I’ve been a long-time fan of gargoyles, both in 40k and in real life alike. In real life, they have a quiet eerieness that draws me into a dark, gothic world of the past–in 40k, they don’t have quite the same effect: but they have proved to be solid choices in virtually every edition of the game (contrary to popular opinion). There is a fair amount of hope out there for the new plastic gargoyles in 5th edition… let’s figure out if it’s justified.
Well, right off the bat, these guys got twice as cheap as they once were. If there’s something to impress the masses, that’s gotta be it. Seriously, who can resist a 2 for the price of 1 sale?
Their new “blinding poison” attack is what I like to call “rending-light.” On a roll of a six (presumably to-hit), they’ll autmatically wound whatever they’re fighting–but the opponent will get an armor save. This does mean that they can fight monstrous creatures fairly reliably, and I suspect it will increase their damage output in assault by about about 12%. No, it’s not a huge amount, but it is an improvement.
They can also purchase furious charge and toxin sacs to further improve their odds of killing their foes in assault.
With the loss of the bio-plasma attack, firing at I8, they’ve lost some of their punch (and, to a lesser extent, survivability). Even with the new blinding poison rule, they’ll put out less wounds per model, but I suspect more wounds per point (especially on the charge)–but then again, you’ll need to be able to get all of those winged creatures into hand to hand, and it can be a pain to manuever those around.
They also lost their ability to deepstrike. Unlike virtually every other choice in the army, they do not get the ability naturally (despite having it in 4th edition)–nor do they have an option to buy a landing spore.
*EDIT* This is incorrect. Since gargoyles count as jump infantry, they can deepstrike natively without it explicitly stating so in their unit entry. Thanks to Karnstein for pointing this out to me.
Aside from that, the typical change in unit size (from 8-32 to 10-30) is a small change. I don’t suspect anyone really played squads that large in the previous edition though, so it’s not a big deal. Lastly, they did suffer the negative to leadership that’s becoming an all-too-common issue with all of the ‘nid units. Yes, with synapse nearby, they should auomatically pass most leadership tests, but the new changes really make protecting your synapse all the more important.
Conspiracy theory alert! Since they were so rarely played in the past, I suspect GW bumped up their stats and released plastic models to force everyone to go out and purchase new models en masse to field a respectable unit of these critters. With the new plastic models, so the cost per model has come down since the days of metal gargoyles. They’re now out around $3 each, which does put them at a fairly high cost-per point in the game though, so that still may be a barrier people aren’t willing to cross to field them. Couple that with the fact that they’re a little unwieldy to move around the battlefield, and they’d better be a great choice if they’re going to see action.
Really, the de facto standard for cheap models in the Tyranid swarm is now the Termagant, so let’s compare, shall we?
|Weapons||Fleshborers||Fleshborers & other guns you likely won’t use|
|Options||Adrenal Glands, Toxin Sacs||Adrenal Glands, Toxin Sacs, Landing Spore|
|Specials||Flying, blinding poison||Scoring units,
Allow Tervigons to be taken as troops,
Benefit from Tervigon bonuses
In comparison, the ‘gant is better in almost every way… though I believe the gargoyles are still a reasonable option. A couple of reasons why I can see people playing them:
- Because gargoyles are cool, more readily available, and/or just another option to mix things up
- Because gargoyles sit higher on the board. With the new true-line-of-sight rules, between a unit of gargoyles and a unit of gaunts, you may be able to effectively make MC’s behind them completely untargettable.
- With the proliferation of Termagants and Tervigons and there being only six available troop choices, a unit of gargoyles can provide respectable filler in a higher points game.
- Play as a quick screening unit. With flight, they can charge forward and potentially tie up the front lines of the enemy–thereby blocking LoS and letting the rest of your swarm catch up. This was a role that was previously held by hormagaunts, but since they’ve lost their beasts, it might be up to the ‘goyles to pick up the slack. (Thanks to Cole–who still doesn’t have a blog to link to–for adding this benefit)
I expect I’ll purchase some new models when they’re available, just because I like to have all of the options available to me.. and despite the fact that termies are seemingly better in about all ways, I’ll play with these.
How ’bout you?
Photo used without permission from Amazon.com. What a super costume, eh?