Thursday, 27 September 2012

Super Heavies Scalped by Sixth?

Having played my first apocalypse game of sixth edition on Sunday (with no str D weapons in any army, so no chance to test the idea of making D less the auto win gun) I have discovered that super heavies are not all they once were...

Sure, they're still durable as hell. You can still chain reaction one to death if you're lucky, but the odds aren't good. Being able to whittle them down a little by gradually glancing away the structure points makes them easier to deal with (slightly) though you can of course use techs and meks to repair some of those hull points. No what I found was that they were far easier to effectively take out of the game.

Assuming you aren't snap-firing...

For the uninitiated, super heavies used to have their own damage table. low results would stun a gun or the driver. mid table would knock off a gun or give a half-immobilised result. And the high results would take off structure points. The big guns, your primary weapons, had a 4+ save against stunning and damaging. The enemy would generally shoot at the big thing and when you failed a 4+ on the big gun they may think "ok that will do that's a lot less damage it can do to me next turn, I can finally shoot something else"

Move forward to sixth, and they use the same damage table as basic 40k. The only difference being immobilised is drive damaged (so half immobilised, takes two to stop it) and that explodes is remove a structure point and roll again, without modifiers. For killing the things it seems to be on a par with before. A succession of 6s can instant kill, but it's unlikely. But for shutting the super heavy out of the game, all it takes is one penetrating hit. You roll and get a crew shaken or stunned result, and your job is effectively done! Why? Because it effects ALL the guns at once. You still get a 4+ save for primary weapons, but taking the baneblade as an example, you've just lost your demolisher cannon, your two lascannons are hitting on 6s, the 3 twin linked heavy bolters likewise (though weight of shots and twin linked means they aren't as effected as the lascannons) and you're one bad dice roll from losing your mega cannon. Statistically two hits and all you have is a bunch of heavy bolters for 450 points. The enemy doesn't have to chuck masses of firepower at them anymore... as soon as it's shaken they can move on to other targets. Part of the benefit of super heavies would be their nature as bullet magnets, allowing the rest of your forces to advance unmolested. Will this still be the case? It also puts more of an onus on the first turn - if you go second you may never get chance to fire your super heavies... at least going first you have chance to fire them at least once!

I have no solution to this issue, and I am not looking for one. I can just see the nature of apocalypse mutating to make super heavies far less effective than they once were. Are Games Workshop going to rely on people rarely playing apocalypse and thus not noticing? It seems unprecedented for them to make a massive kit like the baneblade less effective than it used to be, unless they are relying on people just simply wanting one without thinking about when or if they will ever field it...

Do note, that this does not affect my previous article on Str D weapons. That was about balancing the warhound options out to make viable choices of all weapons and I stand by it. If anything this issue makes the new rules for Str D better as they'd still be able to fire while snap firing - a titan armed with plenty of old str D and nothing else may find itself easy to shut out of a game.


  1. Didn't realise that effected all weapons now. Seems a little extreme, I suppose there are ways to balance it out though. 5+ save for each secondary weapon etc.

  2. I don't really want to throw too many house rules into the mix if I can help it. Besides this one is an across the board super heavy nerf so it isn't exactly unfair. I wanted house rules for the D weapon as it became the no-brainer choice. Super Heavies have now been hit with the nerf bat, but there are still uses for them. They are still quite resilient from a killing point of view (if not an operational standpoint) so for holding an objective they work fine. This post was more about pointing something out than trying to find a solution...

  3. As the only one of my Apoc playing friends who doesn't own a super heavy this is excellent news!! ;)

    The house rules suggestion is probably where we'll end up taking it I guess.

    1. I don't think it really needs it as like I said it's an across the board nerf so it's fair to everybody, besides no one has to take a super heavy if they don't want to.

      What you may have to make sure is that your group follows one house interpretation we've come up with - namely that while hull points can be recovered structure points cannot. Once a structure point has gone the damage is too great to be repaired. If you allow the repair of three hull points to equate to a structure point then a stompa with 10 big meks in will be repairing nearly 2 structure points per turn, and that's IF you get through the Kustom Force Field one of the big meks is bound to have... Making a truly unkillable stompa!