Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Balancing Act and Why I Fail at it.

 A wonderful balancing act.
    Howdy everyone. Edwin here and I want to talk about something I try for in every game I play. Without this key element, games suck. They are really bad no matter what game you are playing.  I am talking about balance. People often don't want to play a game more than once if there isn't some semblance of balance. Great games have been ruined by lack of balance. Players have to have a balance too or often people will not want to play them. Remember that balance is subjective. Today, I will talk about how I try to achieve balance and how I have utterly failed at it when it comes to trying to balance things out. For the record, I am trying to achieve a balanced list with a Necron List. I settled on a few flyers (no more than 3) and armor 13 wall. 

Where I failed: I tried to balance things for all player types and not try to balance for groups of players. My list may not have been tough for a tournament, but it was a tough as nails list for any beer and pretzels style player.
Binding the hands.
     So in my first attempt to try and balance the army list I have been using, I have tried to bind what really makes the army nasty. All the combos  that really pack a serious punch with the list are out. That means to try and avoid Stormlord with Eternity Cryptek, Spyders with Particle Casters and tons of Scarabs, or anything where allies can be abused. I ended up using one powerful combo.  I ended up using death marks in night scythe with a harbinger of despair. After picking this unit, I decided I needed to have a few restrictions to use it. Max the unit size was a good start so the combo at least costs a good amount and no more than one Despair Cryptek. Other than that one unit, the rest of the army consists of solid choices, but nothing on the cheese levels that the codex can really do. Gotta try to keep out the gimmicks because while strong combinations are really powerful, nothing sucks more than losing because instantly pulls a trick out of their . I used to like such tricks and after I saw how bad they were for people, I steadily grew to dislike them. It soon began to cheapen wins and make ties infuriating for other players.

Where I failed: It wasn't the powerful combo units that were cheese, it was how people were playing them.  The other units I fielded were usually play more in a dickish manner than compared to my Combo unit.

Playing the Odds
      I wanted to build an army that played roughly the same no matter what happened. I wanted the odds to be in my favor for surviving against most weapons in the game. If your weapons worked against one half of the army, they wouldn't be very effective against the rest of the army. Flyers are hard to hit, but once hit go down easy. The Ark vehicles were there to be easy to hit, but hard to take down. Everything infantry was protected by their mechanized counter parts.  This leads to an army that was statistically accurate a lot of the time. Things generally worked out how they should. The army generally tried to balance itself inside a vacuum. Everything seemed to work with itself.

Where I failed: The concept worked a little too well. Most things needed six's to hit the flyers and six's to damage the Ark vehicles. Throw in cover saves and other factors and you could have an entire turn of shooting that does nothing which often makes people angry.
What to do?
       With the homage to Harry Houdini complete, I want to discuss the conclusion. Having realized that the list has tons of problems, I have decided to do something out of the box for me. I am trying to tweak the original list for play against people who only want to fight a tough as nails list. I am also going to build a list that is both themed and ready for play against most people who don't want to play against a really tough list.It will be at the end of the article. The list is softer, easier to play against and hopefully won't be that bad. It is a Footdar list without some of the things that make them awesome. Hopefully, with these two drastically different lists, I will be able to play a wide range of opponents in a fun and friendly manner.

Why I failed: I really hope I haven't cause I really want to be a better person to play against.


1500 points

HQ

Farseer-doom, guide, fortune, warding/witness/spirit stones, singing spear

Troops

10 dire avengers-exarch with blade storm, defend, dire sword shurikan pistol

10 dire avengers-exarch with blade storm, defend, dire sword shurikan pistol

10 dire avengers-exarch with blade storm, defend, dire sword shurikan pistol

10 dire avengers-exarch with blade storm, defend, dire sword shurikan pistol

Fast attack

2 vypers- double shurikan cannons

2 vypers- double shurikan cannons

2 vypers- double shurikan cannons

Heavy support

Wraithlord-Wraithblade, bright lance

Wraithlord-Wraithblade, bright lance

Friday, January 4, 2013

Just an Idea: Doom Scythes are Terrible

The noble Doom Scythe
   Howdy everyone.  So I was thinking, and I decided to talk about something that I feel very strongly about. It is an opinion that I know many people don't share.  I want to talk about why the Necron Doom Scythe is actually a terrible unit. That is right, I said it. The "power house" flyer of the Necron army is actually pretty bad.  I know it is kind of out their as an idea, but I promise, there is good reason for it.

What Makes a Unit Good

      Before, I go into why the Doom Scythe is bad, I want to explain what makes a unit good for me. First, you have to look at all the basic stats and the point value. The best unit in the world isn't going to be that good if it costs tons of points. You than must have the unit fill a role or purpose. The unit has to have focus or else it will be a waste a lot. Well, after that, you gotta find what makes the unit unique. Something has to separate this unit from every other unit out there. (unless you are space marines) After all of this, I tend to look for how something synergizes with the rest of the army. The best unit will suffer if it doesn't fit with the list.

     For Example, the Heldrake is a good unit for Chaos Space Marine. It is rather expensive, but that can be over looked for the stats. It is a tough and it can bring a lot of pain. It fills a very unique role. It is fast and great at breaking open transports, but more importantly, it takes MeQ type units in cover and burns them to death.  Things like the Aegis Defense Line with Quadgun can make shooting things in cover a difficult task while shooting down flyers. The  Heldrake doesn't care about either of these aspects as his attacks ignore cover and he has a 5+ inv save so he doesn't have to evade in order to get a save versus the Quadgun. The focus of the Heldrake is really nice as well especially since he can crack open transports during the movement phase and burn the survivors that pour out of the ruins of their transports. This makes him a great unit for killing infantry even if inside a transport. When it comes to synergy, the Heldrake works well because he is straight kill people. The Chaos Space marine book is really durable, but often has problems killing people. Heldrakes help.  Now time to show why the Doom Scythe fails in almost all of these categories for being a good unit.

Stats and Points

      This is not a good start for the poor Doom Scythe. It isn't very tough as it pretty much is a rhino with hard to hit added on.  With alot of people taking strength 7 weapons, it can rather randomly be taken out with a sinlge luck snap shot from a plasma gun. and will suffer from any damage result it gets with no save if you want to fire the big Death Ray. Speaking of Death Ray, when it comes to weapons, the only reason you would ever want the Doom Scythe is for the Death Ray. This hurts it because if it has to snap fire (from evading, damage, or moving to far) , than you can't fire the Death Ray as it doesn't use a Ballistics Skill to determine if it hits. With it's only other weapon being a twin linked Tesla Destructor, you have a 50/50 chance of losing it to a weapon destroyed result.  The random range makes it sometimes difficult to hit the target you want to hit with the death ray. You can at least fire it at anything withing 12 inches in any direction which is nice. If priced right, this would be a rather solid unit, but coming in a  good 175 points, This is one glass cannon that suffers from being expensive.

 Role and Purpose

      This is also another nail in the Croissant shaped coffin for the Doom Scythe. This is a big one for the Doom Scythe. It is a heavy duty anti vehicle/TeQ weapon in an army that even the most basic infantry can destroy the most powerful vehicle in the game in at least four shots. It isn't the only low ap weapons in the book, so really the high strength of the Doom Scythe is it's only boosting factor in this category and this only helps when you are facing a toughness 5 Deathstar unit (Nob bikers and Thunderwolf Cavalry) and heavier vehicles as their are other ways to get a pretty high strength and AP2. To make this unit worse, most targets for the Doom Scythe will have already done quite a bit before the Doom scythe can come in turn 2. For example, most Land Raiders I see are on top of people turn 2 at the latest. If the Necron Player goes second, than the squad inside that vehicle will be out and on top of something before that Doom Scythe even hits the board and even than, the Doom scythe won't always have a kill on the Land Raider.  Same for the Thunderwolf/Bike oriented Deathstars. It rarely is a one shot kill and because of this, those units will get some hurt where they want to put it.
       Worse yet, the unit suffers from lack of focus. It has a Tesla Destructor which is primarily designed to kill infantry.  It gives the Doom Scythe something to shoot which gives it options, but you pay for that Tesla Destructor and it rarely will get to shoot at the target you want it to. It also has to shoot at something hit by the Death Ray. It is wasted efficiency.
      There is also an extra purpose for the Doom Scythe besides just killing people. It scares some people. People will try to keep the targets the Doom Scythe wants to shoot away from them. Problem is, the Doom Scythe is a flyer which is often fast enough to get there anyway. Scares some people, but not a lot and it isn't a role that is unique to the Doom Scythe.

Uniqueness

     It isn't. The Night Scythe has all the speed of the Doom Scyhte and is even a transport that doesn't compete for other Heavy Support slots and has the same infantry/light vehicle killing power for 75 points less while dropping off  Troop choices in places they need to be. A Doomsday Ark has an almost equally strong gun that has greater range as well as can start firing turn 1 instead of having to arrive from reserves and is even a large blast so it can hit clumped up targets extremely hard. It is even tough as while easy to hit, the shielding making the Doomsday ark AV 13 makes it pretty tough. Anything with a gauss weapon can kill the heavy tanks like the Doom Scythe. Necron Warriors can kill the same target as a Doom Scythe and can even get a Ghost ark for durability. You sort of see where I am going with this.

Synergy

     This is what really destroys the Doom Scythe for me. You know what really helps set apart a list of short range, incredibly powerful, dominating fire power? More short ranged, incredibly power, dominate fire power... All kidding aside, the Doom scythe epitomizes of what Necrons do. It is a tank destroying power house in an army that has so many of them that it doesn't matter. Everything in the codex is tough enough that the Doom Scythe doesn't get much for being tough. It is fast, but with the Night Scythe as a dedicated transport, the speed of the Doom Scythe doesn't help it.  It's range is short, but everything else has a short range as well. Other things do the Doom Scythes job better and cheaper while being more focused on doing that one task rather than not really having much of a focus like the Doom Scythe.

The Verdict


 Conclusions

Overall, all of these things just ruin the Doom Scythe for me. I have only ever run a single one and it is mostly for laughs. He has never made his points back and when it does, it just never feels worth it. In any other army, the Doom Scythe would be amazing, but in the Necron army, it isn't that good. There is also one last thing I want to say on the subject of Doom Scythes. They are not really fun to play against. If your opponents dice are hot, it gets blown outta the sky quickly. If they have cold dice, shooting a single one down can be the most infuriating thing to do in all of Warhammer. It was a bit of a turn off, but since mine doesn't kill anyone, I learned to not worry about it.  All of these categories above are the nails for the Doom scythe in my eyes. What do yall think? What makes the Doom Scythe good? I would like to hear from yall because There may be something I missed for either better or worse. Thanks for reading and happy gaming everyone.