Sunday, July 1, 2012

6th ed 40k First Impressions from a Xenos Player…

First off I have to say I balked at the price of the new rulebook. Coming in at $90 its approaching the price of a University text book instead of a game manual. With that being said the actual production value of the book is incredible. Full colour throughout, high quality paper, nice lay out, easily worth the price. In fact the standard rulebook is so nice I don’t really understand why someone would fork over the money for the Collector’s Edition. Now on to the rules!

The Good: 

- Flyers: I think the addition of flyers will help add another layer to the game as now you not only have to consider how much infantry your opponent will bring, how many standard tanks you now have to consider if they will have any aircraft which (eventually) will make you have to include some Anti Air weaponry in your army.

- Flying Monstrous Creatures: Finally the Harpy and the Flying Hive Tyrant can really come into their own with this edition I think and both receive a considerable boost. Being able to really motor across the board while the enemy needs “6’s” to hit you AND you can still shoot/drop spore mines is great. This is one combo I am really looking forward to trying out. I also realized that the Harpy can now attack 3 different units in one turn. It can Vector Strike a unit (d3+1 str 5 attacks at AP3), drop spore mines on a unit (d3 large blasts, str 4, ap4) and then in the shooting phase shoot both of its guns at another target. Great stuff.

- Psychic Powers: I had a good look through the Psychic Powers and I gotta say that most of them are really cool. At first I was a bit apprehensive about the idea of random powers because I thought that they might be replacing the ones in the Nid or Eldar dex (both of which are very important for those armies to function). After reading the rules I am pleased to see how flexible they are. Like if you can’t use a power because it requires 2 Warp Charges to use (ie you could only cast that if you could cast 2 psychic powers a turn) then you re-roll till you get a power you CAN use, which is great.

- New Vehicle Rules: I love the inclusion of Hull Points. I honestly think it was the one thing missing from last edition that was needed to really help balance how vehicles worked. Nothing was more infuriating as a Dark Eldar player to unload 14 Dark Lances into a single Rhino and do nothing better than blow off a storm bolter and stun it. Now ALL vehicles have wounds and will die. Really helps make them feel like they are part of the game instead of living outside it.

- Transports: I love how you can’t claim OR contest from Transports or with transports. It was another rule that was desperately needed. I also think it is really interesting that you can’t assault from a vehicle (regardless of moving or not) if it doesn’t have an assault ramp. So no more Rhinos filled with Death Company or Assault Marines parking right in front of you while you attempt to blow up their ride, than watch them just jump out and crush you. I think needing to really plan one or two turns in advance for assaults/objective grabbing will really help make it a more tactical game.

 - Terrain: True Line of Sight (LOS) made things sometimes difficult last edition for Monstrous Creatures. This edition loosens things up a bit and adapts the rules of True LOS in a world where most pieces of terrain on the board are just very basic representations to what is ACTUALLY there. So last edition might see a large piece of area terrain with literally two trees on it which is supposed to represent a forest and MCs would only get cover if they happen to be behind one of those two trees and that tree happened to be big enough to give cover. Now MCs and Tanks only need 25% coverage which is nice and models in area terrain ignore that and always get the cover save. So a Trygon in area terrain will get his 5+ cover save just like a Termagant. It’s a really nice blend between 4th and 5th ed, which in relation to terrain was my biggest hope for this edition. Another thing that is really nice about the terrain is that it isn’t a blanket “4+ ALWAYS”. You will see a huge variation on the board as to what gives what, which was very much needed.

The Bad: 

- Wound Allocation: For me personally I feel they couldn’t have implemented a WORSE system then what is currently in 6th ed. As everything is based on proximity to the shooting unit as far as allocation and model removal it greatly hinders one style of army (horde close combat armies like Nids and Orks) while having zero effect on gun line armies like everything Imperial (don’t worry, that is a common theme in this edition lol). This system is complicated, abusive and clunky. A good example of this is if you had a Dark Eldar Archon with a shadow field (2+ invuln save) leading a seer council with fortune in the front now all wounds coming in are taken on a re-rollable 2++ save and can’t be assigned anywhere else until that model is removed. So on average you would have to do (wait for it) THIRTY SIX WOUNDS before that Archon takes a single wound. Once you finally kill him THEN you can assign a wound to someone else. Being a character that Archon also benefits from “look out sir” which means any wound he takes someone else can jump in front (owning players choice) and take the wound for him on a 2+. Units like Paladins and Nobs are ALL counted as characters for this purpose so now you have a unit of characters that can perform that action. For the life of me I can’t understand why it was just based on armor saves (so anyone with a 3+ save is in the same wound group, regardless of gear, taking full models out first) and only being able to kill models you can see and maybe thrown in torrent of fire (once everyone in that unit takes a wound the first overlap wound can be assigned to a specific model by the shooting player). It’s simple, fair and almost no room for abuse and best of all FAST!

- Close Combat: This ties in with wound allocation. Basically 4th and 5th ed as well as 8th ed fantasy realized that removing models from the front of combat is a bad idea that slows down the game and really over penalizes units with either low init (in the case of 40k) or being charged (in the case of Fantasy). For some unknown reason 6th ed just forgets all that and goes back to a modified system we had in 3rd ed. The current system is way more complicated than it needs to be with many steps until things are finally resolved (you “pile in” at every initiative step). Nothing was wrong with 5th eds combat. It was the cleanest it has ever been for 40k.

- Flyers: I see you noticed that this was also in the “bad” section lol. For some reason only Imperial Players have real access to anti air weaponry in the form of Hydra Tanks, Fortifications and Flakk Missiles for standard Missile Launchers. I think this was a massive oversight on GWs part and it really makes one scratch their head. Basically until Xenos books get redone they will have no recourse to combat flyers other than buying flyers themselves. Part of the problem is there is a specific Imperial Army that can take NINE of the cheapest and best flyers in the game in the way of Vendettas. Until the Xenos books get redone Flyers are going to be incredibly unbalanced with certain match ups being impossible to beat, regardless of tactics or dice (how can my Nids deal with 9 vendettas?).

My Impression of Tyranids in This Edition (ie Mini Me are the Nids lol)

- Allies: Not allies in general just the fact that Tyranids cant take ANYONE as an ally, not even Imperial Guard. This makes NO sense to me as Nids also get nothing to compensate. 2 of the major edition features just don’t apply to the once mighty xenos race.

- Fortifications: Just like everything this edition they are pretty much “Imperial Only”. They are also implemented very poorly as (in my opinion) they are WAY too cheap. You can get a 2-3 foot aegis defense line for something like 50pts or a MASSIVE, multi piece (4 pieces with each piece having its own damage chart and blocking a massive amount of LOS) castle in the form of the Fortress of Redemption for 220pts. This is another feature where half the armies in the game really get no benefit from. I mean, Tyranids can’t even use the guns you buy for these things (AA mounts…sigh) thanks to their super shitty FAQ.
- FAQs: Speaking of shitty FAQs the first round that GW put out are basically worthless. This was a golden opportunity to help fix the balance of power and tone down certain armies (Grey Knights) while helping out
others (Nids plus all the 4th ed codices). I mean, things like giving wave serpents “assault ramps” or giving hive guard the “skyfire” rule so Nids had SOMETHING to battle Flyers (just spitballing here lol). Alas all the FAQs are just incomplete, scattered and very inconsistent documents that scratch the surface on a few of the issues and questions for their armies switching to the new edition. You see things like Tyranid Monstrous creatures being “Flying Monstrous Creatures” that can zoom with the best of the flyers…but then in the Chaos Marine Codex their Flying MCs just have jump packs. Wait..what?

** This one is a Personal Gripe and Has Nothing To Do With The Game and Obivously Doesn’t Really Matter!**

- Imperial Bias on a Whole New Scale: This is just a pet peeve of mine as it feels like for the last 4 years GW has been putting more and more time and resources into Imperial Armies while basically forgetting Xenos/Chaos ones (6 Imperial releases compared to 3 for everyone else for 5th ed). This edition seems to have taken that mind set to a whole new level. Everything other then the change to Psychic Hoods are massive improvements to Imperial Armies (can ally with all imperial armies, get all the fortifications, most of the rules changes greatly benefit their playstyles, have access to the most psychic powers and ATSKNF has become BY FAR the single most powerful moral ability in the game). The lion share of the art is all imperial (minor gripe) and if the rumors are true its nothing but marines in the starter set coming out in September. The thing I want people to know is that I DON’T hate the Imperial Armies. In fact I really like both of them and think about starting them all the time. My big issue is that EVERYONE plays them and everything is biased in their favor. All I want is to be able to play some games in a tourney and not play marines 4 times out of 5 and then have a Guard player as my 5th game.

Keep in mind everything above is my first impression of the game based on reading the rules in the book without playing the game. I am sure things will change a lot once I start getting games in and I can see how everything works together.  Regardless of all the “Bad” stuff I am really looking forward to starting something new both Army wise (been working on my Necrons, should have some pics up in the next couple weeks) and rule wise with this edition. I even have a bunch of ideas on making fun Nid lists that can help take advantage of the new psychic powers.

How are your thoughts so far on the game? What do you like? Dislike? Let me know in the comments section!


Doomicon said...

With focus fire you can ignore the 2++ leading your troops. So if I have a Wolf Guard Termy leading Grey Hunters, my opponent can elect to focus fire at 3+ save, and all wounds in the pool are allocated normally against the models with a 3+ save.

Mawdrigen said...

Thought that only worked for cover.

Ghoulio said...

@Doomicon: What you are thinking about is cover saves. You can always elect to shoot at models in cover (at a set cover value) or models outside of cover (but only kill those models). When it comes to shooting units in the open or all in cover you aren't given an option.

Thomas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thomas said...

I've played 4 games now so far and I really really like the new edition. Imperials really got the shaft because a large portion of there armies involved massive numbers of vehicles, who are super easy to kill now. Also the Eldar psychic powers specify you have to target an eldar unit, no 2+ shadowfield rerollable.
Overall there is some things that still need to be faq'd and changed, But I love the new rules.
The biggest changes for nids i think are the MC cover saves, fearless meaning gaunts can tarpit forever, and tervigons feel no paining units for a 5+ fnp against everything. Makes them massively stronger. Also flyers die to twin linked devourers, if someone is playing with more then 3 or so flyers, you should probably kick him in the nads.
The game still has a lot of metagame shift left in it, should be very interesting to see where it goes.
Massive typos ftl

Ghoulio said...

@ Thomas: I totally understand what you are saying and you are right. There are certain aspects where Nids did get a big buff. Those cover saves (always in area terrain and just needing 25% coverage) are huge. Also causing fear and doing impact hits not to mention vehicles only need a 3+ to be hit in CC is great. They also got a huge buff in the Psychic department, easily the biggest one in 40k. They now have one of the best defenses and can get a stupid amount on the board. I was farting around with just what I own and in 2k pts I can fit in 8 psykers lol.

I think its very misleading (and not accurate) to say that Imperials got the shaft though as every special rule added in this edition (allies and fortifications for example) GREATLY favor them as they can all ally with each other. Not to mention Imperial armies are the only ones with reliable AA, or any AA for that matter lol.

As far as the Vehicle vulnerability I think its more of a balance and something that will take a while to get used to. You can get cover for you vehicles just as easily as I can for my MCs. Also think that all the Xenos have WAY more expensive vehicles and use the same rules as you do (Wave Serpent w/ bright lance is 140pts while a rhino is 35pt which is a HUGE difference).

The big thing to understand with this article is that its just a "first impression" of my initial read through of the book. Things are ALWAYS different in practice and I know my opinion on things will change as I play. I will be down at Kyles next Thursday (the 19th) and I would love to get a game in with you if you are free :)

Anonymous said...

Just to correct you, the Harpy can only fire one weapon after vector strike, if you read the definition, vector strike is an action during the end of the movement phase, but still counts as 1 shooting attack in the shooting phase. Monstrous creatures can only fire 2 guns per shooting phase. Sorry to let you down.

The one thing I hate the most about flyers is rolling 3+ for grounded tests every time a unit shoots them.

I played a game with 2 harpy and a Flyrant, and they did terrible damage!