Signals from the Frontline Bonus Episode: Interview with Nick Nanavati

This is a bonus episode where Reece sits down with the winner of the ITC and LVO 2018 Nick Naniavati to talk about the last season and the overall state of the game.


And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!



About Reecius

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

6 Responses to “Signals from the Frontline Bonus Episode: Interview with Nick Nanavati”

  1. masterstrider February 18, 2018 5:15 pm #

    Craftworld Eldar is just far too strong.

    With the current combination of their stratagems and psychic powers, there is nothing they cannot dominate. Every unit can be upgraded to fill multiple roles with the aid of psychic powers and stratagems, far in advance of any other army. And then combining this efficiency and flexibility with the Ynnari Soul Bursting, is just game breaking.

    Psychic powers:
    The best powers in the game – hands down. They have a buff/de-buff option for every phase and major action in the game e.g. extra movement, affecting enemy/self armour saves, to wounds and to hits, and savage mortal wounds with Executioner. Not only that, the Runes of Battle are actually two powers in one. This is especially heinous since Eldar have access to cheap psykers (Spiritseer for 45pts, Warlock 35pts, who also come with 4+ invuln saves). These units are extremely under-costed given their influence over the game. I totally get that this is the “Eldar” thing, but there are no “less efficient” powers like with other armies. (Edit – C’mon, don’t tell me the Gift of Chaos is even on the same playing field as the Runes of Battle options?) Other armies have to dip into other factions to make this happen, but Eldar are self-contained, combining the power of soup armies, but all within the same faction and the benefits that come with that.

    Stratagems: this is where it gets a bit gross. It’s not that they are broken on their own, but it’s how they interact with psychic powers that make it game breaking. The ability to stack powers and stratagems on nearly anything is a level of tactical flexibility that only Astra Militarum have shown. Even Imperials and Chaos have to dip into other factions, which comes at a cost – no legion traits, and losing character buffs. What is worse is that it is not really limited on what can use it. Most of these powers work on infantry or psykers, which make up the bulk of the Eldar army, maximising when and how it can be applied.

    Here are a few of the more powerful combinations:
    Webway Strike/Cloud Strike: They have an option to deep strike any infantry, biker or vehicle in their arsenal. This defensively is insanely good. Especially given they can then move this unit again using Quicken (from 18″ away mind you). It makes any unit a threat as it can get into position way quicker. Nothing in the game has this much mobility.
    Celestial Shield: 4++ invuln for a unit of Guardians. Just because. This isn’t even fluffy. This is so powerful, as we’ve seen with Codex Daemons. Stacking it with Protect to give a unit 3++ saves. Why is a unit of Guardians as durable as a Marine Captain?
    Forewarned: This with reapers is truly horrific. Should be limited to what can use it. Currently applies to any unit with 6″. At least Auspex from the SM book is a bit more limiting.
    Lightning Fast Reactions: more stacking -1 to hit modifiers for an army that already had multi ways of affecting your to hit ability.
    Fire and Fade: Moving a unit so it cannot be targeted is a stupid mechanic and just cries out to be exploited.

    Compare this to other books where stratagems are far more specific with which units they affect and it’s clear you have some issues. GW seem to have taken a scatter gun approach to Eldar stratagems and make them apply to far too many units. Look at the CSM Codex, where they are locked up within not only , but also keywords. By comparison, it’s far more restrictive.

    GW have put themselves into a tough spot here. There is a lot of nerfing required to make Eldar more friendly and balanced. Either they’re this good because they plan to make SOUP the META, and this is what other armies are expected to do to be competitive. Or it’s a lot of unwanted interactions that need to be paired back – like they did with Chaos Daemons, limiting their deep strike option only to units from the Daemon’s book – with a minor nerf.

  2. masterstrider February 18, 2018 5:17 pm #

    ***Compare this to other books where stratagems are far more specific with which units they affect and it’s clear you have some issues. GW seem to have taken a scatter gun approach to Eldar stratagems and make them apply to far too many units. Look at the CSM Codex, where they are locked up within not only LEGION, but also MARK OF CHAOS keywords. By comparison, it’s far more restrictive.

    Apologies, the bold text above was cut out of the previous post.

    • Reecius February 19, 2018 2:21 pm #

      I actually disagree on your last point. CSM strats are the most permissive and IMO, the most powerful in the game.

      What made CWE so dang good at the LVO was actually the Ynnari portion of it by all accounts.

      • masterstrider February 19, 2018 8:06 pm #

        Well, Reecius, I am glad that you only disagree on my last point and not the whole thing! (LOL)

        Your first point: What makes you say they are the most permissive and powerful? You’re a top level gamer, so I’d be keen to hear your reasoning behind the comment. Especially given my arguments about CWE above.

        I know CSM have some great stratagems, but they also have a lot of stuff locked away behind keywords. I really do wish Forward Operatives was a generic stratagem, since it opens up so much of the game board and helps with mobility – CSM have few economical transport options. In the Australian META where I hail from, it’s generally frowned upon or disallowed in some tournaments to run multi-Legion units in single detachments. This makes it hard to maximise stratagem effects. My Black Legion Berzerkers have to ride in Rhinos for 72pts, instead of spending those points taking more Berzerkers and putting them in my opponents front line using Forward Operatives. CWE don’t have to make this type of consolation since Webway/Cloud Strike affects any unit, irrespective of their Craftworld. These types of limitations really affect unit selection and game play.

        Your second point, I agree insofar that anything that breaks the action economy in a drastic way is going to be a problem – as clearly the Ynnari Soulburst does. However, I think the psychic powers and amazing stratagems available to CWE also exacerbates the situation.

        • Reecius February 20, 2018 9:54 am #

          Well, perhaps my days of being a top level player are in the rear view mirror a bit, lol, but I can still hang with anyone if not perhaps win the top spot. But, thank you for the kind words, I appreciate it.

          CSM strats are so permissive because you can use some of the critical ones, the most powerful strats, work on ANY unit. For example, the big one is VotlW. That is bananas powerful and most codexes do not get it at all or if they do it is ultra specific on what it works on such as Master Marksmen with Space Marines. CWE have no option for it at all, IIRC.

          The other big one is shooting twice. Any Slaanesh marked unit in the army can do it, which accounts for almost all of them. Again, most armies do not have access to anything like this (baring Ynnari, of course, but that rule mechanic is just problematic as noted) and in conjunction with things like VotLW create combos that are just so powerful. They make things like Cultists go from mediocre to crazy strong. Toss in additional buffs like Prescience and a re-roll mechanic and you can make nearly any unit in the book dramatically stronger. Same goes for MoK + attack twice which again, with VotLW, Prescience, etc. can turn almost any unit in your army into a killing machine. No other books can build in that type of flexibility with their strats.

          • masterstrider February 20, 2018 2:28 pm

            Hi Reece,

            Thank you for taking the time to reply. Much appreciated. I knew you were going to bring up those two examples, so I have prepared some responses.

            Veterans of the Long War: agreed it can be used on any unit. It’s awesome and powerful – not going to deny it. CWE have a response for this and it doesn’t cost CP. In the Runes of Battle, they can cast Empower (on an infantry or biker unit) to add +1 to wound in the fight phase. No CP cost. Sure it doesn’t affect shooting, but it also costs nothing to activate and it’s only WC6. In fact, they also get a to wound debuff with the sister spell, Enervate, which subtracts -1 to wound from a target unit, potentially removing the effects of VotLW if you choose your target correctly. While they do not have a way to add +1 to wound to shooting, mathematically they can just use Doom (WC7, with a reroll from the Farseer, not unit restriction), to reroll failed wounds, which is the equivalent of a +1 to wound. Once again, this requires no CP and can be used every turn. In fact, what is worse, these two powers can be used in tandem.

            In both my examples you can see that there are the same (infantry or biker for Empower) or less restrictions on who can receive this benefit. VotLW is strictly limited to non-Renegade Legion infantry and bikers. Comparatively, stratagems always work provided you have the CP, which is something to note. But having spells that can emulate stratagems means that if you’re rolling hot, you’re conserving CP and still gaining massive benefits. By comparison, other armies have to carefully plan for and manage their CP economy. This matters in the late game, when the CSM, etc., players run out of CP and the CWE player can keep attempting to buff units.

            Endless Cacophony: Also, an amazing power – praise Slaanesh! I have two responses to this; one that considers Ynnari Soulburst as a mechanic remains in the game in its current form, and one in which it does not or costs CP.

            Considering Ynnari Soulburst: Having access to this power means that you can move/shoot/fight twice, with no strictions on the unit, provided they are within 7” of an enemy unit that was completely destroyed. In all honesty, it’s probably not going to come up with Reapers that much, given the are primarily a back line unit. However, Word of the Phoenix means that a unit can shoot twice. No restrictions, barring they are infantry or bikers. No CP cost. Obviously, it’s over powered and breaks the CP economy. It’s important to note that this doesn’t actually not prevent the Soulbursted unit receiving other benefits to protect it like, Guide, Conceal, and Protect. It’s safe to say we’re in agreement it does not play nice, so I won’t spend too much time on it.

            Comparatively, for CSM to do an equivalent effect, you must be a Slaanesh only unit. The issue here is that by taking the MoS, you can no longer receive buffs from the other marks, and this is a big deal. You can now only take Delightful Agonies (5+++ save) as your defensive power, which is about the equivalent of Protect, sort of. However, you now cannot take Miasma of Pestilence to give yourself a -1 to hit, which CWE can do. The point I am trying to make is that CWE have a lot of stackable combinations that other armies cannot do The CSM player above cannot stack a -1 to hit, 5+++ save and shoot twice, because the Marks of Chaos prevent them. Probably the most frustrating difference between WotP and Endless Cacophony is that the CSM players are spending 2CP each time this happens. The CWE player is spending 0CP. Hardly a fair balance.

            Considering no Soulburst or Soulbursts as a Stratagem (SaaS): With a modified Soulburst, I’d say that Reapers are only a problem because they can be taken in such huge units. If they were say limited to 3-5 units, like Obliterators, you would not have the problem of a unit pumping out 18 shots @ S8, AP-2, D3 for such a measly points value. Large unit sizes, chained with a tonne of buffs, means they are consistently more deadly. The unit size is important because if it were max unit size of 3, stacking multiple buffs on one unit isn’t as powerful, than stacking them all on a unit of 9. Even marines are limited to 4 heavy weapons in a Devastator/Havoc squad and for good cause. Could you imagine if you could take 9 lascannons or missile launchers in the unit? Talk about breaking the action economy.

            In saying the above, CWE have a way to shoot twice in a round and even out of sequence. Forewarned costs 2CP and punishes deep striking units nearby within LoS of the Farseer. I think in place of shooting twice, CWE can take larger units of reapers so they can maximise the benefit of their shots and psychic powers. Once again, this is a way better option and costs no CP.

            In conclusion, I’d say that perhaps the major problem is the cost of activating the Soulburst mechanic. It really should be a Stratagem for say 2-3CP, depending on what you’re trying to do. Furthermore, I’d say that the CWE powers are so good, they border on actions that should cost CP. Given the examples you gave, in each case, CWE can replicate the effect of Stratagems with no CP spend, and that’s what I have a problem with.

            Being self-contained means they have to be competitive against other factions like Chaos and Imperium, hence the potency of their powers. I would prefer to see some of the more powerful effects hidden behind stratagems or perhaps CWE should’ve had a smaller, but more elite, selection of powers made available to them. At the moment, their cheap psykers are a Swiss army knife that belts out Stratagem level effects for a very efficient price point in the game.

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