Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Skaven: Storm Fiends and ETC Draft 2.5

Shoot everything that ever lived.

Well, it looks like ETC put some pretty sizable restrictions on Storm Fiends as predicted.  They were a little bonkers against certain list archetypes, but they were not without weakness.  You can find the latest copy of ETC Draft 2.5 here.

Here are my observations:
  • They utterly changed the metagame because of their high impact ranged offensive ability.  A unit of 3 puts out 9D6 S5 AP magical shots that re-roll wounds and ignores almost all shooting penalties minus cover.
  • They are fragile, and Ld.7 is death magic bait.
  • Suffer vs. armies with superior shooting elements: WE, DE, HE, Empire, Dwarves, even Ogres with Leadbelchers. With 18" range and 24" threat total can be counter-deployed by longer shooting elements.
  • Suffer vs. light councils, any army with magic missiles, Warlocks will draw dice every time and they cost less than half the points.
  • They will do very well vs. knight-heavy armies with minimal shooting, to a point where if you roll well, you will earn at least 2x their points back if played well.
  • They can do very poorly vs. armies that have more shooting elements than the Skaven player and thus, are a complete waste of points. A direct comparison can be made with the Abomination, which costs about the same points as 3x Rattling Cannons. In those cases, the Skaven player would rather have the Abom since it can absorb more damage.

Case in point -
Regular Skaven configurations in the Rare slot in ETC, all of which I have played so far:
  • Abom, 2x WLC, Doomwheel
  • 2x Doomwheel, 2x WLC
  • 3x Storm Fiends, 2x WLC, Doomwheel
  • Abom, 4x Storm Fiends

Look at what you give for Storm Fiends: The Abomination for its durability and power to kill entire units by itself while not being vulnerable vs. shooting, including cannons (bar the flaming ones). If you take the Abom and Storm Fiends configuration, you give up the ability counter-battery or heavily damage elite units because of the lack of WLC. You also miss out on the Doomwheel, so you lose the ability to deal with monsters that hit close combat.

To sum up Storm Fiends; they are fragile, they are hit and miss, literally, from their 3D6 shot variations to their effect in game vs. different comps. Killing one drops the power of the unit by a third, whereas something like the Ironblaster, Skullcannon, or Organ Gun maintains its power, lethality and ingame effect regardless of power inflicted onto the unit. They are also Rare so if Skaven players must sacrifice other powerful elements in their army to use Storm Fiends.

I can remember these of the top of my head:
2 Games vs. HE
3 Games vs. DE
1 Game vs. WE
4 Games vs. Empire
2 Games vs. Ogres
2 Games vs. Dwarfs
1 Game vs. VC
2 Games vs. WoC

Storm Fiends with Rattling Cannons did major work vs. 2 Empire lists with minimal shooting and knight buses, 2 games vs. Ogres because of 1 Ironblaster and 1 tiny unit of Leadbelchers, absolutely mauled a VC list because he has no shooting and my WLC destroyed the lone Terrorgheist, did serious work against the WoC because of limited shooting. They suffered vs. a light council Empire list and another with knights and heavy shooting, suffer horrendously vs. the Dwarfs because of 30" Organ Guns and super accurate cannons, and suffer vs. 35+ Archer, RBT HE lists with Shadow book, DE was just a pain to play against, possibly even more than WE.

Overall, the Rattling Fiends have some very swingy effects on the metagame.  They can either completely wreck unprepared armies or those with small shooting elements, or they can be utterly destroyed by the right kind of list composition.  This, is a problem in itself because it causes too much polarity in game balance.  No balanced army should show up to an event and just feel like Storm Fiends are uncounterable by their army.  I feel that Vampire Counts eats shit the most from the new gun rats.

With that said, let's explore the latest comp on these guys:
  • Each Stormfiend in a unit after the first model 1 pool choice

This basically means that a unit of 3x will cost the army 2 points out of the 5 total that you can take.  I think in its current form, this is pretty fair as you are now locked out of the Storm Banner or other tricks if you take these guys.  This makes shooting armies that much better vs. the Storm Fiends because you can no longer pop banner on their turn after you get a round of successful shooting.  Of course, you can still take 2x units of 3x Rattling Fiends and the Storm Banner if you so choose, but only if you take nothing else.  So what does this mean?  This means that we should test just how truly these Storm Fiends are impacting the meta.  Are they absolutely destroying everything you face?

I want to try double Grey Seer for all the nonsense that you can throw out with enough Warp Tokens.  Essentially everyone important has a 2++ ward vs. magic and the double unit of Rattling Fiends will put down enough lead down field that your opponents' army will either fold, or do have the right elements to fight against it.  Jam up whatever you can with Skaven Slaves and continue to mow down your opponents' stuff while Gutter Runners takes out any warmachines.  The single WLC keeps fatties honest and the rest of the list speaks/shoots for itself.


kye baker said...

Great topic Hero. Very interested to her more on your conclusions. Have you tried any other weapon combo's? How are you planning on modelling 6 SF with rattlings? as you only get 1 of each weapon choice per box.

HERO said...

I'm not planning to model 6 SF with Rattling Cannons. Fuck GW for supplying me with only one, and I'm not going to overcommit on buying actual models at full price for those, no way. I'm going to just play my 3, borrow my friend's 3 if I want to play more, and just use them as count as.

As for the Rattling Cannons, I have tried Windlaunchers and they're freaking amazing. 3x 3" templates with 4+ no AS, re-roll wounds is arguably more stupid than 9D6 S5 AP shots.

kye baker said...

Glad to hear it. I brought 2 boxes. I will model one of each type and in games they can be count as and look awesome.

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