Friday, November 9, 2012

Archangel first impressions

Some imagination required. 
We'll start with the obvious: I am still not dead, despite the lack of recent posts.  I blame my lack of painting, which leads to a lack of pictures of what I've painted, in turn leading to an absence of drive to post said pictures and formulate some sort of text to accompany them.  Trickle down apathy at work again.

And then a ray of sunshine: Archangel stats.  After being taunted by the gorgeous model-in-progress for so long, finally its capabilities were revealed.  (I won't post up the stats here as they aren't hard to find and they're also in the forthcoming No Quarter, so you have two different avenues to get them if you're so inclined.)  At first blush it looked underwhelming.  The Internet agreed.  Still the lure to (sort of) see it in action was strong.  What's a boy to do?  Write those stats on a CD (it's the same size as a Huge Base you know), take a stab at arc markings, and take it out for a spin at the FLGS. 

Disclaimer: light math and theorymachine ahead.  This is not my forte, but in the absence of my usual content it's all you're going to get.  I'm also assuming you know what I'm talking about when I start dropping terms like Strafe, Consume, Sweep, things of that nature. 

Take my word for it, that's one big bowl.
So how did it turn out?  It was...ok.  A big bowl of vanilla-flavored ok.  Shooting was ok.  The idea of a Strafing AOE seems neat, but falls apart in practice thanks to how Strafe targeting works.  If your opponent clustered his mans together then (provided you get a decent Strafe roll) you can blow them up real good, but if you're playing a canny opponent then the mans will be spread out enough that one target will be eating all those AOEs...which won't splash onto any other mans.  Crit fire on the gun is neat, but if your goal is to set things on fire then a Ravagore is probably a better bet.  Furthermore, combining two random elements (Strafe shots and Crit fire) means either your shooting is either super effective or passable.  I'd comment on its melee effectiveness, but in the two games I played it never made it to melee.  The first time was my fault as I ended up killing eCaine with a Ravagore early on.  The second time was the AA's fault as it folded to eCaine in a single turn of shooting.  Granted it was his feat turn and Aiyana had done her tricks to it, but Caine had enough Focus remaining to Gatecrasher away and still camp one.  That the AA died under those circumstances isn't a problem as eCaine can do some serious work.  The problem is that it died so quickly, taking five shots at the most, and didn't require a significant amount of resources.  This is acceptable for a 10 point beast, but not for a 20 pointer.  That's the real heart of the problem for me.

I will personally keep this meme alive.
I've done some back of the envelope theorymachining to see what the AA can do, and it can do some stuff.  Most of it involves the Blackfrost Shard (for Harm and Ice Cage) plus support from various warlocks with Incite and Parasite being the two biggies.  I used pVayl in my tests yesterday for the potential combination of Chiller and Incite, reasoning that any Sweeps I got off would be at effective MAT 10 and POW 16, which should do for most any infantry hanging around, while also debuffing anything left standing for future attackers.  Not getting the AA into melee meant I didn't get to test this out, but a Scythean can do the same thing for cheaper and at POW 19 (assuming the chain attack goes off) while also being less than half the cost of the AA.  Blood Thorn looks interesting, Forced Evolution makes everything better, and if Sweeps interact with Carnivore like I want them to then that's a lot of potential warlock healing.  The problem is all these approaches work on other beasts just as well, if not better, than the AA and leave you with another 9-12 points to play with.  No "solution" that I come up with makes me want to take an AA instead of 20 points worth of other stuff.

The obvious problem with this approach is that it tries to fit the round-peg AA into already established square holes.  The AA will require new tactics and strategies.  Ride by attack seems key, perhaps as a low-rent version of Bushwhack to allow for a run and gun style, but that almost requires you to take a ranged approach which manages to make a hindrance out of what should be a strength (Strafe).  In a sprawling post-game brainstorm, Danny (my opponent for the two games) and I came up with any number of things that would make the AA workable, which is easy enough, but no real ideas for how to run it as it stands.  The feel that it was just a little short was overwhelming, that all it would take would be one tiny tweak to make it appealing.  Whether this is good design on PP's part or a genuine case of one ginormous, gorgeous, yet underpowered beast remains to be seen.

Related: chocolate chip or Oreo for dessert?  I DON'T KNOW!
The "worst" part of all of this is a wrinkle that should have appeared on this blog months ago.  I've been so out of it lately that I may have already addressed it and simply forgotten.  At the end of the Journeyman league (wrap-up post still coming...) there was a drawing for two Colossals/Gargantuans, of which I won one.  I have yet to make my pick since the AA isn't out yet and Colossals don't sit well with me in general.  By delaying my choice I was hoping for AA spoilers (yes) that would turn out to be awesome (no) and make it no contest.  That hasn't happened so now my choice is harder still.  Do I go with the Archangel, a gorgeous model with an underwhelming presence on the table for a faction I play often?  Or do I pick the Conquest, which doesn't have a lot of visual appeal for me but is a good fit on the table for a faction I always mean to play more often but never really get around to?  Chances are I'll wind up with both eventually, so do I shell out for the one I want to paint or the one I want to play?  Decisions are tough.


  1. Go for the Conquest. Legion already has such wonderful beasts that the AA may fast approach bottom of the Hordes barrel. The Gargantuans weren't calibrated to fill fury pools effectively at 35 and 50 pts., and this doubly hurts the best Legion casters with their high fury requirements.

    1. That's been my impression from the beginning, that Gargantuans wouldn't work as well as Colossals due to the differences between Focus and Fury, but I've been hoping that the AA would work out better than expected because it's such a lovely model. Following my first test of the Conquest the unfortunate, but not at all unexpected, conclusion is that I'll get over not liking how Conquest looks sooner than not liking how the AA plays.