Friday, December 25, 2020

Imperial Armour Compendium Critical Review: Part 4- Grey Knights, Inqusition, Adeptus Mechanicus, Adeptus Custodes

A Continuation of our 11 part review of the Imperial Armour Compendium. This time we are diving into the Grey Knights, Inquisition, Ad Mech and Custodes portion of the book.

I am really trying to not be salty in this, and I am going to be as factual as possible but maintain a critical eye, the intent of which is to inform you and maybe, just maybe, let GW know we notice and care about this stuff. The details matter in an expensive hobby like this, and if it takes a small time blog to hold them accountable then so be it.

This review will be an in depth 11 part series, and I will update and link each successive article below, so keep checking back for updates.

  • Part 1- Book Overview
  • Part 2- Space Marines
  • Part 3- Astra Militarum
  • Part 4- Grey Knights, Inquisition, Adeptus Mechanicus, Adeptus Custodes
  • Part 5- Imperial Knights, Titan Legions, Chaos Knights and Chaos Titan Legions
  • Part 6- Chaos Space Marines, Death Guard, and Chaos Daemons
  • Part 7- Craftworlds and Drukhari
  • Part 8- Necrons and Orks
  • Part 9- T'au Empire and Tyranids
  • Part 10- Death Korps of Krieg Focused Discussion
  • Part 11- Forgeworld Warhammer Legends
Kicking off with Grey Knights and their TWO Datasheets. Of particular note, with the new FAQ, both these units no longer have Adeptus Astartes as a Keyword, but instead of Sanctic Astartes. Interesting indicator of things to come for Grey Knights, and definitely makes stratagems and keywords clearer in the future, closing opportunities for abuse. It is sad that the Doomglaive and the Vortimer Razorback are stuck in legends, but fortunately if you have these models they can still be used as a Venerable Dreadnought and a Razorback with Twin-Heavy Bolter (which isn't half bad as a support tank now). And I still find it incredibly odd that the only army with a full page of art in the whole book is Grey Knights. 
  1. Grey Knights Thunderhawk Gunship.  Same treatment as the Adeptus Astartes one. 710 MASSIVE points decrease and no Martial Legacy. Missing stats on the sheet for a bunch of base wargear. Have to refer to the codex for Airborne, Hard to Hit, Hover Jet and Supersonic. Attacks went from 6/4/3/2 to 6/D6/D3. Lost a point of BS at its highest bracket. Has a rule to specify you ALWAYS measure to the hull which is important after Aresgate in competitve 9th edition. Hellstrike battery got the same bonuses as on the Fire Raptor and Storm Eagle. Thunderhawk heavy cannon went from D6 damage to D3+2 and blast. The Turbo-laser Heavy 3 instead of D3 and gained a point of AP, but damage went to flat 6 instead of 2D6, and lost its ability to do D3 mortal wounds on a wound roll of 6. Lost its invulnerable save which is BIG IMO.  Cluster bombs did get alot better, procing on a 4+ instead of 5+ now, and up to 18 dice instead of 12 or 3D6 vs Vehicles/Monsters instead of 2D6.
  2. Land Raider Banisher. 70 point reduction. This used to be the Vortimer pattern land raider redeemer, but renamed for some unknown reason., my guess is to avoid any potential <Land Raider Redeemer> keyword abuse potential. Attacks on the lowest profile went from 1 to D3. The Flamestorm cannons did become incinerators, so that is a nice touch. But the Psycannons lost 2 shots, but went up to 2 damage. Considering that Heavy Bolters did too though, this isn't as amazing, but since they are still S7, they are more likely to wound. It is a nice improvement, but it is still a Land Raider in a world with Repulsors, so take that under advisement. 

Inquisition is next up with their two dataslates. Lok was never really a good competitive choice, but Rex had his uses, particularly in Custodes lists. He still has some play in him, but was needlessly nerfed IMO. 
  1. Inquisitor Solomon Lok- No points change. Frankly, with the number of things discontinued in Imperial Guard, I'm surprised he stayed around. For one, he is dead. He died in the Imperial Armour he showed up in. They try to make it seem like he may not be dead in his fluff blurb in the compedium, but he was last seen charging a Heirophant with a satchel of demo charges and no way off the planet so yeah... not sure there is a way out of that. Anyway he has no statline change, but his pistol gained a point of AP and his powersword is +1S, which makes him S4 in a T4 meta, so that is good. Unfortunately, he lost his 6+ to ignore wounds and in general isn't very useful as an inquisitor without Psychic powers. The model is cool, and I'd suggest just using it as a ordinary Xenos (or really any ordo) inquisitor.
  2. Lord Inquisitor Hector Rex- 10 point reduction. Lost a point of WS but gained an Attack and a Wound. Went from cast 2 powers and denying 3 to casting 2 denying 2. His storm shield got the same change all storms shields got, which given he is in terminator armour is mathematically better in most cases. His shield now also gives him a 5+ to ignore wounds, which makes it odd that they took it from Lok. His bolt pistol gained a point of AP and his custom sword, Arias, gained +1 S making him S5 in combat. It also wend from D3 damage to flat 2 damage, unfortunately it went from doing a mortal wound against Daemons for every successful hit to doing a mortal wound for every successful wound. Over all a Nerf, but still not a terrible choice at 100 points. 
Next Up Adeptus Mechanicus. Its a shame we will never get Fires of Cyraxus. Here was a chance to port in some of those amazing 30k models, even if they just gave them legends rules, but unfortunately nope. An interesting thing is that the Secutarii got the <TITAN LEGION> keyword as a faction keyword but unfortunately there is no detachment in the game that has a LoW and elites choices in it, and there are no specific benefits for that keyword and there are no HQ units that can take that keyword. Fortunately they kept their rule that they can be in a Ad Mech detachment without ruining the <FORGE WORLD> keyword of that detachment. It will be nice if in the future there are more expansive rules for <TITAN LEGION> and they can all together replace <FORGE WORLD> so you can have all the Ad Mech units in a real Secutarii army (and allow them to ride in any transport). It isn't totally useless though, as they can perform Heroic Interventions if they are within 6" of a friendly Titan of the same legion, and can move 6" if they do so. It is really a great addition. I would be worried about them not being able to keep up with a titan, but really titans stay still in 40k because their weapons have such great ranges. Keep them nearby to a titan to protect against things like Sanguinary Guard.
  1. Secutarii Hoplites- Previous Rules for them here from FW. 1 point increase per model, so 10 points more for the squad. Still a steal at 100 points with a 5+ Invuln and the mag inverter shields. Other than the mentioned heroic intervention and keyword changes above, not other difference. 
  2. Secutarii Peltasts- Previous Rules for them here from FW. No point changes. Lost the ignis blaze profile for their gun than gave them the ability to fire their weapons at targets out of line of sight, but both other profiles gained a point of S and the Flachette profile went from Rapid Fire 2 to Assault 3, but went down from 24" to 18". Still overall an improvement for their gun IMO. Not sure how much utility they bring to an Ad Mech army, but they definitely improved from what they were.
  3. Terrax-Pattern Termite- Same treatment as elsewhere. 44 point increase. Gained 4 wounds.  Attacks went from 6/D6/D3 to 3/D3/1, which is a big nerf for the Drill. Drill also lost its cascading mortal wounds and instead just went to D3+3 damage and D3+6 vs vehicles. This may be better, but its less flavorful IMO and is majorly offset by losing attacks. For some reason they finally included storm bolters here. Volkites gained 5" and they do mortals on a wound of 6. Heavy Flamer and melta cutter gained the game wide bonuses all flamers and meltas have been getting, but melta also went from heavy D6 to heavy 5 and gained 4" of range. So the drill got better at shooting, but worse at drilling, which seems to be the point. In the latest FAQ it also gained the ability to transport Secutarii units.
And finally Adeptus Custodes! The Forge World rules for 8th are all here and not in the previous Index. Really one of the only factions in the book that saw no nerfs, and maybe even improvements, over their previous rules.
  1. Custodian Guard w/ Adrasite/Pyrithite Spears. No points change for Adrasites, 5 point increase for Pyrithite. Really the only noticeable change is Pyrithite got the same melta changes (D6+2) all other melta has been getting in 9th. I haven't been seeing them used a lot in custodes lists, but really that comes down to Allarus and Dawneagles being better. However, I think some clever lists can really employ these guys and they have some more play in them in the 9th ed meta than they did in the 8th ed one.
  2. Sagittarum Custodians- No points change. Also no significant change. Only difference being the Bolt Volley went up 1 damage, following suite with heavy bolters. But the fact tables got smaller in 9th and improvements in terrain rules have really made these an amazing Troop choice for Custodes.
  3. Aquilon Custodians- 5 Point decrease for base wargear and Twin Adrathic destructor, but no points change if you run Talons and Firepikes. Infernus Firepikes went up to 15" from 12", gaining 3 like every flamer weapon in the game. While not as big a deal for them, since they were already over the 9" threshold for deepstrikes, 15" is impressive. Solerite power guantlets changed like all powerfists to flat 2 damage from D3.  Really the only problem with Aquilons is they aren't Allarus...
  4. Contemptor-Galatus and Achillus- 5 point reduction for the Galatus, no change for the Achillus. Gained an attack and a wound and gained Guardian Eternal like all SM dreads, reducing damage by 1 to a min of 1 for all attacks. The Galatus Warblade's shooting range increased 4 inches and the Achillus Dreadspear went to flat 3 damage for shooting, which is a big improvement from d3 Damage. The spear's melee profile also went to D3+3 from D6. The Achillus lost impaling lunge unfortunately, but the other gains it got outweigh that. While I like the improvements to the Galatus more, I feel the Achillus still has more use to a Custodes Army. It is just better at killing vehicles, where as the Galatus shines best against infatry, and Custodes already handle infantry superbly with every other unit. Deepstriking or outflanking a couple of Dreadnoughts though really can ruin your opponent's day.
  5. Agamatus Custodians- 5 point reduction per model for base wargear and adrathic devastator. 20 point reduction over all for the las-pulsar. Otherwise no changes. Really the only reason you don't see these in play is the fact Dawneagles are just cheaper, points and dollar wise. That and the Achillus can do the job of the Las-pulsars for less points with more damage reliability.
  6. Venatari Custodians- No points change. Only change is the lance went to flat 2 damage from D3 damage. But these are still Custodes with a 3+ save and Jetbikes still exist... sooo yeah. Cool models, not bad rules, just not the optimal pick. 
  7. Pallas-Grav Attack- 10 point reduction. In the past I didn't rate these all that well with the Caladius around, but with the way vehicles and cover work in 9th, they have more play in them and can really be a nuisance to your opponent and pair really well as support for Vertus Praetors.
  8. Telemon Heavy Dreadnought- No points change. Gained Guardian Eternal WHICH IS GREAT, especially when you consider the Leviathan lost a point of T. Its explosion also only does d3 mortals instead of d6. He is a very large investment still in a meta with more and better ways to deal with big vehicles,, which is why you see Contemptors popping up more, but this guy is still great and you will see Custodes players running them. 
  9. Caladius Grav Tank- No points change. Only change is the loss of gravitic backwash, which is really unfortunate, especially with the changes to overwatch in 9th edition. That and the point reduction on the Pallas really made 2 Pallas worth it sometimes compared to a Caladius. But these are still great tanks and still have their uses in the game IMO. Maybe not as the super stars they once were with all the improvements to melta and other anti-tank weapons, but still not a bad choice.
  10. Coronus Grav Carrier- 15 point decrease, no other changes. Its nice, but this is still an 18 wound model, which is a liability in 9th. And its a transport for a faction with jetbikes and a universal ability to deep strike. It just doesn't have great uses. Cool model. Great for Crusade and Narrative play. But just not something you will see much in match play. Never have and likely never will. 
  11. Orion Assault Dropship- No points change. Attacks nerfed like all the Astartes Aircraft down from 6/4/2 to 6/D6/D3. Otherwise no changes. When it comes down to it, this has the same downside of the Coronus- you are paying a lot for unnecessary transport capacity. 9th ed table are just too small to need it and you have so many ways to come onto the board now. What you really need is more firepower which leads to the... 
  12. Ares Gunship- Up 20 points. Same attack change as the Orion. The infernus firebomb also changed. You now roll 1 dice for each unit instead of 1d6 for each model in the unit up to 20 (or 3d6 for a vehicle and monster). It still is a 4+, but instead of 1 mortal wound it does D3. Big nerf against horde armies. An Ork mob of 20 boyz on average would have taken 10 mortals, and now suffers 2 mortals 50% of the time. Not really standing out to me as a FIREBOMB. The trade off is now it is each unit within 6" of the point you dropped it, but most of the time that is only 1 or 2 units, and against hordes, like those orks, you are still not going to average the same number of wounds. Weirdly, it really took a massive conflagration bomb and made it a great character sniping weapon, especially clustered support characters. Besides that though, this thing has some great uses in 9th BUT remember, anything that doesn't fit in the deployment zone (and this and the orion won't for some missions) can't do anything 1st turn. This will limit it in comp play, but it is still really good.
That is it for part 4. Sorry these are coming so slow. They take a bit to write, but I hope they are informative.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Imperial Armour Compendium Critical Review: Part 3- Astra Militarum

 A Continuation of our 11 part review of the Imperial Armour Compendium. This time we are diving into the Astra Militarum portion of the book.

I am really trying to not be salty in this, and I am going to be as factual as possible but maintain a critical eye, the intent of which is to inform you and maybe, just maybe, let GW know we notice and care about this stuff. The details matter in an expensive hobby like this, and if it takes a small time blog to hold them accountable then so be it.

This review will be an in depth 11 part series, and I will update and link each successive article below, so keep checking back for updates.

  • Part 1- Book Overview
  • Part 2- Space Marines
  • Part 3- Astra Militarum
  • Part 4- Grey Knights, Inqusition, Adeptus Mechanicus, Adeptus Custodes
  • Part 5- Imperial Knights, Titan Legions, Chaos Knights and Chaos Titan Legions
  • Part 6- Chaos Space Marines, Death Guard, and Chaos Daemons
  • Part 7- Craftworlds and Drukhari
  • Part 8- Necrons and Orks
  • Part 9- T'au Empire and Tyranids
  • Part 10- Death Korps of Krieg Focused Discussion
  • Part 11- Forgeworld Warhammer Legends
So since part 10 is Death Korps, I am skipping them for now

Lets kick off with Tanks. Loosing the Leman Russ Annihilator is big and non-sensical IMO. The hope would be it moves into the next codex, but seeing as the Leman Russ kit is relatively new, and GW is really big now about only supporting rules with models, I have a big feeling we will not see a new LR with a twin lascannon option to support a codex Annihilator. While rules wise the conqueror may not be missed, it really was a fanatic favorite, as who didn't love the Conquerors in Guant's Ghosts "Honour Guard". The Stygies vanquisher rolling up into the normal one makes sense. Gryphonne turrets long OOP were better anyways. Same for the Artermia hellhound. I'll still likely buy that version as it just looks better.
  1. Carnodon Tank- 2 point increase with its new base wargear. Rules were not in the previous index, but were available here. Why did this stay in 40k if the Stormhammer went to legends and the Aurox didn't come over? Really scratching my head on this one. Maybe because they removed the LR Annihilator and realized there is a place for a Lascannon heavy Guard battle tank? I'm just at a loss. It got some interesting Stat line changes- Gained 2W and a point of WS and S. Also M degrades less going from a 12/8/4 to a 12/9/6. Also its explosions went from 6" to D6". For some reason all its twin weapons are Carnodon specific. Advantage- they show the profile. Disadvantage- that a whole separate line in future Chapter Approved points updates and any stat changes have to be called out specifically. Gets even weirder when you consider the sponson weapons and just single versions of all the turret weapons, but have no stats shown and would be subject to codex updates/changes, leading to a potential mismatch of profiles and points. Tons of blank space on the page that could have been filled with those weapon stats though...
  2. Malcadors- Defender, Annihilator and Battle Tank- Annihilator down 75 points,  Defender down 65 points, Malcador down 60 points, but WHY DID GW FAQ THEIR GRIDING ADVANCE AT THE START OF 9TH TO WORK LIKE A LEMAN RUSS AND THEN TAKE IT AWAY IN THE IMPERIAL ARMOUR!!! I at least got to use one for 3 games with it double tapping. They went from FINALLY BEING USABLE TO BEING GARBAGE TIER AGAIN All of them are missing their heavy stubber sponson options and lost a point of LD. Explosions went from 2d6" to d6". For some reason the Annihilator has a Malcador Twin Lascannon but the normal Malc doesn't have its own battle cannon. No weapon stats shown for anything other than that twin las. Defender may have some play since it has 7 heavy bolters and those are really good now, but honestly, just a heavy weapons platoon. 18 W vehicles are now just a huge liability in 9th and can ALWAYS be seen. 
  3. Malcador Infernus- 75 point reduction. This is separated because it didn't have grinding advance before, and its Inferno Cannon actually got a nice improvement. Went up from 2d6 shots to 3d6 and gained 2" of range. It did lose its cool chemical weapon shooting profile unfortunately, but those extra d6 shots should help off set that and still allow you to wreck non-vehicles. Really it just lost effectiveness against monsters and high T infantry like Death Guard and Custodes. Only one of the Malcadors to keep its heavy stubbers, which I don't get why the got that detail right here and not on the others. Just more of the bad editing and general lack of effort I feel went into this book. Explosion went from 2d6" to d6", which is oddly not consistent with a Hellhound even. Lost some good flavor with its chemical fire and big explosion, but may find play at its reduced cost. Still though, its an 18W vehicle and you can get 2 Hellhounds for less points. 
  4. Valdor Tank Hunter- 65 point reduction. Big Nerfs. Range cut on the nuetron laser from 72 to 48. Heavy 2D3 to Heavy 3, lost a point of AP and 2 points of S down to S12. Only plus is now if stationary its damage is 6 instead of D6, but I would rather have 2d3 shots D6 damage personally. It also lost its cool ability that if a target was damaged by a neutron laser, it was then -1 to hit in its next shooting phase. Lost a TON of flavor with its explode going from a 2+ to a 6+. For some reason it got to keep steel behemoth with the other Malcador hulls lost grinding advance. Sure it went down in points, but it was overpriced before, so with the nerfs its pretty lame IMO. And at 20 W it also is always seen.
  5. Thunderers- 35 point reduction. These are my favorite Guard Tanks from a model/lore perspective. But they have been treated SOOOOO poorly for 2 editions now. They used to trade off the greater firepower and fire arcs of a Leman Russ for more speed and toughness. And once more WHY DID GW FAQ THEIR GRIDING ADVANCE AT THE START OF 9TH TO WORK LIKE A LEMAN RUSS AND THEN TAKE IT AWAY IN THE IMPERIAL ARMOUR!!! These are basically useless since the Leman Russ Demolisher exists. At 30 points more, its just worth it to have grinding advance. I'd rather the Thunderer cost more and have kept the Grinding.

Artillery is one of the few areas that saw okay treatment IMO, with the stuff not on tracks fairing better than their tracked equivalents. If you've wanted to do an artillery regiment as an army in the past, I'm not saying this is the best time to do it, but there have definitely been worse times. Of note though the batteries are gone and only the carriages remain, which sadly means things like the Hydra Battery (not really artillery) and the Medusa Battery are things of legends now. I would not begrudge someone using the Earthshaker battery as a carriage though. 
  1. Armageddon Pattern Basilisks and Medusas- 5 points increase and decrease respectively. Seems weird with all the other low effort design decisions like making Mars Alpha Russes normal Russes, that these didn't just become Normal Basilisks and Medusas. Its not like open topped is something like it used to be. Both lost a W compared to their last versions, but now match the codex for the Basilisk. None of the wargear is shown for either other than the Medusa Siege Cannon. 
  2. Colossus Bombards- 5 point reduction. Gun went from 2d6 to 3D3, so an average of 1 less shot a turn, but a less swingy average and only a minimum of 3 shots now instead of 2, at the loss of a potential 12 shots. Really not much to see here. Most consistent performance, but less opportunity for truly devastating performance, same price essentially
  3. Earthshaker and Medusa Carriages- No change in cost for the Earthshaker, 10 point increase for the Medusa. The Crew as rolled into the stat line with Attacks and Weapons skill, but that means there are less wounds overall BUT you can no longer just kill the crew to kill the gun. Also lost a point of T and S. They also no longer explode. If you do play Krieg, these probably get the most benefit of any vehicle. Only wargear for the Medusa is shown again.
  4. Heavy Quad Launcher and Heavy Mortar- 20 and 10 point decreases respectively. Just like the Carriages, the crew has been rolled up into the stat line. Lost T and S as a result, no increase in W. Both lost Explode as well. No other changes for the Quad Launcher, but the Mortar went from D3 to a flat 2 damage. If you like artillery, probably still worth looking into, especially quad mortars. 
Support Vehicles. Not much to say on these things really. Everything OOP is gone, like Taurus and Atlas. No surprise there, but I really wish some of these things would come back. 
  1. Cyclops Demolition Vehicle- 10 point decrease and moved from Elites to Heavy Support, which is already crowded in the Guard line, so a bummer there. Loss of 3 LD. Its exlposion for being destroyed went from a 3+ to a 5+ which is sad.
  2. Rapier Laser Destroyer Battery- 15 point decrease. Just like the artillery pieces, crew have been rolled up into the unit. Unlike the artillery, it gained a W as a result. Oddly, the old Index has a Space Marine stat line for the Guardsmen Crew, which I assume got FAQ'd later on. Gained an inch of movement. The laser destroyer stats match the changes in Space Marines. Weapon went from Heavy 1 to Heavy 3, lost 2 points of S but went to D3+3 damages from D6, so much better on average, but lost its rules for causing extra damage which were quite neat. What I am really wondering about though is why is this still in the Guard when other models went to legends. On Forge World, this was only ever made for the Space Marines and for Solar Auxilia. And now, only the one with Space Marine crew is still around. Soooo yeah. Awkward. 
  3. Trojan Support Vehicle- 35 point decrease but WOW this got bad. Went from being a must take if you had a Super Heavy to a why bother at all. Gone are its abilities to reroll, and now you get to reload 1 shot weapons... which is almost exclusively Hunter Killer Missiles. If you run Manticores or Deathstrikes it may pay for its points. And the idea of firing a Deathstrike twice is funny. I also now heals 1 wound for a vehicle within 3", but you should just get a techpriest instead. It did gain the ability to transport 6 models as well. Best use I see is using it in apocalypse/mega battles to move around a command squad or techpriest and reload your big missiles. 
  4. Hades Breaching Drill- 15 point increase. Lost a point of WS, gained a point of S. Now completely separated from Veterans and finally made able to be run with Krieg Engineers unlike all of 8th edition. As a result it moved from Elites to Dedicated transport. The Drill got a lot deadlier, moving flat 3 damage and flat 6 against vehicles from D3 and D6. Makes sense because getting hit by a drill should chew up anything. Speaking of which, thank goodness it kept its 4+ invuln in melee, representing peoples general unwillingness to punch a whirling drill of doom. It no longer does 2D6 damage to buildings, but it does automatically hit them. Not sure what to think about that, but how often are you attacking buildings? It didn't explode before, but now it does. In general, I think this unit majorly improved. Odd that so many things with point reductions are generally less playable now, and something with a point increase became more playable. 
  5. Tarantula Battery- 10 points cheaper (HB and Lascannon versions). Went from heavy support to fortifications, which stinks, but fortunately you get CP back if they are the same faction as your Warlord. Lost 3 points of LD which doesn't makes sense IMO. Its a machine. Not sure how relevant it will be, but I am sure it will matter for some psychic powers. No longer can take assault cannons or multi-meltas (except as legends wargear). Still has to shoot the closest unit, but its simplified how you determine that IMO.
Super Heavy Tanks. These didn't fare as badly as the Space Marine ones with no martial legacy to plague them and they all kept Steel Behemoth, but you have to go to the codex to read the rule. The problem is they are still major investments points wise AND have to be taken in a Super Heavy Detachment, meaning they still cost CP. Really Guard need the same rules as knights where you get that CP back if they have the same keyword as your warlord. Overall, the CP cost of these things just really makes the major points decreases feel inconsequential. 

The Arkurian patterns are gone (except Stormblade), including the Stormhammer for some reason. It is still made so IDK. Also the Gorgon heavy transport! There was so much outcry for this to come back into production... Why pull its rules? I feel like someone just wanted to spit in the face of the fans, like they feel like we dictated company policy and they needed vengance for it. IDK. Also, the Dominus Siege bombard is gone. Why it was there to begin with IDK since it only ever had a model for Epic. 
  1. Marcharius Variants- 100 point decrease for Macharius, 110 for vanquisher, 85 for vulcan. Lost the Omega variant, no suprise there. Lost a point of WS and S, but gained attacks from 3/D3/1 to 6/D6/D3. They also now degrade at 12 wounds instead of 10, so worse there too. The Vanquisher cannon lost its blast shells profile but its AP profile improved majorly, going to S16, AP-4 and flat 9 damage from S9/AP-3/roll 2d6 pick one damage. It also adds 1 to hit vs vehicles and monsters. The Vulcan got the nerf bat hard, gaining 1 shot at the cost of loosing double tap if stationary... oof. Out of the 3, maybe the vanquisher has a place still. But it still suffers from the same things Guard superheavies have suffered from for an entire edition. 
  2. Preator- 30 point decrease. Basically you get your heavy bolters free. Yay. Lost a point of WS and S, but gained attacks from 3/D3/1 to 6/D6/D3. Now degrades at 10W instead of 9. Lost its Pilum shooting profile for shooting units with Fly. BUT Both the Foehammer and Firestorm can now shoot without LoS. The Foehammer gained a point of S and the Firestorm gained D6 shots up to 3D6. Overall a win, so if you can justify the CP, this guy isn't so bad. But at 20W hard to hide. 
  3. Crassus- 20 point decrease. Lost a point of WS and S, but gained attacks from 3/D3/1 to 6/D6/D3. Now degrades at 10W instead of 9. Lost its overdrive ability allowing it to advance and fire. Funny story, the Gorgon in legends at first didn't have tansport, and then when they "fixed" it, they just copy pasted from the Crassus, not bumping up the 35 capacity to 50. But as far as the actual Crassus goes... really not worth the 3CP IMO for it being a LoW. 
  4. Minotaur- 50 point decrease. Lost a point of WS and S, but gained attacks from 3/D3/1 to 6/D6/D3. Now degrades at 12W instead of 10. The Twin Earthshaker is now 2d3+3, which is nice with Blast. BUT it lost its built in 5+ invuln save, which is really something all Guard Superheavies really needed. Instead AP -1 is now AP 0. Would have been okay if it reduced all AP by one, but melta and lascannons will still wreck it with their high AP. Old minotaur had 2 heavy bolters on its datasheet, but they were never on the model, so makes sense. IMO just get earthshaker carriages. You can get 3 for the price of one of these, at no cost to CP and with more wounds and shots. 
  5. Stormblade- 70 points cheaper. My second favorite guard tank. Lost a point of WS and 2 points of S. Attacks down from 9/6/3 to 6/D6/D3. Plasma blastgun stats went up 1 point of S, AP and Damage for both profiles but the Supercharge now does 3 mortals when it overheats instead of 1. SO I would skip supercharge without some sort of ability to reroll hits (alas the Trojan). But the standard shot is better than old supercharge, so no great loss. But no one really used it before, it really needed big gains and we didn't see them. For some reason, they called its twin heavy bolter a "stormblade twin heavy bolter" which goes back to future revision control issues mentioned with the Carnodon Tank. Just like the Baneblade and Shadowsword and ilk, really suffers from being a huge fire magnet that is now even harder to hide, costs CP to take, and now has less ways to improve its shooting with the loss of the trojan. You won't see this outside of the largest of 40k games. 
Flyers. You have to go to the codex to read the rules for Airborne, Supersonic, Hover Jet, and Hard to Hit. Alas the noble aquilla lander is no more, as fabled as its crashed terrain piece from the old Battle for Macragge set. Otherwise, the flyers are generally meh. Too easy to kill and don't deliver enough bang for their buck. But they can be fun, and used wisely can score some secondaries. But there is a reason you see so few of them in use right now. And the IA compendium didn't give them the help they needed. 
  1. Avenger Strike Fighter- Down 45 points. Lost a point S and T, now has degrading Attacks, degrades 1 wound earlier but is 5" faster as it degrades, and it lost a point of BS (but vehicles no longer have the penalty for moving and shooting heavy weapons). Avenger bolt cannon feels a lot more boltier now though, gaining 2 shots and becoming 2D. It did however loose all of its options, and it can not even take a Hellstrike Rack, which I feel should be FAQd to allow. 
  2. Voss Pattern Lightning- 90 point decrease sort of. This is a weird one, because you used to have to use the rules for the old lightning, which wasn't really a one for one swap with the Voss pattern as the Voss pattern did not have the long barreled autocannon, but it was made for 30k primarily. Same stat line changes as the Avenger above. Lost options for Tactical bombs, Skystrike and Hellfury missiles, now only can take a Hellstrike Rack, which is a better weapon than the Hellstrikes becoming heavy 2 and no one use only, and instead of 2D6 pick the highest for damage, its now D6+2. It would have been nice to have the skystrike still at least. Not bad for its new cost, but flyers are just so easy to kill right now. Take it if you really like planes. But thats about it. 
  3. Arvus Lighter- 30 point reduction. This funny little thing lost a point of S and lost its options to take any weapons so now it is just a flying box. Also lost its repair ability and its ability to squadron. Without a squadroning ability I think it should have been moved to Dedicated Transport. IMO the funniest thing to do with it is transport 2 cyclops demo vehicles. 
  4. Thunderbolt- 15 point reduction. For some reason, like the carnodon, all of its weapons are now Thunderbolt specific. It lost a point of S and BS and it now has degrading attacks just like the Lightning, but it is 5" faster as it degrades now, but it starts degrading 1 wound earlier too. Same changes for options as the lightning, including the hellstrike rack. It also lost its repair ability. 
  5. Vulture Gunship- Up 20 points for its base loadout, but everyone takes punishers, which is down 20 points. This thing should be made in plastic already. Lost a point of S and its attacks now degrade. Lost its options for multilasers, auto cannons, lascannons, hellfury missiles, skystrike missiles and bombs. Picked up the Hellstrike rack with the rest of the flyers above. But as I said, who runs it with anything but the Gatlings. Probably one of the few flyers you will still commonly see, and half that time probably in Genestealer Cult armies.
  6. Vendetta Gunship- 50 point reduction. The Valkyrie kit should just be upgraded to include a lascannon sprue and this rolled into the codex. Same stat changes as the Vulture. Now has the hellstrike rack as an option. IDK if this is really worth it over Valkyries, but 3 twin las is never something to laugh at.
Super Heavy Flyers. Not alot to talk about here. They cost CP because of super heavy deatchments and in general are too easy to kill IMO and too many points for what they do. They also changed the bomb mechanics on these guys which I discuss below. 
  1. Marauder Bomber- Down 10 points. Its attacks degrade now, but it is 5" faster as it degrades. Degrades to its final bracket at 5 wounds remaining now instead of 4. Once again, for some reason its twin heavy bolters and lascannons are listed as Marauder specific.  Can only drop heavy bombs twice now instead of three times and they changed. Now you subtract 1 for characters to hit and then roll 1 dice. on a 4-5 the target suffers D3 mortals. On a 6 it is D6 mortals. Before it was 1 mortal for every 4+ and you rolled 3d6 for a vehicle/monster and 1d6 up to 12 for every model in a unit. So this feels better for attacking vehicles, but worse for attacks mobs, which I'm pretty sure is what unguided bombs should be better at. Hellstorm is now the Inferno Bomb, and instead of doing Mortals on a 3+ for up to 10 models, it is a 4+ for D3 mortals on the unit. It also is worded very poorly as it is "subtract 1 to hit if the model is a non-vehicle or non-monster character unit". So im not sure is the CHARACTER part applies to both. I'm also confused at why it used to be trash at vehicles and monsters as a hellstorm, but is now nerfed to hit against non-vehicle and monster units. I think they just screwed this one up. 
  2. Marauder Destroyer- 10 point increase. Same stat changes as the Marauder. Same changes to heavy bombs. Also lists all its weapons as marauder specific. Went from having 8 hellstrike missiles as an option to having 1 hellstrike rack, which is the same as the fighters. Really think it should have the option of buying 2 hellstrike racks to represent the double capacity. 
Well that is the Astra Militarum stuff. Atillery did okay, flyers did too but they weren't hot before and this did nothing to change that. Some things were super nerfed (Trojans, Malcadors, Thunderers) while other things are finally fixed (Hades Drill). In general, in terms of in game viability, I feel everything either stayed the same or got worse. Guard super heavies still have no place in 9th and that's just a real shame, especially since I feel that is really where FW should shine in the 40k rules. 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Allies of Incovenience: Episode 29- Imperial Armour Compendium and Deathwatch

 

This month Evan, Ian, Chris and Jason are on to talk about their recent hobby progress, including continued griefing of Jason to paint his Thunderhawk, and then go in depth into a review of the new Imperial Armor Compendium. Which really turns more into a critique (we do not have a good opinion of it). To lighten the mood though, we follow it up with Ian talking to us about Deathwatch and our usual shenanigans unfold from there. 

Listen/Subscribe on any of the following platforms



00:00 Intro and Blood Bowl Discussion
10:02 Hobby Progress
36:18 Imperial Armour Compendium Discussion
1:12:35 Codex Supplement Deathwatch Discussion

Songs and Soundclips
Blue Mark- Atlan Urtag
Kaap mere- Bugotak
All Clips: Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Monday, November 16, 2020

Imperial Armour Compendium Critical Review: Part 2- Space Marines

 A Continuation of our 11 part review of the Imperial Armour Compendium. This time we are diving into the Adeptus Astartes portion of the book.

I am really trying to not be salty in this, and I am going to be as factual as possible but maintain a critical eye, the intent of which is to inform you and maybe, just maybe, let GW know we notice and care about this stuff. The details matter in an expensive hobby like this, and if it takes a small time blog to hold them accountable then so be it.

This review will be an in depth 11 part series, and I will update and link each successive article below, so keep checking back for updates.

  • Part 1- Book Overview
  • Part 2- Space Marines
  • Part 3- Astra Militarum
  • Part 4- Grey Knights, Inqusition, Adeptus Mechanicus, Adeptus Custodes
  • Part 5- Imperial Knights, Titan Legions, Chaos Knights and Chaos Titan Legions
  • Part 6- Chaos Space Marines, Death Guard, and Chaos Daemons
  • Part 7- Craftworlds and Drukhari
  • Part 8- Necrons and Orks
  • Part 9- T'au Empire and Tyranids
  • Part 10- Death Korps of Krieg Focused Discussion
  • Part 11- Forgeworld Warhammer Legends
Going to start with the most contentious part of the Space Marines (and CSM): MARTIAL LEGACY

Martial Legacy: If your Army is Battle-forged, then when this unit is included in a Detachment, increase that Detachment's Command Cost by 1CP.

This is a replacement for the old Relic rule and I have very mixed feelings about it. While its okay if you were taking 1 Leviathan or Relic Contemptor, it really adds up and makes taking thematic/fluffy lists much more difficult. It also means where as before you could take a Relic in each battlefeild role (Heavy Support, Fast Attack, Elites, etc) relatively easily, you now have a heavy cost and 3 units with martial legacy starts having the same command cost as a full detachment, without any real reason to. It really gets absurd when you start talking about Outrider/Vanguard/Spearhead detachments, and it becomes entirely too burdensome in Super-Heavy detachments. One Lord of War with martial Legacy costs 4 CP to take! Three of them would cost 6! People already are not using Lords of War in 9th edition, and this really puts the nail in that coffin for Space Marines, even with points reductions. 

Really, units should be costed by points or power level alone. If they units needed to be restricted further, then modify their points, or stick with the old Relic method IMO. Or limit them 1 per detachment, or make a techmarine a list requirement (to watch over the venerable wargear). 

Moving on from that into the next segment: Chapters of Renown.
These Chapters include the Red Scorpions, Minotaurs, Blood Ravens, Astral Claws and Carcharodons. Its dissapointing how greatly reduced this list is from previous incarnations, where FW had rules for Mantis Warriors, Lamenters, Red Hunters, Executioners, Exorcists, Fire Angels, Raptors, Sons of Medusa.

But really it doesn't matter that all those chapters are missing, because all the ones present get is a paragraph of fluff and suggested Chapter Successor Traits. Gone are the days of Red Scorpions with Apothecary Sergeants. 

I think this is an okay way to handle the chapters from a balance perspective, however it feels like a cop out. What really makes it feel like a zero effort decision is the fact that White Dwarf at my time of reading this has given two chapters full rules, with traits, warlord traits, stratagems, and even a character (Silver Templars and Tome Keepers). And these are INDEX ASTARTES chapters, implying they are official as Physic Awakening has things like INDEX INQUISITION and Warhammer Community released an INDEX ASTARTES for Space Wolves, Death Watch, Dark Angels, Blood Angels and Black Templars all to hold them over until their supplements came out.

So it would have been nice to at least see a trait for each of these chapters. A lot of people starting playing these because they played the Badab War. It would have been nice for the veterans, which I always felt FW was more aimed at any ways.

But a real big problem here is these are just "Suggestions" and "Recommendations" meaning you could theoretically use any of the Characters with and of the Codex Tactics. Want Carab Culln to have Iron Hands benefits? You can. Want Tyberos the Red Wake to have Space Wolves or Blood Angels now that they are in the codex? You can. I can see this loophole getting closed in the future though. 

Moving on we have the Characters. One nice thing is all of them do no have prescribed Warlord traits, so you can choose. This is unusual for characters. Overall though, I would say the characters massively improved, so if you use these guys (or want to given the loophole above), they are definitely more worth it than before. 
  1. Carab Culln The Risen- Red Scorpions- 135 points cheaper. Leviathan Dreadnought, and the only one without Martial Legacy, so a sneaky way for "Ultramarines" to get a Leviathan. Or really anyone with the noted loop hole above. Missing stats for his heavy bolter, heavy flamers, HK missiles, and twin-assault cannon. Makes you refer to the Contemptor Dreadnought in SM codex for Duty Eternal rule and Captain in the codex for Rites of Battle. He did not have rules in the previous index, but they were in a pdf (Index has his terminator form). Like all Leviathans his Invuln. Save is now a 5+ rather than a 4+. He now only explodes on a 6 rather than a 5 and 6. Death Hold was changed extensively, but still serves a purpose. No longer does mortal wounds, but no longer 1 use only. No longer has a FNP aura. Stats changes- lost 1 wound, 1 point of Toughness and 1 point of LD. Gained 1A. Gained an inch of movement in both of his degraded profiles.  
  2. Casab Sabius- Red Scorpions- 40 points cheaper. Another character not in the index, but who had a PDF. Missing stats for his bolt pistol and grenades. Need to go to the SM codex for Rites of Battle. Purity of Aspect, Action of Intent rule now only affects CORE units, but still only 1 unit a turn. Now can be used in an army with Terminator Carab Culln, but Terminator Culln is now only a legends unit.
  3. Lugft Huron- Astral Claws- 10 points cheaper. You have to refer to the codex for Rites of Battle , Teleport Strike, his Iron Halo and Chapter Master. His Ghost Razers are now just 2 damage lightning claws, loosing 2 points of AP and becoming flat damage rather than D3. They can reroll to wound, which is good because he is just S4. However, they used to ignore invulnerable saves, which is gone now.  Atificer flamer went up to 12" like all flamers, and went from D3 damage to flat 2. His built in bombardment is now just a one time use of the Orbital Bombardment Stratagem for 0 CP. He lost his bonus 1 CP for the army, but he comes back to life now on a 4+ instead of a 5+ and comes back with D3 wounds instead of 1. However, he can only do it once now, where as before it was each time he was reduced to 0 wounds.
  4. Armenneus Valthex- Astral Claws- 15 point increase Missing stats for his bolt pistol and grenades. Now a Master of the Forge. You have to refer to the codex for Blessing of the Omnissiah, Awaken the Machine Spirits and Master of the Forge. His conversion beamer lost a point of S on long range, but gained a point of AP at both short and long range. The Indynabula Array gained a point of S and now works much more straight forward, making 2 additional attacks instead of D3 if there are 3 or more enemies within 1". His aura now only affects bolt weapons of 1 CORE non-primaris unit instead of all boltguns/stormbolters within 6". However, this means you could now put him next to a unit of Devastators with heavy bolters.
  5. Gabriel Angelos- Blood Ravens- 45 points cheaper. Another non-index character with a PDF instead. Have to refer to the codex for Teleport Strike, Iron Halo, Rites of Battle and Chapter Master. Gained an inch of movement, 1W and 1A. Also now BS 2+ instead of 3+, but has nothing to shoot and lost his grenades. Sweeping blows on his God-Splitter now makes 3 additional attacks instead of 1 attack for each enemy within 1". He no longer does D3 Mortal wounds to the unit that kills him. Instead he gained a comical "Leap into the Fray" based off his slick moves in Dawn of War 3. When he charges, roll a D6 and on a 4+ the enemy takes D3 mortals. 
  6. Aseterion Moloc- Minotaurs- 5 points cheaper. Have to refer to the codex for Teleport Strike, Iron Halo, Rites of Battle, Chapter Master and Priest. His storm shield is now a relic shield, but has the same rules. He gained a wound and an attack. His reroll charge aura now affects CORE and Characters instead of just infantry. His Black Spear shooting profile gained a point of AP and is flat 3 damage instead of D3, but the melee no longer does an extra attack vs characters. 
  7. Ivanus Enkomi- Minotaurs- No points change. Have to refer to the codex for Rosarius and Spritual leaders. Missing stats for his Astartes Grenade Launcher and power fist. His crozius gained a point of S and now ignores invuln saves.
  8. Severin Loth- Red Scorpions- 15 points cheaper. Have to refer to the Codex for Psychic Hood, Chief Librarian and his Psyker rules, which specify Primaris Libarian. He Lost a point of WS, lost a W and his 2+ save is now a 3+ save. Missing stats for his bolt pistol and grenades. His aura now only affects CORE units. In general, first character I would call "Nerfed".
  9. Tyberos the Red Wake- Carcharodons- 15 points cheaper. Have to refer to the codex for Teleport Strike, Rites of Battle and Chapter Master. Gained on point of BS, but he has no shooting attacks. Gained +1A Uses to re-roll all hits for his aura. His +1S str aura is now just CORE and Characters. Hunger and Slake used to have different stats, now they are combined. Compromised on the S by making it +2 and adopted the higher AP of Hunger and lower damage of Slake with rerolls to wound from slake. No -1 to hit from Hunger anymore. 
  10.  Bray'arth Ashmantle- Salamanders- 110 point reduction!!! Have to refer to the codex for Duty Eternal, referencing the Dreadnought this time. Lost TWO points of toughness, down from 9 to 7. IMO would have been nice for him to stay 8 at least. Gained 2A though and at least kept a 2+ save. Last place with Dreadfire claws (they aren't even a legends wargear option for some reason). Dreadfire claws now a flat 4 damage instead of D6. Dreadfire heavy flamer dropped a point of damage from 3 to 2 but gained 4" like all flamers. Burning wrath went up from 2" to 3". Explosion radius dropped from 6" to 3".
  11. Hecaton Aiakos- Minotaurs- 15 point increase. Have to refer to the codex for Duty Eternal, referencing the Dreadnought this time. Maintained his 4+ invuln. Missing stats for all his weapons (heavy plasma cannon, storm bolter, dreadnought CCW). Heavy plasma cannon is at least improved though, but that's game wide. Lost his 6+ FNP. His mortal wound ability was nerfed from D3 mortal wounds against a unit he charged to only working on a 3+ vs vehicles, and only doing 1 wound at that, though D3 on a 6+. Explosion radius dropped extensively from 8" to 3". Nerfed overall, but maybe not as much as maybe other Dreads in comparison.
And that's it for characters. I didn't cover Power Level changes, but they all improved there too. Except for Severin Loth and Hecaton Aiakos, I would say the characters are some of the biggest wins of the book. That is at least for the characters here. Not including Terminator Culln, there are 16 characters gone. They are in legends, but its sad to see them go.

Now for the vehicles. One thing I miss about the old index is how they broke up the sections into battlefield support, heavy armour, etc. Its a minor detail, but inconsequential really. But the vehicles here are where some nerfs start rolling in and units start loosing some of their flavor. We also lost Deimos predators, despite them being still sold by Forgeworld. LR Helios and Prometheus are gone, as is the Infernum Razorback. 
  1. Damocles Command Rhino.  33 points cheaper. Doesn't have stormbolter stats listed, its only base wargear. Lost self-repair. Its special rules changed entirely. It now has a 6" aura for rites of battle and tactical precision if a unit on the field has those. Now also gives you +1 CP a turn on the roll of a 5+ instead of a 2d6 roll below the LD of your warlord. However, your warlord no longer needs to be embarked either. It has a limit of one per detachment now. It lost its orbital strike. Also made sure to spell out it cannot transport wulfen or centurion models, but I don't believe there are any characters of those either, and it can only transport 1 character model... so pointless inclusion but future proof I guess. Though I doubt there will ever be a centurion character.
  2. Land Raider Proteus. 35 point reduction. Martial Legacy tank. Missing Twin Lascannon stats, its base wargear, but for some reason lists twin heavy flamer, one of its options, but the only option it lists. Attacks at its lowest bracket went up from 1 to D3. Augury web and heavy armour stayed the same, except heavy armour no longer reduces transport capacity. Like all land raiders, it sadly no longer has PotMS.
  3. Land Raider Achilles. 15 Point Reduction. Missing optional weapons stats. Invuln save went down to a 5+. Quad launcher lost a point of Strength, gains blast. Added volkites as base instead of multi-meltas. 
  4. Sicarans (all variants)- Arcus and Omega are pdfs. 15 to 35 points reductions depending on variant. All have Martial Legacy. All variants are missing optional weapons stats and hull heavy bolter stats. Attacks went from 4/3/2 to 3/D3/1. Explosions went from D6 mortals to D3. Accelerator Cannon lost 2 shots, became heavy, but gained 1 AP and is D2 instead of D2. However it lost its +1 to hit vs Fly and -3 AP on hits of 6+. So some nerfing and flavor loss there. Venator hit bad flavor wise, as it went from being "gyro stabalized" not having penalties for moving and firing to now having to remain stationary to get a bonus. That bonus though is the gun goes from D6 damage to flat 6. Neutron laser also lost a point of AP. Punisher gained a point of S on the rotary cannon, but the tank lost its ability to reroll 1's to hit for remaining stationary. Arcus launcher gained a point of S, lost a point of AP, gained a point of damage, and no longer does mortal wounds on a wound roll of 6 to infantry. While the other Sicarans were slightly nerfed, Omega was boosted. Plasma gained a point of S and D on standard and 3 shots on supercharge. It also gained 12" of range, and a roll of 1 to hit now does 1 damage vice D3. It did lose extra mortal wounds on the target though.
  5. Rapier Carrier- 25 point reduction. Lost a crewman model, but the crew can no longer be targeted separately to kill the carrier.  Gained 1" of movement. Gained the graviton cannon and the quad mortar came back after going missing in 8th. Laser destroyer last 2 points of S, and damage is no longer D3+3, instead it is D6 and you roll and additional D6. On a 3-5, damage is 2D6 and on a 6 damage is 3D6. 
  6. Vindicator Laser Destroyer. 25 point reduction. No stats for its storm bolter. Lost its ability to fire twice for remaining stationary and instead gained 1 shot for the laser destroyer. Damage went to D3+3. It lost a point of AP for overcharge, but it no longer takes mortals on a hit roll of 1, unless it moves. And now it takes 1 mortal wound instead of 3. Overall an improvement. 
  7. Whirlwind Scorpius. 65 point reduction. Missing stats for weapons options. Lost its ability to fire twice when stationary, major nerf but maybe still worth it at the points. But then there is martial legacy. Just take a normal whirwind.  
  8. Terrax-Pattern Termite. 44 point increase. Gained 4 wounds.  Attacks went from 6/D6/D3 to 3/D3/1, which is a big nerf for the Drill. Drill also lost its cascading mortal wounds and instead just went to D3+3 damage and D3+6 vs vehicles. This may be better, but its less flavorful IMO and is majorly offset by losing attacks. For some reason they finally included storm bolters here. Volkites gained 5" and they do mortals on a wound of 6. Heavy Flamer and melta cutter gained the game wide bonuses all flamers and meltas have been getting, but melta also went from heavy D6 to heavy 5 and gained 4" of range. So the drill got better at shooting, but worse at drilling, which seems to be the point.
  9. Tarantula Sentry Batteries. 10 points cheaper (HB and Lascannon versions). Went from heavy support to fortifications, which stinks, but fortunately you get CP back if they are the same faction as your Warlord. Lost 3 points of LD which doesn't makes sense IMO. Its a machine. Not sure how relevant it will be, but I am sure it will matter for some psychic powers. No longer can take assault cannons or multi-meltas (except as legends wargear). Still has to shoot the closest unit, but its simplified how you determine that IMO.
Dreadnoughts. Dreadnoughts hurts me. There is some good stuff for the game here, but Siege Dreads, Chaplain Dreads, and Mortis/Contemptor Mortis Dreads are gone (and contemptor mortis and siege aren't even in legends). Beyond that, Martial Legacy really starts to kill you if you take several of these units below. Overall this may be better for the game, but I also feel the biggest problems with Leviathans had already been fixed. Martial legacy really makes me question their usefulness even with their point reductions. 
  1. Deredeo Dread- 60 point reduction. Martial Legacy. Have to refer to the codex for Duty Eternal and Atomantic shielding. And it lost its layered atomantic shielding that gave it a 4+ invuln in combat. The datasheet doesn't list stats for its twin heavy bolter. Lost the Atomantic Paviase option. Anvillus lost a point of S and gained an AP. Plasma carronade gained a lower non super charged mode and 1 shot. Lascannon battery lost a point of S and AP to change damage to D3+3 from D6. Ailos missile launcher gained D3 shots. The Boreas Air Defence Battery and Volkite Falconet battery are new additions. However, the Boreas is now the only thing that is better are shooting aircraft, as the helical targeting array is gone. Now only explodes on a 6 instead of a 5 or 6.
  2. Relic Contemptor Dread-  Base wargear changed, but for the same load out it would be a 5 point reduction. Has Martial Legacy. Basically replaces the Mortis Dread as well, but was always able to be in a "Mortis" configuration. Some big nerfs here. Lost 3 wounds, WS and BS are now 3+ all the time, but no longer degrades down to 4+ with 1-2 wounds left. Always base 4 attacks, no degrading. 2+ save degraded to a 3+ save. 4+ invuln degraded to a 5+. Missing a bunch of the weapon options, including base wargear on its sheet. C-beam cannon is now a conversion beamer and is weaker and does less damage, but is now a Heavy D3 with blast.  Gained the twin volkite culvern. Lost its reroll to hit for having 2 Dreadnought CCW and its 6+ FNP. Explosion radius is now 3" vice 6".
  3. Leviathan Dreadnought- Base wargear changed, but for the same load out it would be a 130 point reduction. Lost a point of S, T, WS and BS. Invuln save went from 4+ to 5+. Cyclonic melta lance wend from heavy 2d3 to heavy d6, its blast now, but thats worse. Also didn't get the melta damage bonus most things are getting. Siege claws now only make 1 additional attack and lost their reroll to wound vs infantry. Siege drills went from flat 4 damage to 2D3 and 6 vs vehicles. Storm Cannons lost 2 shots and 1 ap, but went to 36" range from 24". Still not worth it IMO. Explosion is now just on a 6 and shrank to 6" from 9".  Ultimately, this doesn't feel like the venerable warrior it should be. Really to me, its the loss of the WS and BS that makes it feel wrong the most.
Not much on the drop pods. The Dreadnought Pod lost a point of T and can no longer drop in a Leviathan (or Deredeo but no one did that before), so nerfed a bit. It now explodes as well. The Deathstorm Drop Pod got a slight boost in overwatch and the missile is now D6 instead of D3 damage, which is good.

Landspeeders were both nerfed pretty bad IMO.
  1. Land Speeder Tempest. 35 point increase. Doesn't list the stats for its assault cannon, the tempest launcher is now just a Typhoon Launcher, which is lame IMO. And the tempest lost its super boost and in exchange just gained 1" of movement, which is laughable because thats the same as all speeders. Its explosion shrunk from 6" to 3". Really lost all reason to ever use a Tempest and it no longer feels unique anyway.
  2. Javelin Attack Speeder. 15 point increase. Martial legacy... 1 CP to take this thing? Oof. Missing stats for its heavy bolter and wargear options. Gained an inch of movement and 1d6 for frag and 1 shot for krak. But still, 1 CP for a boosted missile launcher is a lot to ask. It also lost an attack and a point of LD. 
The Flyers are a mixed bag, but what really stinks is they all gained Martial Legacy for some reason, even though none of them were Relics before. And the Caestus Ram is gone. 
  1. Xiphon- 55 point increase. It does not have its lascannon stats listed and has to refer to the codex for Airborne, Hard to Hit, and Supersonic. And it is nerfed for sure. Not only did it pick up Martial Legacy, but it lost +1 hit to FLY on its lascannons, building it into its missile launcher instead. Launcher gained a point of S at least, which is nice considering most flyers are T7 so it will wound on a 4+. But the lascannons were nicer still. It gained 1 W and now instead of flat 2 A, it is 3/D3/1. Gained 10" of movement and is faster as it degrades, but tables are smaller and this really doesn't matter except in massive games. It always moves at least 20" and its weapons have 48" and 60" range, so it should always be able to shoot everything.
  2. Storm Eagle- 45 point decrease. ROC pattern is gone. Missing a lot of weapons stats on its datasheet. Have to go to the codex for Airborne, Hard to Hit, Hover Jet, and Supersonic. Gained 2W and Attacks went to 6/D6/D3 from 3/D3/1. Hellstrike Launcher +1 to hit vs aircraft and is D3+3 damage against them, but otherwise unchanged. Vengeance launcher gained a point of S. So an improvement, but incrementally enough to be worth 1CP?
  3. Fire Raptor- 160 point decrease. Have to go to the codex for Airborne, Hard to Hit, Hover Jet, and Supersonic. Missing its lascannon stats on the page. Hellstrikes got the same bonus as the Storm Eagle. Same stat line changes as well. And martial legacy... again, why?
Now the super heavies. Martial Legacy almost makes these not worth dicussing. Lords of War are already left off the table by most players because of the CP cost of their detachment. And the rules writers decided that all the SM LOW (other than the Astraeus) needed to be an ADDITIONAL CP? Really? So even with the massive points drops, they are likely still never to be seen. Add to it, most of them don't have invulns. Its just rough to take any. Also, the Thunderhawk Transporter is gone (unsurprisingly). 
  1. Typhon. 370 point decrease. Missing stats on its datasheet for all its optional weapons. This tank was unplayable in 8th due to is cost, but it got the MASSIVE points decrease it deserved. But the looming cost of CP is going to keep it off the table still unfortunately, and then it was nerfed beyond that as well. Dreadhammer also lost a point of CP and the ability to double its range if stationary. Explosion went from 2D6" to D6+6". Lost a point of T, and if anything should have stayed T9, it should be the Typhon. It also lost 2 wounds and attacks wend from 8/6/D3 to 6/D6/D3 which hurts crushing tracks. Lost Steel Behemoth but picked up titanic. So it can fall back and shoot, but not charge like it used to. Lost its ability to shoot its dreadhammer out of combat. 
  2. Cerberus. 280 points decrease. Same missing option stats and statline changes as the Typhon. Nuetron Pulse array gained 1 shot and damage went to 3+D6 up from 2D3, and it goes to D6 if it was a stationary. However, it lost its ability to make its targets -1 BS after taking damage from the gun. And then Martial Legacy casts its specter on the tank as well. Also lost Steel Behemoth but picked up titanic.
  3. Spartan. 50 point decrease. Same missing option stats and statline changes as the Typhon. Laser Destroyer has the same changes as the Vindicator Laser Destroyer did. Lost Steel Behemoth but picked up titanic. Overall nerfed. And of course, Martial Legacy to boot.
  4. Fellblade. 180 point reduction. Missing the stats of a lot of weapons options and base wargear, like demolisher cannon. Lost a point of S and T. Attacks went from 9/6/3 to 6/D6/D3. HE shells gained a point of D and the Laser Destroyer option has the same changes as the Vindicator and Spartan. Also lost the Steel Behemoth ability for Titanic. And then there is Martial Legacy again. 
  5. Falcion. 380 point reduction. Missing the stats of a lot of weapons options and base wargear. Same stat line changes as the Fellblade. Same laser destroyer changes as above. Valcon cannon massively nerfed too, going from 2D6 shots to 2D3, lost 2 points of S, and 2D6 damage went to 6 damage flat. And usually I like flat damage more, but flat 6 will average less than 2D6 on 2D3 shots, though it does have Blast now to counteract that.  Lost Steel Behemoth but picked up titanic. And is has Martial Legacy. 
  6. Astraeus. 43 point reduction. Another unit from a PDF and not the Index. No Martial Legacy. Refer to the codex for Hover Tank (meaning its enhanced repulsor field subtracting from opponent charge rolls against it). Missing stats for its storm bolter, ironhail and lascannon options. Void Shields changed massively, but where I think they are worse on Titans, they are better here due to the nature of it being lower to begin with than they are on the Titans. They now act as a wound bank that can't overflow, but once they are gone they are gone and they cannot prevent mortal wounds. Lasrippers lost 12" of range. Plasma Eradicators went to D6 shots, gained blast, gained a point damage but lost a point of S. Macro-accelerator lost its bonus to hit against units with fly just like the sicaran, which stinks considering the fluff behind the accelerator cannons. And also lost Steel Behemoth but picked up titanic. 
  7. Mastadon. 230 point reduction. Missing the stats of a lot of weapons options and base wargear.  Attacks went from 8/6/D6 to 6/D6/D3. Siege melta array did get the new melta bonuses, but went from Heavy 4D3 to Heavy 6 and lost a point of S, so nerfed. Skyreaper went from 5 damage to 2 damage but gained a point of AP. It no longer is -1 to hit against ground targets though and now only gets +1 against AIRCRAFT and not just FLY. Same Void shield changes as the Astraeus. And also lost Steel Behemoth but picked up titanic. It too has Martial Legacy.
  8. Thunderhawk Gunship.  710 MASSIVE points decrease and no Martial Legacy. Missing stats on the sheet for a bunch of base wargear. Have to refer to the codex for Airborne, Hard to Hit, Hover Jet and Supersonic. Attacks went from 6/4/3/2 to 6/D6/D3. Lost a point of BS at its highest bracket. Has a rule to specify you ALWAYS measure to the hull which is important after Aresgate in competitve 9th edition. Hellstrike battery got the same bonuses as on the Fire Raptor and Storm Eagle. Thunderhawk heavy cannon went from D6 damage to D3+2 and blast. The Turbo-laser Heavy 3 instead of D3 and gained a point of AP, but damage went to flat 6 instead of 2D6, and lost its ability to do D3 mortal wounds on a wound roll of 6. Lost its invulnerable save which is BIG IMO.  Cluster bombs did get alot better, procing on a 4+ instead of 5+ now, and up to 18 dice instead of 12 or 3D6 vs Vehicles/Monsters instead of 2D6.
  9. Sokar Stormbird. 1310 MASSIVE POINTS DECREASE. And useable in 2k games now. Missing stats on the sheet for a bunch of base wargear. Have to refer to the codex for Airborne, Hard to Hit, Hover Jet and Supersonic. Attacks went from 6/4/3/2 to 6/D6/D3. Lost a point of T and lost a point of BS at its highest bracket. Same hellstrike battery changes as everything else. Same Void Shield Change as the Astreaus. Not as good here, since they did start at a 4+ on the old stormbird. Also, lost its built in 5+ invuln, so once voids are gone that is gone. Has collosal flyer to measure to the hull just as the Thunderhawk. Also lost its ability to project a shield around units. Comes with Martial Legacy. Obviously, if you own this its not for the rules. But if you are looking to buy a gigantic SM Flyer, I'd personally stick with the Thunderhawk.
Well that is Space Marines. Wall of text, but aside from Astra Mil, this should be the longest.
Space Marine faired variably. All the Characters improved (except Loth) and the standard tanks faired okay. BUT dreads get beat up pretty well, and the Lords of War are just unplayable in standard 40k really, except maybe the Thunderhawk? Problem is with it, because of its size there are several deployment layouts where it will not be allowed to do anything turn 1. And while there are alot of points decreases, that seems to have been a theme of 9th overall so far. Sure some of these tanks dropped in points, but so did Terminators. Really, loosing T and W on a bunch of these while things like melta are getting enhanced damage makes you wonder it there is a current anti-vehicle sentiment in the design studio. Just compare the characters above to the rest of the SM stuff.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Imperial Armour Compendium Critical Review: Part 1- Book Overview

This review will not discuss Death Korps of Krieg, that's going to be a whole separate topic. Trust me, this will be long enough, because whoooo boy. This book is... not good.  I am really trying to not be salty in this, and I am going to be as factual as possible but maintain a critical eye, the intent of which is to inform you and maybe, just maybe, let GW know we notice and care about this stuff. The details matter in an expensive hobby like this, and if it takes a small time blog to hold them accountable (much like the petition years ago) then so be it.

This review will be an in depth 11 part series, and I will update and link each successive article below, so keep checking back for updates.

  • Part 1- Book Overview
  • Part 2- Space Marines
  • Part 3- Astra Militarum
  • Part 4- Grey Knights, Inqusition, Adeptus Mechanicus, Adeptus Custodes
  • Part 5- Imperial Knights, Titan Legions, Chaos Knights and Chaos Titan Legions
  • Part 6- Chaos Space Marines, Death Guard, and Chaos Daemons
  • Part 7- Craftworlds and Drukhari
  • Part 8- Necrons and Orks
  • Part 9- T'au Empire and Tyranids
  • Part 10- Death Korps of Krieg Focused Discussion
  • Part 11- Forgeworld Warhammer Legends

So on the surface the book is nice. It is full color (but more on that in a bit) and a nice quality hardcover binding. We will see how that holds up over time, but there is nothing to make me think that the material quality of this book is poor. Pages are a nice thick semi-gloss heavyweight paper. Its basically the same as the current codicies  and a definite step up from the previous softback index. And at $65 it should be.

It would have been nice if it had had a fabric book marker or three to it. They've done this for core rulebooks before, so I know its in the real of possibility. With 144 pages of datasheets, but most armies containing no more than 1-3 forgeworld units at a time, it would have been really really nice to be able to mark pages for quick and easy reference.

Also, noticeably missing are unit pictures. And I say this is noticeable, because every data slate has on the outer edge a "fluff" box that is identical in form and function to that found in the new SM/Necron codicies and supplements. In this box is a large circle area. That area is blank. But if you go look in the codicies, that is where every unit entry has a picture of the unit. It just feels like a lack of detail and effort in this book, especially when it costs $15 more than a codex.

A comparison of Imperial Armour units (left) to Codex: SM units (right). The lack of unit pictures is just lazy, especially when there is clear design intent for them to be included.

It also makes me wonder why the book is in full color, as beyond the introduction page, the only other pages with color images are

  1. Chapters of Renown, pages 8 and 9
  2. Grey Knight filler art, page 49
  3. Death Korps Guardsmen, page 53
  4. Techpriest art, page 96
  5. Mechanicus/Titanicus art, page 107 (which is the Imperial Knights points value, so it is even out of place)
  6. Titanicus art, page 113
  7. Chaos Daemons art, page 153
  8. Necron Art, page 191
  9. Tyranid Art, page 224
Removing the introduction, that is a total 1 color image for every 24 pages. And none of the artwork is new (including any black and white artwork in backgrounds).  Some of it is actually suprisingly old, like the Necrons art is the 3rd Edition Necron Codex cover.


But the rest of the book is this brown/cream/grey/black/white pallete. 

Now this is ultimately a quibble, but once more it all just seems indicative of a lack of effort. I understood the Index books at the start of 8th were intended just to be a quick reset of all the rules. But this book isn't. Its a comprehensive update clearly meant to last for a good portion of the edition. So it is a bit of a let down that there is no unit images or a variety of real artwork.

Then there is the editorial decisions. I'll be discussing this more in the subsequent parts, but I find it incredibly poor form to leave out wargear stats on countless units, especially base wargear. And this is even a poorer decision considering just how much blank space there is in the book. And all that blank space leads me back to: why are there no pictures? Imperial Armour and FW publications used to be the hallmark of awesome set piece photos using models. Where did that go to? Why did it die?


Just look at those. How cool is that? It just makes you want to buy these units and use them in game.

But back to the missing wargear/weapons stats. The point of a datasheet is to give me all the info I need ready to reference on the unit. If I am being made to go between pages, or in the case of this book, to another book entirely then the datasheet isn't doing what it is supposed to. And that is how it is for the majority of datasheets in this book. This would not be as bad if there was an index/summary table of weapon stats like in a codex, but there isn't, which is another disappointment. Even the paperback index from 8th edition had a summary table of weapons stats alongside the points table. This is a definite downgrade from the previous edition of the book.   

Then there is just the plain editing mistakes. I get this is par for course at this point with GW rules products, but how have they not figured this out yet. Get more or new copy editors. I'm not going to dive into this took much here, but I will call out each mistake as I find them in the subsequent parts of this review series.

Lastly, there is the general blaseness to the rules in the book. I don't want to get into this too much here, as I will be deep diving it as well in subsequent parts of this series, but overall... what happened? Sure they toned down some OP units, but they also heavily nerfed mediocre units and removed a lot of fluffy bespoke rules (and even did so in Legends too!). There was A LOT of hype around this book I feel, and it really under delivered on it. Not only were a lot of units fully removed and sent over to legends (some of which still have models available), but nothing was added to the game (30k Admech? Sisters of Silence?) and in general, everything was made lack luster. With all that promise we got of the main studio taking over FW rules and integrating them better into the game, it seems like they had this as the lowest priority and really just couldn't be bothered ensuring this premium priced models were both balanced and fun to use, so instead they just made it all bad to ensure it couldn't ruin any balance else where. And while you may be okay with that, it is a lazy decision IMO and really does a disservice to veteran and loyal customers and players. 

So what's my overall take-away.
The book looks nice but is a let down. The paper index had better value for the money. It falls short of current equivalently priced codicies, and is a far cry from the amazing quality of Imperial Armour books of yesteryear. Even the old IA Apocalypse books were far superior to this. It fails to deliver on the potential it had, and that potential really was a lot.