Well, as you can expect, there are a number of things that I could have gotten riled up about on the seer today- people being fuckwits regarding the recent FAQ releases, more retarded army rankings based on the powers of subjective interpretation, WFB8 fallout, and so on. But what really put a bee in my bonnet today? Well
Brettila seems to be tired of special characters. They're too powerful. Why would someone important be fighting in a little skirmish? Blah blah blah. Brettila really lets loose in Special Characters: Where Will the Madness End? Here's what he had to say:
So I decided to bring up an ongoing debate from my local gaming group. We have reached an impasse on the value/impact the unfettered addition of special characters has had on 40K.
I feel it only just, to begin by stating that I am FIRMLY from the old-school camp of, "You have to ask your opponent to play one." I do understand that allowing them when and wherever makes sense for them businesswise; as they can sell a plethora of expensive minis.
My objections are based upon two arguments. The first is fluff-based. Why in the world would someone like Abaddon (pronounced "uh-bad-done" BTW) be involved in some 1500-2000 skirmish? He leads Black Crusades, of almost all of Chaos, trying to destroy the false emperor; not insignificant shoot-em-ups for nothing. The same goes for Kharn, Mephiston, etc. Unless it is a game of Apocalypse, I just have a hard time buying the presence of these godlike beings.
The second reason is purely game-oriented. SC's tend to (from my observations of players in several states & 3 different time zones) cause players to build army lists that are very static. They only buy certain units that work in the, "Kharn Kills Everyone" list, or the, "Mephiston's Unlimited Jedi Power" list, etc. I see people playing armies that are right out of the yearly 'Ard Boy, rather than exploring their codex to try new builds and combinations. For example, I often think of some sort of combo I want to try, or an idea like, "How many template/blast weapons can I get in my CSM army for 1500 points?" I will work out the army list without any opponent in mind. I'll keep it in a folder until some future date when someone wants a game of that point level then play it; regardless if it is good for the mission/opponent. But armies based on SC's seem to look the same game after game, and if their opponents' reactions are any guage, are not much fun to play against.
So to sum up, where does everyone else stand?
As you might expect, the replies are varied but most seem to consist of comments like the following:
Some Idiot: "Too many armies rely on special characters. Apart from the obvious ones of ravenwing/deathwing, that literally cannot be built without special characters, lots of others rely on them to be effective. It is poor, lazy writing from GW"
Some other Dickhead: "I'm in agreement with you Brettila, I detest the over abundance of special characters - they used to be a rare treat, but they're no longer anything special"
Now, as I'm sure you have already guessed, my thoughts on this are quite different. First of all, Brettila is clearly a whiny piece of shit. No shit GW is trying to sell models. That would be a pretty good business model for them- make rules that encourage players to buy new stuff so we can stay in business. Second, here is my reply to his dumbass "arguments."
Oh boy, my favorite word ever. Surely nobody could ever use this in the wrong way or as an excuse to suck. So special characters in skirmishes aren't fluffy? Why would Mephiston participate in small battle? Well clearly you have no imagination. Make up a fluffy reason for the battle. Quit being lazy and hiding behind weak excuses. Eldrad and his small elite cadre of foot slogging body guards were ambushed on the way to this year's Eldarcon. Creed was meeting with the command staff of his rear guard when a small surgical force of biker outriders led by Wazdakka penetrate their lines knowing that Creed would be there, and are bent on his destruction. Was that so damn hard?
You're also forgetting the "counts as rule." If you don't think Pask would be participating in a battle, fine. But what if you still need his mechanics for something? Well re-name him in your fluffy list. He could be used to represent other historic characters like Gen. Grizmund or you could make something up yourself (heaven forbid you flexed your imagination muscles). Here I'll give you a name for free (but a second one will cost you)- Magnificent Brett. There that wasn't really very difficult.
Lack of Variety
Too bad the special characters actually foster more variety in list making. Have you noticed that contra to your belief, special characters often can inspire a great number of viable and more diverse builds than a regular codex. Creed giving you the ability to scout a unit gives you many different possibilities for creating a sneaky/fast guard army that you didn't have before. Lots of players will exploit this in different ways.
Shit, sometimes you even need a special character to make a build work. Anybody that alters FOC choices is great for adding variety. Want to Ravenwing? Well take Sammael. Don't think Sammael belongs in a fight- well call him Sam I Am for all I care, but you need him if you want scoring Dark Angel bikes. This doesn't imply or dictate that every special character driven army will look the same. There may be some similarities in builds due to working with the strengths and weaknesses of your special character, but that's just good sound list building at work. If you didn't take Ravenwing squads with Sammael I would punch you in the face. That doesn't mean you can't support him different ways after you've filled out your troops. Want a Raven-Rodeo list? Get some Assault squads with your (now open) FA slots. Want to make use of those homing beacons on your bikes and make up for your shit CC due to small squad size? Deep strike some terminators. Feel like you need some more vehicles? Well it looks like Predators or even more Landspeeders would synergize well with your list.