Friday, July 6, 2012

First Thoughts on Sixth Edition

I managed to pick up the new rulebook for 40K a couple days after release, since I spent the release weekend traveling. I've just finished reading the rules, and I thought I'd post up my initial thoughts on it. Bear in mind, I haven't had a chance to play the game yet, so these are all just educated guess on how this works out.

Overall, I like the new rules. It seems to me that they're really not changed that much from 5th Edition, but rather expanded to included more details into the game. Many types of units gain extra rules, whether inflicting extra hits when they charge in, or being able to jink away from incoming fire (a great throwback to 3rd Edition!). Overwatch is back as a charge response, rapid fire weapons got better, heavy weapons can be fired (albeit inaccurately) on the move, and many new classes of weapons have been reintroduced into the game. Grenades can actually kill models. Most people have had their chance to read over the rules by now, so you don't need me to tell you what changed. I thought I'd concentrate on how the rule changes affect my Blood Angels and Executioners.

Blood Angels
First, the bad. Entire Descent of Angels armies are no longer possible. You can only place half of your army in reserve, and if you don't have any models on the table at the end of any game turn, you lose the game. Furious charge no longer adds +1 I, just +1 S. This really alters Blood Angels assault units, who used to rely on hitting first. Now they just have hit harder than their opponents. Chaplains, my prefered HQ, have only an AP4 Crozius Arcanum, which hurts their damage potential (though it hits with +2 S).

Feel No Pain now only works on a 5+ but it can be taken against any wound that doesn't cause instant death. I don't really think of this as a downgrade, more a lateral shift. It's still very nice to have.

On the plus side, deep striking is now less dangerous. Jump infantry can use their jump packs either in the movement or assault phases, making them quite flexible. I think the biggest boon for jump infantry is that models can take armor saves against dangerous terrain checks. This is pretty huge for jump heavy armies. The reduced presence of AP2 actually make Sanguinary Guard a really good purchase now; they'll stand up to most enemy units even without invulnerable saves. They only really need to worry about power fists and power axes.

Speaking of units that got way better, the Death Company got a huge boost. Rage now confers +2 attacks on the charge and doesn't affect movement at all! I'll definitely be using mine now. Somewhat fortuitously, I just picked up a Lemartes miniature.

I don't think my army will be changing too much overall, but I will need to switch out some of my deep striking units for infantry units.


Nothing I could see really hurts Codex: Space Marines. Librarians won't be such an obvious choice since the psychic hood is not nearly as useful now. That's kind of rough for me, since I just built one, but I don't mind overmuch. I also wouldn't have built him with a force staff had I known they would only be AP4. One thing I am worried about is the new rules for power axes; I've been running my Executioners' axes as counts-as power fists. I guess I could still do that, but it seems simpler to use them as power axes. Not a real problem given the similar rules for power axes, and it saves me some points.

One thing that really excites me is that artillery is now really hard to kill. Where before they were AV10 and killed by any damage results, they are now T7 with 2 wounds and a 3+ save. Now that it takes much more dedicated firepower to kill, my Thunderfire will actually be a good purchase rather than just something I want to use for the fun of it.

Two Space Marine units got much better (this applies to the Blood Angels as well, but I figured I'd address it here). Tactical squads can fire their bolters to full range even when moving, and can take pot shots with their heavy weapons. This really increases their effectiveness while remaining mobile, which greatly increases their usefulness on the table. In addition, the ability to fire at units charging them makes them much harder to shift in assault. Terminators also got a major boost because AP2 melee weapons are much less common. This makes standard shooty Terminators way more playable; I'm hoping they will see a return and that not every Terminator will carry a storm shield from now on. Pretty much every melee weapon that will reliably kill them goes at the same time as their power fists, so Terminators will be a very viable assault squad.

Open Questions  

I'm really not sure how the new rules for vehicles will affect their survivability. Vehicles are much less likely to die from a single shot, but multiple glancing shots will quickly kill them. Obviously, Necrons will chew through vehicles, but I think they are similarly durable against most armies. I'll need to play quite a few games to really decide how vehicles work out in this edition.

Also, I'm not really sure what melee weapons to take on sergeants. Power fists are still the scariest option, but power axes are almost as good for less points (on a furious charging Blood Angel, they're identical against marines). Both options force the model to strike last, which usually isn't a problem. However, now that challenges are part of the game, a sergeant with a power sword can challenge a power fist sergeant and pretty reliably dispatch him before the fist gets to strike. I think choice of melee weapon will become very important now, and defensive upgrades on sergeants might actually be worthwhile.

That's what I've got at the moment. As I come to better grips with the rules and play some games, I plan post more in-depth articles about units in both armies and the game in general. That said, what new rules do you think are open questions? Let me know in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. I hadn't even thought about how PW Sergeants can utilize the challenge rules to dispatch a PF one. That's a brilliant realization and may actually lead to sergeants being given a pwr swd again. Outstanding!


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