Thursday 12 July 2018

Anger and Management

(c) Games Workshop

Darn it, no battle reports in between here as I've spent my time building a demo table for Moonstone instead, however I did find time at lunch yesterday to finish off another ramble about the Necromunda skills. This time we are looking at Ferocity and Leadership, two skills that are of most benefit to the gangs in the starter set curiously (especially Escher with Leadership).

Again, images are stolen shamelessly from the Chronicles from the Underhive facebook group (this time I've focused on leaders that caught my eye) . I do have a few new toys to show off, namely my new lasgun cultists for the 3rd protocol and a 'just in case' spawn model as well as some Van Saar that need painting, but I'll save those for next time as Shooting and Savant are kind of Van Saars thing..

Ferocity skills

Goliath leader by Hurakan Summit Guides

Ferocity was another slightly underwhelming skill set in Necromunda ‘95 (which added to brawn was why Goliath gangs struggled so much in longer campaigns) but again, the new version has brought it up much closer to the other sets level. A good spread amongst houses gives it a good chance of seeing table time, especially in Goliath gangs who really benefit from some of the skills here. Ferocity is a primary skill set for Goliath, Orlock, Chaos cult and Genestealer Cults, and a secondary skill for Escher and Cawdor.  

Berserker: Passive/Proactive      (+1 attack dice on charge actions.)

Berserker is a skill you will find vies with Bulging Biceps at times for warriors equipped with unwieldy weapons to get that extra dice in melee, but it’s also good to give pure combat beasts even more attacks which is never a bad thing. The downside of Berserker- that you have to charge- isn’t actually that bad as charging is the main way to engage in melee, (the only way other than consolidating) and having someone survive a charge from a specific combat monster is actually quite rare.  (Combat is still a more reliable way to take someone out that shooting, even if it’s less common).   Berserker is very good as a starting skill for melee based champions, and if rolled randomly for even a shooter is useful as it gives them a nice bit of versatility on the table. 

Impetuous: Passive/Proactive   (4" consolidation instead of 2".)

A nice carry-over from the ’95 game, Impetuous is a really useful if underrated skill. On the surface it’s an aggressive skill that will let a combat fighter engage again after a melee, but Impetuous is also an excellent defensive skill in that it can allow a model to really shift after a melee win. Clearing 2” walls (or 4” with Clamber or using ladders) and getting back into hiding can take away the suicidal aftermath of most charges and add survivability to Melee beasts. I like Impetuous for sneaky fighters and champions designed to take down enemy gangers and juves- try to focus on models you can smash in one round, and if you can’t get into the safety of Melee you can skulk back into the shadows. There are two great combo skills for Impetuous- Clamber and Overseer. Clamber I’ve already discussed- it makes 4” go a long way on a 3D table, often in directions your enemy won’t expect. Overseer on a prominent leader is also a winner- group activate and charge an enemy, beat his face in and consolidate towards the next one, then use Overseer for another charge at a new enemy and consolidate again- even a 5” move Goliath can get potentially 24” across the table with some careful placing and this move which can be an absolute nightmare for your opponent to deal with.  Not necessarily a starting skill, it’s a good secondary skill and not bad if you get it randomly.  

Fearsome: Passive/Proactive     (WP test to charge or fail and end action immediately.)

Not quite as good as its predecessor, Fearsome now only takes effect when a model is Charged- against fighters with low WP it’s obviously very useful, but as the main form of combat in Necromunda is shooting it’s very situational. That doesn’t mean it’s useless, on a combat beast who’s going to expose himself to counterattacks it’s a nice defensive buff, especially if they have Impetuous and can get into the safety of another melee so don’t have to worry as much about getting shot. The biggest advantage of Fearsome is the psychological effect it can have on your opponent- do they want to risk losing a models entire activation to an unlucky WP test? Not starting skill calibre, Fearsome is nothing to complain about if you did get it randomly- unless you only play against Van Saar, in which case you’ve been a bit unlucky.   

Bobby Gee by Tom Fern

Nerves of steel: Passive/Reactive            (cool test to avoid pinning from ranged attacks.)

Right up there with the best skills in the game, I’ve yet to see a Goliath gang without at least one Nerves of Steel fighter in the mix. I’ve mentioned about actions as a resource before, and pinning an enemy is the easiest way of stripping that resource from them- Nerves of Steel is a great way of keeping that resource. In particular it’s great for models with an excellent cool skill like Goliaths and Genestealer Cultists as they can be relied upon to pass more than they fail, it’s also good for any unwieldy heavy weapon user as getting pinned and losing the ability to fire next turn is a pain in the ass. I’d say not as good as Spring Up due to the versatility of the agility skill, and the fact that Nerves of Steel requires you to get shot before it kicks in. Starting skill= obviously amazing, random skill= loving it.

True grit: Passive/Reactive          (roll one less injury dice when damaged, if this would be no dice instead roll extra die and you choose result.)

True Grit is a weird little skill that I can’t really decide on. It’s very useful, no doubt about that, but using it generally means things are already going wrong for you. I looked at some maths using the old probability and injury dice, and the chances of getting a flesh wound on two dice are actually pretty good- add to this reducing those horrid D2 weapons to one dice and it can really increase survivability. I would say True Grit is a solid second skill for a dedicated tank model, one that already has armour, multiple wounds and maybe a Toughness buff to boot. Like Fearsome there’s also a psychological edge to True grit- your opponent can often choose to not engage them with bigger guns as the loss of effectiveness can be off-putting when they’ve laid out 55 creds for a Boltgun you’ve just nerfed back to D1. I can see certain builds taking this as a starting skill, and not terrible as a random one. Remember you need Champs and Leaders to survive to make money after a game, and anything that helps with that is good for the long term-plan.  

Unstoppable: Passive/Reactive (In recovery phase remove flesh wound on 4+, if no flesh wounds then roll additional recovery dice on 4+.)

I didn’t rate Unstoppable at first preferring True Grit for survivability, then I played against Genestealer Aberrants and had my eyes opened (with a power pick). In one of our early campaign games an aberrant was shot up pretty early on, went down by a vent and was promptly ignored by the Goliath he was facing in favour of smashing the rest of the Cult. All of a sudden, he starting getting rid of those flesh wounds, and then pop! Back on its feet, one flesh wound (which isn't a problem when you're S5 to start and have a massive pickaxe) right in the Goliath leaders face- butchery ensued and we all decided that Unstoppable is actually pretty damn nice. Even more impressive if they already have True Grit on board it’s better to think of Unstoppable as a limited Regen ability, it forces opponents to keep hitting injured models before they lurch upright like the Undertaker about to drop a Tombstone on the nearest ganger. Would I start with Unstoppable? Not sure. Aberrants always do and I have seen some impressive use of it so far, so maybe. Randomly though it’d be a fine use of XP. (Edit- it should be noted that we play it that the additional recovery dice is a benefit, not a drawback- we allow the unstoppable player to choose a result from the two dice, rather than applying both which it's been pointed out to me the wording currently suggests as that would be just silly- no-one would take a skill that made you easier to kill!)

Cawdor Leader by Michael Nicholls

Leadership Skills

Genestealer Adept by Eric Paints

It’s so shiny and New!!! Leadership skills! Too many exclamation marks, apologies. But I am quite excited by this skill set, Leadership skills are available to every single gang via a leader’s primary and a champion’s secondary skill sets, so there no excuse for not reading up on them. There are some good skills in here, and some that are very situational. If your chosen gang has a poor Cool stat it’s definitely worth considering a Leadership skill to start with, as without it you may find yourself bottling far more often than your opponent.

Commanding presence:  Passive/Proactive         (can activate one more ally than normal.)

Group activations are a new thing in Necromunda, (as there wasn’t model by model activations in the old game) and add a lot of tactical flexibility but can be a double edged sword. On the one hand bringing a massive alpha strike without opponent’s interruptions is very enjoyable, on the other hand unless you have a big gang you’re handing the same advantage to your opponent at the end of the turn as he gets to act freely after you’ve finished.  Regardless you’ll find yourself using group activations in most games, so what difference does an extra model make? The Commanding Presence skill for me is probably better on Champions than Leaders, as it brings their group activations up to leader’s standard and gives the extra tactical flexibility without having to clump together too much. On a leader you’d need 4 models in the bubble (including the leader) to gain anything, and for most gangs that’s around half the fighters you’re bringing which is both risky and limits the amount of space you can control on the table. Definitely not a starting skill because only Leaders can start with it, and randomly I think you’d be a bit disappointed?  Worth choosing as a second skill for a Champion is about the best I can say of Commanding Presence.

Inspirational: Passive/Reactive (may re-roll failed cool checks within 6" with this fighters LD.)

Cool is a stat from the old days of Rogue Trader, but Warhammer roleplayers and Inquisitor players will recognise it from more recent years.  It is now almost certainly the most important morale statistic in Necromunda, so Inspirational  is always going to be helpful. For gangs with great Cool such as Goliaths and Genestealers it means those rare failures can be re-rolled, but it’s personal taste if you want to use a rare Leader skill for a re-roll you may never use. Gangs with weak Cool stats like Escher and Chaos cults however need all the help they can get, and a re-roll can tip you over that golden 50% pass chance that most gangs get as standard. I would definitely consider Inspirational for an Escher gang leader starting skill though it does encourage a bubble which can be unhelpful- you can however use it reactively with Sprint to send a Leader or Champion to rally troops that have fled more reliably (though Regroup is better for that role). Randomly gained Inspirational is useful for anyone so I don’t think there’d be too many complaints even if there’d be no real celebrations either.

Iron will: Passive/Reactive          (-1 to all bottle test whilst in play and uninjured.)

Again- cool checks are important, bottle checks are really important and If you are Escher you may find you need Iron Will just to stay in the game. Cool 6 is very different to Cool 7, and a world away from Cool 8 as far as the odds of your guys (and gals) sticking around goes- remember once you fail the big bottle checks then all your models who have scattered across the board need to test again, this time on their own paltry Cool (unless you’re Goliaths or Stealers who really just don’t give a damn.) far better to just pass the first one than risk losing gang members piecemeal before the turn even starts.  Iron Will is not a flexible skill, it only works in one specific situation and it’s a situation that you may never get into- in fact the hope is that you won’t. Hope however isn’t a valued commodity in the underhive, so sometimes you have to plan for the worst and Iron Will is a good example of a skill to minimise your losses when mistakes are made/dice aren’t going your way. Worth pointing out is that it doesn’t have to be your leader to gain the benefit- if you somehow end up with a champion with this skill you’ll still test on your leaders Ld with the -1 modifier. Just like Inspirational , Iron Will is definitely worth thinking about as a starting skill for Escher and other high Cool gangs.  And randomly it’s still pretty good- as long as they can avoid getting shot.

Shotgun Miley by Karl Allen-John Bonner

Mentor: Passive/Reactive            (make Ld test when ally within 6" gains EXP, if passed they gain extra point of EXP.)

A fairly unique skill outside Savant, anything that involves sacrificing in-game skill benefits for long term gains can seem underpowered when viewed against the more spectacular skills. Mentor boosts one of the hardest resources to gain in Necromunda ’17- EXP. In the ’95 days experience came from wounding hits and D6 per game so most fighters levelled up every other game after bathing in the showers of EXP. Now however the rationing taps of Hive Primus have been turned off, and with only a paltry 1EXP for turning up, and 1 when you take someone out of action (not from bleeding out either, straight skulls only), 1 for rallying, plus a few scenario based bonuses even a well performing fighter can only look to increase a level every 3-4 games, and even then they’ll be purchasing the cheaper upgrades- for skills and higher level increase you’re looking at 5 or more games barring a lucky run. Mentor offsets this sparsity of EXP by effectively doubling the XP gained to 2 within a Leaders aura, it’s upsides are that it can really speed up a gangs progress in a campaign, it’s downsides are that it requires more bubbling up, and even a decent LD leader can mess up the roll making it a frustrating skill to own. If you are going to choose Mentor, Choose it as a starting skill- the longer you have it, the more benefits you’ll gain from it. Randomly gained it’s something that will be at best a cheeky bonus every so often., but for the most part won’t affect games at all.

Overseer: Costed/Proactive       (may Order (double): target ally within 12" makes 2 free actions immediately.)

I see the Overseer skill a lot, (and moan about it a lot because people keep thinking it’s the best skill ever) but you really need to think before you take this skill. Overseer is undeniably a good skill, BUT it does mean sacrificing one activation for another, so the action taken needs to be BETTER than the other options for it to be worth doing- examples of Overseer I’ve seen-

·         Bad example 1- Orlock gang with leader and two champions all with Heavy stubber- Overseer on leader. – Why does this guy have overseer? It makes no sense? The leader is just as good as the champion at shooting, and has exactly the same weapon? Using it on a ganger would be an absolute waste as so much has been spent on the first three models the rest are going to be sparsely armed and armoured. Drop the leader’s stubber, buy more goons and then if you want to use overseer you’ll be at least using it on a weapon better than your own, getting twice the value for your credits.

·         Bad Example 2- Goliath champion with Heavy Stubber, Leader with Renderiser and Overseer. This is ass backwards- the leader of a goliath gang is the best shot, and a champion without a melee weapon is wasting his strongest abilities. When the leader uses overseer he’s not only wasting a good action for a moderate one, he’s also wasting the credits spent on the renderiser as he’s not going anywhere useful with it! The only gain from overseer here is two chances to fire it a turn, but is that enough to justify your best and most expensive fighter being inactive?   In this situation just forget Overseer and give the leader the heavy stubber- far more sensible.

·         Good example- Cawdor gang with heavy bolter champion and melee/pistol leader with Overseer. First things first- Cawdor champions are better at range than leaders, so you are already swapping a mediocre action for a good one. The Leader can use the skill on the heavy to either fire multiple times in one turn, still be able to move after firing or even have some extra shots at reloading for when it inevitably runs out. The leader himself is very cheap and can avoid taking risks by just acting as the heavy’s guard, giving both a better chance of surviving, and you aren’t wasting many creds when he sacrifices his turn for the HB to go instead as his equipment is cheap and cheerful.

You can think of Overseer as a force multiplier- if you have something great in your gang it allows you to repeat that greatness multiple times, (I’ve already mentioned it in a few skills as a nice combo skill) and the 12” range means you’ll be able to take those extra actions mostly wherever you need. If you are going to seriously kit your leader out Overseer is a waste of a skill, but if you play to its strengths it’s super powerful so definitely worth taking as a starting skill (just not on all Leaders hey?) or choosing as a second skill. Randomly gained  it’s still damn good, but you may have to rethink your leader’s role on the table to get the best from it.

Regroup: Passive/Reactive          (if active at turns end take a LD test- if passed all allies within 6" recovers from broken.)
Regroup (like Iron Will and Inspirational) is another skill that is all about damage limitation when things go wrong. For some gangs they fail cool checks so rarely that this skill is utterly pointless, for others with High Cool rallying on a better models Cool is an Emperor sent blessing. Again the biggest flaw in Regroup is its very corner-case; you’ll rarely have more than one broken fighter unless someone’s chucking scare gas around, and if there’s only one within 6” you’re only really gaining an extra rally chance each turn- nothing to sniff at but hardly game winning stuff. I’d not choose regroup unless you were Escher and even then I prefer the general re-rolls of Inspirational or the better Bottle checks of Iron Will. If you got it randomly you’d be narked off I guess. Good as a second skill on a sprint character though, as they can ensure they are the right place to rally the troops which makes it more reliable and less corner case.  

(Waac protip from miks bag of jank: Take a leader with scare grenades and Regroup, deploy all your gang except the leader in a tight bundle where the enemy can’t see them, preferably in a little terrain cul-de-sac. Leader deploys within 6 and chucks scare grenade into own gang- if any of them fail they’ll either stick behind terrain when they break or run round it toward the leader. At turns end use Regroup- boom, free EXP for everyone who rallies. Combine with Mentor for giggling EXP farming fun that doesn’t actually involve your opponent at all.)

(real protip: don’t do this! Your opponent will earn the right to slap you upside the head automatically)  

Escher Leader by Tom Carter

Well that's it for the third section, next week is the last set of skills, and potentially the most powerful- Shooting and Savant! 

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