Whilst out to lunch with Lee of The Chaps yesterday we got talking about a game I hosted between Jeremy and Neil, also of The Chaps, at the weekend.
Jeremy was pitting his Crimson Fists against Neil’s vile Orks. During the course of the game, Jeremy made a daring deep strike with his Terminators into the middle of the board to hold up a unit of Killa Kans and thwart Neil’s breakthrough. Although eventually wrecking both Kans, the cost to the Crimson Fist veterans was indeed steep, 4 of the 5 falling to the Kans crude close combat weaponry. Now although Killa Kans are pretty tough the thought occurred to us both that Terminators just aren’t hard enough.
Our reasoning was this; Terminator armour was designed to be used when breaching the hulls of space hulks/starships and can withstand meteor strikes in such conditions. With that in mind, ever since third edition the finest of the Emperor’s finest just weren’t as hard as they should be. In second edition a Terminator’s armour save was 3+ on 2D6. In those days weapons had negative modifiers ala Necromunda. A lascannon had a -6 save modifier. This meant that a Terminator would survive on a 9+ on 2D6. Probability wise it’s 2/6 to 10/36 when compared to their invulnerable save in the current edition. However, against basic weaponry a Terminator had a 35/36 chance of success meaning that a Terminator’s survival was almost assured until powerful anti-tank weapons were brought to bear. And even then, coming out the other side was still a possibility.
Now those days are long long gone but the point still stands – Terminators aren’t resilient enough. With a 1/6 chance of failing a save against small arms fire, thwarting Terminators isn’t hard, you just fire lots of guns at them and, eventually a save will be failed. The rationale is a lucky hit pierces an eye piece or finds a weakness in the armour, but this just doesn’t make sense. Really think about that argument. A lasbolt can punch through an eye piece but a meteor can’t. Really? I’ll concede that it is possible in so much as almost anything is possible. But 1/6 possible?
So what’s the alternative? With Codex Grey Knights released and written to sixth edition rules there isn’t a lot of scope for Terminators in the upcoming rules to be much different which is a crying shame as compared to the likes of mega armoured Nobz they are grossly under powered. The only thing I can think of happening is Terminators are granted two wounds to represent damage to their armour initially, rather than themselves and maybe making them immune to instant kill weapons.
Perhaps a tad pie in the sky but my 2 wounds idea is based around the following principle (and please don’t send abusive comments; it’s just an idea): Grey Knight terminators aren’t Grey Knight terminators, as such. They’re Grey Knights in terminator armour. Standard blokes (or as standard as you can be in the Grey Knights) in terminator armour, rather than veterans. Although incredibly skilled and deadly warriors, they aren’t necessarily soldiers of hundreds of campaigns like 1st company veterans of their brother chapters invariably are. The Grey Knights have an abundance of terminator armour because it is required for daemonic arse kickery, not because they’re veterans and have worked their way up the ranks. Again, I’m not detracting from their martial prowess. Paladins, on the other hand are double hard bastards who have slain the foulest creatures of the warp and, therefore are ninja scary and have 2 wounds. Which, I think, gives the idea of multiple wounds traction to my mind.
Ultimately it’s all down to the developers but right now, for the points, Terminators just aren’t tough enough to take on who they should and be comfortable enough for the win. I know it needs to be balanced but I would argue there’s plenty out there that would make it a fair fight.
Why not discuss the idea on The Shell Case forum.