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Unholyllama
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PostSubject: Review of Escalation   Mon Dec 09 2013, 17:02

This weekend I got tired of hearing all of the people on different forums posting and arguing over rumors about the Escalation book while not having it. With all of the misinformation, I went ahead and decided to give GW/Apple more of my money to get the epub version of the book. Here's my take aways from it.

All Rules concerning Super Heavy Vehicles, Walkers, Flyers, and Gargauntuan Creatures (henceforth "Super Heavies") are identical to those found in the Apoc book that was released this past summer. This also includes Apoc-based weaponry like Destroyer and Hellstorm weapons. In addition, all datasheets for each unit described in the book are also identical.

I'm not going to go into details about all of the rules and such here but I will call out 3 specific things that relate to Dark Eldar:
- Destroyer Weapons negate Feel No Pain
- Super Heavy Vehicles and Walkers are perfectly susceptible to Lances
- Gargantuan Creatures require a 6 to hit with poison weapons (unless the user's strength would cause a wound on something lower)

Using Super Heavies in 40k
Here is the big thing that everyone is excited about or dreading. Unlike Stronghold Assault, there is not a paragraph describing the rules are Optional; however, like all things in a multiplayer game, both players should agree upon the rules prior to playing.

1. FoC Changes
A new, optional FoC slot has been added for a single Lord of War unit. This slot is optional in the same way Fortifications or Allies are optional. A Lord of War unit represents a single super heavy found within the book's Datasheets.

2. Concessions
If you are facing an opponent that is running a Lord of War, the following concessions are given:
- +1 to your Steal the Initiative roll
- +1VP for each 3 Hull Points/Wounds fully removed from the Super Heavy
- New, optional Warlord Trait table that can be used instead of the book or codex specific ones.

3. List of Super Heavies found in the book
IG - All 8 Baneblade variants
SM - Thunderhawk
Chaos - Lord of Skulls
Necrons - Obelisk, Vault, C'tan
Orks - Stompa
Eldar/DE - Revenant
Tau - Tiger Shark (flyer)
Tyranids - Harridan

4. Unique Mission Rules
- In the book missions, Super Heavies may destroy objectives by moving over them - doing such gives 1VP to the destroyer. Remaining, controlled objectives are only worth 2VPs.

5. What's missing
- There is no word in the codex about bringing the Aquilis Strongpoint fortification.
- No word on including other FW Super Heavies


Beyond that, only new missions and fluff are provided. There isn't a whole lot to the book really and there are some balancing issues (i.e. getting a Lord of Skulls onto a Skyshield and then putting the Grimoire of True Names on it is just sick). Of all of the units shown, I feel that the Harridan is going to be the worst unless we provide our own destroyer weapon to address the number of wounds it has and the lack of Instant Death our codex contains. Most units in the book are over 500pts so in an 1850pt list, you're looking at using about 1/3 of your points for 1 super heavy that isn't a scoring unit in the standard book missions.

Overall - I don't see this being a huge game changer for us or the tournament scene as a whole. If the Harridan gets buffed when Codex:Tyranids come out early next year, then we may have to worry but again, that's presuming both players agree to field Lord of Wars. If anything, I can see a special type of Tournament coming from this where you are required to take a LoW but in general play, I don't see these being included much. I hope I'm right anyways.

I also picked up Stronghold Assault if anyone would like me to do a similar post for it I will.
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Cavalier
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PostSubject: Re: Review of Escalation   Mon Dec 09 2013, 17:25

I personally love all the new rules. Destroyer weapons are fine with me, I've wanted titans in non-apoc for the longest time. That being said I would only use superheavies if my opponent had superheavies, the same as I ask someone if they want to play flyers.

The sky is falling attitude to me is totally over the top. Yes Destroyer weapons are crazy, but the fortifications in Stronghold assault are pretty insane as well. I think all the fortifications and the ability to field void-shield generators as having equally long reaching ramifications.

If people just look at both Stronghold Assault and Escalation as one book, and adapt their list building to include fortifications and superheavies I don't think everything is as crazy imbalanced as people are claiming things will be. Besides I think you are going to need Superheavies to deal with the dataslate formations... The ramifications for the Tau broadside/riptide formation are jaw-dropping. The existence of that formation with Craftworld allied Farseers in addition to all the other craziness Tau/CW Eldar combination can bring to the table alone justifies the use of a Revenant Titan in regular 40k alone! Without a revnant I don't know how else my army could deal with that kind of firepower.

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Unholyllama
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PostSubject: Re: Review of Escalation   Mon Dec 09 2013, 17:32

I'm going to try out an Escalation battle with my Necrons probably later this week or next week with a guy who's been anxiously awaiting to play with his Lord of Skulls. Since it doesn't have any D weapons it should be interesting; however, seeing this video from the Front Line Gaming guys makes me wonder just how well Destroyer weapons will be overall.

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clively
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PostSubject: Re: Review of Escalation   Mon Dec 09 2013, 17:44

I have to admit that when I browsed through the book I was surprised it didn't include the Tantalus for DE. Seems like that would have been a no brainer include and certainly would have helped balance it so half the units would have been xenos.

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ligolski
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PostSubject: Re: Review of Escalation   Mon Dec 09 2013, 18:00

Psycheer, egorey (duckdrake) and I have been in some heated discussions on what this means for us, we will be posting blog updates regarding all the recent changes and things we need to consider and ideas to help if we see these units on the field.

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Mandor
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PostSubject: Re: Review of Escalation   Mon Dec 09 2013, 18:30

@Unholyllama wrote:
(i.e. getting a Lord of Skulls onto a Skyshield and then putting the Grimoire of True Names on it is just sick).
Unless you play the Revenant Titan and erase the Lord of Skulls in a single turn.

I doubt anything can really balance this supplement. They can only introduce an even more powerful Lord of War to make it even more ridiculous.

@clively wrote:
I have to admit that when I browsed through the book I was surprised it didn't include the Tantalus for DE. Seems like that would have been a no brainer include and certainly would have helped balance it so half the units would have been xenos.
The Tantalus isn't a super-heavy and hardly worth the title "Lord of War". The Revenant Titan on the other hand, though it totally doesn't fit Dark Eldar, is the single most powerful unit in Escalation.
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PostSubject: Re: Review of Escalation   Wed Dec 11 2013, 02:42

I played an Escalation game last night:

Escalation Report 2k Points: Tau vs Necrons

Escalation game happened tonight and it was really, really close.

This was my Necron list:

HQ (505pts)
• Illuminor Szeras (100pts)
• Necron Overlord (405pts)
Ever-Living, Independent Character, Reanimation Protocols
Mindshackle Scarabs (15pts) (*), Phase Shifter (45pts) (*), Resurrection Orb (30pts) (*), Sempiternal Weave (15pts) (*), Warscythe (10pts)
o Royal Court (200pts)
Harbinger of Despair (70pts)
Ever-Living, Reanimation Protocols
Abyssal Staff (Shroud of Despair), Nightmare Shroud (10pts) (*), Veil of Darkness (30pts) (*)
Necron Lord (65pts)
Ever-Living, Reanimation Protocols
Resurrection Orb (30pts) (*), Staff of Light
Necron Lord (65pts)
Ever-Living, Reanimation Protocols
Resurrection Orb (30pts) (*), Staff of Light
Troops (700pts)
• 10x Tesla Necron Immortals (270pts)
•10x Gauss Necron Immortals (170pts)
• 20 Necron Warriors (260pts)
• 5x Necron Destroyers (200pts)
• Tesseract Vault (315pts)
o Antimatter Meteor (150pts)
o Wave of Withering (120pts)

Tau List:

+++ Fardar 2000 (2009pts) +++
+++ 2010pt Tau Empire: Farsight Enclaves (2013), Codex: Eldar 6th Edition (2013) Roster (Primary Detachment, Allied Detachment)) +++

Selections:

Tau Empire: Farsight Enclaves (2013) (Primary Detachment) Selections:

+ (No Category) + (305pts)

* Farsight's Commander Team (305pts)
(HQ choice (not counting towards FoC))
* Honour-Shas'vre O'Vesa (305pts)
(Independent Character, Nova Reactor, Preferred Enemy (Orks) (CC only), Supporting Fire)
Early warning override, Earth Caste Pilot Array (*), Ion accelerator, Riptide battlesuit, Riptide Shield Generator, Stimulant injector, Twin-linked fusion blaster
* 2x Shielded Missile Drone
2x Missile pod, 2x Shield generator

+ HQ + (165pts)

* Commander Farsight (165pts)
(Independent Character, Preferred Enemy (Orks), Supporting Fire, Very Bulky)
Crisis battlesuit, Plasma rifle, Shield generator, The Dawn Blade

+ Elites + (255pts)

* XV104 Riptide (255pts)
(Nova Reactor, Preferred Enemy (Orks) (CC only), Supporting Fire)
Early warning override (5pts), Earth Caste Pilot Array (30pts) (*), Ion accelerator (5pts), Riptide battlesuit, Riptide Shield Generator, Stimulant injector (35pts), Twin-linked fusion blaster

+ Troops + (474pts)

* XV8 Crisis Team (237pts)
(Preferred Enemy (Orks) (CC only), Supporting Fire, Very Bulky)
Bonding Knife Ritual (3pts) (*)
* Crisis Shas'ui (57pts)
Crisis battlesuit, 2x Missile pod (30pts), Target lock (5pts)
* Crisis Shas'ui (57pts)
Crisis battlesuit, 2x Missile pod (30pts), Target lock (5pts)
* Crisis Shas'vre (60pts)
Crisis battlesuit, Drone controller (8pts), Missile pod (15pts), Target lock (5pts)
* 5x Marker Drone (60pts)
5x Markerlight

* XV8 Crisis Team (compulsory) (237pts)
(Preferred Enemy (Orks) (CC only), Supporting Fire, Very Bulky)
Bonding Knife Ritual (3pts) (*)
* Crisis Shas'ui (57pts)
Crisis battlesuit, 2x Missile pod (30pts), Target lock (5pts)
* Crisis Shas'ui (57pts)
Crisis battlesuit, 2x Missile pod (30pts), Target lock (5pts)
* Crisis Shas'vre (60pts)
Crisis battlesuit, Drone controller (8pts), Missile pod (15pts), Target lock (5pts)
* 5x Marker Drone (60pts)
5x Markerlight

+ Fast Attack + (354pts)

* XV9 'Hazard' Close Support Team [FW] (354pts)
(Bonding Knife Ritual, Extremely Bulky, Preferred Enemy (Orks) (CC only), Supporting Fire)
* Hazard Shas'yr (110pts)
Counterfire defence system (5pts), Fusion cascade (15pts), Fusion cascade (15pts)
* XV9 'Hazard' battlesuit
Blacksun filter (Night Vision), Photon Casters (*), Vectored retro-thrusters
* Hazard Shas'yr (110pts)
Counterfire defence system (5pts), Fusion cascade (15pts), Fusion cascade (15pts)
* XV9 'Hazard' battlesuit
Blacksun filter (Night Vision), Photon Casters (*), Vectored retro-thrusters
* Hazard Shas'yr (110pts)
Counterfire defence system (5pts), Fusion cascade (15pts), Fusion cascade (15pts)
* XV9 'Hazard' battlesuit
Blacksun filter (Night Vision), Photon Casters (*), Vectored retro-thrusters
* 2x Shield Drone (24pts)
2x Shield generator

+ Heavy Support + (268pts)

* XV88 Broadside Team (268pts)
(Extremely Bulky, Preferred Enemy (Orks) (CC only), Supporting Fire)
Bonding Knife Ritual (3pts) (*)
* Broadside Shas'ui (85pts)
Broadside battlesuit, Twin-linked heavy rail rifle, Twin-linked smart missile system, Velocity tracker (20pts)
* Broadside Shas'ui (85pts)
Broadside battlesuit, Twin-linked heavy rail rifle, Twin-linked smart missile system, Velocity tracker (20pts)
* Broadside Shas'vre (95pts)
Broadside battlesuit, Twin-linked heavy rail rifle, Twin-linked smart missile system, Velocity tracker (20pts)

Codex: Eldar 6th Edition (2013) (Allied Detachment) Selections:

+ HQ + (120pts)

* Farseer (120pts)
(Ancient Doom, Battle Focus, Fleet, Ghosthelm, Independent Character, Psychic Disciplines: Divination, Runes of Fate, Telepathy, Psyker (Mastery Level 3), Rune Armour)
Singing spear (5pts)
* Eldar Jetbike (15pts)
(*)
Twin-linked shuriken catapult

+ Troops + (68pts)

* Windrider Jetbike Squadron (68pts)
(Ancient Doom, Battle Focus, Eldar Jetbike)
4x Guardian Jetbike (68pts), Twin-Linked Shuriken Catapult

Mission was Big Guns Never Tire (3 objectives)
2 objectives were placed in my zone, and one in his.
My Warlord Trait was FNP within 3 inches of an Objective, and his was no scatter on Deep Strike.
Deployment was Dawn of War and he won the Initiative.

Deployments:

Tau:
- Farsight Bomb in Reserve
- Crisis Suit Unit in Center of table
- Riptides to either Side
- Broadsides were on my left
- Eldar Jetbikes in left corner
- Crisis suit unit in Right corner

Necrons:
- Tesseract Ark in Center of Table
- 20 Warrior Blob (+1 T from Szeras) + Overlord, Kryptek, Szeras deployed on left objective.
- 10 Tesla Immortals with Lord on Right Objective
- Destroyers slightly to left of Immortals
- Night Scythe with remaining Immortals and Lord in Reserve.

Round 1:

Tau: Tau advanced. The broadsides, and Riptides lit the Tesseract Ark up with everything they had and… Whiffed… Either missed or failed to get through the AV 14. Right Crisis Suits Opened up on the Immortals killing 3 (They got back up due to Reanimation Protocols). Left Crisis Suits Killed 5 of the Warriors, 3 got back up. Eldar Jet Bikes Hid out in the backfield. Tau Danced Around a bit.

Necrons: Tesseract Ark Advanced and Flamed one of the Riptides with its D-Flamer (He’s Dead Jim!) earning me first Blood. It dropped the Pizza of Death on the Broadsides, Killing 2 and all the drones. The Pizza clipped the left Crisis Suit team, killing 2 drones. Warrior Blob Teleported next to the Eldar Bikers, and Rapid Fired, Killing 2 and putting 1 wound on Farseer. Immortals fired at the remaining Riptide, Killing a drone. Destroyers fired at the same riptide and did zilch.

Round 2:

Tau: Farsight Bomb dropped in and Popped the Tesseract Ark with a ton of Melta… The Explosion did nothing. Riptide fired on Devestators, Killing 2. Eldar Jet Bikes ran to the other side of the table, and the left Crisis Suits killed 3 warriors (2 got back up). Right Crisis Suits fired on Immortals and di nothing.

Necrons: Night Scythe came in, depositing Tesla Immortals in range of the Riptide, which double tapped it, doing nothing. Destroyers fired on Farsight Bomb killing 2 drones and 1 battlesuit. Night Scythe Fired on the Riptide doing nothing, but an Ark hi the Crisis Suits, killing a drone. Gauss Immortals fired on Right Crisis Suits killing a drone.

Round 3:

Tau: Riptide shot down the Night Scythe. Farsight Bomb wiped out the Destroyers. 1 Gauss Immortal and 2 Tesla Immortals Died.

Necrons: Warrior Blob teleported to right side of the table to chase the jetbikes, scattering into control of the Enemy objective. They Blasted the Bikes, leaving the farseer as the only survivor with 1 wound. A few more Crisis Suits and drones died. Gauss Immortals killed everyone but Farsight.

Round 4:

Tau: Riptide and Farsight joined the left side Crisis suit team and moved into range of the Gauss Immortals, Killing half of them, but they got back up. Nothing else much happened during the shooting phase. Riptide assaulted the Immortals, killing 3 (2 got back up) and taking 1 wound. Remained locked in combat.

Necrons: Warrior Blob Teleported to the objective they started on. They fired at the Farsight Unit, doing a few wounds to Farsight and the other Suits. Tesla Immortals Shot at the Non Farsight Crisis Suit Unit doing nothing. The Riptide killed another Gauss Immortal but they remained locked in combat.

Round 5:
Tau: Right Side of the table and Broaside fired at Tesla Immortals Killing 1. Riptide killed another Immortal, Remaining Locked in combat. Farsight and his unit shot to death 3 Warriors and then assaulted through cover. Overlord Challenged and it was accepted by the Crisis Suit Character and quickly turned into Sashimi. Necrons and Tau exchanged blows, with Crisis Suits, and an equal amount of deaths was caused.
Necrons: Shooting on left side of table doing nothing. Riptide wiped the immortals finally. Necrons overwhelmed Farsight killing the Warlord. Game Ended.
Score was 8 for Necrons (2 Objectives, 1st Blood, Slay Warlord) vs 6 for Tau (3 for doing 9 Hull Points to the Ark and 1 Objective).

Overall I think it was a fair fight and to me at least it proved my theory that the Tau Codex was written specifically with Escalation in mind. It was an even fight, and while the the Tesseract Ark earned me First Blood, it did not pay for itself and gave my opponent 3 VP. So I came out on the losing end of the situation. At the same time it presented enough of a threat that my opponent had to concentrate on it for 2 turns, allowing my other Units to do what they were there to do.

Overall, I think that the newer codexes (Tau, Eldar, Space Marines) were written with Escalation in mind, and I can now see where they will work in that context. Anything older, and I think you will have a rough time in Escalation though.

A Note abut D Weapons: They are powerful no doubt, but the sheer size of them means that you have to use them carefully. To Combat them, Use mobility and position yourself to where the opponent has to worry about scatter, or can’t target you without targeting himself. Spread out, don’t sink too many points into one unit, and bring the mother down fast!
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Count Adhemar
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PostSubject: Re: Review of Escalation   Wed Dec 11 2013, 09:36

Whilst I appreciate your comments I do have to say that this was not a typical battle and shouldn't be taken as an indication of whether Escalation is balanced. The reason I say this is that in order to deal with the Necron super heavy you had to take a Farsight Bomb with a FW unit firing 6-18 melta shots per turn (if I remember the Fusion Cascade rules correctly). This won't generally be allowed in tournaments and is not something that appears in many casual games either.

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AvInNebr
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PostSubject: Re: Review of Escalation   Wed Dec 11 2013, 14:58

@Count Adhemar wrote:
Whilst I appreciate your comments I do have to say that this was not a typical battle and shouldn't be taken as an indication of whether Escalation is balanced. The reason I say this is that in order to deal with the Necron super heavy you had to take a Farsight Bomb with a FW unit firing 6-18 melta shots per turn (if I remember the Fusion Cascade rules correctly). This won't generally be allowed in tournaments and is not something that appears in many casual games either.

Agreed that both the report and your comments are appreciated but I don't know how much I really got from it. I would much rather have seen the DE in even one of our more "powerful" but standard non superheavy builds to see how they handled such a list ... even if it is tailored with lances everywhere to attempt to do so. Still though I do appreciate your report and hearing about how the game played out.
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PostSubject: Re: Review of Escalation   Thu Dec 12 2013, 01:33

@clively wrote:
I have to admit that when I browsed through the book I was surprised it didn't include the Tantalus for DE.  Seems like that would have been a no brainer include and certainly would have helped balance it so half the units would have been xenos.

tantalus is already 40k legal, so no need to put it in escalation

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