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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Herohammer and why it doesn't exist

If you recall there was something about this about a month ago in the comment sections of a post on this blog. I could be vaguer but I think that would be rude. So herohammer. This was (and to an extent, still is) much more common in Fantasy compared to 40k and is often completely misunderstood by many players. So, following on from Vt2's 'earning your points back' post, I thought I'd post something about this. Yay me.

First, herohammer is where a couple of models are very expensive, decently hard to kill and can wreck armies pretty much by themselves. These are generally HQ choices with lots of options (think Chaos Lords from 3.5) and most importantly, they are generally cc beasts. The term herohammer was coined because it basically came down to who had the better 'hero' or which one could do the most damage over a given game period. Whichever general did best with their heroes generally won; thus herohammer. This was very common in Fantasy days past and particularly painful in early editions of 40k (I'm thinking 2nd) but in 8th and 5th edition respectively, this has changed. I'll be focusing primarily on 40k since we have 5 codex releases to go on and only rule changes for Fantasy but I imagine they will be the same. This is not to say codices don't have the option for amazing characters with Kill written all over them in blood and gore (*waves to Mephiston*)  but rather their rules are different and the general rules are different.

We'll firstly take a peek at different rules. It's a lot easier to insta-gib characters over the last couple of editions in 40k (and simply damage them in Fantasy) due to the way combat works. Unless with a retinue (and how common are those in recent books?), characters can be picked out in combat and with the decline of immunity to instant death, well characters are looking pretty vulnerable to Power Fists and the like. Add in overall combat changes where you cannot keep a character safe from incoming fire by consolidating/sweeping into new units and the overall damage potential and survivability of characters drops rapidly. Most importantly in 40k is characters now have to hide in squads for protection. Before, if a character wasn't in a squad but within 6" of one, he simply couldn't be shot (Chuck Norris ffs!). Now, this is asking for lascannons to the face which requires a 'babysitting' unit. No more one many versus an army tactics thanks.

Obviously these rule changes move away from solo-characters running amok and general combat armies simply consolidating through your force but being able to hide beefed up Archons or Abaddon in a squad isn't that detrimental in the scheme of things. You can still get mutli-charges off and the character is likely to punch face. However, GW has changed their tune in how they build their codices and I for one am happy of this. Whilst characters are still quite capable of beating units up by themselves, even on a massive scale (TWC Wolf Lord), the majority of HQs and Special Characters are focused on utility, army support and FoC changes. Whilst this might make them more popular overall (which is good for GW sales), it is NOT herohammer. These characters are generally much better at higher point levels where they can affect a greater number of units and are taken for their 'buffing' or army dynamic abilities over their stat-lines. Recall, herohammer was when characters were basically one-man armies. With rule changes this simply isn't possible anymore.

This is a good thing, especially FoC swapping as it ads so much variety to the codex at hand. Being able to run a completely different list because the Troops have changed are an integral party of many characters and armies (i.e. Dante, Biker Captain, Logan, etc.). Added that many characters now have improved unit/army buffing abilities are are not clearly combat focused (i.e. psykers), herohammer certainly appears to be a thing of the past. Again, more characters, particularly special characters appear to be used but they are an integral part of the army rather than an army unto themselves.

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