New 40k roundup!

Hey everybody!
It’s been an exciting week for news of the new Warhammer 40k coming out to us via Games Workshop and their new social media campaigns, and while I’ve not been able to follow it all as closely as I’d like, I thought I’d collect all of that stuff here as I catch up and see what 8th edition is shaping up to be!

Okay, so first of all, let’s talk about some lore here. The Indomitus Crusade sounds pretty impressive, and looks like a good way to rekindle the universe without it being too different. I mean, we’re not moving into Warhammer 50k, but more like pushing back the tide of Chaos with new vigour, which is just what the setting needs, in my view. Building new warriors for the cause also sounds plausible, though I hope that the rumours of true-scale marines that have been circulating for weeks now won’t actually replace the current range. Mainly because I have so many space marine kits already… But anyway!

Unit Profiles
This sounds like it’s actually a small change in terms of what we’re used to, but will be tied more thematically to the setting than to a need for strict balance in the game. I don’t mean that the game will become more unbalanced than ever, but more that I always disliked the idea that space marine power armour had a very similar feel to Necrodermis, which is a living metal capable of self-repair and all sorts of weird alien stuff. These things shouldn’t feel the same, yet to balance the game, they were essentially the same thing. It sounds like there will be more thought given to the theme of the army that you’re playing, which I really cannot wait to get into, because theme is king for me!

In the new edition, the rules team were keen to have the profile work harder – to better distinguish between the different units so that, for example, Eldar will run faster than Guardsmen, and Hormagaunts run faster than both.

This is what I’m talking about!!

Fixed Ballistic Skill and Weapons Skill is huge! While intellectually I liked the fact that any model could fire at any other model, and it would scale for how hard to hit that other model was, having a fixed BS and WS should make things so much easier to play. I’m looking forward to not having to continually ask my opponent what his unit has, and then consult a chart to find out how I can attack.

I’m quite excited to see how things are going to progress as we move forward. The movement stat is an interesting one, and while my first thought upon hearing of this was “oh god, now there’s even more cross-referencing involved!” it actually looks like we’ll be getting warscroll-like unit profiles with all of the information you need for any given unit on one page. I love this! I tried doing something similar a few months ago for my Necrons, as it was irritating me trying to flip through so many pages to work out exactly how each unit behaved. Hopefully, no more!!

Very pleased with this!

While there’s nothing that seems inherently new about weapons at first glance, it seems that they’re actually going to make a bit more sense now.

The way these things work seems to be more streamlined, as you’re rolling to hit and then doing damage if you do. That’s fine by me, as I’ve often been confused by the constant need to roll dice in this game. Having this change is a distinct improvement in my view. As the article says, it makes weapons more optimised for the battlefield, firing bolters that do one damage at units with one wound apiece.

Templates are gone, as I’m sure everyone now knows, and while for the flamer this might be a bit of a loss, as it always felt a bit theatrical to be throwing up a cone of flame at the enemy, I’m hopeful that it’ll nevertheless speed things up as you no longer try to painstakingly position your flamer guy so as to take out the maximum number of people, ad nauseum.

This isn’t something I’d been thinking needs to change, though as I read more about it, I’m happy to see the addition of a movement stat for units. As I said above, it helps to make things feel more thematic – why do my super-fast Dark Eldar move as quickly as my newly-reanimated Necrons?

I’m not 100% happy with the fact that charging into close combat means you automatically go first, as I’ve often said I like how sensible the assault phase felt. While on the one hand I suppose there is an argument to be made for the fact that if you are the aggressor, it makes sense to go first, I also think that having a unit with higher Initiative could have still led to the victims being able to better fend-off a mindless mob of Orks wielding clubs with inane abandon. It’s also probably my inner-RPG fan wanting to stay with rolling for initiative!

I haven’t seen anything about it so far, but I do hope that Overwatch is still a thing, as well…

Psychic Phase
This appears to have been the biggest area of change that we’ve seen to date! I’ve not had a great deal of experience with the Psychic Phase, as I have Necrons and Dark Eldar for the most part, but have played against Psykers, where I never felt entirely right in generating my own Warp points to deny the witch. I mean, Necrons are psychic blanks!

In the new edition, Psykers will be able to cast their stuff if they beat the Warp Charge value on 2D6, and opposing Psykers within 24″ will be able to attempt to block these attempts. This is totally fine with me! It feels a lot like Age of Sigmar, where Wizards are a big thing, and I’m totally fine with that, as the few times I’ve played that game, it all made total sense!

No mention has been made of Brotherhood of Psykers, but I hope that doesn’t go away as it was a nice idea, especially for things like Tyranid Zoanthropes…

Apparently, every faction will have its own range of Psychic Powers, which is making me a bit jittery for my Necrons and Dark Eldar, who thematically don’t have anything to do with such things. I suppose I can see some sort of C’tan shenanigans going on for the Necrons, but how are they going to retcon psychic powers for the Dark Eldar? Maybe we’ll be seeing new minis of some sort. Hm.

I think this is a positive change, though, and I’m interested to see what the final impact will be on games.

Shooting Phase
The basics of the phase appear to be much the same here. The loss of Initiative means that you can move a unit out of combat in order to have another unit fire at the enemy without risking Morale tests, it seems, which should make for some interesting battles that kinda feel like, well, battles.

Snap shots have been replaced by a -1 to hit modifier if you move and shoot with a heavy weapon, which seems okay, but I suppose will bear more thinking about for me.

The bigger change of course is Cover saves. With saves being rolled into one overall value that you need to beat with your units, if those guys are shooting weapons with a high enough armour modifier, you can shoot them through whatever cover they’re hiding behind. Seems decent enough – after all, a missile launcher really should be able to hit through a wall, right?

Other stuff
The Warhammer Community team held a live stream Q&A last Monday, where they answered a number of questions that a chap at my local store helpfully transcribed for us all who couldn’t watch it.

In addition to all of the stuff talked about already in this post, then, some other interesting bits include:
– Vehicles and Monsters will lose their combat effectiveness as they take wounds, much like in Age of Sigmar now;
– The system has been massively playtested already, and play time has been reduced so that a 1500-point game should take around 90 minutes;
– No armies are going to disappear, and every army will have rules from day one. Additionally, the Battletome structure will replace the Codex, and they will be affordable books that will supplement the army’s playstyle.
– Two different points sets, one “broad brushstrokes” set that will have points for the unit, and a much more granular set where weapons etc all have points costs;
– There will be a number of different Force Org Charts you can use, some of which will be thematic to your army and give Command Points that can be used for in-game effects (such as dice re-rolls);
– Allies are still possible, but sticking to one army will give better Command Points/Benefits.

So that’ll do it for now! Overall, I think the rules changes that we’ve seen are really positive, and I’m definitely looking forward to getting into some actual games with my armies once 8th Edition hits for sure.

On to some rumours!
So I know this post is already running quite long, but I thought it only fair to be as comprehensive as I can right now!

The current rumours coming from natfka and the like are telling us that the new edition will be released on 17 June, with pre-orders from 10 June. We’ll be getting free PDFs for the core rules (12 pages, rather than 4), and datasheets for the Imperium, Chaos, and Xenos races.

The starter set will be Death Guard vs Ultramarines, and seems to involve the shiny new models that were previewed at AdeptiCon. There seems to be a lot of models in the set, which makes me wonder just how accurate that report is, but I suppose you never know! I’m surprised at the Death Guard stuff, as all current rumours had been pointing to the new Plague Marines coming out in December. I suppose it may be a push-fit variant, with the actual minis coming out later in the year? At any rate, I’m definitely picking that box up if that’s the price!

6th and 7th edition suffered from growing pains and an identity crisis.  GW spent a good amount of time and money figuring out what they want 8th edition to really feel like, and are using what they learned in 40k 6th-7th edition and AoS V1.0-1.2 to rebuild 40k from the ground up.

If this is true, then it could be amazing for the game. I like the idea that GW has spent some time on thinking on their actual direction for the game, rather than just being “all the skullz”, so I hope this will prove to be correct!

Finally, I keep hearing people talking about brand new factions coming to the game at or shortly after the launch. Brand new as in, really brand new, never seen before. So plastic Sisters seems unlikely, and I don’t think these rumours are referring to the Death Guard models, either. What could it be? I guess we’ll find out in a couple more months!!