As with many new releases from GW we got some good previews of Elites, including the contents table page and that's where the first bit of disappointment appeared.
As a book advertised as a book of Elites there are a lot of commanders listed on the contents page. When you look in to it the majority of kill teams got either more commanders then elites or the same number. Space marines and Chaos marines for example got 6 commanders each but only 5 and 3 elites respectively, and I hadn't realised until.i took a look just before I posted this but all the GSC entries are commanders! I understand that they want to put more units in to the game but I thought this was supposed to be a book about elites?
The second bit of disappointment came in what units were selected for the book. Now i'm limiting this t just the units that I play, those being Guard, Marines, Deathwatch and AdMech. I am still hoping to pick up some grey Knights at some point, along with some Sisters when they come out, but for now, I'll stick to the main 4. So why the disappointment? With Marines and Deathwatch there was not quite as much disappointment as the Veteran option was very much a catch all entry and can be equipped in a number of different ways to make them useful. I will be looking closer at the veterans in the future as I my well just for a second, more elite marines kill team (yes, another!) as my current one is an all scout affair. For my deathwatch I may just upgrade some of my units, maybe a weapon swap or additional weapons. However, I would have liked to have seen some separate entries for Vanguard, Sternguard and Company Vets, maybe even some of the chapter specific units, such as SW grey hunters, BA Death Company or DA Company vets. These would add quite a lot of flavour to the teams, along side the chapter tactics. And yes, before you say it, I know that there are entries for all these units on the veterans data sheet, it does make it very cluttered and difficult to separate all the different options out. I would still have preferred separate entries for each unit type. Also, is it me or have DA been screwed over somewhat. They can't take stern guard or vanguard and unlike space wolves, are still restricted in the number of company vets they can take?
For AdMech, I'm quite neutral, as I wont be buying any more units for my admech, apart from the apocalypse knights box, maybe? Anyway, I don't know what other units they might have put in anyway as many of the other units don't really strike me as being sensible, but then there are a few other units that don't strike me as sensible either but they got included.
The real disappointment though came with the guard entries. Now, we got the main many himself, Sly Marbo, definitely a good choice for kill team, I mean, look at the fluff, this man is basically a one man kill team, sneaking behind enemy lines, killing stuff or blowing shit up and then sneaking back for breakfast. I however wont be including him in any of my teams as he just wouldn't fit my narratives very well. Yes, I could proxy him with a more suitable character but I just don't feel like it. The other options however were, I think, questionable. While Ogryns and Bullgryns are very cool units, I really don't think there in keeping with the whole idea of kill team, unless of course your running a commander and then you can play the personal bodyguard role but outside that I'm really not sure. Ok, so they fill a much needed roll in the guard team, well, Bullgryns do anyway, in that they really are close combat monsters against all but the toughest units. In 40k, they can suffer due to lack of numbers, as mostly their squads are small and facing bigger units, where weight of numbers can over come there strength and toughness, however in the more or less one on one, close quarters environment of kill team, they look like a really solid choice. Ogryns less so, as they don't really offer as much as there brothers. The biggest thing though for me was the lack of Vets or even Command squads. These guys, the cream of the guard, veterans of many battles, are the ones who in the fluff are likely to form kill team. Plus, they have access to shotguns, which in the kill team environment are significantly better then in 40k. So where are my vets? I would have loved to have modelled up some vets, armed to the teeth, packed will all sorts of bits and pieces, grenades (both frag and krak!), weapons and a whole lot more besides. I was really hoping for them to be included but not yet. I was also wondering whether we would get some limited heavy weapons but was not surprised at all when we didn't. As for the good old storm troopers, well, there really isn't much for them to get extra as they can already pack a lot of special weapons and they are not additional infantry units in there army apart for the command squad, which is exactly the same as the normal units.
The last bit that was a disappointment was the new specialism, Legendary Hunter. I really thought that this was going to be an elites only specialism, to really make the most of the elite units but no, it turns out that it's just a commanders ability. I was hoping for a couple of new specialisms for elite units and that we haven't got one is a disappointment but one I can live with.
So what was good then? Not as much as I had hoped, that's for sure. Yes, you cant get away from the fact that the Sub-faction rules, which are great and really do add flavour to the armies. I will be looking at how I can use them to my advantage, which will no doubt be really hard but I should be able to work in at least 2 full guard teams in with what I have on my roster and 2 more teams from the scout marines roster. The AdMech might be a bit more difficult and Deathwatch as far as i'm aware only get one anyway. The other elite marine roster has yet to be written, so that is something to look at later. As yet I don't know what chapter tactics or doctrines I will actually go for but in general I will probably go for one very shooting one and one more combat or speed orientated, depending upon the make up of the teams.
While many of the chapter tactics (and others but I'll just stick to calling them all chapter tactics for ease) are direct copies from the main 40k book as would be expected, many have been changed to give a better fit to the kill team mechanics. I have to say that this is definitely one of the best bits about the elites book and can really offer a great tool.
The missions look quite good as well and I looked forward to trying a couple of them out soon. However, they again seem to be skewed towards horde armies. I think that I might have to try some of the narrative games as well, something I've not been bothered about before.
I'm going to do a more detailed post soon on the changes to the guard that this book brings and how doctrines will change lists. I'll also look at the marine and admech as well, as there will be some changes there too.
To conclude, there are several good bits to this book and is in gereral something for everyone. However, with the amount of commanders in the book, as opposed to actual elite units, it should really have been commanders part 2.