Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Tuesday Thoughts

We really finally did it. You maniacs!

God damn you all to hell!
So, GW finally did it. As everyone will have seen by now, they've finally announced the release of the Thunderwolves. I know that some people have been complaining that they don't look that good but personally I really like them and the Fenrisian Wolves models. However, the Cyberwolf looks ridiculous and who is going to pay £15 for a Wolf Standard bearer? I also quite like the Arjac model but again I'm not sure who's going to bother since it's possible to make a really good Arjac using the bits from the Wolf Guard Terminator box.

At the same time, the Tervigon kit is coming out. Again, I think the model looks great (although it's going to be nigh on impossible to get cover for it) but I think this has to go down as one of the worst business decisions ever by GW. Surely this should have come out with the codex. Not only is it a great unit in its own right but everyone who bought one would then have had to buy at least 3-4 boxes of Termagants at the same time. Instead they did the classic nerf the old unit (Carnifex) to sell the new on (Trygon) Not cool GW, not cool.

Space Wolves didn't really need the Thunderwolves when the 'dex came out but 'nid players could have really done with the Tervigon. The problem with releasing the models after so much time is that most people who wanted them have either bought 3rd party models or converted their own.

I'll still be buying a box of Thunderwolves tho. My army could do with a bit of counter-attacking close combat punch and 8 foot tall genetically engineer supermen riding giant wolves are just cool...

Wild Speculation

Buy 6th! Sell 5th!
Wow, there has been some crazy speculation about 6th Edition over the last few months on the old internet including a "leaked" set of rules. Some crazy stuff in there like the old fashioned assault before shooting and stand still and Rapid Fire to full range (ooh, can't we just go the whole hog and brink back 2nd ed? How about a cardboard Dreadnought in the box set?) However, there have been some pretty sensible sounding suggestions such as cover becoming 5+ and vehicle survivability getting a tweak (the irony here is that some vehicles need to be made MORE survivable eg Land Raider) It has been pretty funny watching some people posting "6th ed" lists on-line based on nothing but conjecture. "Vehicles are going to be nerfed! Go fully foot!!" Really? Please can I march my army into enemy fire (including those 24" rapid firing Plasma Guns) with a best a 5+ cover save.

In reality, the only thing we really know is that 6th edition is coming and based on previous cycles of the game it's probably coming sooner rather than later. Will it be better or worse than 5th? Will it be more or less balanced? The truth is we don't know, it will just be different. It's fun to speculate what might be coming rules-wise but there is no point in trying to change armies at this juncture in order to take advantage of rules that may or may not happen. One thing is pretty sure tho, while foot armies may become better, GW aren't going to totally nerf vehicles. Even tho they're not always on the ball business-wise (see above) they realise that if you buy a transport, you have to buy a squad to go in it. They've even gone as far as releasing transport and squad box sets recently so I think that even if mech is no longer King, it will still be in the royal family.

Crying Salt Tiers

You're my thunder now!
I'm going to steal some of Andy's thunder from yesterday now. Are there tiers in the armies at the moment? Of course there are. I want to very quickly look at why and whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. For me there are two central tenants here - age of the codex and ease of use. In general the new books are better than the older ones (sorry 'nids and SoBs, you're the exceptions that prove the rule) They have better internal balance and better balance against each other. This is where ease of use comes in. Dark Eldar are an excellent codex but very unforgiving. Space Marines on the other hand are the perfect beginners army since T4 and a 3+ save makes them very hardy. You can make a couple of mistakes and still manage to perform well.

So, is this a good thing? Well, yes and no. Having armies that are easier or harder to use is a good thing but having armies that are hamstrung by an old codex isn't. For example, look at Eldar. Old codex, overpriced points wise and lacking in options compared to the new books. However, even when they're updated, they'll still be like "doing A-Level maths" (copyright Graham Sanders) because that's the way it will always be with an army of specialists.

I think that good players will find a way to win with any codex. The problem is that certain books don't have such good tools for achieving that victory.

Now, since this is a blog, we should do something a bit contentious and try and put the 16 current armies into some tiers. Completely arbitrarily, let's try 4 tiers..

Tier 1

Space Marines
Space Wolves
Blood Angels
Grey Knights

They're all Marines so they're pretty easy to use and they're all good books. At this point I'd like to reiterate that none of them are "better" than the others, they are all just different.

Tier 2

Imperial Guard
Black Templars
Dark Angels

IG are pretty much point and fire but deployment is key and things like bubblewrapping and maintaining firing lanes is also crucial. The two Marine lists were helped out by their last FAQ but aren't quite up there with the new boys. Necrons are pretty survivable with T4 and AV13 all over the place but can still be susceptible to assault.

Tier 3

Dark Eldar
Chaos Space Marines

DE are quick and shooty but very fragile. Tau are very shooty but suffer from old codex syndrome. Orks are a very capable army in the hands of the right player while CSM suffer from being overpriced compared to their goody two-shoes brethren.

Tier 4

Sister Of Battle
Chaos Daemons

'nids are probably on the 3/4 cusp. Good players can make it work but a very average codex doesn't help. Eldar are overpriced and difficult to use but again can do well with the right general. SoBs were probably better off with their old codex. Daemons have some awesome units but rely very heavily on luck.

Right, I think that's enough Tuesday Thoughts (think of it as Monday Musings +1) for this week. Over to you...

Breaking News: Space Wolves admit to loaning Rebekah Brooks a retired Thunderwolf (Yes, come for the 40K stay for the satire) 


  1. Very entertaining article! 

  2. I'm not sure why you think Necrons and DE, not to mention IG, are such weak armies- all of them are entirely capable of standing toe to toe (figuratively, of course) with the other 5E books.

    Necrons bring strong resilience and can output 10 S8 and 30+ S7 shots every turn, combined with the utility of flyby attacks, AV13, Entropic Strike, Gauss, and Solar Pulse.

    DE are insanely maneuverable and high-firepower, both against infantry and vehicle targets, something that very few armies can manage. They are unforgiving, but played well their speed can be exploited to punish enemy mistakes and control their movement.

    IG are the same as they ever were since the dawn of 5E. They have access to vast numbers of efficiently-priced weapons and bring hordes of bodies and tanks as well as some excellent utility and scoring potential.

  3. Not so much "weaker" but rather less user friendly than Marines.

    Personally, I found the fragility of DE a problem in the few test games I played with them although that could well be due to me being used to the T4 3+ safety blanket.

    I have to hold my hands up and admit that Necrons is a bit of an estimation as I haven't seen much of them on the table since the new 'dex dropped.

    IG are definitely as good as they ever were. They'd definitely be the yo-yo army between (my completely arbitrary) Tiers 1 and 2. They narrowly missed out on promotion because of cost of ownership (eg FW Hydras) which is sort of user-friendlyness and a lack of a real assault element (although that's clearly mitigated by having so many guns!)

    Four tiers was completely arbitrary and just a way to try and fuel some discussion. I don't think that there is that big a gap between certain armies and on a day, any army can beat any other.


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