Thursday, July 19, 2012

In Defense of the Gargantuans

There's been a lot of hate out there for the Mountain King since people picked it up at Lock n' Load.  Sure, I guess compared to the Stormwall at first it seems pretty lackluster.  If we were just to look at the raw stats, the MK has -1 P+S on its attacks, -1 MAT, -1 RAT, and -1 DEF.  It doesn't have the fancy 2 big guns or little dakka guns like the Stormwall, but it does have a SP10 POW 16 shot, which has to count for something, right?  Right? 

Well there's a lot to consider when you're deciding whether or not a Gargantuan is "worth it" compared to a Colossal.  Just like Colossals they can take lots of damage, have high P+S attacks, and can use some fancy new power attacks.  However, unlike Colossals, Gargantuans have much more utility and complexity just due to their nature as warbeasts.  Today I'll defend these massive beasts and perhaps help you consider why I think they're not as bad as others might suggest.  Gargantuans are very different from Colossals in several important ways and you need to understand that warbeasts aren't just heavy-hitters like warjacks - they fuel the warlock's powers entirely.  Here are some rules that are relevant:

Healing: Unlike with Colossals, Gargantuans can be healed by their controlling warlock (we'll come back to the Woldwrath).  While it costs 1 fury per point and that can seem expensive, it's not as much about healing back to full but healing back to full functionality.  With the maximum cost of 2 fury a warlock can completely heal a Gargantuan back to full function and even with only 3 damage boxes, the model will be hitting just as hard as it did when it landed on the table.  The same cannot be said for Colossals, as they will need someone nearby to repair them to get the same function, and even then it requries a passed command check and they have more systems that they could potentially lose.  Colossals could lose either side, their subsystem, their cortex, or their movement.  If they've lost all 5 systems, it'll be hard for any model repairing it to fix all of them and you'll lose some kind of functionality.  A Gargantuan just requires 2 fury and no rolls are required.  That's quite significant with such an expensive model that also hits very hard!

Fury vs. Focus: We haven't seen all of the stats yet for the other Gargantuans but everyone knows that fury is inherently more plentiful than focus.  Without passing judgements on which is better, the fact remains that fury can be used at will and is more flexible in it's usage since you can boost "at will".  Since the Gargantuans revealed so far have nearly the same P+S stats as their Colossal counterparts, we can deduce that Gargantuans will hit much harder in melee.  Why?  They can buy more attacks.  Even the Woldwrath with a FURY stat of 4 can still swing with 6 attacks.  Even 5 attacks is a minimal investment for a warlock compared to a warcaster, since the warlock needs to generate fury to fuel their magic anyway.  The Mountain King can buy a whopping 7 attacks, or it can use it's Power Attack: Sweep and then buy 4 more attacks.  A Colossal like the Stormwall could only Sweep and then buy 2 more swings.  Even with +1 P+S, the Stormwall averages 11 points of damage less than the Mountain King.  More importantly, the Stormwall would need 3 focus to even do that, and that's a minimum investment of 1/3-1/2 of a Cygnar warcaster's total fury, while the Mountain King will likely want to force that much anyway.

Animi: Warbeasts all have an animus that they can use and Gargantuans are no exception to this.  What's more, not only can a warbeast use their own animus, but warlocks can also cast a warbeast's animus as a spell.  This effectively means that a Gargantuan not only adds extra hitting power (as we illustrated above) but they also add to the warlock's spell list.  "But if we took two warbeasts for the same cost of a Gargantuan, we'd get an extra spell!", I hear you say.  The biggest difference here, though, is that the animus of a Gargantuan is much more difficult to remove from the table.  If I see a Woldwarden with pBaldur, I can kill that Woldwarden much more easily to remove its animus from the table than I can the Woldwrath.  These Gargantuans also have different animi than the faction had already, so they add a new level of tactical play the faction didn't have before.  For example, the Mountain King sports Amuck, which was previously found on the Rhinodon.  The animus doesn't offer nearly as much to Skorne as it does to Trolls.  Having boosted special attacks is very significant for trolls because nearly every troll warbeast has two open fists and the Thresher (* Attack) on the Axer.  While the Axer is a great warbeast alone, he and the Mountain King are BFFs, with each of their own animi helping the other.  Not only that, but depending on the animi, the warlock can just cast it himself onto the Gargantuan (like the Mountain King), allowing the beast to spend its fury on buying attacks or boosting.

Transfer Damage: This is probably one of the most significant consequences of having Gargantuans.  While you might think that having two heavy warbeasts would be better for transferring damage, Gargantuans provide a much safer alternative for transfer targets because they have more boxes.  Let me be more specific: they have more boxes per aspect.  Let's say you suffer an attack that deals 12 points of damage and you want to transfer that.  You could transfer that to a heavy warbeast, but that's enough damage to knock out one aspect of most warbeasts (such as the mind or spirit).  If you transfer that to a Gargantuan, however, it will not be close to knocking out an aspect.  Even if you suffer another 12 points of damage, that might only be enough to knock out one aspect on a Gargantuan, but that could be enough to kill that same heavy if you transferred to it before and it had already suffered some damage.  Even if you transfer it to another heavy, suddenly you have 2 heavies with 2 aspects out, while the Gargantuan might only have one aspect knocked out.  That's a difference of spending only 1 fury to heal an aspect instead of 2, and if you have someone in your face, each fury makes a difference!
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