Hey everyone, Reecius here to discuss 7th ed in a little more depth. The last post was a bit stream of consciousness as we digested the new rules, this will be more structured.
So, we have on our hands a shiny new edition of the game. It came fast on the heels of 6th ed, which was unexpected, but it incorporates all of the craziness of December with Escalation, Stronghold, Dataslates and Formations into the 6th ed core rules with some FAQs thrown in for good measure. The game played on the tabletop is essentially the same as it was. Rules mechanics wise, the Psychic Phase is the only really big change to how the game plays. The really significant changes come in the the pre-game of building your army and deciding what mission to play. Here, the game changes dramatically, however, these are also the rules most often changed by players so I look at these with mixed feelings as they will likely not be used that frequently.
In all, 7th edition Warhammr 40K is extremely close to 6th edition 40K. If you liked 6th, you will like 7th as it essentially doubled down on the elements of 6th. You now have even more freedom to make whatever army you like with the benefit of many rules tightened up that were previously ambiguous, and a lot of changes to balance different unit types out. If you didn’t like the free-wheeling nature of 6th, you will hate 7th as it completely takes the lid off and allows you to literally do whatever you want. There is no structure to list building anymore which throws the door wide for both thematic armies and abusive armies. It is left to the players to regulate themselves, for better or worse.
There is a lot of good in the new edition. Looked at from the perspective of rules mechanics in-game, many things have been cleaned up. Did we need a new edition for that? Not really, an FAQ would have been sufficient. But, it is nice to get answers to a lot of these questions.
Things like answering if Ignores Cover works on vehicles or not has been cleared up, or how IC’s with infiltrate work, etc. We as a community had already answered these questions for ourselves in terms of tournaments, but it is good to have them in the rule book. Nice.
I also like a lot of the evening out that went on, such as with increasing the damage table up to 7 for Vehicles. You can no only one-shot a tank with an AP2 or 1 weapon. Good, vehicles were languishing compared to MCs and this little boost was needed. This combined with things like Smash only being a single attack (which means MCs don’t auto explode any vehicle they touch) encourages players to feel safe in an investment in tanks. While some players such as myself and Frankie were using lots of cheapo transports like Rhinos and Venoms, I believe you will now see a lot more Land Raiders and more expensive vehicles like that. Units like Knights are now REALLY hard to kill, particularly for armies that use assault to destroy tanks. We will be seeing a lot of Knights in the future, is my prediction.
Other changes such as units having to choose to Jink is good, IMO. It is now even and fair and applies to all units that have the rule equally. You choose to get a defensive bonus and lose some offense. Fair enough. FMCs now not being able to assault after flying is fair but it REALLY decreases the likelihood of seeing assault oriented FMCs. Shooting is now the clearly more efficient choice. But, it makes them more balanced in comparison to other units that cannot assault after having moved that fast in a turn. I also really like the decrease in Vector Striking on ground targets to a single AP2 attack as the D3+1 was truly overkill.
I like the opening up of the pyschic table, too, to allow more armies to have more of the powers. That creates a lot more diversity and fun for everyone. Now, some of the powers themselves are ridiculously OTT, but we will get to that later.
It also appears you can go full reserves again, which is awesome as that is a great tactic to mitigate the crushing first turn alpha strikes you can get in a IGOUGO game like 40K. Particularly when there isn’t much terrain, being forced to start on the table going second against a shooty army can mean the game is over before it began, which is clearly not the way the game should play.
D weapons were toned down, thank goodness. They are fairly reasonable now, and more likely to see some play time (although they are still very powerful but only ignore invul saves on a to wound roll of a 6). I think the only other thing to look at before green lighting Super Heavies now, is those units that can ignore armor and cover with large template/blast weapons. They are still incredibly powerful units at often very low price points and can be potentially unbalancing such as the Hellhammer or a Sonic Lance Revenant.
In all, there are a lot of subtle changes like this throughout the book that either clarify language on rules, or bring small touches to help out balance between units. That is good, and will increase diversity on the table. From that perspective, I think 7th ed 40K is fantastic as it is a tighter rule set than it was, with more balance. I would like to write more in this category, but honestly, 7th is 6th with a little lipstick put on it. The good aspects from before are largely all still there.
There is unfortunately, a lot of bad in there, too.
For one, the list building section as is, creates the most comically absurd games you can imagine. It’s apocalypse, minus apoc formations. Pure and simple. You can now take, literally, anything you want. Darigo with Swarmlord with Skarbarand with Eldrad. Why not. That type of freedom allows for unlimited ability to create just the army you want, which is cool, but it also throws game balance out the window in entirety. That means different things for different people. For those that build balanced lists to play with friends wherein you don’t try to abuse that freedom, no problem. You can recreate a themed army from any of the books or your imagination and have a blast. In a competitive setting unbound armies are unacceptable. Just imagine an army of 8 Wraithknights, or all Heldrakes, or all Daemon heralds that each can summon another unit of Daemons onto the table every turn. It is absurd from that perspective and as such, I doubt it will be used much outside of novelty games or maybe with young players that love the idea of using any of their models.
The unlimited Force Organization Charts is essentially the same thing. As it stands, you can take as many FOCs as you want within your points limit. Now that everyone can ally together, this means you can take an army with every single book represented in it (points allowing). It in all honesty, isn’t much different than an unbound list. It’s silly. Even allowing 2 primary FOCs means you could take 6 Wraithknights or 6 Heldrakes, or 8 Rune priests, etc. I don’t think many people will want to see that in a tournament/pick-up game/league night. Again though, if you are playing with friends in a controlled environment with a gentleman’s agreement between you, this may be fine, but the ability to break the game is completely unbridled now.
This is further exacerbated by the new rules for scoring. Every unit in the game scores now, but, in FOC armies troops have the Objective Secured rule which means they cannot be contested except by other units with the Objective Secured rule. This is further given to their dedicated transports. For example, a Drop Pod Marine army can drop 18 uncontestable scoring units onto objectives (12 combat squads of Tacticals and 6 Drop Pods). Or, Wave Serpents that score, or Land Raiders that score, etc. I am still on the fence on this one, but, it gives such as HUGE advantage to a player with lots of troops in vehicles over anyone else that it feels out of balance as of now. Time will tell. Being able to hand the Relic to a Drop Pod though, just feels silly.
Some of the more annoying rules issues were not cleaned up such as Ordnance forcing all other weapons to snap fire on a vehicle even if they are Heavy. So, yet again, Leman Russes have no reason at all to take Sponson Weapons and the Monolith is hamstrung, still. Grav Weapons are still confusing, Stomp Attacks on Super Heavy Walkers are still confused, etc. Issues like that still pop up, and will require community FAQ’ing.
The Psychic Phase almost went into the Good, but for one, huge, glaring problem. As of now, there is no limit on Warp Charge. You can quite easily build an army that has 30+ warp charge. We did it last night and made a Daemon summoning spam list and it was ludicrous. The Daemon plyaer had 38 warp charge and by turn 2, had brought in over 1,000pts of new units onto the table and the Space Marine player never got a single power off nor denied a single power as they had 3 Warp Charge in their pool to work with. It was comical. The game took almost 6 hours to play and by the end of it, the Daemon player’s army had gone over 4,000pts. The Psychic phase seemed like it was intended to stop the abuses of 6th, but in some ways it exacerbated them. Without a limit on Warp Charge, psychic heavy armies will have an incredible advantage.
Some of the powers in the new deck are too much, too. Invisibility for example, got hugely buffed beyond the already extremely powerful spell it was. Now, you can only hit an Invisible unit with snap fire, and 6’s in assault. That means a unit that has become Invisible can’t even be hit by Template or Blast Weapons…..yeah. Simple math tells us that a unit that is only hit on 6’s requires a LOT of attention to do anything to it. Considering that the 2+ reroll saves are still in the game (le sigh) that means you could have a unit like Fateweaver that you hit on 6’s, wound on 5 or 6’s, and that then could have a 2++ save that they reroll. That means the odds of hurting them are 1/1296 to do a SINGLE wound. The fact that this is even possible to do is laughably sad. Again, limiting Warp Charge goes a long way to stopping this kind of thing, but as of now, you can do it. That is, clearly, stupid.
The Malefic powers are also suspect. We need to play-test them more, but so far, they are just way over the top. In one game we saw summoned onto the field like, 150 Daemonettes, a Bloodthirster, 9 Screamers, etc. It is just a bit much. One player ends up with the equivalent of 2 or even 3 armies against the other player’s one. And a Space Marine librarian summing Deamons? Or turning into one by choice??? Come on, that just flies in the face of the fluff. We’ll see how it goes, and again, limiting Warp Charge cuts down on this a bit, but as it stands this school of powers is an obvious cash grab to get people to buy Daemons and throws the game balance out the window.
The Maelstrom Mission cards are hugely imbalanced. You draw a deck at the beginning of the game and then at the end of your turn you play any cards you have scored, and set them aside. You then draw new cards to replace those you used. You can also discard a single card per turn and draw a new one if you choose.
A house rule to adjust these will be needed if you want to use them unless you don’t mind losing the game before it starts in some cases. What I mean by that is, some of the cards are literally unusable in the game. For example, you could draw a card that scored you a point if you blew up a building, but there may be no buildings to blow up. Or, destroy a flyer, and the other player has no flyer, etc. If you draw a few of those, you can’t score and have to wait turns to discard them and hopefully draw cards you can use. Whereas if your opponent draws good cards like holding an objective in his deployment zone that he is already deployed on, he or she will be racking up points AND drawing new cards faster than you, thereby increasing their potential to score even more points while you’re still waiting to draw a card you can even use. It is obviously 100% unfair, and it has the side effect of making the actual act of fighting the enemy largely meaningless. The game entirely comes down to drawing the right cards.
In our test games so far, the player that drew the better hand won the game despite getting smashed on the tabletop. What happened in the game was not very important compared to drawing a hand of cards you could actually use. In order for these to be usable in anything other than a for fun game, you must create a house rule wherein a player that draws a card that is impossible to score during the course of the game, may redraw a new card. Also, if these become the norm in tournament play, players using tricks to stack their deck or just flat out cheating by loading their deck with good cards (even by accident), will become a concern.
So we have a good framework of tighter rules in general to work with and some cool ideas, but with some HUGE issues in terms of how people make their armies and how the game is won and lost to work through. If you were to play 40K 7th ed right out of the box with no modifications at all, the game would be absurdity. One guy could have an army of every named character he could fit into his army, the other could have all Leman Russes playing a mission where one player scored multiple points a turn and the other never drew a card he could even use. That may sound like a blast to some people, and I am sure it would be, but for structured play that is a disaster. The psychic phase as is, is completely over-powered, too when abused. When you can Fortune a unit and then also make it Invisible while simultaneously completely stopping the other player form even getting a power off, that sucks the fun right out of game play.
Here are my off the cuff ideas for potential solutions. Yes, we are acting fast but we HAVE to act fast before players get used to playing a certain way that may undermine organized events and play. Ask yourself if you want to show up to league night and regularly see unbound armies? I don’t.
- No unbound armies outside of specialized events, such as Ard Boyz for those who enjoy this.
- Limit the amount of detachments you can use in a list. I still feel that 2 is all we should use as otherwise you end up with situations like Adepticon wherein you have 9/16 finalists with Inquisition. I feel that 1 primary only, and then 1 other type of detachment would be fair and fun and allow for a great deal of variety.
- Disallow “Come the Apocalypse” allies as they create totally bizarre and unfun combos.
- Limit Warp Charge to prevent the inane psychic spam armies.
- If that is not enough to stop the worst abuses, also limit powers like Invisibility, Fortune, and some of the Malefic powers.
- Limit the use of mission cards so that you have a fair chance to potentially score in a game. If you draw a card that is impossible to score throughout the course of the game, you get a free redraw. I think this combined with a layered mission such as a traditional mission primary (Crusade, Scouring, etc.) with cards secondary and bonus points as tertiary can create some really fun, varied missions. You would also have to come up with a way to limit tampering with the mission cards.
- Limit the stupid 2+ reroll saves that are still going to be so prevalent as we have already done.
There is still a lot to learn with this edition and hopefully GW releases an FAQ soon to address some of these issues but as of now, this is where we are at.
What are your thoughts on the new edition?