Thursday 8 May 2014

Guest article: in Defence of 7th edition 40k

PhandomRenegade is back again with his usual antics! Got a great article from him as usual, hope you guys enjoy! 

PhandomRenegade again, correcting more wrongdoings where I can find them!

I've been trying to find a sensible topic to talk about for some time, resulting in at least two articles that I removed for either simply being poorly written or dated. However, I actually aim to get this one finished and published to talk about the big thing going on right now.

7th Edition. Or 6.5 Edition. Or "Warhammer 40K 6th Edition 2: Blood Angels Boogaloo" as it's being called in some places.

The rumour leaks have been going on for a few days now...and so far I like what I hear. What, I'm not supposed to like these changes? I'm suppose to say this is the end of Warhammer 40,000? Why do you think I call myself the PhandomRenegade, asides a cheap anime reference?
Let's get down to discussing the big one's I've heard and why I think they're not as bad as you think. Please remember that this is based on rumour and speculation - I don't have a rulebook in my hand, and will not until the starter box rolls around the corner.

The new Force Organisation Chart
I've seen a few different things on this one, from percentage based systems to the whole "bound" and "unbound" rules. What is clear is that GW has been rethinking the Force Organisation Chart. What isn't so clear is how it's done - so I'm going to discuss both, and how these changes are actually good.

Assuming 40K goes percent based, while it can be a difficult system to work around, I do not think GW is going to pull a Spartan Games and give out strange percentages - ex. "You must spend up to 40% of your force on Troops choices". Instead, I think if they choose this, they will use the percentages from Warhammer Fantasy Battle - ex. "You must spend 25% of your points on Troops choices". Which I think is easier to work with than Spartan's random ass percentages.

However, it means that your army now has more points to spend wherever you want them to go. Some armies will do this easier than others (Imperial Guard need only one Infantry Platoon, while the Tau Empire might struggle a bit here), but at the end of the day, you can stockpile the points better into the places you want to spend points in.

Then again, assuming they go with the "Bound" and "Unbound" route, things are even better. Everyone knows that one player that just buys cool models and doesn't have a working army, so having a way to get him into the game is in itself a brilliant thing. I am also told that the "Unbound" rules still work with Allies, so we don't need to worry about some Farseer/Riptide/Heldrake filth combo from emerging.

That said, I really don't see this interfering with much. Nine out of ten tournaments will pick to use the "Bound" option for building armies, and I'm sure the "Unbound" option won't be used outside of mini Apocalypse games (and might even be more wieldy than Apocalypse) or friendly games (or even for those who just don't like spending points on Troops unless it's something extremely cool, a la Crisis Suits, Wraithguard/blades etc, etc).

If your opponent however brings an "unbound" list to a game and you've bought a "bound" list, feel free to apply a boot to the head and leg it.

Psychic Phase
With all the Psychic Powers floating around and 6th Edition's tables borrowing heavily from Warhammer Fantasy Battle, it was only a matter of time before we got here. A lot of people are worried about how this will change Psykers on the tabletop. Personally, I don't think they'll change that drastically, and anything that improves upon Psykers from 6th Edition is awesome.

Having a collective phase for Psychic Powers is a massive boon. How many times have you gone "I shot with my Primaris Psyker's Bolt Pistol instead of throwing Warp Lighting at the enemy, god I'm a moron!"? Well now you need never forget that since there's a whole phase devoted to Warp Lightning shenanigans! This extra phase makes Psychic Powers more manageable, and I for one welcome it.

Divination Nerfs
This is another one I think we all saw coming. Let's be honest, Divination was good...but it was a little too good. Anyone with access to Divination picked it whenever they could over all the other disciplines they could take, and armies complained massively over not having access to Divination. For comparison, it's like the Leman Russ Executioner before it got Gets Hot stuffed onto its main cannon - it's that level of good.

That's how you know your Discipline is a little too good.

Thus, I also welcome nerfing this particular table...though not nerf it into the ground. I'd like it to be an option on par with the other Disciplines, so players have to make tough calls - "Do I go Divination, Telepathy or Runes of Fate?" is what a player should be asking. 

Oh hell yes! Assuming this is true, Demonology is a new Psychic Powers discipline. While we don't fully know much about it, a playtesting leak mentions being able to summon a Greater Demon with it, so it's possible this tree focuses on (if you like) Minion Summoning, essentially making it similar to Lore of the Vampires from guess where.

However, it's also a tree I've seen getting complained about...most of it from Chaos Space Marine players. Wait, what? WHAT?!

This is what many a Chaos Player has wanted since Gav Thorpe removed it! You can finally summon your demon hordes and greater demons again! This is a HUGE boon for you guys, and you still complain about it?

Oh right, because marked Sorcerers/Princes must take at least one power from the table of their patron deity. And this is a problem how?

Seriously, if you're running Mastery 1 Sorcerers, don't give them a Mark. If your Mastery 2 or 3 anything, you still got two other powers you can generate on the table, junior! It's not as massive a downside as you think it is.

Another complaint I've seen comes from Loyalist armies, who claim that willingly summoning Demons is against their MO and shouldn't be allowed. To you I say - well, you can not pick the table, it's as easy as that.  It does however mean you can do your Lost & the Damned/Renegade Space Marine chapter/Renegade Inquisitor and give them powers to match, to show they've fallen to one of the dark gods. In the case of the Loyalist armies, you still have plenty of other Tables to pick from instead, so you don't have to take it if you feel it breaks the fluff of your army.

Actually, here's a funny thought - if I gaff up on the Demonology table, does that mean I accidently summon Legion of the Damned/Kaldor Drago into existence under my opponents control? Because that would be crazy FUN.

Escalation and Stronghold Assault being moved into the rules proper
I believe much of this has been said on this, but it bears repeating.

Escalation is something I want to experiment with more. I still view it as a high risk/high reward system, and while Escalation did have some problems, Lords of War are not one of them. I view Lords of War as getting to that end tier in an Real Time Strategy game and building that one Godzilla unit that's going to trample the enemy  base. Much like said units, Lords of War still need support - and indeed, it is very likely that an army that takes one is going to end up building their list around it, something you can exploit. Your opponent also just blew 500+ points on a single unit, where for the same points value he could have taken more versatile options. Blow it up (and there are a fair few ways that can happen, even on Turn 1) and he just lost a big chunk of his points there - and you got a healthy sack of VP from doing so (on average, a single Lord of War will net you 3 VP).

That said, the problems I had with Escalation primarily come down to choice. The Imperial Guard got six Lords of War, while most other races were lucky to get even one. I'm pretty sure a few First and Second Founding Chapters of Space Marines (because that's what GW wants to railroad everyone into using these days) have a spare Fellblade or two in the armoury for dire circumstances, while races like Chaos and Eldar got some of the most questionable choices - the former only getting the Derp of Skulls (as opposed to the Brass Scorpion, Blood Slaughterer and Plague Hulk - or even just a generic Chaos Baneblade), and the latter having the most questionable option (A Revenant Titan, as opposed to the Scorpion, Cobra, Lynx, Vampire and Phoenix). Oh, and D Weapons aren't quite as evil as everyone says they are, especially if (like Forge World did with Horus Heresy) they provide alternate rules for them. Me? Well there's very little difference between a D Weapon and a weapon that wounds you on a Strength of 10 anyway, the multi wounds thing only comes into play with a handful of things (Monstrous Creatures and Commanders usually) and the no saves thing? Well SOMETHING had to kill all those Death Stars people complain about. And if they're still too much of a problem, leave the Aegis Defence Line at home and take a Void Shield Generator instead if they're that much of a concern.

That said, Stronghold Assault. Let's be honest, the whole Fortification thing is not very good as it stands right now - four Fortifications, and people only take the Aegis Defence Line regardless of what the others do. With Stronghold Assault however, everyone now gets to take multiple Fortifications, and even some new ones. Integrating them into the book seems logical at this point, and revising how they all work is another factor.

Both however I see being where point percentage might come into play. Forge World already does this with Horus Heresy, so having this follow up with the 41st Millennium would be logical.
Moving on however, there are still a few things I do think need to be fixed. They probably won't be, but a man can wishlist, can't he?

This is copy pasta'd straight from Warhammer Fantasy Battle, and unlike that system isn't very well thought out. Why? In personal opinion, the penalty for refusing a Challenge is just too great. Choosing a model that has to sit the round of combat out (and as worded, is not necessarily the character you were going to challenge in the first place) is a massive boon for Melee, as your opponent can simply lock off combat monsters like Marneus or Straken and refuse to let them attack at all, since he can spam Challenges over and over again in every single combat in every round. Heck, as much as Chaos Space Marines whine about their faction being ridiculously underpowered, this is the area where they are actually ridiculously OP since this is what they do ANYWAY.

So this mechanic really does need to be either revised, or thrown out of the airlock.

There's a reason everyone likes taking the Turkey after all. Flyers right now still lean towards overkill, and can even in the correct circumstances (i.e: your opponent is running Pure Knights) result in an easy, effortless and ultimately boring victory. This mostly boils down to Flyers being virtually immune to most forms of attack - unless you have something with Skyfire or a high strength, rapid fire weapon (the Forgefiend for example), those Flyers are going to run rampant.

My fix would be to instead impose a Ballistic Skill penalty instead of Snap Shotting flyers - a -1 or -2 to hit a Flyer would work out nicely. Alternatively, have zooming Flyers snap shot ground targets unless they switch into hover mode - after all, a fighter pilot flying at breakneck speeds though the air is going to have a tough time accurately hitting that one guy with his lascannons, even if he has Astartes Pattern Baldness you can see miles away.

Wound Allocation
My arch nemesis for this edition has always been Wound Allocation and how it's changed. I can't even properly explain to people how this mechanic works because of its unnecessary complexity, and the rampant paranoia about losing your best guy (because before this Edition, who didn't stick that power claw armed badass at the front of the unit?) at any time. It's true that people just bumped off spods before going for the Special Weapons/Squad Leader, but you know what else does that? Snipers, which most factions get access to in some form or another (infact, every faction since all characters can Precision Shot - this includes your various Squad Leaders!).

And that's my rundown of what I think of the changes we know of in 7th Edition so far. If I've missed one, let me know and I'll be sure to follow it up in follow up article once 7th hits the shelves.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have that expansion pack for Ironclad Tactics to go play. Card Grinding is FUN!


  1. I pretty much agree with everything here. I'm glad to see escalation and stronghold assault moving into the main rulebook. I don't care about the complainers saying it's a money grab, they just need to get over themselves. Anyway, good read. Cheers mate.

  2. I'm really looking forward to the psychic phase.

  3. Most of the changes look good to me, but I'll still wait and see on the whole bound and unbound issue.

    I to have an issue, and I seem to have posted this on every 40k blog going! I still think wounds caused by a template weapon should only be taken from under the template, not as per normal shooting. It's kind of silly the with a wyvern I can hit 4 blokes, inflict 12 wound and kill 8 blokes.


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