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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Phoenix Lords: viable?



Stemming from this post on Warseer. In a nutshell, no. Specifically though I want to look at what Ail-Shan has said (though I didn't read his huge wall of text. tl;dr) because...well you'll see. So let's start off with this quote from Ali-Shan:

"I think that the phoenix lords can be well worth their points and can add a lot to a list, but they are usually quite specific in how they need to be used especially since they have no invulnerable save."

Okay...well I'll let that pass as you did point out they have no invul save. Let's see what else he said.

"Eh....yes you can...but the phoenix lords have more ability than a squad of their aspect with all the fixings (especially Fuegan and Maugan Ra).
I'd rather have Fuegan than more fire dragons, or really anything else for my list."
 
Wait. What? Fuegan over a Fire Dragon squad? (don't worry; it get's better). In response to me saying essentially that...
 
"Yes, because that long range melta then survives most punishment opponents can throw at it, AND can fight very well in cc against many targets, including walkers. And for those who don't know, my long range melta gets his own holo-field falcon. He's quite spoiled."
 
Wait wait wait. You're saying, you put a 200pt+ model in a 170pt+ transport and saying it is BETTER than Fire dragons? For those points I'm taking 2 squads in 2 Serpents. That's 10 meltaguns to your 1 18" meltagun. That's 2 AV12 chassis to your 1 AV12 chassis. That's 4 heavy guns to your 3 heavy guns. That's twice the amount of targets for your oppenent to deal with and 1000% more damage potential across two targets. And you're still advocating Fuegan? And claiming he's spoilt!? I'm sorry but when did an over glorified meltagun become worth 200pts? Never. Ever ever ever. Let's break down the Pheonix Lords and then revisit this (oh apparently the guy won a tourney. He must be awesome. Pics or it didn't happen!!!!).
 
Ali-Shan said it himself. Phoenix Lords have no invulnerable save. This. Is. Bad. You're spending over 200pts on a model without an invul? No. Shoo. Go away. Begone foul model! The only Phoenix Lord which does have an invul is Asurmen. Go figure. (he should of kept his 3++ from 3rd ed. Then he'd be the new black). Let's look at another quote, this time from Gwyidion:
 
"For the price of a phoenix lord, you can get an entire 2nd squad of their aspect with all the fixings."
 
Ali-Shan's reply is contained in the 2nd quote but Gwyidion touches on something here. Pheonix Lords do nothing significantly better than Exarchs except have an improved statline (and generally one minor 'extra' ability like FNP, FC, Stealth, 4+ invul, etc.) yet you pay triple to quadruple the price. Like Gwyidion said, I could get a whole squad for that or in the event you are playing 5th edition Eldar, a whole Serpent + its cargo. Let's go back to this quote from Ali-Shan:
 
"Eh....yes you can...but the phoenix lords have more ability than a squad of their aspect with all the fixings (especially Fuegan and Maugan Ra)."
 
Let's compare directly and assume we are going for full squads. 10x DA w/Bladestorm Exarch = 152 pts. Asurmen = 230 pts. Uh, DA win? Even if we add in Defend and Diresword, Asurmen has no where near the ability of that squad and is only better in combat. News flash, Eldar hate combat with their current codex and Pheonix Lords are no different. Let's look at Fuegan then, whom Ali-Shan seems to adore and since he rides in a Falcon, we'll take those points into consideration, too.
 
Fuegan + 5x DA + Holofalcon = 440 pts or 2x 5x Fire Dragons + Serpent w/TL Shuri-Cannon, Shuri-Cannon, Spirit Stones = 400 pts. Again, how on Earth does Fuegan have more ability than that min-sized aspect squad without ANY fixtures. Can we add 5 more Dragons? And a crackshot DBF? So Fuegan can take on a Dread in combat. woopee. Fire Dragons don't need to take on a Dread in combat because they shoot it to death. I'm so glad that Fuegan can survive all those shots at him, he's still a waste of 205 pts (I'm also assuming you arming your Falcon correctly but then that would be silly because you need to drop Fuegan off close. We've already established what a waste of holo-fields that is).
 
Maguan Ra on the other hand, is a soft spot for me. I mean, he's covered in skulls. Awesome. This doesn't make him good though. Sure a mobile S6 IC is pretty cool (who also isn't too bad in combat) but again lack of invul and price tag just make him a fun toy (even if Harlequins didn't compete with Fire Dragons where he could tag along). Ali-Shan therefore gets 1 positive point for mentioning Maguan Ra.
 
Overall, PLs are just too expensive for what they do. If you want to buff your Aspects, you take an Exarch. If you want a combat guru you take Yriel or an Autarch but at 200+pts w/no invul...ya well, some cool sculpts and fluff but they sit on the table for the time being. Characters need to be able to do certain things to be viable.
 
1) be an absolute monster in CC. This is the rarest type because it's so one-dimensional. You'll find CC monsters but they generally do something else for the army, too (i.e. Canis).
2) change the FoC. This is where PL's will hopefully fall in the future (along with a damn Warp Spider one). This opens up different armies and assuming the character isn't half bad, they will be used for variety (i.e. Biker Captain, Logan, etc.).
3) support the army. You know. Vulkan. You pay a high-price tag for someone who isn't too bad at combat, has a nice statline, etc. but amplifies your army on a pretty dispersed field (unlike PL 'powers).
 
If PL's are still pretending to be wannabe CC monsters next codex, they will still run sub-par, even with an invul. 5th edition, in particular the new books, just look down on that style of play and laugh. I imagine (and hope) PL's will in some way move their Aspect around on the FoC whilst taking a small price cut and gaining more useful and influencing powers that Exarchs cannot get. There has to be some advantage to taking them outside of fun or fluffy reasons. Atm, contrary to what Ali-Shan thinks, PL's simply do not do this.

16 pinkments:

Chumbalaya said...

That's how I want Phoenix Lords to change too. I want a real Swordwind.

The_King_Elessar said...

1) That guy is a moron
2) 15 Dragons can CC a Walker as well as Fuegan, since their Melta Bombs are I5, and 2 MB hits should cripple its ability to fight back.

Kirby said...

I know TKE, I know :P. I've asked him for his full army list so I can do a WBR with it. He's alluded to it w/something like 10x DA, 3x HF falcons, 5x Locks + Eldrad, Fuegan, 8x Hawks and some other stuff. I think putting it up against Mech Marines should be a nice battle + I have the models (bar the hawks) to field both lists lol

Ail-Shan said...

Hi.

So to Kirby I've sent you my army list (also now posted in the thread this arose from).

Now then. Yes 10 fire dragons (especially split up) will be able to tackle more tanks in 1 turn than Fuegan all on his lonesome can. However my point still remains that the dragons have such a high chance of dying that after they remove their target your anti-tank ability disappears very quickly. Of course it is possible to keep your dragons alive with good positioning etc. but the same goes for Fuegan, but for a lone model, especially one that doesn't die to non AP1/2 weapons it's a little easier. Fire dragons tend to fall over as soon as they're looked at, especially in small squads.

As to my point of a PL being better than a tooled out squad of their aspect. Will fire dragons or dark reapers live through cc? Will banshees be able to put out 5 S6/7 power weapon attacks (more important in can banshees kill vehicles) or be able to near guarantee 3 kills before charging (if fleet isn't needed)? Can scorpions reliably hammer a tank into the ground, or first turn charge with 7 attacks?

Yes you pay for these abilities, but tied in with the artificer armor and you get to keep those abilities for quite some time. I think the problem with Asurmen is that you pay for his invulnerable, and lose out on quite a bit of killing ability (he is only the strength of a bolter. If you cost that much you have to be able to kill tanks).

@TKE: sure 15 dragons can cc a walker to death. Can you get 15 dragons in assault with the walker when the walker is the one charging? Can the 15 dragons fit in one transport? Do the 15 dragons cost less than Fuegan?

And a final thing on replacing the falcon/Fuegan with 10 dragons with serpents: I may gain 9 meltas, but I'd lose out on my pulse laser (long range anti tank can be very nice) along with the cc ability (fearless and resilience to small arms is nice too).

And as to the holo-field point. Yes holo-fields lose out on ability drastically when they are in melta range, but again, if you have a squad of melta guns, would you rather it be stuck in your deployment zone or your enemies? Auto-cannons, pulse lasers, missiles, fire prisms, las cannons etc. all have a higher chance of killing or immobilizing a wave serpent than a falcon, and all are shooting you turn 1. I'd rather pay more and reliably be where I want to.

Kirby said...

Well Scorpions, Reapers and Bahsees are all pretty bad in their current incarnation, doesn't make their PLs good. You're also not listening.

Outside of Bike Councils and Harelquins, Eldar suck at cc. Yriel/Eldrad are okay but everything else? No. All PLs really are is a very expensive Exarch with an improved statline who can hang in combat with non-dedicated assault units (thanks to lack of invul).

2x Serpents > 1x Falcon. You have saturation and 4 heavy weapons to a max of 3 on the Falcon (though from your army list you only use 2 on the Falcon). Again read my post on Falcons. I know Falcons are more survivable than Serpents at range but I don't really care. I'm going to shake them and then wait for you to come close to drop your cargo and melta it. Then because I had to use a lot less squads to down the Falcon compared to a Serpent, I have more firepower to plug whatever was inside.

Falcons are a great tool but not for throwing in your enemy's face. It comes down to points efficiency. You want your Falcon being shot at by long range anti-tank (except Exorcists/Railguns, etc.) so you screen your Serpents with it. Serpents rock at close range because melta is so dominating atm and thus Energy Shields kick in and I have a laugh.

Anyways, Ail-Shan has sent me his army list so I will try and get some games in this weekend against my Marines with it (though I'll have to proxy the Hawks). Maybe I'll do a voice over...

GWvsJohn said...

Lol, the fact that he's even bringing hawks at all bodes ill for his list.

Kirby said...

Here's his list:

Eldrad: 210
5x Warlocks: 165
-3 destructor, 2 embolden
Fuegan: 205
5x fire dragons: 80
10x avengers: 120
Serpent: 130
-spirit stones, TL EML
10x guardians: 95
-scatter laser
-Warlock: 30
-embolden
10x guardians: 95
-scatter laser
-Warlock: 30
-embolden
7 x swooping hawks: 19
-exarch, sun-rifle, sky leap, intercept
3x falcons: 495
-holo-fields, turret shuriken cannons, spirit stones

Usually Eldrad and his warlocks have one falcon, Fuegan another, and the dragons the third.

I'll prob use a variation of the best of Marines.

2x2 MM/HF Speeders
3x Rifle Dreads
3x Dakka Preds
3x flamer/MM/Rhino Tacs
Scouts w/Snipers/HB
Beamer MotF
Libby

Though I'll need to proxy 2x speeders and a Pred since they are un built atm.

GWvsJohn said...

I think IST with double melta are a superior choice to the scouts in a more "modern" classic best of. I also think the MoFo can be replaced with a 2nd IST squad. Adding 2 more troops choices makes the 3rd Tactical squad less needed, I would probably replace it with 2 Typhoons.

As for his list, foot guardians? Hawks? A Phoenix Lord? A 5 man foot council? It's going to be funny when that lost just disappears against a shooty Space Marine list.

Ail-Shan said...

May I ask how that list fairs against land raiders? You do have 7 multi-meltas, but without being able to move and shoot with 3 of them, and the other 4 being on AV10 platforms it seems like it'd be difficult for you list to deal with heavy tanks (russes as well).

@GWvsJohn: which guns are you dedicating to the guardians and hawks?

GWvsJohn said...

How about none? They can't kill anything so I can just ignore them until I eliminate your 3 falcons. Barring that, if they are posing any threat at all, the dakka preds can elinate them very fast.

Ail-Shan said...

With scatter lasers the guardians can kill both the land speeders and rhinos in the above list. Hawks can provide at least some anti-vehicle support, especially against fast moving speeders, or decent anti infantry with doom support. And please dedicate those 3 TL autocannons away from my vehicles to shoot infantry in cover. The tanks will greatly appreciate any relief they can get. Even so a dakka pred gets 8 shots if it didn't move, wounding about 5, killing about 2-3 guardians in cover, less if they go to ground. Not quite efficient.

GWvsJohn said...

A SL averages 1 damage roll against av10 without cover, so they can hardly kill the speeders reliably, let alone threaten a Rhino. Dakka preds aren't TL. By your own admission, the three dakka preds can just about eliminate a 10 man infantry squad in cover. Until your transports go down, the infantry is the best target for the dakka, that's why they're there.

Kirby said...

Confusion: you've asked how the SM list deals with LR when you've got less anti-AV14? Fuegan + a squad of FD + hawks/locks in combat =/= anti-AV14.

@ these points double LR lists aren't that scary as they don't have the support they need + Speeders zoom T1, block and shoot if survive whilst the rest of my suppression fire knocks out speeders/rhinos.

@GWvsJohn, I don't have that many Rhinos unless a mate comes over and I can use some of his :P.

Ail-Shan said...

@Kirby: The reason I was concerned is that only 4 of your melta's are mobile. The other 3 have to stay put to shoot.

Kirby said...

Which is what they are meant to do. Run in and hold midfield. Again, the rest of my army outshoots a double raider army quite easily so he has to bring his LR forward.

Hopefully will get around to BR today. Missus' cat is being a feline pain in the butt atm though.

Victor said...

Well, as an Eldar player I support Kirby's point that FL are utterly useless because of their huge price tag.

Speaking of the Eldar list, I will try to optimize the list without tweaking it to much:

I'd remove Fuegan and take at least 2 more squads of 5 Fire dragons each.

Fuegan 210 pt- 2x16x5 pt = still 50 pt. available.

I want the 3 squads of Fire Dragon to ride the 3 Falcons, so I'd put Eldrad with the Avenger squad and get jetbikes for the Warlocks. I need 50 pts more for the jetbikes so I have to remove something. Let's remove the sun rifle (15 pt.), a Swooping Hawk (21 pt.) and a Dire Avenger (12 pt.) = total pts available = 48. (You don't mind the oponent be 2 pts in excess don't you?)

Causes behind those changes:

1- 10 fusion guns (2x5) at 160 pts vs 1 fusion pike at 210 pts. Obviously the 10 fusion guns will put a better damage output. The problem of the Fire Dragons being assaulted after firing can be solved by using the transport to block the way towards them. After shooting, Fuegan will be sured torrented away by enemy fire power.

2-Eldarad is so valuable that is better to keep him away for combat as long as posible. If you keep your Avengers near the Dragons you can still support them with Eldrad's powers. Warlocks need mobility so jetbikes are the alternative if there is no transport available.

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