Rise of the Death Star...Again

You've probably noticed me harping on death stars in 40k for a bit now (well both of you that read this blog anyway).  The reason for that is primarily due to their rise in the tournament scene over the past year.  If 6th edition taught us anything it's that death stars suck.  Let's be honest here.  They suck to play and they suck to play against. 

In the latter part of 6th edition 40k introduced probably the greatest game change in the game's history; the introduction of the super heavy and gargantuan monstrous creature into Warhammer 40k games.  Previously these monstrosities had been reserved for games of Apocalypse, which no one really ever played.  Of course there was great wailing and gnashing of teeth, and to a degree rightly so.  Their introduction into the game solved a crucial balance issue, however as the meta began to shift.  Stomp attacks, specifically rolling a 6 on the table, along with D weapons in general, made the death star moot.  For a time, this worked.  Seer councils started to disappear from major events.  Smashfucker went the way of the dodo for a time.  All the things we learned to hate just stopped showing up and in their place we were left with another problem; super heavies.

In fairness, I think anyone will agree who plays at a competitive event, as a player you'd rather run up against a super heavy or GMC than a death star every day and twice on Sundays.  Death stars are soul sucking fun draining leeches in this game, and super heavies brought enough of a threat to make people think twice about building armies centered around them.  You mean my smashfucker with a 2+/3++/3++ FNP can be just instagibbed by a 6 on the stomp table? Along with my apothecary and librarians? Nope. 

Then something changed.  ITC, for whatever reason, decided to allow one rule mechanic in the game which I feel has had the greatest impact on the meta; allowing look out sir on a stomp table roll of a 6.  Let's explore the mechanic briefly first.

On the stomp table, when a super heavy or GMC in close combat rolls a 6 on the stomp table, all the models under that blast marker are removed as casualties with no saves of any kind allowed.  They are just gone.  Look out sir states that anytime a character not in a challenge takes a wound, he may attempt to allocate that wound to the next closest model on a roll of a 4+ or 2+ for an Independent Character.  Notice how in the wording for look out sir it requires a wound to be made.  The 6 roll on the stomp table does not cause a wound, it simply removes from play.  It was a deliberate design mechanic to counter death stars and it worked.

Now that ITC is allowing look out sir rolls for stomp rolls of a 6, death stars are rising from the ashes.  Winning major events across north America again. Why? Because there is not threat for them. There is no incentive NOT to run them.  Thus the meta has shifted away from MSU (although that is still very prevalent of course) and top tables are seeing more and more death star builds. Unkillable units that cannot be stopped, but can only be slowed down. 

Then comes the draft FAQ where the simple question is asked "Can look out sir rolls be made against stomp attacks?" With the simple answer of "yes" to follow.  Everyone, including the masters of the ITC world, are claiming "oh look they sided with us!"  No, it doesn't mean that at all.  Why? Because the rule doesn't require a clarification. It's black and white. Look out sir rolls made be made, yes, when they are applicable.  A roll of a 6 on the stomp table does not trigger a look out sir.  It never did and it never will unless they change the rule itself or the stomp table.

Bay Area Open is this weekend.  We should get the results in by Sunday night so we'll be able to see who takes this thing home.  Maybe it won't be a death star. It helps that Aaron Aelong won't be there.  Don't be surprised to see James Carmona at the top table or at least in the top 8 with his daemon/cabal death star, which might be the nastiest in the game right now.

People complain all the time about death stars ruining the game, but then cry when the designers introduce a mechanic to combat it.  You can't please everyone in this hobby, but we all know death stars ruin everyone's fun.  Let the game play the way it's supposed to play.
Rise of the Death Star...Again Rise of the Death Star...Again Reviewed by Robert Chandler on 1:14:00 PM Rating: 5

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