Friday, February 24, 2017

40K Friday: Making Terminators Great Again

If you've played 40K for any length of time you've heard the legends of the Space Marine Terminators. Maybe you read them, maybe you've heard tales from earlier versions of the game, but you probably haven't seen a ton of "legendary" behavior from them in any recent games. The only type you tend to see these days are Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield Terminators and while they do usually perform as expected they are still an expensive and limited-purpose choice. I really dislike this state of affairs as they are one of the things I loved about 40K in the early days, so here are a few ideas about how to fix this problem:

  1. Give them the Special Issue Ammunition rule from Sternguard. People like sternguard, and not just for the combi weapons, Their special ammo rule makes them amazingly flexible and capable of taking on almost any enemy unit. In-universe they are 1st company veterans, as are terminators, so there's not much reason to share this rule. Sternguard do not get to use it with storm bolters - fine. Maybe terminator storm bolters have special ammo feeds that can handle the complication. This is the single easiest change GW could make to improve this unit - no modeling changes required at all, just a change to the rules for the unit, and no, I would not change the point cost they have now. People would still take sternguard because they would still be cheaper, could still take combi-weapons and heavy flamers, and you can fit more in a drop pod. They might also consider using terminators in some situations though, and that would be better for the game. 
  2. Let them swing their powerfists at initiative. Terminator armor is rare and special, right? Let them ignore the "unwieldy" rule. Yeah that, especially combined with #1 above makes termies really scary - isn't that how it's supposed to be? Yes it makes characters in this armor really nasty but then maybe we would see a few more of them and a few less on bikes. This is another no-modeling-change-required option.
  3. Bump their toughness up by 1. I know, I know, but if a bike makes you that much tougher, why the hell doesn't terminator armor, the ultimate form of personal protection in the game? It lowers their vulnerability to massed small-arms fire which is the main way terminators die these days. It helps reset the balance when it comes to "how do you kill termies" from "50 lasgun shots" back to "plasma guns". Again, no modeling changes are needed. The models are already huge compared to the old Rogue Trader days anyway, so this seems completely appropriate. 
  4. Terminator suits are super-strong right? Those legs are pretty bulky, and they're supposed to enhance the already Captain America level strength of the guy inside, right? Make them jump infantry! They don't need jump packs, they just leap! heck, make it a once-per-game thing if we have to and we've mitigated their other big weakness - they're slow! 
Now I would be happy if any one of these was implemented and ecstatic if any two were. I'd say #1 and #3 make the most sense and would solve the two biggest problems they have in the game right now. #2 might be a little too much and #4 is probably too radical for how the unit has been portrayed but really any or all of these would help put terminator marines back in their proper place.

Special note: Chaos terminators? Yeah I'd do the same thing. Let them have some fun too.


thekelvingreen said...

I do feel that the terminators have been lost a little as the line has expanded; you've got veteran-veterans in the sternguard and then even bigger suits of armour in the centurions, and now everyone can deep strike, so there's nothing special about the terminators any more.

I liked the days when they had the best armour save in the game -- 2+ on 2d6! -- and teleporting was their unique tactic.

Blacksteel said...

Yeah I'd say 2nd was probably their glory days period and I loved that too. I'd still like to see them be better than they are right now. As you point out with the teleporting, it's not just stats! It's all about capabilities and what a unit can do that others cannot. Vanguard vets got to assault after deep striking at one point - but no more! I wonder why you never see them anymore?