Monday, September 4, 2017

Raven Guard 40K: Scout Bike Squad



Raven Guard are the Recon Legion (cough... cough) Chapter... so it makes sense that they would be the best at deploying scouts in all their forms. Scout units are distinguished by their special rules and reduced armor, and Scout Bikes are no exception.  

The first thing that stands out in the Scout Bike stat block is their speed. A move of 16" and the ability to turbo boost an additional 6" adds up to a crazy Advance of 24". It a solid scoring unit that has 2 T5 wound to boot.

They are also bristling with weapons. You have a choice to either go astartes grenade launcher or twin boltgun. Both have their merits. The twin boltgun has 4 boltgun shots as 12", which goes nice with the astartes shot gun which become 2 x S5 within 6". The Grenade launcher gives you long range frag or krak greanades, which is fine for a mid range harrasing unit.. Finally, they come with a bolt pistol and combat blade, giving them base 2 S4 attacks and a S4 pistol shot.



So are they any good? Well kinda...

5 Scout Bikes are only 125 pts and each and crank out 4 S4 bolter shots, 2 S5 shot gun shots and 2 S4 attacks in HTH.



So is that good? Well kinda...

2 solid comparisons are Aggressors with bolt gauntlets and Vanguard Vets with 2 X chain swords.

18 pts for Vanguard Vets = 4 S4 HTH attacks = 4.5 pts per S4 attack
43 pts Aggressors = 9.5 S4 shooting attacks (let's ignore the power fist for a sec) = 4.5 per S4 attack
25 pts Scout Bike = 6 S4 shooting attacks and 2 S4 HTH attacks = 4.1 per S4 attack



So really good, right!? Well Kinda...

Vanguard Vets can spend 3 CPs to attack twice so 8S4 HTH attacks = 2.25 per S4 attack
Aggressors can shoot twice if they don't move so 19 S4 shooting attacks = 2.26 per S4 attack
Scout Bike don't have a similar force multiplier so = 4.1 per S4 attack

So... Not so good...

Scout bikes do have a stratagem though.

Cluster Mines: When they fall back, they can spend 1CP to do d3 mortal wounds if you roll a 2+ on a d6.



Is it good? Well Kinda...

Mortal wounds are great against nasty tough stuff, but scout bikes aren't really the sort of unit that attacks a unit like that, but I could see it useful against vehicles. Ultimately, it's kinda risky and very situational. I wouldn't build a list around it.


Conclusions: 

At first glance, scout bikes seem like a very efficient anti horde unit, but they simply don't have the out put needed to keep pace with the the most efficient Raven Guard units. They do however qualify for the -1 to hit and with their blistering speed they can be a very flexible unit. They can harass back field units, hunt light characters, pick up line breaker and hold objectives. That said, they have no place in an alpha strike force, but you may find some success in maelstrom missions.


Sunday, August 27, 2017

Raven Guard 40K - Vanguard Veteran Squad



Raven Guard Vanguard Veterans, with their white arms and shouler pads, ambushing from the shadows, jump packs blasting and lightning claws shredding foes. It's the iconic squads that made me want to run Raven Guard.

On the battle field, Vanguard Vets are the glass hammers of the Space Marine HTH arsenal. With jump packs, no other unit can be so efficient at delivering pure damage to the enemy. In a Raven Guard force, they can "wraith-slip" with the Strike from the Shadows (SftS) stratagem making them even more deadly.

In addition to all this goodness, Raven Guard have a couple ways to increase the power of this unit.

UNIT FORCE MULTIPLIERS: 



Shrike: 
  • Winged Deliverance: Grants re roll charges for jump pack units within 6" 
  • Chapter Master: Grants re toll hits to all Raven Guard within 6". Note: This is for HTH and shooting. 
  • Warlord Trait: If he's your warlord, enemy units cannot fire overwatch at your warlord. So if you charge him in first, the Vanguard Vets aren't overwatched either. 
Rievers: 
  • Shock Grenades: If an infantry unit is hit my a shock grenade, it is stunned and cannon fire overwatch and your opponent must subtract 1 from any hot rolls made for the unit. 
Chaplains: 
  • Litanies of Hate: Re roll all failed hit rolls in the Fight phase for units within 6" 
  • Spiritual Leader: Units withing 6" can use the chaplain's leadership of 9 for moral. 

Captain: 
  • Rites of Battle: While not nearly as good as shrike or a chaplain, Captains to let Raven Guard units within 6" re roll 1's to hit. Note, that it's all hits including shooting. 
Lieutenant: 
  • Tactical Precision: Units within 6" re roll 1's to wound. 
Company Ancient: 
  • Astartes Banner: Units within 6" add 1 to their leadership and when a model dies it can make a single attack (shooting or hth) on a 4+. 
  • No Jump pack option, but the index has a version on a bike. It's annoying that Blood Angels get the option... 
Apothecary: 
  • Narthecium: Adds a dead guy back to the squad on a 4+ 
  • No Jump pack Version, but the index has a version on a bike. It's annoying that Blood Angels get the option... 
Primaris
  • A lot of these units come in a Primaris version, but none of them can take jump packs. It doesn't mean they are useless though. You can always trail a guy back to be within the 6" character aura. 
PSYCHIC FORCE MULTIPLIERS:

Librarian: 
  • Veil of Time: 6 to cast. Unit within 18" (until the start of your next psychic phase) can strike first, re-roll charges and advance rolls. 
  • Null Zone: 8 to cast. Enemy models within 6" cannot take invulnerable saves and halve the result of any enemy psychic test. 
STRATAGEM FORCE MULTIPLIERS: 

Strike from the Shadows (SftS): 1CP
  • This awesome stratagem lets you deploy with 9" of the enemy after the Seize the Initiative Roll but before the the start of the first game turn. Which, basically means you know who is going first, then you get a full move / advance and you can shoot and assault. For Jumpers it's a weird double edge sword. 
Honor the Chapter: 3CP 
  • This stratagem lets a infantry or bike units attack a second time at the end of a fight phase. While expensive, it's extremely powerful especially when combined with going first and strike from the shadows. 
Death to the Traitors: 1CP
  • Against Heretic Astartes every attack roll of 6+ trigger allows that model to take another attack. Very powerful for high attack units. 
Tactical Flexibility: 1 CP 
  • Split a unit of 10 marines into 2 units of 5 
VANGUARD VETERAN ANALYSIS:

First off, Van Guard Vets are only 2 pts more than an Assault Squad Jumper, which nets you an extra attack, and extra point of leadership and considerably better war gear options. Vanguard Vets also get jump packs for cheaper as well. 

Upgrading to a jump pack is only 2 points per Vet, which makes it a pretty obvious choice. The harder choice is deciding on how to equip them... 

VANGUARD VETERAN SQUAD PREFERRED PAY LOADS:




10 Vanguard Vets w. Lightning Claws: 300 pts

The most iconic Raven Guard build for Vanguard Vets is dual lightning claws. Taking 2 claws nets you an additional attack and lightning claws give you a straight up re roll to wound. 10 of these guys will cost you 300 points and will absolutely shred infantry. When combined with Shrike you will be re roll hits and wounds. 30 s4 ap-2 attacks will hit 26 times killing 13 MEQs or 23 GEQs.



10 Vanguard Vets w. Thunder Hammers: 340 pts

First off, for the same points you have the choice between power fist or thunder hammers. Thunder hammers have identical stats but do 3 damage, while power fists only do d3 damage. So take the T Hammers every time. 

Thunder Hammers have the unfortunate -1 to attack rule, but a Thunder hammer has a straight 3 damage, which is basically inline with a missile launcher. So for 16 points you get 2 x 4+ S8 ap-3 3 dmg attacks, which makes each guy 34 pts. 

When combined with Shrike or a chaplain and a lieutenant, the Vets are getting 20 attacks that do 26 wounds against t8 3+ or kill 15 MEQs or 17 GEQs.



10 Vanguard Vets w. 2 plasma pistols: 320 pts

Destroyers were a unit originally created by Corax and were jump capable gun fighters. In this squad, we will be running plasma pistols. Plasma pistols have range of 12" and 2 modes of fire, standard S7 -3 1 dmg or over charged at S8 -3 2 dmg. If you roll a 1 to hit with an over charged pistol the user is slain. 

Destroyers are interesting in that they don't really need to be in hth to be effective. They essentially have 2 plasma shots and 2 S4 hth attacks. So you can do you damage and then charge something you just don't want to shoot you back.

In general, these guys hit like Thunder hammers. With Shrike around, they have 20 S7 (non super charged) attacks that Kill 15 MEQs or 17 GEQs just like Thunder Hammers. However, you do 17 wounds against a T8 3+ save target. And these kills are not taking into consideration the 2 s4 HTH attacks.

There is a downside though. For one, you don't get the plasma pistols on your opponents turn. So if your opponent is a HTH army, you are missing out on half the overall damage. The other big loss is that these are shooting attacks, so you can't use Honer the Chapter to attack twice. Both of these are a fairly big deal against certain match ups. 



10 Vanguard Vets w. 2 chainswords: 180 pts

2 chainswords gives you +2 attacks to a total of 4 attacks for a 18 pt marine. It pumps out a grand total of 40 attack or 6 dead MEQ or 13 GEQ. However, it's close to half the price of the Thunder hammer squad. In short, this is your cheapest anti horde HTH unit you have in the Space Marine codex and you can spend 3 CPs to double attack with them... So 180 points and 3 CP to kill 50 conscripts turn 1. From an efficiency perspective, 2 chainswords is almost identical to twin lightning claws (lightning claws being slightly better, but a lot less durable). 

For comparison sake, 4 aggressors with bolter gauntlets (the most efficient mob clearing available) is 172pts and throws out 76 S4 shots if they don't move. So the two units are really quite comparable in damage output, 4 Agressors shoot 38 S4 shots.

From an Alpha strike perspective, the Aggressors are more efficient as they can trigger the double shots without spending the 3 CP. On the flip side, the vanguard vets are a great option if you go second because their huge range lets you deploy behind terrain and still engage the enemy.

Other Options:

  • Plasma Pistols: For 7 points you can add a 3+ plasma pistol shot to a Thunder Hammer Van Guard Vet Squad. It starts making the unit really expensive, but it's a considerable chunk of extra fire power. It's basically a plus .5 attack per model, which is a deal when you are paying 34 points for a model with 2 attacks at 4+, so 17 pts per attack. So for the ultimate alpha strike unit, Thunder Hammer Plasma pistol is the way to go, netting 35 unsaved wounds to a T8 3+ save unit. 
  • Bolt Pistol: An over looked option, but don't forget you have them. They do add a chunk of damage this edition. However, I would steer away from chain sword / bolt pistol or bolt pistol / bolt pistol, because you basically lose the 2 attacks in your opponents phase and their is no way to double attack with them with a stratagem. That said, those 10 shot on my thunder hammer VVs have come in huge if you have a couple more conscripts you need to get out of your way... 
  • Storm Shields: When you pull a Bane Blade or 2 Storm Ravens off the table turn 1, you can expect to receive some considerable return fire. Storm Shields offer you a cheap 3++ save. The 3++ is also really important if you end up going second and have to take a turn of fire. You also give up your bolt pistol, which is something often overlooked. 
  • Power Fists: With their shiny new 12 pt cost, they come in identically priced as twin lightning claws. However, they kill GEQs and MEQs identically to the Thunder hammer, but do considerably less damage to tougher units like tanks. A let's face it. You want to be hunting tanks / monsters. Finally, from an efficiency perspective you are much better off with thunder hammers on a damage per point basis. So when do you field power fists? When you can't take a thunder hammer, or you are running out of points, or it's the models you have...
TABLE TOP TACTICS:

As sexy as strike for the shadows is... there are times when you will want to deploy your jumpers to deal with your opponents delayed drops. Shrike's winged deliverance gives you the re roll to charge and works well with your standard deep strike deployment. That said, your chances of making that 9" charge is 40% or 60% with a re roll. 

When you use Strike from the Shadows, tactics become a little more tricky, and it deserves it's own article. But You have 2 big issues to deal with. The first is bubble wrap. Whether you go first or second, you should expect to have to get through 50 conscript equivalents (GEQs) before you can smash the target of your choice. The issue is that you can't remove the bubble wrap until your shooting or assault phase, so our high movement is partially wasted. That said, our special deployment and high movement often defeats all but largest of bubble wrap attempts. Worst case scenario build your list to shoot 50 guys out of your way and use shrike to give you a re roll to charge (Cough. Cough. Aggressors. Cough.). From an efficiency perspective, consider Deep striking Shrike and SftS the Vets, while leaving a trail of vets to be within Shrikes 6" re roll hits and charges bubble.

The second issue is going second. Often, this puts you in a position of counter assault. You basically have 2 options. Either maximum threat overload, i.e. multiple similar units aggressively deployed to create difficult target prioritization or rely on terrain and the Raven Guard Chapter Tactics to stay alive for a turn. 

A third option, is to deploy in a fortification and play very defensively. If you play a very shooty RG force, this might a be a strong option, as your opponent will want to shut down your shooting. 

With Vanguard Veterans, it's really important to think a couple turns a head. 

  • Prior to deployment you might want to split a 10 man squad to deal with a heavy MSU army. 
  • Be careful with how you use your characters. Shrike is great for giving re roll charges but if your units roll big and he fails your charge, you might lose his aura and give up a Kill Point for your warlord. 
  • Keep your Chapter Tactics in mind. Attacking a flank often lets you stay at 12"+ to most of your opponents shooting force and a unit with 2+, 3++ and -1 to hit can suck up a lot of fire power. It's feel weird, but going backwards with a consolidate might be the best way to advance a unit forward. 
In conclusion, Vanguard Vets can be everything from tank hunters to mob clearer to elite busters. They are an efficient scalpel unit. BUT they can't do it alone. They need a lot of support to be effective and a good chunk of CPs to spend. However, their value varies a lot based on if you go first or second, so you really need to build your list around them and to have a Beta Strike strategy in mind, should you go second. 

Oh... and don't forget that if you have 2 lightning claws or thunder hammer / storm shield you can still throw a grenade. Shrike is a krak grenade sniper ;) 


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Warhammer 40K 8e Army List Builder


8th is here! As with any new edition, it starts with a lot of math. This edition, GW is pushing the power points, which are a rough and easy way to build a quick army and get it on the table.

Personally, I think if they had reduced the options at a squad level they could have made this real option for competitive play. As it is, the units can actually vary wildly in power depending on armament, which is unfortunate. They have done a good job of streamlining most other elements of the game.

So for competitive play, they gave us points. Which is fine. But the base model doesn't include weapons, so you end having to find the core unit and core gear just to get to the base costs of troopers. Then you add it all up. It's not a bad way to go about it, although from a game design perspective you end up with weird pricing when you have armies with varying BS or WS. In general, it looks like they used the core to hit roll of the armies to calculate the costs. So you see deals for things like WS 3+ Scions in a guard force with plasma guns.

Anyway, all this math and tallying is made considerably easier with this army list builder, which is free and has most everything already loaded into it.

40K Army List Builder

Build your legion now!

40K Tau Thoughts


Greetings nerds…
Elrodogg here to bring some special guest author thoughts on the new edition and everyone’s favorite galactic buddies, the Tau Empire.  A bit about me, I’ve played GW games since 2nd edition of 40k and 5th edition fantasy.  Starting out as a primarily 40k player I slowly became a mostly fantasy player, then at the drop of AoS, I dropped GW completely and switched to Malifaux (a great game everyone should check out but I digress).  
Like many others, I was turned off on the direction that 40k was going with detachments having crazy rules, the super best friends armies, unkillable deathstars and so forth.  I age myself, but I greatly enjoyed playing 40k in the 3rd and 4th edition days of a single force organization chart without all the “crazy”.  
The 8th edition rules summaries lent credence to the idea that GW was trying to tone back all those rules in favor of a simpler more straightforward game.  Specifically, it was the changes to vehicles and the change to modified armor saves that really won me over (that and the elimination of the above problems). Finally, the rules were available and just a couple of days I was able to get in a game.   
So without further delay, here is the first article in a series I am planning on writing on The Tau Empire.  This time we are going to focus on weapons and doing damage.  Later articles will cover the different units, survivability, army composition, etc.  Let me just start it off by saying that overall, I think Tau are in a good place this edition.    

Tau are known for their guns.  Without a doubt, they have such a great variety of guns that you really have to pick what approach you’ll be going for.  I think a lot of the early going of the edition will be spent figuring out the best way to deal with both hordes of bodies and with tough models.  You’ll want some weapons that do d6 wounds (or at least several that can do d3) to take out chunks of tough tanks/demon princes/tyranid monsters but those shots are wasted when you’re staring at 130 orks.  I will be reviewing some select weapons based on what I think can work.  
Tau have a great weapon that’s essentially a jack of all trades in the missile pod.  2 shots at s7 ap-1 d3 wounds means that you can do some real hurt to medium multi-wound models and have some level of fire volume to take out things like orks and infantry.   That said you pay for it… 24points isn’t cheap.  I think you’ll see these on Commander models that hit on a 2+.  You get the “Max Value” for the weapon if you get it to work.  Oh and it has a 36” range… not too shabby.  

Railguns are the weapon of choice in taking out heavy tanks.. shocker.  With the addition of command points giving you rerolls, I think you’ll be seeing a couple of railguns in people’s lists but these will receive a disproportionate number of rerolls.   Say you hit and wound with a high priced railgun, but you only roll 1 or 2 wounds… prime target for using a command point reroll.  I can totally see taking a single broadside suit, giving it a heavy rail rifle, plasma guns (cheaper than a SMS system and better at doing a couple of wounds to a tank).  The mortal wound on a to roll hit of 6+ is just icing on the cake as it means you can actually one-shot a rhino (yeah it would take two successive 6+’s to happen but its possible).  

The next thing to discuss are pulse rifles.  I think that Strike Team fire warriors are really legit now.  Take 12 of them, add in a markerlight and at 99pts you have a unit that can start affecting the game in the first shooting phase.  One thing to consider with them is that they have a 4+ armor save, so if they are in cover and haven’t moved they are on a 2+ save.  That’s huge for early game survivability.  A lot of small arms fire has only a small armor save modifier, so you’re saving on 2’s and 3’s mainly.  In terms of damage output, they really shine with a fireblade nearby.  Rapid fire means that at half range (15” is a good bit of distance still) they are taking two shots, and the fireblade bumps their damage output to 3 shots.  Now add in a single markerlight hit and you’re rerolling 1’s.  Assuming you have all 12 alive, at half range you’re taking 36 shots, approximately 6 will be 1s, rerolling those to hit on a 4+ means 3 extra hits.  Also consider that it helps prevent that really bad volley of hits.  If you roll a disproportionate number of 1s, then rerolling those helps to mitigate the bad rolls.  
Last but not least are markerlights, which are interesting.  It is very easy to get a single markerlight hit on a target, as a Cadre Fireblade can do that on a single roll to hit of 2+ (prime candidate for a command point reroll if you miss).  The single markerlight hit is key as it gives you rerolls of 1s.  Then, if you really want something dead, shoot your unit of pathfinders at the target.  At 80points, a unit of 10 of these guys are a steal.  10 shots, hitting on 4s would normally mean you’re getting 5 hits, which is good but you really need to guarantee that 5 result to get the +1 to hit on from the marker chart.  So… add in that you already have 1 from the fireblade, 10 shots hitting on a 4+ while rerolling 1s means you would be hard pressed not to score 4 additional hits.  Remember that the chart is cumulative, so now whatever you’re shooting at will be at +1 to hit, rerolling 1’s, so that Tau basic to hit roll of 4+ is looking a whole lot better.  Units like stealthsuits that can pump out a really high volume of fire absolutely love all of this.  



Important Note… I will not be discussing the Vespid Neutron Blaster because the models are ugly.  
Actual Vespids sighted at Elrodogg's boat house last summer... I wouldn't say anything bad about them either!

My first impressions in terms of units and what are winners are:
  • Fireblade
  • Commanders
  • Strike Teams
  • Broadside (singular)
  • Pathfinders
  • Crisis Suits
  • Stealth Suits


I want to wrap each article up with an army list based on my experience thus far.  Taking an army based purely on the winners I mentioned above (and a Stormsurge which while I haven’t tried out yet but the model is amazing).  Unless my math is wrong, that’s 1998 points and has 7 command points.  

Battalion Detachment:
  • Cadre Fireblade w/ markerlight
  • Cadre Fireblade w/ markerlight
  • 12 Strike Team Fire Warriors w/ markerlight
  • 12 Strike Team Fire Warriors w/ markerlight
  • 10 Strike Team Fire Warriors w/ markerlights
  • 3 Crisis Suits w/ 2x missile pods, shield generator
  • 6 Stealth Suits w/ burst cannons
  • 10 pathfinders w/ markerlights
  • Broadside Suit w/ heavy rail rifle, double plasma rifle, shield generator

Supreme Command Detachment:
  • Commander w/ 3x missile pods, advanced targeting system
  • Commander w/ 3x missile pods, advanced targeting system
  • Commander w/ 3x missile pods, advanced targeting system
  • Stormsurge w/ all the usual trimmings, a pulse blastcannon, shield generator, early warning override and advanced targeting system



Now go forth and pew pew pew for the greater good!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Zone Mortalis Terrain & Shadow War Armageddon STEP 1: Inspiration



With 8th edition coming out this July, I have largely taken a break from writing tactics articles for 30k. But have no fear! I will jump back on the bandwagon as the rules are released and probably expand into 40K tactics as well.

In meantime, I have been focussing heavily on rebooting my home gaming space and trying out some new games!!! So get ready for some articles on Shadow War Armageddon (SWA) and Frost Grave!!!

More importantly, I have decided to take build a zone mortalis board, with matching buildings and catwalk infrastructure for sci fi skirmish games like Infinity and SWA.

As much as I like the Forgeworld zone mortalis sets, that fact that the walls are attached to the boards kinda bums me out. So instead I tried to find something more modular. In the end I decided to go with an MDF solution from Wargame Model Mods called Maze of Death!


The Maze of Death System is pretty awesome. The walls some in 1, 2, 3 and 4 length sections and corners.


The board itself is pretty awesome. It's modular, so you can do different sized boards. It's magnetized so walls don't shift around and it has awesome lighting effects!

All that said, I decided to start with just walls. For one I really love playing on gaming mats flooring tiles take up space. That said... I have an inkling I will buy the floor tiles eventually as well.

THE MATS

Personally, I think the biggest upgrade in the last couple years to tabletop wargaming is the mouse pad gaming mats. I always preferred cloth over hard table tops that make dice bounce and model get scratched... But the new mats are just soe awesome. The designs are beautiful, durable and wonderful to use.

I picked up the following 2 fat mats from Frontline games. I highly recommend them.




THE WALLS

The walls come in a lot of different patterns and have quite a lot of detail on them. but it's nice that they are pretty much flat. It will be easy to airbrush everything!!! Some of the walls also have holes in them if you want to add LED effects, which is kind of a fun option.





THE TERRAIN

I ended up going down the path of buying Necron-esque Terrain. Not because I necessarily love Necron, but more because it can be cross game system for anything futuristic and can blend well with GW's gothic feel if I don't go too "clean" with the paint scheme.


THE DILEMMA

Choosing a paint scheme is hard enough for an army but for home terrain board it's even harder! It has to look good with all my armies! Ugh...

I also like to learn a new color or technique with every project I take on. In this project I will be working with MDF for the first time and I have decided to try painting orange as a main color scheme.

I was largely influenced by a paint scheme I saw at warsen.al with a nice orange scheme. What's nice about orange is that it mixes well with dirt and rusty terrain schemes. So you can use the pieces with either a dirt or metal looking mat, which is great with something like zone mortalis terrain with is largely indoor environments and buildings that I might want to use outdoors with my istavann bases on my IG and Raven Guard.

Some terrain pieces that are inspiring the direction I'm heading.



 

The warsen.al guys were nice enough to post their formula here:

https://warsen.al/blogs/product-updates

Personally, I'm a fan of vallejo paint, especially vallejo Air, so these are the colors I'm largely working with.

White

Vallejo Bone White
Vallejo Ivory
White

Orange

Vallejo air orange fire
Vallejo Orange Brown
Vallejo Cavalry Brown (shadow)
Vallejo Scrofulous Brown (dry brushed or lined highlight)

Dark Metal

Vallejo Dark Grey
Black (any brand)
Vallejo Light Grey (as a Highlight, sparingly- then as line highlight)

OTHER INSPIRATION








I will be posting updates as I start test painting everything!

8th ed Warhammer 40,000 - Initial Thoughts & Tactics



I for one, am super excited about 8th edition 40K. 7th edition was a fun ride, which quickly went down an ugly road of GW sprinkling rules for armies across multiple codexes. By the end, you need a mule to carry all the books required to play a competitive army. I also thought 7th ed core rules were a nice refinement of 6th ed rules, I also felt the core rules had become far more complicated than they needed to be. 

Enter 8th edition. Let me start by saying I like about 80% of what they have done and hate about 20% of the changes. I love the simplifications and clean up they have done, but they really dropped the ball on a couple key changes that bog down the game or water down certain important tactical elements of the game. 

CORE RULES: 

May I be the first to say, thank fucking god they got rid of game words game turn and player turn and now use battle round and player turn. No longer do we need to argue of the meaning of "TURN". In additions coherency stayed 2" but extended to 6" vertical, which is actually important as pile ins are only 3" in hth. 

  • Units that are split up must re-establish unit coherency in the movement phase.
  • It should also be noted their is no stat caps. So id you are a S6 dread with a dread close combat weapon... you are now S12. 



Movement Phase:

  • Models have individual movement stats
  • Cannot move through other models or terrain features (like walls)
  • Must stay 1" away in the movement phase
  • Fly ignores all riders
  • Falling back, lets you leave combat. Interestingly you can move in any direction, you just cant advance or charge or shoot. (Flying models can shoot). 
  • Fallback is also interesting for hth. If you end up out of coherency, you HAVE to re-establish in the movement phase. So you might be able to force a unit to fallback instead of fighting if they were sloppy in the way they pulled their models.
  • It should also be noted, falling back still can't move through models. So you can encircle units to keep them from falling back...
  • Advance is the new run. Move +d6 and you can't shoot of charge after. 
  • NOTE: There are no rules for difficult terrain. So much like AoS, I expect you can move full speed through terrain features but walls you have climb over the top.



PSYCHIC PHASE:

  • 2d6 equal or greater of the target number to cast
  • SMITE: All psykers get smite. Target 5. 18" D3 mortal wounds. If the result was more than 10, D6 mortal wounds. 
  • PERILS: double 1 or 6 and the psyker takes d3 mortal wounds. OUCH. Expect a lot of psykers to be eating it. 
  • Deny the witch. Another psyker with 24" can deny the witch on a 2d6 if you role higher than the casting psyker. 
  • So expect a lot of armies to have 1 psyker for psychic defense, as a single psycher in the middle of board will deny about half the attempts to cast a power.



SHOOTING PHASE
  • First off you can split your fire, so bolters at infantry and lascannons at tanks.
  • After you pick a unit to shoot with, you have to declare what they are shooting. This means declare you what weapons are shooting where before you roll to hit!
  • Characters can only be chosen as targets if they are the closest target. 



  • New wounding table shakes up the game A LOT. Now everything can be wounded in a 6. 
  • No obliteration rules means you can't just eliminate multi wound models with big guns anymore.
  • Wound allocation is now done by the models owner. So a major tactic of this edition is where you pull models from your unit. Unit leaders can now lead from the front. Special weapons and the like will be the last to die, etc. Although wounded models must be allocated wounds first, so no [reading out wounds across multi wound units. 
  • Saving throws. GW FUCKED UP... So basically you have roll wounds one at a time, which could slow down the game a lot. That said, in units of similar guys or 1 wounds, you can do it in batch and allocate after. 
  • Excess damage does not transfers from model to model. This is important on multiple fronts. A single melta gun can't kill 6 guys, but also weapons with multiple shots and D3 or D6 wounds can do a HUGE amount of damage in a single shot. 
  • Terrain only gives you a bonus if your UNIT is ENTIRELY. So one model not in the terrain features and NO ONE get's the bonus. 
  • Mortal wounds, auto wound AND you get no save. Not even invulnerable save. This is basically the death of death stars and super tough units. I expect a lot of list will be focusing on maxing mortal wound output. 



CHARGING

  • 2d6 charge range, but you don't have to make it to base, only within 1". 
  • You can charge as many units as you want to target, but they can all over watch. This is important though, because you can eliminate a lot of squads at once with a big unit. 
  • The only restrictions to charge movement is unit coherency and the first model you move must be with 1" or the charge fails. It doesn't even have to be the closest. So feel free to scatter in all directions and pick with models you want to be in base with. Just remember you can' go through any models including your own. 
  • Heroic intervention moves a character 3" towards THE CLOSEST enemy model after all charges are complete. I'm assuming this means, it can bring them in HTH, but it doesn't actually say that... 
FIGHT PHASE
  • 3" Pile in happens first. Even if you just charged! The only caveat is that you must end up closer to an enemy. It's an interesting rule because you can count on some jiggering movement after your charge to get more guys in fighting range. So consider wrapping guys around the edges edges before you lock yourself into base to base. This is especially important with Characters, as they will be charging second and have to be in 1" themselves. 
  • Only models with 1" of another unit or 1" of a model in the same unit that is within 1" of an enemy can attack. 
  • Wounds and everything are done as shooting. So wounds can actually be pulled from anywhere in the unit. It doesn't have to be in base on anything. 


TRANSPORTS
  • So transports can hold multiple units now. So expect lots of small units cramming into tanks
  • All models in a unit need to be with 3" to embark, which is actually pretty tight for a 10 man unit. 
  • Disembark is 3" as well, which you can basically add to you movement. So expect a lot of rhinos setting up on table edges, to get the 3" + M + d6 for run or 2D6 for charge. 
  • When a transport is destroyed, remove it from the table. So no more husks of vehicles to hide behind! This is actually pretty significant. In addition, roll a d6 for each model, on a 1 you kill a guy. This is pretty significant for expensive units and great for crap units. Weird change, but a big change. 
MORALE
  • Moral happens at the end of each player turn. 
  • D6 + number of models in the unit lost. Lose a model for every point above the leadership score. 
  • While it sounds like an utter disaster for horde armies, it turns out most of the chaff armies have morale protections. Orks have the mob rule, nids have synapse, genestealers have patriarchs, etc. That said, its a pretty brutal rule, however in hth it's by unit not by total combat. This also favors mutli wound models, vehicles, characters, etc. 



WEAPON TYPES:

In general these are significantly different than we have today. They are also universal rules, which I thought they got rid of... Well, I think getting rid of universal rules is one of their stupidest changes, so I'm glad they did this.
  • Assault weapons can fire, even if you ran... (I mean advanced) in the movement phase. Which is enormous for armies like orks and tyranids that historically have tons of assault weapons and and need to run across the board. 
  • Heavy weapons can move and fire with a -1 to hit. So expect to see things like moving tac squads and the like. I really like this rule. Anything to increase mobility of units is a good thing in my book.
  • Ok... so grenades are thrown. THANK GOD! Honestly, grenades have been an issue for a long time. The 1 point frag grenade has complete made the game unfair for most assault armies. So finally, they simply got rid of initiative and now we throw grenades. That said... I am interested in the fate of might melta bomb.
  • Pistols are in a weird gray area. While, it's awesome you can fire them in hth... You are shooting a weapon in hth! So do they get cover saves for shooting weapons? RAW, I say yes, which would make them less valuable than I initial thought. 


BABY ARMY MAKING 

So formations are basically force org charts, similar to the CAD in 7th. It's actually pretty similar to 30K and how they approach army building, although it looks like you will be able to take multiple formations and multiple allies. 


COMMAND POINTS
  • You start with 3 and add more from formations. 
  • Enter resource management in 40K. Honestly, these are pretty cool. It's a pretty elegant way to add game manipulation. It will be interesting to see where stratagems go. It would be pretty cool if HQs or factions had unique stratagems. As it is, command re roll is ENORMOUS. Especially with weapons doing d6 damage. 
  • You also have some choice to take 3 to 5 HQ, Super heavies or fliers. So get ready for armies of 5 blood thirsters, knight wings and armies of storm talons... It will be interesting to see how people feel about this. 



DETACHMENTS

  • Ok, so the battalion detachment is what they are pushing to be your core detachment. So basically 1 HQ and 3 troops.
  • You have options for 1 HQ and 3 fast, elite or heavy, with the tax of 2 command points. This is a very BIG change. You can basically run some pretty crazy lists. We have also seen some mission and it looks like every unit scores, so any unit is viable. 
  • You have detachments for fortifications and super heavies. I think this edition, you will see a more of these units in standard list. 
  • Auxiliary support detachments actually subtract command point to take a single option of a HQ, fast, elite, troops, etc. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. It basically lets you cherry pick units. So how knows... maybe everyone will be running around with 1 rune priest :p 




CONCLUSION & OTHER THOUGHTS

Overall, It's a pretty easy rule set to consume. The only major outstanding questions I have are around pistols shooting in HTH and some of the odd scenerios with fallback. Like do I get to ignore the 1" move when falling back as long as I don't end in 1" of an enemy.

There are also still a lot of missing pieces like rules for flyers, terrain, missions, etc. but in general the changes made make the game better for the most part.

As a general observation, GW removed all the scenerios where you don't get to "play" the game. So everything from re rollable 2++ saves, to hiding in combats with fearless guys, to null deployment, to late reserves, to deathstars have largely been removed from the game or an element has been added to diminish their relevance.

That said, there are a couple rule choices that I absolutely hate.

  1. Removing universal rules... Universal rules are great because you know them and they work the same for everyone. Now you will have 50 slightly versions of rules like infiltrate. It slows down the game and bloats the rules and the reading. I have zero confidence in GW maintaining identical rules across similar units and if you want to change the rule, now you have to change all the individual units...
  2. Armor facing. Yes. I applaud GW moving towards all vehicles are basically gargantuan creature transports. BUT. It eliminates side and rear armor. Flank and rear shots are huge part of warfare and one of the more interesting elements of 40K from a tactical perspective. If I was the game designer, I would have had one Toughness values, but made side arc -1T and rear -2T. Simplification is great, but not at the expense of rewarding tactics. It literally would have taken a single sentence to add. 
  3. Random damage. I'm fine with random shoots. I don't love it, but it works well for replacing templates and the like. Random damage on the other hand kinda makes the game a beer and pretzel game because your unit output is based more on random chance than your tactical play. For example, let's say I get 6 melta guns in a great spot and hit with 4 of them... I can do anywhere from 4 to 20 damage on a unit. That's an insane spread. So a single guy in a IG squad could do more damage with a melta shot that a 5 man squad of fire dragons that hit with 5 fusion guns. That's just bad game design. It's just not fun... 
  4. U go. I go. I think this edition should have mixed up the U go, I go turn sequence. Either as a 5 command point expenditure or made it U go, I go every phase. A rule set, akin to Epic would have been nice. 
  5. Reserves. So the uncertainty of reserves has always been a weird balancing element. Now, you can basically bring them in whenever and they can immediately charge. Sure, it's clean and easy but their was something nice about managing your list if you reserves didn't come in. We will see how it goes, but I fee like you will have a lot of flyer lists all trying to go second. 
  6. Fallback. Other than the rule being written a little foggy. I actually like that everyone has a poor man's hit and run, but I kind think they should have had a flea rule instead of overwatch. It would add a lot of cat and mouse tactics to the hth part of the game. 
  7. Deny the witch. 24" range is too big. So now you can take a single psyker and shut down 50% of attempted psychic power attempts. 24" radius is a 48" diameter! That's the whole board. Seems like a lot of upside for that 40 pts primaris psyker... It would have been a lot more interesting as a 9" radius IMO.  
  8. Missions. Again, GW decided to have a set of missions that are score and the end and a set that are tactical card based. As with 7th, you will simply see people pick one set or the other and be done with it. Missions that have a mix of secondary objectives, kill points per unit killed, objectives scored as you go and final state objectives rewards and penalizes all the different categories of armies and balances match play. I even would have applauded a pool of random objectives paired with chosen objectives or even something like Epic where you have to complete a couple of several objectives to win. Instead we relive the rock, paper, scissors format of 7th edition, where winning is largely based on army vs random mission selection.