Friday, 23 July 2021

Warlord and tank aces


For this section I will o my be looking at the warlord traits available from the various guard books and not from the main rule book. 

The main codex consists of the 6 standard traits and the regimental traits, with Psychic Awakening introducing 6 MT traits plus the 12 tank ace abilities, split across three sections. First up we'll look at the original warlord traits. Here there are two that stand out a needing some work, namely Grand Strategist and Draconian Disciplinarian. Grand strategist falls down mostly on the CP regeneration. With the changes to the rules for retaining CP, this trait lost a lot of its usefulness, add to this the 9th edition CP system and being able to regain s CP on a 5+ becomes almost pointless. The ability to re-roll 1 dice in a whole game doesn't make up for this lack of usefulness. Yes, gaining one or even 2 CP in a game and being able to re-roll that games loosing roll might be good occasionally, most of the time it's not going to help. I would like to see this trait changed to give a single re-roll per turn. This would make it actually usable in a game. 

The second trait that needs work, Draconian Disciplinarian, mostly needs updating to bring it fully inline with 9th. As it stands you are potentially in a worse position than you would be. With a normal, a non commissar warlord that is, you just get to re-roll moral, a nice bonus but nothing to get excited about. If you have a commissar though, you could actually end up worse off as you loose a model then re-roll, potentially loosing another and then D3 more, for a minimum of 3 models total or up to 5 models. Under normal circumstances you with a full squad, you probably wouldn't loose that many for moral and combat attrition. While the main re-roll for moral is fine and can be left, the second half needs changing. I would like to see it move to loosing a guy and re-rolling, with a second failure either causing another model to be removed and the test considered passed, or loosing another model and combat attrition only counting on 1's. Auto passing the test would be my preference, as that fits more with the fluff of a commissar but either would be acceptable. 

Another issue with moral also occurs with the Mordian Regiment warlord trait. Under the old system, where you just lost models when you rolled your initial test, having a chance to keep them was useful. I see this new system, you roll you initial test, then combat attrition, then roll again to see if those models that failed the attrition test actually run. This is very long winded and requires lots of dice rolling. I like the idea but think that it should be simplified along the lines of halving the number of models that flee. 

There are three other regimental warlord traits that I think need looking at, these are the Vostroyans, Tallarn and Armageddon traits. My issue with these has nothing to do with the actual traits, they are all reasonable traits, the issue is more about the type of trait that they are and that is Combat traits. All three of these give benefits to combat and combat is not really where you want your warlord to be. Even the most tricked out warlord for any of these regiments is going to struggle against pretty much any units out there except maybe tau fire warriors or grots. Against a full on combat units like vanguard vets or Watches, they are going to be little more than mince meat in seconds. The Vostroyan and Armageddon traits actually require your leader to be in combat and if he is, everything has probably gone horribly wrong, you've more than likely lost already. With the Tallarn trait this is less so, as it enables units to fall back and charge again in the same turn. However, this does mean that your warlord is now well within counter charge range and in real danger. While I get the idea behind all three traits, they are geared towards something the guard are not very good at, that being combat. I think these need changing to more reflect what your leader will actually be doing. For Armageddon it could be to do with disembarking transports, for Vostroyans it can to do with weapon ap and Tallarn it can be to do with movement, maybe always advancing 6 inches, which would tie in nicely with the Tallarn doctrine.

Of the Militarum Tempestus warlord traits there is really only one that I think could use some reworking. The Iotan Dragons warlord trait that means that units near by can ignore cover when shooting. While this isn't to bad, I think that it does limit the ability somewhat. I think that a straight +1 to shoot would be a better option. This would mean that it would be usable more often and also not limit shooting options.

On the whole, none of the warlord traits in their current state are unplayable, some are definitely better than others but all are actually usable. The changes above, or similar changes, would mean that all the traits are as equal as you could get them and make them all options when picking a force. With Psychic Awakening we also got another option instead of a warlord trait, these were tank aces. These were split in to MBT, Support or super heavy aces and there are a few that I think need looking at. 

Within the main battle tank aces, or Leman Russ aces as it actually is, there are two traits that I think need work, Armoured Rush and Weapon Expert. Armoured rush enables you to advance and still shoot, however what you really want to be doing is firing that turret weapon twice, so you'll rarely move over half speed. What this trait should enable you to do is move full distance and still fire twice. This would make this a really good trait and one that would actually be taken more often. Weapon expert gives turret weapons an extra ap, however I would have liked this to apply to all weapons. Yes, taking a battle cannon from -2 to -3 is good and having a punisher be -1 ap is also good but if your a weapons expert, surely you would apply your knowledge to all your guns right? Having all weapons be an additional-1 ap would really make this a good trait.

The next one I want to talk about is a support ace trait. Shatterer of Wills causes a leadership debuff, which while useful, isn't quite as good as it was. Yes it means that your more likely to fail, but it's not going to cause as many casualties as before. I think this needs adding to, to make 1's and 2's on combat attrition tests cause models to flee, even if the unit is over half strength. This would bring this trait more inline with the 9th moral system and really make it a Shatterer of Wills rather than just a bit of a tickler. 

Lastly we have a trait that I think is really good, probably too good and I expect that we will see some kind of nerf to it. Full Payload is taken in pretty much all lists, usually in the form of a Full Payload Manticore or two. I'm not sure how they will nerf this trait, as it just maximises the damage characteristics of the weapon, so without a full rewording there isn't much they can do. One thing I guess they can do is to restrict each ace trait to only allowing each trait to be used once per army. This mean that you couldn't take 2 full payload manticores in the army. I real do expect this to get nerfed, hopefully it won't be to bad.

As for the super-heavy aces, I think these three are all spot on. None of them really need any work, the only one that I might change would be inspiring might, to enable combat attrition tests only on 1's regardless of casualties. 

So, overall a few things that I think need changing for the next codex but on the whole, not a bad lot of traits. Next up we'll have a look at relics, or heirlooms, and psychic powers. 

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