Apparently, Stronghold Assault allows players to incorporate fortifications into their army lists much more extensively than is possible with the current rule book. Rumor has it that the expansion will allow individual fortifications to be grouped into one giant fortification; e.g., two bastions and an Aegis Defense Line can be combined into an Imperial Strongpoint. This expansion is also supposed to finally give points values and rules for the Wall of Martyrs.
While I find the idea of this expansion interesting, other members of the 40K Cabal and I worry about the lack of balance that it could introduce into our games. As pointed out by Bryce recently, an Aegis Defence Line isn't particularly valuable for durable armies like Space Marines or Tau. Sure, with Sergeant Telion my Scouts get a 2+ cover save from it, but the majority of my models already have a better save than they can get from the wall. The 4+ cover save is nice when they're getting hit by AP1, AP2, or AP3 weapons, but the armies I have to worry about with that kind of armor penetration in abundance are Tau (who can easily deny cover) or Imperial Guard (who are often firing over the wall).
On the other hand, fortifications are worth their weight in gold to lightly armored armies like Orks or Guard. For a mere 50 points, Orks can effectively upgrade a couple squads of Lootas from a 6+ save to a 4+. And without a significant number of barrage weapons or the kind of cover-denying abilities that Tau have, they can be difficult for more elite armies like Sam's Necrons, Carl's Grey Knights, or my Ultramarines to dislodge.
The thought of fielding extensive fortifications on the Cabal's tables is appealing from a storytelling point of view, but the disproportionate advantage that fortifications could give to a minority of our players makes some of us a bit uneasy. For now, it's just as well that only a few of us own even a single Aegis Defence Line.
Now this is the expansion that I'm really interested in. This expansion is supposed to emulate a feature of Forge World's Horus Heresy game in that it adds a single "Lord of War" force organization slot to 40K. According to the rumors, the Lord of War slot can be filled with one of 16 Super-Heavy vehicles or Gargantuan Creatures.
|I really want to get this onto the table|
My only real concern is that I might be forced to paint up an Imperial Guard Command Squad and a Veteran Squad before I can field either of the tanks (and that's assuming that an allied force can be the one to fill the Lord of War slot). When I first heard about Escalation, I had hoped that it would function like a mini-Apocalypse and that the Ultramarines could field an Imperial Guard Super-Heavy tank as their Lord of War. However, the rumors I keep seeing seem to suggest that the only Super-Heavy that Astartes can take directly is the Thunderhawk Gunship.
|Some rumors suggest that D-weapon |
will be downgraded to S10, AP1 for 40K
It may be wishful thinking, but I suspect that GW's intent with regards to Escalation is to increase the demand for larger plastic models, thus giving the company a financial justification for producing more of them. As things currently stand, I assume that many 40K players are like our gaming group; we would love to get into Apocalypse but none of our armies are currently large enough for it, nor do we really have the time to regularly play large games. Because of this, I'm the only one in the Cabal who has actually bought an Apocalypse model. But if we were each allowed to take a single Super-Heavy in regular games, I think I can guarantee that my fellow gamers would become a lot more interested in some large models of their own.
Given the huge number of Space Marine players and an increased interest in fielding Super-Heavy models, it would only make sense for GW to finally produce the mythical plastic Thunderhawk. Even though I already own a Baneblade and a Shadowsword, I would certainly add one to my army.