Friday, July 16, 2010

From Mech to Wreck

Hello everyone, Loki here with a question to the gamers out there. Does the Mech army really have the advantage? I have assembled a few reasons as to what makes a Mech list a little more dangerous than what first meets the eye. The obvious reason to run a Mech list is the protection it offers the units inside while giving them the benefit of speed. But do the cons out way the pros? Well here are the biggest cons of the Mech-based lists:

1. Kill Points
In 5th, each Dedicated transport offers another kill point. That means the rhino paid for the unit, now increases the points from 1 to 2. This can be a real problem when Annihilation rolls around, or if a tournament uses kill points as a tie breaker.

2. Pinned!
If a vehicle is either wrecked or explodes, the unit must make a pinning test. Many armies have an answer to leadership, but many do not. This means that not only does the unit lose the benefit offered from the transport that is now gone, but they themselves may not act on the next turn. This means that the points spent to help the unit perform better has actually crippled the unit's ability to work in the game, thus giving more advantage to the enemy.

Ka Boom! Although this can lead to some interesting, and often times comical results, the simple matter is this can really hurt the controlling player. Units outside the hull are often a mix of both friendly and enemy, so that is somewhat neutral especially given the low strength of 3. However, the unit inside are hit with S4 (baring open topped transports of course)and now suffer a higher number of wounds. Even marines die to bad rolls, and loosing enough to cause a leadership can further reduce the unit's ability to work well overall.

4. Boom goes the Dynamite
In 5th edition, there is Dynamite, and it's name is melta rule. With the over abundance of this weapon (which is completely against it's fluff in the first place seeing as it is supposed to represent ancient and almost lost technology) units can easily destroy enemy vehicles with ease, causing one of the above mentioned problems as a possible side effect. Not even the fear inspiring Land Raiders can stand up to a few shots from the melta weapons.

5. Clean Up That Mess!
Mech units tend to leave behind debris when they go. Whether this is a crater or a wreck, this can lead to some interfering terrain when it comes to drawing line of sight, moving units of any type), and overall tactical ability of the army. Now this can be used as a good defensive strategy, but often times it is not the latter and tends to leave the owners with nothing but a mess, and some worthless spare keys.

6. Why is this jogger catching up to us?
So many vehicles (baring the fast skimmers) are limited to around 12" movements tops. Now that isn't bad at all... but remember that with 5th came run. This effectively makes everyone on foot fast. 6" movement, followed by potentially 6" more. So now that transport that was bought to speed up the unit's mobility was just matched by the unit that opted not to ride and simply hoof it. Funny huh?

7. It's gonna be a bumpy... Damnit!
Hey look, difficult terrain. Hope you have dozer blades or you can float, because if you roll a one, it looks like your staying right there. This may not seem like much, but can often tip the scales of a battle, and in a tournament using victory points, there goes half the points to your enemy. Now with a 35 point rhino it isn't terrible, but giving the enemy 130 points because you land raider hit a bump is not exactly tactically sound.

8. Trapped!
Not a fan of this maneuver, but it's legal, and it's all kinds of sad. When your vehicle becomes a barrel full of fish... it's time to evaluate what makes this thing worth fielding.

9. The Trade off
Run transports, or more units? You have to spend your points in one place or the other, and if you chose to run transports, that points you can't spend to run another fully functional unit. Without a doubt this can be the biggest points sink as a whole when building a list, as transports and other Mech types begin to really add up fast.

10. the Lucky shot.
A lucky shot is that first turn Lascannon in their backfield that popped the Land Raider before it moves at all. It isn't probable, but it is possible, and must be accounted for when weighing the pros and cons of taking a vehicle and using the points there instead of elsewhere.

Overall infantry and other small units benefit from a massive influx of cover in 5th. Vehicles can often get the save, but if it's failed can often leave the vehicle smoking for different reasons, while the infantry unit only loses a grunt. Now that isn't to say that Mech doesn't have it's pros (like making most small arms fire worthless). However, this article never claims to say Mech has no purpose; its only intent is to help bring new thoughts when it comes to using the vehicles over foot based.

Now I want to hear your thoughts. What do you think about Mech as a whole? In 5th? Is it worth it or not? All of these thoughts and more are yours to ponder. I hope this has been an interesting look at the use of Mech.



  1. okay so here are my thoughts on the matter:

    You have a very very very solid point, Mech is risky, but is it less risky than marching those regular troopers out in the open to have my vinidcators drop pie plates on it's head? I mean that seems kinda bad for you troopers. so I get 2d6 keep the higher of the two for pin, however, if I'm off the hull I do not get but half strength, so I'm looking for 6's normally to glace Rhino's. Not that amazing.

    Now I have to move on to another point, Melta might be something that is SUPPOSED to be hard to find or lost tech or whatever the case may be, but prior to the influx of Melta there was a huge amount of Plasma that was floating around. Now keep in mind that Plasma weapons are extremely hard to find as well. I find it completely pointless that everyone complains about it. If there was something that needed to be fixed, they could always just say hey no more than X melta weapons per army. They have not so obviously they did it for a reason...oh yeah MECH! Imagine having to play against something like the Luna wolves army being made with 4 raiders, and only having lets say 2 well do you think that would go over?

  2. Well my first rebuttle about the x number of melta would be if that were the case I would expect an x number of raiders allowed as well. I do not like the idea of limits, as that is one of the great thing about this game, it was only a fluff based thought.

    Yes the vindicator is a mean tank, and 10 2 pie plates scare a lot of units. Inherently scare infantry based units a little more basedo n the principle that they hit a lot of models vs. a lascannon or melta that kills only 1. It's a trade off, and I'm not really trying to say Mech is worthless, only that it seems that the risks involved with running them seems to out number the benefits in some cases.

    In my opinion, I think it is still worth investing time into to make a good mech list, but people often find themselves wondered how their mech list failed, and these 10 points were meant to be a reflection of those underlying causes that can make a battle turn for the worse.

    40k is one of the only table top war games that allow for tanks in a large number, and so it makes sense that they would be present. I only hope to inform and caution the blind beliefs they will win based on the number of tanks fielded.

  3. Since I play guard, I am going to relate only to guard (particularly the infantry platoon).

    One guard squad and a chimera are only a melta bombs worth more expensive than just buying the two squads.

    Chimera has front armor 12 and normally takes a multi laser.
    The two guard squads can merg together to benefit from cover and reduce their kill points.

    There are advanteges but the two guard squads normally do more for me than the chimera. Chimeras are just roling confines.

  4. 1. Kill Points -- Technically true for transports, less true for things like vindicators. Thus is also only a situation in 1/3 games (in theory, which is what a lot of this article is anyways).

    This also assumes that your opponent consdiers your deticated transports to be some kind of priority target. If your opponent is wasting big guns killing vehicles, those big guns are not killing your units that, you know, are actually hurting them.

    2. Pinned! -- In theory, you're right. In practice, I have pinned a unit emerging from a vehicle once in my time playing this game.

    3. Like you said, soooo many armies get around leadership. And they ought to: losing because your army ran off the table after failing a leadership test is boring as fuck. But that just means that "omg leadership test" isn't really as big of a disadvantage as its made out to be.

    The ST4 thing only applies to transports -- so if it doesn't have doods in it, this just isn't a factor. I find st3 hits to be equally meaningless: yeah, in theory it might kill a dood, and it might even once in awhile effect the game (read: kill half my Ymgarls >.<").

    Overall, i feel like even unskilled players can get around this point or just roll with the punch.

    4. BOOM! -- I feel like the overabundance of melta is the result of rules writers (and players who make lists) understanding that mech (whether you think it's overpowered or balanced) seems to be running pretty rampant in the overalll 40k enviornment.

    I'd also like to point out that the overabundance of Space Marine players is completely against Space Marine fluff -- so I think we can forgive melta for not quite sticking to its story. I feel like this is a case where the fluff is not really all that essential, and we can just kinda overlook it.

    5. Clean Up That Mess! -- 100% disagreeing with you here. The actual wreck, once it is left, can hinder your opponent just as much as it hinders you. which, honestly, is not all that much -- I find that if it was a transport, the guys just jump out in front of it and keep going forward, putting the wreck pretty comfortably out of the game; or they get out behind it and use the wreck as cover (which works both ways.)

  5. 6. Joggers -- My criticism of this is that it assumes the infantry in question are not in cover (which, unless you're a space marine, you ought to be) and it assumes rolling a 6 every time on your run. It also assumes that the infantry are not taking any sort of disadvantage for choosing to do this -- which they are. You typically can't shoot AND run. Which might not be a problem for a pure assault team, but those units aren't exactly a majority.

    The way I like to justify the way movements fluff-wise: your vehicles are, for the most part, taking care to move carefully and tactically into battle (and move slow enough to shoot accurately) -- whereas infantry, where running out of control isnt a factor (but getting worried about being shot is,) are moving at their peak possible speed.

    7. Bumpy -- You've made the opposite assumtion in this point that you did in the last one -- yeah, rolling a one DOES happen, but it's not like every single vehicle turns to dust the moment it hits any kind of terrain. I'd also like to point out that vehicles with weapons can still fire if imobilize.

    Further, if it immobilized in difficult terrain, that means it was moving -- and that means it did its job moving troops (if it's a transport). Even if it wasn't the 100% most ideal place, it still got something done. Mr Land Raider can have the time of his life going to town with all those weapons.

    8. Trapped -- I straight up feel like getting trapped in a vehicle is somthing you have to allow to happen in order for it to happen to you. If I ever have an oppertunity to trap you in a vehicle, I'm doing it -- yeah, it sucks, but I'll be you'll remember that one game it really sucked how you got screwed by this tactic, and you'll remember to use good tactics and not allow it to happen again. I've pulled this tactic off exactly once ever, which makes me think it's not as big of a deal as maybe it gets made otu to be.

    9. Trade off? Sure, but this is an inherent flaw of EVERY unit. Man, I COULD run 20 TH + SS terminators, but the points I'm spending there COULD have been spent running more units. So intead of killing, your mech points are invested in movement speed and protection. Oh, and, you know, the guns on your vehicle.

    Also, rhinos are HOW many points again, exactly?

    10. Luck -- Sure, but this is STILL an inherent flaw that EVERY unit has. Yeah, my opponent might get first turn and straight up kill it. This is not an inherent flaw in mech only at all.

    Anyways. Those are my thoughts on all that.