Saturday, April 29, 2017

Thoughts on the 40K 8th Edition News So Far (Week 1)

Well it seems GW are sticking to their promise of releasing new information about the 8th edition of 40K every day. Well, today it wasn't particularly rules related but for the past week we've been treated to nuggets of info about how the new edition of the game will play. Today I'll run through the officially released information that has been posted up this week on Warhammer Community. There's been the odd snippet on FB, Twitter and Faeit too which I'll touch on.

First things first. It seems from the rumours that are around that June 10th will be launch weekend. This is pretty much what I expected. Their vague suggestion of "this year" was never going to mean anything past June. To release this much info and then say "out in September" would be pointless. Basically, they'll use Warhammer Fest to reveal a chunk of new things (and maybe even the starter set) and then put pre-orders up. This makes me happy for two reasons. Firstly, we don't have to wait long but also, and more importantly, Double Trouble 2 will be the last tournament of 7th edition and will take place on launch weekend for 8th. That means we'll all be in a room together studying our new rules whilst throwing some dice together. I'll also try to theme the raffle prizes around 8th edition stuff assuming we get info on what's being released early enough.

Day One - Three Ways to Play
Nothing we didn't already know really. Open play sounds like the version of the game that I'm least likely to play. Having no restrictions at all doesn't appeal to me. The game isn't balanced even with points but just taking whatever you feel like won't make for much sport in my opinion. I was never a fan of Unbound but, hey, it's there if you're into that kind of thing.

Narrative play is something that really interests me. We're constantly talking about running a campaign or playing battles that have a vague theme to them at least. We rarely actually get round to these games though because we're normally testing something for a tournament on the rare occasion we actually have time of a game. Having a framework for playing these games might be the motivation we need to finally make it happen.

It should come as no surprise to anyone who reads this blog regularly but the version of the game that interests me the most is Matched play. I'm a mixture of relieved and disappointed to learn that the Eternal War and Maelstrom missions are returning. Hopefully they've been updated more than "a little" like the post suggests. I'd love some more interesting deployment options than the three we've gotten used to and some tweaks to the objective missions in Eternal War to stop them feeling so samey. It's a shame that things like control points (objectives you score points for controlling every turn) don't sound likely to appear. I'd be happy knowing I didn't need to buy new Maelstrom cards but also disappointed if some of them weren't fixed a little bit. Get rid of the D3 points for a start. I'm hoping they'll make the "ditch the impossible cards" rule (that most of us play anyway) official.

The talk of revisions to points values and units becoming competitive again is exciting but you'll forgive me if I'm skeptical. What I'm a little worried about is the bit about "Stratagems". They're something that's appeared in things like Planetstrike and I'm not really a huge fan of them. Feel like the Blood Bowl special play cards. I'll reserve judgement until I see them though.

Finally, they reckon a 1,000-2,000 point game takes just over two hours. That's a promising sign that the game has been streamlined. As I said before, it's nice to think we might be able to get a fourth or even fifth game into a one-day event.

Day Two - Unit Profiles
Tell me you aren't intrigued to know just how far Hormagaunts can move! I'm pleased that Movement is back as a stat. All infantry essentially moving at the same speed has always felt wrong. It's interesting that vehicles are given a profile too. Will this mean that they have differing movement values too? Maybe they can shoot everything at standard movement and limited weapons at double movement for example and a Leman Russ will move slower than a Devilfish.

Giving vehicles wounds is intriguing too. Nice that they've simplified things. Mind you, they say they're getting rid of AV but surely a vehicle will now have a Toughness value instead which will likely have a similar mechanic. There's still some residual whinging about lasguns killing land raiders but I'm sure it'll be a case of 500 might be able to strip a wound or something to that effect. Theoretically they can kill a land raider but you'd likely be wasting your time. Let's hope so at least. Imperial Knights with "dozens of wounds" sounds fun.

Having a standard system means that anti-tank weaponry should make a come back. The humble lascannon has been a rare sight of late with players favouring spamming S6-S8 firepower to strip hull points. There'll still probably be an advantage to massed fire like that but hopefully it won't be the only option. More on this in the weapon profiles bit though.

It's interesting that 'fexes are getting more wounds too. My big hope for 8th edition is that Tyranids will become instantly more viable. I'd love to own a 'nid army but I've never been able to persuade myself when they've been comparatively weak or mono-build.

I'm liking what I'm hearing about no Super Heavy rules too. This all sounds like huge swathes of the rulebook will have gone and we'll hopefully be left with a more manageable ruleset that still makes things play like we'd expect them too. That's a big ask but what we've seen so far is promising.

Onto the statlines then. The first thing to notice is that Initiative is gone. I'll wait until the Combat Phase post to get too worried about this but I do have concerns about the way melee will work in 8th. Benefit of the doubt for now. Anyway, I like that they've made Guilliman at least a little faster than a normal marine and that they've finally just printed what the rolls required are. Yeah we all know it's just 7-BS but why bother with the extra step. Modifying them is the exciting thing for me. Hopefully cover saves will work in a similar way to Necromunda and faster moving targets will be harder to hit. Jink never really sat well with me as a mechanic.

Terminators aren't, so far at least, the beasts that I was hoping they'd become. Obviously two wounds is great but I was hoping for their save being taken on 2D6 like in the old days. There's a lot of people seemingly losing their shit about how good dreadnoughts will be though. Sure they've got 8 wounds and a 3+ save now but unless something else gets released about them I'm not getting too carried away yet. Am I missing something?

Day Three - Weapon Profiles
Well, more confirmation (seemed people needed it) that templates are a thing of the past. Instead the flamer will be doing D6 shots that automatically hit. Obviously screws over single models but big units potentially benefit. No more getting out of a rhino only to have your entire 10-man unit fit perfectly under a flame template. Also, and this is important, no hitting two or more units at once. There seems to be a buzz that flamers are back but we really need to see more from the other special weapons before we get carried away.

The thing that's really upset people though is how the mass reactive rounds of the bolter don't have any extra armour penetrating power. I'm not too worried about this though. We don't know what saves things like guardsmen are going to get, we don't know how cover works and we don't even know how rapid fire works either.

As I hinted at above, I'm hoping that lascannons can make a bit of a comeback. They're an iconic part of 40K for me and they've been relegated to novelty items of late. Causing a potential 6 wounds against a vehicle, MC, character for example is a huge plus. I'm assuming that it'll effectively work like a D weapon does now. Single save against the shot and then D6 wounds lost if you fail. Anti-tank weapons should be better against vehicles and MCs and it seems like they're heading the right direction.

The interesting thing is, assuming it works like I expect, a space marine will get a 6+ save against a lascannon. Sure it'll still have a great chance of wounding him but we'll have to see what the AP is of some of the other weapons. Will old AP1 be -4 for example? Will a meltagun be -5 or more?

What's really awesome about this post is that D weapons are gone. It'll be interesting to see what profile the former D weapons get though. I'm assuming they'll still be quite likely to one-shot all but the toughest models but hopefully they'll not just be 6s to kill (pretty much) anything. It's also intriguing to find out how blast weapons will work. I might be one of few people who are pleased to see the back of the current mechanic but I hope they still feel like they're doing splash damage of some kind.

Day Four - Movement Phase
Thinking about bikes having a movement value that's much higher than infantry got me thinking about what will happen to Turbo-boost. Will they simply be able to "Advance" faster than infantry? I like the idea that flyers get different movement values too. Hopefully DE flyers will end up better than they were.

The idea of running in the movement phase is certainly going to speed the game up a little. In practice a lot of us would allow opponents to do this anyway but it does mean that the tactical decision has to be taken early. No more killing something sooner than you expected and running a unit forward who now has nothing to shoot.

Sounds like, the Movement Phase isn't going to be drastically different though. They did, however, tease something about the assault phase. You can pull out of combat in your turn. Sounds a lot like Hit & Run but without being able to shoot your assailants. No dropping out of combat in your opponent's turn and charging back in your own either. Not sure how I feel about this yet. On the face of it it'll make combat less powerful but there's still so much we don't know.

Day Five - Psychic Phase
I play Tau and Dark Eldar so my interest isn't as high as it might be but obviously my Wolves, DE and Orks care. Anyway, this new plan for psychic attacks sounds significantly better. No more throwing in some psychic battery units to boost a single powerful psyker. Seems like it'll basically be the same chance of casting a power no matter how many other psykers you have. I like that having multiple psykers is useful now. Often in 7th, one of your psykers might never actually use a power whilst another stole their dice to make it more likely to get one of their powers off.

Seems like the mechanic will work a lot like a leadership test does now. Weaker powers will be easier to get off whilst the big stuff should be requiring 11s or even 12s to cast. My only hope is that they've thought about the power levels a bit more. In 7th there were some Warp Charge 3 powers that were significantly worse than others that were only WC1.

The mechanic for blocking powers also seems sensible and cinematic. A psyker in 24" gets a chance to block the power. Presumably that means non-psychic units can't stop them anymore but that felt a bit silly anyway sometimes. Especially when a nearby friendly psyker would stand idly by and let the unit next to him be hit by a power without trying to intervene.

I'm hoping that the rulebook powers are gone. Clearly Smite remains but hopefully each faction will get themed powers rather than everyone being able to use Daemonology for example or defaulting to Telepathy to get Psy Shriek. Speaking of Smite, that sounds pretty good to me. D3 wounds that you can't stop and only needing a relatively low roll to cast it. Could be pretty nasty to have a pile of cheap psykers just throwing this out every turn.

Mortal Wounds are interesting and they confirm that invulnerable saves are still a thing. I'm assuming what were once D weapons will have a much higher chance of causing Mortal Wounds.

There's very little cause for concern here, well, for me at least. There's obviously a lot that we're still speculating on when we've only got little bits of info to go on. What I've seen so far though makes me think they've really put the effort in this time. No more tweaking of the existing rules and trying to make them work. If they feel like a mechanic is flawed they've simply rewritten it (e.g. casting powers). Seems like the new rules will be a lot more straightforward which is good because I also think the game will have changed quite a bit and getting used to the new rules quickly will be a bonus.

Already it seems like we'll need to rethink what units, and indeed weapons, we consider to be powerful. A shake up like this is obviously going to be good for GW's sales too which I'm certain crossed their mind in doing this. They don't really want any range of models to undersell and having pretty much everything as viable is obviously good business. Not only that but suddenly finding that your specific OP list isn't what it was will force people to buy some new stuff.

Ultimately, there's no point drawing too many conclusions just yet until we know more. They're releasing new information every day so I'm sure we'll have a fair idea of what the game is going to be like before June 10th rolls around.


  1. Cautiously Optimistic still. Looking good so far and not messing up mechanics too far, plus some well needed streamlining. Looking forward to knowing more, I think GW have done a good job of allaying our fears.

  2. Downright excited for this edition. Haven't played in over a year because there were so many rules, and games devolved into looking something up every 5 minutes, taking hours to finish a 1,500 pt contest.

    1. Me too. I do suspect GW intentionally made 7th horrendously complicated so that we'd be more welcoming of 8th though.

  3. Any further thoughts now we've had a bit mire revealed? I like the idea of pistols being able to shoot during combat, though I'm not quite so find of vehicles firing Heavy Weapons at -1 to hit just because they moved (although if that is offset by being able to fire at multiple targets as has been rumoured I won't mind as much)

    1. Will do another similar post next week after this week's content.

  4. Glad my templates will be getting a great send off at Double Trouble 2! Might maximise the number of blast and flamers in my army to do them justice.


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