Wednesday, March 6, 2019

If normal Marines are staying, GW has to fix its Primaris problem

For the sake of this article, we are going to take GW at face value and believe them when they say "Old Space Marines aren't going away." I know a lot of people don't believe that. And it is hard not too. All the new artwork is Primaris. All the new Space Marine models are Primaris. The lore just makes Primaris better in pretty much every way... so why would old Space Marines even remain a thing (outside the Horus Heresy range).
But going forward we are not going to ask "Why?" We are going to ask "How?"

The title of the article claims GW needs to fix their Primaris Problem. Well "what is that problem?" you are asking. It is really a two fold issue.
1- Primaris are better in everyway to space marines as is. Lore wise they are bigger, stronger, faster, tougher and have more enhancements. They have newer weapons with greater range and damage. They have a few new vehicles which are pretty impressive. They are just, as I said, better in every way. To top it off, they are also better than how the Emperor designed them. The Emperor. The single greatest mind to ever exist, working with and army of geneticists, made the Space Marines. And one guy made them better as a side project. Just seems a bit of a stretch... and I'll get back to that in the end.
2- There is no cost to this "betterness". In fact there seems to be less cost. Space Marines used to have to spend basically a decade or more in training as a neophyte and scout before being elevated to be a Battle Brother. Primaris feel like they get placed in Cawl's easy bake oven and come out as 10 foot tall demi-gods ready for battle. Sure they weren't as experienced at first, but they quickly gained that. But training aside, the question of whether or not Primaris require excess resources beyond normal marines to be created has never been answered.

But here is a catch- Even if they are more resource intensive to create it doesn't matter, as Astartes are always worth the resources. It is like modern day militaries. Even in a constrained fiscal environment, do you know who is always fully funded- The Special Forces. Why? Because the investment ALWAYS pays off. So same goes for Primaris Space Marines. Lore wise the investment always pays off.

So what is the solution? How can all that possibly be fixed.

For this I am going to use an analogy.

Before we get to that you need to watch this (warning it does get a little graphic around 3:12 so stop there if you don't want to see that)

I hope I didn't spoil Blade Runner for you, but if you are playing 40k and reading my blog and haven't seen one of the greatest Sci-fi movies of all time that also happens to be older that Warhammer 40k itself, then that is on you.

There is an exchange in there that really is central to the concept of my argument

Dr. Tyrell: "You were made as well as we could make you."
Roy: "But not to last?"
Dr. Tyrell: "The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long. And you have burned so very very brightly Roy."

Roy Batty is a Nexus 6 Series replicant. He stronger, faster, tougher, smarter than any human. He is better in every way.
The price he pays? An incredibly accelerated life span. He only gets to live for 3 to 4 years (his birthday was January 8th 2016, and he dies November 2019). It is the cost of being so much more, of burning so very very bright.

So what I am saying is GW should make Primaris Marines into Roy Batty and the Nexus 6 replicants. Now 3-4 years is way too short, but currently Space Marines are effectively immortal. They die in battle and that is it seemingly.

Commander Dante of the Blood Angels is by now 1400 years old (around 1200 of which he has served as Chapter Master, which by the way is 200 more years than Guilliman has actively lead the Ultramarines). He is OLD. Bjorn in a Dreadnought is 10,000 years old. These guys just don't die.

So, from a lore perspective there is really only one way to make a old school space marine worth more than the Primaris, and that is to make them last while Primaris perish. Give primaris a 300 to 500 year life span tops, but most of them going out between 350 and 400. This would make them valuable enough to keep making en masse, but temper their "betterness" by just the right amount to keep old marines around. Their vast experience would be too great a treasure to be lost. A few 600-800 year old terminators are just going to be more skilled warriors than a 100 year old intercessor or agressor.
And here is the true beauty of it... GW has time to implement this. It has only been 100 to 150 years since Guilliman returned and the Indomitus Crusade started if I am not mistaken. No one would know that Primaris Marines have a shelf life yet. Have it be a surprise, something unexpected that Cawl could not even fix. This is where we get back to him improving on the Emperor's design.

If Primaris die of old age, well Cawl failed and we are back to the Emperor having been the only one capable of perfecting Astartes. Sure Cawl made some temporary improvements, but obviously the Emperor did not go down the route, opting for the geneseed vice the Sangprimus Portum for its stability. That could even be the cause of the accelerated lifespan. It would be rather poetic. Only the Primarchs were made to be gifted with such genetic superiority, and not even the mightiest techpriests could forge warriors hardy enough to withstand the burning intensity of such power.

It would also allow for some interesting Marine dynamics eventually. Does a Brother opt to transition to a Primaris for the superior physicality, or remain true to his original forging to benefit the future generations of the Chapter with greater wisdom and skill?
And that is how you fix the Primaris problem and keep Old Marines relevant. Sorry Marneus Calgar, you will die young and Cato Sicarius will assume your mantle.

But in the end, it really is the only way for GW to make good on their "promise".

So will they?
I have my doubts.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Allies of Inconvenience: Episode 17- Assassins and Soup

First episode of 2019! We start off as usual with hobby progress (to include some talk about the Lucius Pattern Drop Pod and Coastal Wargaming Group!) For our first segment, we heavily talk about the upcoming White Dwarf Assassin release and how we see them being employed by the savvy Imperial General. Our second segment we discuss what the difference between "Allies" and "Soup" is before closing off with some discussion of... a less than spectacular Forge World model.

And apologies for the Audio Quality this time. We were in a rush.
00:00 Intro
01:52 Hobby Progress
19:32 Imperial Assassins Release
52:16 What is Soup?
1:12:05 Bonus Forgeworld Review...

Songs and Soundclips
Blue Mark- Atlan Urtag
Kaap mere- Bugotak
Clip 1- Warhammer TV
Clip 2- Thor Ragnarok
Clip 3- Code Ment

Thursday, February 14, 2019

BFG: Additional Ship's Compendium 2.0 Update

Okay, so I finally recommenced work on the ASC 2.0 after some prodding from someone on messenger yesterday. Was nice to return to it after almost a year since the last draft. In that year, I stopped work not because of lack of interest, but just had life in the way you know?
That being said, I finally am at a place I can actually resume work, and I have a new draft up as a result. In this draft you will find
2 new vessels (1 Chaos, 1 RT) as well as WIP work for another vessel and 2 fleet lists (Ministorum Pilgrim Fleets and Rogue Trader Dynasty Fleets)

What is ASC 2.0 you ask? Well for those of you who play the community updated versions of BFG (ie BFG:R or XR) it is suppossed to be a comprehensive compendium of additional ships (thus ASC) to be used with these systems that are not in the "official" rules but are established in the fluff or other unnofficial sources (Warp Rift, Book of Nemesis) and/or are common conversions (or easy to convert) and fit in the game. It is a completely fun and optional thing with great hobby opportunity, supporting the long tradition of BFG being the most open game and community to fan made rules. AND even if you don't play those versions of BFG, I have gone to great lengths to provide awesome artwork, accurate fluff and some neat designs, so it is worth checking out as a generic BFG resource anyway!
Pictured is a screen shot of one of the vessels from the latest draft. ENJOY!
You can learn more of all of these projects, as well as find other resources for them here
AND as always, feed back is most welcome! Please be constructive with it though, and remember, these are extra ships for fun!

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Custodes Beta Rules Review: Part 4- LoW, Dedicated Transport and Closing Thoughts

Over the next few days I will be breaking down the Adeptus Custodes Beta Rules for Warhammer 40k that were released last month. You can download them here (for free) if you haven't had the chance to check them out yet.
Part Four below goes into the Lord of War and Dedicated Transport, as well as closing thoughts on the Beta rules.
Part One covered the Elites Choices. Part Two covered Fast Attacks. Part Three discussed the Heavy Support Choices.

Coronus Grav-Carrier

Well for starters, it is better than the Land Raider for what it does (Deliver infantry to the enemy lines), though not as tough. But you don’t need it to be as tough (besides it has that 2” buffer from Gravitic Backwash). You need it to live into turn 2 or 3 and deliver its cargo. And this transport can and will do that.
What makes it better?  Simple the fact it is cheaper and faster. Sure the Land Raider is still by far deadlier. But the point of these vehicles is to transport something even deadlier inside. And seeing how the Coronus can transport that unit faster, and isn’t as large of a points sink, it just strikes me as being the better of the two options for this job.

To me the obvious choices to transport are Pythirite Spears or Wardens. Terminators as well if you couldn’t (or didn’t want to) deep strike the. IMO Allarus actually, seeing as Aquilon with Firepikes are Deep Striking gods of gold now.

The weapon is the same lackluster and non-sensical Twin Arachnus Blaze Cannon found on the Pallas. Really really  falling short of the dual Twin-Las of the Godhammer, and as I said in Part 2, the Burst mode really should be Heavy 12 or more. The lack of firepower causes some hesitation for me to taking one.

However, what really stops me from taking one is I just don’t think it is needed. Custodes work very much like a Hammer and Anvil IMO. Jetbikes, Grav Tanks, Jump Infantry and Deep Striking are all HAMMERS. The rest of the list is an Anvil. All a Coronus does is make your Anvil mobile. And if you really need to do that, you could with deep striking and spend your precious points on something far more lethal.

Orion Assault Dropship

Probably one of the Toughest Flyers in the game. Really a solid choice, but something you very carefully have to consider taking and have a plan how to use it, and importantly, how to use your army when it dies.
Must better than the Land Raider for what it does. For one, it has some okay firepower (though 2 Caladius would still be more for a little less points). The Blaze cannon is strong, but capping at 3 damage really limits it. It really should be 2d3 or d6 IMO.

This is also amazingly fast. The problem there being you will quickly outrun all your support characters, so just be ready to deal with rolling snake eyes on the To Hit of the blaze cannons, as well sacrificing transport space for a few characters to join your embarked assault force.

The ability to transport a Dreadnought is really nice, and makes the standard contemptor much more viable IMO. Other candidates for transport are the same as I mentioned above for the Coronus, plus a shield captain or Trajann and/or Vexilla of some sort. If you aren’t bringing a Dreadnought inside the Orion, I would highly recommend filling three of the spots with a basic troop squad. This allows you to deliver an assault force that can continue to me mobile, while leaving behind a tough as nails troop squad to hold what ever objective you storm.

But just like the Coronus, I’m not convinced on this big boy. I mean, it is super fluff and you should take it if you want to. Not a bad move. BUT It is 448 points. That is nearly ¼ of a 2k army. And in a small model count army, that really REALLY eats into your body count and ability to have board control. It is the reason why the land raider was balked at when the codex dropped. It is just wicked expensive. And on top of that, you are likely putting another 300-500 points inside of it. You are easily end up with over half your army in one drop. So sure, that can help you go first but… if you get seized on, there are armies that can take this down in a turn. And even if you don’t get seized on, don’t be surprised if this big scary monster that cannot hide and everything will have LOS too gets shot by literally every unit in your opponent’s army until it is dead. And that is another downside to its cost. If you lose it early on in your game, that is ¼ of your army gone in one blow. And with its low damage weaponry, it is likely it will not ever earn its points back in lethality. You have to just hope the act of being a taxi was worth it.

Furthermore, just like the Coronus, it is really for transporting around Anvils when you already have plenty of hammers you can swing. It just isn’t NEEDED in the army. There are many more optimal choices, both in and out of the codex.

Closing Thoughts on the Beta

Overall I am quite happy with the second Custodes beta. Only disappointment not mentioned is that there was one close combat dread in the previous beta that did not make this one. Would have been nice to see another new model drop. But such is life.
"Don't listed to her, she gives bad advice."
The biggest winners of this Beta are the Caladius w/ Accelerator Cannon, Aquilon Terminators w/ Firepikes and Solerite Guantlets, Achillus Dreadnought and finally Agamatus Custodes w/ Las-Pulsers. Solid choices all of them, and they all have their place in the Army and do their prescribed job well.

Pretty much everything else is decent (still Custodes afterall) but just not optimal. If you are playing garagehammer or wanting to bring the boys in gold but no jetbikes, this new Beta really does a great job providing new options and some depth to an otherwise limited codex army.

That is it for part four! Tell us what you think in the comments below and make sure to check out all our Custodes content.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Custodes Beta Rules Review: Part 3- The Heavy Support

Over the next few days I will be breaking down the Adeptus Custodes Beta Rules for Warhammer 40k that were released last month. You can download them here (for free) if you haven't had the chance to check them out yet.
Part Three below will discuss the Heavy Support Choices.
Part One covered the Elites Choices. Part Two covered Fast Attacks. Part Four will go into their Lord of War and Dedicated transport, as well as closing thoughts on the Beta rules.

Caladius Grav Tank

This is another great choice in the Beta IMO. Last time I did a lot of comparison of it to the Pallas Grav-Attack, and really it just out shines the Pallas in every way. Yes it is twice the points, but it outshines TWO Pallas at the same points cost. It has one more T,  nearly double the range with the Accelerator Cannon, more firepower at a higher quality, and degrades at essentially the same point you would lose one complete Pallas (7 T7 wounds vice 8 T6 wounds).
To me the no brainer load out is the Twin Iliastus Accelerator Cannon. Its like a better battle cannon. Add to this its suped up Twin Heavy Bolter (Twin Lastrum Bolt Cannon), and you have a solid support platform. Power of the Machine Spirit means this can stay mobile and be useful, running it in support of jetbikes. Alternatively, with its range it can sit back near an objective with a foot captain nearby and maybe some Sagittarum or a Telemon and just pour on some fire.

But there is another load out... and I would never ever use it. The Twin Arachnus Heavy Blaze Cannon is MORE POINTS than the Accelerator and just A LOT WORSE. What I really don't get is why the TWIN HEAVY version has as many beam shots and LESS RANGE than the Telemon's Arachnus Storm Cannon. I guess it still has double the burst, but just no range. But even double the burst doesn't matter because for 80 points I get TWO Telemon Storm cannons, vice 100 points for one on the Caladius. So for less points, you get more beam shots, same amount of burst, and less range. It just doesn't make sense. To further complicate it, the Twin Arachnus Blaze Cannon on the Pallas has the same number of Beam shots, but half the burst shots? Why? At least their ranges agree.

There is just no world in where you should take the Heavy Blaze over the Accelerator Cannon, especially when compared to the Telemon.

One thing I've liked to do with this is the Overwatch stratagem, blast people away, and then watch them fail the charge because they had to subtract 2 inches from their roll. It is just brutal to see. And then you zoom away next turn and make them wonder why they even tried.

The one thing I wish this had was T8, but it is still good without it, and not a bad anti-armour option at its price point.

I really REALLY wish FW sold the turrets to these tanks as upgrades. I wouldn't mind having both turrets for three of these tanks, but I really don't want 6 hulls to do it.

Telemon Heavy Dreadnought

A true Star of the Custodes Army. While this did get worse from the last Beta, it went down in points and lost the one per army limit, so overall win for the unit on its own. In context of the Army though, he definitely lost ground to the Caladius. A solid all-rounder, but expensive to say the least.

I am note sure what load out I'd take on the Telemon TBH. Magnets for the win there I guess. As discussed above, its Arachnus Storm Cannon is just superior to what you get on the Caladius or the Pallas, so if you want that weapon role in your army, this is the platform for it. If you double down on them, for only 62 more points than a Accelerator Caladius, you get more range, more shots, T8 and a 2+/4+ with a 6+ FNP. You loose speed and PotMS, but you have the range, so not entirely needed.
The Accelerator is decent. Better on the Caladius (a flip there), but much more affordable as a weapon. I wouldn't double up on these, but if you want an all rounder Telemon, one with a Casestus isn't terrible. The Caestus is nice, because it really puts this into the range of killing Knights in combat, especially if you take two and deep strike. I just wish to save points I could take Lastrum Storm Bolters in lieu of the Plasma Projectors. Not that the Projectors are bad, but 30 points for two 8" range weapons isn't that impressive to me. At least they are 2d3 instead of d6 shots. Really, every flamer weapon in the game should move towards that shaped distribution.

What is really nice about it, unlike its Leviathan cousins, is it is ALWAYS base 4 attacks. Makes even a dual shooty version able to handle being assaulted. The fact that Caestus add attacks is just gravy.

Sagittarum Custodes

I want to like these guys more. But they suffer in the same way the Pyrithite and Adrasite Spears do. They are more foot custodes when I've already had to spend 500 points on other foot custodes. If you are open to allies, you may be better served taking some primaris marines instead.
But the unit isn't bad per se. A tad expensive, but the fact they are assault weapons is nice, as it allows the squad to remain mobile. Add to that the dual profile and ability to shoot both (albeit at minus one to hit) and you have a decent little fire support squad good at taking out all forms of infantry. That objective just outside your deployment zone? They are perfect to go grab it turn one or two and defend it the rest of the game.

This is probably the one squad of Custodes I'd forgo misericordia on. Maybe take one just so they have some AP when they get charged, but ideally there is some things nearby that can come support, like a shield captain or dreadnought. Or Jetbikes than can race back.
I think this squad would have been more interesting and useful as a troop choice with some sort of restriction. Maybe 1 per custodian guard squad or min squad size of 5 instead of 3 (making it a tough choice from a points perspective) or both? But honestly, at 165 for 3 of them in the HS spot, I am more likely to spring for other units. They'd aren't terrible, but like everything in Custodes you are faced with the question- why take them when you can take more Jetbikes?

The real lamentable thing- in 30k this squad has ANOTHER heavy weapon option. And FW still hasn't made that part... I'm afraid we will get finalized 40k rules for this AND THEN that weapon will come out.

That is it for part three! Tell us what you think in the comments below and come back for tomorrow where we discuss the Lord of War and Dedicated Transport, as well as some closing thoughts in Part Four!