Do you like using Lords of War in 40K?


Hey everyone, Reecius here to discuss Lords of War in “normal” games of 40K.

7th ed dropped the bomb on us so to speak when they opened the game up to Super Heavy lords of war. We’ve had them for a while now and for the most part, they have been accepted; largely due to the popularity and success of Imperial Knights. While those are very balanced for normal play (IMHO), some of the other super heavies are much, much more powerful and can still throw off game balance.

Have you all found that super heavies dominate your games, or have they served to compliment your games? I have seen a bit of both. Many of the lists I play against that have a super heavy are built around that model. In those instances it really feels like playing an old school game of OGRE, where your army is fighting to take down that one, single model. This actually can be a lot of fun so long as the super heavy isn’t invulnerable to your army or nearly so, as you can wear it down. If you are not equipped to deal with it, it feels like playing against a death star (which it essentially becomes in that instance). That is a lot less enjoyable. As I have said many, many times, any instance in 40k that results in non-participation for one of the players is not good and should be avoided if possible. Sometimes it just happens due to list mismatches, but when you can build into your list the ability to create an untouchable unit or combo, that removes skill and fun from the game.


The flip side of the coin is that these armies built around their super heavy are really vulnerable to rock, paper, scissors syndrome. If someone has the ability to deal with the super heavy, they typically win quite easily. Often things like Drop Pods are what cause this, but there are lots of other examples. This can create really lop sided games in the other direction.

Lastly, when both players have super heavies, they things are often to powerful that they can obliterate one another in a single attack and when this occurs, it can lead to really short games.

We’ve chosen to go with a restricted list of lords of war for our events and have slowly been letting more units in as we go. That has worked quite well for us and lords of war have been a lot of fun in our events but have not dominated them. How is your local area handling them? What is your opinion on lords of war in “normal” or tournament 40K?


About Reecius

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

40 Responses to “Do you like using Lords of War in 40K?”

  1. Avatar
    Gimpytroll December 5, 2014 10:29 am #

    You’ll have to pry Keldar Draigo from my cold dead hands

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 5, 2014 5:51 pm #

      I don’t think most folks have any issues with the non super heavy lords of war.

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    greggles December 5, 2014 10:30 am #

    I think that super heavies are pretty cool, as long as everyone is made fully aware that they exist in that particular tournament.

    If super heavies are allowed, and you bring a list which can’t deal with one, then you can’t really complain about them too much. I mean is a super heavy really that much worse then an admantium lance formation? You have to be able to deal with those to even compete these days.

    I have seen particular super heavies (basically anything that uses the giant flamer as a D weapon) being a bit ridiculous, but I don’t think those are allowed at LVO/BAO anyway.

    As always, I know most events run friendlier, and non super heavy tournaments, so there really is something for everyone (if you absolutely hate super heavies and such).


  3. Avatar
    The Hidden Bruce Lee December 5, 2014 10:47 am #

    Lords of war are no more broken or over powered than many other elements of the game like Adamantium Lance, Wave Serpent Spam, Tau, etc. proper mission design and list building like are the keys to victory, not what over the top element of your opponents army you may or may not agree with.

    • Avatar
      John December 8, 2014 12:39 pm #

      Aren’t you the fellow who things the C’tan is balanced and should be legal? I think you sent some quesitons to the 11th compant along those lines and Niel and company weren’t very sympathetic to your suggestions (to put it nicely) in their ask Philipe segment.

  4. Avatar
    AbusePuppy December 5, 2014 11:28 am #

    I don’t think Lords of War really add anything interesting or fun to tournament games of 40K, and indeed can very easily detract from them. That said, the way BAO/LVO are running things, with the trimmed-down lists of LoW, it isn’t actually particularly problematic in most cases.

    • Avatar
      jmanj123 December 5, 2014 12:32 pm #

      I have to agree with Puppy here. I don’t really think the lords of war (Super Heavies, not the new characters) do much for the game. I realize that deathstars can be annoying, though I have never really used them too much myself. I usually focus on mobility and maximum overload in my lists. The major difference between LOW and deathstars for me is that you can use mobility and tactics to avoid or work around deathstars you can’t kill, LOW on the other hand, for the most part, have quite a bit of mobility and just drop huge templates of death or D-shots that just wipe shit off the board. Last, at least for me, the scale of the fights we are playing just don’t add up with a random LOW floating around. I know you can make this argument about certain characters, but in the size of lists we are playing, what general dispatches a titan to kill such small fighting forces? I feel like they belonged and still belong in apoc, but not in normal 40k.

      I think their existence has shifted the meta and reduced the viability of some armies/units. They are the next wave of if you can’t handle this, then don’t try in the tournament environment. So, now you need to be able to deal with msu/spam, vehicles, super heavies, alpha/beta reserve armies, hordes, flyers…It honestly has kind of become exhausting. I know Reece talks a lot about take all comer lists, but how can you with so many things to deal with. Each of the last two short lived editions have included or integrated completely new concepts making the game even more rock, paper, scissors. So maybe we should just all hang out and play rock, paper, scissors, since it is a lot cheaper.

  5. Avatar
    bugsculptor December 5, 2014 11:35 am #

    I’ve been using a barbed hierodule in my tyranid list, both at BAO and in local games since. It kicks ass and can deal with a lot of otherwise invulnerable units the nids can’t touch with regular units.

    I find it can be killed and countered a variety of different ways and gives me a flexible and fun unit to play. Grav guns kill it dead, knights and quite a few units can kill it in combat etc. I have to use some skill to protect it and commit it to action at the right time to make it worth the high price tag.

    Players who haven’t thought about how to counter gargantuan creatures and don’t expect to deal with it will lose big time, but it’s simply part of the meta now. There are regular units in the game that are harder to counter and unfun to play against, for example invisible deathstars, wave serpents and flyrant spam etc.

    We better just face it that lords are in the game – even if you ban them, there’s a whole codex of knights that don’t even use the lord of war slot. The cat is well and truly out of the bag.

  6. Avatar
    John December 5, 2014 12:10 pm #

    My Favorite is the 300 pt Forge World Stompa….That thing is totally balanced….may as well the C’tan in if that stuff is allowed at LVO.

  7. Avatar
    FTGTEvan December 5, 2014 12:20 pm #

    I’m not going to say they break the game more than anything else, but I will say it’s interesting when Narrative events’ players (like at the NOVA Narrative – an intended “beer & pretzels” style event) say they would rather play without them.

    I’m not sure the “right” answer – do they counter/deter deathstars? Maybe? Do they add something to the game? Maybe, maybe not. I’ve heard horror stories, but then I’ve heard lots of “meh, no biggies” from other events.

  8. Avatar
    DCannon4Life December 5, 2014 12:20 pm #

    I don’t mind Lords of War at all, and in fact I prefer them to the quasi-lord of war (all of the benefits and none of the drawbacks) that is the Imperial Knight. I’d rather take on a Revenant than the Adamantium Lance any day.

    Faced a Lynx on a Skyshield Landing pad in my first game at the Renegade Open; took it out on turn 2 without it ever firing a shot.

  9. Avatar
    mercutioh December 5, 2014 12:23 pm #

    In my garage they are a welcome and awesome addition to the game

  10. Anvil
    anvilward88 December 5, 2014 12:31 pm #

    I think there needs to be another category that fits Titans and Reavers and other similar types of vehicles/monstrous creatures. They should be called “War Machines” or something along those lines, because that is what they are. A Lord of War should be a commander or leader of unparalleled skill, whether it’s in tactics or combat effectiveness. Abaddon, Marneus Calgar, Eldrad, O’Shavah, Ursarkar E. Creed, etc. Those guys fit the category. I am happy to see Logan Grimnar, Ghazghkull, and Draigo as fitting that role. It’s unfortunate because for a lot of players or tournaments, it’s “All-or-Nothing”. There’s a HUGE difference between a General that’s ~200-300 pts that brings interesting rules to the table vs. a ~1000 pt model that drops pie-plates of Doomy-Doom across half of the field. Again, I’m not saying to get rid of them, but instead separate the categories.

    • Avatar
      jmanj123 December 5, 2014 12:34 pm #

      This ^.

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    Clover362 December 5, 2014 12:35 pm #

    I think some LoW are ok for normal games and some are not. I know that is really subjective so this is no easy answer to this question. But I also tend to say if you didn’t allow LoW other than those contained in normal codexs (GK and SW) what is lost in the game? I submit nothing. That is not to say they a bad for the game but if they don’t add anything and risk club stomping people (which l;ads to bad games and dissatisfied players) why risk it and include them?

  12. Avatar
    fluger December 5, 2014 1:21 pm #

    I still haven’t faced a superheavy that I haven’t killed (oh wait, there was one left in a 3 knight list once…oh, wait, I think the one time I played AbusePuppy with his Eldar + Knight the knight lived…), anyway, I think they are relatively fine, at least of the LVO allowed ones.

    I have faced the Baneblade variant with the S10 no cover shot, and that was a bear, but I DID kill it.

    • Avatar
      AbusePuppy December 5, 2014 2:30 pm #

      Yeah, but Max’s list there was pretty abjectly awful. 😛 If he had brought real units instead of “AV14 lolololololol” it would’ve been a pretty different bunch of games for the folks he was up against.

      • Avatar
        fluger December 9, 2014 3:12 pm #

        I didn’t play against Max, I played against Karl.

    • Jason
      Rawdogger December 5, 2014 4:44 pm #

      You’ll never kill my Storm Lord, i.e Steven Seagal from Hard to Kill

  13. Avatar
    Pascal Roggen December 5, 2014 1:36 pm #

    I love having harder games against Nids because of the hierodule:).

    I also love that every once in a while you have to deal with a big scary monster[tank walker whatever]

    also.. they make games run a lot faster:)

  14. Avatar
    Umbo December 5, 2014 2:45 pm #

    LoW over 500pts or so, should be used in 2000+pts games. Giving the opposing players more tools to deal with them. Just my 2 cents

  15. Avatar
    z3n1st December 5, 2014 3:39 pm #

    I think LoW both add and detract from the game, lets face it balance is never going to be restored to the universe that is 40k. There are plenty of units/list builds out there that can put a LoW to shame for the same points, so meh.

  16. Avatar
    Chris December 5, 2014 4:49 pm #

    Greetings from New Zealand!
    We just had a local tourney (40 players, 5 games at 1850) where superheavies and LoW were allowed for the first time. There was a limit to one D-weapon, and no Torrent Helstorms. It must be said our meta is not as beardy as some of the stuff I read about in the USA tournies, but we’re no fluff bunnies either….. i think 9 out of 40 players brought one to the tourney, and as we were all aware of their existence, most of us were set up to at least threaten them (I ran Sisters and Templars with LOTS of melta for example, and blew up both SH I played, a baneblade and a Stompa, although I got crapped on by my two horde opponents due to a lack of spam dammitall).
    The winner did indeed have a Fellblade (and a bunch of other FW goodies too), but he said after the tourny it got nailed almost every game, and I know no-one really complainerd about most of the big toys they faced. The only one people hated was the Transcendant C’Tan (neither player who used those was in the Top 5 btw due to them being pretty rubbish players)
    I say keep them in with erstrictions. As earlier comments have said, if you know they’re in there and ddn’t take stepsto counter them, then who’s problem is that exactly?

    Still, getting one’s Landraider run over and squished by a Baneblade is somewhat disconcerting….ok I meant hilarious!

    Keep the rules/toys/shenanigansflowing GW, this is still the best edition I’ve played (played since 3rd).

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 5, 2014 6:54 pm #

      I agree with your sentiments. They’re great with some restrictions.

      • Avatar
        Chris December 5, 2014 8:48 pm #

        I don’t think we’ll be seeing the C’Tan again that’s for sure……

  17. Avatar
    Jural December 5, 2014 5:09 pm #

    1) I’m pretty sure we should be talking about super heavies and gargantuans, not the Draigo’s of the world…

    2) If Knights are allowed, Super Heavies should be. Since Knights are pretty much an everyday thing now (closely approaching the Eldar Farseer when allies first came out), other armies need a way to deal with them

    The thing I don’t like about LoW and Knights is the escalation factor. If I know I may run into Knight Spam or legit LoW, I need my barbed hierodule. If others know I need my barbed hierodule, they need their Greater Brass Scorpion… Really only the drop pods are happy about this!

  18. Avatar
    Ciaran December 5, 2014 9:12 pm #

    Id rather have to deal with one LOW then an AD lance formation.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 5, 2014 9:37 pm #

      It’s funny how a lot of folks really hate that AdLance formation. I have played with and against it a lot and don’t think it is nearly that bad. Some of the LoW I feel are a lot more brutal, but YMMV.

      • Avatar
        Ciaran December 5, 2014 10:20 pm #

        Which ones do you feel are worse? I generally find a dedicated anti tank unit will drop a knight or LOW in one round of shooting, but when there are multiple durable threats I find that I struggle.

        • Reecius
          Reecius December 6, 2014 10:07 am #

          Oh, I agree with you that multiple LoW can get much harder to deal with than just 1, no doubt. But the AdLance particularly I find gets a lot of hate and after having played it at NOVA Open I can honestly say I wouldn’t use it again. It’s too one dimensional. As for Deathstars that are harder to deal with? CentStar is right there, flying circus Daemons are just as rough, if not tougher. Seer Council is still very powerful (and no, it doesn’t need the Baron, some of the Phoneix Lords are just as good if not better). I suppose though, a lot of it comes down to what army you play, as that dramatically changes your opinion on other armies.

          • Avatar
            greggles December 7, 2014 6:02 am

            Agree. The lance formation gets tons of hate because of how nasty it looks on paper. In practice it carries a lot of unforseen negatives, such as all the knights being slowed down by being bunched together and the fact if one goes, it almost always takes a second one with it.
            Tldr: on paper hate, in person men.

  19. Avatar
    tag8833 December 5, 2014 10:28 pm #

    I don’t like super-heavies because of the things you cited. Invulnerability or close to it for large sections of my army, and an amplification of the Rock-Paper-Scissors effect present in the game. Most of this could be address with more rational army building rules. For instance, only 25% of your points can be spent on a LOW. 50% must be spent in your primary detachment. The actual numbers aren’t important, what is important is a scalability to the game that is disrupted by Super Heavies and some formations.

    As a Tyranid player in the age of mech, I find myself compelled to field a super heavy to feel like the game has any sort of balance at all. I run a Barbed Heirodule in most of my games, and my #1 hope from the new Tyrannocytes is an ability to build a list without the Heirodule that can still compete.

    Also, every time I play with or against a super-heavy, I feel like I’m dealing with buggy, incomplete rules. Stomp and Strength D are both a mess right now, thunderblitz as well, although I’ve never seen anyone actually use it. You’ve addressed some of the more egregious problems with it in your FAQ (ie. Stomping on units not in the combat), but there is still more variability of outcome than I would like.

  20. Avatar
    jamie December 6, 2014 9:04 am #

    knights aren’t LOW tho their another “army” but seen on every table coz their cheap as chips n punch like tanks and a great ally for any army

    but a proper LOW like a transcendant CTAN weighin in at 800 odd points will bend a knight over every time

    a local store does unrestricted LOW events every other month and the tables are covered in ctans that are truly unstoppable so in a event they should be restricted to 500 ish points so their not over kill

  21. Avatar
    Rob December 6, 2014 10:55 am #

    The problem with restricting lords of war is xenos have lack of options. I also dont like that im being forced to play appoc. If i wanted to play appoc i would but outside of a naravtive game I dont think they belong. I would go so far to say Knights dont belong either. I am also a liitle bitter because i dont have the income to change my armies over from tac to appoc light.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 6, 2014 12:01 pm #

      I don’t use a LoW in most of my lists and I play against them all the time. I have actually never felt like I was at a disadvantage. EDIT, well, let me qualify that statement, we use a restricted LoW list, so that has a lot to do with it, too.

  22. Avatar
    zero-charisma December 6, 2014 6:51 pm #

    Nope, I hate it!

  23. Avatar
    Toranaga December 6, 2014 9:30 pm #

    In my opinion, Lords of War (I mean the superheavies, not the bosses like Draigo and Ghaz) only really have business being involved in games of 2000-2500 points or higher, and preferably with a larger board. Their scale in points, model size, and battlefield effectiveness just isn’t in line with the context of the skirmish scale that most tournaments are held at. I agree with others that they simply don’t add anything to a competitive game of 40k – not to mention many of their rules are forgeworld and hard to come by, or 1-2 editions out of date, or simply badly written. In larger games when both sides know to bring super-heavies to the table, they can really add another level of tactical decision making to the game – “do I use my primary weapons to take out the opposing superheavies, or lay waste to their scoring infantry, etc…” I remember a particular apocalypse game where I actually kept my Revenant Titan in reserve out of fear it would be alpha striked by the two opposing Ork Stompas, and so in turn it got the jump on them and was actually able to KO both of them in a single round of shooting (lucky dice rolls resulted in an apocalyptic explosion which destroyed the first and managed to nuke the second one as well in the explosion, which had previously been damaged by a vortex grenade lobbed by my autarch). It was great fun because we felt there were two battles going on – one between the tiny infantry and tanks, and another between the massive mechs, and the 5000 points each side brought to the table allowed the two scales to interact with each other in meaningful ways – shrink it down to 1750-1850 for a tournament and there’s no way you can have that mutual interaction, and that results in an unfun and unfair match for one or the other. I firmly believe that you shouldn’t have superheavies at a tournament unless it’s at a significantly higher point level. Keep it simple.

  24. Avatar
    Colm December 7, 2014 3:28 pm #

    We had a doubles tournament at our local store in London recently. 1,000 pts for each half of each doubles team. One codex each. No other restrictions. One army had a Bio Titan and a Revenant Titan. One army had two Stompas with some Mek dude inside who gave the whole thing a 4++. There was a Revenant Titan and My son and I brought a Transcendent C’Tan each. Both with Seismic Assault times two and Transliminal Slide (940 pts – I had three tomb blades with mine for Maelstrom points, he had four scarab bases). We tabled our opponents in every game and won the tournament. The second place team (whom we only beat on Maelstrom Points) was two battle forged single-CAD Marine lists. They rocked Rhinos with Tac Squads, think a Mortis Contemptor was the only Forge World unit in either of their lists.

    I guess the Tranny C’Tanny is overpowered (none of our games went to a full hour) and we were lucky not to face any Grav heavy lists. But the lesson of the tournament for me was that nothing else actually seemed to do as well as the most basic army of the game played well.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 7, 2014 3:56 pm #

      That’s some interesting data, thanks for sharing it. Always good to see the classic units doing well!

      • Avatar
        Jural December 9, 2014 12:04 pm #

        That format allowing two LoW at 2000 is probably pretty unique too 😉

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