Monday, September 27, 2010

Why I don't really like modern mech in 40K

Mech IG hunkered down firing out of Chimera hatches.  MSU Marine types running around hiding in Razorbacks or sniping out of Rhino hatches. Sticking a 5-man Scout, Marine, CSM or IST squad in a Land Raider to make it scoring.  Dire Avengers in Wave Serpents who never get out and are just there to make the tank scoring.  Burna Boyz doing drive-by flamings from a battlewagon.

These sorts of armies are undoubtedly effective in many ways and have their advantages.  They're just not my cup of tea.

 I run transports in many armies, as well as regular tanks.  I don't have a problem with them in and of themselves.  What I don't like as much is the way that they're being used in many cases these days, and I've figured out why.

Back in the day, transports were primarily used to take a squad and move it somewhere.  It would then get out voluntarily and do something.  Nowadays the goal of the squad in the transport is primarily to stay inside for as long as possible.  Some armies and builds still use transports in order to actually get somewhere and do something outside of the transport, but many are more focused on sitting in their bunkers or doing drive-bys.

Why is that an issue for me?  From a pure gameplay perspective, it's not.  It's a valid tactical choice, and "realistic" in many ways, as realistic as anything in 40K.  But from the perspective of this being a miniatures game, it's disappointing to me.  I like infantry models.  There's a lot of cool kits out there.  I like it when those guys I spent so long building and painting actually hit the table instead of sitting in their foam firing meltaguns by proxy.  I want to see the other guy's army, not just the boxes he carries them around in.

There will be times when I'll drive around in my boxes and fire out of the top.  My CSM have done it trying to melta-down a hive tyrant, and even my Orks have done it gunning at genestealers from Trukks (weedy Blood Axe gits!).  But that's not my goal going into the game, and not my goal when I'm building the army and writing the lists.  I should want to buy the transport in order to make the squad more versatile; I shouldn't want to buy the squad in order to gain access to the transport.

Maybe Dark Eldar will provide the best of both worlds if you can actually fit full squads on the Raider models.


  1. I doubt I will be placing my warriors on the raiders. It looks like they come with the same flying base as they had before. I hope not, but if that is the case, there is no way people will be wanting to risk their new fancy raiders on those fragile little clear sticks.

  2. There's always Warhammer Fantasy.
    Don't rule it out.

  3. I know the feeling, and I am one of those offenders, I love my infantry models, enjoy painting them and playing with them but when it comes to a tournament the chimera is just too good to leave on the shelf, and if your taking one you may as well take the rest and before you know it I've a gunline guard army in chimera bunkers

  4. @Natfka - it would certainly require a sturdier flight stand.

    @Mr. Esty - part of the reason I generally preferred 40K over WHFB was similar - in fantasy many of the guys in some units were just there to provide a rank bonus, whereas in 40K they each could potentially do something. WHFB 8th with its letting second rank fight/fire is moving away from the extraneous backfield, which I like.

    @Angelic_Despot - thanks.

    @ItsPug - Absolutely; in game terms it's hard to ignore.

  5. This is why I love Drop Pods. Best of both worlds- fast reach to board/objectives PLUS get out and shoot stuff.

  6. The tactical validity of staying in transports is irrefutable, but is it really fun? I personally don't sit in my tanks, but I run a glass tank styled army of Stormraven heavy Blood Angels.
    Perhaps for friendly games we should create a house rule regarding sitting idly in transports? Something along the lines of if it comes under fire, or there are nearby enemies with "X" inches, the unit inside must disembark and attempt to engage?
    Very interesting point you brought up.

  7. I'm frequently lamenting my buddy's static (so-called) Mech Guard army. If you're in a transport then go somewhere! My foot slogging horde usually ends up all over the table, whereas his mech IG moves forward an average of 6" per game (barring the end of game objective run).

  8. @Loquacious - I'm a fond podder as well, as my Silver Skulls will attest. Need to break them out more.

    @Schnitzel - I don't know if one single rule would really address it. Forcing them to get out IMO would just see them hopping in again. Vehicles are much safer these days, transports have been getting cheaper, fire points are very generous, esp. in Chimeras, and you can score while inside. I don't think it will change in a large scale until the pendulum swings further the other way - transports more expensive, vehicles not as survivable, maybe even units in transports can't score/contest, transports can't contest at all. Combined might go too far, but as is game-wise it's kind of silly not to load up on Rhinos and Chimeras. If people could buy 35pt rhinos/40pt razorbacks, 55pt chimeras without having to buy the squads right now they'd drop a few hundred points on just empty transports.

    @DMC - That seems to be the pattern!

  9. Making troops embarked on a transport not count as scoring might work as a rule change. However 6th ed. is a way off, so I suggest rail guns, LOTS of rail guns (not that I have any).

  10. Da Masta - this wouldn't really do anything either other than see a whole bunch of troops stepping out on the last turn to objective grab. That would be more obnoxious than anything.

    "Ok, bottom of 6. I deploy my troops."

    *10 minutes later*

    "Ok, let's roll for game end.

    *Packs troops back up.*

  11. "I like infantry models. There's a lot of cool kits out there. I like it when those guys I spent so long building and painting actually hit the table instead of sitting in their foam firing meltaguns by proxy. I want to see the other guy's army, not just the boxes he carries them around in."

    This is it.

    This is why I'm not rushing out and spending my first paycheque on Orks, why I might not even saunter out and spend my second or third one on them; because most of the time, I might as well only bring two Battlewagons and a lot of Buggies. I have all these cool infantry conversions I want to do, but really, for the amount of time they'll spend on the board, is there a point?


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