Sunday, September 9, 2012

Rant: GW Hates Close Combat (Characters)

If you haven't seen the new FAQs yet, they are up. I instantly rushed to the Blood Angels FAQ to see what the verdict was on Dante, Astorath, and Glaives. Every single one of them was a turn for the worse IMO, but is what was to be expected.

I'll sum it up, the Executioner Axe of Astorath has fixed stats at S6 AP2 Two Handed Unwieldy. Dante's Axe Mortalis is a Master Crafted Power Axe. Glaives are either a sword or axe and follow the rules for them as laid out in the rule book in addition to being master crafted and two handed.
I don't remember this guy being any slower than the other four. 
So now you can't just model Astorath or Dante with a Giant Sword instead, they will have axes per the rules. And the SG kit Comes with only 3 swords, 2 axes, and a Power fist, so as is you MUST have 2 I1 weapons in that squad unless you bit hunt online, which I think is unreasonable to expect people to do.

This is what I hated about the new changes to Close Combat in 6th ed. Wound Allocation is fine. The multiple pile ins is fine. Everything is fine EXCEPT that my modeling choices now dictate the combat effectiveness of a squad. And not only that now, but the sculptors design choices.
If only they still included this sprue in everything, or at least in their bits online.
You expect me to believe that the most ELITE Close Combatants in the Galaxy- Dante, Chapter Master of the Blood Angels, Astorath, High Chaplain of the 9th Legion, and the Sanguinary Guard, the elite of the elite of the most elite close combat Space Marine chapter- Can't manage to swing an Axe faster than Sergeant McFartface of that Imperial Guard can?

Furthermore, the issue is that now Dante, Astorath, and the SG don't have a chance to kill what threatens them the most. Before, they had the advantage of being able to take out the power fist that could instant kill them if on an S4 character, or easily break their 2+ saves on others. Now that they strike simultaneously, the advantage goes to Sgt McFartface with his S4 Axe or S6 powerfist. Maybe not advantage, but point for point, he wields more power. Especially is he issues a challenge. Maybe if Dante and Astorath were Eternal Warriors, this wouldn't be that bad, but that only hurts higher S opponents. IG and others still have a clear advantage. Dante costs over 200 points. That is quickly becoming 200 points of no thank you.

This leads me to the conclusion that GW hates CC. The new shooting rules are fine and an improvement, and obviously supposed to be the new focal point of the game. The issue with that is that there are entire Armies that rely on Close Combat, and some of the most beloved characters in the game. In addition to the above, Kharn, the single greatest Champion of Khorne, can't swing faster than I1.
This axe is clearly too heavy to swing, so I will just point it at you instead.
GW messed up here IMO. There should have been two rules- Unwieldy and Ponderous. An unwieldy weapon should be -1 I, but +1S. Axes fall into this. Yeah, it isn't a rapier or sabre, it is harder to swing and use, but gains more power. But an axe, especially a one handed axe, has to be a hell of a lot easier to move than a Thunder Hammer or Power Fist, especially since a power fist is limited by the speed of the servo motors inside of it, which I guarantee that at least a Space Marine is faster than with an axe, especially Heroes like Dante and Astorath and Kharn. So that is why there should be ponderous weapons. Fists and Hammers are even slower (I1) but much stronger (x2S).

And really, this move just doesn't hurt High I Characters, but higher S armies, who benefit far less from Axes than lower S armies, especially when you consider that the divider is pretty much just S3/T3 and S4/T4. Adding +1 S to the S3 makes a world of difference against T4. But adding +1S to S4 isn't as critical facing T3. If Space Marine were base S5/T4, then axes would fit much better, allowing them to double and instakill T3, while still being vulnerable to S3 characters with an axe as well. Alas it is not so.

EDIT: I also just want to add further evidence that GW hates CC characters: The Sanguinor, Mephiston, DC Tycho and SW lone wolves. These guys should be gods of combat (maybe not the lone wolves, but I have always likened them to a void grenade with legs in my head) but because of the fact they are required to be solo units they suffer under 6th. This isn't warmachine, where being a Solo is a good thing. No, now with Challenges, these grand figures of destruction now miss out on all their charge prowess. This wouldn't be bad if only on the turns YOU charged into combat you could issue a challenge. I think this would have balanced the cinematic feel with the reality of gameplay GW was shooting for. This would prevent Sgt McFartface from robbing such awesome characters of their power, which is why they are taken. But now they can potentially die without ever having touched the bulk of a squad. And if I don't want to fight the character that challenged me, it becomes stupid. Imagine this- Mephiston flies forth on his wings of Sanguinius, bellowing rage and oaths of fury and destruction, towards a unit which happens to have ArmyBuffingCharacter (ABC) and SuperCombatCharacter (SBC) in it. Now say the SBC challenges Mephiston, but Mephiston is already wounded and you want to make sure you get some hits on the squad and potentially ABC, but you can't deny the challenge, so Mephiston has to fight just one guy instead of the horde behind him and the critical ABC. What if Mephiston didn't give a jack about the SBC? Yeah, maybe it isn't the most honorable thing to skip out on a duel, but this isn't WHFB. This is 40k! Honor is not nearly as important and survival and killing. And no one is going to think less of Mephiston, so long as he is killing enemies of the Emperor.

At least Seth didn't get wiffed with an Unwieldy ruling yet, even though he is clearly toting around a massive eviscerator.
I'll Whirlwind of Gore any freakin' FAQ that tries to make me as bad as I was in 5th ed!