This rather short description and breakdown came up after a discussion with a number of assorted players some of whom reached the verdict that Awareness sucks. By sucks, I like to think that they were under the impression that its value in focus and/or fury outweighed its potential. Before I go any farther however, there are a number of illustrations within this rant. Do not take into account the mathematical accuracy. Those were numbers pulled from my head. Not necessarily accurate for trigonometric purposes. What is of importance is merely the scenario they entail and the context they present. Think of it more as a tidbit to allow you to envision where upon one may be capable of applying such tactics or maneuvers. Now, with that settled, onto the text wall. For the purposes of clarity I’ll start off with a list of casters with the spell and its text:
While in this model’s control area, the front arcs of models in its battlegroup are extended to 360* and when determining LOS those models ignore Cloud Effects, Forests and Intervening Models. Awareness lasts for one round.
Warcasters and Warlocks with Awareness:
Where else you can find Awareness:
Bird’s Eye (Vyros1, Vyros2)
Important Rulings on Awareness and Frequently Asked Questions:
1. A 360° front arc/LoS does not affect Fields of Fire. They remain 90° as marked on the base. Any weapon system not constrained by Fields of Fire (S, -, H) can benefit from the 360° front arc.
This means in the case of Colossals/Gargantuans someone can engage you, walk around your base to your back arc and walk out of engagement and you do not get free strikes.
2. Ignoring a Forest or Cloud for LOS purposes does not mean ignoring the benefits. Therefore models within can still benefit from bonuses provided by Concealment, Camouflage, Elevated Terrain or Prowl etc.
3. When engaged, Awareness does not affect the ruling on ranged weapons. In other words, you cannot fire a ranged weapon while engaged even if you have awareness.
4. On that note you still suffer the -4 if you choose to fire a ranged weapon upon someone engaged. However, drawing the LOS is easier.
5. 360 degree Front Arc means no Free Strikes unless they leave melee range. In other words, enemy models can pivot/circle around you, and then attack targets behind you without provoking free strikes. This is worsened when you have a 2″ Reach as it allows a great deal of free room.
Now that, we have covered rulings and basic questions, its on to the good stuff:
1. First and foremost, its benefits are blatantly hard to ignore. You ignore practically everything except obstructions for determining LOS. This is ridiculous for your shooting game and can be applied defensively in your shooting game which I will talk about later. That being said, the benefit does not stop there. This extends to your melee weapons. Meaning you basically get a better Tall in the Saddle and do not risk losing Free Strikes due to LOS prevention.
Should note, that a Large base is actually smaller than 2″(50mm = 1.9685 inches) so technically under Bird’s Eye/Awareness, models with Reach can actually attack through large based models they are in Base to Base contact with.
2. To elaborate on the melee, because of your ability to ignore intervening models etc., your charging vectors are vastly augmented. See pic below:
Yeah. That caster was a viable target. The stalker could technically nominate the caster for a charge because it can see through the unit. Simple stuff really, and already covered. Because of this however, it can charge off at a tangent to get within reach. It can accomplish this by charging past its initial charge target whilst remaining within its own melee range of said charge target and using its 360 degree LOS to engage the caster as well. Which can become interesting if it has chosen to warp Berserk. This is even more important when you consider factors such as polarity shield. In other words, you can basically use units as stepladders to reach the main target. I should note in case people forget, normally, you cannot charge a target as such that it leaves your front arc, but once again, Awareness/Bird’s Eye gives you that wonderful 360 degree vision.
3. Shield and Buckler ARM Bonus is constant. No back arc, so you only really need to worry about chain weapons or things that ignore them.
4. And consequently like point 3, No Backstabs ever. No more worries bout Magnus’ bond/Croe’s shenanigans or the like.
Honestly I should’ve put Sevvy2 more to the right for better illustration.
In this case, Sevvy2 can drop Reign of Fire or some spells. He can see through the cloud and target the opposing caster as normal. However, in this case the opposing caster cannot target Sevvy2 because of a lack of LOS unless they have a similar ability to ignore clouds for LOS or choose to move. That being said, movement may not always be an option that is available, and/or could prove hazardous due to units/solos/jacks/beasts.
6. It augments the use of Power Attacks. Namely Trample. Especially on models with Reach (see Warpwolf Stalker, Phoenix, Banshee, Templar etc.). See the following diagram:
In this case, the Warpwolf Stalker can Trample through the front line. And use the additional fury to buy attacks or resolve the ones generated by Berserk (considering the resolution is Trample -> Free Strikes -> Resolved -> Berserk) should he have chosen that via Controlled Warping. Once again, Trampling is even further made disgusting via Sevvy2 and the Templar, as additional focus left over can be used to start whacking people within 2″ with his Beatback Flail, which in turn allows for significant ability to mess with an opponents formation and/or additional movement. Its a tactic quite common within Retribution due to pVyros’ feat basically giving a mini Berserk. But don’t think it stops there. 360 arcs are hilarious for slams, throws, locks, pushes or headbutts.
7. Spells. I feel the need to bring this up as it is something both new players and older ones tend to miss. Not the ruling necessarily but the synergy with Awareness/Bird’s Eye. So first a rundown in applicable information:
a) You can cast spells at any target within your LOS while you are engaged.
b) You do not suffer the Target in Melee Penalty if you are engaged with the chosen target.
c) You can choose to target units/solos/etc. that are in your line of sight that are NOT the ones engaging or engaged with you.
d) If the chosen target is Engaged outside of your engagement you suffer the Target in Melee Penalty.
Here’s a diagram to clear that all up:
In this scenario, the opposing Warcaster, Piper of Ord and Errant are all eligible targets for pVyros to cast Stranglehold on. Against the Errant, however, he will suffer the Target in Melee Penalty. In this case, Bird’s Eye allows Vyros to ignore the Intervening Models namely being the Daughters of the Flame (and in the Warcaster’s case, the Vanquisher as well). Alternatively he could cast Eliminator on the Daughters or target the Vanquisher with Stranglehold as well if he wanted as they are also eligible targets. And on that note, had there been models behind him they’d be eligible as well. When casting spells while engaged the only real stipulation is that you have LOS. Thanks to Awareness/Bird’s Eye, once again, you have your nice 360 view and ignore a great many rules that would spare them.
Awareness/Bird’s Eye are both pretty good and in the case of Awareness in particular it is worth its focus or fury at the right time (which is situational depending on how you choose view it). However, they do have downsides that you do need to watch out for though, such as the bodysurfing described in the Important Rulings section.