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 Making Hellions worthwhile.

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FuelDrop
Hekatrix
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PostSubject: Making Hellions worthwhile.   Wed Jul 08 2015, 13:17

Hellions are widely regarded as a unit it's never worth taking. Let's break them down, and see what we could tinker with to make them good.

Hellions are fast attack, and so need to be fast. Their hoverboards are nice in that regard, but they're slower than most of our options. One of the few strengths they have is that they can deep strike without a transport.

Their weapon loadout is focused on melee, making them an assault unit. However, they have the same statline as Wyches but lack the 4++ invulnerable save in close combat that is the Wychs' one redeeming feature.

So what are their targets? Well, their unique weapons grant +1 strength and have an AP of 5, which makes them excellent at killing GEQ. However, with a single attack and a two-handed weapon they lack the attacks for horde-breaking.

They have one other feature, the Hit and Run universal special rule. Their measly S3 hammer of wrath really doesn't help them with that.

So how do we improve them?

1) Grenades. Light infantry (Hellion's preferred prey) tend to lurk in cover. Assault Grenades are a must.

2) More attacks. Light infantry tend to be fielded in numbers. Be it through Rage, Rampage, or just an increase in their stat lines, Hellions need to be making enough attacks to reliably make an impact on whoever you're charging.

3) Surviving Overwatch. Hellions are designed to make lots of charges. After all, they have hit and run so presumably they're expected to charge every turn or so. Light infantry tend to have at least 2 shots each from rapid fire weapons, so through sheer numbers you can expect enough hits to be a problem. Whether through negating overwatch, or else giving them a special save against overwatch shooting, they need to be able to survive a HUGE amount of overwatch.

4) Speed. Hellions, like all Wych cult units, need to get stuck in as fast as possible to avoid getting shot to pieces. Unlike Wyches they cannot take a transport with Jink saves and Night Shields to ferry them into battle. Unlike Reavers they can't Jink at 3+ as they turbo-boost across the battlefield. They can't even jump from cover to cover safely as they lack Move Through Cover to protect them from Dangerous Terrain checks. Realistically, they need to be able to charge on the turn in which they deep strike if they're going to have any chance of reaching the enemy in one piece.


So... for the sake of experimentation, let's toy with giving Hellions:
Plasma Grenades. (so they can assault into cover)
Move Through Cover. (so they don't die of running into stuff when assaulting into cover)
Rage and Hatred. (so that their impact is reliably felt)
4+ cover saves against Overwatch attacks (so that a decent number get into close combat)
Assault on the turn they deep strike.

With these modifications, would you consider Hellions worth taking?

EDIT:
Let's also give them the ability to Hit and Run when fearless.
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Squidmaster
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PostSubject: Re: Making Hellions worthwhile.   Wed Jul 08 2015, 13:36

Can I offer a dissenting opinion?

The background of Hellions, that theese are essentially Commoragh's version of youth biker gangs, I think discounts giving them abilities which imply degrees of skill. I don;t think Move Through Cover is quite what Hellions need.
And we can talk about the option for Plasma Grenades, but then that is a comment we could make about almost every unit in the Dark Eldar Codex.
As I see it, Hellions are and always have been a foil squad. They're not there to be a central unit or to do anything really spectacular, they are there to get into enemy lines and hold them up for the big guys to get involved. Based on that I would say Speed should be their thing, BUT then I think Reaver Jetbikes. If there is anything in our army that should be our key to Speed, its Reavers, so what is left for Hellions?
My answer - Infiltrate.
I say simply give Hellions Infiltrate and let them do what they really do best, annoy the enemy for long enough for the rest of the army to move into position for a good strike. Sure they may go down, but I don't think they're really much worth anything else and never really have been.
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FuelDrop
Hekatrix
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PostSubject: Re: Making Hellions worthwhile.   Wed Jul 08 2015, 13:43

@Squidmaster
An interesting option, but I see a thematic problem: Infiltrate is generally associated with stealth, a trait I tend not to associate with youth biker gangs.

Maybe Scouts instead? Possibly with a special rule that allows them to charge even if they scouted?
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Count Adhemar
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PostSubject: Re: Making Hellions worthwhile.   Wed Jul 08 2015, 13:50

Maybe give them the ability to assault from Deep Strike? I can picture them dropping down from the skies, swooping straight into combat and then hit & run out again. Maybe they don't do that much damage but it ties a unit up for a turn and prevents it from doing something else. They could also absorb some overwatch and let other units get into combat.

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FuelDrop
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PostSubject: Re: Making Hellions worthwhile.   Wed Jul 08 2015, 13:54

Assault from Deep Strike was on my wishlist for them. It'd be nice to have on at least 1 unit in our army...
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The PayneTrayn
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PostSubject: Re: Making Hellions worthwhile.   Wed Jul 08 2015, 14:24

How about giving them the ability to jink? Also, why not make them a jump jet pack unit? Treat their HoW as S4, boost hellglaives (+1 A, +2S), and precision strikes on their CC attacks. Makes them fluffy, interesting, and possibly worthwhile.
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Squidmaster
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PostSubject: Re: Making Hellions worthwhile.   Wed Jul 08 2015, 15:24

I think I was thinking less in terms of the actual Infiltrating, more in the ability to Outflank.
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CurstAlchemist
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PostSubject: Re: Making Hellions worthwhile.   Wed Jul 08 2015, 16:02

I would just drop them to a troop level choice, they are after all just thugs, and give them outflank and a 4 point drop in cost (that makes them 9 points a model).
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CptMetal
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PostSubject: Re: Making Hellions worthwhile.   Wed Jul 08 2015, 17:26

Actually, I don't know if they got a special role in our army that isn't filled better from another unit. Infiltrate is key for mandrake units. Speed for bikes. Close Combat gladiators for witches...
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Brom
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PostSubject: Re: Making Hellions worthwhile.   Wed Jul 08 2015, 20:28

Quote :
I would just drop them to a troop level choice, they are after all just thugs, and give them outflank and a 4 point drop in cost (that makes them 9 points a model).
This is exactly what I mentioned in an email to GW recently. The army is short on 'role players' and suffers from redundancy everywhere with very little solid framework to build from outside of transports.

Troops, outflank, increase the PfP chart by 1 turn (start with fnp 6) and lose the Ld and initiative buffs from drugs and they are playable. Add the option for a 12" moving IC via wargear or relics.
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Squidmaster
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PostSubject: Re: Making Hellions worthwhile.   Wed Jul 08 2015, 22:27

@CptMetal wrote:
Actually, I don't know if they got a special role in our army that isn't filled better from another unit. Infiltrate is key for mandrake units. Speed for bikes. Close Combat gladiators for witches...


A fair point.
So what traditionally has been the Hellions role?



@Brom wrote:
This is exactly what I mentioned in an email to GW recently.

Heh. An email to GW. Good luck with that.
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Jimsolo
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PostSubject: Re: Making Hellions worthwhile.   Wed Jul 08 2015, 23:13

In the last codex, they played a similar role to the one Reavers do now.  Fast assault option, and possibly a second-tier anti-armor unit (at least that's how I used them).  The loss of A) +1 attack on their weapons and B) access to Stealth and Shrouded has been the only real changes to them, although both of those hurt them immensely.

Oh, and the fact that they aren't troops anymore.
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FuelDrop
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PostSubject: Re: Making Hellions worthwhile.   Wed Jul 08 2015, 23:44

I don't want cheap units. I want good ones. If I wanted cheap assault units I'd be playing orks, wouldn't I?

Hellions are street gangs who spend most of their time zooming through cluttered alleyways at unsafe speeds in the most dangerous city in the galaxy. That screams "ignore or at least reroll dangerous terrain" to me.

Let's look, fluff wise, at where our melee units fit into the world. (YMMV)

Mandrakes: Assassins.
Wracks: Tarpits and horde-breakers.
Wyches and Bloodbrides: basic general purpose melee.
Incubi: Heavy Infantry Slayers.
Reavers: Hit-and-run skirmishers.
Grotesques: Hulk Smash!
Beastmasters: Elite general purpose melee.
Talos/Cronos: Terror weapons, vehicle killers.
Hellions: Light infantry hunters.

(I can't help but notice that we lack much in the way of good anti-vehicle melee, outside of our monsters of course. I miss haywire grenades)
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Jimsolo
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PostSubject: Re: Making Hellions worthwhile.   Wed Jul 08 2015, 23:53

I do want them to stay relatively cheap. Dark Eldar units should be less survivable (and more plentiful) than comparable SM or Eldar units.

I have...a lot...of Hellions. I'd prefer to be able to send waves upon waves of cackling maniacs across the table, but if we turn them into highly skilled combat-beasts on jet-boards, their price will get too high to be useful anymore.

I think they can get better with two changes (which are really just reversions). First, give Helglaives their +1 A back. (Take away the AP 6 if need be.) Second, with the change to PGLs and to Defensive Grenades in general, the Hellions have no survivability at all. Giving them Jink (even a special reduced 5+ Jink) would increase their survivability a great deal.

If you gave them their +1A back, and gave an option for them to be Troops, I'd take them right now, no questiosn asked. I'd run 2-5 units every game and never look back. If you took away Troops but replaced it with Jink, same deal. Give me all three, and I'd even accept a 1-2 pt increase per model.
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FuelDrop
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PostSubject: Re: Making Hellions worthwhile.   Thu Jul 09 2015, 00:05

Change PGPs back to being full on assault/defense grenades like they used to be, throw on an extra attack... yeah, I can see them being a fair bit better then.

Still, let's compare them to Assault Marines with Jump packs. Really, that's as good a comparison unit for role as you could hope to find.

Assault Marines have (from current Hellions with no modifications): Better Toughness. Better Armour. More attacks. Included squad leader. Assault grenades. Krak grenades. More weapon options. ATSKNF. Chapter Tactics.

That's without getting into stuff like Demicompanies and Gladius Strike Force benefits, because they aren't necessarily getting those.

Hellions have: Better Initiative. Combat Drugs. Hit and Run. Power from pain. Better shooting.
Assault Marines with Jump-packs are 4 points/model more than Hellions. Those 4 points are buying a lot.
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Brom
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PostSubject: Re: Making Hellions worthwhile.   Thu Jul 09 2015, 14:46

Quote :
Heh. An email to GW. Good luck with that.
Right. I've been doing this for awhile, mostly hate mail about cruddace honestly (I have my conspiracy theories because I see his ignorant rules influence everywhere) but also just to let them know theres people out there dissatisfied with their products and what specifically I don't like as a consumer. IMO more people should do this maybe it could have an impact. If not no biggy its my time spent. Anyway thats off topic.

Quote :
Still, let's compare them to Assault Marines with Jump packs. Really, that's as good a comparison unit for role as you could hope to find.
Your right although outside of movement I think scouts would also be a decent comparison and even there they fall short by a large margin. The basic 'marine package' of 4 stats, atsknf, grenades is so under costed it skews the whole system. Then consider amazing open topped DTs, alternate deployment options and weapon access. For 2 pts less than hellions.

My point is GW has set the bar pretty high on most units then threw that yardstick out the window with our codex at one polar end and eldar at the other.
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FuelDrop
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PostSubject: Re: Making Hellions worthwhile.   Fri Jul 10 2015, 09:42

Honestly, I'd suggest that the unit to compare Melee Scouts to is Wyches. Both have open-topped fast skimmer transports, both have similar saves in close combat, and both cost more or less the same points.
When you compare those two though it's even worse of an imbalance, and that's without looking into all the options melee scouts get access to.
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Demantiae
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PostSubject: Re: Making Hellions worthwhile.   Fri Jul 17 2015, 13:58

I think moving Hellions to the Troops section is a great idea. They're not Fast Attack in the DE codex. They're slower than everything outside of coven units. Reavers are way faster. Even Kabalytes in Raiders are faster (and why wouldn't you take them in Raiders?). They need to be Troops, giving us a nice alternative to the two choices we have already (well one choice because Wyches suck too).

Plasma Grenades are a must. Why the hell don't they have them already? I can kind of see why Incubi don't have them (they're not meant to be a spearhead into enemy lines, they're an elite reserve) but Hellions should really be your first wave alongside Wyches. Whereas you'd want the Wyches assaulting their better fighters you'd want the Hellions assaulting the scrubs. But scrubs always hide behind walls. The only real role for Hellions is assaulting GEQ's and the're never out of cover. If they are out of cover anything with splinter weaponry will decimate them anyway.

I'm not certain about the +1 A thing. They wield two-handed weapons that have a strength bonus and an AP bonus. Technically for their role they don't need more attacks. They're not combat monsters, they're cowards who prey on the weak. The way to deal with hordes is to take them in larger squads. They came be fielded in squads of 20 if you wish. As troop choices this makes more sense vs horde armies. Against smaller squads though 10 men is enough. They charge in (with Plasma Grenades) use their initiative to unleash some S4 AP5 attacks on their target (boosted by whatever combat drugs they have access to) and if they fail to break the unit they pull out next turn and assault something else, leaving follow up squads to mop up the mess. Having hit and Run actually makes having extra attacks counter-productive. You want them stuck in combat through you're opponents turn so you can jump out of combat on your next turn.

Their HoW is a little weak. They should really be hitting at S4 in line with their base attack and the HoW of the Reavers.

If these changes are made and their price is reduced a little then I can see them as a viable (and spammable) option for Troop based light infantry hunting. If you wanted to keep them as Fast Attack then I'd want the ability to assault from deep strike to make that worth a FA slot. It might even be appropriate to give them the assault from deep strike and still make them Troops but in that case I'd say they wouldn't merit a price drop. This might be the best option overall. Give the DE a unit that can drop in from the warp and smash their foe in the face right away. It's give the codex an extra tool and make a redundant and under-performing unit actually useful.

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