Monday, November 26, 2012

Eldar Warlock Titan in 6th Edition



By Andrew Lotz
 
In preparation for The Big Game III, generals are readying their armies and showpiece models for conflict. Part of that preparation means agreement on which rules to use for rarer pieces—particularly all the older Amorcast models that brought Epic 40k units into regular 40k scale size.

For most models, the Lords of Battle pdf from the Bell of Lost Souls crew continues to be the default document. 
However, with the release of the amazing Forgeworld Eldar Phantom Titan model and Imperial Armor Volume Eleven: Doom of Mymeara, a particular problem arose: how to handle the Eldar Warlock Titan. The Phantom got a rebuild and rules, but the Warlock rules from BoLS were now out of sync and did not match the Phantom—a Titan that is similar in build and abilities. Until Forgeworld releases a set of Warlock Titan upgrade parts (hint hint, Forgeworld folks) and rules to match, Apocalypse players are thrown into confusion over which rules to use. 
Thus, it is time for a new datasheet for the Warlock. 

It is clear that the current Phantom Titan should be the basis of the model, so the questions are:

1)    How to treat the Psychic Lance, the iconic weapon of the Titan that does not have a clear analogue in other existing rules for Titans?

2)     How to handle the non-Forgeworld weapons supplied with the old Armorcast kits?

3)     How to handle the other psychic abilities of the Warlock Titan?

4)     What other special rules are important?

5)     What points cost reflects these abilities?

The other thing to keep in mind is the way that the Warlock Titan is handled in Epic 40k/Epic Armageddon. It is the same as a Phantom Titan for most things, with various options depending on which edition rules you’re looking at. The current rules for Epic Armageddon give it the same defenses as the Phantom, plus the ability to lead troops like a Farseer and the option for the Psychic Lance. Prior editions had different abilities and weapon options, all of which complicate matters. Instead of looking back over every edition and trying to include all the variants, I would suggest that Games Workshop’s current version be a guide.

So keeping these elements in sight, let’s think about how to make a Warlock Titan datasheet that starts with the Phantom as a basis.

1)     The Psychic Lance has often been treated as a psychic shooting attack itself, but I’m not sure that makes sense for the 6th edition rules due to Deny the Witch. A unit shouldn’t get a one-in-six chance to ignore a Titan’s main shot, which becomes even more likely if they have psychic defenses in some way. What is clear about the Psychic Lance is that in addition to the physical damage of the shot, they also assail the minds and will to fight of the target (they have the Disruptor rule in Epic). They also are Titan Killers in Epic, so should have similar ability in Apocalypse. The question is: how to manage this ability? Some suggestions on the Apocalypse 40k forum have included bypassing invulnerable saves. But I think that the disruptor effect in Epic is a better guide—units hit by the shot should flee or have a harder time fighting themselves.

Proposal: A 5” blast, single shot, AP 1 Destroyer weapon with a bonus that units which lose a model to the weapon’s shooting must make a leadership test after the shot is resolved or fall back, with some penalty applied (-1 per model killed by the blast). Non-superheavy vehicles hit by the shot suffer the effects of a Crew Shaken result as well as any damage. Prior datasheets went with a larger burst, but if the rules incentivize a reason to fire at troops I wouldn’t want the blast to be too overlarge. Destroyer hits also inflict instant death and ignore cover saves, so that can make it akin to a Force Weapon shooting attack without a single additional special rule.

2)     Getting the other weapon options (Heat Lance and Sonic Lance) from the Armorcast kits ported to the Phantom chassis is a challenge, but there are some very helpful guides to this. Matt Plonski of Apoc-Eclipse has a good 5th edition datasheet for the Warlock which gives a great guide for the alternative weapons, and his work and questions prompted much of this article’s inquiry. The consensus seems to be that porting weapons over from other similar-class Titans is the best way to handle the Heat Lance, while the logic of the Phantom Pulsar (double the shots of the Revenant Pulsar) should apply to the Warlock Sonic Lance.

Proposal: The Warlock Titan includes the following weapons in the choice list for the Phantom Titan. Psychic Lance (info above), Heat Lance (96” Str D, AP 1, Ordinance 1, 7” blast, Primary Weapon), and Phantom Sonic Lance (as the Revenant Sonic Lance with 2 shots which must touch or cover the same target).

3)    Determining what psychic powers the Warlock Titan should be equipped with might be easier in 6th edition than prior ones. A simple rule would be that the Warlock Titan gets 2 warp charge and chooses two powers from the Eldar Farseer Powers list in Codex: Eldar, which can then be exchanged as normal for the new psychic disciplines. The only change that seems necessary would be doubling the range or setting standard longer ranges for the powers. A more complex choice would be to write a whole new set of rules for their powers using old versions of the Warlock’s powers. On the whole, the first method is better because of simplicity—nothing irks some Apocalypse players more than from-scratch homebrew powers and effects.

Proposal: The Warlock Titan has psychic mastery 2 and chooses two powers from the Eldar Farseer Powers list in Codex: Eldar, which can then be exchanged as normal for the new psychic disciplines. The range of these powers is doubled. The Warlock Titan has Leadership 10 for purposes of psychic tests, and a Perils of the Warp attack inflicts a single glancing hit.

4)     As for other special rules that are important, I think less is more. The Warlock in fluff is designed to house an entire Seer Council worth of energy, and I think that means that at minimum it should have the special rules of a Farseer. I would also suggest that it have the Spiritseer ability that Warlocks can buy, so that it can guide lesser wraithbone constructs to war albeit with an increased range. 

The only other special rule that might be worth considering is the way that Enhanced Eldar Phantom Holo-Fields work on the Warlock. In prior editions of Epic, the Warlock had a better invulnerable save due to its psychic protection, and this might be an appropriate moment to reach back to that version rather than using the current Epic as a guide. It might be worth considering giving this titan the original Enhanced Eldar Titan Holo-Fields rule (4+ invulnerable becomes a 3+ if moved) rather than the Forge World FAQ version (5+ which becomes 4+ with movement). I think the way to handle this would be to make it take the model’s psychic energy (a successful test and an expenditure of warp charge).

Proposal: The Warlock Titan counts as having the Farseer unit option version of Runes of Warding, Runes of Witnessing, and Spirit Stones. It also has the Spiritseer ability of Eldar Warlocks. All of these abilities function at double the normal range where one is listed.  During the movement phase, the Warlock Titan can expend a single warp charge to supplement its holo-fields with a psychic burst. With a successful Psychic test, the invulnerable save from its Enhanced Titan Holo-Fields increases to a 4+ invulnerable save, which becomes a 3+ if the model moves in that movement phase.

5)     So what points cost do we assign to this powerhouse? The regular Phantom Titan weighs in pretty hefty, so we’re mainly focused on treating the Warlock Titan as an upgrade cost to the Phantom. For these abilities, I am going to suggest 150 points to cover the Farseer components, and an additional 200 for the Holo-Fields increase, with no change in cost for weapons-swapping. Take a look at the Phantom D-Cannon as it is, and you’ll see why none of these options should increase the cost of the Warlock.

Proposal: Treat the Warlock Titan as an “upgrade” for the existing Forgeworld datasheet that costs +350 points and gives the special rules and options discussed above.

I think this suggestion covers the debate as it is come this far. I’d love some feedback from others about my suggestions and how to handle the Warlock Titan.

 Andrew Lotz

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