Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Grotesques or Solomon Grundy vs. Hulk vs. Gary Busey

Grotesque, a dictionary describes it as something odd or unnatural in shape, appearance, or character; fantastically ugly or absurd; bizarre. In the 40K universe it is an elite Dark Eldar unit that intrigues and worries me. They remind me of Solomon Grundy, the Hulk or Family Guy's or even real life Gary Busey. They are all big crazy monsters

"I'm gonna rip the Endocrine System out of your body."

The basic Grotesque what looks to be a sizeable cost think (seven five dollar bills). They can be run in groups of 3-10 and come armed with a close combat weapon.Then you look at the stats this guy brings and it makes some sense. It comes with a WS 4, BS 1 (we’ll get to you later), strength 5, toughness 5, initiative 4, wounds 3, attacks 3, leadership 3 and a 6+ save. Well wait some of these stats are terrible; a leadership of 3, and a 6+ save are pure drek! Then there is the BS of 1. Why? Seriously why even bother? It will make sense later.

Well they do sport a strength and toughness of 5 and that is really good for Dark Eldar. Especially when you look at their special rules; the standard Night Vision, Power Through Pain, Altered Physique, Berserk Rage, and Bulky.

The first two are Dark Eldar standard so I’ll pass over them as we should all know about them. Altered Physique is where they get a pain token to start the game. This is good and helps with that 6+ save. It is also nice on a multi wound and toughness 5 model.

Then we will skip ahead to Bulky. This is for transport capacity. These guys supposed to be big mounds of muscle, tissue, knives and such. It is this rule that has them take up two slots in a transport vehicle.

Last we will hit the Berserk Rage rule. Here is where the fun and worry start. Basically during the movement phase if this unit has no Independent Character attached to it you must roll a D6. On a roll of 2+ everything is fine. If a 1 is rolled these guys go off! They become uncontrollable and lash out at everything and everyone. Any unit within 2D6” automatically takes 2D6 strength 5 AP- hits. This is friend and foe alike. Vehicle hits are taken against the side armor. Then this unit is removed from the game.

Now this rule is both awesome and terrible. These guys aren’t really cheap and the chance to lose them during the first movement phase is a possibility. The fact this hits anyone in range is risky as well. Sure it is AP-, but Dark Eldar are not known for their thick body armor. Then there is the fact these only hits the side armor of vehicles. This might have been better if it was rear armor hit instead. It means if they fire off in the midst of an armored column then they might, might cause some shaking or no damage at all depending on the vehicle hit. This means these guys need a babysitter to stay safe from going crazy and then being removed from the game.

Now that the basics are covered what can you upgrade these guys with? Well one can take a Liquifer Gun…..and that is it. Well it is cheap and effective. It replaces a close combat weapon, but since they have only one, it won’t cause any loss of attacks.

Solomon Grundy want Liquifer Gun too!
You can also pay to get an Aberration, or unit upgrade that comes with +1 attack and +1 leadership. Is this worth it? Well I’m not sure. It is cheap and extra attacks are always cool. The bump to leadership 4 is no real help.

He can take most of the standard wargear, and many of the same Wracks can take: the venom blade, mind phase gauntlet, scissorhand, and flesh gauntlet. We all know the Venom Blade by now and here is a reminder of the other options.

A Flesh Gauntlet has an awesome description of what it does. It causes extreme growth, unit the target basically outgrows their body and explodes in a maelstrom of gore! AWESOME! It a poison 4+ weapon and causes instant death regardless of toughness if it causes an unsaved wound.

The Scissorhand looks to be my favorite choice as it is poisoned at 3+. It also can be used along with close combat weapons meaning it gives an extra +1 attack. An Aberration would be running with 5 (6 on the charge) attacks that are a base strength 5. I like this option.

Mindphase Gauntlet. This thing does no real damage. Seriously it doesn’t. I does for every hit scored force the target to take both a leadership and a strength test (roll under both). If any of these fail, then the model may not attack further that round. Having to roll leadership and strength per hit scored is also nice, as eventually they will miss a roll and stop their assault. It is nice to keep people from attacking, but it lasts only that combat round and you need to have a higher initiative to really take advantage of this.

I have an issue with the BS of this unit. Why? Why does it have one at all? The only gun it can take needs no BS roll to use. It is kind of silly to even list it and it somehow figures into the model cost (not sure how G.W. does that). Why not make it zero and drop the model price a few points? It would make more sense to me than having a needless BS 1.

Anyway, why do I like this unit? Well it is multi wound and attack. It has the potential to cause a lot of damage in close combat, force those armor saves! They come base with a Feel No Pain token, which is really super good on guy with toughness 5 and 3 wounds. They can also become even better if they get a second token to give them Furious Charge. If and if they can get a third pain token, then the 3 or 4 leadership becomes meaningless. Hello big ugly tarpit! Fight your way out of that mound of weird muscle weapon drug fuelled monsters.

Then there is the modeling aspect. This is another reason I like these guys. Oh, the fun to be had cutting and pasting models together to make big ugly freak fighters.

Then there is the downside to these guys. They need a handler or risk the possibility of going away. Sure they don’t need someone to watch/ lead them, but I’m not taking that chance. This isn’t failing a Wraithsight test where you just stand there and shrug off damage. This is gone gone and probably taking some of your own guys with you at the worst.

A HQ stuck in with Grotesques is not horribly bad either. They get the majority toughness bonus for shooting damage and get a lot of ablative wounds. If it is a Haemonculus then both gain for the pain token he brings the unit. They get Feel No pain and Furious Charge to start….interesting.

So, what is my ideal Grotesque unit? Well it would be 6 to 8 strong. They would be lead by a scissorhand wielding Aberration (I like the extra attacks) one guy with a Liquifer Gun (it is so cheap why not take it?) and being lead by a Haemonculus with some wargear. I think coming out of a webway would also help. Sure they might footslog, but it would depend on the mission. The webway gets them a round or two of safety before they have to jump out and go all “HULK SMASH!” on stuff.

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