While we’ve all been dithering over Formations and people have been throwing around ideas on how to incorporate them into tournament play or just plain bitching, Escalation and Stronghold have snuck up on us. (Avatar posted a lovely summary here). The short and skinny is – superheavies are in ‘normal’ 40k. That’s great,I couldn’t care less if GW is stupid enough to take one of their great failures and shove it into their major success of a system as most people just aren’t going to buy and/or use those types of models as they are very expensive (several hundred dollars) and not cheap points wise (easily 25-50% of an army). So that doesn’t phase me too much but of course, there’s always going to be a couple of people who have either more money than sense, are awesome hobbyists or “pay to win” and will either bring them for fun or figure something out which actually works on the table.
And here-in lies the problem, D-Weapons. There are four levels (five if we include Necrons) of saves for 40k and they all play an important role; you can bypass some but never all of them and if you cannot bypass any of them, you’ll often find your shooting becomes inefficient. Saves fall to AP, cover falls to ignores cover and combat, FNP falls to instant death and invuls do not fall. Until D-Weapons. This is not a good thing as it places too much emphasis on who shoots first and hits. Alpha-striking is all well and good but hey I rolled a hit with this here 10″ blast, remove everything from underneath. Yes, even your super duper character with a 2++ and W10 (over exaggeration for effect). Yaya, 2++ re-roll invuls would no longer be a thing but it’s not something which requires skill to use or implement and takes away from the fun of the game. Forging a narrative! *enter massive hole in army* aw :(.
Again, I don’t think this is going to be a huge thing as for the most part, a lot of these units are going to be hard to put into an army which works and they are basically just vehicles or tough MCs – you can deal with those right now ya? Good.
And fortifications – never been a fan of bringing your own terrain and some of these pieces can get insanely big – does GW just expect people to remove terrain from half of the table to put theirs down now? Again some access to d-weapons which is silly but there are some interesting bits like the Void Shields; protect against the Alpha Strike for 200 points might become quite common.
Anyway, GW has essentially confirmed they have no care for playtesting or game balance and I imagine a lot of tournaments are going to start reintroducing some form of comp or restrictions; the vast majority of 6th edition has ignored terrain setup, mysterious terrain, etc. and I’m predicting a wholesale swing towards taking this further. There were rumblings before about Screamstar, Spiritstar, Triple WK/Riptide, etc. and I wouldn’t be surprised to see things like this get swept up in the banhammer fest but we shall see; after the dust settles in a couple of months at least.
Hasbro – please buy already and fix whoever is making these odd decisions at the higher levels and un-doing the good work the codex writers have done the past several years.