Thursday, 9 June 2016

Draft FAQs and Drop Pods

The draft FAQs for Codex: Space Marines were released today, and there are a few important features for us all to consider... Also a hero steps forth!

Well, my-oh-my! This one is a doozy! As you may know, I'm planning on running a Drop Pod-ish Space Wolves army in an upcoming tournament, so this FAQ (assuming Space Wolves have similar Drop Pods to Marines) will have a pretty big effect on my gameplay if they're made official before the tourney. I think it's safe to say you already know that the FAQs for the Space Marines Codex were released today on Facebook, but if you haven't had a read through them yet, go have a look. I'll wait...

Gottfried Dragonsbane of Lord Manton's Great Company. 

Done? Good. Let's get on with it. Page: 4, Question: 5 is the important one for our purposes today.

Q: Are Drop Pod doors ignored for game purposes once deployed?

A: No - They are still part of the model.

This is a pretty big deal. For starters, it means that the footprint of the Drop Pod is now massive. The Drop Pod formerly (assuming you were playing that the doors aren't part of the vehicle once deployed) had a diameter of 4". Now, the thing has a diameter of 9". That's more than twice the size. This gives distinct advantages to the Marines player, as the area of denial is now 78.5" squared (or something, my maths is a bit rusty). Either way, it's a huge chunk of table that is now blocked off by this big fucker of a model-foot-print. Remember that we can't move friendly models over or through the pod, and enemy models must remain 1" away from it at all times, unless you want to assault it (see: "Models in the Way" on the first page of the movement rules, p.18 in the mini rule book). 

The second thing to take from this is that if the door is part of the model, being open topped, a Marine can disembark up to 6" from the tip of the open door. That's huge! That means that from the centre point of where the Pod ends up from scattering, you can deploy your squad up to 10.5" away. This is a big, big difference to when you measured the actual body of the Pod as its hull.

Thirdly, you run a much higher risk now of damaging your Pods when they land. If the door is part of the vehicle, it means that you will have to take a Dangerous Terrain test and potentially drop a Hull Point if the doors hit any piece(s) of difficult terrain. The Pod is also a lot more vulnerable to enemy fire, being twice the size as it was. This is going to be harder and harder to avoid given the overall embiggening of Drop Pods with this new FAQ.

In the last battle I played, Squad Melta-Wolf took-out a 
Salamanders Multi-Melta Contemptor with some Melta shots, 
and the final HP was taken by the plucky throw of a Krak grenade.  

Now for the Tempering of this knee-jerk reaction

I can hear it now, "I glued my Pod's doors shut and now it's smaller than that guys. This shit is fucked!" Or, "So, can I just leave my doors closed? Can I leave half of them closed? This shit is fucked!" Or, "Fuck you GW. I'm gonna play Warmachine!... And this shit is fucked!" 

These are all valid, reasonable and rational observations. As GW say on the FAQ pages, they don't care what we think of the answer, but if we need clarification, we should ask. And in 10 hours, that one photo has gotten 114 comments, not including all the replies, so I think it's fair to say that clarification is being sought. 

But to lessen the outrage somewhat, if you have a look at Page: 4, Question: 4, you'll see this:

Q: Do Space Marine Drop Pods count as solid walls that block Line of Sight?

A: It depends on how the model is constructed - use the actual model to determine Line of Sight.

When we take this into consideration with the other answer, it kind of mitigates the outrage from our first outburst. If you glued your doors shut, you get to block LoS, that's fine. BUT, you have a much smaller foot-print with a smaller disembarkation deployment zone. On the other hand, if you decide to open your Pod's doors, you have a much bigger foot-print, closing off a lot of your opponent's ability to move around the board, making your ability to board-control much better, not to mention have a huge range for securing objectives. BUT, the enemy will be able to see through your Pods and shoot at you, so you can't build a wall to protect yourself.

The bloke I played against is named Jeff, the Nordic 
derivative of which is Gottfried. Hence: Gottfried Dragonsbane.

As to the half open/half closed question, I think, as always, use some common sense and just be consistent. If you want to block LoS for the game, then leave the doors closed, but that means that all your pods have to leave their doors closed, no picking and choosing. Likewise if you want to open them, you get the advantage of massive board-control, but you run the risk of damaging your pods, and giving LoS to your opponent. Just pick one and stick to it!  

Lessons from my last battle

The Road to WinterCon is long and full of lessons. The last game I played was against Jeff, local champion, and local champ! He played his 30k Salamanders in Drop Pods, and we played a Maelstrom mission: Deadlock. 

As to the mission, I learnt that you have to go for the objectives as they come up, don't hoard them for later. I had a Tactical Objective that gave me a point for issuing a challenge, or D3 points if I issued three challenges. I tried to keep it to get the D3, but ultimately, as we ran out of time, I should have tried to get them as they came up, rather than waiting. I only lost by two points in the end, and I think I could have gotten those back with that Objective and any others that popped up. 

The rules for grenades don't really specify which model
throws it, but as I had already modelled this bloke chucking
a Kraker, he seemed a good fit to take the glory!

As for my List, I think I need to swap the Power Sword from my close combat Hunter squad for a Power Axe. Jeff was rocking a Praetor in Terminator armour who laughed at all my paltry AP3 wounds. If I take an axe on a regular Hunter, not on my Wolf Guard, he'll be safe from challenges, and free to smack people with a S5 (or S6 on the charge!) AP2 axe to the face! 

Finally, I learnt that splitting up my army leads to a bad time for all. I deployed my Dreadnought way out on the flank of the board, well away from my main force. He captured an objective, which was nice, but he was woefully vulnerable to attack the following turn. I've learnt that you always need something to support your units, leaving them out in the cold like that is a recipe for disaster. 

I also learnt to fear S5 Flamers! Ouch!

I've taken Knight of Infinite Resignation's advice: paint all the 
models in an army to table top standard, and any heroes that 
distinguish themselves, get a full paint job. This guy did just that,
and so his saga begins, and he gets a spiffy paint job to go with it!

I really hope we get a clarification from GW about
 the doors shenanigans soon.
Otherwise, I don't think these changes are too bad.
There a positives and negatives on both sides.
What do you think?

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