Friday, 28 June 2013

IntrAspection: Fuegan

Next in the crosshairs is the Phoenix Lord of the Fire Dragons, Fuegan aka The Burning Lance.  Back when I was doing the Short Shrift episodes, I split the Phoenix Lords into two groups; the A list and the B list.  Fuegan was very much in the B list.  He was god for pretty much one thing: wrecking vehicles.  Admittedly he could do that very well.  However, his life expectancy after he’d slagged his first vehicle was likely to be the same as any Fire Dragon.  Even with Eternal Warrior, a 2+ save and Feel No Pain, there was still a negligible chance of his surviving long enough to kill a second.  Most of the firepower that would be leveraged against him would be AP2 or better in order to negate both his save and the FNP and 200+ points would be down the drain just like that.  A full squad of Fire Dragons was cheaper than that and could kill vehicles more reliably purely by dint of having more guns.  He could mix it up okay in assault, but wasn’t really good enough to warrant the cost in that field either.  But have things changed for him?

Let’s find out.  Statwise, he is exactly the same as he was, which is to be expected.  The Phoenix Lords are well established in-game and their stats were pretty killer to start off with, so that was no surprise.  He still has FNP, although with the usual buff/debuff that they received on the advent of 6th.  At least it gives him a better shot at surviving a fusillade of plasma.  The Fire Axe has taken a bit of an alteration.  In 5th it allowed him to attack as a monstrous creature of S6, so he could punk tanks and walkers in fairly short order.  However, with the changes in MC combat rules, that changed the functionality a little.  Now the retooled axe strikes at user’s strength with an AP of 1 and Armourbane, allowing for 2D6 on armour penetration rolls.  His basic strength 4 is boosted to 5 due to the Crushing Blow Exarch power he has, so on balance he is a little worse against vehicles in assault.

However this is mitigated by one of his funkier rules: Unquenchable Resolve.  This handy little addition adds 1 to Fuegan’s strength and attacks characteristic for each wound he had lost.  This brings with it the enticing prospect of this guy letting rip with 6 S7 AP1 attacks a turn!  That’s squadron killing stuff right there.  It even boosts him to be a very nasty CC opponent versus infantry and MCs alike.  Of course, you have to walk the knife edge there as he’ll only be on one wound, but that would be a fun last wound!

Equipment wise he packs pretty much what you’d expect: Phoenix armour for the 2+ save, the Fire Axe, meltabombs for the times when the axe won’t cut it and a Firepike.  Oddly enough, for a weapon that he is supposed name after, it’s just a regular Firepike, so 18” range melta.  You’d kind of expect a little more, wouldn’t you?  He does bring a couple of nice touches to the weapon though.  The Fast Shot skill and (should he be your Warlord) the ability to split fire from his squad does make him a more significant ranged threat, although whether you’ll get his points back doing that is very much up in the air.  It would seem that you get the most out of him by mixing it up with an assault or anti-infantry squad.  He can pick off nearby vehicles while his followers would target more appropriate quarry and the Battle Focus rule allows him to still put distance upfield with your other warriors.  And once you reach an assault, you can let rip with him.  Challenges are a must for any Phoenix Lord: with those stats (especially the added punch that Fuegan can bring) there would be very little that would get the best of him.

One last point is that the restrictions on placing Phoenix Lords with certain squads appear to be lifted, allowing for some bizarre, but interesting combinations.  I could see him with an assault-focussed aspect like the Banshees, but I think one of the best pairings is going to be with the Storm Guardians.  They can bring a nice little bit of melta to try and kill off another vehicle, become Fearless when he’s in the squad and with a maximum of 20 models, provide enough ablative cover for him to get stuck in and deal the damage.

I’m not going to rate the Lords into good and bad any more.  I simply don’t have the experience or grounding to do so.  However, I do feel that Fuegan has taken an upgrade in the new iteration.  Is he 220 points worth of awesome though?  Quite possibly, if your opponent likes his land raiders…

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