Sunday, December 8, 2013
Escalation and Stronghold Assault: The Game and The Imperial Guard
OK, things have been changing rapidly over the last month or so. The latest changes have included formations, Inquisition mini codex, and now Super heavies and more Fortifications. Now a lot of people are mulling this over and I am certainly one of them. I have always tried to take the stance of play to have fun and the more options are better. But the latest releases have seen the FoC circumvented significantly with Inq and Formations, and the balance shifted with D weapons in Escalation and Stronghold. I will admit that D weapons are a bit much and I don't know whether they were really needed. A while back when rumors were coming around that IG might get a baneblade, I took the stance against this, saying it was not necessary and superheavies should stay in Apoc where they belong. Well they are here to stay now. What are you going to do?
Well In terms of the game, these supplements are going to change the game in some degree or another. How much will as always depend on the people that play the game. What are you going to do? Will you be bringing large fortification networks, baneblades? You can now and I will not stop anyone that wants too. I might sigh and groan when someone drops a baneblade, but I'll deal with it and try and win regardless. You can decide to not play against superheavies, or the new fortifications, or both. I caution against this, as this is choice and like it or not, it no longer is a "hey can I bring it" thing. Now for me personally, I would tell someone if I was bringing a baneblade and let them modify their list to deal with. They are just those kinds of monsters that you do have to be able to deal with them in different ways than normal units.
Does this break the game though? For comp or fun? Right now my answer is no, no, and no. For fun, the choice is always yours and I'll admit that I don't want to fight a revenant titan, and if someone wanted to use it I would only ask that he would let me tweak my list to better deal with it. Now did this "break" the game, hardly as many already no 40k is not balanced on a knife edge of perfect balance. Its just another choice, and a risky one with all the potential victory points to give up. And the ignored dark horse of Stronghold Assault does a great job in my opinion of countering these monsters and are a far greater bang for buck.
I picked up stronghold and got a real good look through escalation and here is what struck me: Fortifications are cheap and awesome, compared to superheavies. Oh the damage output of them can be tremendous, but compared to what you can get in fortifications, you can cheaply counter that 900 pt revenant with 200+ points from fortifications. The big thing is the void shield generator. At 50 pts it is an AV13 building(impassable) that produces a void shield at AV12. Important to note this will neutralize any hit of a D weapon and collapses the shield. For all other weapons, roll to pen as normal, glance or pen collapses a shield. You can get up to 3 shields for each generator bringing it up to 100pts, and up to 3 in a special shield fortification choice that includes a new pipeline choice as well. So 300 pts for 9 void shields with a 12" bubble, plus the minimum for the pipeline which is about 40 pts. Oh and the shields that are dropped come back at the end of the turn on a 5+.
That is a massive defense bonus that is half the cost of the cheapest super heavy and reduces the fire coming at your army tremendously. Now if your opponent does bring that revenant, well its 900 points and at 1850 means he does not have a large force backing it up. You now have 9 void shields to hide behind. He is going to have to bring all of them down in order to get those Titan D blasts into you. Does he even have the high strength weapons to even do this. The answer in this case is going to be prob not. So he may bring down a couple with his armies shooting, then the titan fires and if he was lucky, one D blast may get through. Then you get to regenerate your shields and return fire. In this case, you have a full army to shoot back since you only have 300+ points invested in your big play, where your opponent has half his army.
Now against a "normal" army lets look at this as well. So you are facing some TauDar with a riptide or two/wraithknight, broadsides, the commander, and the other minimum requirements. Well those missiles on the broad sides are S7 and S5 respectively. So those SMS are now useless, you have reduced half of your opponents fire, just like that. So he fires all of his missiles at S7, he still needs 5s and 6s(note he will still target a unit normally, if they are within the bubble of the shields the shields take the hit till they are all gone, the remainder of shots hit the unit). With 6 broadsides at normal bs you are going to get 4.5 pens and glances, there are still half of your shields left. Now with markerlight bonuses they are going to be hitting on 2s most likely and with tank hunters that will be enough to maybe collapse the shields. But think how much firepower it took to just get through that. Now all he has left is a riptide and a wraithknight, and there are good chances he will still have to bring down a few void shields. Powerful but an OP alpha strike they are not. That's also if they go first.
Oh and when you get into double force org territory you can bring 6 shield generators. Hmm, you know what, this is starting to sound way more OP than a 900 pt titan with 4 D weapons. For a little over half the price you have 18 void shields. So yeah some one is trolling with his revenant, let him challenge you, just keep it 2000+ pts and play by the rules and bring 6 void shield generators, be sure to let him know its about 2/3s of what his titan costs, double force org is by the rules as much as escalation and if he gets poo poo faced well fuck him. So if you are really worried about facing the monsters, you really have very little to worry. Your answer is there and it will also be useful against everything else.
Now if you are a guard player, what to take? I love my Aegis and have been using it since the beginning of 6th. Now there is so much to take though. The Wall of Martyrs has rules finally, had the bastards released it with rules when it came out in its special box I would have damn sure bought it all. Now the one that sticks out is the Bunker, it is effectively the same as the Bastion, but only 55 points. It has two fire points which can have 4 shoot out of each, it can get all the weapon emplacement upgrades. Plus there are the additional upgrades in the fortification book now. Its broken down into building upgrades, obstacles, and battlements and emplacements. I will go through them all later but there are awesome options here. Void shields are included though they do not project the 12" bubble, only act as an additional layer to the bunker.
The wall of martyrs (trench lines) all add stubborn to units inside of them which is not a bad thing at all, no need to add any commissars or anything to make them stand fast. Other than that since they are double sided the big advantage being you don't have to worry about barrage dropping behind like you do your aegis. They cost more than the aegis but have advantages it doesn't. If you have a guardsmen infantry gun line, I would recommend the Wall of Martyrs defense network and there is your corner stone. You can add the vengeance weapons and firestorm redoubts to them if needed. The other thing is the vengeance can take the quad Icarus, and there is an upgrade that makes it BS 3 instead of 2, so if you are looking for AA, not a bad choice there.
If you are IG and play any number of infantry, you should be looking at this book and singing thanks to the gods for it. Void shields just are awesome and are an answer to Tau markerlights, they aren't cover so they have to drop the shields to get through, meaning they will be using their heavy fire power to drop them, leaving only pulse rifles to hurt your guardsmen.
I will do a full review of this book as it is really a huge boon to guard. And it honestly keeps the D weapons in check. This is going to change the game far more than escalation. Its just too cost effective not to, since many already have parts of these. Since Void generators don't have model, you can make your own! In terms of real and in game cost, its just hard to beat. Please do not fret over escalation, stronghold assault is the true king to be feared!