Greetings all. I have been thinking about the 6th edition rules changes and the implications that they have had on units and wargear selection. I think that there are quite a few selections that deserve looking at again given some slight shifts in army Meta and new rules interactions. I am kind of slow and have just started to realize some of this stuff, but it may be the case that you have already made these adjustments. If so, good job! You should still read on because maybe you missed one or maybe you could add one that I missed in the comment section below (I most certainly did miss something. “Slow” remember?)
Premises I am operating under
Before going into the specific units and wargear that I think deserve a second look, I want to just generally say what I think has changed. These are my general observations and should validate my wargear/unit observations later in the article. You may disagree with them, and that is ok, but this is just the way I see it and what I have observed in my experience thus far.
– More psykers. I think that players are more apt to use psykers and are taking at least one a lot more often. There are two reasons for this. First, in general, you can always buff your own units uncontested. Second, the Universal Rule Book power tables give armies with deadbeat psykers a fresh new tool. Consider that Imperial Guard players might now consider taking a Primaris psyker since he can now access useful abilities. Even armies that normally take psykers anyway like Space Wolves(SW) may be more inclined to take more(Who likes 4 SW units that reroll to hit).
– Inability to reserve everything. This is big. With very few exceptions, your opponent will be starting with half his army on the board. This means that alpha strike strategies are much more effective and will see more players using them (Alpha strike means that you “hit” first and relatively hard disallowing your opponent to react. Drop pods, Daemons, and Mordrak’s “First to the Fray” ability are examples of this)
– Less Str 8. More Str 7. There are a few reasons for this shift. Most notably, vehicles are less prevalent because they are (perhaps) not as good and rapid fire weapons are much better with the ability to move and still shoot at 24”. The two weapons of choice for killing vehicles that come to mind are the rocket launcher and the melta gun, both str 8. The best rapid fire weapon is the plasma gun, str 7. I think you can see what I am saying.
– Cover has a bigger impact. I am trying to think of why I think this. Not really sure, but it does seem to me that there are a lot more big blob units that can sit there in a chunky ruin and just NOT DIE all game due to a good cover save and a +2 modifier if the go to ground. This may also have something to do with the increased range effectiveness of rapid fire infantry weapons.
– Character on Character interactions. The inclusion of challenges and the change in the way characters interact with opposing units in close combat has lead to new considerations on character roles and wargear outfitting. There are actually good reasons to outfit an IC as a dueler or a tar pit for other ICs, and not just as a mass unit demolisher.
– Less kill point based win conditions. In a world of only kill-point based win conditions, unit value can be tracked in a fairly linear fashion based on general killyness and ability to “make its points back.” I do not see that being the case with most missions and tournament formats under 6th. A lot of units are good at doing other stuff… like… well… not dying, or being annoying, or contesting, or moving around really fast, etc. The point is that a unit/wargear should not be evaluated strictly on a “will it extract an equivalent or more point total” basis.
Those are the big ones that I can think of now. I am sure I missed one or could have expounded on one a bit more, but in general I think these are a good set of premise observations for re-evaluating some old units and wargear. I will go through the units/items by codex.
– Null Rod. Admittedly, not a lot of positive synergy with the GK codex, but being immune to the affects of psychic powers is a pretty big effect and not to be underestimated.
– Psyocculum. I think this is my favorite. As a refresher, it makes a unit shooting at another unit which contains a psyker BS 10. BS 10 equates to a 2+ re-rollable 2+ to hit and a maximum scatter distance of 2”. A henchmen unit can be kitted out pretty nasty shooting wise. I don’t play GKs, but I cannot think of a reason to not take this if I did. It actually seems borderline broken to me. Totally hoses opposing GKs and Nids and will make any other opponent think twice about what he does with his psyker.
– Ulumeathi Plasma Syphon. I really wish there was a way to get this into a unit with deep-strike capabilities, but alas…. I think GW may have actually done some testing here. Anyway, there are certainly other methods of creeping a unit up into your opponents face and once you are there, you certainly won’t be taking any wounds from plasma weapons.
– Banisher Henchman. Daemons are pretty popular lately and they are really up in your face. Making them reroll their invulnerable saves could be useful. Not the greatest range and kind of situational, but it is not like you are spending any points on it.
– Mindphase Gauntlet. Having problems with those tough power-fist toting Space Marine Captains? Lysander? Arjac? What a great dueling weapon! Admittedly, I can really only see this making sense on an Ancient or the Aberration since you will need to hit a few times to reach success. The fact that you only have to hit them to get the effect means that they will not be going anywhere for quite a while. Don’t underestimate how hard passing multiple characteristic tests can be especially if you have to do it a few times.
– Clone Field. I think this item has been overlooked a lot because the Shadow Field just seems SO much better. I don’t think that there is a better/worse comparison here. Both defenses have different purposes. I use Lysander a lot. Did you know that he only has 3 attacks? Maybe I just have bad dice, but it seems like he only ever produces one wound (it is all you need most of the time). Dueling a character with a clone field would be a nightmare. If he nullifies just one hit a turn that is pretty much enough… let alone the average of 2.
– Gaze of Flame. I don’t see people take this often. Maybe it is because bolstering the combat ability of a unit that generally does not want to be in combat seems dumb? I don’t know really, but I do know that it will reduce most assault unit’s attacks by a third. If it is in a unit of 20 warriors, they can probably win combat. As a Blood Angel player, I cannot tell you how important the extra attack is on the charge. Taking that away is big.
– Flayed Ones. I know, I know, I am going to take a lot of flak for this one but I really think this is an underestimated option. Here is why I like them. They are a backfield unit that you can take 20 of, and they are all T and Str 4 with a 4+ save and reanimation protocol. I think they are being mis-evaluated based on comparing them to something like a dedicated cc unit; they are not a dedicated cc unit. You are not going to win any fights with Paladins, but…. you will be super resilient, super annoying, and are punchy enough in cc to beat 99% of the stuff people keep in their backfield to score/ support. I think they just require a different play style.
– Ratlings. Ten BS 4 sniper shots from a unit with stealth. All for the bargain price of 100 points… Yes please!
– Leman Russ. Armor 14 is really good right now. Hard for most of the meta to deal with.
– Colossus. This puppy drops high STR pie plates that ignore cover. A lot of the units that I am seeing bunkered down in cover these days are not running high armor saves. The drop in the AP is probably not going to be relevant. The drop in cover save is!
– Pyrovores. Haha… No seriously. I am not really sure if this deserves re-evaluation. All I will point out is that with the way the drop pod rules work now you can essentially place 3 heavy flamer templates anywhere you want. I don’t know if this is good or even something that the Nid army wants/needs to do, but it is something they could not really do before. I have included this because I am really into ignoring cover right now.
– Tyranid Warriors. I think the stat line and options on these guys is exceptional for their point cost. Two additional things to think about here too. One, as I already mentioned, is that there is less stuff to double them out so it makes their high wound count relevant. Two, is that with the way that shooting wound allocation works, you can really spread the wounds around this unit with careful placement. Remember, a full unit is nine 3-wound models. Let’s say you take a bunch of anti-infantry fire from a few different areas of the board. You can hopefully place in such a way as to spread the wounds to the whole front line of the unit. The surviving models with 1 or 2 wounds left can then be shifted to the back ranks.
– Way too much to go into here. There is a ton of stuff to do in this book and it deserves its own article. Enough said.
– Brother Corbulo. Nothing that I find super exciting here, but he does have a 2+ FNP. Given that you get this against almost everything now IS relevant. There are a lot of units that just won’t be able to get past his save. His universal one-time re-roll is also worth mentioning. A lot of games come down to a few dice rolls. Sometimes it is nice to be able to roll twice. It will also help him shrug off that one lascannon wound that he fails to initially “Look out sir”… I think you know the one.
– Saga of the Hunter (and Bloodclaws! WHAT???). I LIKE THIS. Here is what I do. Throw that saga on a IC, put him in a big unit of 15 Bloodclaws with a Wolfguard. BOOM. With acute sense for optimal outflank positioning this unit is big game. I think people forget that the two side table edges both touch your opponent’s deployment zone. This unit will get in there and have to be dealt with. What I said about Necron Flayed Ones also applies here too though. Don’t do anything too ambitious.
– Armor 14. I already mentioned this briefly, but I think it deserves saying again. Yes, vehicles are perhaps easier to destroy, but not armor 14. I have seen more and more armies that just straight up cannot deal with a Land Raider (The army I am currently running has ONLY 2 shooting based outs to it).
That about wraps it up. There are, of course, some codexes that I missed. I am sure there are gems in those too, but I just cannot bring myself to buy codex Orks and the DA and Tau are getting new stuff soon so I just did not bother. And Squats…. well… yeah, uhhh. Nevermind.