1 Sep 2010

Retro Review: The Fire Prism


Ok As promised I'm going to pick up here as I have some time and no fishies are biting on Vassal for 400pt com pat training.

The Eldar codex tries to sell you the prism as some kind of ultra advanced awesome tank hunter par excellence and in 4th maybe it was getting there..... dunno I kinda missed 4th due to it sucking.

Its the only long ranged str 9 or more available in the book, 5th means we need this and could infact do with some MoAr,( I'm in danger of going off on a side rant about the epic failure that is the bright lance.)

In theory str 9 should really help with the ever increasing occurrence of av 11-12 spam the main advantage of the prism over the other s9 in the book is that it can be applied from extreme rage right from the start of the game, in its current incarnation the Eldar book will NEVER compete with 5th edition books for long ranged str 8-9-10 AT so we have to use Alpha strike,and the extreme range and the mobility of the prism to hopefully start shaking/stunning/killing enemy armour from the get go. Sadly due to the vagaries of scatter dice weapons it is an extremely bi-polar weapon system (for me at least) I have won three games and only had 2 misses over a combined total of maybe 12-15 turns and then for the subsequent five games had it fail at everything due to a combination of missing/sucking and cover saves. Maybe its my meta around here but cover saves just seem to be on everything and it makes me EMO when my prisms bounce constantly :o(

Its also the only way to get a reasonable accurate long ranged str 10 ap 1 in the book and this as well as the str 6 ap3 linked (with doom) 'has' given me some great moments. however these great moments only make the seeming randomness of its accuracy more painful when it fails you. Largely this is because the opportunity to hit a bunched up squad with no cover does not come along often as smart opponents will keep at least somewhat spread out/in cover while the prisms are functional. also bear in mind if you will, that you have to use 2 thirds of your available HS slots and cough up a landraider (painful yes ?) to get this in a 5th ed book you could buy three for one slot.

Considering the options available to other races/books this is actually a shit deal and most of the time I find myself trying to get lucky with the straight 2 str 9 shots as I may be able to get two targets or more ID ap 2 hits on one unit. even with Tl it veers from pinpoint accurate to special olympics shot-put from one game to the next. Most competitive gamers Hate this kind of inconsistency and seeming randomness, sometimes I wonder if my prisms are having synchronized periods as they do share the same box...  So you are not going to see many prisms at a tourney atm.

I honestly both love and hate mine, I love them for everything they should be and the occasional glimmer of hope they give, but hate them for what they actually are as they often fail me when I need them the most, worst example that springs to mind was cooking 6 fire dragons instead of the unit of Sternguard about to let rip on them.... Nerd rage would be an understatement.

For arguments sake if we Exclude D-cannons for reasons I intend to discuss at a future point, they are the only high str low AP templates available to the army and as such have been pure gold (when they hit....) vs various marine armies and especially the FNP spam cropping up, it is possible to get about 8 models under the 3" blast however some games a single wep dest result or just failure to hit anything turns them into a flying TL shuriken cat/cannon which will also loose you the ability to get those linked shots, 230 points better spent elsewhere ?, but they always seem to perform better as anti infantry weapons so I'm going to call designfail here.

In fact thinking about it, its flexible whilst not being particularly great at either AT or AI, to make it vaguely good you have to drop trou and prepare to recieve prison style for the second tank, 2 slots and 230 points is too much for one good gun, end of story. I  use mine purely because there is nothing else really. :'o(

PRO's

1. Another skimmer hull in a skimmer spam force , also some opponents fear them for some reason and will spend shooting trying to stop them firing which takes pressure of your serpents.

2. Individually they are quite cheap but possibly over costed for something that performs the same as a plasma cannon most of the time

3.Da Only source of high strength long ranged AT/anti Meq/things with multi wounds @t4

4. Should be useful in any game as offers duality and several fire options.

5. Only source of reasonable str/ap blast in the book and the TL str 6 AP3 can be very situationally useful, coupled with doom on Meq = fertilizer

6. Huge threat radius and 'potential' damage does influence how your opponent will move his units

7.Fast enough to be considered for emergency tank shocks/objective contention

CONS

1. GW

2. I find them fragile you have to coddle them ,stick at extreme range if possible and hug cover, if you have seer powers going spare consider fortune ...

3.Bright lance's (not in any specific relation to prisms , just throwing it out there .....)

4.Two tanks (cost of points ,slots and models ) to make one reasonable functioning one.

5. Capricious accuracy

6. Wep destroyed really PISSES me off

7. less effective as a tank killer than it is at killing little menz, EPIC writer fail and dont give me any BS about it being designed for fourth it was outclassed as an armour hunter then too.....

8. Not Clearly or remarkably good for either AT or AI

I have used two for a while and generally anything approaching successful use involves using any means to get them as far away from the opponent as possible preferably with cover from as much stuff as possible and a bead on your chosen target/s.  I even tried guiding and fortuning them , but really is a waste of a farseer as even when they hit 2 shots or 1 shot per turn is never going to do much, the farseer is best used where his powers will benefit the most, however if he is in range, has a spare cast and you have sufficient cover, fortune has proved handy.

However if you are playing your Mechdar well your opponent should be shooting at the more pressing Targets you have given him right ?

Almost ever other game the first shot that hits a prism is wep destroyed, dice really do have a twisted sense of humour and feed on my pain. However this has lead to some epic tank shocks and rams, and even occasionally a nice bit of last minute contention, I like to try and make my jet propelled catapult as annoying as possible. and lastly your flying catapult can be used as a meat shield for stuff be that giving cover or blocking assaults, just worth considering.

Upgrades.


Holo Field - TOO MANY POINTS, if the prism was actually really good and could be counted on then I might go for it but given that it just increases the chances of a wep destroyed or stunned whilst pushing its cost (or the cost of two) to stratospheric heights you may as well spend those points elsewhere. I also have a massive issue with the mechanics for Holo fields but Ill save that for another day the abridged version = holos should make targets harder to see/hit, not tougher. I will most definitely expand on this in a future article.

Stones - Ten points , if its going spare its worth considering as mobility is a large part of the prism's/eldar defence also good if you are unlucky enough to get assaulted as often stunned results just mean the following turn you get bumraped by a bucket of autohits with stones you may get the opportunity to bug out. not essential but certainly not a waste.

Star engines - personally ..... just no, however I suppose if you plan on using it as a suprise late game contester I suppose it could be ok , 15 points is alot for something you don't really want to use for 5 turns of the game.

Vectored Engines: pointless utterly pointless , you should not really ever have to flat out , if you do I find it highly unlikely it will be more than once per game.

Shuriken Cannon - Ideally you wont ever be close enough to use this, but the modern game is highly mobile and 10 points for a bs 4 cannon is nize. It does also help to turn the pain of the inevitable wep destroyed results down from eleven to around eight or nine. Go hunt some side/rear armour. be really annoying ram some shit and also the extra gun does mean it is slightly more survivable. Again not essential but possibly for me the only upgrade I would take on a regular basis.

5th Edition Evolution 


Prisms Should always have been useful in their own right, there are many instances of this syndrome in the eldar book again to be discussed later as I don't wish to make this post any longer.

I'm going to put these rules out there. Its just how I see what they should be and how I feel they should fit into the codex/work. People are very welcome to critique them, as often it is difficult to be objective about your own work.

Fire Prism 0-1 squadron

1-3 models, heavy support @ 130 pts each

Front    Side    Rear   BS
  12        12       10      4

Type: Fast Skimmer

Prism Cannon

Focussed shot:  Range 60   S9  AP1  H1 Lance

Linked fire (2)  Range 60  S10 AP1 TL,H1 lance

Linked fire (3) Range 72   S10 AP1 TL, Pulse, Lance ,

Dispersed shot Range 48    S6  AP3  Precision blast

Linked fire (2) Range 48    S7  AP2 TL,large blast

Linked fire (3)Range  48    S8  AP2 TL,7" blast

*Cannot be fired if moved over 12"

Upgrades: Shuriken cannon  Holo's , spirit stones, Crystal Targeting matrix

Holo Field  Effects based on  movement speed/environment. +35 points

0-6 with no cover = no effect

0-6 in cover/obscured + 1 from camo

6-12 not obscured/covered  = 5+ cover

12-24 upgrades flat out to 3+ cover

24-36  (star engines) Save becomes Inv


Crystal targeting matrix: 20-25 pts ? (thats 60-75 over a squadron ?) unique prism upgrade.

Any rolls of a 5+ to hit made by prisms equipped with these ignore cover saves, when linked with other prisms the score is adjusted by -1 for each additional prism so 4+ and 3+ respectively



Notes:

In fifth I see / hope for some kind of alteration being made to allow Eldar skimmers to fire 2 weps @ 6 - 12 and possibly even one when flat out to bring them up to equal with marine stuff. Eldar skimmers are supposed to be far ahead of Imperials in terms of tech so having them equal with marines seems at very least fair It would be great if a pseudo pop up/out attacks were possible as TLOS will make it hard to disappear completely , maybe if you use star engines instead of one weapon allowing you to still fire one depending on how far you moved before ?

Precision blast: I will briefly explain here. Traditionally Eldar weapons are far more accurate than other equivalents, look at gothic for example. I don't see a race like the Eldar building such indiscriminate weapons as the lesser races especially when they have more or less perfected their technologies. What this means is very few large blasts available but the blasts they do have are very accurate.

Precision blast works something like this: Roll to hit on the statted BS of the firer, if that misses roll a scatter dice as usual with 2d6 subtract your bs as usual for blast weps, if a hit is rolled on the scatter go in the direction of the small pointer on the hit symbol.

Pulse Weapon: Pretty much as you would expect each successful roll to hit allows you to attempt to hit again up to a maximum of 3 hits , if TL you only get to re-roll the first dice. 


On the triple linked prisms, rather than being up to three distinct 'shots' I see it as a longer duratiion beam boring into and energizing the target. (seen bab 5 lazahs ?)  in game terms the effects would be identical to multiple hits so ......


Holos: Now work how they should and make a vehicle hard to hit based on the vehicle movement although Holos are known to have camouflage effects when in cover of some kind

Eldar vehicles are semi alive and made of wraithbone and have been wondering if a self repair rule on Eldar vehicles (immob) like the rhino would be cool/fluffy especially if it was boosted by the proximity of a Bonesinger, I have a lot of ideas for bonesingers and will be very disappointed if they do not make it into the next book. so many ideas......

My intention with the prism here is to make them actually worth taking as a single tank, so they can do their job solo. but that hopefully the rewards from linking are good enough that you will have to make a definite choice over more single shots at multiple targets or Roflstomping one (with any luck) bear in mind all three tanks have to be up and running with working main guns to actually get the evil shots of doom off.

Next Week up for Dissection,discussion and reconstructive surgery, The Falcon Grav Tank.

M.



        

5 comments:

  1. Ill agree FP arnt as scary as they should be but for thier points i think their ok. Unfortuantly Falcons are just out right better when tricked out. I again think you should download and listen to Ep29 which has the Eldar codex review by a group of competative gamers, http://www.tangtwo.com/11thcompany/ its a long listen and i dont agree with all of it but should open your eyes a bit more to what is still a competative codex.

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. I know all the mechdar tricks, I know about keep away and point/reserves denial I know about obj grabbing, these things mech eldar can do very well. But its boring as shit to play with and against It gets pretty dull when you cant kill anything and they are struggling to kill you fast enough to stop you grabbing at the end. Why cant my super advanxced space elves beat face ?

    I listened to 11th comp and that is what it boils down to as far as they are concerned. I pray that style of play does not become synonymous with Eldar to the point where the next book focuses on it ..... elder specialists should be the focus once more.

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  4. Its not just them thats how the whole world plays Eldar and is kinda their niche. Its a different style and how i think Eldar should work, there to soft to fight straight up like SM, so they need their own edge and the background supports that playstyle. Is it fun to play against depends on the list if Eldrad is in then no as i think he spoils any game he plays in with broken rules and i dont like his background (the fact he is dead anyway, i dont play 40k historical).

    I honstly think your looking for something that will never happen, by using a mech list you pidgeon hole yourself as a mechdar player so either live with it or go to the more fun footdar or just a balanced mix. Wont help you win any more games but you may have more fun and less people will hate playing it, if thats what your finding.

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  5. Eldrad is actually pretty rubbish in a true mech reserves denial list, not being able to cast on stuff in tanks (your whole army) or once you have moved on from reserves makes him a bit of a waste , most of your shooting is TL too , it would almost be better to take two Fortune/doom seers.

    Eldrad is not broken at all, true without him the eldar would be robbed of any truly decent HQ choices ,as the p lords are ass and yreil a one trick pony and the avatar is meh/only really works with footdar.

    Eldar should be glass hammers not just toughened glass there should be far more to competitive play with them too.

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