Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The game of Love and Hate

I'm sure all of you know by now that I am happy to share my opinions about things.  I've stopped sharing my opinions on real-life things (for reasons that I won't go into here) but my propensity to share about fantasy crap continues unabated.  On this particular blog, I've found it wholly refreshing to share some of those opinions in as hilarious a manner as I can, and somehow I've even gathered a few followers for it.

Today, I plan to rant some more, but I'm going to rant about opinions I shared before and how I have to rescind a bit.  I've found myself changing my mind lately and that upsets me, since my opinions are well-supported and entertaining.  As it turns out, though, I can still be entertaining when I change my mind.  So what am I talking about?

Let's start with Chaos Space Marines army.  I have a large Word Bearers army (somewhere around 4k points and steadily growing) and I am so focused on the heretics in crimson that I feel lost when I pick up any of my other armies.  Why is this an issue?  Well, if you would have talked to me two decades ago, when I was a noob and had only began collecting my second army, I would have told you that anyone that plays Chaos is an anti-populist and overwhelmed by their need to 'be different'.  I would have waxed philosophic about how Chaos is the stupidest army in the game because following a path that leads to guaranteed damnation and probable soul-consumption is moronic.  I would have preached about the glory of belonging to the Imperium, where the massive organization is the only hope humans have in a galaxy that's trying to eat them, or Eldar, where the greatest empire in galactic history is at least focused and concise on their goals.  And yet, for the second time in a decade, I've fallen to the dark side.

You see, Chaos is everything they're supposed to be- evil, sadistic, single-purposed, and chaotic (duh).  Following the Chaos gods is certain to end a human soul in the belly of some unfathomably evil being, even though hundreds of years of great power are promised and usually given.  Donning a mark will end in nothing but regret and hatred for the entirety of a human's life, even if it bestows unique gifts and skills.  But it does offer two things that the Imperium cannot offer- cooler toys and lots of spikes and chains!  I have to admit that my Word Bearers are attractive to me (my favorite colour is red and that helps alot) since they have much more 'manly' traits than my good-guy counterparts.  The vehicles are alive and angry and the troops are very visibly intimidating.  I love my Ultrasmurfs and enjoy my Dark Angels muchly, but they aren't nearly as mean-looking as my Word Bearers.  I find myself happier to pull out the army and stare at the models than I do with the good guys.

Now let's talk about some of the models that I have expressed displeasure with.  The first is the Heldrake.  I hate the Heldrake.  I think the model looks stupid.  I think the background for the model is contrived at best.  I know I would prefer to have a FW Chaos flyer more.  I don't like the cartoony look of the Heldrake, or the fact that it's so different from anything else in the game.  I don't like to see Power Ranger enemies sneaking onto the 40k battlefield.  Then something crazy happened...

The other day, I had my entire IG Armoured Company spread across my table.  Rows and rows of Leman Russes and Chimeras sat lined up, with the guns of Basalisks and super-heavies casting a shadow over them.  But sitting behind the mess was the newly-built Heldrake flyer.  There was something about that image that still makes me smile today.  You see, I realized just how different the model was.  Dozens of boxy, basic tanks sat arrayed in neat formation in direct contrast to the spike-ridden beast suspended in mid-air.  The particular view evoked images of a massive beast-machine swooping down on order and devouring hapless Imperial tanks.  It just fit so well that I couldn't help but to appreciate it.  And then I realized that I suddenly liked the model.  Dammit!  I still hate the model with a passion, but it appears that the feeling is conditional.  Lo and behold, I rescind my total hatred of the model.

Finally, I move on to the Defiler.  Now this is a bit different as I have already sermonized about my love of the Defiler.  But I seem to be rather alone in my love of the model.  Better yet, this isn't about love of the model at all, but that I love the rules for the model (except the armour value, of course).  Everyone I talk to thinks the same of the model as I do of the Heldrake model.  But I am very different in this way.  I think the Defiler fits the Chaos army better than the two new Daemon-engines.  Whereas the Heldrake and the Forge/Mauler-fiends are copies of one another, the Defiler is an obvious 'normal' machine that has been 'adapted' for its role as a vessel of Daemons.  It's little more than a Leman Russ with a shrunken body, a magnified turret, and legs.  Add some spikes and more weapons and BLAM! new machine.  It fits all-too well.

Let me expand on my love of the Defiler for a moment...  I had a thought last night that made my day.  I was thinking about my love of the Defiler and my inability to convince myself to add a Helbrute or Vindicator.  I like the Helbrute for when it touches the enemy and gets to go crazy all over the Imperial lapdogs (or Xenos scum that I happen to face far more often these days), but I don't like its inability to cause any real damage at range.  I like the Vindicator (so much, in fact, that every Imperial Space Marine army I have includes at least one) for the big pie-plate it lays down on those pesky Imperial Terminators (or anyone else I have to kill).  but I don't like how easily it dies as it gets closer to the enemy.  And then it hit me- the Defiler is a cross between the two!  I get a walker, with a 5+ invulnerable save and more attacks, plus a pie-plate (at slightly lower strength) and a couple more weapons.  And it all costs less points than the Vindicator and Helbrute combined (although not much less, to be fair).  So the Defiler gives me two models of effectiveness for only one slot.  How can you not like the machine?

But I digress.  The Defiler model isn't bad at all.  But I do have to admit that the model seems outclassed compared to the other, newer Daemon-engines.  I enjoy the Defiler more than most anyone else in the hobby, but I do have to give credit where it's due, and the model could probably stand a bit of an update.  Again, I rescind a previous opinion, although this one a little less than the last one.

So here's the deal:  I prize my Defilers and Heldrake more than I should.  I may strongly believe that the Undivided aspect of my book isn't as strong as some Marks, but I think the models more than make up for it.  I don't like the look of the strongest troops in that book, the Plague Marines, but I absolutely love the look of the less-effective models.  And for that, I must conclude that I hate to love these things but love to hate nonetheless.  A barely-understandable contradiction, right?  And therein lies the game...

This pic gets better every time I post it.

Let me know what you guys love to hate or hate to love.  And, of course, Happy Hobbying!


  1. Interesting post! I too have a love/hate relationship with a number of the Chaos models from the recent release but find myself drawn to the army nonetheless. I'm right there with ya on the Heldrake and the Defiler - I dig the fact that the wings on the Heldrake bear a passing resemblance to the ones on the Hellblade from FW, as though it's devolved from that model. I just wish the back half of the model wasn't so... Unfinished? Unbalanced? There's just something about it that doesn't sit quiiiiite right with me. On the other hand I love the aesthetic and general idea of the Defiler, but it's a shame the fact that it's such an imposing looking model means it draws an inordinate amount of fire. Still, things shooting at it aren't shooting at some other critical unit!

    I'm an old-school Tzeentch guy m'self, and though they're rather expensive in the new book I continue to doggedly follow the changer of the ways through each edition!

    Thought provoking stuff, and I love that last pic - keep up the great work!

  2. I used to hate the Defiler model quite a lot. That lasted until I saw them on the table. Now that I have one of my own I actually love the damn thing! The Heldrake is starting to grow on me but I'd much rather see something more similar to the older chaos flyers.

    I think the topic of the article is very much in line with the chaos army as a whole. As wild and varied as the CSMs are and become so too are their players... things change, and we sometimes it takes awhile to get over it, but change is inevitable... and that's CSMs.