For those who ask how Escalation will change the game, I have some thoughts now that I have read through this latest tome. I am no master prognosticator, but I have played the game long enough to know what effect this will have…
My first comment is that this was inevitable. Games Workshop IS a company that strives to make a profit, and inclusion of Super Heavies in our day-to-day play will drive sales. I honestly think that the GW of today would not have done this if they did not think it was so. Moreover, there is, from a practical standpoint, no such thing as a “pickup” game of Apoc. So having these expensive toys brought into the normal realm of our game play will nudge, perhaps reluctantly, many players to drop a few coin for that Baneblade, Stompa, etc.
In terms of Escalation in particular, I am not upset (yet!) that certain units were not included. From what we have seen of dataslates and the like, I am hopeful that several other Apoc models to eventually be included. If they are not, then this IS a dumb idea. I read a comment from another Nid player regarding Heriodules, and that they would have made a better choice than the Harridan. I agree, particularly from a cost perspective. Sorry Forge World, but I am not putting $350 on the table when I could buy three Heriodules for about the same price. I already have one…I might consider a formation of three for an Apoc Game, or including one in an Escalation game. But the Harridan is a single model with a 3-up normal save and AP3 weps only…no thanks. So what if it’s a flyer? With all the Skyfire units available and the buffs to make it even easier to ground Flying Monstrous Creatures, why would I invest that kind of money? Actually, it would be cool to chase Heldrakes around the table and shoot the crap out of them, but that is just me being silly!
Let’s now discuss the effect on the game in general. First, it will change the focus of being a good, tactical gamer to one of being able to knock off the Super Heavy before it shoots/rips your army to shreds. Seriously…have you looked that the number of Hull Points these models have? How about the number of wounds on the “Super C’Tan” with a 4-up invulnerable save? How about the unit killing power these models have? Can you say First Blood? It will take most armies at least a few of turns of great shooting, with all of their available firepower (S9 or S10), to have a chance to ground one of these things. Some have the ability to repair, or It Will Not Die, or crazy shielding. What about the other 1200-1500 points of models you still have to deal with? There is no strategy involved here. Just “shoot the big ones” (doesn’t that sound strangely familiar to you Nid players out there?!) to survive. I am sure there will be bloviating enough as folks talk about their “solutions” to the Super-Heavy issue. I will be doing so in my next blog entry from a Tyranid perspective. That said, you will have to devote at least as many points of non-Super-Heavy resources to destroying these things as you will in trying to win the game. Yeah, I know, if I knock out a Lords of War unit I could get 3-4 VPS for it. You are correct, and would be more correct in pointing out that this might win you the game. Fair to say…but this is exactly my point. Instead of worrying about unit placement, movement and other tactical considerations, winning the game comes down to focusing on taking out a single Lord of War model.
Finally, there is the game etiquette piece of this. My own thought is that if a friend I game with has gone to the time and expense to build and paint one of these models, I should show them the courtesy of allowing them to play with it. However, I will make it clear that I will not always play a game with a Lord of War. We are told that although Lords of War are allowed in regular games, it is by mutual agreement that they are allowed on the table. I will probably play one myself now and again if the right units become available (can you say “Heriodule dataslate” Games Workshop??).
Whether you agree or disagree, feel free to post a response. In the next few days I will be posting an article regarding specific issues between Escalation and my beloved Tyranids. Out here.
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