Tuesday, October 2, 2018

BIG FAQ 2 Review- The Five Things That Missed The Mark

Well BIG FAQ 2 is here, and where do I begin? First Impression: Underwhelming. It does a lot without really fixing the root of some of the real problems while heavily nerfing some things that were not really a problem.

I never got around to fully putting down into a post what I thought about BIG FAQ 1. Just the rule of three. We do talk about it on the podcast quite a bit (Episode 9: The Big FAQ Discussion and Review).  If you are reading this on the day it is posted, we are recording tonight to talk about Big FAQ 2, so stay tuned for that (lucky Episode 13)!

But what to say about this FAQ in the meantime...

I guess I will just walk through my thoughts on some of the biggest (and most egregious) changes and disappointments of the BIG FAQ 2.

1- CP Farm Nerf: To sum up- you can only regenerate one CP per battle round now (Game Turn), though stratagems like Agents of Vect that can save you from spending the CP to begin with still work as normal.While welcome, I think it is ultimately rather ineffective at correcting the FAQ farm problem. Just slightly curtails it, and mostly damages the low CP armies that relied on some regen to even the playing field.

For one, the fix did nothing to fix SOUP. What GW thinks SOUP is and what SOUP really is are two different things. GW thinks SOUP is just having a detachment of multiple different factions. And it kinda was in the begging, but that wass before you had pure detachment bonuses too, which now tend to be reason enough to not make that style of SOUP. A veritable gumbo if you will.
What GW fails to realize is SOUP is now is having 3 detachments of 3 factions that feed each other and eliminate each factions respective weakness. The pinnacle of this in 8th thus far is Astra-Militarum + House Raven Imperial Knights + Blood Angels Smash captain and scouts. It works by using the CP and high regen rate of Astra Militarum to feed the high octane Knights and Smash Captain. And while this SOUP combo has been slightly curtailed, it is still effective IMO. The issue is you can just start the game with a metric buttload of CP (like 15 or more). And the FAQ only changed it to regen 1 PER BATTLEROUND. Not 1 ATTEMPT PER BATTLE ROUND. Eventually, you WILL regen that CP. Enough attempts and it is guaranteed. So it effectively went from 15+infinite CP to 15+6 CP. And if you still can't get the job done with 21 CP, feeding it to those monster units, you have other problems as a player.
What needed to happen IMO is that CP should be faction locked. Basically, guard could only spend CP on guard, Marines on Marines, Custodes on Custodes etc. etc. It just doesn't make sense that an Imperial Guard company commander and his band of 30 merry men are giving "Command Presence" to battle hardened marines and knight seneschals.

Also you should never be allowed have more than you started turn 1 with (so if you burnt 6 of your 15 on pre-game stratagems, these 6 are gone, and you can never regen past the 9 you started turn 1 with).

Along with this nerf, there is the price increase of several Stratagems. All this really does is hurt the people who weren't farming to begin with, because as I pointed out, those armies that were farming are still bringing like 20+ CP to a game. Spending ONE more on a few select no-brainier stratagems doesn't really burden them like it does to the guy who only had 8. It just feels like all fixes are only hurting the things they were not intended to hurt.

2- Change to FLY. Ugh. Ugh, ugh, ugh. Worst change IMO. For those not in the know, they nerfed FLY from being allowed to pass over models while moving to pass over models moving in the movement phase ONLY.
 What does this mean? Well you can no longer charge OVER models or terrain if you have fly. The reasoning behind this is the old interpretation allowed for a loop hole exploitation, especially when combined with the last FAQ, that essentially gave people a 0" charge if they were under an enemy unit, ignoring the vertical distance. 
And I think we can all agree that THAT is broken and wrong. CLEARLY there should be no 0" charge, especially when model MUST maintain a 1" separation outside of combat AND there is still physical distance between them. The easy fix would have been this: "Models with FLY measure direct distance when charging a unit." Essentially, they MOVE up the diagonal. THE VERY ONE YOU HAD TO ESTABLISH TO CHARGE TO BEGIN WITH!

But instead, GW roamed into the realm of gross over reach with unintended (I hope) consequences.

First of all, in the Tactical Reserves ruling (which I will get to) they explained they changed it because it didn't feel like it fit the narrative aspects of battle to have the rule work the way it did. They claim it felt like there was no realistic reason for the rule to work the way it did. Why would reserves arbitrarily stay out of the enemy zone turn 1? Then by the same logic, why can't a unit with FLY charge OVER an infantry screen? I mean, here is how your officially licensed media displays Jump Packs working.
There is just no believable reason why something that can zoom/arc/glide/swoop through the air just wouldn't fly over unimportant units and attack the more important ones.
Me gusta indeed
Or why going from one building to the next with wings/a jetpack/a flying motorcycle requires you to land, go down a few flights of stairs, walk across the street, go up the stairs, and then take back off to fight... especially since you can then later fall back in a flying type motion?
"Obviously we can't have a Neo vs Agent Smith DBZ style fight in the air or anything. There is infantry after all and we need to walk through them first.
Then there is the case of something with FLY charging another unit with FLY. NOW if there is Infantry between them, they can't charge! I mean we already have to deal with FLAME WEAPONS being the BEST ANTI-AIRCRAFT WEAPONS IN THE GAME. BUT NOW we also have to deal with infantry being the most effective defense FOR A FLYING JET. THAT DOESN'T MAKE A LICK OF SENSE!
Definitely can't take our super advanced flying bikes that can deepstrike if we want and zoom up to that plane. Infantry clearly would stop us.
The real kicker here is the inequity of screens. Super cheap infantry screens are now some of the ultimate powers in the game (as if they weren't abused before). You can stick 40 x 4 point models in front of a knight, and that super flying squad of death is just going to get caught in their tar pit.

Combine this with the continued nerfs to Deep Strike, and assault armies keep having a rougher and rougher time this edition IMO.

3- Tactical Reserves. New rule- no reserves first turn. At all.

Don't get me too wrong, I kinda like rolling back when DS can happen. BUT this edition it just seems to help all the already powerful things the most.

Were first turn assaults really this big of a problem? I just never saw it myself. 9" seemed more than enough to make it HARD to get the assault off (I've failed plenty of them). The real issue was DS and shooting probably. But I have yet to see an alpha strike ASSAULT build that wasn't GSC. All alphastrike really seem to bank on heavy amounts of shooting. And so GW is intensifying that? Just seems like the days of leafblower lists are at risk of coming back to me.

IMO the AP system in 8th compared to previous editions benefits shooting more than it does assault and in general makes it all more preferable. Look how many people don't opt for power weapons (unless they get an S boost or -3/-4 AP), but will take AP -1 guns all day. Because it all comes down to weight of saves it seems. Quantity over quality.
Yes, we now have the prepared positions stratagem, but it only applies to units not in cover already. It also does nothing versus armies like Imperial Fists or Iron Warriors who ignore cover. So overall pretty meh...
Oh... and how in response to the very ruling you made for "Narrative Reasons" do you justify allowing Flyers to have "Prepared Positions"? Do all 40k planes now come standard with cloud bank generators?

4- Failure of Forgeworld to address... well... anything.

I know I have submitted feedback. I am sure I am not alone... yet NOTHING? There are almost no changes or fixes to anything in the FW indices. Everything is still MASSIVELY over costed. Tanks that should have equivalent rules to the codex (All the Super Heavies, anything based on the Leman Russ like the Thunderer Siege Tank) still DON'T have equivalent special rules.

Then they went through and did arbitrary nerfs. Like taking away the Chaplain Dreadnought's ability to hold a Relic! WHAT? I'll use BA as an example here- there was ONE relic he could use- the Veritas Vitae- a CP regen relic. Why couldn't that be on a dread? Oh wait, IT STILL CAN BE ON A LIBRARIAN DREAD. So there is really no REAL reason other than "fluff" reasons someplace, which as we saw earlier, if that is why you are going to change rules, then it needs to be CONSISTENT and not done arbitrarily.
Unrelated but I wanted to post this.
At this point I am beginning to think FW needs to turn over the writing of their 40k rules to the GW team. Keep making AMAZING MODELS. Keep making Horus Heresy and Specialist games rules. BUT if you are going to make a model for 40k or make it cross game compatible, let the guys in 8th handle the rules. Maybe coordinate, but at the end of the day we need effective rules in 8th edition, and FW is losing my confidence in them to do that.

5- Double down on the pointlessness of the rule of 3. Go read this post I did in the past if you have the time. If not, I essentially argue while I understand the spirit of the rule of 3, its execution was flawed. And this FAQ doubled down on that. Daemon Princes from every source are their own Datasheet, so you can field 3 of all of them. Vehicle Squadrons are completely fine. So what is a rule of 3 becomes a rule of 9 or 12. What's the point? If GW wanted to stop 7 flyrants, then they should do what they did to the Tau Commander (AND STILL HAVEN'T UNDONE AFTER IMPLEMENTING THE RULE OF 3) and limit SPECIFIC UNITS to 0-1 per detachment.  I know this is just rehashing the past, but I am still of the opinion that the rule of three disproportionately effects fluffy armies and once again HAS NO NARRATIVE BASIS, WHICH IS WHAT GW IS APPARENTLY MAKING DECISIONS ON. So where is the consistency!!!