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Analyzing a New Way to Play (Part 3)
As for the Warlord, it is, of course, a monster, weighing in at 2500 points. It’s odd to see something as huge as a Titan having “only” Strength 10 and Armor Value 14 (13 from the rear, if you can believe that—a Land Raider’s backside is tougher?), but there it is. If you manage to build or acquire your own, you need not worry that your investment is an “egg armed with a sledgehammer,” as the Warlord possesses 9 Structure Points and 6 void shields. Oh, happy day.
The Warlord “only” sports four guns—two mounted on the arms, two on the shoulders—but that’s like saying the 2007 New England Patriots “only” have a good offense: what they’ve got can kill plenty of stuff, depending on what you want to throw at people.
Where to begin? Well, one of the “wimpiest” guns the Titan has is S 7, AP 3, but it does have a 360" maximum range (that’s 30 feet, ladies and gentlemen), in case, say, you’re fighting a battle outside and you want to hit something across the street. Other happy weapons spit out multiple 7" “Pie Plates of Death” (at S 8, AP 2—tra la la!) or drop two—two!—S 9, AP 3 “Dinner Plates o’ Dooooooooom” (the 10" ones) up to 360" (again). My favorite, though, might be the vortex missile, a one-shot goodie with a 480" range (40 feet, or farther than washed-up Ravens quarterback Steve McNair can throw) which just destroys (with no saves of any kind) anything smaller than a gargantuan critter or super-heavy that fits under its 10" blast marker.
The only downsides to the Warlord, besides its cost and the hassle of actually acquiring and transporting such a thing, is that if it suffers a bad enough hit, the nuclear reactor powering it goes up and anything from 6-36" around it is toast. But that’s what you get for putting Chernobyl on legs and giving it guns.
The other disadvantage is that it’s so large, the shoulder-mounted guns (whatever you choose to put up there) have a minimum range of 24" (that, and its close-combat weapon, if it has one, can only go after gargantuans and super-heavies). This whole bit with the minimum range is like telling Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, “You may only throw passes of 15 yards or more.” Gee, that’s terrible.
Next up is the more economical (and easier-to-obtain-and-transport) Warhound Scout Titan. At 750 points, it’s a steal. To be expected, it has less armor and fewer Structure Points and void shields than the Warlord, but in this case, “less” and “fewer” doesn’t mean that the Warhound won’t run roughshod over just about anything it goes against.
Again, this is because of its beautiful, beautiful guns. My favorite is the Vulcan mega-bolter which spits 15—that’s “one” and “five”—S 6, AP 3 shots a turn, at 60". And, by the way, the mega-bolter is a Primary Weapon. Of course, it’s hard to pass up the plasma blastgun, which can shoot 2—two!—S 8, AP2 “Pie Plates of Death” at a 72" range—and that’s just it’s “rapid fire” mode (the “full” mode is really ill).
If the thought of a Warhound wiping out entire units of tough nuts like Plague Marines or Necrons without breaking a sweat might give you a Phoebe-Cates-coming-out-of-the-swimming-pool kind of moment, but you’ll soon snap out of it if once you learn that our Good Friends at Forgeworld currently want 280 British pounds (about $560, right?) for one. I used to have a mortgage payment that was less than that.
Moving on, we find the Imperial Navy’s Thunderbolt Fighter, the model of which was clearly inspired by WWII aircraft, of which I have a deep fondness. To me, this flyer looks an awful lot like its namesake, the P-47 Thunderbolt, except with two jet turbines instead of one propeller.
The Thunderbolt is really, really darn cheap—180 points, much less than a Land Raider—but has flimsy armor (AV 10) and unimpressive Ballistic Skill (3—evidently, Thunderbolt pilots are not invited to “Top Gun” training).
However, the ‘bolt comes standard with two twin-linked autocannons (one of my favorite weapons) with anti-aircraft mounts, making it great for hunting light tanks or enemy flyers. It can also have four hunter-killer missiles or four bombs (S 6, AP 4) that use the “Unlucky Charm” clover-shaped template. If you take bombs, you have the option to drop as many as you like on a single bombing run: if you wanna drop all four at the same time, go for it! Of course, once you’ve shot your wad with the h-k’s or the bombs, you’re out of ordnance, and have to rely on your a-cannons for the rest of the game.
If the ‘bolt reminds me of the P-47, the Marauder reminds me of the Stuka dive bomber. It’s a bit pricier (400 points) and has the same thin armor at the ‘bolt, but it is a super-heavy and does have 3 Structure Points, which helps. The Marauder packs twin lascannons and twin heavy bolters, but why you’d want it is for its ability to carry 12 bombs (like the ‘bolt can have) or two Hellstorm bombs—think napalm—which use the mondo flamer template and are S 7, AP3, strong enough to vaporize heaps of Space Marines or Toasters. Like the ‘bolt, the Marauder can drop more than one bomb (but not more than one Hellstorm bomb) at a time—yes, you can drop all 12 at once, if you want to go Dresden on your opponent.
The Stompa is the Orks’ potbellied answer to a Titan, though at 600 points, it’s probably more in the league of the Warhound than the Warlord. Though the Stompa has 4 Structure Points, it isn’t exactly a “mighty fortress” with its AV 13/13/12. The Stompa’s ability to carry 20 Boyz and the rule that Ork mobs within 12" of the Stompa are Fearless are nice, too, but where the Stompa earns its money is with its guns.
The Stompa comes standard with a Titan close combat weapon, a deth kannon with a co-axial supa-gatler, a supa-skorcha, a twin-linked big shoota, three more big shootas (one of which fires to the rear to protect the Stompa from sneaky gits trying to melta-bomb it from the back), and three supa-rokkits. Big shootas are always a good time, and the other weapons don’t disappoint, either. I love the deth kannon (think of it as a battle cannon on steroids), but the supa-rokkit is nice as well: it’s a hunter-killer missile that will actually hit (2+), as opposed to the ones my Marines mount on their vehicles (which always miss, for some reason).
Like most other things Orky, the Stompa is stuck with BS 2. The supa-gatler attempts to overcome this predicament by sheer volume of fire. You use the supa-gatler by nominating at a unit within 48", then rolling 2d6 to determine the number of shots you get against that unit. Then you nominate the same unit or another enemy unit within 12" of your original target, roll the 2d6 again, and so long as you don’t come up with doubles, you fire that many shots. Repeat until you finally roll doubles for the 2d6, after which the supa-gatler is out of ammo and may not fire for the rest of the game. But fear not, because the supa-gatler shots also serve as tracer fire for the deth kannon: once the gatler is out of ammo, the kannon fires on the last unit the gatler targeted. And did I fail to mention that the gatler spews S 7, AP 3 shots? How neglectful of me.
At 50 more points, the Big Mek’s Stompa has two power fields (see the rules on page 96), which make it a smidge tougher than the Stompa. The Big Mek version (can we call it “Da Big Mak?”) is armed similarly to the Stompa, but has a gigashoota instead of a supa-gatler, and packs the Gaze of Mork and a lifta-droppa.
The gigashoota lacks the happy “Psycho-Dakka-Blasta” rule that lets the supa-gatler target squad after squad after squad. Instead, the gigashoota “only” has 6d6 shots at S 6, AP 4—and it’s a co-axial weapon with the deth kannon, so first you shoot 6-36 times at a unit, THEN you drop a S 10, AP 1 7" “Pie Plate of Death” on them. Deth kannons, by the way, are Primary Weapons, which are hard to knock out. Unlike the supa-gatler, the gigashoota never runs out of ammo. Even with BS 2, you’re going to inflict some hurt on someone with that.
What the Gaze of Mork lacks in rate of fire (three shots per turn), it has the ability to make up for in Strength. You roll 2d6 every time you fire it, and use that result for its Strength: rolls of “11” and “12” are considered as “Destroyer” (see page 96). I suppose the Gaze can be fun, and it does have a nice range (60") and AP (2), but I would only bet your opponent’s head, and not your own, on killing much with it.
The lifta-droppa, on the other hand, is pure Orky sweetness. The rules for it are a little complicated, but basically, when you use the lifta-droppa, you’re seriously going to moogie with your opponent’s vehicles (provided they aren’t flyers or super-heavies). Only Orks would come up with a weapon that lifts an enemy vehicle off the ground and then simply drops it, relying on gravity to crunch it (d6 glancing hits). But why just drop a vehicle any old place, when you could drop it on another vehicle (d6 glancing hits for that one, too), on an enemy infantry unit (2d6 Wounds for the poor slobs underneath the falling tank), or into impassible terrain (which will just outright destroy the vehicle)? Here’s the best part: you don’t need to roll “to hit,” and you’ll never scatter. Almost as good, the lifta-droppa has a 48" range, and is also a Primary Weapon.
All this extra goodness on “Da Big Mak,” for 50 more points. As any Ork Warboss would say, “Wotta bargain.”
Stompas and “Big Maks” are slow, so mayhap you’d prefer something with some zip to it. The Fighta-Bommer, at 210 points, is a snazzy little flyer, and will look nice in red, but it suffers from that typical Orky BS 2 and that typical tissue paper-like armor (AV 10) that most flyers have.
It does, however, have four big shootas with anti-aircraft mounts (for dueling with those pesky Thunderbolts), and a turret-mounted twin-linked big shoota (notice that it does NOT have an anti-aircraft mount, so you’re better off using it against non-flyers). It also packs a payload of bomms, a one-shot goodie that drops an “Unlucky Charm” template with S 6, AP 4, and 8 dice—say goodbye to any Tau, Eldar, or Orks underneath that. The Fighta-Bommer comes with the option of either two supa-rokkits (like those carried by the Stompa) or two burna bomms (think napalm). Not bad at all.
At first glance, the Skullhamma Battle Fortress appears to be an Orky knock-off of the Baneblade. Actually, it’s a suped-up battlewagon, a super-heavy tank that’s Fast (wrap your head around that), has 3 Structure Points, ok armor (13/13/11), and carries 30 guys, who can just jump off anywhere and don’t have to fool around with access hatches. Like the Baneblade, the Skullhamma is loaded with guns, none of which are as impressive as the Skullhamma kannon, which has 12" less range (60") and higher AP (3) than the Baneblade cannon (72" and 2, respectively). All for 400 points, 100 points cheaper than the Baneblade. If I’m an Ork player, I drive the Skullhamma as fast as possible into the midst of the enemy, let my boyz jump out, and THEN I start blazing away with all the guns I got.
I don’t know if the Gargantuan Squiggoth is actually worth the 600 points it will set you back, but it is seriously damn cool. As one might surmise, the Squiggoth is a huge beastie that can carry up to 20 Orks, and its handlers man two supa-lobba guns (G48", S 7, AP 4, 7" “Pie Plate of Death”) and two twin-linked big shootas (with the option for up to four more) that can put a hurt on folks. Being a Gargantuan critter, it moves 12" a turn and has a very impressive S 10.
The problem with the Squiggoth is that even with T8, 8 Wounds, and a 4+ Save, I’m not convinced this big boy is going to last long on the battlefields of Apocalypse, where punks with heavy weapons will be numerous and some jackhole can take an army of nothing but Dark Reapers, for example. The Squiggoth would be harder to kill, methinks, if Gargantuans got “Mass Points” (as the “Tyranid Monstrosities” did back in the 2001 Chapter Approved book) in the same why that super-heavies get Structure Points, but that isn’t the case. For about the same amount of points, I think I’d rather take a Skullhamma and a Fighta-Bommer, but for style points, the Squiggoth can’t be beat.
The writers of Apocalypse have wisely taken the opportunity to revive some armies that debuted with the “campaign” books Codex: Armageddon and Codex: Eye of Terror and have since vanished into the Warp now that those books are out of print. The Kult of Speed (page 135, for those of you following along at home) formation allows one to mount a Warboss on a bike, let him ride with Warbikes and Warbuggies, and can bring along some Trukk-mounted ladz.
“Big deal,” you say. The big deal is that in this happy formation (which costs 50 points + the cost of the models), the Kult of Speed can do a Strategic Redeployment each turn. Strategic Redeployment (see page 187), one of the nastiest Strategic Assets, allows one’s models to “move an unlimited distance in the Movement phase, as long as no part of the move takes place within 12" of an enemy model.” Were those Whirlwinds waaaaaay over at the other end of the table bothering your boyz? ZIP! The Kult goes there in an instant to deal with them. Then ZIP!, they’re back again to head off some Assault Marines coming down a flank. If I’m an Ork player, I’m getting some of those new, way-cool bike models coming out.
Finally, our green friends can field a Dred Mob, which has nothing to do with hair and everything to do with four or more Orky machines slowly trundling forward together, squishing stuff in their path. The writers call this formation a “Dred Mob,” but you can use it for Killer Kans and Stompas (!), too.
And what do you get for your 50-point markup? Grot riggers, which help negate immobilization, and “Da Big Dred One,” rule, that states that so long as your models are at least partially within 12" of a nominated “Big Dred,” they’re protected by a kustom force field that counts each Dred as being an obscured target. If you’re barking loony enough to field four Stompas, you might as well take this formation to give them some extra protection.
The introductory piece of this section informs us that the Eldar enter war only to ensure the survival of their race, and that when they do wage war, they favor swift forces that can neatly slice the enemy into easily-managed segments that are efficiently eliminated. It sounds so…civilized, doesn’t it?
The first exhibit is the Revenant Titan. At 800 points, it costs more than the brutish Ork Stompa or Big Mek Stompa, and even more than the Imperial Warhound. It is the most lightly-armored Titan (12/12/10), but it does have 3 Structure Points (the same as the Warhound, one fewer than the Ork versions). Rather than relying on power shields or void shields, which can be blasted down, the Revenant uses a holo-field: so long as the Revenant keeps moving, it disregards enemy fire on a 4+. Short of immobilizing the Revenant, there is no way to knock out this field.
Moving is one of the things this Titan does best. In addition to being “Agile” (meaning that it can sacrifice shooting to increase the distance it moves each turn), the Revenant has a Titan-scale jump pack that allows it to spring 36" over and past “all terrain and models”—does this include other Titans? Ye, gods, I believe it does.
The weaponry on the Revenant is good, but not nearly as impressive as it is on the Stompa or the Warhound: you get a Revenant missile launcher (24" range, S 5, AP 3, Heavy 4) and either two pulsars or two sonic lances. Each pulsar has a 60" range, is a Destroyer weapon (and a Primary Weapon, too), and chucks two “Saucers of Slaughter” (the 5" blast markers) each turn, at BS 4. Each sonic lance uses the ginormous Hellstorm template, wounds on a 3+ and is AP2. None of that sucks, but is it as fun as the supa-gatler or the lifta-droppa? Methinks not.
When the latest version of the Eldar codex came out, folks who had to play against Eldar began to whine about the newfound invincibility of Falcon-heavy lists, and they’ll have more to kvetch about with the Cloudstrike Squadron formation found on page 141.
For 100 points + the cost of the models (all of whom must take holo-fields, by the way), an Eldar player can field three or more Falcons together in this strike force. In a similar way to how the various Imperial Guard vehicles gain special abilities when fielded together, the tanks in a Cloudstrike can forgo shooting to act as flyers for a turn—meaning that they can travel any distance on the table, folks shooting at them will only hit on a “6,” they can’t be assaulted, etc., etc. (see page 94 for nifty tricks that flyers can do).
If the Cloudstrike Falcons give up a turn of shooting (say, when they’re acting like flyers), they can supercharge their pulse lasers. That means that on the next turn they fire, their lasers are treated as lances, which treat enemy armor values over 12 as 12. I’m sorry, were those big bad Marines and their Armored Spearhead (3+ Land Raiders) bothering you? Not to worry, dear.
Flip the page and you find the coolest model in the entire book: the Nightwing Interceptor, at 285 points. It’s a flyer with BS 4, two shuriken cannons, and two bright lances (no, they’re not twin-linked). Unlike all other flyers in the book, the Nightwing need only go a minimum of 18", not 36". Its guns are treated as having anti-aircraft mounts, making the Nightwing perfect for going after other flyers. And it’s packing an Eldar holo-field, just like the Revenant Titan. And did I mention that it looks really, really freakin’ cool? It’s like something Batman would fly.
As I mentioned in the Ork section, the Apocalypse writers have taken this opportunity to bring back some beloved army lists from codices that are no longer in print. Our first pointy-eared entry is the Aspect Assault Wave, which nicely mimics the old all-Aspect Biel Tan list from Codex: Craftworld Eldar. For 75 points + the cost of the models, you take an Autarch, three or more Aspect Warrior squads of 10 each, and Wave Serpents for all the squads. Like other vehicle squadrons presented in Apocalypse, you bunch the Serpents together and their combined energy fields give you some abilities.
First off, ranged attacks of Strength 8+ that come from the front or sides of the Serpents will count as S 7—not too shabby! Secondly, the Wave Serpents can forgo shooting to create a “force tsunami” that can make any unit (friend or foe) test vs. Pinning. Given the firepower that Serpents can kick out and the resiliency of most 40K units to Pinning, I think the Arizona Cardinals will win the Super Bowl before you ever see anyone using the “force tsunami.” Still, it’s nice to have the all-Aspect army back in some form.
Next up, replicating the old Iyanden army list from Codex: Craftworld Eldar, is the Spirit Host: a unit of Spiritseers (upgraded Warlocks) leading three or more units of Wraithguard and/or Wraithlords. For 25 points + the cost of the models, this formation (in addition to looking really cool) grants Fearlessness to all Eldar units within 12": who can be scared when some Wraithlords have your back?
Finally, replicating our friends from Saim-Hann, we have the Wind Rider Host, at 100 points + the cost of the models. To form the Wind Rider Host, you need an Autarch on a jetbike and five or more units of jetbikes (Farseers, Warlocks, or Guardians) and/or Vyper squadrons. This formation lets you use the Flank March strategic asset (which lets you bring in the Host from any board edge) and Strategic Redeployment (which lets you move the models an unlimited distance, provided they don’t shoot or assault, and that your move doesn’t take you within 12" of enemy units).
Sweet, yes, but no formations that mimic Ulthwe and Alaitoc? Bummer.
time, I’ll finish my analysis of the datasheets by looking at those
used by Bugs, Toasters, Greys, Death Twinkies, and Sore Losers (Tyranids,
Necrons, Tau, Dark Eldar, and Chaos).
Posted January 2008. Apocalypse images are copyright 2007 by Games Workshop or Forgeworld and are used for review purposes.
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