Monday, 2 December 2013

Hands Over Fists: Techmarines 1

So, how has the new edition treated my beloved Techmarines and Master of the Forge?  Not great, by all accounts.  Not great.  They’re not unusable, don’t get me wrong, but they’re not what I wanted out of the unit.  My problem is that I just keep comparing them to the guys in the old codex.  No, not the 5th edition one, the one before that.  A regular Techmarine was a proper veteran, with a minor character statline, and had access to a vast array of technology and other doodads to really kit him out.  Sadly, that version has long since departed, replaced with the relatively watered-down creation we got in 5th ed, without any option of an invulnerable save.  The Master of the Forge was a new character, although he was basically the old school Techmarine with servo-harness standard and slightly better leadership, and the regular Techmarines were just weak.  Yeah, you could give them a servo harness that allowed them to act as short-range weapon platforms and help out a bit with vehicle repairs.  However, with the way vehicles and vehicle damage worked in that edition, you barely ever needed to repair and they took up an entire Elite slot for a single one wound model, which was hardly an enticing prospect for a guy that was weight in at 75 points.  Bolstering terrain was cool, but a Thunderfire Gunner can do that, and you get an awesome gun in the process, so really, why would you, unless you were full on Heavy Supports.  Which I guess was a possibility.
But now, how have things changed.  On the combat side (in my opinion) they’ve got even worse.  This is due to one factor.  The servo-arms no longer provide additional attacks like they used to.  What used to happen is that the Techmarine would get his regular batch of attacks at usual initiative and would get an extra one or two (depending on whether it was an arm or a harness) at Strength 8 and (effectively) AP2.  Now, they are just an AP1 Power Fist.  That’s all.  I was a bit annoyed at that to be honest.  Not only does it have the effect of massively reducing the number of attacks you can get out of them (a bog standard techie would get 2 regular with bolt pistol/close combat weapon and then 1 with the arm, now they only get one total if you want to use the damn thing), but it’s also made servitors less of a threat as they are only hitting at S6.  Not that anyone used servitors, but that’s not the point.  At least servitors are cheap now.
In a straight fight, they’re worse than before.  AP 1 close combat is nice if you need to dismantle vehicles fast I suppose, and now at least it’s theoretically possible to give you Master an Invulnerable save if you go for a hideously expensive Relic to do so.  Also, as a side note, you strangely get the option to purchase a power axe for fifteen points as one of the standard option for the techmarine or master.  This is odd to me, as they can access the melee weapons list, which grants them access to a tonne of weapons including the power axe, at exactly the same points value as listed on the entry.  This baffles me slightly, not only because it seems redundant, but also because the power axe is worse in nigh on every single regard to the servo arm.  It strikes at the same time as the arm, but for less strength and worse AP.  You can get an extra attack by pairing it with the bolt pistol, but if you’re springing for that axe, why not pay the extra 10 points to get the full harness? You get the same number of attacks but with a better weapon plus a flamer and plasma cutter.  Anyway, that’s my bitching out of the way.  I don’t want to be negative all the time, but I really like Techmarines and Masters of the Forge and it’s annoyingly to have them constantly diluted down in combat.
But it’s not all bad news.  Next up, the good things…