Monday, January 25, 2010

Why Are There No Shooty Characters?

I suppose I had better rephrase this. Why are there hardly any shooty characters? I was pondering this as I thought about the state of my Eldar. 13 years ago, I saw a picture of Maugan Ra in a GW catalog and knew from that moment I would play Eldar. While in his current incarnation he can put out more shots than almost any other model, it's still not a lot of shots. Furthermore, he can't pick out single models, like Telion (one of the few shooty characters).

Image copyright Games Workshop

Most characters are fit for close combat. What's more heroic, a character who sits back and shoots or one who boldly charges the enemy? Also, close combat has the advantage of being able to attack during both yours and the enemy's turn. Shooting is only done on your turn. Maugan Ra shooting (provided you rolled perfectly) could potentially kill 5 models in one game turn, while in one game turn of close combat he could potentially kill 8, 9 if you charged. Plus if he broke the unit he could potentially wipe them out entirely.

In order to make a proper shooty character they need to be able to do one of two things: either be able to ignore cover and armor saves and remove whichever casualties you want with reliable wounding rolls, or put out an insane amount of shots. The Vindicare Assassin can pick his target, but he's still rolling on a 4+ to wound.

Now that I look at the new codices and the coolness of the characters, it makes the Phoenix Lords look even more underwhelming. I'd like there to be characters who are just as deadly in the shooting phase as others are in the close combat phase. Let's hope that when the Eldar are redone, the Phoenix Lords, especially the shooty ones get their proper due.

What do you guys think?


  1. I guess it is the basic problem that the rate of fire is pretty much determined by the gun. If you can make a gun that has 2-3 times the rate of fire normal version you would equip it to all you elite units not just the very top guy. So they generally make up for this with a few special rules.

    Sort of like why do marines all use bolters when stormbolters are better and usable by marines in normal armor not just terminators.

    Telion has eye of vengence but his special bolter while better than a normal bolter would be a poor replacement for most units.

  2. Mauggy is one of the often overlookd Eldar HQ choices, and of the phoenix lords one of the best, if used with some guile.

    He is the mainstay of my harlequin army. Join a harlie unit with a shadowseer and hang back- mauggy can shoot the 36" and can't be shot back at due to veil of tears- from far away anyway. This makes a very annoying shooty dude.

    But beyond that his value lies with his BS and fast shot/crack shot. Four S6 rending shots hitting on a 2+ that can ignore cover is huge! It ignores smoke on vehicles, screening units for monsterous creatures- which you get to re-roll failed wounds increasing a chance for rends, and then when out in the open you shift over to fast shot.

    Add to this acute senses for dawn of war + nightfight which always shows up in tourneys, plus with the S6 power weapon and I7 he is good in the assault. The only thing lacking is an invul save.

    I think the reason why who don't see more of these guys and autarchs, etc. for Eldar is the fact that psychic powers are so key to making the Eldar army work- for now, but GW is working fast to undermine that with each new codex, and soon it will not be worth it to take a farseer, then the shfir will be back to the phoenix lords and autarchs.

  3. Good post and good comments!

    I think part of it is historical, or follows the same patterns as historical forces. Did US Civil War officers fire cannons, or even muskets themselves? No, they usually had a sword and pistol. You didn't see WWI-II captains manning the HMGs or bazookas either. Give those weapons to specialists. Leaders are best used to lead - to help get the most out of the overall unit. At the point when being able to give orders breaks down and it's largely everyone for themselves - close-quarters action - they may as well have some gear to help them - things like swords and sidearms.

    I like the trend that has been coming along in recent books, that has leaders actually lead, and affect the performance of other units. In older books/editions, most leaders didn't actually lead beyond imparting their Ld to an attached unit, so they were largely just used as CC machines.

    Shooty characters are becoming more common - witness things like the Shock Attack Gun or Conversion Beamer - but I doubt they'll ever really eclipse the CC characters.

  4. Well, as eriocrhome said, you need a lotta firepower on the fig to make a difference.

    While Maugan Ra can be nasty in shooting, the real reason I like him is that he's solid in any phase of the game.

    There are very few ICs that come to mind as being solid in both phases.

    However, I'd note there ARE at least a couple of shooty-ish characters: Farsight and Shadowsun in the Tau 'dex. Farsight heads up a 7-man Crisis Suit team, and Shadowsun carries a pair of fusion blasters and no CC capability.

    Still, the closest thing I can think of to shooty characters past that are Telion and a Master of the Forges with a conversion beamer. Everyone else that has a gun usually has it as a sidearm; while Pedro DOES have a nifty AP2 storm bolter, he's more there for the powerfist and the leadership.

    Hopefully, if/when the Eldar get a revamp, I suspect that their leaders will become more...leadery. The Farseer's default for psychic support/defense, and if the Autarch could do MORE than offer you +1 to reserves, you'd probably see it fielded more.


Related Posts:

Related Posts with Thumbnails