The 7th edition of Warhammer 40,000 has arrived, and to be honest, the internet seems to be on the optimistic side of things. As with all changes, wargaming-related or not, there’ll always be those that overreact, so hopefully, this post will stop at least one person from a premature rage-quit.
For those that haven’t been bombarded by my presence on Chattbox as of late… Hello, I’m Jon Bunn (JRBunn)! You may remember a few podcasts from SirBiscuit that popped up on the site a while ago… Well, that other voice is yours truly. I tend to stay positive in my posts/reviews, partially because you might label me as a GW fanboi, but more importantly, because it’s just not possible for most people to digest the contents of a new book that quickly. Little changes go unnoticed, and I see no reason why 7th edition deserves any less game time to evolve than the previous six; and those little changes are exactly what I will be writing about!
As you’ve probably all heard at this point, there’s a shiny new Psychic phase, *most* everything in the game is a scoring unit, and those damn Drop Pods can even count as Troops and be super-objective claiming vehicles. On top of that, the Assault Phase and charging rules are nearly unchanged, Flying Monstrous Creatures are harder to Ground, 2++ re-rollable Deathstars are still possible, and Flyers are still just as hard to hit. How is it possible to account for all of the new stuff while all of the old issues still seem to exist?
Don’t try to solve the big issues right now, but pay attention to the little ones.
Notice that there’s a difference with how shooting works – with one weapon shooting at a time – and don’t get stuck on the fact that Flamers don’t get the range from the Lascannon in the squad. Get worked up over the fact that mobile, hard-hitting guns in units can position themselves to not allow cover saves against key models. Stop trying to count the number of dice a Tzeentch Daemon army can possibly generate, and start looking at the fact that they can never have generic Psychic Focus (the free Primaris power) for any lore since they always have the Primaris power from their God – not to mention the fact that the Conjuration powers are all 6-12” range, and that the unit has to Deep Strike onto the table. Your opponent could summon a unit of Pink Horrors, have them scatter on top of the model that cast it, roll a 1, and wind up with nothing to show for his troubles aside from a probable Perils.
As far as real gameplay goes – not this Codex-specific stuff, or crazy army designs with 12 Heldrakes – pay attention to the fact that the person that whoever deploys their army first now has the option to go second. This seems like the smallest of changes, but for those that really play to win objective missions, going second is a huge bonus that can no longer be won by a single dice roll. The increase in overall number of scoring units changes 40k from a game about simply destroying all of your opponent’s Troops, but instead a push to clear sections of the table while advancing into areas with units that are tough to remove. The game mechanics push you to want fast Troops now, which are something that can be a struggle for Guard, Tau, and Daemons (Deep Strike aside) to include in their lists. On the other hand, simply killing the fast Troops, like Eldar Jetbikes, won’t make it any more difficult for your opponent to claim his own objectives – it simply places you even with your opponent. Oh, and consider this – with Movement performed before Psychic powers, deathstar units that rely on Psychic powers for defense will need to move into position before their owner knows that they’ll be Invisible or Fortuned. Sure, a large number of power dice may ‘ensure’ that they’ll get the power off, but having 100% knowledge that your unit is nearly invulnerable before you move is no longer a reality.
The Assault Phase – cause of much grief by those looking for an easy-to-spot change – has been modified in multiple ways. For starters, big combat characters will no longer be limited to killing a single Sergeant when they charge – the wounds carry over to remaining models. Exploding vehicles no longer leave behind any wreckage, so your assault troops are free to charge the occupants without worry of a reduced charge range. For those that didn’t realize it before, charging a unit that has Gone to Ground does not make you strike at Initiative 1 – at least now, it’s clearly printed, and in multiple locations! Finally, you can now assault on a turn that you’ve disembarked from a building, with Jump Infantry allowed to enter… creating a huge bubble of defensive assault ranges not possible previously.
There are a plethora of other changes – Monstrous Creatures can no longer Go to Ground, wounds on occupants in a Vehicle that Explodes are now randomly distributed, Template weapons can now affect the passengers of an Open-Topped vehicle, and Vector Strike is only 1 AP 2 hit, d3 if the target is a Swooping Flying Monstrous Creature or a Zooming Flyer. Night Fighting only grants Stealth and can be agreed-upon by both players not to be used at all.
Before I spiral down into a tunnel of changes, which I fear I may have already done, we’ll close this article with a suggestion – play a game with the 7th Edition rules. The changes are subtle, but over time, I think you’ll find that armies have adapted to new ideas. When 6th Edition began, Flyers were thought to be the ultimate weapon; by the end of 6th, it was rare to see a Necron Flyer army hit the tables. Don’t forget about the things that we’re happy to have lost – Riptides joined by Shadowsun, a Tau Commander attached to Centurions, and super-charged D weapons. And hopefully… HOPEFULLY, we’ll find that those 2++ re-rollable Deathstars are just too unreliable for practical use.