Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Lord of Death, take him or leave him

As you saw in an earlier post, I am beginning to collect the models I need to put together a sanguinary guard heavy list. As I look at lists, one thing comes to the forefront.  Librarians are a must-take (or at least the smartest choice) in a Blood Angel list, especially an all infantry/jumper list.  They provide the army with the ability to have cover saves, psychic protection (which is starting to be needed with the new GK), and the ability to be more combat effective.   To that end, I have begun to look at whether or not I should take a standard libby or if I should go with Mephiston.  Let me just say, I really like Mephiston.    He is a combat beast, able to take on units all by himself and come out unscathed.  He can cover great distances on the board with ease.  He can cast three psychic powers a turn.  The list goes on and on.  However, there are some negatives to taking Mephiston, the most obvious of which is points cost.  The dude is as expensive as a full squad.
So let's take a look at the Lord of Death and see what he brings to the table and whether or not he is worth it.  We will start with the positive aspects he brings and then look at the negative aspects. 

To begin with, Mephiston boasts a stout characteristic line with such stats as S6, T6, 5W, and I7.  Mephiston is essentially an eternal warrior versus high strength attacks.  This doesn't mean he can't be chomped up by a bonesword or force weapon though, so watch out!  In most cases, he is going to strike first, strike hard, and have no mercy.  We will cover how his psychic powers aid him in this shortly.  In return, he has T6 and a 2+ armor save which make him extremely hard to wound, but like most things, thunder hammer/ storm shield terminators will make him cry.  So, if he makes combat, Mephiston can churn through units with ease as he has 5 attacks in the turn he assaults (4 + 1 for assaulting).  Units without invul saves will die against him.  That is why he needs to get into combat ASAP. 

Getting Mephi into combat is actually fairly easy.  First, he is fleet, so even on foot, he can possibly move, run, and assault an astounding 18".  Now add to this that one of his psychic powers is Wings of Sanguinius and you have a 24" threat range.  That is quite a bubble of control.  This can really affect an opponent psychologically as well as in gameplay.  I tend to think of models this devestating as "shepherd" models.  They corral the opponent's units into a certain location because the opponent wants to avoid them.  This allows you to set up traps, fire zones, and combi-assaults as your opponent tries to avoid and destroy this one model.

This guy is also a huge threat.  This also makes him a fire magnet.  This means that while he is taking fire (of which he can ignore quite a bit), your army is advancing unmolested.  This is especially nice in objective games where his kill point doesn't matter. Mephi has such as stigma and reputation that most players are either are scare to death of him and attack him or try to avoid him like the plague.  Both work for you.

Mephi's psychic ability is amazing. It is only matched by some of the new GK characters (librarians with the purchased extra ability per turn). His ability to cast three powers per turn makes him an absolute monster.  What's more, his LD10 makes it easy to pass those psychic tests.  All of his abilities are combat oriented meaning that they are meant to get him into combat and summarily to shred stuff.  This makes his usage fairly straightforward.  Get him into combat (using wings if necessary) and cast powers that buff him and allow him to trash units with ease.  He can have S10 (bye bye land raiders), preferred enemy, or light up his force weapon and level monstrous creatures in a single blow.  His psychic powers make him scary.

All of that said, Mephiston has quite a few downsides.  The primary being his points cost. At 250pt, he costs roughly a land raider. If you are running him alongside another HQ, you have eaten quite a few points from your army. 

No invul save is our next issue.  With a 2+ save, if a power weapon can get through his armor and toughness, he takes wounds like crazy.  He doesn't like thunder hammers or lightning claws for this reason.  They stand a good chance of wounding him.  Though he has 5 wounds, he still dies to massed attacks like any other model.  This also means that any army with a good number of AP2 or better weapons can mass fire and take care of him easily as well.

No eternal warrior makes him a target for force weapons and other ID weapons.  Luckily his toughness prevents him from being doubled out, but there are still quite a few items that can effectively take care of business quickly. 

Granted, if he had EW and/or an invul save, the guy would be so terrbily heinous he would be blacklisted from most events.  This is a balancing element and I think it is a good one. 

Finally, Mephiston doesn't have any psychic powers that benefit the rest of the army. They only help him out as he isn't an IC and can't bestow his powers to other units.  That kind of sucks especially since small elite forces can really come to love Shield of Sanguinius.

For my verdict, I choose to like Mephiston.  He is a combat monster and it is fun to smash stuff in 40k.  I don't mind his cost, but I know that some do.  I am not the most competitive gamer though I have been known to win the odd tournament.  I think of Mephiston as a plexi-glass hammer,  more durable than other glass hammers out there, but a competent opponent can handle him.  The debate any player is going to have is whether or not he justifies his point over a cheaper utiliy libby.  I am currently thinking about adding him just for the fun of it and for the purpose of having a small model count.  1 $20 Mephiston model can take the place of a 10-man $50 unit of assault marines or some equivalent models.  I like that. 

What do you think?  Post a comment and tell me whether Mephiston is worth his points or not.  Is he competitive or better used for casual games? 

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