Today’s rules drop is all about Reserves – a key component in often managing differing armies, holding units away from firepower and bringing in tactical support from unusual directions. While 6th edition moved away from the ability to completely deny an opponent potentially two shooting phases, it was still a very important option for savvy battlefield generals. Let’s see what changes are in store.
The first rule reveal is rather huge and applies directly to the points above – you can no longer reserve every unit. This has many wide ranging impacts with the most obvious being that it sounds like the majority of most armies will start the game on the board. This means no holding weak backfield scoring Troops in the tank to protect them. This means no units that are really fast and come on and zoom their way to any point in the battlefield to suddenly put high levels of pressure on the next turn. This means no denying opponent’s up to two shooting phases on the vast majority of your army, etc. What units that will be forced to start the game on the tabletop will be interesting but I imagine anything without something that was akin to Outflank, Deepstrike, Infiltrate, Scout, etc.
The next rule reveal reminds us that USRs are dead and gone but that effectively, units will have the same or similar rules under different names (Teleport, Tunnelling, Ambushing, Kunningingings…?). What I really like about the specific rule they reveal to us (Trygon Subterranean Assault) is you get to pick when this happens. So often reserves would be frustrating, particularly when there dice roll modifiers in play, in that they would not just not come in exactly when you need them, but for three turns just kicking their heels (while those Fire Warriors you want to forget about run onto the field Turn 2 with a cry of LEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEROY JEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEENKINS). Anyway, choosing when at the end of any movement phase is I hope how this will be played for all of these options.
We also note that there is no scatter anymore and like Age of Sigmar, it is a requirement be more than 9″ away from an enemy and can then act in the subsequent phases as per normal. This is great to put pressure on with melee options and hopefully most of these will have someway to improve their charge reliability as 8+ on 2D6 (Edit: 9+ sorry as dermitder is correct, you have to be more than 9″ away so 9.01″ requires that extra inch of melee range anyway) is well down on the bell (triangular for Neil ;)) curve. 9″ is also importantly out of Template range and out of half range for standard Melta weapons (12″) but well within Rapid Fire range, melta range of longer weapons (18″+) and the usual shortest of ranged guns (like Pistols). This means “Deep Strike” can still be an effective drop and pop sort of option while also adding the above mentioned combat pressure. I will be curious to see what other ranges there are (i.e. Nurglings which we know can deploy “near enemy models and engage them quickly”) and what impact this will have in terms of available weapons (i.e. can a template or melta based unit get within 6-8″?).
Furthermore! In matched play (which is all we really care about, right?) at least half of the total number of units in the army must be setup on the table akin to the most recent editions. So no full Deathwing / Drop Pod armies which can again, skip two shooting phases for the enemy. You also have to have the units come in by the end of the third turn. I’m not a huge fan of making them come in by the third turn – I think fourth would have been okay as well but that’s also assuming 5-7 turn games. Perhaps they are shorter now.
I really like these changes – it puts more power into the players’ hands and takes away a big portion of randomness (fucking mishap tables) which lets both the offensive and defensive player know exactly what they are dealing with but also puts enough options in there that there are tactical and strategic decisions to be made.
Here’s the text in full as always.
In the new Warhammer 40,000, as today, keeping some units in reserve is still a very important and potentially powerful tactical tool.
There are some pretty fundamental changes to how they work though. For a start, not every unit can be placed in reserve, so most of your army will usually deploy on the battlefield at the start of the game. This means that they will be contributing to the battle from turn one, but will also be a target for the enemy – so you’ll have to work out how to best utilise those early turns.
Quite a few units still have the option to join the game mid-battle though, and they use a variety of mystical or technological means to do so. While there are no longer universal special rules like Deep Strike or Outflank, many of these abilities will have common themes – so you can still expect units like Terminators to teleport down, Genestealer Cults units to ambush and Ork Kommandos to use their kunnin’ to sneak up on the foe.
As an example, let’s take a look at the special rule for a Trygon, a unit famed for its unusual method of deployment, tunneling up under the enemy army:
So we can see that this will be quite a powerful ability. Not only delivering the Trygon into the heart of the enemy force, but also an accompanying unit of Tyranids. And there’s nothing stopping them from charging this turn either! Though that 9″ distance to the enemy (which is common to a lot of units with similar abilities) will mean that the averages on the dice will be against you for that 2D6 charge distance. (You can always use your Command Re-roll of course…)
In matched play, there are a few additional restrictions to deployment methods like this, which you might imagine, can get very powerful very fast when used by multiple units across a single army. Matched play games use a special mission rule called Tactical Reserves.
This rule helps limit some of the more extreme cases of withholding reserves in competitive games. So, while it’s totally possible to have an all Deathwing Terminator army, for example, you can’t use the teleport rules on all of them in matched play. (Though we do think a narrative game where the entire Deathwing teleports in on the first turn to take a Chaos bastion would be pretty awesome.)
Lots to think about there.
We’ll be back tomorrow with a bit more news on vehicles in the new Warhammer 40,000.