Tuesday, June 27, 2017

First Games of 8th Edition

Last Friday Matt and I had our first games of 8th edition. We wanted to try out several different armies in limited time so we decided to have two 1,000pt games followed by one at 2,000pts to test our larger armies. We’d agreed our first game should be Wolves vs. BA for old times’ sake but after that we kept our lists a surprise. From my perspective at least, these were by no means finalised lists that we’d take to tournaments but rather a way of testing out various units or tactics.

Game One – Space Wolves vs. Blood Angels
My list consisted of a rune priest, two 5-man grey hunter packs in heavy bolter razorbacks (ignore the lascannon turret in the pictures, I don’t have two HB turrets!), a predator annihilator (actual lascannons) and Ragnar joined by a largish pack of blood claws. Matt had Lemartes and some death company, a DC dread, furioso dread, two squads of scouts and some devastators. To keep things simple we played No Mercy.
There were a few shots exchanged early on but no major casualties. The death company deep struck (or whatever you call it now) but failed their charge on the predator, even with Lemartes’ re-roll. This allowed me to disembark the rune priest and hunters to charge into them after unloading psychic powers and rapid fire. With no psykers for the BA the rune priest was able to cast at will which meant Smite and Tempest’s Wrath.  It was a protracted combat but Lemartes fluffed a lot of his attacks and that ultimately gifted the combat to the Wolves.

The other big combat of the game ended swiftly with Ragnar single handedly taking down an already wounded dreadnought. He’s pretty handy now with S5 AP-4 sword and two damage per hit. Those two combats pretty much decided the fate of the game. Ragnar went on to finish off the devastators and the other grey hunters charged the scouts. Meanwhile the predator finally did something and took out the DC dread. We decided to call it there since Matt had limited options.

Game Two – Tyranids vs. Eldar
The swarms of guants look much better now you aren't spacing them out!
I’ve never used Tyranids before but I’ve wanted to start a collection for a long time. I figured 8th edition was a good excuse to give them ago so I borrowed Scott’s Tyranids (much to Matt’s surprise). I’d got a broodlord with some genestealer, tervigon with two large termagant swarms, a mawloc and a hive crone. Matt had two wave serpents (guardians and dire avengers), some warp spiders, swooping hawks and the avatar. We were playing the Scouring.

The Eldar went first and the wave serpents made short work of the Hive Crone. It’s strange that it doesn’t get any benefits from flying like they used to. I suppose they’ve got a decent number of wounds though.
The mawloc arrived behind the wave serpents and took a couple of wounds off both. It was pretty underwhelming though and the avatar made short work of it. I managed to do some damage with the termagants and the tervigon replaced nearly all of the casualties. The genestealers and broodlord took down the guardians despite only three of them making it into combat (Paroxysm helped). One unit of termagants charged the remaining dire avengers and the other charged the warp spiders. The remaining spiders fell back from combat and exposed the termagants to a ton of shooting. They were outside Synapse range so the new leadership mechanic meant the survivors ran away.

The avatar killed off the genestealers with shooting then charged the broodlord. Somehow Matt fluffed his attacks and the broodlord got lucky with his invulnerable saves allowing him to bring the Avatar to a single remaining wound. The broodlord fell back to allow both him and the tervigon to use Smite. The tervigon failed twice (using a CP re-roll) and the avatar used his FNP (or whatever it’s called now) to stop the broodlord meaning the tervigon had to charge in to finish the job.  The broodlord was now exposed to the wave serpents again though which easily took his last wound.

That just left the wave serpents, hawks and a couple of spiders but with just the tervigon and some termagants left I’d be chasing them around unable to catch them and they’d easily grab the objectives. We decided to call it so we’d still finish the 2k game at a reasonable time.

Game Three – Drukhari vs. Astra Militarum/Questor Imperialis
Well there’s three factions that have daft names now! Translation: DE vs. IG/IK. I’d got a mixed DE list with Urien, an haemonculus, wracks and grotesques in a couple of raiders, a cronos, wyches in a raider, two lots of kabalites in venoms, an archon in a venom, two ravagers, two lots of scourges and three reavers.
Matt had two Imperial Knights (sorry, questor thingamajigs), three leman russ including Pask, a chimera with vets, a basilisk, a heavy weapons team and some ratlings. We decided to try out the new tactical objectives so we played Cleanse and Capture to keep things simple.

Well, I can’t say I was optimistic at the prospect of taking on two knights and even less so when I realised that Matt had less units too so would be able to go first. Fortunately for me, Matt got pretty unlucky with his rolls for the various battle cannons so miraculously my vehicles survived the opening barrage. With the ravagers and scourges I felt I had a reasonable chance of at least reducing the effectiveness of the knights but my rolling was equally poor and the scourges barely hit the target and when they did only took a couple of wounds off. The ravagers didn’t fare much better. Needing 4s to wound meant I only scored a couple of wounding hits and despite Matt failing his invulnerable saves I rolled low on the damage.

From that point onwards I kept chipping away at the knights, eventually stripping one to half wounds, but never really had much chance against all that armour. Matt slowly stripped away my anti-tank units and then worked his way through the venoms. As a last ditch attempt to kill something I charged my wracks, haemonculus, archon, wyches (and their raider for good measure) into Matt’s chimera which was already down to four wounds and……. did bugger all to it! What few wounds I managed to get (mostly needing 6s) were easily saved. Granted in 7th the wyches wouldn’t have been able to do anything at all (S3 vs AV10) but still!

The points weren’t totally out of reach for me but I didn’t anticipate my army surviving much longer so we decided to call it a night.

Thoughts about 8th so far
Well, I think we can safely say that lists with lots of vehicles will be pretty tough to deal with in 8th. It’s not like this is anything new for Dark El…sorry, Drukhari but it does feel like spamming blasters will be a thing again. With the D6 damage that a lot of anti-tank weaponry does you inevitably need more of these weapons to mitigate the randomness. What used to be haywire weaponry isn’t anywhere near as reliable as it once was. Even though you’re causing mortal wounds the weaponry simply isn’t putting out enough damage to bring down targets with 10+ wounds. Despite my painstaking conversions to give my scourges haywire blasters I’ll probably have to swap them all out for blasters. Not only are they better against vehicles but they’ll be much more useful against monsters too.

Moving vehicles and firing at -1BS with heavy weapons takes a bit of getting used to. The DE vehicles being armed with assault/rapid fire weapons have a big advantage in manoeuvrability (as they should) and FLY makes falling back a viable choice. They’re also much more durable than they were before. They’re not far off double the price but they should mostly make it through a turn of shooting which is better than before! The combination of night shields and flickerfields on venoms actually makes them pretty difficult to bring down even at T5.

It would seem to us that psychic powers can target characters as the rule just says in the Shooting phase they can’t be targeted. That makes Smite a very powerful tool for dealing with them. In general anything putting out mortal wounds reliably is a good thing. Snipers for example, might only be putting out mortal wounds on 6s but since they can target characters they’re a pretty good addition.

Eldar still seem pretty powerful despite some of the reports I’ve read from various sources. Wave serpents put out a devastating amount of firepower, the avatar is a combat monster and the overall mobility that Battle Focus gives is impressive. Once again it seems Drukhari lose out to their Craftworld cousins.

Having never played Tyranids before it’s difficult to draw comparisons to previous editions (probably a good thing) but to me the tervigon seems great. Being able to put up to 10 termagants out per turn with no chance of “corking” and pretty good durability from T8 and 14 wounds is a great combo. The mawloc was spectacularly underwhelming. Even if you manage to get it in range of multiple units, only causing a couple of wounds per unit isn’t going to help it survive the inevitable backlash. I mean it isn’t always going to come up against an avatar but still, there are better options I think.

Factions aside, the biggest thing to get used to was the new pregame mechanics. The actual gameplay itself was pretty straightforward but having minimal units compared to your opponent is going to give you an all but guaranteed first turn. There’s obviously a gamble in this but units in transports only count as a single choice during deployment. The new leadership mechanic makes for a much smoother game. You can take out the majority of a unit and know that, command points aside, it will lose the rest of the models during the morale phase. There was a prime example of this with my termagants once out of Synapse.

I’m still not a huge fan of the charging mechanic but shrewd use of command points can make a big difference here. Hitting with all of your weapons at the same time (i.e. not waiting until the end for power fists etc) is much smoother though.

In general though, I’m really enjoying this latest incarnation of 40K. Starting from scratch when looking at the factions and deciding what will be good or not is refreshing. Speaking of which, starting from next week I’ll be working on my faction review articles so look out for those. I’ve got some more games of 8th a week on Friday so I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts by then.

5 comments:

  1. I love that I no longer have to worry about spacing my Gaunts out. They look so much cooler as just a huge blob of chitin and talons :D

    Big Broods of Termagants out of Synapse range, but not too far from a Tervigon, are good candidates for using CP to auto-pass a Morale Test. In Match Play, you have to set aside Reserve Points to create new Units of Termagants, but you can reinforce existing ones for free, as long as at least some of them are left.

    You didn't actually need to Fall Back with your BroodLord. Smite ignores all restrictions other than Range and LoS. It just does exactly what it says: d3 Mortal Wounds to the nearest visible Enemy Unit, regardless of any other factors. So you could have stayed in, and then just had the BroodLord finish it off in CC.

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    1. Didn't think of the CP for the gaunts at the time. Good call though.

      For the broodlord the idea was that he could potentially smite a nearby warlock if the tervigon got the avatar with its smite.

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    2. I agree, being able to herd the gaunts together makes them look awesome. The essential mono-pose of the model looks great when they're all bunched up and fit together.

      After my first game it's too early to form a solid opinion on the nids. I'm a little confused with the fact we're no longer assault weapons across the faction, that takes getting used to. And the mixed movement, as much as it makes sense and is exciting/interesting how is it that every review/opinion talks about how 8th is so streamlined but this adds an additional level of complexity everyone is fine with. To be fair if it'd been the other way round 7th was mixed move and 8th just 6" there'd be uproar but it's still confusing.

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    3. You can use Smite while the Psyker is in combat, too. Or did he need to move to get the Warlock as the closest Model after the Avatar?

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  2. I played 2 small games (30 power) with my Harlequins over the weekend. I did lose both but I can see where I need to rethink tactics with them and I think they will end up being huge fun to play. Possibly have to add a flyer or two for bigger games but it's too early to tell yet. Enjoyed the new rules overall though!

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