Cue "They have ruined 40K!" again. Two hardcover supplements came out this week for 40K. Today let's look at Escalation. The book is true to it's name, it does escalate things in the game a bit.
What the book is: Hardcover, 96 full color pages. Only a few pages of that are rules. And yes, they are the super heavy rules from Apocalypse. 17 Datasheets for the "Lords of War" (Super Heavies), six new missions and three challenge missions. Compact and to the point with lots of pretty pictures.
What the book does: It adds a new "Lord of War" slot to the Force Organization Chart. So your army may now take one super heavy from the 17 choices in the book. (Eight of them being Bane-Shadow-Blade-Storm-Hammer variants) As they all have the same profile as in Apocalypse, I don't see any issue with taking a super heavy from elsewhere, especially if you are fielding one of the armies without a super heavy in the book. The Tyranids, for example have only the Harridan listed as a Lord of War. I don't (yet) have one, but I do have a Barbed Hierodule, which I will be gleefully using. I think this is the part that I like the most, being able to take the Big Toys out of the display case more that a couple of times a year.
But what about game balance now? Good question. Clearly this won't be really known until a fair number of games have been played. I suspect it will work out well. Lords of War are very powerful and take out a unit or two a turn, but they are huge targets, and points heavy. Plus there is a new Warlord trait table and a new secondary objective which gives a Victory Point for every 3 hull points of damage you to the Lord of War.
And of course, the Elephant in the room, Destroyer weapons. I think the new D-Weapons table brings them down a much needed notch, and make them only a 83.4% sure thing as opposed to the 100% they used to be. I am much more concerned about the huge high strength templates with no cover save than D weapons unbalancing the game. The fun part will be finding out.
So should you pick up this book? Light on the fluff, lots of nice pictures, handy to have the Super Heavy rules in a easier format, new Warlord Traits, and a bunch of new missions. I give it a solid B+.
Next up, our first Escalation Battle report.
The Emperor Protects
You are going to need it