Goatboy here again on another Monday morning and the discussion today is all about the newest “army” on the blocks – the Skitarii.
I put the army in parenthesis because just like the newest Harlequin book it again feels like its missing some pieces to complete it. The difference is that the Harlie book at least has its two brothers available – Eldar and the Dark Eldar. Skitarii seems to be missing its “leadership”.
First thing is that I really think the models and army seem cool. Even without any real HQ’s available I think as a whole this is a really neat release. It has the full – design by committee feel that the Necron has but with the added in mixture of being built to sell. I say this because I feel as a whole the army is cheap enough and decent enough to ally up with just about any Imperial option and add some decent set of rules and abilities. It also has the option to be left along as a stand alone army but I feel the physical model costs will make it hard for more players to build a truly valid – Skitarii only list.
Normal a review breaks down each army choice in order to see if the whole is worth wile. Missing the HQ choices in an army means you end losing out on the normal point syncs of HQ choices or leadership choices that create army archetypes. This breaks the army away from the normal build design you see in a lot of lists.
Either in creating death stars with HQ’s everywhere (Super Friends, Screamer/Drone Star, Etc) or Murder stars (Centurion Star, Farsight with friends) with offensive units mixed with special rule generating HQ’s. This army seems built to use and abuse MSU. This means that while the army might be completely murdering you it will probably be out scoring you depending on the type of event you are playing in.
With that in mind – lets just see what is the Good, the Ok, and the Ugly.
The first thing I can say that is good about this army is looking at it a bit more abstractly in the sense of the cost of the army. This army is completely new – with models that do not have any kind of equivalent in the game. Think of how you could easily create a Marine army from all the options available in the game. Whether evil or good it really isn’t hard to find basic marines in some form or fashion. Even using 3rd party bits you can quickly create a unique force. The only thing this army has that you could say duplicates in the other books is using the Mechanicus cog you see on a lot of Imperial stuff. This means if you planning on playing this army you will most likely be buying a ton of new plastic.
Thankfully the only thing I think is too expensive to purchase in this book is the two legged walker guys. I understand from a size perspective that leaving them cheap might cheapen some of the other purchases but if GW is listening/reading you should look at some way to cheapen buying those turkey robots. Still most of the other boxed sets seem well within range of decently priced GW stuff. The codex is the cheapest we have seen for a new “army” book at thirty three dollars US. We were expecting it to be soft cover due to the cheaper nature but hey a 33 dollar hardcover book is not bad. I think if GW lowered their rule book costs you would see people going back to the days of buying every army book they release. Of course this 33 dollar book could just be a way to get you to pay 66 bucks for a book (this book plus the main book Adeptus Mechanicus). Still it is nice to have a book not cost near a video game cost.
After that the 2 troop choice boxes are cheaper then a Marine boxed set, give you the options to make 2 different units, and let you create 2 troop choices with one purchase. This is pretty dang good as it also gives you a ton of weapon choices too and I feel someone figured it out when they wanted to sell a new book. Make the “main” purchases cheap enough to help facilitate the selling of the more expensive options.
Beyond costs I think this army is also designed pretty interestingly. You have 2 troop choices with a large variety of options. I think for a small “faction” army having 2 troops is a great thing as people can easily create their own personal armies. Plus each choice is different enough to warrant some thoughts on what you actually need. You mix in the minimum unit size of 5 and and you have a winner basic building grounds for any army choice. I like that the troop box gives you all the models you need to make the largest unit size for this option.
The rules themselves seem to be pretty good too. Their weapons are built upon a bunch of new rules that do not seem to be too confusing. There is nothing worse then an army having a bunch of weird weapon rules that cause you to ask a ton of questions. The only rule so far that could be weird is the whole – wound on 6’s causes 2 wounds. I think it basically reads 6’s always cause 2 wounds so it is a different form of rending basically. I also like some of the assault weapon rules that either give you a fluffy set of good rules (transonic figuring out your molecular structure) or just a decent rule idea with Taser. Overall the book just feels like a bunch of people got together and hammered out a ton of new and interesting set of ideas that represent this high end technology of the Adeptus Mechanicus.
The Ok mechanics of the army is the overall lack of HQ. Yes they built in “characters” into the regular troop units with 2 Wound leaders it still leaves me feeling kind of sad as it would have been awesome to have a clam pack tech priest. The fluff explains the lack of leaders so at least they tried to cover the feeling of missing data slates. It also makes sure you don’t get some HQ’s that might do really well combo’ing with some of the other Imperial super stars.
This leads into some of the special “artifacts” that I feel are ok but without a true HQ to peg these on they end up feeling like shining up a target for your opponents ire. This leads into the next thing I find kind of underwhelming. This entire army is pretty low on the toughness side of things. This leads into the whole – while FNP is cute it won’t come into effect nearly as many times as you would want it. How many times have you seen a Dark Eldar player getting excited when he gets FNP. If the wave serpent gets knocked down a peg in a few weeks then this might become a better rule all around for the low toughness armies.
The cool Elite choices look cool, have good rules, and decent effects but are hampered by getting shackled with the dreaded Toughness 3. I will tell you right now while they have 2 wounds in their profile most of the time you will remember them having only 1 wound. It will be just like the Archon from the Dark Eldar. How many times did the 3 wounds ever come into play? Usually failing the 2+ shadow field save was the only thing that mattered.
Speaking of changing the Wave Seprent, look for the walkers to get a big push in usefulness when that dreaded super tank gets changed. Right now the Walkers are neat but any real attention paid to them will just shut them down pretty quickly. I think all their rules are great. Dune strider is a great rule that lets GW not have to create a new movement/unit type.
This army is initially fairly cheap for the basics but when you start to look at getting into the other options and unit sizes to starts to get very very damaging on the wallet. The Baba Yaga robot has rules that make it so much better in squads of 6. One or two are cute but without having a large number to ensure they get somewhere it becomes less exciting. I wish they had either put 2 in a box for 65 or at least created a old Apocalpyse style boxed set that gave you a ton for a decent price break.
The big crab walker – while initially cheaper than other other armies big walker type – is still hampered by really becoming stronger with 3 of them next to each other. I guess you could say it is a genius set up from a model selling point but I think this game has moved away from creating/buying new armies every 4 or so months to maybe buying a new army a year. Most of the time it seems to revolve around just reworking an old army or putting the plastic crack into a slurry of simple green.
The other big Meh is a lack of an army boxed set with a discount involved. The old Battleforces were great for starters and I think any “new” that is released should always have an accompany big boxed option. The web bundles always feel like slaps in the face as they offer no discounts other then limiting the amount of mouseclicks. I guess clicks are worth some kind of superior golden standard but with no way to quickly start an army just leaves me feeling sad. I think GW would garner a lot more good will if they even offered discounted Web Bundles. But again I am just on my soap box and not on the board etc.
Overall I like the release and while I am not interesting in creating my own army (Daemonkin, baby, life, Orks, Necrons) I still look forward to fighting games versus the cyborg robotic jerk faces from Mars. I hope the rumored Dark Angels release doesn’t screw up my new army but I get the feeling I will only gain extra points instead of losing options.
Until next time – roll 6’s, profit, and take over the grim dark universe.