Hi everyone, Michael here with a look at some of the units that dominated the tournament scene in yesteryear that have now largely disappeared from the tabletop. For more reviews and analyses, check out the Tactics Corner.
The 8th edition of 40k has done a lot to shake up the game that we know and love. Indeed, the release of Chapter Approved points changes and FAQ’s continues to shake up the meta on a regular basis. This has led to a lot of variety of armies at tournaments, which has been great for mixing up the forces that are winning events.
This change in the game has led to some models and units gathering dust on the gaming shelf, where in years past they barely had time to rest in their carry cases between events. I was recently packing up a bunch of my 40k stuff, and came across a number of units that used to see regular play, but have been sadly relegated to bottom tier. Today, I’ll take a look at some of the units that have seen better days on the tabletop.
5. White Scars Command Squads/Bikers
Remember when White Scars were a thing? Time was you couldn’t go near a tournament without a ton of White Scars Bikers tearing up the tabletop. I mean, none of them were actually painted White, but you can’t have everything.
The White Scars Bikers had an insane level of durability, thanks to Jink giving them a 3+ cover save. They could also Scout, hit and run, and had a huge mobility range to get across the tabletop. The White Scars Command Squad on Bikes was also a potent threat. The entire unit tended to have Storm Shields and Grav Guns or Meltaguns. This unit is now relegated to an Index option if you want to field them.
White Scars also got hit a bit with the nerf bad in 8th edition. They were so dominant in 6th and 7th that I think they were on the receiving end of one of the weaker Chapter Tactics available to Space Marine players.
Space Marines are definitely struggling in the tournament scene right now, and Bikers are rarely fielded at all. Despite numerous points drops, they are still pretty expensive for a low level of durability against a range of weapons. The Bolter Discipline has added to their firepower level at range, but you still won’t be seeing them in the numbers they were once present in.
This one hurts me, as I had about 5000 pts of White Scars painted up in 7th edition (that’s a lot of White paint to go through!).
4. Eldar Scatbikes
The Eldar Jetbikes were the thing of tournament nightmares. They had it all; great mobility, awesome firepower, access to great buffing psychic powers. These units dominated the tournament top tables for many years, joined by the awesome Wave Serpent.
No one is going to say that Aeldari are struggling in making the top tables these days, but they are doing it without the help of the scatbikes in most cases. There are simply much better choices in the codex to do similar jobs, so the players with 10’s of these have them relegated to the display cases in most armies.
3. Nob Bikers
While they were never really a top tier army in the past, any Ork army tended to include a hefty unit of Nob Bikers. This unit took advantage of the wound allocation mechanics to make a highly durable unit that could take a large number of wounds before you had to remove a single model. Add in a Big Mek with KFF and Painboy to the unit, and you had a unit that required a lot of firepower to take out and could hit incredibly hard in the combat phase.
Once more, I think this unit has been relegated to Index status, making its reappearance much more questionable.
2. Grav Cannon Devastators/Centurions
Remember when Grav was everything?!? It was rare to see a Space Marines list without a ton of Grav weaponry loaded up on it. This was the ultimate weapon for dealing with a huge range of threats to the army, as well as effectively neutering vehicles.
Grav was once again hit hard with the nerf bat in 8th edition. They are not terrible weapons, just outclassed by Plasma and Meltaguns once more in the current meta.
Centurions are making a return to many Space Marine lists thanks to the Bolter Discipline rules, but the days of only seeing Grav Cannon Centurions running around the battlefield are a thing of the past.
1. Drop Pods
Ah, the good old humble Drop Pod. It took many years and many editions of the game to finally get a model for such an iconic Space Marine vehicle. Space Marine Drop Pods were an incredible tool for the army, and forces ranged from a few containing some firepower-heavy units, to entire armies filled with the things to take advantage of “null deployment” tactics.
The Drop Pod went from ridiculously cheap and overpowered to ridiculously overpriced and underpowered. It seems that its once unique ability is shared by a huge number of units that can deploy from reserve. In fact, most armies tend to have such units in the game now.
I still think the Drop Pod has a lot of utility for a Space Marine army, but it is just too expensive to field.
Anyway, those are my choices for units that don’t see the battlefield much any more. As a White Scars player, it is a big Space Marine skewed as you can see.
What are some of the units that you no longer see in competitive 40k or on the table at all? Are there any you miss, or are you glad that the dark days of 7th edition are gone?
And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!