Monday, October 19, 2020

Dark Angels Inner Circle is a Bad (feels) Mechanic and bad for the game

So I KNOW this isn't the full codex

I KNOW this is just a hold over index for Dark Angels

BUT my guess is Inner Circle in the Index is EXACTLY how it is intended for the Codex. And even if GW gets a TON of negative feedback now, chances are the codex has already gone to the printers and they won't do anything about it until after the codex.
So what is Inner Circle? Well its just easiest to post it here:
So that is REALLY GOOD. But even if it does not make Dark Angels the most competitive, it is still not a good mechanic for the game because it nullifies opponent engagement in the game.

The fact that it makes you have to wound on a 4+ is fine. The bad part is that it is "irrespective of any abilities that the weapon or the model making that attack may have"

This means nearly any tool, tactic, trick or stratagem I have to play against it is useless. Transhuman Physiology as a strat is fine, because it can still be nullified by Strat canceling strats, only affects 1 unit a turn at most, AND costs CP. This is potentially army wide and just makes it so you have to grind. That's it.  That is the solution. Just throw more dice... even though volumetric fire/attacks is not necessarily every army's strong suite. 

Do you have Poison Weapons as an army bonus? 

Do you add +1 to your Wound Rolls as an army bonus? 

Do you have ammo or a melee weapon that wounds on a 2+?

Psychic Powers? Stratagems? Auras? 

Oh well. Sorry you are loosing agency in the game. Yes, +1 to wound may be your faction bonus Blood Angels. Alas, my faction rules as DA supersede that. That Vindicare assassin you've paid points and CP to bring as your way of dealing with characters... well now I don't have to bother trying to kill him as much, he is neutered just by DA being DA. 
Its not that it is just a buff to the Deathwing. Its that it is also an active DE-BUFF to their opponent, and that is what will leave bad feels in the game. Anytime you lessen opponent agency in the game, you are doing them a disservice. They have spent countless hours building models, painting them, studying their codex, learning their combos, reading the mission pack. Then they show up and are told that all there carefully planned choices and hard work has no effect this game. This game they just are supposed to bash themselves against a wall and hope they do it enough times to make a dent.

But it isn't just the inner circle component that makes this rough. You have to account for the fact that this keyword is on guys with 2+/5++ OR 1+/4++ with 3 Wounds each. That is just insane. Oh, and they can deep strike. Oh, and they can use teleport homers. Oh, and they have Bolter Drill on Storm Bolters. Oh, and they have power fists or thunderhammers or lightning claws. Oh, and they have a Chaplain and/or Librarian buffing them. Oh, and they have an Apothecary healing/resurrecting them (also where this gets insane). Oh, and as Infantry they can benefit from cover. Oh, and they auto pass morale checks. Oh and there is a new secondary for space marines that gives you points for passing morale checks...
When it is all stacked together, it just doesn't make it a fun army to play against. If you can't remove enemy models, but they can remove you in droves, it is just not fun. Add too it the fact that they will basically score points for just not dying if they take No Mercy, No Respite and it gets worse.  (Sure, its only 5 points for the Morale Oath of Moment, but another is "be within 6" of the center and score 2". Should be easily done by a unit of DW Knights, and is a great way to make sure you are in the table quarters you need to be in for another secondary as well or score a primary objective in several of the missions). 

A 4+ to wound would have been good still. The extra "regardless of" its what ruins the mechanic from a gameplay experience in my opinion. 

Lets just show some basic dice statistics here to drive home the point. I will round up over a .5 roll pass, round down under.

I will present a scenario. 
Stats for killing 2+/5++ Terminators will be in Blue
Stats for killing 1+/4++ Terminators will be in Red

These first ones are to baseline and wouldn't really be affected by Innercircle (EG 10 guardsmen). This is to show the grind.

10 Intercessors inside Rapid Fire Range- Bolt Rifles
2 Wounds to Terminators a Turn
1 Wound to Terminators a Turn

10 Battle Sisters inside Rapid Fire Range- Bolters
1 Wound to Terminators a Turn
1 Wound to Terminators a Turn

10 Guardsmen inside Rapid Fire Range- Lasrifles
1 Wound to Terminators a Turn
1 Wound to Terminators a Turn

10 Scions inside Rapid Fire Range- Hot Shot Lasrifles
1 Terminator Killed a Turn
2 Wounds to Terminators a Turn

20 Ork Boyz in Melee
1 Terminator Killed a Turn
1 Terminator Killed a Turn

Lets now look at tools normally used to killed tough targets an how they compare, and how it just turns into a Grind. 

10 Hellblasters inside Rapid Fire Range- Plasma Incinerators
1 Terminator Killed + 1 Wound a Turn
1 Terminator Killed a Turn

10 Hellblasters- Heavy Plasma Incinerators
1 Terminator Killed a Turn
1 Terminator Killed a Turn

3 Eradicators- double firing melta rifle inside half range
1 Terminator Killed a Turn
1 Terminator Killed a Turn

Shadowsword Volcano Cannon- Blast shooting at a unit of 6-9 models
2 Terminators Killed a Turn
1 Terminator Killed a Turn

Shadowsword Volcano Cannon- Blast shooting at a unit of 5 or fewer models
1 Terminator Killed a Turn
1 Terminator Killed a Turn

Pask in a Leman Russ Punisher- double firing turret, rerolling 1s and plasma cannon sponsons super charged
2 Terminators Killed a Turn
1 Terminator Killed + 2 Wounds a Turn

5 Alarus Terminators- Axes Shooting rapid fire then charging and fighting in melee
4 Terminators Killed a Turn
3 Terminators Killed a Turn
*note Custodes here are doing multi-wound damage in 2 phases and they still can't kill a squad

10 Guardsmen Lascannons
1-2 Terminators Killed a Turn
0-1 Terminator Killed a Turn

The Last one is super swingy because the low # of successes and the D6 damage. Thus the range. Some turns it is 1 or 0. Some turns it is 2 or 1. Just depends on how you roll damage.
If you took everything above in some random hodgepodge army and went first without being shot at/having any casualties, no one was in cover and got the orks and custodes to charge, you'd manage to kill 20 normal Deathwing Terminators or 14 Deathwing Knights in your turn. And that's with the Custodes in there with 2D shooting and d3D melee attacks. Remove them and there is a 20% drop. And it is a HUGE points mismatch for sure.

But that's not what is going to happen. They will be in cover. The will have character support. They will be FIRING AND PUNCHING BACK. And then Apotecaries will be resurrecting guys each turn. And likely have a banner nearby so they'd be fighting you when they die, just for the Apoc to stand them back up.

But what's worse is this proves my point above. When Pask in a Leman Russ, or Eradicators or Hellblasters are killing terminators as effectively as bolt rifles.

It is just not a good feels mechanic IMO when you can throw the weight of the world at them, and they just shrug it off no matter what you bring to the table.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Allies of Inconvenience: Episode 28- Battlefleet Gothic/Specialist Game Discussion and How is 40k 9th Edition Going?

This month Evan, Jason and Chris are on to talk about their recent hobby progress, including a review of Death Ray Design bases, and then launch into a discussion on the immediate future of 9th edition, the current state of the game and the potential for a period of imbalance in the game with the forthcoming Space Marine codex release. after concluding our rant on 40k, we turn to a much more positive discussion around Specialist games, discussing the Additional Ship's Compendium 2.0 for Battle Fleet Gothic that Evan has been working on and his recent progress on that, tas well as how and why you should get into BFG, Adeptus Titanicus, and Aeronautica Imperialis and the potential future of BFG.

00:00 Intro
03:39 Hobby Progress
30:11 Current state and Immediate Future of 9th Edition Discussion
1:05:31 Battlefleet Gothic and Specialist Game Discussion

Songs and Soundclips
Blue Mark- Atlan Urtag
Kaap mere- Bugotak
All Clips: Aliens