So, in a recent 40k game against Sam, I sprung a Hierophant bio-titan on him without warning (see the detailed battle report here). It’s something that I’ve been threatening to do to various opponents since 7th edition came out, but also something that didn’t seem quite right to do. Well, that evening, I got a wild hair and decided to throw it in the list.
Anywho, after the game, I thought I’d pick Sam’s brain about it, since it’s the only time I’d ever seen a Lord of War used in a casual game outside of Apocalypse. I thought getting his point of view might be helpful. So, what follows is a brief interview I did with him on the topic in a Q&A Style:
So, before our game, had you ever played against a Lord of War outside of Apocalypse? Have you ever played one yourself? Was it in a friendly game or a tournament?
I played one friendly game where there were two Lords of War on both sides. It was epic and fun. One went super nova and killed another in the blast, as well as a lot of other stuff around it. It was a 2 v 2 game with each person bringing 2000 points or so. I also played a list with a Knight Titan included. This was in a tournament setting and I learned a lot about the effectiveness of this model. It was a lot of fun to play but didn’t feel too over powered.
Do you think that they’re balanced in the game of 40k?
I think they are balanced in Maelstrom missions more so then the old style missions. If you don’t have an answer for them, you can complete objectives for points. They add a certain amount of urgency to the game because you lose units to them quickly. Lords of War also come at many different points costs so there is a limiting factor just because of the points.
How did you feel about playing one unannounced in a casual game of 40k?
It depends on the setting really. I like to know ahead of time but I also don’t like tailoring an army just to beat a specific list. It put me on edge initially, mostly because I’m not used to seeing them. 40K is a game of strategy and GW has added new playing pieces to the game, namely flyers and Lords of War. Nobody likes change but the more games I play the more I realize they just require different strategies to beat. It’s hard to adapt your old tactics to these new threats sometimes.
Do you feel like your opponent should ask your permission before playing one in a casual game?
I’m a big proponent of house rules in this area, and the letter of the law. I said I didn’t care what was fielded against me and it turned out to be a really fun game. In fact going forward I’ll keep in mind when saying this that it might happen again, and I welcome it. I think a clear house rule in this area would alleviate any bad blood that may come up because of how people feel regarding Lords of War.
What was your initial reaction to seeing it in my list?
At first I was a little bummed because I knew I didn’t have an army setup to deal with it that well. An all deep striking army that focuses on being close to your enemy is tough to play when a Heirophant is standing in your enemies ranks. After the bummer moment, came the intimidation factor, how do I deal with THAT! Then the gears start spinning to think of a strategy to win.
What was it like to actually face it in the game?
During the game it wasn’t that bad, other than being so wide it can hold two objectives. It was so big it acted like another piece of terrain. I always forget that they can move 12 as well. The Heirophant did exactly what I thought it would do, kill at least one unit each turn.
I noticed you didn’t shoot at it a single time. Was that a conscious strategy, or merely coincidence?
I figured I had two options, go all in and try to kill it with everything I have or just ignore it and kill everything else. I lost a unit to deep strike mishap and the rest of my units were coming in on a 4 plus instead of a 3 plus. Because of these disadvantages I didn’t feel confident enough to take it head on. So I chose to avoid it completely. There is no point in wounding something you will never kill. I had a lot of power fists but it would have been difficult to get them all into hand to hand at the same time with it. I had 3 other monstrous creatures to deal with that were much softer targets. Plus committing units to hand to hand are units that aren’t near an objective.
After facing it, did it change your opinion of them in standard games of 40k?
Yeah, the more I play against them the more okay I get with them being in regular games. I would probably demand that the mission be a Maelstrom mission though. Lords of War are restrictive because of their points cost and I think that was evident in our game.
Do you have anything else you’d like to add to the conversation?
The Lord of War did not win the game we played. It was a factor, a big one at that, but not the deciding one. Your Tyranid armies low model count could very well have been it’s downfall. I felt like I lost the game because I lost a unit before turn 1 to deep strike mishap. I drew missions that were very difficult or impossible for me to complete at the beginning of the game. My strategy is to deep strike in and kill entire enemy units, my Sternguard should have been able to kill the Carnifex but I rolled poorly. I should have focused the Carnifex’s more then the flying Hive Tyrant. I had some really long scatter dice roles with templates and Drop Pods.
I enjoyed the game and that’s what matters, I’ve won enough 40K games that winning isn’t as big of a deal as it used to be, I look for those memorable games now and I’ll probably remember this one for awhile. I was also happy with the amount of points I got all things considered.
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to me that Sam took such a mature response to the entire event because that’s just the sort of guy he is. That is why he has an open invite to come play games at my house any time. In the future, though Lords of War are legal in the game, I still think I’ll try to get my opponent’s permission before playing them: not everyone would take it in stride like Sam did.