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How a Maleceptor Works & is it too Good?

Hi Guys, I’ve been using the new Tyranids and they are Mega strong, one unit in particular has surprised me more then i thought it would it terms of its power and that is the Maleceptor. So let’s take a look at how it works and see if it’s pointed fairly.

Now before we look into its abilities and how it operates let’s take a quick look at its base stat line. Since it doesn’t rely on melee or ranged attacks to perform efficiently the main thing we look at is its survivability, it has a Toughness characteristic of 8 and 15 wounds. That paired with the fact it also has a 3+ Save characteristic makes it incredibly hard to shift. It is pointed at 170 points which I think is awesome value for that stat line as a Nid player but if we compare it to similar units it shows just how much of a bargain it really is. A Tank Commander is roughly 180 points with a similar defensive profile but that’s before you pay points for the weapons in order for it to function properly whereas the Maleceptor pays no additional points. Now if you look at that and add in the fact that the Maleceptor also has the Psychic Barrier ability, granting it a 4++ invulnerable save we start to see that it may actually be undercosted. So that should give us an idea of how tough exactly this beast is to take down, I doubt a 170 point unit could take it down, but this guy could easily wipe out 170 points of the enemy force almost every turn. Let’s take a look how.

Now it’s important to note that the bulk of damage dealt by the Maleceptor is in the form of mortal wounds, that in itself makes him incredibly hard to deal with because most armies in the game don’t have a reliable way of managing mortal wound damage. Especially when mortals are being dealt in such volume too, which is quiet rare in the current meta meaning not many people would be teching into it either, unless they are preparing to take on Tyranids. A Maleceptor has the ability to cast 2 psychic powers in the controlling players turn, it knows smite and 2 other powers. If you give him Smite, Psychic Scream and then any 3rd power of your choice that is the optimal set up. The reason for this is that there is a stratagem for Nids that allows 1 psyker in your army to cast an additional power meaning this guy would then cast all 3 powers it knows. Why do we want to cast all 3 of his powers, well that’s because he has an ability called Psychic Overload which basically states that if he successfully manifests any psychic power or psychic action with a test result of 7 or more then the nearest enemy unit within 12″ suffers a number of mortal wounds depending on how many wounds our Maleceptor has remaining. If it has 8+ wounds it deals 3 Mortals, if it has 5-7 wounds it deals 2 Mortals and any lower then that it only deals 1. The most obnoxious thing about this ability is that the unit does not have to be visible so it can deal these mortals to units that are not visible to itself.

So that means our Maleceptor is now casting 3 powers and each psychic test result of a 7+ is also dealing out 3 Mortal wounds, this doesn’t seem to scary because only 1 or 2 of his powers should go off with a result of 7 or more but we can make it more reliable. Now for this all we need is 1 Neurothrope, this is also one of the things that I found very powerful while using this combo, usually to have 1 unit deal masses of damage in this way there are a lot of moving parts and you often need multiple characters with buffs and fellow units to assist the combo, but in this case we need 1 Neurothrope and a Maleceptor and that is it. The Neurothrope has 2 key roles to play, the first being it’s ability Warp Siphon which allows you to choose a friendly Hive Fleet Psyker unit within Synaptic Link range of the Neurothrope in the command phase, in this case that would be our Maleceptor. It then allows the Maleceptor to roll an additional D6 when attempting to manifest any psychic powers and discard one of the dice until our next command phase. So now the Maleceptor is rolling 3D6 for each psychic test and discarding the lowest result meaning our chances of manifesting powers on a 7+ are increased dramatically. This now means if he casts Smite, Psychic Scream and a 3rd power of our choice then he could potentially be dealing out 9+2D3 mortal wounds for an average of 13 mortal wounds, pretty insane for a single model in your army.

Now it doesn’t stop there either, remember I said our Neurothrope has 2 roles, well the second is to be the unit which casts the Leviathan specific psychic power each turn which is Hive Nexus. This power allows us to select the Maleceptors Synaptic Imperative ability to be affecting the Maleceptor every turn and it is very good, its Imperative is Psychic Oversight which would allow the Maleceptor to perform a psychic action each turn and still have the ability to cast any additional powers it would normally not be able to cast. This not only means we can now use the action on his datasheet that would reduce the strength of all ranged attacks targeting any hive fleet units within 6″ of him by 1 being a great force multiplier, but it also means we now deal an additional 3 mortal wounds taking us up to an average of 16 Mortal wounds from a single psyker in 1 phase. If that wasn’t enough in the way of Mortal wounds to kill what we wanted, the fact he has the Horned Chitin keyword means when he charges we can use the Trampling Charge stratagem to deal an additional 3 Mortal wounds on a 2+ or 3+D3 Mortal wounds on a 5+. This now means our Maleceptor is dealing a whopping 19 Mortal Wounds in a single turn averagely, with the potential to cause up to 24. Now after using this unit myself I believe it is way too powerful for its points cost, the fact it is so tough to take down, plus the amount of damage it can do, plus the buffing aura it has for units in 6″ of itself just make it an auto include in every single Tyranid army for just 170 points. I know I’ll be using 1 until something is done about it.

Now to answer the question of “Is it just too damn Good?”, well Yes it is, its criminally undercosted for what it does and I Believe it is not healthy for the current meta, and this is coming from a Tyranid player. So as someone who loves Tyranids, I was thinking about how GW could fix the Maleceptor in a way which wouldn’t nerf it through the ground, just tone it down a bit but still keep it as an attractive option to take in the codex. Now I think if GW implements 2 small changes then that could accomplished, the first being that it’s Psychic Overload only dealing mortal wounds to the closest unit within 9″, the 3″ cut back would make a huge difference coupled with the second change. The second change being that its Psychic Overload ability should only deal mortal wounds to the nearest VISIBLE enemy unit because the thing that is making it currently so obnoxious is that it’s destroying units it can’t even see. Now I like these changes because it means now you can still deal the same amount of Mortal wound damage as before but now you have to be within 9″ of, and visible to the target so you can get hit back and your opponent will have a chance to interact with the Maleceptor now. Also a small points increase of 20 points would not be too bad at all. I know I would still run a Maleceptor in my competitive Tyranid army if it was 190 points and had those new rules implemented on it. Let me know your thoughts on the topic in the comments below guys, I am interested to know what you all think about the Maleceptor, Peace Out, Mani!!

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Mani’s Ramblings – New Balanced Dataslate Biggest Changes

The New Balanced Dataslate just dropped today and it is shaking up the 40k competitive scene already. Let’s have a look through some of the biggest changes in this quarters dataslate and explore what they mean for the current meta!!

Let’s start by taking a look into the Universal Matched Play Rules. Armour of Contempt is a great new addition in my opinion, the number of power armoured armies doing well at recent tournaments has been dwindling and the main reason for it is that their survivability has stayed the same as the beginning of the edition but new armies have had their fire power get increasingly powerful and gained many many shots. The Armour of Contempt rule reduces the AP of any attack by 1 when it targets an Adeptus Astartes, Sanctic Astartes, Heretic Astartes or Adepta Sororitas model, which bumps their survivability right back up there, especially with the hits that this dataslate has bought down on the newer armies of this edition. This rule has exceptions where it doesn’t work like on models with Storm Shields and for that reason i think the biggest winners out of this are Scarab Occult Terminators and both variants of Death Guard Terminators seeing as they have 2+ saves and now reduce AP by 1 they will be the biggest buffed units by this ability and I personally will love seeing some more power armour on the top tables of events.

Next up we got Indirect Fire Weapons, I wrote an article about this topic last week and said how I thought this mechanic in the game needed to be addressed and toned down a little. A lot of you guys came up with nerfs that could be put in place including the one that GW has now implemented which is when you target a unity that is not visible to the firing model then you worsen the Ballistic Skill characteristic of that attack by 1. This rule alone will see a fall in the number of Indirect weapons we see in the game but GW has gone 1 step further and said in addition to this ruling, your opponent will get to add 1 to any armour saving throws made against an attack that targets them when not visible and that now pretty much means that artillery will no longer be able to wipe out tanky and important units with Indirect fire but will now have a more tactical role of clearing screens and small backfield objective holding units. Personally I think this is another positive change to the game due to the fact that Astra Militarum units are unaffected by these 2 rules, which is great because that would have hit their faction a little too hard considering they don’t even have a 9th Edition book yet.

Bodyguard Abilities, YES, YES, FREAKING HELL YES!! This rule was so damn obnoxious and needed changing right from the very start. I always found it so stupid when I was using Celestine with her 2 Geminae and my opponents had units stood 1″ away from her and couldn’t shoot her in the face because of my Sacresant unit that was stood behind a wall in bodyguard range of her. What the hell was that rule all about, didn’t make any sense both in the game and also visually. Boy am I glad they’ve fixed that, Now Bodyguard Abilities just allow characters in range of them use the Look Out, Sir rule even if the unit with the Bodyguard rule contains fewer than 3 models. This has changed in a big way and it now makes total sense, the rule has not been completely destroyed and still has value in the game, but is now balanced and not game breaking anymore. I am totally not biased on this one by the way guys, like I said it was a rule that I was also taking advantage of because it was very overpowered, but daaaammmmnnn was it bad for the game!!

Expect to see a tonne more Adepta Sororitas armies back on the tabletop soon as well people, they are now in a great spot thanks to 2 changes. The first of course being the Armour of Contempt rule which makes them a lot more survivable, but the second is also great because it reinforces a very powerful mechanic they have. Now we can all agree that Miracle Dice are extremely powerful especially when you can reliably bring units in from reserve knowing advance whether you can automatically make charges with them or not. Well before you used to gain a Miracle Dice at the start of each battle round and that has now changed to give you a Miracle Dice at the start of each turn, meaning you now get 1 in each players turn which makes Sisters now more survivable, but also more reliable at dealing out their damage.

Now we move on to the Big 3 and their nerfs guys, let’s take a look into Custodes first and how GW have tried to balance them out. Now having objective secured is a great way of outscoring your opponent in missions, but when all your unkillable characters are running around with it then it becomes a little ridiculous, GW has put a stop to that by saying only Troops units gain objective secured but this has hurt other units such as Allarus Custodians which was unnecessary and also means those Warden units have now been hit by double nerf. All in all probably a decent and balanced change. But here comes the pain for all the Custodes lovers out there, the biggest change for them is the fact that the stratagems Arcane Genetic Alchemy and Emperor’s Auspice can only be used on Infantry units now which means Bikes are just not worth their points anymore in my opinion. Infantry will still be amazingly tough with these strats but now its crazy because your infantry will be harder to take out then your Bikes and Dreadnoughts, this is one change I didn’t like because it hits this faction too hard. I think a better fix would have been to up the cost of these stratagems to 2 CP for any non-infantry units, that way they could have still benefitted but only for a turn or 2 until the CP’s run out. I think Custodes armies will now be made up mostly of Infantry and a few dreadnoughts and the 9 Vertus Praetors everyone was running will now be sat on some shelves gaining dust.

The Tau Empire are next on the list with a good amount of changes, first of which being the fact that most top table Tau lists were packed full of weapons which abused the Indirect Fire rules and now have been hit by the new rules for that which we talked about above. This faction is the main reason that change has been bought in because players were packing over 100 Indirect Shots in some cases and now we will see different builds entirely. A second big change for them is one that has hit the Mont’ka ability which was one of the strongest rules in their book. The additional AP they used to gain for targetting units within range of the ability is now gone and that paired with the +1 save enemy units will gain from indirect fire will mean it’ll take a lot more then just 5 AFP’s to take out elite units now. Broadsides are one of the most powerful units in the game point for point and a big part of that was due to the fact they had the core keyword and characters could put multiple buffs on them making them insanely efficient gun platforms. They have now lost the Core keyword meaning they won’t gain so many buffs but didn’t suffer a points increase which means they are still good for their points and will most likely still be seen on tabletops. Overall I think a great job was done on the Tau section of this dataslate because only some of their most busted mechanics have been hit and the other good choices in the book have remained as they were which just means we will now see players bring forth different ideas and combos from the Tau book.

And now the last of the big 3 Factions to be nerfed but definitely not the least was the Harlequins!! Now I have been using the Murder Clowns at the last 4 events I have attended and can tell you that they were absolutely broken and not good for the game at all in the state they were in. The first of the changes is that Mirror Architect which used to effect all units within 6″ at all times, now just effects 1 Core unit in range in the command phase, this nerf is a lot harder than I thought it would be but it’s one I can get behind because Mirror Architect against some opponents was making the Starweavers and Voidweavers unkillable which should never have been a thing. VOIDWEAVERS, these guys have stayed exactly the same rules wise but have gone up in points¬† by 40, which is almost a 50% increase. I was expecting these to go up around 30 points anyway so this seems about right. It does mean people can still run 9 but it will now cost them over 1000 points to do so. I totally agree with this change, they are still very good for that amount of points and will most likely now be seen as 3 units of 1 Voidweaver to zoom around on objectives and provide some fire support at the same time. Personally I would have added an additional change making the unit sizes 1-2 meaning players could only take a maximum of 6 even if they wanted to take more. The only change I don’t like for the Harlequins is that the Starweaver transports have gone up by 15 points a model and are now 95 points. I think a 5 point increase on then would have been about right and they weren’t the big problem with the faction to start off with. But all in all I think a fantastic job has been done on the Harlequins section of the dataslate because they have been nerfed, but NOT to the point where they are utterly useless, and I think that’s fantastic for the game. Can’t wait to see what lists Harlequin players bring to events moving forwards, I know I’ll be trying out some Skyweaver bikes myself!!

Now there are of course more changes in the New Balanced Dataslate, but I just wanted to cover the ones I thought would have the biggest impact on the game, let me know what you guys think of the New Balanced Dataslate in the comments below and whether you think it will make enough of a change to the current meta, Mani Out!!

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Mani’s Ramblings – Out of Line of Sight Shooting

Hi Guys, today we are going to be having a closer look into Out of Line of Sight shooting and its impact on the current meta, including a look in to why the mechanic might be leaving a sour taste in the mouths of 40k players on the competitive scene.

Units that have access to weapons which can target enemy units that are not visible to the bearer have been in the game for a very long time now, and personally I like the idea of having such units exist in the game as they add variety and some flavour. But the issue is coming from the fact that some of these units have no disadvantages of shooting in such a manner. What this is leading to is a certain level on non-interactive play which I’m sure, nobody enjoys.¬† Of course it is a huge benefit to be able to target enemy units with ranged attacks while you yourself are hiding and can’t be targeted in return, but there is a balance to be reached where it is fair.

Now in my opinion, a great unit for comparison is a Plagueburst Crawler that can be taken in a Death Guard army. I actually think this is a great unit for shooting out of line of sight becuase there are also a few drawbacks to it. Now, yes its Mortar is Strength 8 with an AP of -2 and also has a damage of 2 which is quiet a powerful profile, but something to consider is the fact that it has a totally random number of shots (d6), gets no rerolls to hit, and also costs 160pts. Now all of a sudden it seems like a good choice to take, but it’s not something we would consider a problem in the meta. Averagely 3 of these would get 10/11 shots between them and get a total of 7/8 hits from that, now considering you’ve paid almost 500 points for the ability to have that amount of indirect fire in your army, I’d say that was fair play. Now I think from that we could agree that the mechanic of shooting units indirectly in the game is not too bad in itself.

I believe the problem is arising from units such as Hive Guard as they can gain an obnoxious amount of reliability when shooting indirectly and that leads to a non-enjoyable experience for atleast one player at the table. Now the shooting profile of Hive Guard with Impaler Cannons is very similar to that of a Plagueburst Crawler, Strength 8, AP-2 and Damage d3, but there are some buffs I am going to run you through which explain why they need nerfing urgently. They can get +1 to hit just for having a unit of Warriors stood nearby with the correct upgrade, they can have rerolls to hit from a character nearby with the Swarm Leader Warlord Trait and they have a stratagem which allows them to have additional hits for each 6 they roll to hit. Now this means they are hitting on 2+ with rerolls and exploding 6’s leading to an average of 14 hits from a unit which only has 12 shots. The reason that’s so ridiculous is that they are getting averagely twice the number of hits as 3 Plagueburst Crawlers added together which cost 500 points and this unit of Hive Guard is only 300 points. If that wasn’t enough this unit can spend 2 Command Points and fire for a second time in the same shooting phase for a total of 28 hits averagely and thats the same amount of hits as 1000 points worth of Plaguebursts. RIDICULOUS!!

Tau are also having a similar effect on the game because they can, if they so wish, pump out well over 100 shots each turn that can target units which are not visible to the bearer and they can do this fairly reliably and from a very safe distance away where they can not get hit back. This again is contributing to the bad feels of playing against non-interactive armies.

Now what can be done to balance indirect fire so that it doesn’t leave such a bad experience in the minds of players and also can still remain a viable mechanic in Warhammer 40k? Well i have a few ideas and they wouldn’t be very hard to impliment. I believe indirect fire is becoming obnoxious currently due to the fact some units can do it very very efficiently, now if we introduced a rule where you could only ever hit on the unmodified roll of a 4+ if you are targeting a unit that is not visible to you, that would hamper the reliability but still leave the option attractive enough for players to include such units in their force. Also alongside that rule if a second ruling was added where such units can never benefit from any rerolls to hit i think that in itself would also balance the rule so much so that no other nerfs need be implemented. Imagine if all units that targetted something they could not see, could only ever hit on the roll of a 4+ with no modifiers and no rerolls to hit allowed. That would mean averagely half of their shots would hit which means the mechanic is still a very powerful one in the game but is no longer overpowered. That I think is a great way to hit the mechanic because it nerfs it, but doesn’t completely shut it out as a viable option to the point where no player sees the point in even taking such units.

Now that is my opinion on the topic of Out of Line of Sight shooting, but I would be really interested in hearing what you all have to say on the matter as well, so please leave your thoughts and comments below and I will make sure to reply. Peace out, Mani!!