Friday, May 27, 2011

Necron Rumor Reactions

Been waiting month for an excuse to use this one
Hi, everyone. Welcome to another exciting installment of Tainted by Xenos. Today we will be discussing everyone favorite cypt crawlers the necrons. The interwebz has seen an influx of necron rumours and I would like to post them here, along with my own reactions. One thing that needs to be noted is that these are just rumours. As such, detailed synopsis is quite pointless. My opinions are as concrete as said rumors and could be easily changed with great understand of the actual rules. The original rumors come from the ever-benevolent yakface over at and can be found here. His words are in white, with mine in green. Enjoy!:

Hello everyone,

I have gotten my hands on some fairly solid Necron rumors. I say they are fairly solid because the source I got them from has proved reliable in the past, however the rumors themselves are indeed 2nd hand (I didn't see the codex myself), and therefore I can't personally verify any of this. That also means if you have any more questions on anything I (probably) won't be able to provide you with any more details (as I don't have them).

Anyway here goes:

1) No surprise here, but Necrons are still essentially Tomb Kings in space fluff wise. A shift in fluff is now that all of the higher up necrons are intelligent while the lower level ones are still basically automatons. I guess that's roughly the same as it used to be, but apparently there is more emphasis in the sentience of the higher Necrons now (hence the named Lords).

2) C'Tan are still in the codex...sort of. They have been moved to the Elites section and are now a single unit choice, but with variable upgrade powers you can take.
Hmmm. This one is a tad strange. I love the idea game wise. Three c'tan along with some of the other rumoured MCs not in the elite slot could be awesome, allowing an all MC cronzilla list. The weird part is how the fluff is gonna work. Other rumours have suggested that in the codex, c'tan would simply be lords that have somehow been instilled with the "Essence of the C'tan" much like in the Dawn of War video games. This would also allow for Forge World to create large C'tan sculpts for Apoc that would represent the actual gods, making them much stronger and inline with fluff. Time will tell, but I like it.

3) We'll be Back is no longer called that and it is NOT Feel No Pain. Basically it is a 5+ bonus save similar to Feel No Pain, but doesn't get cancelled out by double strength, AP1/2, etc. In addition, this save is made at the END of the phase after morale tests are taken. If the unit is wiped out or is falling back at the end of the phase, then the save cannot be used. So as an opponent, if you manage to wipe the unit out or make them fall back, then you prevent any Necrons from getting back up...unless the unit has something called the 'ever-living' rule, in which case it gets to attempt this save even if the unit is wiped out.

Whether this works or not will depend completely on the accuracy on the rumor translation. If it happens at the "end of the phase" does that mean it happens at the end of every phase? That would make it much harder wipe out a unit if I got my WBB roll 4-6 times a game turn. Couple that with not being ignored and this version is much better than the current 4+. Ever-living rule? Yes, please!4) Gauss Weaponry does NOT have rending. It retains the 'auto-glance' on a penetration roll of a '6' rule, but apparently otherwise has lost the 'auto-wound' on a roll of a '6' regardless of Toughness that it used to have. The Gauss Cannon is now apparently Assault 2 & AP3 (I'm assuming the Strength is still 6). The Gaus Flux Arc on the Monolith no longer automatically hits every unit within range, instead each one fires separately and can hit four different targets.
BOOOOOO! I hate all of these. HATE!!! This means basically our status as the best vehicle killers in the game is not coming back. It means we are still gonna have problems with heavy infantry. Destroyers aren't going to be able to be taken in mass anymore, because they aren't gonna be as viable against vehicles because we lose a shot. And lets be honest, anti- heavy infantry really needs to be AP 2 to kill termies and ignore FNP, otherwise you still need something to fulfill that roll. As far as the monolith, I love the death blossom and will be very sad to see it go.

5) Phase out is gone.
Hallelujah !!

6) Destroyers now count as jump infantry and there is a new Fast Attack Jetbike unit called Tomb Blades.
Ok, so now my Destroyers can't even turbo-boost. One of there best abilities is the ability to relocate quickly/ run away. Seems destroyers have been Carnifexed( ie. very good in the last 'dex, so are nerfed badly so you need to replace them in your armies). You certainly don't need all 15 of the models you currently have. Tomb Blades might be cool though.

7) Immortals are now a Troops choice. Pariahs are gone. Flayed Ones are Elites.
Immortals as troops are great and I will expound on this later. Pariahs gone?: Now I've had the handle Pariah Stevo since I was in high school so this ones kinda personal. Honestly I don't buy it. Pariahs have a significant amount of back store. The story line of DOW: Dark Crusade was based around a pariah. Not only that, pariahs are seen throughout Necron artwork, and we know how GW likes to recycle artwork. Pariah were always that unit that everyone loved, but just were not up to par in games terms. I think everyone expected them to be the Bad-A s of this dex and get a brand new plastic kit. To get rid of them would be just... stupid. Even if they are shafted as a unit, they will appear elsewhere as a special character or something. I half expect Cypteks (see below) to renamed pariahs. Like I said, I just hope yakface is wrong on this one. As far as flayed ones, in their rules I see no reason why they shouldn't be troops. In the book "Hellforged" from the Black Library, flayed ones basically hide out in dead bodies and ambush people. Maybe we got some cool new ambush rules similar to Ygmarls. Of course, maybe they got nerfed like Mandrakes, who knows.

8) There are indeed 6 named characters (although I have no more info on them). There is also a Necron Overlord and a bodyguard unit called Crypteks. Crypteks can be split off before the game to lead units of Necrons, very similar to Wolf Guard in the Space Wolves codex. Crypteks can take a bunch of different technology upgrades, so there is kind of a way now to have personalized squad leaders in a Necron army.
Cypteks sound cool. I hope this is something I can do without using a special character. I love how special characters are worth a darn, but I hate when they seem competitively mandatory. (ie Ghazkull) For any of you not familiar with Warmachine, Cryx have a unit called Necrotechs, and now Necrons have a unit called Crypteks. effed up, ain't it?
9) They army is much more mobile now in general.(Ya!) They have several units of jump troops, and 2 new transport vehicles. 1 transport can carry 15 necrons while another can carry 10. Jump pack units count as 2 models and jetbikes count as 5. The one that holds 10 is able to recover casualties to a unit (although can't take it beyond its starting strength). Necron vehicles besides the monolith are open-topped skimmers. However they have something called 'Quantum shielding' which gives their front & side armor +2 until the vehicle takes its first glance/pen, at which point it loses the shielding. One of these two transports (not sure which one) is apparently a personal transport for the Lord (and his retinue).
Sounds cool. They definitely are changing the way the army works.

10) There are six new vehicles in the codex (including the two transports mentioned above). Two of which seem to be based around this old Jes Goodwin design:
six? I doubt it. That's a crap-ton. Even if we get two kits that make 3 variants that is a ton of  new vehicles and kits.

11) In general Necrons have a lot more long ranged fire support. There is also a new weapon type called Tesla weapons. These weapons, on a roll of '6' to hit automatically cause two more hits. The biggest version of the Tesla weapons has a chance of hitting all other units close to the target; both friend and foe. One of the new vehicles carries the doomsday cannon: 72" S9 AP1 Heavy 1 large blast. BS4.
sounds awesome

12) In the Elites section there is a big new walker. It has a heat ray that that is either a melta or flamer depending on what you want to do. Any unit hit by this vehicle is marked (as in: laser targeted), which means that all other necrons count as being twin-linked for shooting at the marked enemy unit that turn.
Necron Tau dread? wtf? sounds cool

13) Necron Warriors have the same basic stat line they had before except they now have a 4+ save. Now before you go crazy, also note that their points cost is 12 points, which is a 1/3 price drop (down from 18 points). That means you get 1/3 more Warrior models in the army for the same amount of also makes losing an entire unit due to sweeping advance, not nearly as painful.

I know a lot of cynical people will hate this and accuse GW from simply making the change to sell more Warrior models, and you could be right. But personally I was always hoping they were going to make Necron Warriors not quite as tough and dump the points cost on them, so you could really take a ton of them...given in my mind they are supposed to be more like a shambling horde of undead robots than some sort of small elite force of super-warriors (but that could just be me).

So this change alone totally changes the army from out of the 'MEQ' umbrella and makes their base statline unique in the game (which is good, IMHO).
Ok, here I have a problem. Not because of the 4+ save. With a 6pt. drop in price I can accept and even like that. My problem is that they didn't fix anything else wrong with them. In 3rd and 4th edition warriors were durable, could drop vehicles, and more importantly had high leadership and numbers that let them hang in assaults. In 5th, the game mechanics changed that took away their ability to kill vehicles effectively and to hang at all in assault. Instead of trying to restore how they once were it's like GW thought "They suck and they are expensive. Let's make them cheaper! It doesn't matter that they still stuck, heck, let's make'm suck more?" I like the idea of the robot horde. I used to run 40 to 60 warrior in a 2000pt list. The problem is with the current rule set, mass infantry won't work if you can be caught in a sweeping advance. Just ask any Guard player. When was the last time you saw big IG blob squads in competitive play? How bought with no special or heavy weapons? Thought so. If this holds true, it will be a tragedy. Warriors suck right now, a cheap cost doesn't change that at all.
14) Immortals have lost their T5 (down to T4), but keep their 3+ save. However, their points cost has dropped to 17 pts a model, which is an 11 point drop (more than 1/3 a drop from the previous cost of 28 pts)!
And here in lies our redemption!!! I propose a question: Why take warriors at all? Immortals are troops now. Let's compare new immortals to old warriors. Stat lines are exactly the same. Instead of a S4 rapid fire weapon I would have a S5 24" assault 2 weapons and New Immortal are a point cheaper. Now let's compare new immortals with new warriors. For 5pts you get a 3+ save and a way way better gun. I think 4 X 10 Immortals at 170pts each is amazing. It's like having the firepower of PAGK for half the points and being just as durable. The bad news: I own about 100 warrior models and Immortals are probably gonna cost about $33 for 5. Hmmm that's 246 dollar just for troops, about the cost of and entire Warmach.... ok, ok, I'll stop.

15) All units in the army benefit from the new WBB rule, not just the units that were formerly classified as 'Necrons' in the current codex (even Scarabs!). So although you're only getting a 5+ save in many cases, you're still getting it on some of the more expensive stuff in the army as well (and there are some pricey new units to counterbalance the relatively cheap Warriors and Immortals). Also the vehicle that can add models back into the unit is also able to use this ability on any unit.
Hmmm. Vehicle that adds models back into the unit? Someones been reading the Cryx rules. All of the excellent upgrades to WBB are making that 5+ look not so bad.

15) Rez Orb is still in the game and boosts the new WBB rule to a 4+ instead of a 5+, but only affects the unit it is in. I have a strong suspicion that this is an upgrade that Crypteks can take (I'll confirm if I find out), so I'd imagine you can get quite a few units in the game getting the 4+ bonus save if you want to pay the points to take them for your Crypteks and then split those Crypteks off to lead units.
Dude, Sweeeet
16) Veil of Darkness is now definitely something Crypteks can take (so you can have a bunch of 'em in the army), but it no longer allows a unit to be pulled out of combat (and neither does the Monolith), except in the case of the Veil carried by one of the named Lords.
BOOOOOO!!!! Teleporting out of combat is like, my favorite thing ever. That makes me sad. My 4th edition army was completely based off of teleport out of combat. Sad Panda.

17) In the new fluff it sounds like the C'Tan were mainly killed off by the Necrons (or something like that), so the C'Tan that you field in the game are just remaining shards of their power. They're naturally still a really mean Monstrous Creature who rocks in combat, but you can also purchase a bunch of different abilities. These abilities are in line with a lot of the things we've seen in the last few codecies, things like: messing around with Deep Striking enemy units, making enemies moving through terrain differently, and allowing the Necron player to change some of his deployment, etc. So it sounds like you have a lot of different options with the C'Tan that really mess with the enemy army and/or supplement your own. And they are not one per army (so you can have 3 if you want to use up all your Elites on them, although it sounds like the other Elites choices are pretty awesome as well).
C'tan killed off by necrons? that makes no sense. This dex is really starting to look like Ward wrote it. I mean, that just sounds stupid. I do love the thought of fielding 3 of them though.

18) Some of those six new vehicles include flyers (not sure how many), which can move at cruising speed and fire all their weapons.
Nice. I hope GW decides in 6th edition to let everything move 12" and fire all their weapons, as anything worth a damn has some way of ignoring the shooting rules.

19) Besides a few units that are Fearless (Wraiths, Tomb Spyders and Scarabs), the army doesn't have any sort of blanket immunity to morale. They are still Ld10, but obviously we know that still leaves them very vulnerable to being run down in combat, and it looks like that will remain a big Achilles heel.
It's like GW nerfed necrons and then decided that they liked it. W.T.F.?

20) Scarabs sound great. They are cheap, have the new WBB rule, move like beasts and have an ability that erodes enemy armor when they get into combat with it. Any non-vehicle model they wound, but don't kill, has its armor save turned to a dash (i.e. nothing) for the rest of the game. If they hit a vehicle, on a 4+ the vehicle loses a point of armor value on ALL facings, and if any facing is reduced to zero, then the vehicle is destroyed (I'm not sure if this ability kicks in for each hit they get on the vehicle, or just once no matter how many hits they cause). There are some items in the army that also have a similar ability to erode armor, including one of the C'Tan powers.

So it sounds like Scarabs may play a major role in most Necron armies!
These rumors are awesome. I love scarabs. They have a very unique feel in the 40k universes. Making them beast is amazing. I wonder about the mechanics of the armor eroding rule. I seems a little trite as well as difficult to actual make balanced. If it were me, I would have just gave them stock disruption fields and made them rending, but that's just me.

21) Overall, CC is definitely still the weak point of the army, but it looks like they've got a lot of different places they can take special rules to slow down or screw with approaching enemy, including some of the C'Tan powers, but also some of the different gear they can take. But they also have some different potential counter-assault units, which mainly come out of the Elites section (besides the new Walker, the C'Tan and the flayed ones in Elites there are 3 OTHER brand new units in there as well, for a grand total of 6 Elites choices). The Flayed ones are, being consistent, cheaper than they were and now have 3 Attacks base (but their save is now 4+ as with standard Warriors). One of the other new Elite units is also CC oriented, but is very pricey points wise (but is S5/T5/3+save). This unit can wield a Warscythe, but they are not called Pariahs (no idea if that's what Pariahs have 'turned into' or not).

We definitely need more CC. Strange how they made a unit similar to pariahs, but they are not. I really gotta see more on these to form any real opinion.

Another new Elites choice is a sniper style unit that can Deep Strike into play normally or it can choose to immediately Deep Strike immediately after the opponent brings an enemy unit on from Reserves, and they have some nasty additional damage ability against one nominated unit...obviously we need more info to know how useful this will really be, but the concept of countering an opponent's Reserve deployment immediately sounds interesting at least.
Hmmmm. sounds interesting.
The last new Elites choice is an Elite Jump Infantry unit with very close range shooting and some decent CC ability (and are also S5/T5/3+save).
Jump pack, not-pariah-pariahs!!!! yeah!!!

22) Fast Attack has 4 choices...Wraiths, Tomb Blades (jetbikes), Scarabs & Destroyers.

And that's it! Kind of all over the place and certainly not a full snapshot of the codex, but a lot of these things are completely opposite from many of the other rumors I've seen out there.

There you have it. Like I said, I'm very concerned about the fact the army seems like it's gonna play more like 5th edition necrons that 4th. I just don't know if i like it, because I've grown to hate the way necrons play now. Even so. I'm very optimistic about the new units and everything the codex will bring. Have at it guys, what do you like or dis-like about these new rumors?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Back in Action!!!! and Letters to GW

Sometimes, it's worth the wait.

Hi everyone!!!! Welcome back to Tainted by Xenos!!! Thanks for bearing with me over the past month. Look forward to more insight and colorful commentary from your friendly neighborhood Stevo!!!
I wish my first post back were more cheerful. As you all know by now, GW has introduced another price hike. We once again must each personally decide if we like our "cigarettes" enough to let "Bubba G-dub" have his way with our proverbial pie hole. Kirby from 3++ is the new black has created an open letter and asked other to post it on their blogs. He also encourages everyone to create their own and contact GW, as do I. I have posted a copy my letter to GW as well as Kirby's. Together we can do something, apart, nothing will change. If not now, when?

My Letter:

To Whom it May Concern:
                       I wanted to write you to express my concern and disappointment over the new price  increases, beginning May 28th. Firstly, I would like to express how much I love the products your company makes, and have collected thousands of dollars worth of product over the course of the past 8 years. I have large High elves, Necron, Ork, and new Dark Eldar collections and have a small start on a new Grey Knight army.
       As stated earlier, I am very disappointed with the new price hikes. I am usually the type of customer that defends your high prices, simply citing your beautiful models and superior products. Sadly, I can do this no longer. Some of the new price hikes are simply absurd. Specifically 20% increases on Tyranid blisters, Dark Eldar wyches and warriors, and a starter set that has doubled in price over the course of 2 years, just to name a few. Not to mention price hikes on space marine kits.
            I realize Gamesworkshop is a business, and I don't fault you for trying to make money, but I feel that your are abusing my loyalty and the loyalty of other customers. This newest price increase is blatant price gouging.
            It is apparent your prices are not based on manufacturing or material costs, but based simply on supply-demand economics and what you think loyal costumers will pay. This type of business model does not reward costumer loyalty, but punishes it. It has become clear that there is only one way I can affect your decisions and that is to stop buying your products. I will not continue to collect Grey Knight miniatures, and will sell the models I currently have. I will not buy any of the new Dark Eldar models currently on advanced order. I will not buy any new Necron models rumored to be released in October. I want to make it clear, you have lost $600 to $1000 of revenue on me alone.
        I do not write this letter in anger, but with sadness. I would love to continue to buy your products, ignoring the above facts. However, I realize that every time I buy your products, I feel cheated, abused, and simply stupid for doing so. I will take the money I planned on buying your products with and start collecting Warmachine models from Privateer Press. After 8 years of buying nothing but Gamesworkshop products, I feel I owe it to myself to try something from a company that seems to care more about customer satisfaction and loyalty.
                  I hope Games Workshop will adopt more competitive pricing and stop taking its customer base for granted. As stated, I am a huge fan of your company and look forward to a time I can feel good about purchasing your products again.
                                                           Steven Oakes,
                                                  8 year GW customer

Kirby's letter:

I normally hate these type of posts and avoid writing them like the plague. Most of these type of articles just end up complete whining or asshatery (though I did love SandWyrm's)which isn't really necessary but what has happened recently has lead me to write this. Before we get to the letter though some information. Games Workshop has changed their terms and conditions for stores in the United Kingdom to only allow shipping to countries within the European Union and other parts of Europe. They have increased their prices again come June and have announced the released of resin and mixed resin/plastic sets instead of metals with an approximate increase of 2.5-25% depending upon the set. None of these sets are new but rather re-casts. 

Letter time!

To Games Workshop,

Why? No seriously, why? I'm sure the excuse of cutting off Australasia and other countries (Canada, India, Korea, South American countries, etc.) to benefit the independent and GW store sales in Australia sounded good but unless you cut the prices here to not be a ridiculous 200% higher price than overseas, it's not going to happen. Let's look at this logically. You've stopped us from buying from stores like Maelstrom and Wayland with an embargo agreement in your Terms and Conditions (remember globalisation? how's that going btw?). Does this mean we are going to now buy at RRP in Australia or other countries? No.

There are other outlets overseas we can buy from which are still much cheaper (hi America), other companies which you cannot touch without raising a helluva lot of crap (hi ebay) and people who are willing to ship to us overseas (hello family and friends) without the 200% tax. We won't be getting as huge a discount as before but it's much better than buying here at RRP. The other option is of course going to be quitting which I imagine some people are going to do. Check out this thread on WargamerAU

Now I'm all for one in supporting the locals. I buy all my products such as spray paint, paints, plasticard, magnets, drills + bits, modelling putty, brushes, etc. from Australia. As an aside, do you actually stock good quality merchandise for all of those options? I don't see you selling plasticard, magnets, good sized drillbits, custom bases, etc. I'd be happy to pay a 5-10% premium on these objects compared to other stores to support your business but then again, I don't really want to support your business currently do I? The point of any business is to make a profit but the problem with your business model is you do not do this whilst concurrently supporting your customer base. We don't ask for much but a short list would look like...
  • not raising prices every year, without fail, regardless of the economic situation or inflation rates
  • basing prices around the world upon exchange rates (I wouldn't be averse to paying 20% more in Australia compared to the UK or America locally but I am adverse to paying twice as much) - there are circumstances in each country that make operating there more or less expensive but you need a base retail price for your product which is then translated by exchange rates at a given time (i.e. quarterly) rather than a price set many, many years ago. It's part of being in a global market.
  • regular and quick FAQs - you've done a fantastic job IMO of creating some pretty balanced books for 5th edition, fix the grey areas quickly.
  • official erratas - man up and admit you've made mistakes (hi Tyranids) and work on erratas that are official and re-print the books with these amendments. Admitting a mistake and fixing it isn't a problem and I'd applaud you for it. Ignoring a problem is.
  • fix Fantasy - you did it with 40k, why go backwards with Fantasy?
  • don't think your customer base is moronic - the resin re-cast to be cheaper than metals whilst hiking prices, not fooling anyone.
Ultimately people in Australia and other countries go overseas for their Games Workshop products for a reason: it's significantly cheaper (I.e. half price). What motivation is there to therefore buy from our locals when you aren't treating your customers with loyalty and support? People will walk away and your bottom line will hurt. A simple solution: care about your customers. Change the Australian (and other countries) prices so they are at least similar to the UK and US. This doesn't have to be the exact same price but some parity would be greatly appreciated.

Here's a quick example. If you could buy a similar product for $45 compared to $150, what would you do? How about if the product was the exact same but if you ordered it overseas it was $80 compared to $150 by the time it reached your door step? I'm pretty sure you'd want to take the cheaper option correct? For you as a company, you make your profit margin through the reseller regardless of where it is purchased. You may make more money off a direct sale at an Australian store compared to an Internet sale from the UK but you have already achieved the profit margin from the Internet sale already. The Australian stores may be hurting but this is down to the initial price you have set, not market trends. Simply put, you are alienating customers from a large and developing market.

I and many of the readers here obviously enjoy your game. We've played it through thick and thin (4th edition...) or come back thanks to an improvement game balance (5th edition) and don't want to leave. We will though sooner or later if you keep piling on idiotic choices on us. Other companies like Privateer Press did very well in the early to mid-2000s for a reason and people will migrate to other gaming systems if you continue to mistreat them and their loyalty.

As it stands I question why you do the things you do. Raising prices every year annoys me but I cannot complain too loudly as your products are a luxury item but you do not provide excellent customer service one usually expects with such goods. I certainly find minimal fault with your staff or when your product is damaged/faulty but your overarching business model seems counter-intuitive to maintaining a customer base. Even if you are getting a large amount of new customers imagine how much better off your company would be if you had maintained a significant portion of your repeat customers. The model you are running currently to me does not seem sustainable as your turnover rate in customers is just too high. I applaud your efforts in making 40k 5th edition a more competitive game but what you've done to Fantasy 8th edition doesn't bode well for the future.

Please, look to satisfy both the shareholders and the customer rather than just the former.


P.S. Anyone who agrees with this, I would greatly appreciate this being re-posted on your blog so we might actually garner GW's attention and hopefully move forward together. That is the ultimate goal, I want Games Workshop to succeed as a company so I can continue to enjoy the gaming systems I do but to do that, Games Workshop must look at altering their business model in the long run to maintain a steady customer base.

So, what do ya'll think? Is it time for a revolution or should we stop getting upset over something we can't change? Are you mad enough at GW to stop buying their products?