Pull up a chair there, young bloods, inject some combat drugs and try not to overdose, no armor can help you there, and welcome back to Old Archon Discusses… wherein I reminisce about the mysteries of the Dark Eldar because so few of you are old enough to remember us from back in our ancient birth in...3rd edition.
Tonight Old Archon is going to discuss...Why Webway Portals are considered overpowered!
I don’t think it should come as a shock to any of you that as Editions change so does the scope and shape of the game change with them. Many of you deride the ‘deadly vehicle explosions’ of 6th edition, comparing them to the luxury pleasure barges we had in 5th, unaware that in 4th and 3rd edition the more appropriate term for a Raider was ‘flying coffin’
Yes, the ancient days of 3rd and 4th edition, what were those like? Well, let me give you a quick reverse rundown of the editions and maybe give you an idea;6th Edition
– Our current ruleset. Flyers are the hot new thing, vehicles are considered weaker, people claim footslogging is back in!5th Edition
– Vehicles have been made gawd on earth! Oh lords, do you see this? You can move around and shoot stuff…*from inside your vehicle*! When a vehicle is destroyed, the squad basically just pops out and keeps shooting! There is no reason to get out anymore! Mech and mech assault is king!!! Sure would be cool if foot armies were viable or we could field jets or something…4th Edition
– Hey, that’s kinda cool, the Starter set came with a mini rulebook! And, hey, vehicles got better, though you probably don’t want to stay in them too long because when they blow up it’s bad for your squad. Probably need to run less transports but more tanks now, as they’re almost unkillable. What’s ever going to kill my Landraider now? Nothing, that’s what, glance away – FOOLS! Hahahaha! Shooting is king, who would ever want to assault ever!?! No one, that’s who! Oh, wait, I just realized, under new shooting rules Necrons are basically invincible and their Monolith *is* invincible. Stand aside Eldar Falcon, there is a new master of the game – we shall win by sitting in the center of the board behind our impervious wall of Monolith!3rd Edition
– Oh man, look at this, one rulebook with sweet new art and sleek design, and I’ve got all the armies listed here in it and at my fingertips, this is awesome! I guess I need to buy some tanks or something. What’s this, transports? That’s cool, I loved Rhino Rush back in second and…oh m’gawd, those things are death traps if they die, and even regular guns can pretty much glance them till they explode in a fireball of utter death and destruction. To hell with that, let’s footslog! Kiddy-K is the bomb, I don’t care what those old fog heads who liked 2nd edition say, and I am going to play this new army…Dark Eldar, yeah, I’m an evil elf…in Spaaaaaaace!
And that is the accurate and unbiased view.
Wait….I was talking about WWPs, wasn’t I? That’s right. Sorry, Old Archon gets confused sometimes. I’d take some more drugs, but these new-fangled drug dispensers only do one at a time. It’s nonsensical I say!
So, in any case, back in 3rd edition you won pretty much by fielding a foot based army, maybe some tanks, and mostly just having Termies walk up the center of the board killing everything in sight. Marine Tac squads were also all the rage, being near unkillable, and the new Blood Angel business was making most people politely mess their drawers as Space Marines actually *wanted* to get into assault and would then proceed to stomp everything into a fine paste beneath their crimson boots.
It was also a period when you could assault someone, and if you wiped out the squad, you could then consolidate…INTO ANOTHER UNIT AND ASSAULT THEM NEXT TURN! Yeah, how do you think gunline armies liked that? (Hint: not very much) One of the core strategies at the time was called ‘rolling the line’ wherein you basically dropped something like Khorne Berserkers on one end of a gunline, and then watched as they strolled from squad to squad, smashing face from one end of the board to the other.
So, lots of people on foot, and a lot of risk to gunlines.
Now…if only there was an army that perhaps had some really good assault units, and could manage to somehow get them across the board without being shot much, and then proceed to stomp face…
Back then WWPs were different, they cost more, but there were three rather big differences;
1. Units could assault out of them.
2. When you rolled reserve and got a unit, and it was in a WWP and there was no open WWP…then it waited, and came in once a WWP was available.
3. Vehicles could come through them.
So, yeah, the basic strategy was this; take two HQs (Haems in Raiders or on Jetbikes were possible. I did it a lot with an Archon on a Jetbike as well since, thanks to his escort and Shadowfield he was basically unkillable) shoot up one of the flanks and open a WWP right by the slow footslogging enemy. Then unleash a wave of Talos, Wyches, Incubi, and Ravagers right into the enemy lines in a devastating alpha/beta/gamma/epsilon/omega strike of awesome.
It looked something like this
Not a lot of armies could deal with that, and it was legit considered a serious contender build at the time. It was risky, because if the WWP carriers were killed prior to their opening a portal then everything in the portal was also considered dead. Still, it was fast, it was nasty, and it basically took away the Space Marine’s bolters, turned them sideways, and inserted them up their rectums (do SMs have rectums in the fluff? I forget…we probably made some if not)
And that’s the WWP, one of the best things at the time.
Y’know, until 4th edition rolled around and people started meching up again and the Necrons became basically unstoppable. You can whine all you like about Heldrakes, they are still easier to kill than a Monolith back in the day – that sucker was literally invincible to us.
Then 5th came up, making mech even better, and though assault became good again, it was silly to ever expect to assault anything without mech assault being an aspect of it. Also, we needed the mech to help pop things out of transports and to help us survive, since you couldn’t just waltz up through an army bouncing from assault to assault anymore.
The problem is, when GW got around to updating things, I’m guessing the game developers remembered 3rd, and maybe(?) were looking ahead at 6th with the (insane) belief that footslogging was going to be a thing.
So they nerf batted the WWP.
Then, y’know, with all the people still spamming tourney grade WWP lists [/sarcasm] they nerf batted it again when 6th hit the shelves.
And will probably keep nerf batting it for the foreseeable future. Because at one time, it was a power build.
And that is the reason why it’s not likely that anytime soon are we going to see WWPs available for anything resembling competitive builds. Because, probably at some point in 3rd edition Old Archon (or some other Old Archon) got ahold of some GW employees and scrub stomped their precious Sphees Weeinies with some WWP action and laughed in their face as they described specifically which members of the fallen Marines were being dragged back to Commoragh to serve in the Arenas for our amusement (as you do).
Competitive Webway Portals.
Old Archon remembers...