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Monthly model discussion: [feb,'15] the "lesser" top 10 da models
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    Monthly model discussion: [feb,'15] the "lesser" top 10 da models

    February: The historical myth goes that the Roman Emperors Julius and Augustus had days "stolen" from the month of February to make the months of their namesakes - July and August - bigger and better than the others. This of course made February the "lesser" month of the year.


    In Dark Age, we all have those models that don't hit the table that often or we are otherwise less-likely to pull the trigger on buying. So, this months discussion is a tribute to all those overlooked...

    "Lesser" Dark Age Models, a top 10 list
    Note: This may be semi-controversial but is by no means definitive. Feel free to disagree, post your picks, etc. but also, have fun with what could otherwise be called the runts of Dark Age.


    My Criteria:

    1. A model with stats that either under-perform in relation to its point-cost or compared to another model in the same army that fulfills a similar role.

    2. A model that might similarly under-perform but also does not tend to fit well within its faction/subfaction or do anything "special" to merit it more consideration.

    3. A model with a dated or unappealing sculpt, one that traditionally players begs for a resculpt, etc.

    10.
    Dominique
    Followers of the Heretic faction

    The Good:
    Dominique actually has a decent attack and 4 AP to use it with. Also, she does benefit from Cabal which can be one of the main list types a Heretic player can build around (although I personally never have). Her Dominiatrix look can be sleek and thematic next to the rugged, flesh-oozing-off appearance of the rest of the Heretic.

    The Bad:
    This is actually Dominique's second appearance in a Dark Age faction/subfaction. Her other role is in Skarrd's Metamorphosis list. Here, for the same points, her stats are just about even (if not a teensy bit better) but one thing stands out. "My Toys are Better." Here you get one of the best upgrades in the game; the ability to create Chalicas from upgraded Buzzblades.

    For the same points, Heretic Dominique doesn't pull her weight; at least not in the "Abilities category." She's "obsessed" against one enemy model and has Cabal, but so do other Heretic. The decision to put her on the list and the decision why she ends up not getting fielded a lot by me is that for 75 points she just does not fit well in most lists.

    The Ugly: While "thematically" her look makes sense, the flagrant "nip-slips" in Dark Age are a bit too prevalent, can raise the game rating outside that appropriate for younger audiences and, admittedly, is just plain silly most the time. Dominique is by far not the worst offender but the amount/placement of skin shown on her is... off in some way. I'll stick to the Sister of Compassion for my "Nurse by the Hour" look; she can keep it covered.

    How to Best Utilize:
    A Cabal list is your best bet here and I've yet to run one but re-rolling all over the place can't be a bad thing.


    9.
    Yael and Nabu
    Forsaken faction, Prevailer subfaction

    The Good:
    Let's tackle the elephant in the room first; their gnomish, cherub-like appearance. I will say the good thing about their look is how, thematically, it shows a certain aspect of the Prevailer faction's personality - that they will utilize just about anything or anyone to further their cause; that anyone can be a weapon of war for them.

    These two tikes come with Marius FOR FREE. If you're fielding Marius, why not take them?


    The Bad:
    "But they're free," you say "how can you complain about their cost?"

    Nothing is "free." Marius costs 180 points for 3 HP and these two rascals. Esh, who admittedly is not quite as deadly as Marius (but close) is only 125 points for 3 HP and 1 dwarf. Now, Marius has Extreme Damage and Righteous charge, awesome abilities, but still, even at 50 points per HP, that would put Marius at 150 points without the Cherubs. So the Cherubs are 15 points a piece?


    The Ugly:
    I don't know how much I really need to go into this. If I were shown these models without any context I would have thought they belonged to another game; when they revealed them as a Prevailer teaser I thought it was a joke.

    It took some of the best impromptu writing in the Fanaticism book to help me overcome my brain screaming that these sculpts just don't belong in Dark Age.


    How to Best Utilize:
    That being said, "Hang in there Boys" does not work on Non-Living Models. Archangels are Non-Living. You can, however, pass wounds off from the Angels onto these imps (Raphael can keep them, then, from being killed) and get a few extra HP out of them a piece (of course, Esh and Zephon still remain a more efficient way to do this).


    8.
    Cabrakan/Coatlai
    Kukulkani faction

    The Good:
    There is something about giant, grandiose models that captures the attention of everyone around them. These are two such models.

    They're in a new-ish faction, one that's as yet a tad under-developed and so their stats are at a true 1.0 mark (and one of them hasn't even been released yet). Time should tell that they can only get better and adapt more to their faction.


    The Bad:
    I am thrifty. In the real world I can appreciate things like a sweet car while at the same time thinking, "that's too damn expensive!"

    The same with these two. Coatlai currently sits at 185 points for 3 HP! Holy crap! I get that it is, by far, the biggest model with alternative (gliding) deployment and that having that thing drop in on you would be an absolute nightmare. But it would also die just as fast as 3 Harpies which could arguably do the same amount of damage but at half the cost.

    I don't feel as strongly about the Cabrakan in many of its upgraded forms. But until it gets its engine rolling, its kind of a pansy at 200 points for 4 hp.


    The Ugly:
    We don't know how the Coatlai sculpt will end up but I'm sure it will be more awesome than the Cabrakan. But, ug, Cabrakan. This blocky, walking tower... thing rubs me the wrong way.

    Now, with some impressive painting (and maybe replacing the angular weapons with something more daunting) I'm sure it can definitely catch the eye. The problem is no amount of my painting skill is going to help this sculpt.


    How to Best Utilize:
    Honestly? I do hate playing against Gliding Deployment or Assassinate. I've thought about just deploying Cabrakan for his Spotter ability alone. That way I could hide my War Priest in his shadow.

    Maybe in 1,000 points; in anything less he just doesn't fit well (and at any level I definitely do no have the Bio Energy to spare to feed him each round).


    7.
    Brute
    Outcast faction

    The Good:
    As more high-HP models become popular and models become harder to kill, Extreme Damage becomes more and more important.

    Here, we will be talking about the "Old" stats of the Brute and, one good thing to note - and this is universal across all models in Dark Age - is how every model get's consideration in terms of getting revamped or revised. The new model is, in my opinion, a definite improvement.

    The Bad:
    The old Brute was the slowest model in the game. "Push" given by the Brute Pusher helped, but the "7" slot deals solely with the slow Brute himself. Sure, you could bash something mercilessly... if you could ever catch it. Chances are, however, you couldn't

    Also, an interesting thing to note about Blok Stopper is how ever model that has it seemingly has a defense that is 2 higheer than average... not much of a benefit really.

    The Ugly:
    These are some older sculpts, especially compared to most of the other look. Because of it, they have the bulky, blocky, low detail prevalent for the models of this time period. Now, Outcast, more than most, can get away with it and for the Brute this could even be considered trademark. Still, it would be interesting to see what a new take on this old model would look like.

    How to Best Utilize:
    Extreme Damage! Let's wait and see if the new Pusher retains Push. Then all of a sudden a squad of these goes from a never-field to suddenly a very dangerous, mobile squad.


    6.
    Blizzard
    Dragyri faction, Ice Caste subfaction

    The Good:
    He has all the trademarks of his Sub-faction; he hits hard, has high armor but is slow and easy to hit.

    The Bad:
    I tried not to put too many models on my top 10 with a "other models do the same thing better" motif. Blizzard however is my #1 offender.

    Statistically speaking, a Frostbite is going to perform the same only it has twice the PW, Brutal and is 10 points cheaper (and 10% easier to hit) but with a psychogenic that can aid his entire army. Even with a 60% chance of adding Cauterize, Numb and +2 PW, Blizzard is better left spending that AP on attacking and, actually, better left in the box most of the time.

    The Ugly:
    No complaints here though, for the most part the Dragyri are some of the prettiest sculpts in the game and "Ice" is always an effect I like to see in model painting projects. Two axes or one, makes no difference to me.

    How to Best Utilize:
    A head-scratcher to be sure. Even if Frostbite didn't exist, I tend to like some of the Ice Caste's faster models or, at least, ones that are have a tad bit more HP if they are going to be trudging slowly up field. Blizzard is truly one of the hardest models stat-wise for me to justify.


    5.
    Scion
    Brood faction, Guile subfaction

    The Good:
    4 attacks with Paralyzing Poison... 1 Bio Gen...

    The Bad:
    120 points for 2 HP.

    Scion isn't a bad model by any means. For 150 points, however, you can get 2 Lashers, only 20 points more than Scion and twice the HP with no loss in attack.

    The reason I never previously complained that hard against Scion however was the "But it has Bio Gen" chant from other players. This used to be true; not so much any more. With Helexa gobbling up 3 Bio Gens and Bio Gens themselves having a 1-per-500 restriction, other Bio Gen models decreased in value considerably. After all, going down the list what exactly is worth taking as a 4th Bio Gen pick?

    The Ugly:
    I have a love/hate relationship with Brood Sculpts. Slimy, bulbous, tentacles do fit their theme after all. Still, Scion is one of those that pushes this a tad far. 4 tentacles (a nightmare to assemble btw), all posed about oddly, and not one of them to cover up a bit more? There is a Japanese-comic joke here somewhere...

    How to Best Utilize:
    A paralyzing poison list first comes to mind. The problem is that many lists now run heavy resistance to poison, such as non-living Skarrd, Core, Toxic Cult, etc.

    Also, Guile has fallen out of favor with me a bit. It doesn't have the heavy hitters that Terrorize or Eradicate do. Still, when I play I have a lot of success when I out-attack my opponent and a Lasher-heavy list lead by Scion would be interesting to see, especially with hit and run.
    Last edited by Never Knows Best; 02-12-2015 at 11:20 PM.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Never Knows Best View Post
    Blizzard
    He has all the trademarks of his Sub-faction; he hits hard, has high armor but is slow and easy to hit.
    I wouldn't say 'slow'. He is 11% slower than probably most of the models in the game (since the standard tends to land around 3AP, 3" move for 9" total). In my eyes, 'slow' is a description that should be used for stuff that is properly seriously slower than the average. A 6" max move/turn is slow. An 11% speed difference is almost insignificant, particularly when backed up with 20AR/2HP. It comes down to personal thresholds I guess, which is probably where my point of contention really lies. I would start considering +/- 30% of normal speed to be entering the fast/slow territory, since at that point you actually have movement rates that really make a difference. 8" instead of 9" per turn is basically negligible. If you factor any AP expenditures into things prior to or during the move, the Ice Caste stuff comes out equal or ahead.

    I believe they should be slow, though, because I'm sick of getting steamrolled by Ice Caste vs my normal K3 lists simply because I have no effective way of dealing with the triple/quadruple Trueborn lists before they walk into my face and punch any given model to little pieces within 2AP of making base contact. If they're going to be very hard to kill, and having at the absolute worst, a 50% chance of causing wound with any given AP spent on attacks, then they don't sacrifice enough movement to justify being that monstrous. That may be another discussion though.


    I also agree with your assessment of Cabrakan/Coatlai. 185 points for a 3wound model is fucking insane.
    Cabrakan runs in at 305 by the time you pay the Devoted Priest tax. He might have been a list contender before the ninja edit to the faction document that prevented more than 1 skull counter being dumped on him each turn, but as it stands at the minute, I have to say I'm pretty glad I didn't buy him in the time between the initial faction document release and the realisation it had been stealth updated. I don't even know if I could justify putting him into a 1k points list.
    Last edited by Ap0k; 02-02-2015 at 01:15 PM.

  3. #3
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    4.
    POD
    Brood faction

    The Good:
    Pud control = 3 free models to fight with. I am getting more and more convinced that this attribute should be among somewhere in a successful Brood List.

    The Bad:
    Here is the Red Herring: You think to yourself, "I'm going to get all these free, extra Puds from Ingest!" One of the main reasons this model is on the list? No, you're not.

    Abilities that trigger from Bite reflex can be rare to come by. Still, attacks like from Johann and Worm Shepherd can make them work (admittedly with a higher AS). At as 5, the odds are around 30% to "plant your ovum." Worse still, there is a secondary requirement needed to get a free Pud. AND your POD has to survive the game long enough to pull this off. To put it simply, you're realistically looking at 1 free Pud every 2 games or so. For 75 points I can look elsewhere for my gimmicks.

    The Ugly:
    And here it is. Consistently the POD places in the "ugliest Dark Age model" contest.

    Now, here's the benefit of the doubt I'll give it. The Pod is suppose to look ugly, given the right paint job it ends up fitting the sculpt and I actually don't mind my paint job. But even as a grotesque monster, the legs not matching the body not matching the head not matching the... what is that coming out of the mouth? It's perhaps suppose to be the ugliest model in Dark Age and it succeeds.

    How to Best Utilize:
    Getting the Pud count high is an excellent strategy and this is the cheapest way to get 3. Just don't count on too many more extra.

    3.
    Haniel
    Forsaken faction, St. John subfaction

    The Good:
    John is a Saint in serious need of some good, ranged options. He has Elijah now which helps a ton and Haniels were really a supplement to his range before hand.

    The Bad:
    Still, take a Coil and add a SP attack and 20 points and that, basically was a Haniel. Thematically, they also don't have the other attributes of high armor, resiliency that John's forces are known for. A slow, armorclad cannon bearer or a sidestepping, minigun toting madman would fit much better.

    John was one of my first plays and I've yet to pull the trigger on this model.

    The Ugly:
    The look isn't bad but this is a thematic thing as well. John has flair and an heir of royalty about him and his followers. They push the boundaries of technology and carry an over-abundance of armor. So what's with these pig-stick-toting, tribal scrubs?

    How to Best Utilize:
    Get coils and forget about SP. Once the enemy gets close enough for SP, John's thugs can do all the work a SP would do anyway.

    2.
    Firestorm Leader
    Forsaken faction.

    The Good:
    Like Extreme Damage, ST weapons have been getting more favor in my lists. Basically, they are like regular range attacks but with between +2 to +5 AS on average from being able to avoid range and cover but also with the ability to hit multiple models.

    Fire is an above-average weapon ability and Guerrilla Tactics can be useful to disengage your range models when in combat.

    The Bad:
    But Guerrilla tactics isn't that useful. For a 1HP model to become engaged and NOT die is miraculous, especially with the defensive stats on a Firestorm or Leader. Even still, with 3 AP does a Firestorm have something better to do than to spend 2 to disengage and fire?

    Firestorms themselves can be useful. Even though Kaboom is a dangerous, dangerous ability now - one likely to result in the loss of your own models - having ST weapons for the price of a Coil can be rationalized. Spending 15 more points for G.T. however is a hard argument to make.

    The Ugly:
    Of all the older models, Firestorms have aged probably the worst. From the poses to the details, these models range from dull to ugly.

    How to Best Utilize:
    The "leaders" in each of the Forsaken classes could all stand a little bump in what they offer, since the point premium you pay is sizeable. Here, the Firestorm Leader suffers the worst. In 1000 points, if you really wanted to, trying to make use of the 8" squadlinking is the only reason I could see for using one.


    Honorable Mention
    Rend, Core faction: The Rend took a dramatic fall from being one of the core, melee powerhouses of the Core as each change brought it lower in importance and each added model better filled that spot of dealing consistent damage. The biggest change being that, now that Gamma models are not required, a gamma model like the Rend suddenly becomes more of a liability for the points than its worth.

    Jon Woe, Skard faction: I met Jon Woe, the player - an awesome guy. And I will say that his model has some impressive stats. What's the issue then? Well, for anyone but Metamorphosis, fielding Woe means he counts as the only Grapher you can take - which means not taking a healer. Since healers are some of the most vital components in a list, this is a trade I am unlikely to make.

    X'cess/Lucky, Bounty Hunter: Two 90 point models, 2 HP each. I've said before, they usually just end up not being worth it. Lucky is the prettier of the two and so easier by far to justify owning, if only as a cheerleader on the sidelines. X'cess' "Girl with a Dragon Tattoo" look isn't horrible and she has the better stats of the two of them but, as is, Poison is one of the worst weapon abilities in the game.

    1.
    Shard Slave

    Dragyri faction
    The Good:
    I'll tell you, if anyone thinks this is a "negative list" then my #1 pick for "lesser" DA models should be proof on the contrary.

    It was certainly hard picking a "least" model. What's more, it's a model that has a lot of useful qualities. Infiltrate+slave prep activation has become an absolute staple of grabbing objectives early. Area denial is all the rage. And it's another, cheap Dragyri model that can be used in any force.

    The Bad:
    However...

    I'm not crazy about the shard field being removed simply if the opponent spends 1 AP on a range attack. What's more, the area denial is about 1"... not a crazy amount.

    At best you might be able to catch an enemy model within 5", activate and drop a Shard Field on them causing a PW:9 hit. But it's 20 points that could be better spend on a Guard Slave or multiple smaller slaves, each that could potentially get multiple attacks off, and the Shard Slave has no other tricks up its sleeve or better survivability.

    The Ugly:
    Again, the Dragyri are a beautiful faction for the most part but Slaves, being less important, got less important sculpts. There isn't much to say about the Shard Slave other than it looks a lot like the Sling Slave - both being a tad bland.

    How to Best Utilize:
    Like Cinder Slaves, place them close to the enemy infiltrators, activate them first, then blow the enemy up round 1. Also, since Prep phase round 2 is the first phase objectives can be taken, these infiltrators can snatch them up.
    Last edited by Never Knows Best; 02-12-2015 at 11:22 PM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ap0k View Post
    I wouldn't say 'slow'....
    100% agreed and you'll note I put this all under the "Good" section. I've resigned myself to the fact that the Ice Caste is, for the most part, a faction that trudges down the field and bops you on the head.

    The fact that the Blizzard is no different in this respect is not the critique per se, only that its similar to its Ice Caste brethren but also a tad more point-expensive and while not bringing anything special to the table. It doesn't do anything to differentiate itself or make me want to field it. Only in this way, if it had -for example - 3" movement or something else to make it stand out would it be more worth while but as-is it's definitely a candidate for the list.

  5. #5
    I think the real difference between the Frostbite and the Blizzard is the offence/defence ratio. Frostbites hit pretty hard, but are more reliant on one of those few single attacks getting through so they can benefit from the extreme damage, which makes them a bit less offensive. Similarly, obscuring fog has more utility both for personal protection and force multiplication where nearby models are concerned.

    But yes, having just run the numbers, it doesn't really seem like there's any incentive to run them over Frostbites. I had figured the 2 attacks per AP and PW8 would make up the difference in combat prowess, and give them a slight edge over their more defensively oriented counterpart, but that, hilariously, doesn't seem to be the case. There's not really much reason to take an offensively oriented Blizzard when you can pay slightly less for a Frostbite that's more capable in combat and brings an AOE defensive option to the table.

    The best reason I can think of is if you're not going to be playing against any multi-wound models. In which case the Frostbites ED is wasted. Only at that point is the Blizzard going to work out better (but he will be significantly better).

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    Re: Blizzard - "Back in the day", Blizzards were notably faster than Frostbites. As a result, Frostbites never were taken. Seems like we may have swung too far in the other direction. FWIW, I still don't think Blizzards are bad, but aren't numerically as good as a Frostbite.

    I more or less agree with the list. I don't know that Shard Slaves would have been my #1 choice (I actually really like them for Infiltrate alone), but yeah - their rules are showing some age.

    In terms of fixes, here's my 2 cents on how you make all of these viable:

    10. Dominique - Let her count as a Sister of Charity and allow her to give out Drugged (but still count against the FA for SoC).

    9. Nabu and Yael - I don't really know what to say here. I'm still on the fence on Marius as we haven't seen what Templars are yet.

    8. Coatlai/Cabrakan - Coatlai could probably go down in points a smidge (He's more expensive than Saint Johann. Let that sink in). Cabrakan I like, but he's definitely someone you need to build an army around.

    7. Brute - Here's hoping new Brute fixes some of Old Brute's problems. The change to MV 3 is already a big fix.

    6. Blizzard - Make Frostbites more expensive. This guy's stock instantly goes up.

    5. Scion - She's got a identity crisis right now. Either she's a super Lasher, at which point she should probably be HP 3. Or, she's an assassin at which point she needs some additional defensive kit (e.g. - trade Biogen(1) for Parry or Combat Reflexes)

    4. Pod - Get rid of Latch-On on "Face Hug" and change it to only trigger on KD models. Give it a low KD on it's claws.

    3. Haniels - Man, if these guys had Tracker, I would love them.

    2. Firestorm Leader (I'd argue Ravage leader is probably right up here too) - The thing that scares me the most about Firestorms is MAL and Kaboom. If the Leader had Superior Maintenance(3) that could only be spent on Firestorms, I'd be happy. Or, hell, Field Order(Luck).

    1. Shard Slave - Needs a rules clean up. I wish their fields worked like smaller Inferno Shards. It would just play cleaner.
    Last edited by McNs; 02-03-2015 at 05:34 PM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by McNs View Post
    2. Firestorm Leader (I'd argue Ravage leader is probably right up here too) - The thing that scares me the most about Firestorms is MAL and Kaboom. If the Leader had Superior Maintenance(3) that could only be spent on Firestorms, I'd be happy. Or, hell, Field Order(Luck).
    I hadn't checked this post in a while and I just wanted to say, some of these comments are among some of the best I've seen yet. Of all of them I definitely have to pick out the "Firestorm" suggestion, as it's absolutely brilliant.

    Specifically, Superior Maintenance on the Firestorm Leader would be an absolute gamechanger as the Forsaken desperately needs this in a lot of lists and the 60 point FsL would be the cheapest way to get them. The only downside would be that no one would then field the underwhelming Weaponsmith.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Never Knows Best View Post
    I hadn't checked this post in a while and I just wanted to say, some of these comments are among some of the best I've seen yet. Of all of them I definitely have to pick out the "Firestorm" suggestion, as it's absolutely brilliant.

    Specifically, Superior Maintenance on the Firestorm Leader would be an absolute gamechanger as the Forsaken desperately needs this in a lot of lists and the 60 point FsL would be the cheapest way to get them. The only downside would be that no one would then field the underwhelming Weaponsmith.
    I've always had mixed feelings about where the Weaponsmith landed. At 70 points with a reasonable, but not great, gun - he's pricey for SM(3) when compared to a Grafter or Fixer [who, admittedly, is now SM(2)]. Would love to see him gain Jury Rig and Scavenge in the new cards.

    On further thought, I also worry that giving SM to the FsL encourages you to only take the FsL and not Firestorms. I thought about it, and I think Field Order(Firestorms(Cabal)) is probably a better bet.

    More broadly, I think the SP/ST units from Genesis and Exodus are in a weird place right. Kaboom is really, really wonky. While STs are some of the best ranged attacks in the game, Kaboom is a big cost to get it. Toxic Mistresses at least make up for it with a ST AS of 8 (and in faction Poison immunity). Firestorms, with a base AS 5 streams just aren't worth the risk.

    Now, if you stream lined Kaboom to Goes Out with a Bang....

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by McNs View Post
    I thought about it, and I think Field Order(Firestorms(Cabal)) is probably a better bet.
    I liked your Lucky idea, which is only a 1 per game effect (unless it was changed).

    Cabal with an RF 1 means you're only really going to Mal once every 100 attempts (a 19 or 20 rerolled to a 19 or 20) which is waaaay better than SM.



    Quote Originally Posted by McNs View Post
    Now, if you stream lined Kaboom to Goes Out with a Bang....
    It used to be! If you have a copy of Apocalypse, Kaboom didn't have a scatter movement nor an "opponent places the template." Basically your Kaboom models were live grenades, daring your opponent to hit them...

    arguably perhaps it was a little too overpowered but the fix has swung to the point that Kaboom is one of my least-liked SAs. Currently they rarely do anything "good" and instead can be very, very bad. Zetamax and Toxic Mistress are the only ones I consider (and the Toxic Mistress SP/ST are most likely typos... should be reversed.)

  10. #10

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    Even an SM(1) Firestorm Leader would potentially be worth taking. You usually know when a MAL is truly deadly.
    Plus, it even gives reason to take these guys even in Luke's gang.

    It just always felt like Firestorms were outmatched by other choices, owing to their 'ok' weapon (power creep has made it decidedly less cool), plus their horrific survivability, plus that downside...

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