Reecius here to rap out about Escalation a bit in 40K.
So, I’ve got 2 games of Escalation under my belt so far.
You can see one here: https://www.frontlinegaming.org/2013/12/06/welcome-to-the-new-6th-edition/
You can see the other game here: https://www.frontlinegaming.org/2013/12/08/warhammer-40k-escalation-video-bat-rep-stompa-vs-baneblade/
That first game was a quick and dirty run through of the new rules with what and who we had on hand. We also wanted to try the Revenant as it jumped out at us as the most powerful unit in the book…and I am pretty sure we were right!
Why were we laughing so hard in that video? Because D weapons are so absurd, so OP, that all you can do is laugh. The Revenant moves 36″ in the movement phase with 4, 60″ large blast D shots, which can be fired at two different targets. Essentially if a D Weapon touches you, odds are you are removed from the table with no saves of any kind, including Invul saves, even Eternal Warrior, or anything similar, does nothing to stop it. It is brutal but it is also not fun. Watching entire units getting taken off the table with no recourse of any kind, no save, feels alien in 40K and for me, just sucks the fun right out of the game. You’re just watching something happen with nothing at all you can do about it.
When that is happening every turn (in both shooting phases in the game above!), forget it. The Revenant killed almost every unit on the table, friend or foe! (Due to Puppet Master).
Lord of Change
Broadsides x 2
All in one hit each….
That is not tactically challenging and there is no defense against it other than hiding, which is hard to do with a 36″ move on a model that tall.
That isn’t to say you can’t destroy the beast, although it is one of the only things that can defend against D weapons with its Holo Field which means it has incredibly potent offense and great defense. But, it is only AV12 with 9HP. You can kill it with some lucky Auto-cannon shots, for example. The issue though, is that with it’s speed and range, only poor deployment or some clever maneuvering is going to ever allow that to happen. A good player with the Titan will always be blasting you at maximum range if he can help it, and typically buffing it with psychic powers and bubble wrapping it from assault.
Considering it will also almost always be Guided/Prescienced, you’re going to be losing 2 units a turn on average to it’s firepower. As it will almost certainly be going for your best units first, the question is can you get to it before it destroys your ability to fight back? And more importantly, does that even sound like fun? Perhaps for some people, but for a lot of folks the game will feel like a futile waste of time.
While the Revenant isn’t the only Lord of War with these abilities, it is the most potent which means it is also the one you will see the most if this were to be used in a competitive setting. Do you really want even more Eldar with even more devastating shooting?
Even with it’s speed and solid defense, the Reveant is actually quite manageable, like taking down 3 Chimeras in the front arc that had a 4+ save (sort of). If it weren’t erasing two units a turn, I would be stoked to use mine more often. As it is if the Revenant deploys well and–particularly if it goes first–the game becomes somewhat ridiculous. You are not a skilled player to twin link and then shoot the most powerful weapons in the game at the other guy and watch him pick up his best units with no recourse. That takes no skill and is in fact, a bit of a waste of time for both players. Now, in a themed, scenario style game? Bring it! That could be a blast. In any type of competitive setting? No way.
But, today we tried out another game with IG+Baneblade vs. Orks+Stompa (the second Video Bat Rep)….and it was fun!
The Super Heavies were throwing around all kinds of crazy weapons, blasts, and blowing crap up left and right! What was the difference? You still had to roll to hit, wound and the other guy got saves. It was super powerful but it wasn’t the game killing stupidity of D-Weaponry. The only lame part of the game was when the Stompa got it’s D-Slapper (our name for his assault weapon) on anything as the victim would just instantly explode. Lame.
The Stompa and Baneblade rolled around smashing stuff and slowly dying, and they did die, eventually (or did they?! You’ll have to watch the bat rep to see!). They were tough, but not insanely over the top, powerful. They fit fairly well into the game, honestly.
It’s the same reason people hate the 2+ reroll: it reduces probability to the point of certainty. I know if I hit you with a D-Weapon you will almost certainly be taken off of the table. I know if I shoot at a 2+ reroll unit, I will almost certainly do nothing to you. It is a foregone conclusion and it takes the element of chance out of the game that makes 40K more fun than Chess (to us). It becomes unexciting.
So it’s not the Super Heavies that are so incredibly imbalancing so much as the D-Weapons themselves (Even to other Super Heavies). For example, if you have a Super Heavy with no D-Weapon against someone with, they are almost 100% assured to destroy you in a shot or two, where you are almost 100% certain to not be able to do the same. It is pretty much the definition of unfair.
Are we open to Super Heavies in tournaments? I would say tentatively yes in time, but not so soon after their release. I still think if one player has a Super Heavy and the other doesn’t (even without D-Weapons) it may be a crummy game, but we don’t know yet.
And that’s the issue. We need to make a call on LVO and soon so that people can prepare. We’re rushing to get up to speed, and share that info, but unless we see a really strong show of support for these supplements, we will probably have to pass at this point in time. We’re prepared for any results in the polls, and will react accordingly.
In the meantime, 80 votes in so far on the LVO poll, I am very curious to see what all of you have to say about it!