First thing's first, I will try my damndest not to make this blog a non-stop rant about the asshatery that is Bell of Lost Souls (BoLS). Having said that, my first official article here comes straight from the mouth of madness that is BoLS.
In a recent article entitled: "BoLS poll: Has Mech peaked?" the renowned blog asks the question of whether or not the new Deff Rolla ruling will be the end of mechanized armies in 40k. Well, let me answer your question with another question: are you fucking kidding me?
The poll from BoLS can be found here.
The Orks FAQ referenced here and in the BoLS post can be found here.
Here is a little background on the problem at hand. Since the release of the newest Ork Codex, Ork players around the world have stuggled to take out vehicles. Specifically they have struggled at taking out armies with lots of moderately armored targets, such as Imperial Guard melta Vet lists or Mechdar lists, and armies with heavily armored vehicles like Land Raiders. The problem stems from Orks not having any melta weapons and no ranged weapons that are (reliably) over S8. It doesn't help much that Orks are rocking that super fantastic BS2 on most units either. Kannons, rokkits, and very rarely boomguns are employed in tank killing rolls. These options are ok against lighter targets like chimerae, but really start to turn up the suck against AV14 targets, as they can't penetrate them. Also, remember that Orks excel at missing their targets. In close combat land Orks get tankhammer armed Tankbustas or power klaw armed Warbosses to deal with vehicles. Are either of these viable? Tankbustas, certainly not. They will get shot to shit since they can't be given a dedicated transport- well not that Ork trukks are worth a damn anyway. Warbosses on bikes with power klaws, on the other hand are pretty scary. Too bad you can only squeeze two into your army.
This is where the deff rolla enters the equation. GW has essentially ruled that ramming and tank shocking are the same thing, meaning that this piece of kit can be employed against vehicles. D6 S10 hits on the ram looks pretty damn scary on paper, but how does it actually fare? Well, we'll look at this by evaluating the deff rolla battlewagon in a vacuum and also compared to some common mech match ups.
By itself, you get an open topped AV14 front vehicle with no ranged weapons, a big transport capacity, and a deff rolla for 110 points (or 2 Chimerae if you apply the current exchange rate). At the end of the day this means that you get a big vehicle with a giant target painted on its side at a points value that will reduce the number of other useful units that would help you get some target saturation like warbikers, buggies, etc. The open topped bit here hurts a bunch, as any S8 weapon can now be relied upon to blow it up. Now who is commonly totting a lot of S8 weapons these days....oh that's right everyone. So, at a minimum we probably also need to bring along the 'ardcase upgrade, elminating that pesky open topped rule. Add this upgrade and we're up to 2.27 Chimerae at the going exchange. Oh and we still have no ranged capability at all and probably want to put some ballbustas like a powerklaw warboss or tankbustas in here. Well this is getting expensive. How many vehicles are you going to be able to ram over the course of the game with this anyway?...well at MOST six, and that's assuming that you aren't sniped from across the table on turn one by someone who actually brought good units.
let's go ahead and look at some match ups.
Space Marines- For the record we'll be talking about land raider armies here. Deff rollas actually hold up pretty well against these, assuming that the heavier weapons on them don't kill you before you ram. In any event, your opponent will only be able to bring a few raiders to the party, so assuming you're smart and have some powerklaws running around as well, you stand a pretty good chance at blowing up raiders. Now the terminators or tactical squads inside the raiders will rip you a new one in the assault after you blow up their ride, but it's a pretty good trade off- a 125+ points unit for a 250+ points tank. Plus, after your ride is blown up, you'll have the next turn to charge in with whatever you were carrying and do some damage to some marines/terminators. If you think I'm wrong on this, feel free to pull a dick move and let me know.
Imperial Guard- As a guard player myself I can say that at 1750 points I would be bringing between 12 and 18 AV12 vehicles with me. Let's not also forget that 4-6 of those will be brimming with meltas and 2 of them will be vendettas. For the sake of argument we'll say that you're as smart as the average BoLS reader/contributor and have sunk a shit ton of points into 3 battlewagons with deff rollas (yes, I know that you can actually squeeze six in, but that would mean less nob bikerz or lootas). Let's see here 18>3 last time I checked and unless everything I know about space and time is wrong, you won't be killing more than one of my tanks at a time with each of your wagons. Well good luck wading through my target rich environment. It also bears mentioning that if you actually roll a chimera to death, it is full of melta vets or melta command that will microwave you next turn. Nice job, you just wasted 125+ points worth of ramshackle orky goodness to take out a 55 point transport. Good one!
Mechdar- In addition to the same target saturation problems you get with the above (again this list will be made up of at least 12 vehicles), you have some speed issues to deal with. Eldar are amazingly fast, in case you were unaware. They will run circles around you and still maintain an ok rate of fire. Good luck catching up to a fast skimmer with your slow ass battlewagons. Even blowing more points on a red paint job will not be likely to improve your game. In the very unlikely event that your opponent has pulled some sort boner that resulted in you actually ramming a wave serpent to death guess what.... there's a 1/3 chance that it was full of fire dragons who will melt you back into scrap metal in their turn.
Tau- Typically you'll see a semi-mechanized build with these guys. All of their armored assets will also be surrounded by a meat shield made up of Kroot. Behind this wall, lots and lots of twin-linked railguns. These will kill you before you get through the Kroot. Thanks for playing. Note that if you do make it through the kroot, all of the armored stuff will simply outmanoeuvre you and run away.
Let's review and answer the mech question for our loyal BoLS Subscribers. Does one minor rule change that makes a shitty army marginally less shitty change the entire established universe? NO. If you crapped your pants or sported serious wood when you read the FAQ ruling then you are truly a moron.
'Wait I was told there was going to be a poll.' Well, guess what- it's pointless to have a poll when the only answer is "fuck yeah."