Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Super heavy's and Gargantuan Creatures

As anyone paying attention will know, I simply do not like the inclusion of the Super Heavies and Gargantuan Creatures into the Warhammer 40K meta.

This isn't borne of some unreasoning dedication to the old ways, although I have little trouble accepting people who LIKE the old ways.  Why shouldn't they?  This is also not due to the prohibitive cost of them in dollars which puts purchasing them beyond the means of some gamers, although that is a 100% legitimate competitive imbalance in its own right.

Here's the thing:  no one likes the idea of being a donor at tournaments.  It's real bad for attendance.

What I detest about the units is that they are (in most cases) poorly balanced.  Here you have a platform upon which in the case of the Imperial Knights, that it becomes your anti-air, anti-horde, anti-TEQ, anti mech and board control all in one.  It doesn't even have to choose like other units.  For 400 points, you can box up all those basic list needs into one model and that model can be slotted into any army and immediately you have a highly effective and nearly indestructible platform to do all of it for a price that is in no way commensurate with its utility.  It can even apply those excellent weapon options to different targets!  So it being one model isn't even a limiting factor.  Its durability makes it more than worth having the eggs in that basket and unlike tanks, it cannot have its chassis shaken and/or stunned.

I say indestructible because the weapons that kill such beasts tend to get blocked by cannon fodder of no consequence in points or efficacy.  So while you might rightly point out that EVENTUALLY enough meltas MIGHT reach them, the majority of games won't include a melta-dedicated army like that which is willing to ignore imminent threats to make a kill run on just one model anyways!  Plus, it isn't as if the player playing the big boys can't recognize the threats to its big boys and prioritize those few first.  Once they are dead, the enemy has no way to stop such ferocious beings.  Many all comer armies are simply not going to specialize that much.

I fought a 12 Hull Point Stompa with the It Will Not Die rule on it and in one round it threatened to wreck 25% of my army in one g.  It would have been more had I been any less skilled at deployment. I ended the game with a whopping seven hull points done to that thing.  It killed 1,000 points of my army.  I won, but my God.  Not only did it not die, it was never truly in danger of it.

Similarly a single 300+ point Wraith Knight killed over 800 points of my army in a recent tournament.  I stopped him from getting half the main objectives so it was a close game, but here again, most armies simply won't have units that could weather it as well as I did.  Let that statement soak in.  I weathered it well, and it killed 800 points!

That they can be defeated has been demonstrated.  No one here is questioning that.  The sky isn't falling.  What we should be questioning is whether or not they even belong in normal games of 40K.  Should Tournament organizers be inviting this kind of potentially lopsided result into their events.  People pay money to be in the hobby and money to go to tournaments; they lovingly paint some beautiful armies and it's a real shame for them to have to simply sigh, look across the board and mentally check the "acceptance of loss mode" switch. Even the worst normal match ups don't equal the futility of the worst Super Heavy/Gargantuan matchups, by a great order of magnitude.

Making the matter worse is the cavalier disregard for balance that Forge World is regularly guilty of.  I know in some far off world, the logic makes sense to them.  However, in this world, it just creates more ridiculous outcomes.

The Pandoras box is opened.  We really can only limit, not exclude them, now that they are in codex's.  However, for those T.O.'s who will listen, be aware:  clubbing baby seals generally isn't fun for either participant.  It's one thing to get beaten and get beaten hard.  Most can accept it if they at least had a chance before the game started and skill as well as match up was the issue.  Foregone conclusions are just not fun.

With Super Heavies and Gargantuans, they are hard counters to many things and thus no reasonably built army can be guaranteed a fighting chance at all.  Balanced armies will fail.  Fun still matters to me.

I have seen some movement in codex's to deal with the threats so I am unwilling to doom all Super Heavies to purgatory.  One in an army at least represents that they are rare and expensive artifices.  I've come to the point of acceptance on that.  When I see more than one I feel that I'm playing an apocalypse army without an answer.

Maybe I'm wrong.


  1. Can you roll on the 'escalation' warlord traits table? That gives you extra abilities to take down super heavies if you don't have one, but I can't remember how good they are.

  2. They aren't bad, per se, but they certainly dont serve your purposes in the grand scheme of things better than the Strategic Warlord Traits!

    1. True enough. I suppose I haven't played against enough gargantuan models to really comment. But every time I've faced 1 or more Imperial Knights I have managed to win through point capturing/kill points. But I haven't faced a Wraithknight, which I understand are something else entirely...

  3. Well oddly the Cult mechanicus codex feels balanced against these type of foes, essentially the bigger the guys you bring the more likely cult mechanicus is to kill them, where as eldar bikes and such are harder for me to kill.

  4. Well oddly the Cult mechanicus codex feels balanced against these type of foes, essentially the bigger the guys you bring the more likely cult mechanicus is to kill them, where as eldar bikes and such are harder for me to kill.

  5. Well and here's the thing: Killing them is not necessarily the issue so much as how much time and resources they demand, which ALLOWS other units to do whatever they please and for far too long. It's a catch-22. Again, many newer codex's are offering answers. For example, Grav guns are more plentiful now and Though most dont think about it much, Concussion basically makes a WraithKnight managable, forcing them to go last or at the same time worst case scenario. So taking a Wraithknight down with a shooting Concussion weapon is a great tactic before hitting them with something really nasty. Those weapons aren't that common but they are important.

    1. Yes but as with the wraithknight, unless you kill it immediately it's likely to make more than its points back by its second turn. 2 Leman russ, a kitted out terminator squad ect, and it's made back it's points.
      Discussion locally guys feel either near doubling the points cost for all the gargantuan creatures or removin any possibility of a cover save or invisibility should be good enough.

  6. Doubling would be going way too far. Have some of them put a concussion weapon in their lists and say... 10 Dark Angel Knights with Smite! I mean the WraithKnight does so much damage because of its initiative and the fact that people have (wrongly) abandoned melee as a component of a well written list. I'd suggest that unless you're playing the Tau empire, this might be a mistake. You mut have a strong melee component or as people used to say, you need a strong "hammer" or two in the list if you want to be able to compete with every threat type. There's no perfect world where you can abslutely have an answer for EVERYTHING in equal measure, but the Wraith Knight has haunted so many tournament battlefields that answering that question seems like a fairly obvious need to fill.


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