Monday, 30 July 2012

Codex Space Marines in 6th - First Impressions

6th Ed - I'm in a happy place.

After a weekend at Tim’s Summer Skirmish, a 500pt 6th Ed. Tournament involving 10 singles games and 3 doubles games, I feel ready to give a first impression of the new 40K.

Firstly what does 6th mean to my army?

The majority of my experience has been with Codex: Space Marines (13/14 games) and I think I’m going to stick with them for the short – medium term. I don’t think much has changed in terms of how best to employ them strategically, they are still a durable, gun-line style army with the ability to withstand assault from all but the most dedicated of combat troops. As before they do not fare well in protracted assaults though, unless you’re talking about Assault Terminators! The change to Rapid Fire and the introduction of Snap Fire are both massive benefits to Vanilla Marines considering the nerf that vehicles took; now you are as effective while mobile on foot as you are standing still, Heavy Weapons excepting – but that’s a small price to pay for not being totally reliant on vehicles to re-deploy. Mobility is king at the moment and while Marines are not particularly fast, they can move and still be very effective which is all you need to be as a gun-line army.

Space Marines trade off all-out shooting power for the durability of T4 and a 3+ save so they’re never going to be as good at shooting as armies like Imperial Guard. In the past I’ve used this fact as an excuse to try to build my Marine lists to be able to assault armies which they “cannot” out-shoot. However I will now be building my Marine lists to be as shooty as possible while also playing to their strength in durability.

Lastly, assault. With the way wounds are now allocated, the reduction in the general quality of cover saves and the introduction of Overwatch I feel weight of numbers king for assaulting units but needs to be used in conjunction with speed and positioning. Marines cannot do weight of numbers in the traditional sense but their increased durability over typical, assault-centric units acts as something of a trade-off. Unfortunately, as I stated above, they are not fast and if you’re trying to assault a shooty army (which is probably the only time you would consider an assault to be tactically viable) chances are that they are going to be able to put out enough shooting to ensure you never make it into contact – if you are foot-slogging it from your deployment zone. So unless you want to include assault vehicles or jump troops I would forget assault as a strategy in all but the most desperate circumstances.

In terms of specifics I like the Thunderfire Cannon even more than I used to, though it’s cover denial round is a little less useful because cover is less reliable. Tactical Terminators are great, lots of durable shooting, don’t leave home without a Cyclone. Attack Bikes are nice, not sure it I’m going to lean towards Melta or Heavy Bolters but initially I’ll be trying out Melta. After seeing flyers in action, I want a Stormtalon Gunship in my list. I think sniper scouts will be making a come-back into my list, just as a deck-chair unit though, cheep and cheerful, hoping for the occasional contribution. Lastly at the moment I’m very sold on combat tactics so I won’t be running any special characters as HQ unless it’s Calgar. Combat Tactics is surely going to be golden against very combat focussed armies and I want to try this out as much as possible in the early stages of 6th.

Secondly what do I think about the rule-set?

So far, so good to be honest. Assault is frustrating but I’m playing Marines and this is not their forte, perhaps the frustration will be lessened with more specialist scrappers! I think all the comments about the rules being clunky and slow in places have been greatly exaggerated, the game is pretty smooth and I found assault to flow quite well. The emphasis put on movement due to the way wounds are now allocated makes the game feel more tactical and the changes to rapid fire, and the ability to snap fire Heavy Weapons makes the movement phase more involved (for my Marines at least) – this is a great thing.

Shooting is very powerful, even more so than in 5th, because it’s the closest models that go down first you can keep a charging enemy at bay with concentrated firepower and a couple of lucky overwatch kills, if he is not positioned well. Also the reduction in the average cover save, combined with the ability to focus-fire means shooting will be more effective in general.

Changes to terrain are a mixed bag, I love the random tables for woods, ruins etc but some people won’t. The reduction of the standard cover save is a big deal for some armies and less so for others, I found myself avoiding terrain trying to get to the IG lines as quickly as possible on a few occasions because I felt the 5+ save wasn’t worth it, where in the past I would have hugged terrain very carefully. As it turns  out charging down-field is not something Marines do well (or have ever done well if I’m honest)

Vehicles are suffering at the moment because of peoples’ general perception that they won’t last 5 seconds looking down the barrel of a gauss-gun. Fair comment but I think Necrons (whilst powerful) will be less prevalent than Grey Knights were at the end of 5th and unless you are facing down a ton of rapid firing gauss, Vehicles are not dead in the water and do have an important part to play in 6th.

I’ll finish off with Flyers, I love them. I saw a lot of Vendettas this weekend and they were extremely effective. This will be tempered by the introduction of units with skyfire and related rules, but at the moment they are pretty amazing. If you have access to them in your codex, you need to seriously consider making room for them in in your next 6th Ed tournament list.

I finished the tournament with 6 wins and 3 losses in the singles games, placing second in the 2nd bracket (for the second year running!) and 0-3 in my doubles games, frankly we were out-classed and out-gunned, and I had a great time. In summary I think 6th is a great breath of fresh air for a system that had become somewhat stale, however for competitive tournament play it may ruffle a few feathers and how tournaments adapt to the changes remains to be seen. I am optimistic that 6th will remain an enjoyable game for the foreseeable future though and I plan to get a fair few games in between now and Christmas to get my Space Marine army down-pat.

Monday, 9 July 2012

6th of one, half a dozen of the other

Andy and I played our first game of 6th edition 40K on Saturday. We played 500 points on a 4x4 board and rolled up the D3+2 Objective mission. Now, I have to admit that this will probably be the worst "initial thoughts" piece that you read on 6th edition as due to Andy's incredibly poor dice rolls, it was a very one sided game and we didn't even get close to having any combat.


Let's not kid ourselves, 40K was a shooting game in 5th edition and very little has changed for 6th in that regard. The change in the Toughness rules have made some units more survivable but with cover getting worse and new Rules like Focused Fire and Precision Shot make shooting even better.

Now, we found shooting in the new edition to be very straightforward. However, we didn't have any units containing models with different saving throws. The key now is going to be how you arrange your units to try and protect the important models. I set up my Long Fangs in a T-shape with the Pack Leader at the front so that he would take the first unsaved wound. However, what would I have done if I had been Outflanked?

Andy had an even harder choice as he had a five man Devastator unit containing a Sergeant, three Missile Launchers and a regular Bolter Marine. On my turn one, they were going to take fire from my Long Fangs on the right hand side of the board and a Living Lightning Rune Priest in the centre. There was no way to set up his unit so that he could protect the important squad members from incoming fire.


There seems to be a lot more of this in the new edition. From Hull Points to Mysterious Objectives to Warp Charge, it seems that every phase has something that you need to make a note of.

Go First and Win

In 5th edition there were some army builds that were considered to have a huge advantage if they went first, those that could put out a crippling alpha strike from which the opponent would struggle to recover. Now not only do we have the same issue in 6th edition but you also get a point for it. I go first, kill one of your units and get, what could be, in some missions, the winning Victory Point.

Next Steps

Play some more games. It was a real shame that we didn't manage to get any combat going apart from a charge against a Rhino. I have to admit that I don't hold out much hope for combat as I think that the changes to the Fearless rules make it a lot less killy than previously. However, that's based on conjecture rather than evidence. There are also a lot of other rules that we didn't actually get to try including Hammer of Wrath and Nightfight (didn't get it Turn 1)

However, I still think that my list should so alright in 6th with only a few changes. Three units of Long Fangs are still awesome as is the Rune Priest. Grey Hunters remain one of the best Troops in the game even if they can't assault out of their Rhino any more. However, the Scouts might have to go and I need some more units for the Club's Tale of Gamers

Elephant in the room

Or rather above the room. One of the other things we didn't use on saturday was fliers. Now from what I've read in the rulebook and what I've seen on the internet, these are clearly going to be huge in 6th edition. Now, I have no doubt at all that eventually Space Wolves will be given the option of Flakk Missiles. However, I can't see that happening until GW have sold loads of fliers and most Wolf players have either gone out and bought allies or fortifications. Cynical? Yes, but you have to admit that it's pretty good marketing. For now, I'm going to focus on shooting everything that isn't a flyer and hope that they don't have too much of an impact. This isn't really a strategy though and while it might be successful for the first few months of this new edition as people slowly acquire fliers, it's of little use in the long term...

How is everyone else finding the new edition? It seems like it's going to be slower to play but is that just because it's all still new?

Friday, 6 July 2012

Is combat dead in the 6th?

Firstly a disclaimer, I have played 1 game of 40k so if my understanding of the rules are wrong feel free to let us know because I need all the help I can get with it.

Last night was my first game of 40k; I played Duncs with his Necrons. I've been playing Duncs for about 2 years and really expected to face his Orks so it was a pleasant surprise to see Hordes (or 500 points worth) or living metal across from me.

This was the first time I'd played Necrons, I've discussed on here starting an army of them I love the models and the simple but effective paint jobs that people manage on them.

We ended up playing the 1 objective game with the short edge deployment.

The game was very close with Duncs winning as he destroyed the first unit while we drew on primary objectives.

So thoughts on 6th

Combat is clunky, really clunky.

We found it really slow to allocate wounds to Space wolves that are all in base to base.

It’s also really hard to win combat with the fact that you just seem to run away no matter what happens in the combat. It’s also just harder to get into combat with the fat that you can't assault out of a parked rhino.

Our game really made me think that Combat is dead, the game was shooting based in fifth, with over watch and new combat resolution it’s even more so or at least that was the impression I got.
Personally I don't have a problem with that, I always thought that fights in the 41st millennium should be solved with guns rather than sticks but it leads you to think.

So what did I learn? Grey Hunters are even more awesome than before, over watch + counter charge + rapid fire and the options for either plasma or melta they are the most adaptable troop choice in the game.

Rhinos really are paper thin, I just don't know how many we will see, and do you want to just sit in a tin can and then when you are going to do something you are going to get shot anyway? I could certainly see drop pods making a comeback. You are going to get out and get shot anyway so why not make sure you get where you want to get before you get shot?

Now when the Necron codex came out I discussed with Darren how I thought they had big holes in them because of their low I they could get chased off the board so easily and he discussed that as it was written ready for 6th it was going to really find its place on the introduction and I have to agree, Tesla really comes into the fore, as do gauss with their ability to glance vehicles to death. I was tempted to do a necron army before, after last night I am even more so.

As always I look forward to reading you comments.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Call that an axe? This is an axe...

"If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck"

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet"

The Great Wolf, Logan Grimnar, is armed with a weapon called the Axe Morkai. However, there is some discussion on the internet at the minute about whether or not it really is an axe...

This is important as Logan gets to decide whether he wants to use his weapon with one hand or two. If he uses it two-handed it is counted as a Power Fist so he gets S8 but at I1.

In 5th edition, if he used it one-handed, then he struck at S5 and I5.

So, what's the problem?

The codex says that he can use his weapon as either a Frost Blade (which is where the +1 Strength comes from) or a Power Fist.

The new FAQ states that a Frost Blade and a Frost Axe are different weapons.

However, the Rulebook says that Power Weapons that look like axes should be treated as axes and so be swung at I1.

That would give Logan the choice of attacking at S6 I1 or S8 I1. Hmm, tough choice!

The tricky thing here is that the weapon is clearly an axe - it's called an axe and looks like an axe. However, that makes the one-handed/two-handed choice a moot point.

We're always told that Codex > Rulebook and the codex specifically states Frost Blade and that hasn't been changed in the new FAQ but it's tough to square that with the fact that the weapon is clearly an axe.

What do you guys think? Is it an axe? Personally I think that RAI, it isn't an axe but RAW it just might be one. When is a door not a door?

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The King is Dead! Long Live the King!

A Plasma Gun, a Plasma Gun! My kingdom for a Plasma Gun
Back in 5th edition, Melta was king. Cheaper than Plasma and better against vehicles, it was a no brainer. However, in 6th, Rapid Fire is better, cover is worse, Wound Allocation has changed and you can now glance vehicles to death. Also, with Power Weapons being AP3, we're probably going to be seeing more Terminators. So, therein lies the question - is this the age of Plasma?

Well, yes. And no. Plasma does look a lot more useful in this edition so I think we'll see a corresponding increase in its use. However, Melta is still the king of anti-tank. Plus, it also has that additional point of strength which is crucial in bypassing FNP and causing instant death on T4 models.

From a personal point of view, I think I'll be going 50:50 with Melta and Plasma rather than all Melta as in the last edition.

Moving to Plasma? Sticking with Melta? Trying Flamers for their D3 auto-hits on Overwatch? Let us know...

Monday, 2 July 2012

Monday Musings - The Death of Scouts

Scouting in 6th

When I first saw that Accute Senses allowed a re-roll on the board-edge for Outfalnking, my mind started racing. What would that mean for BEL on Wolf Scouts? If we could re-roll that, it would practically guarantee that they would arrive on the board edge that we wanted them to. However, upon reading the Reserve rules, you're not allowed to Assault on the turn that you arrive. No more charging into parking lots. No more tying up enemy heavy weapons teams.

So, the question is; Are BEL Scouts still useful as a disruption unit? Your enemy still has the decision to make - do I turn around and deal with the Scouts before they charge or do I ignore them?

And, they still have the option of Infiltrating of course.

So, it looks like Wolf Scouts might be slightly weaker in 6th ed than they were in 5th. I certainly can't see myself taking two packs anymore that's for sure...

Reserves in General

I've also been thinking about Graham's Null Deployment Tyranid army. Not only can the Genestealers not assault directly from outflanking (making them even more Bolter bait-y) but now you can only put half of your army into reserve anyway. Can't say I'm a huge fan of this as it removes options.

(The end of brackets)

T5(4) is no more. So, Bikes are now natural T5 as are Plague Marines and Nob Bikers. Yes, Nob Bikers! Once seen as "broken", then not, 6th ed could be the time they make a comeback. With natural T5 you need S10 to deny them FNP which means most of the time they'll be getting a 4++ cover save and a 5+ FNP.

Flakk Missiles

Ah, go on then, I'll wade into this one. I always thought that 40K was a permissive ruleset - ie they have to specifically say that you can do something before you can. Nowhere does it explicitly say that Space Wolves get Flakk Missiles nor that they get the opportunity to purchase them as an upgrade.

Don't get me wrong, I think this will change and I think it will change quickly. The question is, how many points for you pay for the option? Flyers look pretty sweet in the new rules and it's only a matter of time before we start seeing mass flyboys at tournaments. How much to try and shoot one down? 2 points a model? 5?

To scout or not to scout? Any reservations about the new reserve rules? What do the new toughness rules mean for BIDMAS? And pound your Flakk Missile, two pound your pair...

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Everything FAQ'd except for 1 thing - Brilliant job GW

All in all life seems pretty sweet and people seem happy with the new rule book.

I would say Space Wolves have been fortunate to come out of it so well, only thing that’s really got worse is a chaplain with his lack of AP3.

However we still have the question of Flak missiles,
The internet seems to be broken into two factions so let me explain both sides

The rule book entry for Missiles specifically says that missile launchers can have the option of an upgrade to flak missiles which have the sky flier rule while the stats at the back of the rule book give Missile Launchers 3 types of ammo, frag, krak and flak (Not all types of missiles have that).

The FAQ then says that if there are any differences between the Codex weapon and the main rule book that you should use the main rule book stats.

Some are taking this upon themselves to say that Missile Launchers have frak straight off some are saying we must wait for the new codex. Personally to begin with I was in the latter group, however the more I think about it and the lack of the entry for other variants of missile perhaps so.

So what do you think? Whose side are you on?


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