Friday, June 9, 2017

Doing the Happy Dance (Or: Revisiting My Hopes for 8th)

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..."

            A little over a month ago I wrote a blog post titled A Crotchety Marines Hopes for 8th Edition, where I outlined many of the things I hoped we'd see in the upcoming edition of Warhammer 40,000. Since then, Games Workshop has dropped an incredible amount of information about the new edition, with more information leaking out in addition to what they've officially released, including entire army lists and point values. And to both my shock and everlasting delight, I found that pretty much everything I wrote about in my blog post has since turned out to be true. So, let’s score it up and see how much I ended up being right about.


"What the hell are you guys doing? You're shooting all
over the place! Stop it! Only shoot the Orks on the left!"
            It always struck me as incredibly silly that units which were supposedly designed with tactical flexibility in mind by allowing them special weapons and heavy weapons, in addition to their standard armament, were unable to make use of the tactical flexibility afforded to them because they were forced to fire all their weapons at the same target. This was just as true when it came to tanks and other vehicles, even those armed with weapons with varying fire arcs and which were typically expected to carry a combination of anti-tank and anti-infantry weaponry, as they too were also forced to fire all their weapons at the same target. Thanks to the shooting rules which were introduced in 3rd edition and retained all the way into 7th edition, that was unfortunately the case, as every member of a squad and every gun on a tank, barring unique exceptions, would have to fire at the same target no matter what, even if doing so would fly in the face of all sense or logic.

            Take the example of a Space Marine Tactical Squad armed with a meltagun and a multi-melta which is about to be charged by a mob of 20 Orks and a Killa Kan. Logically speaking, it makes sense for the genetically engineered super-soldiers, who spend nearly every waking hour training and who've accumulated centuries of combat experience to realize that the sensible thing to do would be to split their fire in that situation, directing their bolter fire at the onrushing Orks, while the meltagun and multi-melta open fire at the Killa Kan. You wouldn’t even need to be a Space Marine to realize that that was the smart play, as even the greenest conscript in the Imperial Guard would know that that was the sensible thing to do. And yet, per the rules, that Space Marine Tactical Squad would either be forced to fire all their weapons at the Ork Mob or at the Killa Kan. So, either two melta shots were wasted killing one or two Orks when they could have been used to potentially slag a walker, or sixteen bolter shots would’ve uselessly pinged off the armor of a Killa Kan, when they could have been more effectively used to thin out the number of Ork Boyz just waiting to swarm their position.

            Thankfully, however, it appears that the game designers for the upcoming 8th edition of Warhammer 40,000 realized the absurdity of that situation. On May 8th, just four days after my original blog post, they published an article to Warhammer Community titled New Warhammer 40,000: Infantry, where they revealed that “in the new Warhammer 40,000, models in a squad can fire at different targets. So, this means your Tactical Squad can have your boys with bolters deal with that onrushing Hormagaunt horde, while the flamer bathes a nearby Lictor in prometheum fire, and the squad’s krak missile takes an opportunistic potshot at that onrushing Carnifex – just as you always imagined they should!” And as it turns out, this doesn’t just apply to infantry, but to vehicles as well. That makes 1 Victory Point for me!

Victory Point Total: 1/0


            Another thing that always bothered me was that combi-weapons could only fire the special weapon portion of their weapon once per game, and were forced to utilize a bolter for the rest of the game. This made combi-weapons effectively pointless for Space Marine Captains, who wouldn’t be able to make much use out of their high Ballistic Skill, which naturally made gearing them exclusively for close combat a much more appealing option, particularly with a plasma pistol. After all, not only could a plasma pistol provide a +1 Attack bonus, but you’d be able to fire it any number of times over the course of a battle, as opposed to the combi-plasma, which could only fire once in a game.

            On May 10th, though, the Warhammer Community webpage published another article titled New Warhammer 40,000: Weapons Part 2, and it turns out that the combi-weapon is being revised with the new edition. As it states in the article, “Another type of weapon that is changing is the combi-weapon. While in the current edition you can only shoot the “specialist” portion of the gun once, in the new Warhammer 40,000 you can either shoot both all the time, but at a -1 to hit modifier, or choose to just shoot one with no modifier.” That makes another Victory Point for me.

"Are you telling me I'm a viable
build, now? Thank the Emperor!"
            In my previous blog post I also suggested that Space Marine Captains should be granted the option to upgrade their boltguns with the same special-issue ammunition available to Sternguard Veterans, which would make even the humble boltgun a viable choice for them. According to some recent rules leaks, while they didn’t exactly do that, Captains do now come equipped with a master-crafted boltgun as standard. You can see how the standard boltgun compares to the Captain’s new master-crafted boltgun and the special issue boltgun issued to Sternguard Veterans in the table below. While it’s not what I specifically asked for, it’s in the spirit of what I was hoping for, and is a definite upgrade over a standard boltgun (Not to mention that firing it no longer prevents the Captain from charging into combat), so I believe that qualifies me for another Victory Point.

    Rapid Fire 1   
Master-Crafted Boltgun   
    Rapid Fire 1   
Special Issue Boltgun
    Rapid Fire 1   

Victory Point Total: 3/0


The upside? The standard Land Raider has become much,
much more threatening than it was before. But the downside?
This monstrosity is better, too, and may appear more often on
the tabletop as a result. Emperor protect us...
            Back in 2nd edition, a twin-linked weapon was literally two weapons bolted together, so it worked the same as if you were firing two weapons, with the sole restriction that they both had to fire at the same target. So when a Dreadnought fired its twin-linked lascannons, it was firing two lascannon shots at its target, not simply getting a reroll on one shot, which was the case from 3rd edition onwards. In my blog post I suggested that those weapons should go back to the way they were, and be treated as if they were two weapons (In other words, they should double their shots. So, a twin-linked lascannon should fire two shots rather than one shot, and so on). In the previously linked article from Warhammer Community, that’s exactly what we’re getting, where they tell us that "In the new Warhammer 40,000, twin-linked weapons instead get double the number of shots.” Chalk up yet another Victory Point for me.

Victory Point Total: 4/0


"I can only fire four shots with my
storm bolter, but some dude with a
crossbow can fire NINE SHOTS?"
            In my original post, I suggested taking a page from the unit rules from Age of Sigmar and apply them to 40k units. Now, while I’m admittedly not the biggest fan of Age of Sigmar, I do think it does have its good points, and there are some elements from it which I think work well. For instance, I would have liked to have seen normal Space Marine and Terminator shooting modeled on the Vanguard-Raptors, so that even the regular boltgun armed Marine or storm bolter wielding Terminator would produce a fearsome level of firepower. And while storm bolters are now Rapid Fire 2, so the standard Terminator now fires four shots at targets within 12”, that’s not quite the level of firepower I was hoping for them (And of course, the average boltgun armed Marine has stayed the same). More importantly, though, what I hoped for was for each unit to have their own unique shooting rules, a la AOS, whereas 8th edition retained the standardized shooting rules of prior editions. So, in this case, I most certainly do not deserve an additional Victory Point.

Victory Point Total: 4/1


            With the return of Roboute Guilliman, I suggested that it was time to revisit the Codex Astartes and Space Marine Chapter organization. And while it appears that unit organization isn’t changing at all for standard Space Marines with the new edition, GW has introduced the Primaris Space Marines who are clearly the replacements for the existing Space Marine armies. And judging from what we’ve seen of the Primaris, whether they're Intercessors, Inceptors, or Hellblasters, I think it's pretty clear that the Primaris Space Marines aren't beholden to the Codex Astartes in the slightest. So I think it’s fair to say that I should be awarded a Victory Point for this, as well.

The Moritat, Inceptor, and Primaris Lieutenant.
            In addition, I also suggested the inclusion of two new kinds of units. With the first, I advocated for the return of the Space Marine Lieutenant, which hasn't been seen in Space Marine army lists since the days of Rogue Trader, as I felt there should be a position in the company structure between the Veteran Sergeant and the Company Captain. The command structure of the standard Space Marine Chapter seems pretty thin, essentially going from Scout, to Battle Brother, to Sergeant, to Veteran Sergeant, to Captain, and finally Chapter Master, so an additional rank seems necessary. I also felt that the role should exist due to game mechanics, as it always seemed a bit of a stretch to me that a Veteran Sergeant gains such a massive boost in stats when he gets promoted to the rank of Captain. I also argued for the introduction of units like the old Space Marine Legion Moritat produced by Forge World. Units with jump packs which, rather than being armed with close combat weapons, were instead armed with short range firearms. In both cases my wishes came true, as we now have the Primaris Lieutenant as well as the Primaris Inceptors, who are essentially a squad of Moritats, albeit armed with pistol sized heavy bolters. So I think it’s fair to award me two additional Victory Points for those.

"I'm gonna keep my baby!"
            However, I did also suggest simplifying Space Marine lists, making them more alike by eliminating differences between them and condensing disparate Chapters into a single list. For example, I suggested that Baal Predators, Librarian Dreadnoughts, and inferno pistols should become standard for every Space Marine Chapter, rather than being restricted solely to the Blood Angels and their Successors, that Dark Angels should gain access to the Stormraven, Stormtalon, and Stormhawk, and so on. Basically, I was hoping for homogenization of the Space Marine lists, and that's something which most definitely did not happen. And judging from recent rumors stating that we’ll eventually see a Codex: Iron Hands, GW seems to be doubling down on the idea of maintaining, and perhaps even widening, the differences between the various Chapters, so that’s a Victory Point I should absolutely be denied.


            So for the most part, I have to say I'm pleased. I scored an amazing 7 points to 2 in terms of my accuracy on what was coming in the next edition (Although it was on my wholly arbitrary and made-up scale). And whether it's the return of split fire, classic twin-linked weaponry, and combi-weapons that work all the time, or the introduction of the new Primaris Space Marines (Which I'll have more to say on in a future blog post) who've discarded the Codex Astartes in favor of new formations, new wargear, and new vehicles, I  seem to have gotten everything I asked for. Well, just about everything. You know what the irony of it is? I waited six editions for Tactical Squads to regain the tactical flexibility which they were supposed to be famous for. And now that Tactical Squads have finally, finally, finally regained that tactical flexibility thanks to Split Fire returning to the game? They're on the way out, as they'll eventually be permanently replaced by the mono-build Primaris Space Marines, who believe in extreme specialization over tactical flexibility. Somewhere in the deep recesses of the warp, I can truly hear the laughter of thirsting gods...

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Doing the Happy Dance (Or: Revisiting My Hopes for 8th)

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..."             A little over a month ago I wrote a blog post titled A Cr...