles me most is the nature of a relationship in which you'd KEEP trying to do this to others!  Not awesome.  If its absurd, it's absurd.  Don't do it.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Warhammer 40K: Blockers

Blockers are more effective than they have ever been.

As I was being trounced by an Imperial Guard player (to be fair, he trounces me most games) I was learning.  6E has heightened my awareness of not just what's going on round to round or what will happen, but I am really soaking in CONCEPTS that can help in 40K.

After giving some thought to the game, I came away with the realization that a Blast heavy army, from really any codex, could make excellent use of the much maligned armor of 6th Edition.  It is apparent that "glance killing" vehicles has made some less powerful weapons more popular.  But this MAY also serve the purposes of the person whose the recipient of those hits.  By glancing them, you are ensuring that they are cover and terrain at the end of the day right?  And if you make use of long range or Blast type weapons, then these units can essential serve to stall and block for you.

To maximize its usefulness you need vehicles that are somewhat vulnerable and that are not really upgraded.  they are really there to take up space for very few points.  Even Drop pods can be used for this.  Any kills they get are bonus's.  You'd move them up slowly the first round, then quickly the second round, to add a turn befoe the enemy can charge them for free movement and then really minimize the movement the chargers will get.  So a trio of Rhinos might go 6, then 12" in that order, in order to make progress to the 30" line, or if the enemy is fast, just moving slower.  the wreckage would be at an ideal place at that point.  They then, if alive can simply tank shock and puch approachers back again.  That also means that Drop pods and the like can come down and form obstacle courses for you at low cost.

The same thing can be done with rock hard units like terminators that can be used to "stuff the middle, and really allow the shooting behind to do its thing while actually doing damage.  They are more expensive, but .  the casualties they inflict certainly matter, plus take pressure off the shooting.

Why this works so much better in 6E is that forward mobility has taken a lesser role since assaults are less points efficient and the loss of vehicles has diminsihed in impact.  Your absolute imperative to get them up there is lessened by the fact that you're generally taking less "assault only" troops in exchange for more versatile units and assault units are taking on new roles in some armies as close line defense.  You're seeing more shooting in general.

Allies are going to make this basic paradigm huge.  armies like Tau, necrons and IG that are primarily shooty armies by design will now be able to compensate for their inherent weakness with allies.  those Allies are probably going to make every effort to clog the approach while you're "we dont care mobile cover" does exactly what its designed for.  Throwing your so called allies at the enemy as a fence is a worthy use for them.

Eldar D-Cannons look fearsome in light of these possibilities and they had already crept into my list before 6th.  Mortar/Colossus heavy IG are going to be terrifying, defiler led Chaos Forces and any Tau force will be making use of  this basic idea, albeit it doesn't work as well because they direct fire so much.  But my Purgation heavy Grey Knights are liking the idea a lot.

The thing to overcome when people employ this technique is getting to the backfield.  EVERY list is going to have to have a reliable way to kill armor in the backfield and i don't mean at range because the enemy range will try to kill your range first if it can.  You need something closer up that splits the enemies fire out of fear for losing their own ability to reach out and touch someone.  Necron Monoliths, Tau Crisis units, Space Wolf Scouts, Snikrot, Marbo, Dark Eldar Jetbikes and other tools like that are going to be really important for making the barrages go away as fast as possible. 

Imagine the carnage if someone was unable to get behind my mobile cover to the Purgation squads for two extra rounds!  32 STR 7 rending shots every round that you can't reduce?  That could start hurting, cover save or no cover save.  By the time you reach them will you be in any shape to do much to them?

Blocking has another importance now too. 

Flyers.  One of the key ways I am seeing to stop flyers from soaking a lot of your ammo is just by positioning, to block their flight path and force them to divert.  They cant land on you and you know where the 18" mark is.  With crafty placement of your units on your turn, you can make it tough on someone who relies on flyers.

An example came up in a game using the VoidRaven Bomber.  The Bomber had to go 18, but couldn't.  At 24" , the distance it would have to go, it had no targets.  Turning 90 degrees and moving 18" or more would take it off the board OR give it only one non-preferential target, plus guarantee that it would have to jump off the board to matter in future rounds.  If you pictured in your mind the opponents next turn with that flier, you can a lot of times cut it off forcing it into hover mode it thats even an option.

Movement has become so much more important in 40K, and many Warhammer Fantasy players are going to find this very intriguing once they start seeing those nuances.  The angles of your shots matter even against infantry and as that trend is caught and learned by players, it's going to be a very interesting game at times.  Movements that simply never would have happened before now will.  The game will be in motion more.  that can only be a good thing.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Deploying Tau Empire Markerlights

Could it be a new era for Markerlights?

Markerlights are a bread and butter tool of the Tau Empire, turning a mediocre unit at best into an elite one, and most importantly, being able to bring pressure where it is most needed, which makes Tau Empire units more adaptable.  They need not worry as much about where they are on the board because their superior range and the use of Markerlights make sure that whateveer they want to hit most, they will.

But 6th Edition has changed some fundamental things about the Tau Empire.  Namely, that the Markerlights don't need to be, perhaps, concentrated in just one unit. 

Pathfinders are easily the best value as far as deploying Markerlights.  They are essentially Fire Warriors that have 2 point Markerlight upgrades if they want to use them and can take two more if they want to spring for Markerdrones.  Consider that a normal Fire warrior squad needs to pay 12 points to get one markerlight, as much as it would cost to just have 6 Pathfinders.  Generally, the Pathfinders win in that comparison.

In 5E, the Devilfish requirement was no big deal because the Fire Warriors were GOING to take the Fish anyways, and the Fish that the Pathfinders get is better than the standard Devilfish.  So in essence, regardless of how some less astute players called it the 'Fish tax, the reality is, it wasn't one.


In 6E, ALL AV 11-12 armor took a hit on their main advantage, higher armor.  Whereas AV 10 vehicles got a leg up, AV 12 is no longer anywhere near as impressive.  So suddenly we find ourselves asking the question, is the 'Fish tax a legit idea?

I think there may be some truth to it, unfortunately.  The points spent on the Devilfish, given the HUGE increase in Fire Warrior mobility has changed the landscape.  A 12 man Fire Warrior Squad can move and still fire all its 30" guns.  Thats a lot more shots than the Devilfish was giving on the move even with missiles.  Cover makes the Fire Warrior unit at 12 basically the equivalent of a 6 man unit with 6 ablative Hull Points  when you get down to it and no chance for explosion!  They're never charging anyways (well...almost never), so the Devilfish loses some of its lustre given that it might only ever avail those Fire Warriors an extra 6" to 12" of movement over the course of the game at the best of times.  Fire Warriors were never your first choice for rear objectives, Kroot and Deep Strikers were.  So the Devilfish may well not be worth taking at all if not for the Pathfinder Beacon.

So this makes a few changes make sense.

1.  You can now get away with having just one Pathfinder unit, for the Beacon to guide Deep Strikers in.  A second one will make little enough difference and is no longer attractive for the Fire Warriors to steal in many builds.

2.  Markerlights on Fire Warrior Shas'ui make sense more than ever.  On the move or not, having one in the unit instead of on a Marker Drone or on a pathfinder can now be justified if there are in 12 man squads.

3.  Points for Markerdrone were never really available because of the need for 3-4 Devilfish's but without those Devilfish's taking up points, you have all kinds of points to spend on markerlights.  One in every Broadside unit is now doable and even putting them in the Stealthunits in small numbers makes infinite amounts of sense. 

4.  Sniper Drones are BS 4 Markerlights!  This fact is missed a lot of times by, well, everyone.  But they are, and so are the TWO you can get on the Skyray.  So suddenly those units look a lot more attractive as inexpensive ways to add them to a list.

Here is a fun example list of what the new look Markerlight driven Tau might look like.  It has its anti-flyer unit, plenty of FnP busting power, range up the wazoo, terrifying overwatch prospects, and even some sneaky objective stealing elements since you have no way to take the enemies rear objectives per se without allies.  In the mission where Heavies or Fast Attacks are considered scoring, the Piranha's will give you an added threat while the Broadsides will be very good at holding rear objectives if forced to in the former mission. 

But most importantly, the Markerlights will make some of these units quite a bit scarier than normal  There are 10 Seeker Missiles and 10 Marker lights in this list!  That's enough to blow an entire unit off the board in one go on a good day and you don't even feel like you're wasting the points like you used to.

Shas'El (Plasma, Fusion Blaster, Multi, irridium)
2 x 1 Broadside Team Leaders (MarkerDrone, Shield Drone, HW Multitracker, A.S.S.)
Skyray (Burst Cannons, Disruption)
4 x 12 Fire Warrior Squads (Photon Grenades, Shas'ui with Markerlight)
2 x 6 Stealthsuits (2 x Fusion, 8 Gun Drones, Marker Drone, Team Leader)
3 Crisis suits (TL FLamers, Fusion Blaster)
Piranha (2 x Seeker Missiles)
Piranha (2 x Seeker Missiles)

Models:  96
KP:  14
Markerlights: 10!