New 40k roundup! part two

Warhammer 40k 8th Edition

Since my first round-up a fortnight ago, there has been a slew of new bits and pieces doing the rounds for the new 40k, and I thought it would be nice to once again gather up all of those bits as I try to make sense of them all prior to the eventual full-drop of the rules…

Picking up from where I left off, then, let’s look at Close Combat.

Now, I do like how this works in 7th Edition, as I like the idea that charging into the thick of enemy troops doesn’t really give you an advantage – mainly because they will have seen you coming. Overwatch is still a thing, and hasn’t changed from the current rules, which I suppose is good. The main change seems to be that you charge 2d6, but cannot end in base contact. At the start of the fight, you get a free 3″ move to get there, which they point out can actually be used to tie up a second enemy unit into the melee. Interesting stuff, there.

You activate units in alternating order, so even though the charging player goes first, he will only activate one unit, then your opponent can potentially activate a unit in a separate combat and kill that off first. I suppose this adds a more tactical depth to the game, as in 7th edition you’ll always go in Initiative order, but anyway.

Morale is still with us, but is basically Battleshock from Age of Sigmar rather than any kind of Leadership test thing that can be ignored through a multitude of effects. The fact that you roll a d6 and add the number of models slain, tested against the unit’s Leadership value, sounds like 8th Edition might be recourse for smaller units of models – just when I’ve finally painted up my 20-man Kabalite Warrior squad! It sounds so simple, but my inner cynic kept thinking how Fearless became so prevalent in 7th that it could happen again. Apparently, they’ve paytested this edition into the future, meaning that the rules we get next month should actually last for a couple of years. This does sound like an exciting development, at least!

One of the big pieces of news to come out of the announcements so far is the loss of Formations in the game. Again, just when I’d built up the models ready for my Dark Artisan! However, while the article put up does say that they’ve gone, I think “they’ve been replaced” would be a much more accurate way to put it. So while there are currently a varying number of formations for each faction, with one “universal” (the combined-arms), we will soon have one of nine detachments that can be used to create a battle-forged army.

During the live stream, however, they also said that there would be faction-specific detachments that would provide a flavourful way to field your army, which to me doesn’t really sound like anything different to how it works now. Except, maybe, that the Imperial Guard will have as many options as the others… I think I would be a bit miffed if, say, the Dark Eldar lost their Realspace Raiders detachment, which provides options for multiple fast attack slots, as this is what Dark Eldar are all about. Unless there’s something else that could provide the same level of theme, I think leveling the playing field on detachments so that everyone can only choose from nine is potentially a bad thing. I guess we’ll see, anyway!

Large Units have now officially been confirmed as having the declining profile that monsters in Age of Sigmar have, and I love this aspect of the new rules. It makes complete sense that something will become less effective as you pour more firepower into it. While the vehicle rules do currently have some of this idea, it’s all just too much like hard work to find out what exactly is going on with them, so having it all on one page not only streamlines this process, but can also lead to some very flavourful events going on. I’m still interested to see how this will be handled with the Necron vehicles, of course, as their living metal armour should certainly have some interesting effects on the game…

More huge changes came with the new Infantry rules spoiled, as the update to the Strength vs Toughness table showed a whole new way to wage war in the 41st millennium:

Yes, that’s possibly as complicated to remember as last time, because you still need to not only know your own stats, but also those of your opponents’ models, but overall it’s certainly an improvement! It also feeds in to the idea that everything can hit everything else, so you no longer feel like a fool for trying to shoot at something only for your opponent to smirkingly tell you “that was never gonna hit anyway” when you’ve made your attack rolls. Not that I’m bitter… I was hoping for something much easier to use, and I guess this is certainly as good as we’ll get.

Also confirmed is the news that units can split their fire now, which is a really nice move as you can get some cracking storytelling moments, maybe as a single unit of scouts defends the high ground from onrushing hordes of various Ork flavours. Or whatever.

Characters, however, can no longer join units. I know this is primarily meant to break up the so-called Death Star formations of 20+ troops shielding a few key chaps who grant insane benefits to the overall group, but I do feel a bit nonplussed by it, overall. I suppose because, while I’ve talked about Dark Eldar a lot in this blog, I still think of 40k now through the lens of a Necron player, having learnt to play with those guys. Necrons have some very powerful detachments, but as I’ve just been buying and painting up the units I find cool, I’ll never be able to field things like Decurions, because I don’t have some of the models. Anyway, one of the ways I have landed on fielding the Necrons I have is with an Overlord in the middle of some Lychguard, because the Overlord has a resurrection orb that works on his unit. While I guess things like resurrection orbs will affect a unit within so many inches of the Overlord, it feels a little less… I don’t know, less special somehow. The Lychguard I had been using up til now were specifically designated as that Overlord’s bodyguard, and were painted just a bit fancier than the others. In my first game of 40k, I used Anrakyr the Traveler as my warlord, and he comes with his own unit of Immortals called Pyrrhian Eternals, which I’d painted to coordinate with Anrakyr. That level of flavour has gone now, and while I suppose there’s nothing to prevent me moving them around the board in the same direction and keeping them all close together – indeed, the new rules do state that the closest enemy must be targeted first, even if you can see one behind them, it does feel like something has been lost by not allowing personal retinues anymore.

I also wonder how the Court of the Archon is going to be implemented in 8th as a result of this. Maybe it’ll be a special case? Hm.

This is getting to be quite long, so let’s wrap things up with the new-look Datasheets!

This thing did feel kinda cluttered when I first saw it yesterday, but overall I think I like it. Units in 40k were always going to be more complicated than those in AoS, as there are so many different weapons options that you can use to personalise your units. I think I like it, anyway, as it has everything you need to understand your unit right there. They do talk about a couple of things like the “Death to the False Emperor” special rule there being referenced elsewhere in the same book, but I guess that will be no different to having something like Necrons and their Reanimation Protocols, which was never a problem to remember as it’s army-specific.

Points are apparently going to be listed elsewhere in the book, so that you can always use the same profile while the points per chap might change over time. Seems a little odd to me, though I think I get why they’ve done it that way. I suppose I really just wanted everything to be on one page!

The Power rating in the top left there is for casual play, and seems quite interesting. Rather than sitting down with a few sheets of paper and a calculator, and spending an afternoon building a list, you can agree to have a “100-power game” or whatever, and just quickly go through your not-Codex and gather up your units as you wish, then spend that afternoon actually playing a game. It adds a nice level of casual-ness to the game for me, which I do quite like the sound of. I don’t know whether it will catch on, of course, and I guess it might be used more for narrative than open play anyway, but I do like the sound of it.

Finally, as I’m sure we were all expecting anyway, Summoning works almost no differently to Deep Strike, as you set aside a portion of your army and bring it on later. An interesting modification here, though, is that you can actually set aside maybe 250 points, but you don’t have to tell anyone what those points represent – so you can summon whatever you need (within that 250 points limit) once the battle is underway. Nice! I mean, if you came up against a foe and decided to summon in something to help, you’re going to try and get exactly what you need, right? Not just some pre-determined thing and hope for the best? It makes sense to me, and while I’m sure plenty of people will be trying to break this, I’ll just do my best to avoid those degenerates.

The current rumours point to nothing new for any Xenos races until 2018, which is a bit sad, but hopefully will mean that we’ll be getting some particularly interesting things when they arrive. Of course, I’m still intrigued by the fact that GW have said, back when we were gearing up for 2017 as the anniversary year for 40k, that every faction will be getting something new – while there are plenty of Xenos factions that, well, haven’t had anything new yet. Indeed, the only factions to see new models are Imperium in two triumvirate boxes, and Eldar in a third. No new Necrons, no new Orks, no new Tau, no new Tyranids, etc etc. I wonder if the launch of 8th Edition will be a huge affair with one new model for every faction, or if they were in fact just being liberal with the truth…

Or maybe the “something new” was, in fact, the new edition itself…

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