Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Stealing The SpotLight
Vulkan vs Pedro Part II

And welcome back. Last time we took a look at Vulkan himself and how 6th Edition will more than likely weaken his popularity. Obviously I've chosen my frontrunner for Codex: Space Marines as Pedro Kantor, but to understand my reasoning for this theory we first need to look at where the game may be headed for all armies in 6th Edition and why. Obviously this is all pure speculation at this point as no one is an expert at 40k at the moment, despite what Stelek might tell you (couldn't help myself.) So let's dive in starting with the evolution of Warhammer 40,000.

As I said in my previous post, 5th Edition was all about the vehicles which inevitably brought melta to the spotlight. But where the tank-killing reined supreme for so many years, with 6th Edition it seems as though tank-glancing is either on-par or better when it comes to reliability in volume of shots. A plasma-gun is far and away worse than a meltagun when it comes to killing a vehicle, but that gap is closing to a much closer comparison between the two with 6th Edition. Why? AP2 has an effect on vehicles now, and since glancing vehicles to death is a lot easier, S5, 6 and 7 are going to see more table time than before. Weapons such as heavy bolters, assault cannons, missile launchers and plasma-guns have a lot more to offer than they did before. It's the multi-role that will reign supreme in 6th Edition is my prediction; weapons that can kill vehicles and infantry efficiently is key. A good example being melta/plasma-gun. When attempting to kill an AV11 vehicle and/or Terminators, the decision between a couple of meltaguns or a couple of plasma-guns gets a little hazy these days.
Enough about the past, let's talk about the present. Obviously my prediction is Pedro Kantor will become the new popular HQ in town for C:SM players, but why? Let's look at Pedro by his lonesome. Pedro is a solid HQ in any edition of 40k with a solid statline. Aside from this, we have one of the best Chapter Tactics rules in the book which not only provides Stubborn for the entire army, but makes all Sternguard scoring. Lastly, a +1 attack to all units within 12" of him can make quite stubborn force (pun intended.)

Okay, so Pedro is super-neato and all, but in my opinion the only thing that really puts him above the other special characters in the book is making an already great unit that got nothing but better with 6th Edition, scoring. I'm talking about Sternguard.
If you've ever played against C:SM more than a couple of times you've probably witnessed a Sternguard Veteran Squad. Their claim to fame is their diversity in bolter ammo, making them the end-all-be-all to any situation involving shooting. Everytime you fire their bolters you get a choice between five different flavors of ammo: regular, ammo that ignores cover, ammo that wounds on a 2+, ammo with an AP of 4 with a 30" range or 18" range ammo with an AP of 3 and the "Gets Hot!" special rule.

Now, you may be asking, "Where is the tank-killing power with these guys." There are a couple of answers to this question. First, and most obvious is that these guys can all take combi-weapons that still allow the bolter to fire the special ammunition above. The issue that people saw with this is the one-time-shot of bringing a combi-melta (irony!) or combi-plasma and having to use half or more of these shots to bring a target down. While this may still raise question as these guys' worth, consider the following:

1) With the changes to vehicles in 6th Edition, most assume vehicles will not be seen in such large numbers as they were before, and thus things like melta will be seen less as well.
2) The fact that glancing can mean vehicle death raises the question, how powerful is S4 weaponry?
Also, How Many Seven Year Olds Would It Take To Kick My Ass?

This brings us to the other answer for "Where is the tank-killing power of these guys?" When it comes to AV10 (and there is plenty of it out there,) ten Sternguard rapid-firing S4 shots can be a frightening thing. Obviously it's time to let those meltas loose when you're facing a Land Raider or something similar, but don't forget these guys also carry krak grenades and can buy melta bombs as well. Regardless, when you have 10 combi-melta shots and wish to conserve them, it's a lot easier to do so when you have something else that's capable of glancing AV10.

Putting some math into the equation, let's say you're 15" from the side of a Chimera. With the 30" ammunition, this still puts you in Rapid Fire range giving you twenty S4 shots. BS4 means the average is ~13 hits which means ~2 glances on average. Now, on average, this won't kill something with three Hull Points right off the bat, but you can change the equation some by adding in a single melta or plasma shot, or two. This can provide a more reliable average when attempting to take out vehicles because a penetrating hit doesn't just have to come with a killing result; sometimes you just need one more Hull Point knocked off.
The ability to efficiently take out numerous types of targets are what I believe to be the key to 6th Edition, and few units do it better than the Sternguard. Make them a scoring Stubborn unit and often times give them +1 attack, and you truly have a squad capable of filling all roles. So I'm saying it now; prepare for some Pedro in the future.

Thoughts? Comments? Rude amounts of putdowns in the form of cursing and insults? Hit up that little box below.


  1. Honestly I think ATSKNF is really where it is at in 6th ed. The ability to regroup within 6" and the changes to fearless gave it a huge boost.

    But more to your point, I am concerned that there will be a pretty stark increase in Term armor which for the list you described is going to pull the same sort of shot priority as the vehicles. Those combi-meltas can only go so far.

    With Challenges, precision shots,focused warpfire, and beam powers characters are going to be more vulnerable than ever. I am curious if people are going to so willingly commit a pile of points to them in middle points level games anymore; this is especially true with characters like Pedro that are not as survivable.

  2. Very true, definitely something to consider. I was thinking in the way of tournaments for this series which typically see 1500-2000. Although on your point with warlord traits, special characters could see less play.

  3. take a special character for the abilities. Take a straight of the bat Captain or Librarian as your warlord, keep him away from harm and you should be fine. Sounds cheesy, but it might save you a BP :)

  4. On a side note, something in Terminator armor would be very tough, although it limits your transport options if you opt for that.