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Friday, May 17, 2013

Eldar Rumor Analysis: Death Spinners and Aggressive Play

I had a few other thoughts on Death Spinners and how that speculative profile would affect how they work. First, let me alter it to make it a little more...sensible. AP5 would make flamers utterly worthless and doesn't fit with the all-or-nothing nature of Eldar monofiliment technology.

Let's try something more like this:

  • S6 AP(-) Template, Rending
Now if you're thinking "Hey, that's obscene! Those weapons would utterly decimate any kind of infantry in the game!" then you'd be perfectly right. This unit would be bloody murder to infantry. Changing it to a dash is more a show of good faith. But then again, Spiders are already bloody murder on infantry. Even without rending. If not in one turn, they'll break the target's back so someone else can finish it. So before flying off the handle and relabeling these guys Cheese Spiders as I have heard them called before, keep in mind that they're already doing this job very well even while people think they are  a bad choice.

There are ways that giving them back their templates would actually be a statistical nerf. And others in which it is an outright nerf. First, the absolute. They would no longer be able to harm flying units in any way. Templates can't hit them and all that jazz. Here a full unit of the current make would be much better. 22 shots with Prescience is very good for AA. They would also be much less effective with templates when firing at single model MCs. They would only get a maximum of one hit each. Here too, 22 shots with Prescience would be almost twice as good. Deep-striking--on the turn they drop in they would very likely only be able to shoot with three models due to the rules disallowing flamers to fire through models in the same unit. Finally, with templates they'd have a kill zone of about eight inches. It's very likely they would clear that zone every time they fire at infantry and would thus have a hard cap on how much they can kill against units that space out correctly.

I feel like people would be upset if they got both the flamer template and rending. It actually seems to me that rending has a chance to be true. But because of how templates seem to people, they'd retain assault 2. Competitively, I'd prefer rending with 22 shots at 12" range. That would be absurd in the extreme. That's like having almost six assault cannons with AP (-). I guess I could live with that if I had to =)

I'd like to return now, to Monday's post about how people play because I think this rumor provides too good an example to pass up the opportunity. Generally, I think I came up with a more clear, succinct description of aggressive play. Let me give this a shot:

Aggressive play concedes defensive security to achieve offensive gains that would have been impossible to attain without taking a risk.

I think this makes a lot of sense, universally speaking. In sports, poker, warfare--this rings true in any situation where there something to be gained by putting all your effort into offense at the risk of exposing yourself. It's the Hail Mary on fourth down. It's going all in. It's fighting Florentine instead of sword and board.

In 40k there are many ways that one can choose offense at the cost of defense. This is one reason why I was trying to avoid saying anything like X army is aggressive and Y is passive. Or to say the same thing absolutely about units. Generally I think Vanguard Vets are an aggressive unit, but I think you could use them in a way that reinforces your own units instead of alpha striking the enemy and leaving yourself open to counter offensives. And while IG could be considered a passive-style army, say with an Auto-cannon and Heavy Bolter gun line, you could easily deploy those heavy weapons more aggressively in positions that give advantageous LOS or denies cover saves to the enemy. This may in turn expose you to enemy fire or assaults, but that's the risk you took to go on the offensive.

You can probably see where I'm going with this if you read Monday's post or the follow-up. I play my Warp Spiders very aggressively. And if there is BLOS terrain, may Khaine have mercy on your soul. Or Slaneesh on mine, because getting as close as is necessary to really hammer someone with Spiders means putting yourself out there. 3+ armor be damned, we're still softer than Marines and cost a good deal more. If Death Spinners got a rending flamer template at S6AP(-), they would have to be played basically on top of the enemy to ensure maximum death. That is some aggressive play. How that could play out for the Spiders taking return fire in the next turn will depend heavily on what happens with the Warp Jump Generator, but that's outside the scope of the topic.

I really just wanted to take a chance to get a little more specific about what I meant by aggressive. Playing to dictate the flow of the game and to put pressure on the enemy is exactly what I like most about my Eldar. I think in addition to emphasizing that aspect of the army, a Death Spinner profile like this would give Warp Spiders a unique role. They'd retain some of their versatility, but would largely be death incarnate to hordes; if, that is, you're aggressive enough to get in there and get your hands dirty.