Top Bryss Presents: The Shawn Abreu Index: Demiurg Concept

I assure you they are nothing like this.

I learned many things yesterday, some of which I shall touch on later. But on a different and more relevant note, I learned about Index: Xenos, Sabreu's new rulesblog. He recently put up an entry for the option of Demiurg, which I shall now proceed to comment on in a similar manner to the Treasury series initiated by Our Glorious And Missing Founder. Now, because I'm nowhere near as technical, I shall instead do a review in a more... familiar concept.

Dadada da daa da da da da da da da daa...

Yes, hello and welcome... to Top Bryss! Although the last episode was elsewhere, I've decided to move it back to its true home, in order to do a very thorough review of this unit. Enjoy!

How does it fit in?: The Demiurg concept here is a Heavy Support choice for a Tau army, and provides a radically different approach to the other units, which all try to shoot your face off. Now, I'd like to say that makes it a combat anti-vehicle unit, but it's too slow to fit that exactly. I'd instead call it a hub unit.

What on earth is a hub unit?: A hub unit is a unit of different models united by one common factor. Examples include the Court of the Archon and the Marine Command Squad. In the same way, Demiurg have access to all Drone types, with the base unit able to take 6. These units are likely candidates to be Death Stars, units which have tricky wound allocation and plenty of power.

What's with the costing?: One odd thing I noticed is the Gun Drone, Shield Drone and Marker Drone have different costs (I have no issue with Snipers). The Shield Drone is justified as the Demiurg special rules gives it a better Inv. Save, however the Gun Drone is 5 points more than for a Battlesuit. Now, I know they get a BS boost from the Demiurg, however I believe their cost covers that boost adequately already. As for Markers, I would be inclined to make it 20 but because half the effects of Alien Laser Pens don't work any more, the current cost is fine.

Anything else odd?: Yes. The Demiurg is listed as BS6 but has no range gun, only a good CC weapon and the Drone Controller. Now, this may be an oversight on the part of the author, but it does seem a bit odd if it isn't. Another odd thing is that it is 55 for 3 and then 20 for each extra. I'm not quite sure why this is at all.

What's the wargear like?: Well, they get a combat tool they won't really use too often, and there's a 20 point death laser with no range cap. I'm swithering on the cost of this, because the Marine Chapter Master gets something similar for 20, which has a bigger radius, however this can be fired on the move multiple times. Maybe 30+ might be better.

Is it green?: If you want to paint it that way...

What do you see it doing on the tabletop?: I see this as a better albeit more expensive replacement for the Sniper Drone Squad. It's designed to soak up firepower in large numbers and can be configured for support or offense, which is nice. Because Tau melee isn't really about going to the enemy (if indeed you have any melee), I can't really see myself using their combat gear, and it doesn't help that it cannot take a Devilfish or a transport of their own devising.

What happens if the unit is suddenly attacked by Lascannons?: I'd say the unit has a very nice chance, provided there are enough Demiurg. Base Toughness 5 means that you can have a genuinely strategic decision between choosing to kill a Drone or put a wound on a Dwarf, as they have the potential to dilute heavier fire far more than other units of this type. This ability is also great against duality units.

What happens if the unit is thrown off a bridge?: It would sink, presumably.

Overall, I'd say this offers a nice springboard for a Demiurg army concept as well as offering a semi-decent contender to Broadsides if you want more anti-heavy infantry. It's refreshingly flexible in comparison to the streamlined monotasking of all Tau units that aren't Crisis Battlesuits. But I still want an answer to the gun thing. You hear me, Sabreu?

You might notice it's not as hyperbolic as other Top Brysses. You'd understand if you knew which particular films this is based on.

As to the issues raised yesterday, I have made an executive decision. If it's not obvious to you by now what this decision is, then you obviously haven't got your head screwed on right. Plus, I still need to explain all of Bryss' Improvised Points Theory.


sabreu said…
RM is going to stay! And, I'm in luck to see you've done a review on my Demiurg. While I should have elaborated in greater detail what my intentions are for these guys, I am yet to get a good grasp of unit analysing as you and Atrotos appear to possess innately. 

Most of the issues raised can be explained easily enough by stating this unit is simply the first part of the Demiurg puzzle. One concept I like about the Tau codex was the way the Kroot Carnivore squad worked; You start off with the core of the unit and are given the option to add more distinct individuals to it such as the Krootox and Kroot Hounds. With the Demiurg, I intend to mimic this pattern. Some units under development are Combat Drones, Demiurg Excavators, Demiurg Lifeshapers, and Demiurg Promeans. As I flesh out these additions (or discard them, change them, etc), the current entry will change equally. As a result, the options and lack of a transport are a direct result of awaiting a more complete entry.

To the points I can address currently:

- The Ballistic Skill of the Demiurg actually helps a lot in combination with the 'Survey Glass'. They reduce it's scatter by 6" when in Line of Sight of their target.
- The price of the unit should be 60. I copy and pasted the unit entry from my 'Weirdboy' document instead of retyping everything from scratch, which is 55 points and forgot to change it. Typical oversight I've made plenty of times here on the RM.
- The price of the Drones (except Shield and Sniper) will be dropped to ten points each. 
- The lack of a gun is intentional for thematic and balance purposes. Just wait until the other parts start surfacing!
Ahrimaneus said…
I would've liked to have seen more use for the Demiurg themselves than just a new ability to get either yet another S10 AP1 gun, or more drones that everyone knows and loves.  Why not take it to the next step?

Have it that, so long as the Demiurg are alive, the Drones in the squad may use the Demiurg's ballistic skill for shooting attacks.  That would be sweet.  Maybe only if they choose not to fire the Survey Tool.  

Additionally, throw in a couple of other drone variants!  How about Burst Cannon drones?  Or how about some Fusion Gun drones?  Some unique weaponry that isn't necessarily seen in the Tau codex?  The codex itself needs enough work that introducing new concepts/weapons/units/etc. would be more easily embraced compared to some of the newer, more competitive codices.

Also, Bryss, if this unit was ever used to be a "deathstar" unit, it would get crushed by actual deathstar units.  Not enough offensive capability, as the drones suck in combat and the Demiurg aren't very good either.  A single rending CC attack isn't going to scare anybody.  Hell make those plasma cutter hammer things counts as thunderhammers or something.  Or perhaps Power Weapon that adds +2 to Strength or something.  2 Attacks might be nice too, but not exactly necessary.  Adjust pricing accordingly of course.

I just see it as a unit that's almost a shooty unit, and almost a close combat unit, but can't really do either very well.  
Master_Bryss said…
Ah, to clarify, the Death Star point was made as a general point about hub units, not in specific reference to this one unit.
sabreu said…
Thank you for your feedback. As I stated earlier, I am working on other parts to the unit which shall be revealed early next week. I do however see some rather cool ideas in your commentary I want to retro-actively add in.