So, I suppose we should start by making a distinction. There are two types of assaulters in this game:
- Transport-aided- troops that depend on transports to move them around the field, protect them, etc. Example: Grey Hunters in a Rhino
- Self-propelled- dudes that can move quickly on their own, and create their own opportunities to assault, unrestricted by any other single unit but themselves. Example: Hellions (Dark Eldar)
So, there are two different kinds of assaulters. Big deal, right? They both assault. There isn't really a correlation between transport-aided troops and how potent they are in close combat vs. self-propelled assaulters. There are plenty of examples of ultra-potent and mediocre assault troops to be found across the game. So, at first glance, it doesn't seem to be a big deal- both options seem to have equal potential. This isn't necessarily true, however.
- getting rerolls
- rolling enough dice that it 'forces' the odds to even out
- forcing opponents to deal with multiple high-toughness/high AV/good save units
- Consistency tells a good player that they can do something 10 times, and know exactly what will happen 9 of those times. An example of this is Lightning Claw Terminators in a Templar army- rerolls to both hit and to wound, followed by no saves by the opponent makes their results extremely predictable.
- Potential means that something could really do well, if everything goes in it's favor. An example of this would be a Power Sword on a Space Marine sergeant. Whereas if he rolls well, he will do quite a bit of damage, he is also required to roll well in order for the sword to be worth it. Poor or even average rolling will ensure that nothing good happens.
So, see how that works? One more example before we move on: A power fist on a Wolf Guard in a squad of Grey Hunters w/ the Wolf Standard would be considered consistent rather than potential, because of the ability to reroll 1's for a turn, and get the extra charging attack even when being charged (hoo-ray for counter-charge!). Being able to hit more times than not, and then wound on 2's, rerolling 1's again, is something you can count on, and is thus consistent.
Alright, so maybe this makes sense so far, but what does this have to do with transports and assaulting? I suppose I can say it now: Transports have less consistency than self-propelled squads. For example: Let's say that our army is a rhino-based assaulting army. We get 2nd turn, and hide our rhinos, but find no way to block line of sight to our transports. We fail to seize the initiative, and our opponent promptly destroys or immobilizes most of our rhinos. Will we win the game? Unlikely.
Was there a way to play the game so that you could win almost every time, given those sets of conditions? Not really- the list design itself was fundamentally flawed.
Since in an assaulting army mobility is a must, consistency is favored over potential. Of course, transports do a few things very well, the main attraction being that they allow good squads that would be normally useless because of how slow they are, to be able to contribute to the battle at all. Those squads are certainly useful, and have great potential. If their transport doesn't die, they can really do a lot of damage.
So, what conclusion can we make from all of this? Let's walk through the steps quick:
- There are two types of assaulting units: Transport-aided and Self-propelled
- Both of these can be potent in assault
- Consistency is needed to win in a competitive setting
- Consistency is different from potential
- Self-propelled squads are more consistent than Transport-aided squads
- Transport-aided squads have good potential, and can still positively contribute to the game
I've seen transport-heavy armies all too often fall to shooty (or even just balanced) armies because their assault capabilities were diminished to nothing by a single round of shooting. Heh, I should know, I tried for a very long time to make my rhino-borne Berzerker army work, before I finally gave up. Berzerkers will kill the shite out of anything they charge- if they can get the charge off.
My wolfstar is a good example of how this concept works well. The wolfstar is my big, main assault unit that doesn't depend on transports, while the grey hunters support the Wolfstar- they aren't the 'main attraction'.
Hopefully this makes sense- let me know what you think. I need some sleep, I leave for Adepticon in 4 hours. Look out for big battle reports on my own blog. Have a good one folks!
The pictures are all things I found when I googled 'consistency', in case anyone is curious, lol. This last one makes me sad though:
|Oscar Wilde obviously never played 40k. Or maybe he did, and just thinks I'm a moron.|