40K Deep Thought: Detachments, Deepstrikes & HQ Limits
After the big meta shift from LVO 2018 to Adepticon 2018 folks have been pointing the finger at different culprits. “Flyrants are the problem!” or “No, it’s the Deepstrike/Alpha-strike problem” – but what if it’s an issue with something much deeper in 8th Ed Warhammer 40,000?
After the T’au Codex rules came out and folks learned that T’au Commanders would be limited to a 0-1 per detachment. Folks were justifiably upset. No other non-unique HQ has that limitation, so why did the T’au Commanders get targeted? Was it was because of their reign of terror from an edition or two ago? Was it because of their new points costs and the bevvy of load-out options? What made them the posterboy for HQ-Limits?
This concept that non-unique HQs could be limited was a new concept and it had the Matched Play side of the game in an uproar. Then the results of Adepticon happened. Folks started looking at that limitation and said, “wait a minute – wouldn’t that fix Flyrant Spam, too?! GW Limit Tyrants like you did T’au Commanders, problem solved!”
To be honest, I thought that as my gut reaction too – and I play Tyranids! I don’t want that to be the fix as it would mean my four Flyrants (yes, I only have 4 in my collection) would never see the table together (and actually, they still haven’t ALL hit the table at the same time, for the record). But still, that didn’t sit right for me. In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I found I even disagreed with the limits on the T’au Commanders.
0-1 limits for non-unique HQ slots is NOT the answer. The HQ slots are NOT the culprit.
Deepstrikes – The Alpha and the Omega of 8th Edition
Going back to the drawing board (or rather a conference call with some of our writers) we started talking about what made Tyrants so darn good to begin with. Frankly, they have a LOT going for them. If I can quote my previous article:
“First and foremost the Flyrants are were it’s at. Each one makes for an excellent firebase and a deadly melee combatant in their own right. The Two Devourers are pumping out lots of strength 6 shots and the Monstrous Rending Claws can quite literally shred through most targets. Couple that deadliness with an invulnerable save, psychic powers, Shadows of the Warp, Synapse, and the ability to deepstrike and it’s no wonder the are so effective. Now multiply all that by 7 and well…you get the idea.”
So yes, they bring the pain in a nice bundle. We talked about options to ‘fix’ them:
- “Wings should cost double!!”
- “You should only be able to take Winged Tyrants if you have OTHER Flyer units (ie, Gargoyles)”
- “They should be more expensive in General”
- “The issue is deepstriking. They shouldn’t be able to deepstrike!”
- “Fly is just too powerful in 8th, there needs to be a modification to being able to fall-back and shoot at full BS.”
We were just spit-balling and while I don’t agree with everything, it was the comment about deepstriking that got to me. Actually, I think Goatboy is going to go into more detail on that in a later article, so I won’t steal his thunder. However, I do want to reference what Stable Abe said yesterday: Missions and Terrain impact the Meta way more than folks give them credit.
That’s one of the reasons we saw a big shift away from Eldar to Nids at Adepticon from LVO. The missions and terrain were designed in favor of a unit that could deepstrike and getting LOS was less of an issue. Remember, at LVO (basically) all first floor buildings were considered to be LOS blocking terrain. That means it was easier to hide units (like Dark Reapers). At Adepticon, from what we understood, the terrain was WYSIWYG. Nothing wrong with that at all – but it does impact how you can/can’t hide units.
But can “The Deepstrike” problem be fixed by HQ Limits, rules tweaks, or some new idea? Possibly. But there will ALWAYS be an Alpha-strike army. Anyone remember The Leafblower? I sure do. And it didn’t need to deepstrike to nuke your army either.
Detachments; Like Formations But Possibly Worse
Detachments in 8th Edition are a core gameplay mechanic. They are part of the army construction rules and the are integral to the way 8th Edition works for Matched Play. However, I think in Games Workshops attempt to smooth the transition from 7th to 8th, the Detachments may have been a messy carry-over. It’s not the HQ slots that are the problem, or even Deepstrikers – it’s that you can take Detachments that allow you to hyper-specialize with those units. That is the real problem.
There are Detachments that allow players to maximize every slot in the game. Any army you want to build, there is a Detachment for that! Are your Deepstrikers all HQs? No problem! Supreme Command Detachment for you. Need to deepstrike your Elites? Vanguard has you covered! Wanna deepstirke your Lords of War? Yep. There is a Detachment for that option, too. (Okay, they did FAQ the Lord of War thing with Chaos Daemons…but you get the idea.)
So what’s the fix? I don’t think there is an easy one and it’s not something that Games Workshop is moving towards. In fact, based on the Drukhari previews, I’d say they are encouraging the idea that Detachments are a ‘thing‘ that players need to account for. Get ready to see MORE Detachments with multiple Warlords running around…
Maybe it’s time players and Tournament Organizers started to experiment with the idea that maybe, just maybe, it’s time to experiment with different options they CAN control. Maybe it’s time for different Tournament Formats that require specific Detachment options. It works for competitive collectable card games like Magic: The Gathering and Star Wars: Destiny.
Or what if TOs actually starting using Maelstrom missions as they are written in the rulebook? I wonder how that would impact the Meta of Warhammer 40,000…
So what do you think? Is Nerfing Flyants the answer? What about ‘fixing’ deepstriking units? Or are the Detachment rules the real problem? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!