CID ponderances: Exemplar Bastions

It hasn’t even been a full week since the Exemplar CID launched and we already have a significant update. As a reminder, this is just the CID, these rules aren’t canon yet, but Fire of Salvation and Visgoth Juviah Rhoven are now both legal for the Exemplar Interdiction theme force, and Rhoven can now take advantage of Exemplar effects such as Grand Exemplar Kreoss’ Tactician. Hand of Silence and the Shrine of the Lawgiver have received clarification on wording, but one of the more interesting updates is for the Exemplar Bastions.

  • The first CID entry had the Bastions benefiting from a point reduction, to 8/13.
  • The update has the Bastions back at 9/15, but also packing Defensive Strike.

Either iteration has the Bastions as a meatwall of wounds (though granted not as meatwally as when they had 8 wounds each), and they’re still MAT 7 P+S11 Reach Weapon Masters, so the riddle-me-this portion is which angle to take? Is the point reduction preferred, making them more cost efficient, or Defensive Strike, making them even more resilient in melee with the potential to completely end a charge by cutting down the charging model before they even have to deal with Set Defense.

My thought is that Set Defense only really makes a difference against model with MAT 5 or lower (since MAT 6 still hits the Set Defense boosted DEF 13 on an average roll), meaning that on a low DEF model like an Exemplar Bastion, Set Defense is primarily useful against a rather limited number models. It really won’t significantly hinder charging infantry or anything that is an actual threat to the Bastions – even a Rhinodon hits with MAT 6 – which leads me to think that unless we want to up the base ARM of the Bastions (which would in turn mean upping the ARM on the Cinerators with their shields), Defensive Strike will go a long way towards given them a defensive ability that can make a difference. In addition, it’d bring them more in line with their Seneschal.

In either case the unit is still prone to incoming fire from opposing gunlines, which makes their competitive viability dependent on the meta and what other tools you have to protect them as they advance.  My immediate answer to this is my old favourite 15” smokewall from the High Reclaimer. Yes, there’s lots of threats that ignore the smokescreen nowadays, but there’s lots that can’t as well, and it can really mess with blocking charge lanes. In a list that isn’t -as- reliant on the heavy hitting oomph of warjacks thanks to pretty much everything in an Exemplar Interdiction being Weapon Masters, and with the Bastion Seneschal bringing Flank to his driven warjack, I’m curious to see how ole’ Silent Bob would fare with Defensive Strike Bastions.

Let the playtesting continue…