Hey all, Danny here to talk about a local, big (relatively) event that will happen soon, Bay Area Open 2017. The big scuttlebutt is that for this event (not necessarily all ITC events), all 31 Power Level (PL) and above models will be banned. So what does this mean?
First, the vote itself was not all that close.
At almost two to one, players voted overwhelmingly to limit models with 31+ PL. This is certainly a mandate, and we’ll see if this continues when this question inevitably arises again with the first full ITC vote of 8th edition. Will more players, perhaps less competitive oriented players, change the dynamic? Will GW itself make any kind of declaration? Let’s see what is actually banned from BAO:
Falchion, Fellblade, Mastadon, Thunderhawk, (but not the Thunderhawk Transporter) Stormbird, Castellum Stronghold, Knight Porphyrion, all Titans. (Warhound/Reaver/Warlord)
Greater Brass Scorpion, Falchion, Fellblade, Mastadon, Thunderhawk, Stormbird, Renegade Knight Porphyrion, Aetaos’Rau’Keres, An’ggrath, all Titans (Warhoud/Reaver/Warlord)
Tomb Citadel, Stompa, Kustom Stompa, Tau’unar, Manta, Scorpion, Skathach Wraithknight, Vampire Raider/Hunter, Revenant/Phantom Titans, Harridan, Hierophant Bio-Titan.
Ok, so there’s the list of toys that you cannot bring to BAO. Now, some of these are pretty obvious like Warlord titans and what not, but there are some surprising items in here. Let’s look at the overall impact first:
Pretty much all the Macro weapons are gone now. If you don’t know, a Macro weapon does double damage to any Titanic model, but unless you are also Titanic, you cannot move and shoot them at all. The few that are left are the Shadowsword variants available to the Imperium and the Tau Tiger Shark, except right now, the Tiger Shark cannot ever fire its Macro weapon since it is a flyer and must move but it lacks the Titanic keyword.
This means that really, you are not going to one shot any Knights now unless you have a Shadowsword in your army. This definitely brings their stock way up as Macro Weapons are definitely designed to kill these baddies quickly, but with them mostly gone, Knights and other 30 PL and below Titanic models have a bit more safety.
The removal of a lot of super-heavy transports too means that some outside melee builds with Mastadons full of Wulfen are not going to happen, and of course, many of the super-heavy flyers are gone too, so now you just have to prepare for the inevitable 7 stormraven list.
Imperium wins out here. They certainly lost some great stuff, but they also still have a freaking Macro weapon. Imperium is still fine with good old Bobby G (Roboute Gulliman) being one of the best, if not the best, Lord of War, and so the Bobby G plus 3 Knights is still a viable tactic, especially with the fact that Macro weapons are pretty sparse now.
Chaos gets hit a bit harder here as Brass Scorpion was a real winner for Chaos, especially with its ability to run across the board thanks to Warp Time. Aetaos’Rau’Keres and An’ggrath are by far the best daemon lords, and especially An’ggrath could have made a pure World Eaters or Khorne Daemon army much more competitive. Chaos also lacks a lot of long ranged teeth, so losing some of the super-heavy tanks does kick them a bit.
Xenos are a mixed bag. Necrons don’t really care and neither do Dark Eldar, but Aeldari in general lose out with losing the Skatchatch Wraithknight and Scorpion. Of course, the Cobra is still viable as it packs the D-impaler, a Heavy D6, S16 AP-5 Dmg 2D6 gun that also does d3 mortal wounds on a to-wound of 6. So yes, if you really worry about Titanic models, a Cobra is not a bad investment. Tyranids get kicked a bit with losing the Harridan and the Hierophant (so long my 1-drop army), but then if you played ITC, you never got to use them anyway. Still, the Harridan was one of the Tyranids’ best answers to the Stormraven spam army, even if it was already too expensive for what it does. Orks lost the Stompas, which sucks since they are awesome looking, but then Orks in general got so much better, so they can’t complain too loudly. Tau never got to play much (in the ITC) with the Big Tuna, and the Manta was never going to see table time in any competitive environment because it cost too many damn points.
So, in the end, is this good?
Well, yes and no. The idea of a ban list already into 8th edition makes me skittish. I don’t think we’ve had enough time to really be able to say what is too powerful and what isn’t, but then, it only takes one bad experience to ruin someone on tournaments, and I get Tournament Organizers that are trying to prevent that. They have a legitimate concern that if everything is all wild west for a year or two, more players will be pushed out of the competitive scene than who are taken in. Also, most of these models were never designed for 40K but rather Apocalypse. Titans and such were not meant to be balanced, so we cannot expect them to exist within competitive 40k.
Of course, blanket bans have unexpected consequences. We are limited the ecosystem of the game, and we have no idea how these models interact with the larger meta to stop certain abusive lists or not. Of course, these models could also be part that problem, but that’s the thing, it is impossible to tell at the moment. We cannot get good data because of the ban.
Of course, the ban is for one event, but as ITC goes, so goes many other entities, so it is worth considering. Thanks as always for reading all one of you, so thanks Randy from Highland. Anyway, we are gearing up for some more Stream action, Adam is always bragging about his comings and goings on the Facebook, and of course, we all rely on the Patreon to make sure we have stuff to give you every so often.