Friday, July 18, 2014
Lords of War: My findings based on Trail by Fire!
TJ here to talk more about my explorations in 7th. This time I will be looking into the dreaded Lords of War. I will be honest, I hated the idea of Lords of War and the Escalation book when they first debuted, so with 7th edition in full swing, I decided to give them a try as an opponent to see if my standard Necrons and Chaos allies had what it took to take them on and ultimately make my own opinion as to whether or not they belong on the table in 7th edition or in regular games of 40k.
Being deployed away from the family comes with a side benefit of time off being ... off. So, we maximized time off by trying new things in 7th and I had my opponents try to take on my crons (sometimes with a chaos allied det and sometimes with a helbrute formation and sometimes just Necrons) with a wide variety of proxied superheavies and gargantuan creatures. I want to note that we did not use any of the big fortifications as we wanted good samples against Lords of War minus factors like Void Shield generators ect. The first path we took was the path of the baneblade!
Against the standard baneblade chassis, I was able to shake off most incoming fire the first turn through Jink, followed by Catacomb Command barges flipping baneblades over. The tax against my army was incredibly high in all cases, especially if the baneblade went first (usually knocking down a command barge or crippling both), but in all tests (except the stormsword or shadowsword variants), the Necrons pulled off a win, mostly due to the heavy investment the Guard put into the Baneblade. Yes, the guard have a lot of other great shooters that can be included alongside the blade, but it was consistently hard for them to score and win the mission with that big tank on the board (and their flimsy troops) getting wiped out. Guard just seem to benefit from taking a lot of MSU and a lot of redundant capabilities and this really limits them from doing so.
The stormsword on the other hand, ignored Jink with it's blast and between that, and sponson fire, my lords (and thus most of my options for dealing with the tank) were rendered useless. I also found that a deepstriking formation of Helbrutes (even with multi-meltas) was pretty mediocre most times against the baneblade chassis, though if a lot of Stormswords or a couple similar tank killer variants show up in my hometown, I am going to have the Helbrutes in my list as a means to support the barge lords and give me a better chance to pop the big tank.
Lord of Skulls
Next we tried out the Lord of Skulls. This guy went down hard and consistently to the Necron firepower or the Douche Canoe Lords. Game after game, that 888 point investment failed to pay off much for the Chaos player and compared to the Baneblade chassis, it really under performed for a Lord of War. I can see that many armies would fear it though, especially with its huge flame template! I think my army was a bad sample against it because I have no troops running around on the ground, but the fact that I could consistently kill 888 points on turn two does not bode well for the model and I bet most competitive builds will treat it roughly the same way.
Next is the Thunderhawk, which we only tested once because it went down hard and did very little and we just couldn't see running it any more than once when we ran possible scenarios.
The Rev Titan
Ah yes, next came the much hated Eldar Revenant titan. This bad boy was the source of so much hate in 6th edition and was one of the first things I pointed to when judging the escalation book as something that did not belong in 40k.
I can proudly say that I smoked this thing consistently, much to the lament of the resident Eldar player. He was glad he hadn't actually purchased the model when he saw how consistently I boxed it into my firing arcs and killed it!
That being said, this titan is as hard as they come in terms of its ability to move and shoot. It is fast and its cannons WILL wreck your army. For me, going second made the games tough, but only slightly more tough as it gave the rest of army (wave serpents) the chance to pop their shields and really nail my barges. If I had first turn (or having made it mostly intact after the initial Eldar Volley), I would immediately move my barges in such a way as to keep him within 24" of my tanks for both the assault threat if he were to close with my barges and the shooting threat from my Tesla Destructors. I found that I could generally do a little damage at this point, but the titan really fell apart each game when my fliers came on and just chewed into him, exploiting his weak armor and inability to deal with air threats.
At 900 points, the Eldar player rarely had anything serious left that could answer to the mission or my threats, though I would haveliked to have seen a jetstar or something with the titan to see how that would have worked.
I think that if the eldar player can do something to mitigate a heavy air game, then the titan still helps dominate the game against ground based armies and I also think there are just going to be some armies that struggle against this titan, but at 900 points, it is a risk and reward factor that I can stomach.
Next up was the stompa and I fought it multiple times in an Ork/ Chaos army, which was a lot of fun to play. It's rules are awesome and very orky (it just won't stop shooting!), but alas, it reminds me of the Lord of Skulls. It could be a huge threat but I think most competitive armies already have good answers to it. Orks really can have fun with this, but the real power for orks will lie in their formations and not in a big metal liability.
The Transcendent C'Tan
Next up is the C'Tan and damn, this is the harshest Lord of War I had to face the whole time. Now since I had the majority of the crons available on my side of the table, I faced a Necron/ Chaos force each time and the cron side of the force was pretty weak (after all I had the scythes and the barges). This didn't really hurt the C'Tan. It could shake off most of my shooting with its toughness alone and it's weapons are insane. Of course my opponent took the giant SD flamer and the million dice of S8 shots. Each and every game, my opponent did the smart thing and took out the Lord barges first, eliminating the threat of CC with Warscythes (not that that is a real threat to this LOW). Next he would focus on anything else (Helbrutes, A-Barges ect). The combination of so much shooting with a resilient, non-vehicle body was just too much to handle game after game. Even the Black Mace prince was no threat to this monster.
The idea that you need S9 to even have a 50/50 shot at wounding him before he rolls his invul is pretty daunting. All the S7 my necrons could bring to bear was not enough to handle this beast. I can only imagine this model in a proper Necron army!
The C'Tan forces you to try to spread out, but what you quickly realize is that spreading out just works to protect the C'Tan from you and then you start to realize that this C'Tan can reach you pretty easily wherever you go. The fact is that some armies will struggle to fight against this thing while others will be able to roll over it (any mass rending, other D weapons or Slaaneshi Daemons in hordes).
That being said, this is one LOW that I think they got a little carried away on and that I think will continue to give LOWs a bad name because so few armies have answers to it and because it is so blatantly better than other Lords of War.
The last one we ran through was the Harridan, which I have to say lived through almost every game because it was so hard for my army to kill. However, it also took up so many points and left the Nids on the ground so unsupported against my army that it really was a huge liability over the course of several games. I think Nids can do a lot better without this LOW.
Now I realize that I didn't get through all of the Lords of War or touch on the Forge World Lords, but I do have to say that at least from the Escalation Book, Lords of War are not that bad and for the most part are totally fine to play against in 40k. The Transcendent C'Tan is going to be a sticking point for a lot of people though if it rears its ugly head at events where Lords of War are allowed and it really is a shame because with the new rules in 7th, most of the Lords are just good units for their armies and in some cases are just giant liabilities or point sinks.
In this case, I think one bad apple may spoil the whole bunch, but I would like to have a shot at the C'Tan with a few other armies with take all comer lists and see what happens.
For now though, I can honestly say that my reservations about LOWs in 40k are mostly gone and I would likely attend an event where they are allowed and would certainly have some fun against them in pick-up games ... and no, my opponent doesn't need to ask my permission!
So, enough of what I think, what do you think? Have you tested LOWs in 7th edition? What are your findings and opinions? Has anything opened your eyes or changed your mind? Would you play in an event with LOWs, limited LOWs or never with LOWs? I would love to hear your thoughts.