Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Long ramble about the current balance and the local 40K scene...

Ok, got to thinking about some of the more difficult balance issues...  Reading the excellent post on the Jawaballs site (http://warhammer40kbloodangels.blogspot.com/2013/11/mechanicon-2013.html), it kind of crystallized some of how I have been feeling with respect to a lot of the balance issues.  There are some armies that I have that are simply unplayable at the moment.  Well, to be entirely honest, I could PLAY the army, but barring some crazy luck actually winning with the army is nigh impossible.  These days you only hear about people fielding the Wolves as an ally because they still have the 5th edition rules for psychic defenses and some silly over the top powers.  They cannot stand on their own without major support.  Lacking antiaircraft or any Fliers of their own unless you play with Forgeworld as "40K legal" (like we do) they are still a mid 5th ed army that has been passed by... My Fleshtearers are not AS bad in some ways but they were written when the game was very different.  They DO have a single good flyer that can at least dogfight to contest air superiority...  But their HQ elements are now overpriced and the Troops are mediocre at best, despite the large number of potential choices...  Some cannot score, so are useless to win games, others are just expensive Marines who cannot survive the modern environment with Heldrakes, Tau and Eldar out there in force.  The standard Marine was once the measure by which you could compare everything else against, but now I would not bother making that comparison. By and large, all of the 3+ save Codices prior to the current Marine one are vastly overshadowed by the Eldar and Tau.  The current Marine book can at least fight against some of the "net lists" on somewhat even or better footing, but that means tailoring your army to be one element of the Rock-Paper-Scissors...  And therefore just expensive and boring to play.  Or play against.  The game is difficult to justify as a competitive one these days, thus the exodus in many places or the rise in popularity for 30K "Heresy Era" games that we are seeing locally.  Saying that, there were  5-6 games at the Gopher Monday for "40K night"...  So, chances are that locally at least the game is doing well enough after a bit of a lull.  I simply do not have the spare time to run a League well at the moment, and the other guys who in the past ran them have likewise been buried in a similar fashion...


Too many of the current "top tier" armies have a large number of special cases or things which ignore or worse break basic rules of the game.  For instance, the Necron book made an amazing transition to sixth edition with the extremely poorly ported rules for "chariots" and the en masse translation of all of their transports to Fliers from fast skimmers...  Suddenly the perhaps slightly overpriced transport is now a massively under priced monstrosity.  Flying around, deploying Troops precisely on the Field with no risk of deviation, loaded out with pretty decent firepower on their own and with massive defensive bonuses.  And for this ONE Flier, getting shot down has no real ill effect for the embarked Troops, they simply come in on your table edge from Reserves as if nothing happened.  No possibility of casualties (5/6 chance for everyone else), no Pin check, no deploying at a potentially "bad" location to be assaulted immediately...  Just the minor inconvenience of having to walk on to the field.  

The rules for firing at fliers are badly written...  Just my opinion of course, but saying a genetically engineered superhuman with centuries of experience firing advanced weaponry can hit a flier no better than a mindless Ork or untrained conscript with let's call them "less advanced weapons"?  Insane, and clearly not balanced in any way.  As more Codices come out, overall the Fliers are balanced against each other with the glaring exceptions of the Heldrake and the ones "grandfathered in".  The IG Vendetta/Valkyrie and the Necron Croissant of Doom being the big ones.  Ironically, the Marine fliers were massively overpriced before and so seem fairly balanced in the case of the Storm Raven or still overpriced in the case of the Storm Talon.  But saying that, if that's what you have, use it.  I have used both to decent effect as straight out "Air Superiority fighters".  Nothing great, but they at least left me feeling not totally outclassed by what the other player could field, and that is pretty much all I am asking for.

Saying that, the rules, such as they are, for Fortifications are the game breaker for me.  This alone is the main reason I have almost zero interest in trying to get a team together for Adepticon.  Really, the current RAW interpretation for the Skyshield Landing Pad being that it does grant a 3+ cover save as a Fortification in addition to the 4++ save for everything on it against all shooting attacks.  Coupled with a strict RAW interpretation of "Ignores cover" (RAW: Wounds taken, so no effect vs. Vehicles), Eldar Wave Serpents sitting on one covering a Wraith Knight to give 25% cover to it?  Well, the WS has a 2+ cover save that cannot be ignored even if it does not move.  The WK gets a 2+ or 3+ depending and a 4++...  Oh, and nothing can get up there physically to engage in HtH because the whole surface is full.  So, they have a fire base that can pour out SO MUCH fire that most other forces simply melt away...  The only thing I thought of was to drop in a Sternguard Squad or the like and simply target the Building.  But I haven't seen a good ruling for what happens if the Building is "degraded" or destroyed...  Does the fortification lose that status and the ++ save generated by it?  Should, I would think but that is not necessarily the case of course...

So, I have at least one army I feel bad playing...  Eldar.  Simply TOO good these days.  Playing against a mirror force or against the legal but silly ally with yourself things like Tau/Tau or Marine/Marine just does not interest me at all.  Yes, I can build a proxy army using ancient Planetstorm Fantasian Armor, and build the specific Rock to that Scissors, but that REALLY does not interest me at all.  And the actual figures in question...  Sorry, I REALLY do not like them at all.  So, no "GW Official" Tournaments for me it would seem with my Centurion Devastator proxies, despite being WYSIWYG and painted the correct colors :-)  No big deal for me really, I'd be shocked if GW came back to the big tournament scene...  

And saying I have one army too powerful to play, I have 2 that are unplayable in the other direction.  Fleshtearers are a lost cause currently.  Fun to surprise some folks with on a rare occasion, but against all but the silliest and most unbalanced lists they are just bad.  Wolves are being repainted and I am fielding the VI Legion as a Heresy Era force.  They are doing fairly well there, and I am having fun playing that...  Shame that FW can bring out balanced and fun forces while GW fails miserably...  The figures are amazing, but really pricey...  But saying that, the amazing Forgeworld minis are at about the same price point as the new GW Plastics/crap resin stuff.  Maybe FW will be sold through GW's distribution channels and we can get it at the local stores some day, but for now it is mostly beyond my reach...