Guest Editorial on Escalation by Adam B. from the Dice Abide

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.

eldar_serpent_spam

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.

daemon_flying_circus

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.

necron_night_Scythe

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!

vendetta

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!

ork_green_tide

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.

marine_drop_pods

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.

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91 Responses to “Guest Editorial on Escalation by Adam B. from the Dice Abide”

  1. Tangentical December 10, 2013 12:21 am #

    Speaking as a guy running a smallish (30 or so players) in the UK and having heard people complain and say they won’t play Apocalypse because of D-weapons I’m mainly concerned that they will put off people who would otherwise come to our tournament. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s going to take a lot for me to not to have to comp D Weapons to ensure their existence doesn’t hurt the viability of our tournament from a numbers of players point of view not necessarily a game mechanics point if view. I can only think this consideration must be magnified for larger tournament organisers.

    • Adam
      Adam December 10, 2013 7:12 am #

      That is a 100% valid reason to not use it, though personally, I’d rather show up at an event where there is a counter to Daemom/Seer-stars present. 🙂

      • Tangentical December 10, 2013 7:34 am #

        If anything it is going to make comp accepted by many who were (sorry guys) ‘Zero comp’.

        This opens the door to more comp such as:

        Grimoire only works on demonic invul saves not those granted by psychic powers, artefacts or any other means.

        &

        Fortune can only be cast on units made up entirely of models taken from Codex:Eldar or it’s supplements.

        Those make the councils rather more tame.

        • Adam
          Adam December 10, 2013 9:09 am #

          While I’d love it if GW wrote those into their next round of FAQs, comp in General makes me sick, even as an avid fantasy player. Generally I prefer finding solutions within the game system than making up new rules for people to play by. Escalation brings some solutions to the problem with the seer/screamer star lists, so I would infinitely rather have Escalation be used than to include rules which aren’t used by everyone.

          • Tangentical December 10, 2013 10:47 am
            #

            Unfortunately as it stands we can’t have our cake and eat it.

            Either zero comp and face the potential for reduced turnout making some tournaments fold (even if not the case the financial risk of it may make it hard for some to bear) or comp with all the unsatisfying implications that involves.

            Thus far over 50% of the regular tournament players I’ve asked (ok, so 3 of 5) have said they’re only going to go to tournaments where D weapons are banned or comped.

            It is a difficult situation for an organiser like myself with no strong opinion either way.

          • Adam
            Adam December 10, 2013 10:57 am
            #

            The problem is on super heavies where Destroyer isn’t a problem… nobody is complaining about the overpowered stompa or lord of skulls.

          • Tangentical December 10, 2013 11:18 am
            #

            Indeed, my problem isn’t what is actually overpowered however but what is perceived as overpowered.

            The Lord of Skulls looks a bit naff to me for nearly as many points as the Revenant though and the Orks need a buff so I probably fall into the category of not caring too much about those big guys.

            Maybe it’s all a knee jerk but it doesn’t make short term planning any easier.

          • Adam
            Adam December 10, 2013 11:22 am
            #

            Yeah, if they’re not used in the LVO, I’ll cope with it. If they’re NOT allowed by the next BAO, I’ll just play fantasy. 🙂

          • Reecius
            Reecius December 10, 2013 11:36 am
            #

            Haha, fair play! I actually have some cool ideas for ways to make everyone happy at the BAO (I hope!).

  2. winterman December 10, 2013 12:56 am #

    Nice to see a well written pro-escalation post. I am finding it interesting that D-weapons were the final straw that pushed otherwise ‘comp is for sissies’ to look at comp when the game already has much harder to kill and much cheaper ‘remove your models’ units then a superheavy. I think right now the knee jerk reaction is due to the old saying Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.

    How many S7 shots does it take to obliterate a screamer star or seercouncil? How many of the same to wreck a revenant (keeping in mind fortune doesn’t work on the hologram)? How much multicharging can a revenant do? What kind of deny the witch roll does the revenant get, how about a seercouncil? Does your opponent get a warlord chart that goes out of its way to help kill a screamer star? Does he get extra VPs for simply damaging the seercouncil? How many objectives can the revenant deny?

    I am not trying to play down the ridiculous power of D-weapons or the strengths that the revenant has in current 40k. Just saying perhaps get to know this devil a little better before drawing a line in the sand we weren’t even considering before.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 10, 2013 12:34 pm #

      Yeah, we always like to hear both sides of the argument, here.

      The other thing to bear in mind too, is that Titans can benefit from combos, too! Fortune, Forewarning or a Skyshield, etc. can make them essentially invincible to anything but other D weapons. It is a slippery slope letting those crazy things in the game with D weapons, IMO.

  3. Fagerlund December 10, 2013 4:43 am #

    The problem isn’t really that there’s no counters to it (because there is obviously), the problem is that it’s simply no fun with a weapon that auto-kills anything it looks at. Why bother with bringing models at all then? We could just bring a set of dice and be over with it. No tactics, no skills, not even any luck.

    • Pascal Roggen December 10, 2013 4:54 am #

      well, it doesn’t auto kill, it can scatter and it can roll a one. So much hyperbole wowzers! also, it can only kill a small amount of things[large blast].
      I have tau broadsides shooting vs orcs ignoring cover… we should just take out the mini’s and play dice?

      Lots of weapons point and wipe a unit, especially in close combat. death company charging any unit with a chaplain is pretty much game over for the unit they charge.

      enough with the knee jerk please:)

      • Baal Viper December 10, 2013 6:16 am #

        When is the last time Death Co. have been used in tournamanet play? It taks alot of skill and planning to get them where then need to go to set up that charge. With 4 D-Weapon shots, if the titan goes first then 4 prescient blasts are basically going to insure First Blood and the distruction of 2 of your best Anti-AV units. If the Titan is not going first… reserve that thing and then walk on and start nuking stuff. It, like anything else, can be killed, but think of the devistating impact it has on any elite armies. Who will want to play small armies ever when they know that at any time they could play a Titan that could either go first or walk on and destroy 2 of their best units killing 1/2 their army in one go? D- weapons hurt the already inbattled Power Armored armies the most b/c they pay reasonable points for their stuff so that they get saves in most cases. Titans will result in most people turning to flyer based lists or hordes. What if don’t want to do this?

        • Adam
          Adam December 10, 2013 8:06 am #

          If you don’t want to adapt to a shifting meta then you are going to have more problems than just Escalation. What Escalation does though is finally solve the problem of the unkillable units, but with a unit that actually has some common counters.

          • Reecius
            Reecius December 10, 2013 12:38 pm
            #

            I agree it does solve that but it creates the problem of unstoppable weapons, too! haha, I don’t know if that is really a solution at all. It’s like chemo: it will cure your cancer if it doesn’t kill you first!

          • Adam
            Adam December 10, 2013 1:28 pm
            #

            It would just be sad to see the first book GW has ever released for 40k that contains something for everyone be banned!

            Really, I see the D as the Unstoppable Force vs the stupid-star’s Immovable Object. I still think though that while the _____-star has no other hard counters, at least the Revenant has a few!

      • Fulcrum December 10, 2013 2:54 pm #

        DC can’t get fortune, protect, & guide on them or move 36″ & fire all weapons.

        • Fulcrum December 10, 2013 3:29 pm #

          Hmm does protect only effect the squad? Can’t remember, obviously I don’t play eldar.

        • Pascal Roggen December 10, 2013 6:57 pm #

          wasn’t talking about them vs a titan, just using examples of things..some of which people barely even use anymore, that can crush things as effectively as a D weapon. and saying that the earlier posters whine at “may as well just not use models at all and roll some dice” was just a bit silly 🙂

    • Adam
      Adam December 10, 2013 7:20 am #

      People keep throwing out the word “fun” when they can’t fit in “balanced.” There are tons of things that aren’t fun currently! How much fun is it facing a Screamer-star? How about a Jetseer-star? Maybe a Riptide spam list is more fun (it can also pump out 4 large blasts that are ap2 and ignore cover, yay!)? My biggest point is that shifting the meta so that there is less reason to bring those other terribly un-fun armies to tournaments inherently makes tournaments more fun!

      Also, fun != winning. If winning is the only way you have fun, then you are not the kind of person that other people have fun playing against! I’d much rather play against a nice guy with the cheesiest revenant list possible than play against an asshole with a more “fun” army. Maybe that makes me unique? I don’t know.

      • Fagerlund December 10, 2013 1:08 pm #

        Well, you are arguing that we should introduce more imbalance to counter current imbalance. That rarely works. Which is probably why you only answer my point about fun. 🙂
        I agree that fun doesn’t equal winning. And nowhere did I say otherwise.
        But That is another reason I don’t like D-weapons. I like a tactical game. D-weapons are basically a “I win button”.

        Balance in 40k has rarely been present. .. but that is no reason to add even more un-fun elements to the game.

        • Adam
          Adam December 10, 2013 1:31 pm #

          See, I don’t think that in a large-scale setting that the Revenant is imbalanced. It has hard counters, and those hard counters aren’t even specifically targeted at it. It also does provide a hard counter for the 2++ stars, which currently the game is lacking.

          • Fagerlund December 10, 2013 3:07 pm
            #

            Indeed, it fits in large scale games… which is why it should stay in Apocalypse. 🙂

            2++stars doesn’t need a hardcounter though, those you can deal with by playing around them. Or better, an FAQ to fix them.
            The Revenant on the other hand is something where if you lose the roll to go first or gets seized on you’ve basically lost the game no matter what you do (unless you’re playing an air force, but than again if you do you’re probably not a fun player to play against anyway so).
            Again, you can’t motivate something broken with something else that’s also broken.

          • Adam
            Adam December 10, 2013 5:06 pm
            #

            I don’t mean large-scale as in large points value, I mean in the setting of a tournament with many players, as opposed to one-on-one games, sorry if that wasn’t clear.

            I think an FAQ would be nice, but also would be hopeful. Really, the rules aren’t being broken that allow the 2++ re-rollable saves, so it would actually have to be an outright change to the game mechanics, which is far less common than an FAQ about something that is unclear.

          • Fagerlund December 11, 2013 2:17 am
            #

            It’s not at all a major change that need to happen to fix the Deercouncil and Screamerstar. Two FAQ entries;

            Fortune only works on units from Codex: Eldar.
            Grimoire doesn’t stack with Forewarning.

            Both builds are still viable, but also much more manageable (just treat them as Terminators).

  4. Swanson4969 December 10, 2013 5:38 am #

    However it can be tough for the death company to get the charge off. The revenat will surely be guided and/or prescienced…. I don’t even mind the ignore cover just don’t negate all the invulnerable saves. That said I will pay whatever you bring and not worry about comp

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 10, 2013 7:17 am #

      Super Heavy Walkers he can’t overwatch though, so that helps.

      • Adam
        Adam December 10, 2013 7:21 am #

        Totally forgot about that… Imagine if they went the other way on that rule? I’ve got a feeling Hellstorms would cause a couple more than D3 hits…

  5. Michiel December 10, 2013 6:06 am #

    Wait until you try to Necron C’tan this dude is way meaner then the Revenant with the hellstrom D template, no need to hit, no need to wound just roll a 2+ and remove everything under the template. And this template is huge! 16.5 inch long and at the end as wide as a large blast template. For kickers take the upgrade that allows you to move 18 inch and everything you pass over takes also a D hit.

    And problems with not having enough points for troops well as Necron take a few flyers with 5 man warrior troops.

    If you ask me the auto win list is a (maxed out) C’tan + Necron Airforce good luck against that!

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 10, 2013 12:38 pm #

      That’s a very good point about the Transcendent C’Tan, we haven’t even had a chance to try it yet.

      • Adam
        Adam December 10, 2013 1:32 pm #

        I really think he’s the star(god) of the book. The Revenant gets all the attention, but I’d much rather fight a Revenant than a Transcendent C’tan!

        That said, I still say keep them both! 😛

      • bugsculptor December 10, 2013 9:19 pm #

        The downside about the trancendent C’tan is most Necron players have a Deceiver or Nightbringer kicking around that they can just throw down onto the table.

        Assembling and painting a Revenant is at least a little bit of a hobby project and logistical transport problem…

  6. Aidobmac December 10, 2013 6:31 am #

    Amazing article, thanks for bringing to mind the important points. This is simply just a meta change, Lords of war are simply a new toy you can bring to battle with. It’s nice to finally see something that can counter a current meta but not be un-counter-able itself.

    I’m am super excited to start playing matches with lords of war involved, and I’m hoping that tournaments aren’t going to budge to all the internet peer pressure and ban them. if they do, welp its back to the ol’ triple riptide 2++ reroll deamons.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 10, 2013 12:39 pm #

      I like them too and want to see them in the game but we need to figure out how to resolve D weapons as truly, I think letting them into “normal” tournament play is asking for a disaster.

  7. Gordy December 10, 2013 6:36 am #

    There’s an article 3++ just linked to as part of their Feast of Blades restrictions post that does a pretty good job of explaining why your idea of promoting rock paper scissors gameplay is a bad thing. You might have gotten caught up in the fallacy is presents, but as the original author puts it:

    “For example, if you discovered an unusual deck that could win 9-1 against the most of the field and lose 1-9 against part of the field, that could be a very, very strong deck. This is metagaming at its finest, yet it also leads to 100% of your games having terrible gameplay. ”

    Introducing Titans and strength D to the game will only promote this. Screamerstar and Seer Council will still dominate everyone else just as much as it did, even if fewer people take it. Most armies, except, say, Serpent spam, Flyer spam, Drop Pod Marines, and hordes, will now have another army that crushes them, plus they’ll have to deal with the remaining Serpent spam and Flyer spam. But horde Orks is not a particularly good list in general, which leaves you with Drop Pod Marines as one of the only “normal” lists that can deal with stuff, but it still struggles with Flyers.

    • Gordy December 10, 2013 6:40 am #

      Here’s the actual article: http://www.3plusplus.net/2013/12/feast-of-blades-will-be-enacting-restrictions-and-bans/#more-8692

      Also, Str D makes Grey Knights unplayable. Low model count, and they don’t have the tools to reach across the board and kill a Titan. I’m sure they’re not the only army, but when my main army is literally incapable of dealing with a Titan, I’m going to laugh in your face if you try and sell me the idea that it is balanced.

      • Adam
        Adam December 10, 2013 7:32 am #

        I feel that Screamer-stars make my chaos marines unplayable, so let’s just ban everything that makes everyone else think their army is unplayable.

        PS – Shunt punching gets you across the board and Storm Ravens are immune to Revenants. I think you meant to say that your current GK list doesn’t have the tools to face a Revenant. You can also ally in Vendettas or even Night Scythes if you’re still feeling uneasy.

        • Gordy December 10, 2013 9:58 am #

          Shunting gets you one turn of shooting before you get the crap shot out of you. The Dreadknight autodies to the Str D, and Interceptors take some casualties and then the rest of the army shoots the survivors to death, and even if one or two make it through, they don’t have the punch to do any real damage. Then you’ve just thrown away a ton of points without really doing much. Plus, Interceptors and Dreadknights are generally too fragile for competitive play. It’s already almost impossible to make an all comers gk list with the screamerstar and seer council and dark eldar skewing the results for GKs, you would just be adding another thing they need to heavily tailor their list to ever be able to deal with.

          I fully agree that the screamerstar and seer council are gamebreaking. But your idea that this will somehow fix is… poorly thought out. This is not the solution.

          • Adam
            Adam December 10, 2013 10:25 am
            #

            Doesn’t auto-die, it suffers D3+1 wounds per successful hit, with chances to scatter and rolling 1’s to wound. The odds of a WK surviving the attack are greater than the odds of doing a single wound to a Screamerstar. 😛

            With counters available in tournament play, it will naturally make those lists less popular, that is how meta works. The reason you don’t see AV11/12 spam anymore is because there are hard counters.

            In terms of saying this is poorly thought out, you are surely mistaken. It may be an unpopular opinion, but it is certainly thought out.

          • bugsculptor December 10, 2013 9:24 pm
            #

            Yeah, well that’s rough. It’s also pretty much what GK did to Tyranids and a few other codexes when they dropped in 5th edition… codexes don’t always stay viable against everything out there.

        • Gordy December 10, 2013 1:03 pm #

          D3+1 on a 2+ with no saves allowed is plenty close enough to getting one-shotted. It’s not like it’s difficult to put 1-2 wounds on it via other sources. I’ve ben playing competitive Grey Knights since they were Daemonhunters, so don’t try and lecture me on what my army can and can’t do.

          Though I did think of one thing. I can throw a unit of Hammer Terminators in a Storm Raven and try and assault out of it. Doesn’t stop the rest of my army from getting the crap shot out of it for the first 3-4 turns, nor does it help if my opponent has any skyfire, since Ravens are terrible transports in general, but I guess it gives me a small chance. Still, it forces me to take a Storm Raven. With a GK Storm Raven, the Seer Council and Screamerstar become a bit of a joke.

          • Adam
            Adam December 10, 2013 1:35 pm
            #

            Woah dude, I was just saying there’s a MASSIVE difference between auto-killed and not.

            Hammernators out of a Storm Raven will do the trick, that’s for damn sure. If you can survive the initial assault, then you might be in pretty solid shape. Remember that if they’re spending 900 points on a Revenant, they’re really going to be short on points for scoring units if they try to take much, if any, skyfire.

        • Fulcrum December 10, 2013 2:58 pm #

          I’d say your csm are unplayable against most things 😛

          • Adam
            Adam December 10, 2013 5:08 pm
            #

            ZING!

            But if the same line of logic applies, clearly we should ban anything that my CSM cannot beat!

    • Adam
      Adam December 10, 2013 7:28 am #

      I hate to sound like a pessimist, but lots of armies in the game have difficult match ups. Nids don’t particularly care to fight deldar venom spam for example, it’s just an ugly matchup that is awful for even the best tyrants player. In an ideal world everything would be so absurdly balanced that we’d be playing checkers (red is so OP), but that’s not the game we play.

      Currently the game is very Rock Paper Scissors. 150 points of grots can never wound a Wraithlord, until that changes, the game will still work this way, it’s inherent in the system when things can be immune to other attacks in any capacity. So without getting too deep in the RPS philosophical discussion, I have a question for you:

      Why should we allow Screamer/Seer stars exist with 2++ re-rollable saves, but ban the weapons that are built to kill them?

      • Gordy December 10, 2013 10:14 am #

        And nidz are getting a brand new codex. And why do you seem to think I’m saying that we should allow the screamerstar? All I’m saying is that your idea will cause as many problems as it will solve, if it even solves them (I think that both the seer council and screamerstar could actually kill said superheavy before it did too much damage in the hands of the right player, terrain dependent, especially if they get first turn. I don’t think it will make them go away, it will just give them one bad matchup, but if that bad matchup becimes common enough to seriously hinder them, it will cause equally massive problems for everyone but drop pod Marines.

        As for your argument that everyone is theoretically capable of handling a superheavy, remember that everyone can theoretically handle the screamerstar and seer council. Kill the Baron, tie them up in assault, ally in a Rune Priest, etc. That doesn’t make them not game breaking, any more that being able to theoretically tailor your list to kill a titan doesnt make str d game breaking.

        • Adam
          Adam December 10, 2013 10:30 am #

          Nids getting a new codex is not the point at all. And actually, I explicitly said that not everyone may have a list capable of handling it. I even said that I don’t have a list capable of handling it! Read it again. 🙂

          I have said though that the more common bad match-ups become, the lest prevalent a list will be. Right now there are 0 bad match-ups for some of those lists.

          The Revenant is killed by weapons that are already popular in the game (which is what most of my article is about, you might actually notice I purposely avoid list tailoring concepts and focus on TAC). Other super heavies are killed by anti-armor weapons which have mostly been dropped form the meta. If suddenly Land Raiders and Leman Russes became more viable, you’d have to adjust your list exactly the same as you’d have to adjust your list for super heavies. In the end, it’s all just another wave of list adjustment for a shifting meta, nothing new.

          • Gordy December 10, 2013 12:55 pm
            #

            Current bad matchups might become less prevalent, only to be replaced by more, equally problematic matchups. There may be adjustment, but there will be no improvement. Str D is as broken as the 2+++ stuff. For all your indirect accusations of not reading the article, you seem to not be reading my comments and you’re dodging around what I’m saying rather than addressing it. You even openly admit that str d is extremely problematic for many armies, but you haven’t explained how you think this isn’t a bad thing.

            And just to clarify, Str D is the problem, not superheavies themselves.

  8. Jason Brown December 10, 2013 10:15 am #

    What about the sonic lances, I think those have the potential to wipe out more models, more reliably with basically torrented hellstorm templates.

    • Adam
      Adam December 10, 2013 10:31 am #

      Sonic Lances are also quite brutal, though fortunately they require you getting somewhat close.

      • Reecius
        Reecius December 10, 2013 12:40 pm #

        Not really! Haha, 18″ torrent on a 16.5″ Template is longer range than most guns in the game, plus the Titan has a 36″ move.

  9. Benn Grimm December 10, 2013 10:54 am #

    You seem to be heavily biased towards letting these sorts of units be used freely at tournaments, and it seems to be the crux of your argument that because screamer star/riptide spam/seer star exist and are difficult to defeat, then it creates balance by also allowing superheavies (D-Weapons n all) in competitive play, regardless of the opinions of those who oppose such a ridiculous move.

    Its like you want to put out a fire by pouring on more petrol. And do you honestly believe destroyer weapons were invented to kill screamers? Seriously? “Commander, they’re using the manta ray looking daemons! Good god man, by the Emperor’s teeth we better break out the titan killer tank!” I mean seriously? You don’t get to allow or disallow screamerstar, but this supplement, expansion, whatever you want to call it, is entirely optional and in no way part of the core rules, regardless of what muppets want to say on t’internet.

    Escalation is a cynical money grab and poor value; it features almost nothing new or original, neither mechanics or rules. Apocalypse failed, so now we need a new book to tell us what we should buy next? Good on Reece and co. for showing what an absolute load of unbalanced, un-tested garbage escalation is. And doing it in a positive way. It gave me a better laugh than ive had for a good while.
    The ‘fun’ report with the stompa and baneblade, while it showed superheavies in a different light, didnt even really need the escalation book.

    And that brings me to the only positive i can find in this incredibly negative, divisive topic; lots of people want to play Apocalypse again, which i think is pretty cool.)

    • Adam
      Adam December 10, 2013 11:17 am #

      If it’s a money grab, it’s a failure of one. If it now costs $160 to get 888 points of your now over powered chaos army, then GW is going to make a lot less money. Instead, I praise this book for coming out and making it official to use the models that some of us have spent a lot of time and money on, in our normal games. Apoc games take forever and are difficult to organize, it’s much easier to get a game of 40k in.

      As with anything, it’s entirely optional. Tournaments already ignore the core rules from the beginning when it comes to how a board is set up. No where does it say that terrain deployment is optional, or should be set up with 6-7 pieces by a third party, but instead we accept that is the way it is and go on playing. The rules in this book are no more or less optional than the rules in any other.

      In terms of adding fuel to the fire, I have to disagree, it’s not making the good lists better, it’s giving them something to be concerned with. Right now, if you go to a tournament with a whatever-star, you’re not really going in with a lot of concerns, hoping you don’t face your hard counter… that is something that any other player worries about though.

    • Fulcrum December 10, 2013 3:03 pm #

      100% agree with you Ben. The game is getting more & more out of hand. Becoming less & less about skill than what models you happen to bring.I’m honestly considering quitting for the first time in 20 years. Maybe I should just go play chess or something.

      • Adam
        Adam December 10, 2013 5:11 pm #

        You’ve been playing as long as me, that’s awesome to hear! But really man, it’s ALWAYS been about bringing what’s best. Do you remember the Wolfguard Terminators with Cyclone Missiles and Assault Cannons? Back when Cyclones were 12-shot krak missile launchers! 3rd Ed was the rhino rush, 4th was the nid MC spam, 5th was the leaf blower (then Necrons and GK), 6th is now the 2++ stars. The game has ALWAYS had power builds. Changing that will probably never happen, so the best thing we can do is make sure that the power builds have checks and balances.

        • Fulcrum December 10, 2013 10:14 pm #

          Ya wolf guard were a bitch, but nowhere near the easy mode level of the 2++stars. Cyclones would run out of ammo, asscans would jam up, bloodthirsters & carnifexes would eat them for lunch, pop up attacks, swooping hawk exarch vortex gren cheese. They just weren’t hard to beat. Also back then you weren’t allowed to use special characters in tournaments & there were usually ban lists & restrictions for wargear (vortex gren). That was because of the imbalance in the game.

  10. cavalier December 10, 2013 10:55 am #

    I like all the points raised in this article a lot. I’m gonna play the game by the books when at home. My brother plays IG/Marines and he’ll be able to deal with the Revenant fine since he rocks vendettas and plans on getting some Marine air support. We’re not going to playing superheavies all the time so its really no big deal… just like people don’t always play flyers in a pickup game.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 10, 2013 12:41 pm #

      You made a good point about choosing what you want to play with. That is 100% true, but in organized play, we have to have a common set of rules to play by. That is where all this angst is coming from.

      • cavalier December 10, 2013 1:48 pm #

        absolutely. you have to set up games not just for own personal enjoyment but across a broad swathe of gamers, so it requires a more rigid set of rules to prevent abuse. you’ve got people spending a lot of money traveling from all over the country and beyond to come have a good time. its totally legit to have some house-rules for any and all tournaments.

      • bugsculptor December 10, 2013 9:36 pm #

        I think the angst comes from team zero comp being sorely tempted to comp something…

        Once you start, you might as well fix the 2++ deathstars!

  11. Baal Viper December 10, 2013 11:07 am #

    I find it interesting and annoying that the only titan in the supplement only helps/ adds more options for one of if not the best army already. WHy?

    Also why does IG get 9 Super Heavies and most other armies get 1? What about Sisters? They just don’t count any more. This is inbalanced from the start based simply on the number of options available to each army, never mind the fact that some Supers are clearly better then others. It only creates more in-balnace. The 2++ reroll problem should have already been addressed by GW and if not by GW by TO’s. D-Weapons may be an answer to these armies but these assets are not even uniformly available to all armies so you still end up with some armies being meta equipped and others just trying to figure out how not to get tabled. Which is the definition of inbalanced…

    • Adam
      Adam December 10, 2013 11:20 am #

      I think it was entirely based off of what they already had produced, and then what was the least-OP to give other armies. SOB don’t have any super heavies, and there are no new units in the book. They gave both eldars the same one, and probably because it made more sense for deldar to have a walker than a tank.

      The meta isn’t uniformly equipped to deal with many threats, that isn’t anything new. The presence of something in the meta though is often enough to make specific lists become less popular.

      • Fulcrum December 10, 2013 3:07 pm #

        You must own a bunch of these models or something. If you want a truly competitive environment, sometimes less is more. Be like Buddha & take the middle path.

  12. 6thstreetAlan December 10, 2013 11:28 am #

    Great article and very well said!

    I took the survey and I am for allowing everything and seeing where it goes. I personally have no issues with Screamer star, seer council, or 4 riptide tau but the masses are freaking out.

    I have swore to not touch Eldar or Tau for 2014 and I still don’t want them to be limited with some of the feast of blades announcements. I look forwarding to crushing them.

    Right now I see two sides of the fence 1) Allow everything 2) bans and restrictions. I think the lesser evil is to allow everything. I can embrace a new meta.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 10, 2013 12:43 pm #

      Yeah, you and some other top level players can hang with the Deathstars in the game. However, watching the fun destroying effect they had at Duel Con first hand against players who were clueless as to how to handle a 2+ reroll? It really was a sad thing to witness.

      Good players like yourself will adapt to changes but some, actually most, players want to just come to a tournament and have some fun games. That is why the uber extreme stuff scares me as a TO a bit. Maybe I’, just being a pussy, though! haha

  13. Fiberdonkey December 10, 2013 11:40 am #

    Fantastic article. I’m not saying escalation is perfectly balanced but I think it will add a really fun aspect to the game. The meta is changing and I really don’t think it’s any worse then when fliers hit the scene. Frankly I’m looking forward to seeing more anti tank weapons in army lists again, I’m tired of autocannons and plasma ruling the day. Bring back the big guns! The sky is not falling, the earth is just shaking. And it’s awesome.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 10, 2013 12:45 pm #

      “The sky is not falling, the earth is just shaking. And it’s awesome. – ”

      Awesome quote! haha, I am stealing that one.

      I like Titans too and want to see them on the table but it has to be reasonable, IMO, or the killer combos coming out of them will be so lame.

  14. Reecius
    Reecius December 10, 2013 12:10 pm #

    Natfka liked your article, dude: http://natfka.blogspot.com/2013/12/what-is-future-of-40k-two-very.html

    • Adam
      Adam December 10, 2013 1:37 pm #

      Well hot damn!

  15. Mercutioh December 10, 2013 1:21 pm #

    This is a HUGE issue within the Tourney scene. I really enjoy your posts Adam, I think your points are well thought out and explained and of course it’s like your opinion, Man.

    I’m torn on the overall issue at the moment. Your point about screamerstars is entirely relevant. They are not fun to play against.

    Having my entire army eradicated by one unit also seems to be not fun. Especially at someplace like Adepticon or FoB or BAO where I spent good money to play Soldierman dollies.

    An idea I’ve thought of that hasn’t been addressed at this point. Has anyone thought of instituting a rule stating that if the Lord of War is your only unit left on the table you lose?

    It’s absolutely comp, but it’s comp that allows you to still address the issues that the Lords of war without changing the rules for the gun or the unit. I’m really at a loss for what the tourney game is going to look like with the speed and complexity of what GW is consistently pumping out.

    It’s almost as if they’re doing it directly to spurn the competitive scene. I’m not a tourney player on the level of Reece or Frankie or any of the other internet names. I play in a local once a month and I know at that tourney I’m the “WAAC” guy because I bring a Drake heavy Chaos list. That being said even with limited exposure I know that these releases are cause for concern in competitive gaming. What we don’t know is how they play out on a consistent basis. There simply isn’t enough Data at this point.

    • Adam
      Adam December 10, 2013 1:40 pm #

      That’s an interesting idea about the lord of war being the last model standing, though I’m curious if this really is an additional penalty even to the armies who don’t have very good super heavies. As it is, losing a superheavy already puts you 3 points behind the opponent, so you’re just about losing if it does die, and auto-losing if it doesn’t, haha.

  16. 6thstreetAlan December 10, 2013 1:28 pm #

    I didn’t see people bitching and altering the game when people were spamming things all over the world. I didn’t see comp with 8 Necron planes, I didn’t see comp with razor spam, I didn’t see comp with venom spam. I didn’t see comp with Grey Knights in 5th, Necrons, serpent spam, and MC spam in forth , rhino spam in 3rd…I can go on but you get my point

    Those things all made the game unfun if you look at it from the prospective your taking. Escalation comes along and can bust up super powered tourney list. Oh no!! time to ban and play the game how we think it’s fair. (never minding that you’re just making other things unfair) And who is to say whats fair?

    There are other ways to make it harder for all the things people complain about but banning them in not the solution. Making tournaments not win/loss/draw but degree of win using battle points is one way. Lowering points to 1500 is another way.

    Ultimately if you come to a tournament these days clueless as to how to handle a 2+ reroll army or 4 riptides you where going to loose anyway, so if you want to be more competitive then be more competitive don’t ban things you can’t beat. Being more competitive is not taking the thing you fear the most either; being competitive is preparing for everything to the best of your abilities and then setting yourself up to beat it using a predetermined strategy. All a competitive player can do is go in with a plan execute it to the best of their ability and hope the dice fall in its favor.

    I will be at LVO without Tau / without Eldar/ and without Daemons and I guarantee I will be putting the smack down on all three of those army types. Am I gonna win the whole thing? Probably not but i am going to have a BLAST! In understand I am with out a doubt the minority but I say we see where the game plays out.

    • Adam
      Adam December 10, 2013 1:48 pm #

      I totally agree, so many other things have come and gone which were totally un-fun to play against, but over time, GW has changed editions, released new books, and created new units, which counter all of these. As always what is popular will change, and often based on the state of the current meta. By banning new releases, we are stagnating the game.

      Also, like you mentioned, a 1500 point cap could help, but it could also make it worse.

      I’ll be there too, running Beerhammer to forget my woes of the day getting my butt kicked with my CSM.

    • Fulcrum December 10, 2013 3:18 pm #

      I think what a lot of people who have your opinion are missing is the real life issues surrounding this hobby. A lot of people struggle to afford a single army, let alone keeping up with the shifting meta. While you say people “don’t know how to deal with a 2++ reroll” or (insert meta army here), what you should be considering is those of us who can’t afford to deal with that army, or with the Escalation units. Just the book is $50 of crap. I guarantee there’s a lot of players out there who could be elite tournament players if they had the budget for it. Frankly the lack of perspective & empathy that many in this community show for others gets on my nerves.

      • bugsculptor December 10, 2013 9:42 pm #

        Can’t afford enough toy soldiers to win against the rich kids. Talk about a first world problem.

  17. Mercutioh December 10, 2013 1:47 pm #

    Wow, I didn’t think I espoused that strong of a view point to earn that kind of response!

    I’m on the fence Alan. I really can’t say that any solution at this point is the right one. D weapons are terrifying and telling people that if you can’t beat army X you’re the problem!!!
    seems to be a bit of an issue as well.

    I have exactly one game against a “top teir player.” Reece kicked my tail due to bad deployment on my part. I’m no expert by any stretch. I’m simply offering an idea out there to chime in to what is inherently a difficult conversation.

    Realistically I think that this is the issue that is going to drive 40k into a Magic the Gathering type split with a limited and Unlimited breakup for large scale tourneys. But take what I say with a grain of salt.

    I’m not asking for change in any event. I’m a garage player. I can play what I want. I’m just interested in how this all shakes out as it’s bigger than just rerollable 2++

    • Adam
      Adam December 10, 2013 1:49 pm #

      Oh, I hope you didn’t think I was being negative, I actually quite liked your response!

  18. 6thstreetAlan December 10, 2013 1:51 pm #

    Escalation, stronghold, and these data sheets are a lot like Warhammer 40k Approved which has been around for a while and banned across most of the US. I don’t see why these new aspects can’t just be banned.

    I really don’t care if they ban or allow these things. I probably am leaning more on the side of banning them.

    The reason why I am so heated above is the Feast Of Blades banning ideas. Like Grimor of true names, 0-1 on certain units, limiting the amount of psyker levels. This is what I am 100% fundamentally against. I do not agree with changing these rules at all and I think this is where we have a divide.

    • Adam
      Adam December 10, 2013 2:31 pm #

      Ugh, yeah, comp is a slippery slope. It’s totally ruined competitive WHFB for me (which I’m actively trying to reverse), and now I’m afraid it’s going to stick it’s ugly face into 40k.

    • Fulcrum December 10, 2013 3:27 pm #

      Alan is there ever a line that you would draw on balance issues? Do you think GW is doing any playtesting? Do you think they care about the stability of the rule set at all? I believe what we are seeing here is a shift in policy at GW & in the opinion of their corporate management. I think they are just going to keep pumping out models & rules, without any care for how it effects the game as a whole, as long as they sell models. So how will you feel if the power levels just keep getting ratcheted up higher & higher every couple months. What if we get to a point where missions become irrelevant as most armies are built to table opponents? I understand that you haven’t reached you threshold, but do you have 1? When we have 20-30 supplements & expansions?

  19. Mercutioh December 10, 2013 2:10 pm #

    AH my mistake Alan, I thought you were swingin for me! and Adam nope I hadn’t even gotten to read your response yet. I hope to get to meet you at the BAO. You seem like good people man!

  20. Tarrasq December 10, 2013 4:40 pm #

    Just nitpicking here but two things stand out to me.

    First how do you block the Revenant’s moving by being 12″-14″ away? The jump jets rule lets it move over all terrain and models…am I reading you wrong?

    Secondly, while your estimation of how many hull points a meltagun strips (better than .6 not including the explodes results) is correct, not so with the holo-fields. Using the same numbers you’d need 23-30 meltagun shots on average to bring a Revanent down.

    • Adam
      Adam December 10, 2013 5:15 pm #

      Not that you block it’s movement, but if you have it backed up close to an edge, then the only way to go is over you. If you’re say 18″ away (a better number than what I said earlier), it can move 36″ over you, which means it’s still in charge range (it will be under 18″ behind you, so 12″ move + 2D6″ charge is fairly likely). Hope that makes it a little more clear.

      The one thing to remember about Meltaguns is that each one has a 50% chance on a pen to cause an explode result, which is an ADDITIONAL +D3, meaning half your pens cause 2-4 HP including the initial HP of damage caused by the pen.

  21. Painnen December 10, 2013 7:40 pm #

    HQ) Tau Commander, all the usual trimmings (pts.165)
    Troop1) x10 Kroot w/Hound (pts. 65)
    Troop2) x10 Kroot w/Hound (pts. 65)
    Elite1) Riptide w/HBC, EWO (pts. 185)
    Elite2) x3 XV8s w/x2 Fusion Blasters (pts. 156)
    Heavy Support1 x3 XV88’s w/HYMP, EWO (pts. 210)
    Heavy Support2 x3 XV88’s w/HYMP, EWO (pts. 210)
    Heavy Support3 x3 XV88’s w/HYMP, EWO (pts. 210)
    Fortification Formation) x3 Voidshield Generators w/x3 Voidshields each, Gas-Trenchline (pts. 340)

    Allied HQ) Farseer w/Jetbike, Shard of Anath’lan (pts.130)
    Allied Troop1) x3 Windseeker Jetbikes (pts. 51)
    Allied Troop2) x3 Windseeker Jetbikes (pts. 51)

    1847pts.

    Would that kill a Revenant? 36 TL, Str7, Tank Hunting Shots, and another 8-12 TL, Str6, Tank Hunting/Possibly Rending Shots all under 9 Void Shields. I think that if the Revenant doesn’t want to be shot, they you probably have enough to take out whatever else he spent his 950 points on. At least this way your troops can all reserve and your suits can DS. If you don’t want the melta, you can always just make the suits x2 Missile Pods, deploy them, and likely TL them as well. (just won’t be able to get them Tank Hunter w/out removing it from one of the broadside teams.)

  22. Painnen December 10, 2013 7:42 pm #

    i guess i shoulda said you have to use the Tau Cadre to get the XV88s and Riptide Tank Hunters.

  23. Fulcrum December 10, 2013 10:09 pm #

    So how would grav weapons effect super heavies? Or did GW already take that into account? If the FAQ ruling stands that grav only takes 1hp for each 6 rolled after the 1st & super heavies are allowed then I probly need to blow up my list. I thought I had built a list that had a punchers chance against the existing meta, but who knows what will come out of these top lists adding new fortifications & super heavies. I just want to play tournament games that are tactical & not decided on the luck of 1-2 dice rolls(going first, grimoir, & picking psychic powers). Do we really need another hundred pages of poorly written, untested rules throwing even more chaos(not the good kind) into organized events? Do we not already have a massive variety of units & models at our disposal, most of which never see the table because of the meta & our zealous desire to use the “pure” unaltered (vague, poorly written) GW rules? What other gaming communities do this & do they have to deal with a co like GW?

  24. Moridan December 11, 2013 6:41 am #

    It seems to me that the whole reason why Super Heavies are being put into normal 40K is that GW is trying to make some money back on the expensive Apoc models they created, and have not been selling. That is a HORRIBLE reason to introduce such a drastic game imbalance.

    And saying D-weapons are a reasonable and acceptable counter to the 2++ rerollables is like saying that you would be Ok with using a 12 gauge shotgun to kill a house fly. Stars are unreliable (Fortune/Forwarning not guaranteed) and easily countered by knowledgeable players. I would much rather see a 2++Star on the table against me rather than something that will wipe half of my list in a single turn.

    Whatever happened to the idea that within 40K, any army could beat any other army? Sure, adding flyers in 6ed brought a massive change to the meta, but even the Hellchicken cant wipe out your entire army in a couple turns. It’s possible that the game will accept this radical shift, but to me its just too much, too fast, and too imbalanced. And all just to sell some more books and models. 9-(

  25. Chris December 11, 2013 10:20 pm #

    Yes Adam we are making sure the power builds have “checks and balances” right? Or are we just writing more checks to GW? Do you still work for them? No really, i want to talk shit about you being a csilly dork in HS but i like you so… Anyway, are you smoking crack? D weapons Super Heavies and Rediculously powerful characters do not balance ____star bullshit! Adding this crap to regular 40k was stupid, come on mang, how are you still defending this? Honestly halfway through reading the posts i was like, Hmmm i play Necrons and they have a badass God that will rape face in regular 40k…. that seems awesome untill i think about how stupid of a game that will be. thats not fun to me, fix the ____star BS dont aqdd more BS to regular 40k b/c it looks badass it’s rediculous. im excited to read your response Adam 🙂

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