Adam B. from the Dice Abide blog is here to share a different point of view on Escalation and the Revenant Titan in particular.
The internet is all ablaze with rage… pretty much the norm when anything happens at all in the world of 40k. Maybe this time is different? Maybe GW has actually broken the game to the point of no return? Maybe GW is secretly trying to make us buy their extremely cost effective models because they want us to spend less money to make an army? I sincerely doubt all of these. Super heavies are here, there is no need to get your panties in a twist, no reason to sell your army because you just can’t take it, no need to really panic at all really, the only thing you need to do is learn to deal with it.
All said, the super heavies are generally, not terribly impressive. They’re good sure, but generally they’re kind of middling for their point cost, often with fewer HP than you could afford by buying normal vehicles, and are not scoring in any missions whatsoever. The one that does stand out though is the Revenant Titan for Eldar and Dark Eldar.
Now, before I get started, I’m not going to say that the Revenant isn’t good, hell, it’s amazing, but it’s not invincible, and the lists you can build with it are severely limited. While not every army may have a quick solution to the Revenant, I think there are enough counters that can appear in a tournament that while we may see a couple around, not everyone will be switching to Eldar to take them. Remember, I’m not an Eldar player, but just off the top of my head, I could imagine seeing a 1750 list with a Farseer, 3×5 Dire Avengers in Scatter-serpents, 3×3 Jetbikes and the Revenant. This is probably not the best build you could make, but it shouldn’t be bad either really, so I’ll use this as my point of reference.
So for 900 points, what do we get out of the Revenant? It has 9 HP, AV12/12/10, plus 4x 5″ blasts that are destroyer (which can fire at 2 targets). As I’m sure you’ve read elsewhere, Destroyer shots are downright brutal, instantly killing most vehicles, and dealing multiple wounds to non-vehicles with no saves of any kind allowed. Surely with that kind of firepower, it must be unstoppable, right? Well I’ve been thinking about what kind of lists we may see in future tournaments that may make people think twice about these mighty titans.
So what kills it?
First of all, other Revenants. If both players are running Revenants in a battle of pointy ears, then it’s basically going to come out to a coin toss. I honestly can’t think of a single tournament player who would like these kinds of odds. The chances of facing another Revenant titan reducing your chances of winning to a straight 50/50 in itself may be enough to make people consider taking other options that can handle it with a little more reliability.
So while we’re on the topic of Eldar, lets think about a fairly common list that shows up, the infamous Serpent-spam. 6 Scatter Serpents alone, facing the Revenant is almost assured death over 3 turns to the Revenant, and that’s including removing 2 a turn. Once you factor in a bit more anti-tank fire power that these lists typically bring (Crimson Hunters, Nightwings, Deep Striking Warp Spiders), and I really think that you have a somewhat reliable army that can handle that Revenant, and if you can kill the Revenant, those 3 bonus VP’s are going to really give you a solid chance of victory.
Now onto Daemons, especially because of the battle report that was shown earlier on Frontline Gaming. With the Revenant around, the Screamer-star’s days are numbered, and thank the Emperor for that! But with the Screamer-star finally getting a hard counter, what can you possibly do? Well, the Revenant Titan can literally do nothing to anything flying, including Flying Monstrous Creatures. Yes, this means that we may return to the days of the Daemon Flying Circus, but honestly, I don’t mind that nearly as much as the Screamer-star with it’s awful save. To make the Flying Circus better, you can now ally in Be’lakor (which you’ll want to do so he’s not forced to be Warlord), who is guaranteed to have Puppet Master! Holy crap! If you get Puppet Master a second time on a Lord of Change, you’ll just about wipe out the Eldar Army with his own guns! It would probably be wise to take the Portal Glyph in this kind of an army and hold it until the Revenant is neutralized (it’s really not that fantastic in combat, especially against MC’s). If you’re wondering how to get it in combat, well the answer is to cover a large area with your FMC’s. While it does move 36″, if you’re standing 12-14″ away from it, then it can’t go over you to get away. You should be able to drive it into a corner and charge it eventually.
Back when 6e first started, everyone was up in arms about the Necron Airforce being the cheesiest thing in the world. Well, now it’s a serious threat to the Revenant! A half-dozen or so flying croissants may return to tournaments, and there is basically nothing the Revenant can do to stop them!
While we’re on the topic of Flyers, the Imperial Guard can bring quite a few Vendettas to a game, which have a fairly solid chance to penetrate, and then have a 1/3 chance to get an explode result, for an extra D3 hull points of damage to that pesky Eldar Titan. On top of that, IG can bring massive blobs of infantry which when spread out, wont end up taking enough wounds from the Revenant to justify shooting at. Just don’t forget to throw in a few heavy weapons and the Bring it Down! order to make them all twin-linked!
Orks, like Imperial Guard can bring a ton of models to the board, which could actually make the Green Tide viable once more! A hundred or so boyz spread out to maximum coherency is going to take up a huge chunk of the board, and when supported by Dakkajets and Lootas (ideally on multi-story ruins) and the Eldar are really going to struggle to find targets worth their firepower. Kannons are also not bad choices since they have a respectable range and can get a ton of crew.
The last army I’ll bring up are Space Marines. Do you remember back in 4th edition when everyone played Salamanders? Well that may happen again. The potential to drop pod tons of meltaguns anywhere on the board is going to be a problem for the Revenant. Don’t want to play Salamanders? Well how about Pedro Cantor with his deepstriking combi-melta/plasma toting Sternguard buddies? These will make extremely short work of the Revenant; each meltagun causes about .6 HP of damage, so 15 shots kills it on average. Now that may sound like a lot of points in a list built specifically to handle the Revenant, but it’s really not that uncommon of a list and a lot of players already own these models.
But I don’t play those lists!
Well lets face it, neither do I! So what can you do about it? Well, you can adapt, try what works for you in your army and do your best, play to the mission and try to mitigate the damage it can output buy spreading out your units. Alternatively, you can just hope to not face it, which is many players (present company included) only way to handle Screamer/Seer/Tide-stars too! In the world of those over the top net lists, the Revenant brings some relief to 2++ re-rollable saves, but at a cost. In the end, I think that super heavies will be a warm welcome in tournaments, which may shift the meta to think about how to deal with armor again (it’s more than just S7 spam now), but will also give counters to the ridiculous armies which are already making tournaments agonizing to play in.
Super heavies are here to stay, just like flyers, allies, and everything else that people have said, “ruins 40k!” is “over the top and over powered” or even accused of being a money grab. You’ll find that it’s much more gratifying to come up with solutions than just complaining.