Friday, April 20, 2018

BIG FAQ Review Part One: The Rule of 3, How it fails us and made 4 ways to play 40k.

This is the first of my BIG FAQ reviews (or Rants). Today I am going to cover "The rule of three." I am seeing a lot of praise for it. People claiming it fixed abusive spam. Etc. etc.

I will concede there are benefits to it. No one wanted to face 7 Flyrants or 10 plagueburst crawlers.

But just like the Tau Commander limit, I think it was a ham-handed attempt at fixing something that could have been handled in several other ways and really didn't address the problem.

In case you aren't aware the Rule of 3 as its being called is actually just a nick name for the following table
This table is used for Organized play. As you can see, at the most common points levels, between 1k and 2k, it recommends allowing no more than 3 of the same datasheet IN AN ARMY. Not a detachment. The whole army.

"But isn't that a good thing?" you say, "I can't imagine spamming anything more than 3 times is FUN for you OR your opponent."

To your first point I answer "Maybe". To your second, whole heardetly "Patently Untrue."

Case in Point- My all Death Rider Army. See list list here. There is 80 cavalry all told.
While this MAY be a fringe example there has to be other fun thematic lists people were running at this level that had 4 of a unit and DIDN'T break the game. Saim Hann Windrider host comes to mind. Iyanden Wraith Army. White Scars and Ravenwing. Ork Kommandos or Stormboy lists. IG Steel Legion Armoured Fist Veterans. SM 8th, 9th or 10th Company builds. All Death Company. etc. etc. There are ways to do some of these still, but it is now likely by watering down the list. By this I mean taking larger blobs instead of multiple units, combat squading units where possible, or by selecting sub-optimal but still thematic choices (eg. instead of 4 jetbike squads and 2 vyper squadrons for Saim Hann, stacking it out to be 3 and 3. Or 4 Wraith Guard 2 Wraith blades to be 3 and 3. Etc.)

Furthermore, alot of these types of lists RELIED on things like the Outrider or Spearhead detachments. With Battalions and Brigades getting HUGE boots to CP, these detachments are even weeker in comparison with their measely +1 CP. So IF you spammed in one of these dets, you were already starting off WORSE than your competition. There were downsides to doing so already baked into the game. Were they not enough, even with the boost for "normal" detachments?
Lastly it just flat out damages a few of the smaller codicies. Harlequins and Deathwatch come to mind. I know they are both INDEX books right now, but they are not likely to get any new units added. Harlequins ONLY have 1 fast attack and 1 heavy support. They have 2 elites... one of which is limited to 1 per army. They don't have the ability to deal with the rule of 3. Some mono-build deamons lists deal with this same issue, albeit to a lesser extent.

 "Okay, okay, but isn't this all JUST for organized play. You can still do ALL of what you mentioned in matched play right?" I hear you say.

Correct. Which is how this rule fails us the most. The two are no longer synonymous. Granted you never HAD to play competetively or in tournaments before, but the two were essentially the same meta and game type, with possibly the exception of specific tournament missions instead of BRB ones.
BUT NOW you can have people playing matched in a style specifically for tournaments and others in a style specifically PROHIBITED by them. And people likely will not want to cross the streams. Furthermore, you are more likely than not just going to see groups outright adopt the stricter of the two. Why? There will be a handfull of people really pushing for it, playing more than others, championing the game, because they are the regular event atendees and practice more than more casual players.

BUT for those groups NOT playing Organized- Well THE SPAM STILL EXISTS. NOTHING WAS FIXED! That guy with 7 Flyrants or 10 Plague Burst Crawlers CAN STILL BE THAT GUY! The core of the system is still FLAWED. And they even have a better argument to stand on then people telling them NOT to play that way. The Table says IT IS SPECIFICALLY INTENDED FOR ORGANIZED PLAY. Not that it recommended for matched play. JUST ORGANIZED. So if they are not playing in a Tournament, WHY SHOULD THEY LIMIT THEIR SPAM? Fairness and fun yes, but if that was their MO, they wouldn't have 7 Flyrants to begin with TBH.
This is what I mean by 4 ways to play. Open. Narrative. Matched. Organized.

-Multiple Datasheets for practically the same unit: Want 18 Hellhounds? You can do that. 2 Datasheets- GW & FW - squadrons of 3 each. 9 Regular and 9 Artemia Pattern. Dreadnoughts? There are like 45 different datasheets for them in the game. Easy. Leman Russ. Battle Tank, Demolisher, Command Tank.
-Combat Squads: 3 squads of something not good enough. Just make it twice as big and then split it if you can. So effectively, GW only managed to cap Sarges and Special Weapons, and not actual units
-Really expensive units: So online I was using Death Wing as another example of a unit HURT from a fluff persepective by the rule of 3 and had several people point out to me that no DW armies uses more than 3 terminator squads any way because of cost. Same goes for things like Custodes Jetbikes, etc. etc. They just get too expensive. So capping them at what their natural cap seemed to be anyway DOES NOTHING.
-Vehicle Squadrons: Mentioned above, but seriously, so many vehicles SQUADRON. The rule of 3 just becomes the rule of 9. Which from a cost perspective is probably around where a player maxing them at anyway.
-Troops are expempt: Yup, doesn't even apply to troops, one of the most spammed categories in the game. Cultists, Fire Warriors, Scouts, Horrors, Conscripts. All of these are still POSSIBLE
-A LOT OF SPAM WAS ALREADY FIXED: Boots on the ground killed flyer spam. Tau commanders get limited. Certain other adjustments killed things like Razorwing spam. There wasn't alot left to deal with.
Still completely legal..
Too me all of the above just further shows how thematic lists are disproportionately effected as compared to competitive lists. Things like my Death Riders CAN'T benefit from any of the above. And I guarantee you its more fun to face than Cultist Spam or Leman Russ Spam. Or even lists that fit the rule, like 3 Custodes Shield Captains and 3 Jetbike squads.

So really, this just leaves us with a few spammable units, MOSTLY in the HQ Slot. So here are some what I feel would have been better SHORT TERM (8th edition) solutions
-Handle each unit on a case by case basis. Determine if it needs a limit OR is it just UNDERCOSTED. If it is being taken more than 6 times... its probably too cheap. Now when we see a competitive unit is will be in groups of three no mater what, and it becomes harder to say is that fair and reasonable from a cost perspective. Could be all it needs to go from the world of SPAM SPAM SPAM to "I guess I'll just take some of this" is something like 50 points a squad. And if the cost just isn't a solution, well Tau commanders got hit with a 0-3 bat. Period. No Beta. Either do this whenever needed or not at all.
-Limit HQs 0-3 per datasheet/HQ Type. All HQs EVERYWHERE. If it makes sense for Tau Commanders it makes sense for them too. And cuts down on the abusiveness of things like Flyrants or Custodes Bike Captains. By doing it by unit type instead of just datasheet you could capture things like "SM Captain, Camptain w/ Jump Pack/Captain w/ Terminator armour etc. etc. so you have no more than 3 captains.
-Keep the 3 limit in place but allow certain HQs to UNLOCK thematic choices from the limit. A Death Rider Officer- You can take more than 3 units of Death Rider Squadrons. White Scars Captain on a bike, more than 3 units of White Scars bikers. Etc. etc. Or go back to certain things making certain units TROOPS. Same concept really, though it would invalidate the point of an Outrider/Vanguard/Spearhead det.
BUT LONG TERM SOLUTIONS by which I mean 9th edition and beyond
-Get rid of the detachments. Bring back the old Force Organization Chart. Keep the current separate Dedicated Transports.
-Add to the chart a new "Character" slot for things not HQ, but shouldn't be elites in their own right. Stuff like banner bearers, enginseers, assassins. Support/buffing singular models.
-Have NO MANDATORY SLOTS. Instead just a minimum of 3 units total. May only take 1 HQ for 1 of every other unit (so to have 2 HQ you need 4 units in the Detachment)
-Have the chart be base 3 CP. Take 2 troops, thats +1 CP. Take 3, +2. 4 is +3 and so on.
-Fill the fast attack- +1. Fill the elites- +1. Fill the HS- +1.
-Tie any other CP specifically to characters. Creed and Calgar would give alot where things like Kharn or Lucius wouldn't. Breaks out combat characters versus Leaders.
-Allow characters to CHANGE the unit type of certain units. Someone like Belial of the DA should have the ability to take Terminator Troops. And he should get adequate CP for that. Thats what he commands and has experience with.
-Warlords can only be HQ.

To me this would allow for thematic armies to be playable WITHOUT having the worst things get spammed. You just DON'T allow those things to change force org type.

"But this isn't simple and that is what 8th is supposed to do"

Well playing and army construction are different. The game can be simple still. But anyway, look at all the FAQs, your stack of books and indices. And the 45 different traps cards... I mean strategems you need to memorize. It isn't simplified. It failed to be so. Lets stop pretending.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Allies of Inconvenience: Episode 9- The Big FAQ Discussion and Review

The BIG FAQ for Warhammer 40,000 has dropped, and there are A LOT of changes. Join us as we ramble and rant about anything and everything released, from the "rule of 3" to reserve and deep strike limitations, and every little change in between (including all the comical ones!).

Kept this one down to right around an hour as well.

Songs and Soundclips
Blue Mark- Atlan Urtag
Kaap mere- Bugotak
Clip 1 - Iron Man

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Custodes 2k List with Beta FW Rules

While I let the FAQ sink in and reconsider everything I am going to run at NOVA and the collapse of my glorious Death Rider army in event play I went ahead and threw together this list to try out. Seems fun and the fact that Battalions now give 5 command points REALLY helps it out.
Custodes Battalion- 1995, +5CP
HQ: Shield Captain on Dawn Eagle Jetbike- 179: Salvo Launcher, Interceptor Lance, Misercordia, Warlord, Relic: Auric Aquillas
HQ: Shield Captain on Dawn Eagle Jetbike- 179: Salvo Launcher, Interceptor Lance, Misercordia
Elites: Contemptor-Achillus Dreadnought- 245: Achillus Dreadspear, 2 x Lastrum Storm Bolter
Troops: Custodian Guard Squad (3)- 171: 2 x Guardian Spear & Misercodia, 1 x Sentinel Blade and Storm Shield
Troops: Custodian Guard Squad (3)- 171: 2 x Guardian Spear & Misercodia, 1 x Sentinel Blade and Storm Shield
Troops: Custodian Guard Squad (3)- 171: 2 x Guardian Spear & Misercodia, 1 x Sentinel Blade and Storm Shield
Fast Attack: Vertus Praetors (3)- 282: 3 x Hurricane Bolter, 3 x Interceptor Lance, 3 x Misercordia
Fast Attack: Vertus Praetors (3)- 282: 3 x Hurricane Bolter, 3 x Interceptor Lance, 3 x Misercordia
Fast Attack: Caladius Grav Tank- 315: Twin Illiastus Accelerator Cannon, Twin Lastrum Bolt Cannon
So not all bike spam. Only thing I would consider holding in Reserve and Deepstriking (turn 2 now) is the Dreadnought. Get it in there after a solid round of harrasment from my bikes and hopefully something destroy a vehicle or two outright with the Caladius by the time it come in. It is such a good tank. Strong firepower and ability to shake of most anything as well as never get bogged down by assault due to its fly keyword. Basically use it to punish the enemy and then bring in the big distraction Carnifex that is the Dreadnought before the Caladius is finished.

Otherwise standard Custodes fare. Min troop Squads in optimal format- 2 Spears for shooting and combat, 1 sword and shield to tank. Misercordia on EVERYTHING. Captains with a Jetbike squad each, a melta missile on each to help strip down high T targets before charging (this was invaluable at Adepticon vs Leviantan Dreads).

Pure Custodes so 4+ universal Invuln save. And the new Battalion boon of +5 CP is so amazing!
Who knows, maybe the Beta Rules will be allowed at NOVA and this will make its appearance in the Trios event!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The "Independent Character" rule should come back

Just a quick little rules thought...

Why is Independent Character as a rule gone?

Why was it replaced with these super bizarre character targeting rules?
Remember back to 7th and 6th for a second. The issue a lot of the times was Universal Special Rules, when they conferred and characters joining units to confer rules they were never designed to have. It could really make abusive combos.

But this was fixed in 8th with the introduction of Keywords and the elimination of USRs. Now characters only confer rules as designed pretty much.

So why did joining get dropped?
You could say Look Out Sir and Wound allocation made characters in units weird, but that was easily fixed now too by making wound allocation pretty much as the controlling player desires.

"But that means adding a character to a squad effectively gives them 10+ more wounds!"

Okay, but as of right now, you can pretty much do the same by making the character untargetable behind a wall of bodies. And does Guilliman behind a wall of conscripts or a Daemon Prince behind a wall of cultists make sense to be untargetable? No.

It really go far to fix alot of the issues currently if they brought back a form of IC.

Here is how I would do it
-Have a generic set of IC rules in the core rules. Basically saying things with the keyword can join units. When in a unit they cannot be targeted by shooting.
-In the fight phase, they are always treated as a separate unit
-THEN on the model's profile, you specify what keywords the unit can join with. Sometimes it could just be as generic as , like for an Inquisitor. But obviously you could get more specific, like allowing Kharn to only join Bezerkers or Dante to join Blood Angels, while preventing something like hiding a Jetbike Shield Captain behind cheap guardsmen. 
-Add a few Keywords like and so you could have large models only able to hide with other large models.
-This would require a change to snipers as well. I would make it so they could still target units in the shooting phase, but I would consider going a step further and allowing them to allocate wounds to specific models, like sergeants and weapons specialists.
-Obviously the current way of keywords conferring rules and auras would still work.
Whats cool about this is it would allow you to have something like Leman Russ Command Tanks join other Leman Russ Battle Tanks or Hive Tyrants join specific units like Tyrant Guard.

It also really helps with certain orders and psychic powers that cause a unit to move... and then leave the character behind? Like I can give Move, Move, Move to my Death Riders by a Death Rider Officer, allowing my unit to move 10"+d6" in the shooting phase. But then my Officer is forever away... despite ALSO being on a horse and clearly "with" the unit before that. This change would totally allow units to include the character for such purposes.

Furthermore, you could add cool unit rules to honor guards and the like, like making characters untargetable in shooting or combat when in the honor guard.
Lastly, it brings being able to shoot a lone character with no one within any semblance to closeness to them back into the game...

What do you think? To me it solves a lot of of issues currently facing Characters in the game. Keywords fix everything wrong with them from before. There is no need for all these extraneous targeting rules.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Allies of Inconvenience: BONUS Adepticon Roadshow Special

Join Chris and myself in our mad ramblings on our Journey to Adepticon 2018!

Listen to us babble on about such things as
-Adepticon Lists
-Codex: Kroot
-Necron Previews
-Big Guys that need to come back to the game
-Tau and their Magic School Bus


This episode is very stream of concious (and not the best audio TBH) BUT should give you some good laughs. ENJOY!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Trazyn's "Lost Regiments"- Guard from our Adepticon Team Tournament Display

Now that Adepticon is over and we've dropped the shroud of secrecy around our board theme, I can finally post some pictures of the army I brought to the team tournament. As mentioned in an earlier post, our team's theme was the Vaults of Solemnace, and the collection of Trazyn the Infinite. Our four team members were Necrons (Trazyn's forces), Custodes/Sisters, Chaos, and Astra Militarum. I fielded the Astra Militarum force, themed around the Lost Regiments - those units and characters who vanished or were thought lost in the lore.

The army was led (of course) by the Lord Castellan Usarkar Creed, snatched from the fall of Cadia at the last second, along with a squad from his beloved Cadian 8th Regiment.

Also from the Cadian 8th, a Devil Dog tank for support that was heavily damaged during the battle, and has been undergoing meticulous repairs since then by Trazyn's scarabs.

Of course, Trazyn the Infinite would never be satisfied with only one regiment, so he also collected a squad of the Tanith 2nd Regiment, previously thought to have been destroyed along with their homeworld, but rescued by Trazyn in his quest for unique exhibits. I used the Borderworld Rangers models from Victoria Miniatures as the base for the Tanith, I think they're a pretty good match for the light infantry style of the Tanith.

Next up is probably my favorite piece in Trazyn's collection: Maximilian Weisemann. Originally described in Imperial Armour 1, Weisemann was the commander of the Baneblade 212 Arethusa who led a one tank assault against an ork army to buy time for the Imperial battle line. Though his tank was destroyed, Weisemann himself was never found on the battlefield. Not being one particularly interested in historical accuracy, Trazyn has faithfully recreated the 212 Arethusa for Weisemann to command - as a Leman Russ Punisher. I converted a Cadian tank commander model to match the old Maximilian Weisemann model (long since out of print).

Finally, rounding out the army was a unit of storm troopers from the retinue of Inquisitor Valeria that were captured during her assault on the Solemnace galleries, and a unit of the Vostroyan XXI, a long lost Vostroyan regiment that was noted to be in Trazyn's collection during the Gathering Storm event.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Tau Commander Limit- good for the game, bad for the edition

Tau are on their way. The Fifth Sphere of expansion has started. However, it will be noticeably lacking a command presence. By that of course I am referring to the new 1 Commander per detachment limitation in the Tau Codex.
I understand WHY something had to be done about Commanders. Spamming them was-
1- Not fun for your opponent
2- Slightly unfluffy
3- Slightly OP and likely to improve with a Codex over an Index

I am not going to advocate that NOTHING should have been done. Just that the solution GW came up with was the wrong one in my opinion. It was a lazy fix at best, and one that damages the core concept of 8th edition at worst. Furthermore, it didn't really address the underlying problems that lead to commander spam.
First of all, no other army really has a cap like this. The only limit of 1 per Detachment I can think of is the Solitaire for Harlequins. To be fair though, its kinda in the name... I mean 2 Solitaires just doesn't make a lick of sense. Futhermore, Harlequins are at their core an Ally army. They are designed with that in mind. Even Custodes have more unit choices that Harlequins, and will only get even more as FW is added to their range. Harlequins though have little room for growth and shall for ever remain as an optional add on for most players.

Some out there have pointed to things like Astra Militarum Command Squads and their "One per officer" rule. One per something else is not the same as just ONE. In a single Battalion, for 630 pts-ish I can get
-3 Tempestus Scions
-3 Scion command squads with 4 plasma guns
-3 Units of Conscripts.
So in 2000 points, I could spam that, have 12 CP, and still have 100+ points to spare. WITH 9 COMMAND SQUADS. And not that bad of an army. So as I said, not the same.

So this is the only instance of this type of limit to exist thus far in this form. BUT the following things are kosher
-5 Grey Knight Grand Masters in Dreadknights
-5 Custodes Shield Captains on Jetbikes
-Magnus and Mortarion in 1 Detachment
etc. etc.

While Commanders may be more optimal (though that is debatable when it comes to Custodes Captains), the point is it is allowed. 

This is where it can be considered damaging to THE EDITION. I am specific on that. Because where as Commander Spam may be bad for the game, THIS EDITION is built on the fundamental principle of "Build the Army YOU WANT. However you want it, build it. Here are the Detachments to do so, with their own unique advantages and disadvantages. But essentially do what you want.
Except field multiple Tau Commanders in a detachment.

It goes against what GW was trying to do I feel and is inconsistent with their design philosophy to date. I had hopes that we, as a playerbase, would finally see one whole release with one design philophy in place. Now I am skeptical of that happening (and its possible that this already marks a breaking point).
I also begins to recreate the animosity at the end of 7th Edition. Formations and Decurion style detachments had created "Haves vs Have-Nots" with the armies. Some armies had everything on the silver platter. Others had garbage. Now you have a new Tau player looking at these other armies with Supreme Command detachments spamming characters saying "Why can't I do that?"

To thoses who says "It's not fluffy," well niether is 5 GK Grandmasters in Nemesis Dreadknights. And beyond that IT IS FLUFFY. I mean look at the Farsight Enclaves and the Eight. Seems like 8 commander level dudes all together has precendence. More than numerous other Detachments that are allowed (looks back at Magnus and Mortarion playing together).

There is also another side to this. What people hated was 1 or 2 supreme command dets of JUST Tau Commanders. A Brigade with 2 Commanders in it is not that unreasonable is it? No. It seem pretty legitimate IMO. But  No one was running Commander Spam because of the synergistic effects of numerous commanders. There was no "stacking" buff from them. Rather they spammed them because they were super efficient points wise for what they did. This is where the crux of the problem was.

So what could GW have done to fix the problem instead? Well here are a few ideas
1- Increase the points on the commander! Easiest and most legitimate. A 15 to 30 point increase on it wouldn't neccessarily make it hard to fit into a battalion or brigade (especially with how cheap Fire Warriors are) BUT multiply that by 5 in a Supreme Command det... and well you have A LOT more points added to the list. 
2- Make the "OP" Weapons on the commander cost more. Several other armies have different point costs based on stats. SM Characters spend more for Thunderhammers, Powerfists and Lightning Claws. Imperial Guard with 3+ BS spend more on plasma guns. It just makes sense and is in line with the rest of the books in 40k.
BUT REALLY there were bigger problems that LEAD to commander spam being a thing. Commander spam was just a SYMPTOM of 2 larger issues IMO, and there are some fixes for those too... 
3- Make the supreme command detachment less broken. I don't think getting rid of it is the right move like some people say, but it REALLY should be 0 or -1 CP., maybe even -2 CP. +1 CP is just too much a bonus when spamming numerous HQs is ALREADY a pretty great bonus. Its definitely something people would have to consider before taking it.
4- Address Character Targeting. It is still broken IMO. A few changes need to happen. First of all they should be targetable if there is no other unit within 6" of them. The point of the rule is they are hiding in a crowd. If they aren't near said crowd... well how are they blending in? Secondly if the closest target is out of LoS, but the character ISN'T then they should be targetable. Lastly, Characters should have to share a unit type with what they are hiding in. Infantry, Monster, Vehicle, Bike, Cavalry, etc. etc. If you have a character walking next to a tank, and the unit shooting only has lasguns... you'd best believe they would likely shoot the thing they have a chance of killing.
To sum up, WHILE SOMETHING needed to be done to stop the abuse of commander spam, GW I believe went the wrong way with it AND is acting in interest of the meta rather than the health of the edition as a whole, and really just took the easiest way out, addressing the symptom rather than the problem. Let me know what you think in the comments

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Adepticon 2018- Team Display: Trazyn's Collection in the Vaults of Solemnance

I give you our Team Tournament display this year,  The Vaults of Solemnance, the Collection of Trazyn the Infinite

We had Necrons (obviously) and then things that Trazyn has collected over the years INCLUDING
-Adeptus Custodes
-Sisters of Silence
-Sons of Malice
-Maximillian Weismann is "212 Arethusa"... since Trazyn couldn't get the baneblade in time, and isn't particularly concerned with accuracy he has a Leman Russ Punisher
-CREEEEEED! and the Cadian 8th
-The Inquisitor, Lictor and "Thrice Damned Kroot" from Xenology
-The Retinue of Inquisitor Valeria
-The Tanith 2nd (saved at their founding)
-The Vostroyan XXI
And then a few other jokes...
-Missing game aides (Templates, scatter dice, etc)
-Necron "Pokeball" and a Lavendar Town Remix
-The bell from Gathering Storm
-An empty box for YOU!
Welcome to my little dark corner of the universe. A refuge in a galaxy of uncertainties and calamities. A place I’ve carefully curated over the years to contain the most esoteric collection you will ever witness
The section before you is a presentation of gilded champions, well kempt conscripted dullards, and a menagerie of conceited war dogs. All these artifacts of life-choices have found purpose in my home, kept safe and still from the ravages of time.
I’m sure some of them have names that matter, but it’s what they represent that drew my attention. Whether it be that they did something of importance, or they may simply be that last of what they were. I’m sure if I allowed it, they would voice an opinion on the matter of their custody. But I simply can’t allow the chance the galaxy would never see their likes again.
Take your time, take it all in. Your perspective and input will be well received. Who knows, while you certainly won’t be allowed to leave, you might impress me enough to keep.