Thursday, June 6, 2013

GDS: More Eldar tidbits

Come on man, you can do better.

I originally posted this in the BoLS forums, but I don't think people have a clue about what I'm talking about so I'll transfer it here.  Hopefully the IQ jumps up a bit more.

Here are my predictions on Eldar:
Eldar will be very much in the middle of the line of 6th Ed. books power wise (and only 6th Ed. books and not including 5th), but weaker in terms of overall design mechanics. There's just too many inexcusable misses which seriously weakens the book. Fortunately, there's enough units in the Eldar war arsenal that doesn't throw off internal balance too badly.

I just need you guys to understand one thing:
Eldar is a hard army to design, so I can't rag on Kelly too much. The reason for this is because you're trying to design a high-priced, elite army with specialist roles, all at the same knowing that it's army-wide T3 in a very lethal environment. In order for this to this design to succeed for such a specialist army, every role must be clearly defined in design, function, and balanced through points. A specialist unit that's not good in its role is simply, trash and not worth taking.

For example, and let me just throw out some design ideas (or changes rather) I came up with so you can get a better picture:

What if Banshee Masks also counted as having assault grenades?
...Runes of Warding forced enemy psykers within 24" to re-roll their successful psychic tests.
...Runes of Witnessing allowed you to re-roll your failed ones.
...Crimson Hunters come with Holofields and Exarch upgrade allowed him to ignore the Snap Shot rule.
...Hemlocks were Torrent/Template weapons.
...Wave Serpents gained assault ramps.
...Harlequin's Veil of Tears should not require a psychic test.
...Autarch could take Exarch weapons and powers.
...Dire Avenger's Exarch kept his Bladestorm mechanic from the old book.
...Wraithtknight's Heavy Wraithcannons are 36" S10 AP2 Blast.
...much much more.

This is an example of what I call design inconsistency AND incorrect fluff to table-top translation:
Heavy D-Sycthe loses template, gains Blast, when the fluff and description of the weapon says it ignores cover and is NOT a blast. The lesser version of the weapon, the D-Sycthe, is a template weapon and ignores cover.

This is an example of just poor, lazy design:
Wraithknight's Heavy Wraithcannon only adds +24" on the weapon's range and nothing else.

This is an example of poor design AND incorrect fluff to table-top translation:
Banshees are melee specialists without grenades, and masks don't do anything to change how they attack into cover.  Why?

This is an example of poor design AND incorrect fluff to table-top translation:
Crimson Hunters are an Eldar Ace aspect, the best pilots in the galaxy, and has the same defensive ability as an Ork pilot.  Not to mention it doesn't come with the most basic of all Eldar vehicle countermeasures; Holofields.

What do you guys think this is?  Bad design, design inconsistency, or poor fluff to table translation?
Random spell generation, Ld. 8/9/10 Warlocks/SS/Farseer, one-use crappy psychic items.

I think it's all three.

Poor design, inconsistency, and poor table-top translation are all over this book.  This is one of the reasons why I docked them so hard in my previous review.  My next article will go over some of my own alterations to the book and explain the fantasy and logic behind all of them.  Stay tuned.


Ric said...

I agree about the fliers, you'd think that the exarch upgrade would allow for an increased evade save and allow shooting at full BS. The wraithknight weapons options don't seem all that well thought out, isn't the ghost glaive pretty much useless, I thought MC's attacks were at AP2 anyway?

Azatoth said...

This is GW, a company which according to their own statements do not care about tournaments. A company which values "narrative play" more in total disregard to the players who are their customers in the end.
A company that makes me wonder, if they do any kind of serious playtesting at all.

Majere613 said...

I'm a bit mystified why anyone is complaining about the weapon options for the Wraithknight. Heavy Wraithcannons 'only' add 24" range? On a Jump Monstrous Creature that stands some 7" tall, that's a 48" bubble of near-certain death for all but the toughest tanks, as well as 2 chances to ID enemy MCs, which will make them sweat. The Suncannon, especially paired with a Scatter Laser to link it, is capable of wiping out most infantry units in one volley.

The Glaive is certainly the odd one. It's Master-Crafted, so you get a re-roll which is handy, but the +1S only does anything if something reduces the Wraithknight's Strength and the AP2 is built-in anyway. If, however, you want a 'cheap' Wraithknight to focus on Assault, it's cheaper than the Suncannon and better defended than the Wraithcannon- I'd probably go with no guns at all to keep the cost down in this build.

Majere613 said...

Actually, I'm going to be That Guy about Banshees, too. Math-hammer time!

Because the confer -5 I on the charge, Banshees will go simultaneously with most units in Cover. Lets assume a 10-strong unit of Banshees, with Exarch, Assault 10 tacticals with a Sergeant. I'm discounting Overwatch for simplicity since IRL, you'd probably have shot the Marines up a bit too.

The nine Tacticals attack, needing 4s. 5 hit on average (rounding up)

Of those 5 hits, 3 wound (rounding up)

Of those 3 wounds, 2 Banshees fail their 4+ save (rounding up)

Nine Banshees attack (simultaneous)

27 attacks, of which 13 hit (rounding down)

13 hits, of which 4 wound (rounding down)
So, 4-2 to the Banshees so far. But what of the Sergeant? Let's give him a Power Fist for maximum pain. Our Exarch has an Executioner, Shield of Grace and Disarm.
First, we roll-off. If the Exarch gets one less than the Sergeant (or better), he loses that Power Fist. For sake of argument, we'll say that fails.
So, the Sergeant gets two attacks, hitting on 4. Say one hit.
The Exarch uses Shield of Grace and gets a 3++ against it. She only gets one Attack, but it's 3+ To Hit and 3+ To Wound, allowing no save.
In all likelihood, she lives and the Sergeant dies- and this is assuming, where there's a fraction, that all of them go in the Marines' favour.
Final result: 5-2 to the Banshees, Marines almost certainly break but will probably get caught and trapped by Banshees initiative, leading to combat ending in the Marine turn, which is ideal for the Banshees.

Would Grenades be nice for Banshees? Yes. Do they actually need them to kill the baseline squad of 40k in cover? No.

somewhatdamaged said...

Glad I'm not the only one that sees it this way. Banshee's don't need grenades unless they're charging Wyches/Slaneeshi units.
I also completely disagree with the OP re: veil of tears, old bladestorm and runes. And yes I'm an Eldar player.

Majere613 said...

To be fair, we should add Death Cult Assassins to that list, though ironically if they're not in cover, Banshees are pretty much the best Eldar pick to kill them!

HERO said...

Although they list their playtesters, I have no idea if they know what they're doing.

HERO said...

Wait, what? You discounted Overwatch and then supplement the fact a full unit of Banshees made it across the board intact? How are they getting into assault range man? Certainly not on the turn they come out of a transport right?

If you want a realistic scenario, it will be Banshees getting out of a WS, and then sitting there for a turn because you can't assault. Then, whatever is left will assault the marines, and take the obvious OW scenario.

Actually, if you want the most realistic scenario: No one will take Banshees because shooting those marines to death with Warp Spiders is much better.

Majere613 said...

I discounted Overwatch because it was outside the remit of the discussion at hand: Do Banshees need Assault Grenades? Assault Grenades make no difference against Overwatch. Since in actuality both units would probably suffer casualties before the assault turn, there's no way to realistically factor it in. Notably, Harlequins suffer worse against it.

If you want to start dealing with how you get them into Assault in the first place, that's a whole different question. I'd recommend hiding them behind a Wave Serpent as they move up- given their D6+3" re-rollable Run, they can keep up with it fairly well and you have the added bonus that depending on enemy firepower, you can shoot the Serpent Shield and try to Pin their target. The other option is to bring them up behind Wraithguard or Wraithblades, with the added benefit of potentially attaching a Spiritseer to the Banshees for Conceal whilst being close enough to Spirit Mark.

It's quite possible that a lot of players will do as you suggest- Warp Spiders are a very strong option in the new book. But that actually emphasizes the case for Banshees, since it's wise to have something that can pull your fat out of the fire should an enemy assault get through, and Banshees are the cheapest option barring the dodgy Storm Guardians.

HERO said...

I think you need to account for OW. The player will always elect to OW and if you're bringing a full unit of Banshees into the equation, it's only fair the player reacts accordingly.

OK, so Banshees having grenades. This allows them to go first vs. almost everything in the game. This alone would reduce the amount of attacks back significantly, and greatly separate them from Striking Scorpions as dedicated CC (which does damage through wounds rather than straight kills vs. PA; different target purposes). Right now, they're limited to a footslogging role, in a very shooty edition, and are virtually dead in the water even against mediocre shooting.

Adding Assault Grenades would allow Banshees to be AP3 melee specialists, winning vs. that particular armor type once you forced enough wounds regardless of scenario. For a specialized unit that has no other purpose, they should do exactly that. Unfortunately, the fact that they go at the same time as their intended target deters this from happening. Add in other flavors of marines such as Assault Marines, Plague Marines or Grey Hunters, they just don't do what they're supposed to do.

A specialist unit that doesn't do what it's designed to do is just... no good.

KillMaimBurn said...

Personally, I don't think that serpents really need an assault ramp now. I mean, they're devastating enough without it, thanks to the billion S6 and S7 shots they can kick out each turn. I tend to think of my serpents not so much as transports these days, but more like what a razorback was in 5th. An extremely shooty and resilient tank that could also carry troops inside. I mean, sure, an assault ramp would help banshees, but i personally believe that all banshees really need are assault grenades to be viable, as they can hide quite well behind serpents. Giving falcons an assault ramp could be quite cool, though, as it would give people a reason to take it over a serpent

Majere613 said...

The problem is that if you try to account for Overwatch, you add too many uncontrollable variables. Did the Banshees fire their Laspistols? Usually you don't to make sure of the charge, but we don't know how close they are. Is anything else charging our Marines? Do the Marines think the Banshees are too far out, so they save their Overwatch for another model? For that matter, does the Eldar player risk putting the Exarch in front to tank with her better save?

Your second paragraph is confused. They already do go first against models out of cover, and Grenades don't suddenly mean they're not limited to foot-slogging, that's a problem for all Eldar assault troops. The key to playing Eldar effectively is, and has always been, not exposing your units to the enemy's counter. That hasn't changed.

The Banshees _are_ better against 3+ armour than the Scorpions. The maths I used above makes that clear. Additionally, they're the only Eldar assault unit that can beat DCA, Daemonettes or Wyches to the punch. Add a Spiritseer, and they gain more utility than almost any other unit- Jinx means they can wipe out Terminators who are suddenly 3+ for one example, but almost all of the others make them better in some way. They're a specialist unit, in that you are correct, but their specialised targets are 3+ or worse save troops, high Initiative troops or, with Fear, low LD troops. They do that job just fine.

The point here is that they aren't some sort of panacea for all your assault needs. Depending on your list, they may be exactly what you need, or they may be a unit you should avoid like the plague. But this 'no grenades==useless' thing is not borne out by either the facts, or my (too long) experience.

HERO said...

The vacuum scenarios get us no where, especially when you have factor their methods of travel and how they actually get _into_ combat in the first place. Have you mathed out their damage in the old book vs. the new one vs. how many Banshees lost? Banshees went backwards from the old book for NO reason at all.

Majere613 said...

There is a reason, you're just not seeing it straightaway. The Initiative bonus Banshees used to get was for them alone, which meant that if their initiative was higher than that of the enemy (which it usually was) the mask actually didn't do anything. The Initiative penalty that they now inflict, however, affects the enemy unit, not the Banshees. This means, for example, that if you attack Wyches or DCA with Banshees and Storm Guardians, (or for that matter, any other Eldar unit) that supporting unit gets to go first too. That is potentially huge. As an added irony, it means that if you do need to assault a high-initiative enemy in cover, the ideal way is to use the Banshees in conjunction with one of the other options.

Of course, instead of the Banshees themselves you could use an Autarch or Jain Zar, but HQ slots are very much at a premium in this Codex.
In answer to your question, if you apply the casualties the Banshees cause to the Marines before they attack, there are five Marines left, leaving us with one likely Banshee casualty. Certainly better for the Banshees, but not dramatically so.

HERO said...

I don't think we're understanding each other at all. My focus on Banshees having grenades is so they eliminate the "striking at the same time" equation completely and essentially "always strikes first". Due to their cost, fragility and focus, I am fine with this. Second, the numbers I asked for earlier was referring to the old codex vs. the newer. Lastly, I am asking for debuffing the enemy, but also for masks to count as assault grenades in addition to the -5I.

KillMaimBurn said...

In terms of amount of people it can transport, but neither of them are very good transports anyway. I mean, you would never take the wave serpent if all it could do was transport. No fire points, no assault ramp, it's just not that great a transport, just like the razorback. I mean, for the points of one serpent, you just about get 2 razorbacks, so the transport capacity is the same. I get what you're saying, but the falcon isn't so much the razorback, as just a unit without a place. It barely beats the serpents firepower, and can't carry as many people. Also, it takes up a HS slot.... I'm not really sure how i would have fixed the falcon, although an assault ramp upgrade could have been cool. It would have allowed small specialist squads of banshees or scorpions to get into assault easily, and would have actually given players a reason to take the falcon... Just my thoughts on the two

Majere613 said...

I think I understood you just fine. The Banshees are one of three specialized options for Assault. You may want them to be as good as assaulting into cover as the others, but that's not what they've been designed to do. As I've already shown, they're fine assaulting into cover unless the target is an enemy assault unit, and shooting enemy assault troops and assaulting enemy missile troops is 40k 101. Banshees dropped a point from last Codex, and gained Bladestorm, Acrobatic and more powerful Exarchs.
As for your question, I did answer it. The only difference between Banshees in the previous book and this one when assaulting into cover is that they now go simultaneously instead of going first. Everything else (attacks, AP, Strength) is the same. So, as I said, you apply the Banshees damage first, leaving 5 Marines, and then apply the Marines, killing 1 Banshee.
Frankly, you're asking for the moon on a stick. You want Banshees to be cheaper than they used to be, faster moving, as if not more damaging, and for them to debuff enemy units to make other Eldar units more effective whilst also ignoring the cover issue. That's not balanced design, that's wish-listing, especially when you consider that in the new Codex there's ways to get S4 Banshees who are effectively AP2.

HERO said...

S4? Effective AP2? What are you talking about? Banshees lost ignore AS and ASF on a S3 unit that depended on persistent and guaranteed psychic powers to be effective going from one edition to another. They are a specialized assault unit who's sole purpose in the game is to be effective in assault. Lastly, they are worse in this edition only only through codex rules, but from 6th Ed. being a very shooty edition. And you're complaining that giving them grenades for more consistent results charging into cover is imbalancing the codex? Is this real?

Majere613 said...

I fear you aren't paying attention. Let me be clearer.

Eldar are a synergistic army. Prior to the current Codex, if you had Banshees and you were facing Terminators, your Banshees were basically stuffed- you had a chance of doing a bit of damage with the Exarch, but that was it. (I'm not sure where the 'ignore armour saves' thing is coming from, that was 5th Edition, not the Codex itself, unless you count Mirrorswords which IIRC did still work.)

In the new book, with a Spiritseer you can have S4 Banshees with Empower. You can reduce the armour save of the Terminators to 3+ with Jinx (which could of course come from any Warlock who has it, we need a Spiritseer for Enhance since it targets the user's unit).

So, Strength 4 Banshees who are effectively AP2 against the target.

Bear in mind, Banshees are the cheapest assault option in the book barring Storm Guardians. To be frank, if you've convinced yourself that assault armies don't work in 6th, I'm not sure why you care about the grenades thing at all. Personally, I've found assault works just fine in 6th, so long as you use it wisely, but as always, your mileage will vary based on play-style and the local meta.

HERO said...

More perfect world scenarios, I love it. You have to always consider how they preformed before, what they were designed to do before, before edition changes and FAQs. If you think nothing has changed, that's fine. I just think their functionality changed completely from what they were designed to do from the last book to now.

I'm done with this conversation, enjoy the rest of your day. If you think assault is in a good place in 6th Ed, and that Banshees are good, then we'll just agree to disagree. Have a good one, and I enjoyed this lengthy conversation we've been having.

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