Tuesday, September 04, 2012

6th Edition Concepts - Vehicles

Continuing my look at the way the new rules will change our beloved game it's now time to look at vehicles. When people first read the rules and started to play their first games there were cries of "mech is dead" and "it's infantry 40,000". Frankly that's nonsense, let me explain why.

Hull Points
To start off let's examine why people reckon we'll see a lot more foot slogging lists in 6th edition. The first and most obvious reason is the introduction of Hull Points. In 5th edition it was quite common for your typical AV11 transport to seem tougher than the bastard offspring of a land raider and monolith's dirty weekend together. I've often lost games because despite having loads of anti-tank weaponry I simply can't roll on the bloody damage table. I know I'm not alone! The hull point mechanic takes some of that difficulty away. Essentially as long as you at glance most vehicles a few times they're toast. This has three significant effects. Firstly, vehicles die A LOT quicker. Secondly, a vehicle can take glancing hits and still perform at 100% effectiveness and finally, high AV won't save you because I'll just glance you to death. Let's not talk about gauss weaponry here because I'll only get angry. I'm sure people feel the same about my wyches haywire grenades mind you!

Anyway, the point is that vehicles are a lot easier to kill now. If your opponent has any sort of volume of S5/6 shooting then you can expect your rhinos to die on turn 1 or 2. I'm here to tell you that this is a perfectly reasonable thing for them to do. The rhino is an APC. It's function is to get troops to the front and maybe redeploy them if it survives that long, that's it! It's the same story for venoms, trukks, etc. Get your assault guys to the front and let them run riot.

On the subject of venoms I actually find that having hull points keeps the venoms alive longer. In 5th edition the first glancing shot still had a good chance of wrecking the vehicle (if not blowing it up). These days they can shrug off the first glancing hit. I think this makes them harder to take down not easier. In addition it's more likely that vehicles will be wrecked now than blown up and that has to be good for Dark Eldar. I'm thinking this is the reason that Open Topped vehicles now inflict S4 on occupants like everything else.

Here's the next problem though, a vehicle can now only move 6" if passengers want to get out. The guys can then shoot at the enemy but can't charge unless it's an assault vehicle. To compensate for this the range of disembarkation has increased to 6". Realistically this is only a couple of inches more than before but it's still a bigger range. This helps you get close to the enemy to get those rapid fire guns in range. It also has the advantage of letting your spread your unit out a bit more. Gone are the days when you got a squad out of a rhino and rapid fired, only to regret it when an enemy flamer/blast weapon targetted you. Let's not forget you can premeasure too and make sure that a large blast won't hit more than a handful of models.

The big problem is that you can't assault straight out of a transport by keeping it still. I think this is main reason people think the rhino is dead. Now if you agree, by all means try it but now think about the new shooting mechanics. Losing the front row of guys means it takes you longer to reach the enemy. That transport suddenly looks like a reasonable choice again.

The Need for Speed
All vehicles got faster in 6th edition. My Dark Eldar raiders can now go a sickening 30" and rhinos can move 18" in total. This adds to the idea that transport vehicles are an A to B option not an A to B to C to D to E etc. Turn one you can be within 6" of the enemy deployment zone. Rhinos should nearly always be blasting the full 18". Of course you can't use your smoke launchers if you do but with only a 5+ save now it's not that big a loss.

The general push of 6th edition 40K seems to be to get the armies into each other's faces quicker. Nearly every unit in the game got faster. This means there's going to be less driving around and more killing stuff which has to be a good thing.

The general consensus seems to be that mech is dead in 6th edition. I'm saying that mech will just be used differently. Get your troops to the front as quickly and cheaply as possible and then let them do what they do best. A rhino shouldn't be so indestructible.


  1. I don't mind all vehicles getting weaker. But this seemed to really benefit weak vehicles alot. I play against DE a lot with my CSM army and now that I don't get to roll on the damage charts for glances your vehicles have seemingly got a lot tougher now we're both having to gun down 3 HP its just my AV is 11 and yours is 10, big whoop. Wanna talk about cardboard? try fielding a landraider nowadays against DE and watch it turn into a smoldering pile of wet cardboard when it gets haywired 2nd turn

    1. It's a very difficult thing to balance. Personally I think vehicles are too easy to kill in combat now (even without haywires). In 5th if I charged a dread with my wyches I might get lucky and roll two sixes in a row to penetrate with haywires but now I'm almost guaranteed to take it out in combat.

      I think vehicles needed to be a bit more vulnerable to shooting than they were. You shouldn't be able to take 10 glancing hits in the course of the game and keep moving.

      The picture isn't of my creation by the way and on reflection doesn't match up with what I'm saying in the text.

  2. "Realistically this is only a couple of inches more than before but it's still a bigger range."

    Actually, it's about 3" shorter. In 5th, you got a 12" Move with the Vehicle, and then 2"+width of base beyond that. About 15".

    In 6th, you get a 6" Move with the Vehicle and then the Unit gets a Move, ending with their Bases entirely within 6" of the Access Point. Hard 12" limit.

    1. The vehicle itself can go 6" further in turn one though so it's still a slight advantage. Not many of us were blasting forward and disembarking in turn one. My point was that it's essentially the same and the major blow is losing the charging from a stationary vehicle.

  3. Excellent read, Alex.

    I've found hull points to be a awesome way to balance vehicles. 5th ed, vehicles were to strong and that's coming from a mech player. Now, when a vehicle loses all the hull points you know what the end result is going to be. But, on the other hand, vehicles cannot be surpressed so easily and also don't explode so often.

    I also play D.E and I think Venoms have got loads better. I've lost count how many times I lost a Venom to a lucky glance. Pity about the S4 explosion, but that's how it goes.

    You're disembarking distances are wrong, I think. Previously a vehicle would move 12" + 2" disembark = total distance 14". Now the vehicle moves 6" + 6" disembark = total distance 12". So the range is slightly less compared to 5th, not more.



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