Lords of War, Are they Worth the Points?

Reecius here from Frontline Gaming to talk about Lords of War in tournament 40K.

Lords of War (aka, Super Heavy Vehicles, Walkers and Gargantuan Creatures) are some of the most iconic units in the 40K universe. 7th ed is pressing the point on us that GW wants us to play with (and of course, buy) the big toys. I personally love the big models and always have. I personally own 5 (Revenant Titan, Stompa, Hellhammer, Baneblade and a Stormlord) 4/5 of which are fully painted. I rarely ever used them in the past though, because they were simply not used in “normal” 40K or just too powerful to make for a fun, fair game, IMO.

Now that D weapons have been brought down to a manageable power level, the biggest issues with most LoW have been mitigated. For our upcoming Bay Area Open tournament, we ran a player poll (which you can read here if interested) and our event attendees voted to allow Lords of War into the BAO but with restrictions. Sweet! Time to see the big boys on the table and not have to worry about people having their game end up being no fun due to some crazy D weapons.

So, we decided to limit the Lords of War available per our attendee vote to keep the power level to a reasonable level. We decided to omit those that were just super powered like the Chaos Daemon Lords, and the LoW that have large, ignores cover blast or Hellstrom weapons as those are the ones that most often give the opponent that defeated feeling when they’re picking up handfuls of model with no recourse of any kind. We wanted to err on the side of caution in the BAO, which will be our first go with them in the new edition. We are also using the Escalation additional rules wherein a LoW gives up a bonus VP for every 3 HP or wounds stripped form it. We are also using the rule that if one player does not have a LoW and their opponent does, they get +1 to seize and can roll on the Escalation Warlord table. If this first try with the LoW goes well, we can look at opening up more of the options.

We always like to be as thorough as we can and have been play-testing LoW at the shop. With the restrictions outlined above, and in the context of our BAO 7th ed missions (we use Eternal War and a modified Maelstrom mission format) we have found the LoW so far to be very balanced and fun to use.

Now, let me qualify that statement a bit more. The LoW DEFINITELY bring a healthy dose of shock and awe to the tabletop and will be wrecking face if they have good targets to fire on. We recommend people get a game in with them before the BAO if possible just to get used to what they can do. But, when you have to focus on scoring objectives every turn, and maneuver around the tabletop is very important due to mission parameters, the LoW with so many points concentrated into a single unit can limit your ability to react to changing table top conditions.

So far we have found that the LoW will bring the pain, but they limit your ability to win missions. We have tried playing a LoW focused army against armies designed to play to missions and the games have been fair and fun. A Drop Pod MSU ObSec Marine list vs. a Baneblade, Blob Sqaud AM list resulted in a great game that came down to the last roll of the dice and ended in a tie! The scoring Drop Pods were racking up Modified Maelstrom Points and while the Marines were getting owned by the Baneblade, they destroyed all of the AM troops before falling themselves! It was really dramatic and made for a great game.

In another game, an AM list built around a Stormlord vs. a balanced Necron list that played to objectives ended in a Necron victory as the metallic undead were able to contain the Stormlord and focus on racking up Modified Maelstrom points while tying down the AM scoring units in prolonged combat. Little 5 man units of Necron Warriors were free to stroll around the battlefield scoring points all game and taking end game objectives, too.

If you are using unrestricted LoW, standard  “score objectives at the end of the game” missions, and not using a healthy amount of LoS blocking terrain, you may find that LoW have a bigger impact on the game than we have. But, with progressive scoring as a part of the mission and plenty of good, LoS blocking terrain, they function well in the tournament environment we have found.

In the end the question to use a LoW comes down to whether or not you think the immense firepower is worth the immense points cost. They will drop a hammer blow on your opponent, but at the cost of multiple other units that could be winning you the mission.

What do you all think about LoW? Worth it, or no?

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About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

22 Responses to “Lords of War, Are they Worth the Points?”

  1. Cavalier June 18, 2014 3:17 am #

    This sounds like its going to be a great tournament. Its awesome to hear the early reports from your playtesting making for such great games. I really wish you guys had filmed that game with the drop-pod marines vs the baneblade IG. That sounds like a quintessential example of how great a 40k game can be. Definitley gonna try out your player pack when its released. Thanks for all the hard work guys!

  2. Charlie June 18, 2014 5:31 am #

    They have not diminished the fun factor, personally. The biggest challenge I’ve found with them is traveling with the FW LoW models. Having an expensive resin model break can be quite nerve wracking.

    There is a segment of players that have been intimidated by some of the LoW. As a result, I’ve found they believe they’ve lost the game right from the beginning or alter their tactics so severely they end up losing. I believe if these players can overcome their initial fear, the games are fun and quite challenging.

    Also, due to 7th edition, I’m now reading folks are not giving the +1 to Seize the Initiative nor the +1 VP for every 3 hull points of damage caused to a LoW. I’ve never played it without these rules, but this seems that could be a fairly significant game changer.

    • Reecius
      Reecius June 18, 2014 6:24 pm #

      We’re using those rules this time around just to balance them out a bit. We’ll see how it works.

      And yeah, so far they’ve been good fun.

      • Charlie June 19, 2014 5:01 am #

        I don’t have access to my book, but are we not supposed to be using those rules (Escalation book) when playing with a LoW?

  3. Novastar June 18, 2014 6:04 am #

    Its called ” Warlord”

    • Marius Xerxes June 18, 2014 7:12 am #

      Thank you. But I prefer it my way.

      😉

  4. No_wegian June 18, 2014 6:05 am #

    I would say in an 1850pt or even 2000pt game, they might not be worth it. Unless you can get one for 600pt or less, otherwise you have a huge point sink that can be focused on the whole game.

    I am glad you guys banned the C’Tan from your tourney. I played that thing last Saturday, and the guy dropped that Mega Template on my HQ unit and wiped it on turn 1. That kinda pissed me off, but I was eventually able to tarpit it for the rest of the game (only because I had a sorcerer with Invisibility 🙁 ). Regardless, if that thing gets its shots off, no one is surviving.

    Now I have played 2500pt games with the new rules and LoW’s, and they are totally worth it with higher point games. The games even used the Maelstrom missions and we were done in less than 3 hours both times. They were a lot of fun and somewhat balanced games.

    • Reecius
      Reecius June 18, 2014 6:25 pm #

      Yeah, no kidding, the C’Tan is crazy good. The Daemon Lords, too, are just nuts.

  5. AbusePuppy June 18, 2014 6:34 am #

    Most of the LoW aren’t, and were not, a problem- it’s just the few standouts that ruin it for the whole pack. the C’tan is easily the worst offender, what with having a Str D Ignores Cover weapon, but there are plenty of other problem children in the pack as well.

    I’m pretty satisfied with your selections for BAO- the Stormlord is still a little bit of a “Hmmm, maybe” for me because of the ability to fire twenty models out the top hatch and crap a ton of allied units into it for shenanigans, but I think until someone can show that there’s a broken list built around it, it should be fine.

    LoW are very vulnerable to certain types of attacks in most cases- for example, a Drop Pod full of Meltaguns can end many of them pretty instantly, so without specialized protections, they will fall very easily to certain counter-lists. Even against less specialized armies they should at least have SOME tools to deal with AV14 in their army or they’ll have a lot of other problems.

    • Adam
      Adam June 18, 2014 6:54 am #

      Don’t forget though that you have to draw LOS out of the back area for those 2 models, meaning they can really only shoot out the sides and rear, since the Vulcan Turret area blocks a significant portion. I generally think the Marcharius Vulcan is a better option, similar damage output for a ton less.

      • winterman June 18, 2014 10:24 am #

        Top hatch fire point LOS has always been wonky. I think most people give leeway (like technically a top hatch firer could never draw LOS to anything shorter then the tank they are in) but how much is always the issue. I know all through 5ed it was tempting to make IG vet spammers deal with the LOS issues of using a chimera firepoint RaW.

  6. Marius Xerxes June 18, 2014 7:15 am #

    Getting LoW into regular games might also depend how this new Ork Codex goes. Rumors are still floating that Ghazgull is a LoW in the new book.

    Might be interesting to see if they start jacking stats/rules to make the headline individuals for Codex’s (named Chapter Masters like Dante, Abbadon etc) into LoW’s as the new books come out.

    • Reecius
      Reecius June 18, 2014 6:25 pm #

      Yeah, that will be interesting to see if Ghaz is a LoW.

  7. iNcontroL June 18, 2014 8:45 am #

    GIVE ME MY HARRIDAN! 🙂 Nah I think the restrictions are great and at least on paper I am excited to see what people do with these beasts.. usually very fair balance between “WOW dmg” but expensive points.

    • Bigpig June 18, 2014 11:30 am #

      Wishimy nids had more viable low choices. Might consider the Hercules but 3+ is tough to swallow for those points

    • Jural June 18, 2014 3:58 pm #

      I’d also like to see the Harridan, the ruling on the BAO had me cancel my purchase! Kinda would have been a fun way to run my gargoyles.

      I’m going to wait to see how the rules get interpreted over the rest of 2014 before getting a CSM or Nid LoW… Nothing sucks worse than not being able to use your newest toy!

      • Adam
        Adam June 18, 2014 5:00 pm #

        I wouldn’t have rushed to cancel, I’m sure that future events will have many more super heavies added to the mix, really there’s no reason to ban them anymore, except maybe the C’tan’s Destroyer Hellstorm.

      • Reecius
        Reecius June 18, 2014 6:26 pm #

        Sorry to hear that about the Harridan, bummer.

        We just want to take it one step at a time with the big boys. They are so powerful, we don’t want to unknowingly let a new Revenant into the game, you know?

        • Jural June 18, 2014 7:20 pm #

          I think it’s a fine decision for BAO, not faulting the exclusion at all. I’m just not going to spend the time and money until Im sure!

  8. Charlie June 19, 2014 5:00 am #

    Reece: I don’t think many folks will blame you for your decisions. With a lot of money on the line, you have to ensure folks actually show up to cover the costs. Thus, I agree with you decision making process that pretty much went down to player participation voting. This makes a lot of sense. I think what disappoints some folks is just how much stuff the community wants to ban in order to play. I liken it that some folks will jump straight into the deep end of a pool and start learning to swim while others start in the shallow end and eventually end up in the deep in once they are more comfortable with their capability to swim.

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