Why are many of the 40k assault armies not good at assaulting?


Hey everyone, Reecius here from Frontline Gaming to discuss a funny fact of 40k: many of the scrappiest armies in the fluff are actually awful on the tabletop!

It’s always struck me as funny how far the fluff is from the rules in 40k in many instances. Nowhere is this more evident than in some of the so-called assault armies of the game. A good melee army needs the following:

  1. The ability to reliably get into combat. Almost always this means speed, and often durability.
  2. The ability to fight any other melee army on relatively even terms.
  3. Morale control.

Let’s take a lock at a few examples of so-called “melee” armies that lack the above, shall we? Let me know if you disagree with me on any of these. I’d love to learn some new tricks on how to turn my assault army frown, upside down!


I love my Orks, but I play them enough to know a few things:

  1. Orks actually do pretty dang well in the delivery category. Trukks are cheap and fast, Battle Wagons are cheap and fairly durable, and Ere We Go! + WAAAGH! are great rules for a melee army.
  2. No access to invul saves in melee, low armor saves and strength 3 for most of your Boyz means that in melee you are at an immediate disadvantage to almost every other assault army that does have these things. Your heavy hitting units will lose a fight vs. another heavy hitting unit with a good invul save almost every time, making a fight vs. another dedicated assault army extremely lopsided. Orks really only trounce units that are not actually good in melee which is a bummer. A single unit of Thunderwolves with Stormshields can walk through hordes of poor Orks, and a Dreadknight, my goodness, the stuff of Ork nightmares! Even the modest Chaplain with a Crozius and Rosarius will beat the snot out of any Ork not wearing Mega Armor. Le sigh.
  3. Mob Rule stinks, lol. It helps your opponent to remove models from the table faster. Mad Dok can only be so many places at once!

Orks basically fight like bullies: pick on the weak, run form the strong! This goes with the fluff a bit, which I can appreciate, but Orks look for strong opponents to fight, too! Simply giving them access to melee invul saves (make the KFF work in melee for Orks, too, perhaps? Make Cybork Bodies a 5++ again?), altering Mob Rule to be a hair less punishing and beefing up their walkers a bit will go miles to making Orks scary in melee. Particularly the Gorka and Morkanaut. Instant way to increase sales on these bad boys by 1,000%? Make them Super Heavy Walkers as they should have been from day 1 and he goes from dud to stud overnight. Profit!


My Night Lords forgot what the outside of the miniatures cabinet looked like =/

  1. Chaos really struggles with delivery of assault units. Not being able to assault out of a stationary Rhino is a major blow to them, not having Drop Pods also stinks, their Land Raider is incredibly underwhelming and they themselves are slow. Spawn are the notable exception to this rule and while they don’t hit so hard themselves, they can do some work with a character added in.
  2. With an MSU stat line at an often inflated price point, Chaos don’t have the ability to punch many units to death at all, despite being stone cold killers in the fluff. They simply lack oomph in combat and will need some cool formations or basic statline revamps to make them at all scary in combat. With the notable exception of some of the HQ choices and Plague Marines (who are still solid, if a bit pricey), Chaos simply falls very far short of the mark in melee.
  3. Morale is the true weakness of Chaos. Having to challenge with an Aspiring Champion you have to pay for who often then causes the unit to break and subsequently get run down is just not fun nor conducive to being anything other than a joke in combat. Expensive units that are designed to go into combat where they often commit suicide is just poor design. We’d all love to use the gorgeous Warp Talon models but…well, you know.

I remember when a Berserker was actually scary in combat…..those were the days. Chaos needs a MAJOR overhaul to be anything close to good in melee. Outside of a handful of units, they are exceedingly poor in melee. Even in a KDK army–which is an awesome book, IMO, and does assault well–you never see Chaos Space Marines outside of the obligatory Bikers for the Gorepack formation or the occasional Chaos Lord. Changing some core rules such as no longer having to challenge and providing some means of morale control outside of a very expensive banner that can be removed form the unit would go a long way to helping. Not requiring the purchase of an Apsiring Champ, and providing Chaos with a solid means of getting into combat would be huge benefits. And besides, Chaos deploy via Drop Pod in the books all the time. Slap some spikes on that kit and let’s get ‘er done, GW!


Codex Flyrant, er, I mean Tyranids, also are rarely seen engaging in Fisticuffs. They are often seen flying through the air with the greatest of ease, spitting strength 6 worms of death everywhere but that’s about it.

  1. Tyranids can deliver the lackluster melee units into combat fairly well such as Gargoyles, Homragants, Tyranid Shrikes and Ravenors due to their speed and buffs from units like Venomthropes, but sadly, these guys don’t do much once they get there or are too pricey to justify taking. The harder hitting MCs tend to be quite slow and not resilient enough to get across the table in many cases.
  2. Like Orks, Nids have very few options for melee invul saves. This combined with few to no assault grenades and often low initiative, attacks and armor mean they tend to get trounced by most things in combat. An Imperial Knight, for example, can just smash TMCs with ease. Even simple Tactical Marines with Krak Grenades can take on many TMCs and stomp on them, such as the Crone. Those units that do hit fairly hard, such as Genestealers, whiter to any type of firepower, suffer greatly with a low armor save and no assault grenades and just cry in the face of Overwatch. Cheapo Carnifexes taken in bulk can sometimes get it done, and dropping a nasty unit like a Dimchaeron in a sPod sometimes works, but is fairly unreliable in general terms. Even old Trusty, Swarmy McSwarmlord, just isn’t the bad ass he used to be and will often go down like a punk to much weaker foes.
  3. Morale is usually not an issue due to Synapse, but if you do lose Synapse, the wheels just fall off the bus. It’s brutal.

Tyranids need a little help and it can come in several ways. Assault grenades for high initiative units like Genestealers and Hive Tyrants, for one. Increased speed for TMCs for another. Yeah, make that Haruspex move like a Beast and all of a sudden, he’s beastly! Make something like Onslaught an aura ability from a support Bug so the Gribblies can run and shoot to cross the table quicker. Hell, the entire Eldar army gets a better ability automatically, lol! Give Tyranids access to Telepathy and Biomany, again. Powers like Iron Arm and Endurance would be really cool for Tyranids, there was no reaosn to take it away in the first place to be honest. Also, invul saves in some fashion would help a ton. Again, make it an Aura ability so that it requires tactics to implement. TMCs are surprisingly squishy, having an ability to buff their defense a bit would go miles. FnP only does so much as many things in the game now deny it, such as D weapons.


Now, to be fair, Dark Eldar are not billed as an “Assault Army” per se, but many of their assault units are SO bad. Like, wow bad.

  1. Dark Eldar actually do have excellent delivery methods for their assault units. Venoms and Raiders are really solid and Dark Eldar infantry themselves are quite speedy with Fleet.
  2. This is where the wheels come off the bus. Dark Eldar simply don’t win fights. So many units that need to swing first to even hope to win a fight, such as Incubi, don’t have assault grenades for some unfathomable reason. Their Characters lack the options they need to become viable combatants or to help make their units better in combat. And Wyches….wow. Arguably the worst unit in the game. Some of the units feel like they could be good but just fall short in too many ways. There are a few notable exceptions thankfully, the Cronos and Talos (particularly in the Corpse Theif Claw formation) can be powerful fighters, if slow. Reavers can do work with their Bladevanes but neither is a truly feared unit on the tabletop (outside of the Corpse Thief claw).
  3. Morale is also a big problem. Yeah, they get Fearless as the game goes on, but that doesn’t help an assault unit that wants to be in melee as soon as possible.

Dark Eldar could be awesome in melee with some small tweaks. For one, just give the poor buggers grenades! Give them the means to boost morale with stubborn or fearless, too. An expensive, fragile melee unit is a huge liability. And Hellions, geez, give them Move Through Cover, please. An expensive model that needs to be in cover to survive, that potentially kills itself everytime it moves through cover is not a great game plan! Wyches,…just give them all the option to take Haywire Grenades and they become good. If the bleedin Swwoping Hawks can do it, plus move 18″ plus yo-yo hop around the table blasting fools, and oh yeah, assaulting flyers with said Haywire grenades, too, the poor Wyches can have them, too says I!

So there ye have it! Am I being a big cry baby and simply lack the tactics to make these armies work as they are supposed to or do you all agree with me that they could use a little help? What units do you think need a boost in combat ability?


About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

116 Responses to “Why are many of the 40k assault armies not good at assaulting?”

  1. Avatar
    Lardus October 7, 2015 2:06 am #

    Don’t know so much about those armies, but yeah, would love to see Nids get into combat more. I just got a 1500 point Nid army when the new Codex hit and never used them before letting them go, because I wanted to play in a way they would not work anymore.

    Something I do know a little more about is GK. All that needs melee changes for them, IMO, is access to Storm Shields on the GM and Paladins, with maybe (I stress maybe) a toughness bump of 1 on them so they are not so easily insta-killed. At least the Shields lol. Bodyguards should not die so easily 🙂

  2. Avatar
    Cavalier October 7, 2015 3:09 am #

    They gutted close-combat when 6th edition hit. Not being be able to assault out of stationary transports, not being able to assault after running with fleet, and not being able to assault out of reserves was the triple kick to the junk for the assault phase.

    I know you’ve touched on this in the past Reece, but if they revamped vehicles to work like their real-world counterparts, i.e. moving and shooting at far greater speeds than are represented on the tabletop and including a revamp of assaulting out of transports it’d benefit everyone. Assault vehicles can move 12″ and occupants can still assault, while non-assault vehicles can only move 6″ and occupants can assault would be great.

  3. Avatar
    C-Stock October 7, 2015 3:14 am #

    Regarding Dark Eldar, yeah I really want to like Incubi and they have a nice stat line especially with their Sergeant that has Rampage. Lack of grenades hurts because the targets they can whoop up on (ie Centurions) are always going to be hiding in cover and T3 3+ means they lose guys in CC to S4 punches. I’m not sure that grenades would be enough to fix them though because most things they want to target with their AP2 weapons are just so good at killing them as well.

  4. Avatar
    Calle October 7, 2015 3:49 am #

    I think that the meta where I play is very different from yours as we consider the fluff as important as good units. But for me the orks works very well.

    If the enemy have some very powerful meele units that have ap2 in CC and many attacks. I think the best sollution should be 18 boyz (with Nob+PK) in a battlewagon, painboy and a warboss with the lucky stikk+PK. The boyz might put some wounds on a MC if you get the charge. And if you stand in the open that amount of wounds with FNP is hard for many to put out in a single turn.

    I have killed imperial knights with meganobz (always one with killsaws) almost every time I fought them. Even warboss on bike + Pk nob on bike have worked out for me once.

    Warbikers are not the best in close combat. Their combined shooting and assaults is great though. As long as they have a warboss with them. A big mek with bike, KFF and killsaws can be a good investment for a big unit.

    Nobz and Kommandoz costs way to much, though they are decent in CC with upgrades.

    The walkers are pretty bad.

    For me mob rule works most of the time. The chance to pass a morale test is pretty good as long as you have a character in the unit with bosspole. If they are ten or more you are almost fearless, but can still go to ground..

    • Avatar
      Calle October 7, 2015 3:54 am #

      Almost forgot. Eavy armour is worth the cost in most cases. As it protects against flamers, bolters EQ, most CC attacks, exploding trukks and the beating from mob rule. With FNP on top of that, Battlewagon ride and FNP they get durable.

  5. Avatar
    Stainless Steel Rat October 7, 2015 4:26 am #

    I have to agree with Reece on the Orks and Bugs assessments. While I greatly enjoy horde\assault armies (Orks in particular) the rules long ago departed from the fluff. Orks are supposed to be towering slabs of muscle so S3 makes absolutely no sense. They are hardwired to be psychotic about combat opportunities but have limited access to Fearless? That never made sense either. And yes, you can tool them up to be better but they were never intended to be a high cost per body army. They should be cheap and plentiful per unit while remaining effective (and still needing some buffs to make them better). Much the same for Bugs. Expand the psychic powers options and re-think their MCs. Keep more to the fluff when writing rules and the tabletop will be much more entertaining for all (not to mention profitable for GW as they will sell far more models).

    • Avatar
      Vercingatorix October 7, 2015 8:02 am #

      I think orks are fine strength 3 BUT should be have all their charges be organized. As in there is no penalty to multi-assaulting. I think just that change would make a world of difference. The big problem with orks is that they run into a T5 unit and the boys are simply useless. You have to run big squads to survive and big squads almost always want to multi-assault but then you lose so much hitting power.

      • Reecius
        Reecius October 7, 2015 9:39 am #

        Very good point about multi-assaulting with Boys. It is brutal for them and contradicts taking big units.

        • Avatar
          Vercingatorix October 7, 2015 9:54 am #

          seriously, multi-assaulting bike squads with the green tide? forget about it.

          • Reecius
            Reecius October 7, 2015 2:27 pm

            Lol, I know, right? And with MSU all over the place Orks need to be able to snag multiple units.

        • Avatar
          Smac October 9, 2015 5:00 pm #

          I agree with all points in these armies. Last edition of Dark Eldar, my archon and Incubi unit was feared by many as you could take a grenade launcher and the husk blade was AP2. On the orc front, maybe have a rule for the boys where the tougher the opponent the harder the boys will try. An example was the dwarf slayer rule in fantasy where the strength could come closer to matching the targets toughness. Lots to think about but I truly miss my Archon Incubi combo, I still use it for fluff purposes and of course the models are totally sick looking.

  6. Avatar
    Ihaverabies October 7, 2015 4:32 am #

    Very nice article, bringing up the pain points of each and every one of these armies in a summarized fashion was nice to read.
    Regarding the Chaos remarks I can only 100% agree, they feel so lackluster and feel unfinished as an army. It feels like an army that’s good at nothing, but mediocre, if you are lucky, at everything and it just makes me feel so sad.

    The Orks not having an invuln save just boggles my mind and it’s the only reason putting me off of speding 245 euros on meganobs for the formation, lol. Though the love for the models will most likely prevail and i’ll see how it goes! It just seems that GW with the lastest Ork codex seem to be in this mindset that orks are supposed to be a “fun and goofy” army that shouldn’t necesarilly competitive and again, this makes me feel so sad.

    • Avatar
      Calle October 7, 2015 4:46 am #

      No invulsaves hurt the nobz, meganobz and characters so bad. Warbosses cant fight in challenges any longer 🙁

      So strange when Mad Doc Grotsnik got both cybork body and dok’s tools. Both 6+FNP and 5+FNP? They didn’t think that through.

  7. Avatar
    Mike October 7, 2015 5:12 am #

    Don’t forget the poor Blood Angels, supposedly the most assaulty loyalist marines, who suffer from:
    -A bad “chapter tactic” that is easily made into a moot point by suddenly assaulting into them while they’re trying to get to you, turning them into “tactic-less marines.”
    -Closed top non-assault transports, with all the assault problems they present, unless you want to shell out 250 points for a “Str D/haywire/lance/grav” magnet.
    -Relatively expensive bodies in small numbers with few attacks that are lackluster on the charge, worse when not charging, and can be wiped squads at a time as fast as gretchin by the weapons that people actually put on the table, such as riptide IA’s, grav, and IK battle cannons.
    -No special mechanics to help mitigate the worst mechanic in the game, the “supercrazywackyfuntimelolrandom” charge range. Will you go into an olympic sprint and make a heroic leap into combat giving you a chance, or will your genetically engineered super soldier with hundreds of years of experience trip over his shoelace? WHO KNOWS?!?!

    Their problems certainly don’t end there, but those are humongous issues stopping them from ever performing like an assault themed army in the current game.

    • Avatar
      21st Primarch October 7, 2015 9:02 am #

      Thank you for mentioning this mike. I agreed with everything in the article, but no mentiom of blood angels shocked me a bit. I feel like my main army is the forgotten army, and the argument “they are still space marines” doesn’t apply in the current state of the game. They can bring little to no where close to the amount of flexibility and firepower as other codices, and their assault is usually impressive once per game. That is unless you are playing eldar where you never make it, or ad mech where you never make it, or Necrons where you make it but “lol feel no necron” etc etc etc…. I say again as I have in the comments on other articles, at what point does Frontline gaming spear head a dramatic rebalancing of the game, they have done so much for balancing competitive play, but that only applies truly to the best armies. I think players such as myself would love to see them start with rebalancing points to start. Rules stay the same, if it sucks it’s cheaper, if it’s awesome you have to pay for it. Age of sigmar has been teaching me that points are the biggest thing holding 40k back. We use makeshift points that on the fly make a more balanced game than anything shown in a codex, if the ITC did it? What a game we would have. Thanks as always for the article Reecius

      • Avatar
        Vercingatorix October 7, 2015 9:57 am #

        It would be really great if an organization like FLG could partner with GW and do the rules and let GW be a models company. If you want to be a models company, be one, let a rules company be a rules company.

  8. Avatar
    Arrias October 7, 2015 5:18 am #

    Things I’d love to see for my bugs.

    -Hormogaunts go to beasts. I’m ok with 2 attacks. I’m ok with paying more for adrenal glands and poison. I’m sad there’s no Tervigon variant for hormogaunts, but why they hell are they not beasts? I understand that in the past only infantry could score, and having beast troops would have been “weird”, but in the age of “everything scores”, why the hell can my bugs who are the very definition of beasts not be beasts.

    -Carnifex toughness. Carnifexes are really in a great place with one issue, their noted ability to “shrug off missiles and lascannons” has apparently been greatly exaggerated. Bump up anything; wounds, toughness, armor saves. Anything to make them feel more like the charging tanks they need to be.

    -Trygon/Prime. I think, based on recent changes, it’s time for this “moderature” (that guy is not a “mini”) to get upgraded to a GC. Also, in addition or instead of, give him more attacks. The guy worked in previous additions due to re-rolls on attacks. When he lost those, he lost the entirety of his effectiveness in combat.

    -Raveners need help. There is almost no way to get these guys into combat. T4 with 5+ is just not cutting it. I love these guys, and their models are one of my favorites in the entire GW line, but unless you take them big numbers (at ridiculous cost) getting them into combat and doing anything with them is so difficult. I’d love to see something where they could assault from reserves, but only after a marker noting their deployment has been on the table, like a rumbling from below. Would give the opponent time to react and allow for counter play, but would also keep the raveners safe to do their job.

    I have to say something about the much maligned Chaos auto-challenge rule. I don’t play the army, but I do love the surrounding fluff and from that perspective I honestly love this rule. it feels right that the champion is seeking glory. I would love to see the rule stay, but be modified so if the challenged opponent is way out of the chaos bro’s league, they get some special rules for going above and beyond the call. Like a roll on the rewards chart before the combat or every round they last against him. I hate to see chaos players forced into a losing fight, but I really love the glory seeking theme conveyed by the auto-challenge rule.

  9. Avatar
    Thomas October 7, 2015 5:42 am #

    The changes to challanges in 7th has lessened the risk that CSM suffer due to forced challanges.

    Synapse failing is bad for Hormagaunts and units of feed Tyranids as they start eating each other. It’s not so bad for units of single feed monsters.

    Genestealers should have a rule allowing them to attack after infiltrating or outflanking. They could use assault grenades but the Horror helps them quite a bit.

  10. Avatar
    Joshua Taylor October 7, 2015 5:45 am #

    I first started playing in 6th edition with chaos space moo-reens. my 40k mentor at the time showed me the weakness of the chaos codex. I could never get my beffey combat guys into combat, and then the truth came out. after loosing a game he said tell you what, lets just say you charge my unit with your 900 points of chaos assault, and see what happens. Then i proceeded to lose combat with around 500 points of henchmen and a few HQ’s RIP chaos.

  11. Avatar
    Chubs October 7, 2015 5:53 am #

    How to ‘scary up’ close combat. Give MC’s and walkers with DDCC 1 stomp attack in addition to their other attacks. Not d3 like their larger brothers, but just one. From a game mechanic, one stomp will augment their close combat ability and better reflect they mass in CC.

    Let’s be real, having a carnifex run on you makes you dead as a titan’s toe touch.

    Test the rule out… it fixes a lot of the problems with their offensive capabilities.

    • Avatar
      Codi October 7, 2015 8:14 am #

      I think the real problem with allot of Walkers and MC, is that they move 6″ by default.
      Anymore if you are not moving 12″ a turn you are at an automatic disadvantage.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 7, 2015 9:53 am #

      Not a bad idea at all, although I do cringe a little at more “removes from play” style attacks, TBH.

    • Avatar
      Jural October 7, 2015 1:14 pm #

      12″ Move or use MC cover rules would do wonders. Not on Superheavy walkers though (they already move 12″ anyway)

      It would also be cool if they could boost or go flat out… something that makes them more mobile.

  12. Avatar
    Dbiesto October 7, 2015 6:26 am #

    The one thing I noticed about CSM is if it isn’t Nurgle, it’s a lot harder to win with. Nurgle DP with black mace could do work, but that stupid 1:6 chance of rolling a one is a huge turn off as it could lose you the game. Without daemon allies, they really struggle to go beyond plague marine spam, and even spamming plague marines it’s still hard to win a lot of games with the lack of a new codex. Were you also referring to the Daemonkin codex, or specifically CSM? I think a Daemonkin player won the 12 man tournament at Equilobrium Games last month but I haven’t really followed Daemonkin at the major tournaments.

  13. Avatar
    Glocknall October 7, 2015 7:03 am #

    I agree with almost all of Reece’s points but he left out the biggest reason why these assault armies army competetive is the overwhelming fire power armies can put out these days. FMCs, psychic deathstars, super heavy rush, etc is all a product of the huge amount of Str 6+ and Grav armies can bring to bear. When Tau arrived in 6th assault died overnight until the 2++ rerolls was discovered. If you want to bring assault back assault armies will need a huge durability increase and/or speed increase.

    • Avatar
      Arrias October 7, 2015 7:25 am #

      Why cure they symptom instead of the disease? Further buffing the assault armies just brings up the power level of the entire system. This is fine in an unbounded system, but 40k’s core mechanics are bounded. Saves don’t go below 2+ and stats don’t (really) go above 10. There can be modifiers to these concepts (re-rolls, D, etc.), but the ultimate statistics are still bounded. Currently, Durability (for some armies) and Shooting are riding high tides. The answer isn’t to inflate the power of assault to match the high tides, but to bring everything down to a happy medium. If you keep inflating power levels to match their opposing forces, eventually you will reach the bounding of your system and everything breaks down.

      • Reecius
        Reecius October 7, 2015 9:45 am #

        Well said. I agree. Rerolls are too powerful in a system like 40k, they exponentially increase the odds of something occurring. When a model goes from a linear 16.6% increase in durability from a 3+ to a 2+, and then a 6x increase from a 2+ to a 2+ reroll, it doesn’t take a genius to see the system breaks down. And because of things like this, we’ve now seen weapons going up to absurd levels of firepower, like Grav Guns with Grav Amps to try and compensate. The problem then becomes that everything that isn’t hyper-durable gets obliterated by the new standard of firepower.

        • Avatar
          Vercingatorix October 7, 2015 11:49 am #

          We play heavily comped 500 point tournaments that get rid of everything above armor 12 and 2+ saves and multi-wound models. All it means is that the eldar jetbike is simply untouchable. I literally need a 2+ with a re-roll to survive 80 wounds.

  14. Avatar
    DarkLink October 7, 2015 7:06 am #

    As a Grey Knight player, I can’t help but laugh when I face off against a lot of “assault armies”. They charge in, and they’re all proud of their 4 poison attacks on the charge at I12 on their T3 model with FNP or something silly like that. Then they bounce off my 2+ armor and I punch them in the face with Str 10 hammers. GG, better luck next time.

    • Avatar
      Vercingatorix October 7, 2015 11:49 am #

      Seriously, a single dreadnight can comfortably take on an entire green tide for 2-4 turns.

  15. Avatar
    Kwodd October 7, 2015 7:33 am #

    Best part about Nids sweet melee skills is WS 3, love watching my favorite 140+ point MCs whiff on ork boys.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 7, 2015 9:12 am #

      Yeah, lol, and low attacks, too. 3 on average, sometimes 2? Lol, what? Give them like, 5 or 6 each, they need more teeth so that when the do cross the table they can actually do something.

    • Avatar
      WestRider October 7, 2015 10:50 am #

      This is a problem for CSM/DK, too. MaulerFiends and Defilers have absolutely garbage statlines for something that’s supposed to be terrifying in CC.

      • Reecius
        Reecius October 7, 2015 2:26 pm #

        Yeah, but at least Maulerfiends are fast! That is the saving grace, and with Lasher Tendrils they can be quite good, but your point is totally taken.

        • Avatar
          WestRider October 7, 2015 8:06 pm #

          Oh, yeah, I still love my MaulerFiends, and regularly run all three. But for what they’re supposed to be, WS3 is BS.

          • Reecius
            Reecius October 8, 2015 9:17 am

            True, they should be WS, BS, I4, IMO.

    • Avatar
      AbusePuppy October 7, 2015 1:07 pm #

      Games Workshop LOVES giving bad melee stats to melee-primary units.

  16. Avatar
    Grimjuc October 7, 2015 7:42 am #

    Vehicles really need to be modified for assaults. Assaulting out of a stationary closed top transport needs to be back in the game. Or specialized assault units need to be able to pay for assault transport upgrade. Imagine if rhinos with a mark of khorne gave the transport assault vehicle status, blood angels could have something similar but then where do we draw the line on who gets assault vehicle upgrades and who does not.. People might start getting flash backs about rhino rush but 7th ED has hull points and it is not even close to what rhino rush was.

    initiative needs to be reworked. initiative affects the game very little and needs to be changed to work in favor of faster initiative units. It would be neat if assault ranges was D6+ your initiative value. Fast armies would be more consistently getting their charges off and slower value armies are not as likely be able to counter charge. Now Orks would have to be reworked for this change in mechanic, like the ability to add squigs to increase charge ranges or something but that would be a codex change not a BRB change.

    For assaulting through difficult terrain it should just lower your initiative by 2. Fast units like elite dark eldar would find themselves striking same time as space marines but striking before guard even in cover.

    It would also be neat if they had a double +1 situation where units that double your initiative plus one value gain D3 bonus attacks per model. If a I3 unit assault through cover they would be I1, a unit of marines would then get a bonus attacks for the guard being so clumsy.

    These changes would not fix assault armies but it would help. Consistency makes the game much better especially for assault armies.

  17. Avatar
    C-Stock October 7, 2015 8:08 am #

    Wyches shouldn’t get haywire back. Yes it might balance them but then they go back to being tramplers of superheavies and that goes greatly against their fluff.

    Wyches need something though, at the very least using their 4++ in overwatch… but more than that. They need to be able to kill something in CC. As of right now they lose combat and just fall back so often. Maybe give them all shred.

    Combat drugs need an outright overhaul. 1/3 of them aren’t useful and that’s inexcusable.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 7, 2015 9:11 am #

      I understand it goes against the fluff, sure, but it gave them a battlefield role that was useful. They just suck so hard in combat, haha. They do no damage and die to a stiff fart. If they had the 4++ all the time, that would be a good start, and Shred would help, I agree. Also, yeah, Combat Drugs are not so hot. +1 Initiative on models that always swing first all the time, anyway is pretty lame, lol.

      • Avatar
        Jural October 7, 2015 1:21 pm #

        With random rules and the “token” type systems, I get the feeling GW looks at the models and considers them as if they have the best possible rule active at all times…

    • Avatar
      Zarryiostrom October 7, 2015 9:23 am #

      Fixing Wyches would require three changes.

      1) Change Dodge to Lelith Hesperax’s Quicksilver Dodge. 4+ Invunerable Save all the time, modified to 3+ in the Fight Sub-Phase.

      2) For every five models in a unit of Wyches, one model may purchase Haywire Grenades for 5 points.

      3) Give them Rending Attacks in close combat.

      Keep the points the same. They’re still going to die in droves to shooting, but if they make it into close combat, they’re going to be much more useful.

      As for Incubi, simply adding Assault Grenades would probably do the trick.

      • Avatar
        WestRider October 7, 2015 10:53 am #

        I don’t think I’d go all the way to giving them a 4++/3++, since they’re basic Troops, but I’ve been really thinking a lot about that sort of “tiered” Dodge Invul. Something similar would really fit with (and help) Stealers and Lictors, too.

        Regardless, they should definitely get the boosted version during the whole Assault Phase, not just the Fight sub-Phase.

        • Avatar
          C-Stock October 7, 2015 11:27 am #

          I’d really like to see a core rules change address things such as Wyches and Harlequins. But at least harlequins get a 5++ vs overwatch. Bloodbrides are worse than Wyches for their points, make them BS5 or something…

          Dark Eldar need something like night fighting manipulation and the ability to extend night.

          Wyches can be a useful tarpit unit – or could be if they didn’t lose combat so much.

          • Avatar
            C-Stock October 7, 2015 11:33 am

            And seriously… Hellions? Serious candidate for worst unit in all of 40k. They were horrible last codex and then they lost a CC attack for no reason. Not that they were good in CC to begin with.

            These guys are in need of a total remake, as Reece said they need move through cover otherwise they get no save at all. They’re supposed to be medium-range skirmishers with CC ability but really they do nothing at all except get themselves killed. And they’re not even cheap…

          • Reecius
            Reecius October 7, 2015 2:30 pm

            Yeah, Hellions were playable last edition with the Baron, but now, wow, they are incredibly bad.

  18. Avatar
    fluger October 7, 2015 8:23 am #

    One of these days, I need to write up a statistical analysis of why the new mob rule is significantly better for Orks than the previous version in aggregate.

    I still think you are looking it from a limited viewpoint (small units in vehicles) and not as a whole.

    Truly, I’m not playing in big events anymore, so my opinion is merely theoretical for REAL competition, but the numbers are pretty compelling. And, in my SUPER-limited gaming experience, mob rule has been significantly better in 7th using 7th rules rather than 4th ed rules.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 7, 2015 9:09 am #

      I’d be interested in seeing your analysis for sure, and would be happy to be wrong. I have trouble accepting the conclusion though, that killing your own boys is better than being fearless? Also, you run boys at all, haha? =P You just don’t see them in competitive lists outside of the Green Tide formation. Occasionally you see a big mob with Mad Dok, but that’s seriously it, IME. They just don’t do anything, anymore. Challenges really hurt Nobs as does not being able to take Eavy Armor on him alone, that 4+ goes miles to keeping him alive to swing.

      • Avatar
        fluger October 7, 2015 12:14 pm #

        I run 3 units of 30 boyz, and one unit of 20 stormboyz.

        I agree that my experience is super limited on the grand stage.

        Also, your complaints about big meks is accurate, but not relevant to Mob Rule.

        Also, it’s not an either or for fearless or losing guys, you were only fearless at 11+ models. It’s not a direct comparison. The only place that REALLY screws orks over with mob rule is multiple tank shocks/pinning checks.

        • Avatar
          fluger October 7, 2015 12:18 pm #

          big mek = nobz, sorry.

        • Reecius
          Reecius October 7, 2015 2:33 pm #

          My complaint about Big Meks? Oh, you mean the KFF?

          Yeah, totally, Fearless went away as the squad got smaller, but I always found when the squad got that low in number, it didn’t matter.

          • Avatar
            fluger October 7, 2015 3:28 pm

            I meant nobz.

      • Avatar
        fluger October 7, 2015 12:24 pm #

        Also, I suspect that true horde orks can never be a viable tournament list because the way combat works in 7th, games take forever to play. Having to move models around so many times in all the different melee phases just takes forever. My average game length with my 167 model ork list is like 3.5 hours at best.

        • Reecius
          Reecius October 7, 2015 2:33 pm #

          Yeah, fair critique. Horde Orks only really work with the Green Tide, which actually does quite well in tournaments.

          • Avatar
            fluger October 7, 2015 3:28 pm

            Yeah, it makes my green heart happy to see them doing well, but I wish they could combo charge without losing S and attacks. Disordered charge is balls. Also, units like thundercav are death for a big unit like that as they can hit a side and slowly mulch it and hold it down. Heck, even khornedoggies can do that as well. What I lose in having 3 units of 30 (not being able to give fearless/fnp/+1 BS to all for cheap) I gain in being able to be more flexible (in theory).

          • Avatar
            Vercingatorix October 7, 2015 5:13 pm

            went 4-1 with this weekend!

          • Avatar
            fluger October 8, 2015 6:58 am

            Congrats Vercingatorix! Keep Waaghing on!

      • Avatar
        fluger October 7, 2015 2:08 pm #

        OK, some thoughts I cranked out about this:

        First, let’s look at trukk boyz, which, I can totally agree got the short end of the stick for the mob rule.

        5th edition trukk results:

        Odds of explosion with single bolter hit: 1.85%
        Odds of explosion with single lascannon hit: 29.6%

        Casualties per explosion: 3.33

        7th edition trukk results:

        Odds of explosion with single bolter hit: 0%
        Odds of explosion with single lascannon hit: 23%

        Casualties per exlosion: 5

        With lower odds of an explosion (remember the 6+ to drop pens to glances), the increase in deadliness of the explosion is somewhat mitigated. I also tend to see my trukks getting killed by HP loss more than just one-shot anyway. In those cases, the bad explosion chart doesn’t even factor in, whereas in 5th edition, you would keep getting shot until it exploded.

        The obvious issue is that with mob rule, the blown up unit of boyz is screwed as they have to take a pinning check AND a morale check. Odds are they fail one and then take a mob rule check which might let them pass, but lose more models. They quickly lose critical mass.

        As I stated, I agree that in the context of boyz in trukks, the new mob rule SCREWS them over.

        But, in the context of big infantry units, the new rule is better IMO.

        Sure, having to actually take pinning and morale checks when the unit is bigger than 11 models can suck, but, usually this isn’t that big of a deal. To cause a unit of 30 boyz to even check for morale requires doing 8 casualties. Not super hard to achieve by most armies, but significant in that it does require a decent amount of resources. Assuming the Orks are at least 10 models strong however, they are very unlikely to run. They have only a 41.66% chance of failing the Ld7 test on it’s own (which drops to 17.4% if you have Grukk near by) and then they only fail the mob rule test (assuming Nob with BP) 2.7% of the time. So, even without Grukk around, they pass Ld checks at 98.9% clip (99.56% with Grukk) which is basically fearless with only the caveat of losing an extra 1.75 guys per round. Really, that’s peanuts.

        Also, being able to Go to Ground is a huge boon sometimes. Maybe you want to hold an objective with a big unit and you don’t care about losing a pip of BS? Fearless you had no choice but to stand and take it.

        Now, this is comparing fearless to virtually fearless, but, as the casulties dip below 10, the old rule still holds up slightly better for taking shooting casualties.

        Now, if you had a unit of 30 boyz that got thumped with 20 casualties, the old rule would be about comprable with the new (ld 10 re-rolled with a single wound potentially caused from BP). But if you drop to 9 or 8 or even 7 boyz, the new rule is just slightly worse. Now there are only 1/3 of the results on the mob rule table are favorable instead of 5/6, but the leadership is about on par.

        9 boyz left with Nob with PK

        4th ed rules in 7th they pass Ld 98.14% of the time
        7th ed rules pass Ld 81.5% of the time (92.3 with Grukk)

        8 Boyz left with Nob with PK:

        4th ed rules in 7th they pass Ld 92% of the time
        7th ed rules pass Ld 81.5% of the time (92.3 with Grukk)

        7 or less Boyz with Nob with PK:

        4th ed rules in 7th they pass Ld 82.6% of the time
        7th ed rules pass Ld 81.5% of the time (92.3 with Grukk)

        So, yes, when being shot at, the new Mob Rule is slightly worse in most cases, but not so much so that I’d consider it actively BAD, also, Grukk is a great equalizer for actually making the new rule better.

        The real tipping point for Orks is melee however. Because it is here that the mob rule chart becomes REALLY good because now that 1 is not an auto fail, it is an auto pass with no casualties. Being able to have about a 30% chance of landing that in combat is ACE. Also, because the new mob rule is independent of the Leadership test, it doesn’t matter how much the Orks lose combat by as they still have an equal chance of passing the test.

        So, let’s say 20 Orks get assaulted by 20 Khorne Hounds. The Hounds roll well and kill 10 Orks and lose 2 wounds in return (about a normal fight). If you were using the last edition rules, the Orks would be breaking on snake eyes with a reroll, or, having only about a 5.3% chance of holding. With the new mob rule, they will automatically hold (since they have 10 models and a nob and are in combat). You even have a 33% chance to take no casualties (snake eyes on the ld and 2 shots at a 1 on the mob rule). Going from 5.3% to 100% is huge. And tweaking the numbers here or there are going to result in similar situations unless the Orks stay at 11 models. 11+ models, old rules are best (in 7th at least, since there is no No Retreat rule), but its all too common to get dropped below that threshold.

        I played Orks super competitively in 5th edition and used the same army into 7th, and I can definitively state that the bigger mobs are WAY more durable with the new mob rule IN COMBAT. Combine that with the new ‘Ere we Go and Waagh rules and it’s easier for Orks to get into combat than it was before.

        In 5th, I played with big mobz of shoota boyz and I could exchange fire with almost anything in the game. Melee was just something I did if I had to, but I could usually win protracted fire fights thanks to the KFF, innate T4, and Fearless.

        7th made that option worthless for several reasons. As I stated, outside of melee, the new mob rule is slightly worse in most cases, the new Ork rules favor getting into melee, but yet, shoota boyz became 16.7% more expensive than slugga boyz.

        All that being said, I’d love to see Mob rule drop to d3 S4 hits, not D6. I think that would almost by itself make it better, but, again, with Ere We Go and the new version of Waagh, Orks got much better special rules in general, and the Mob rule works as intended (incentive to get stuck in, essentially fearless when in big units).

        I think the bigger issues are ones you already mentioned, Nobz are too susceptible to most challengers. Even something as humble as a SM vet sarge has a decent chance of killing him before he can swing and loses nothing for declaring the challenge. Worse still if he happens to have a power maul for some reason! I’d like to see Nobz get some kind of rule in challenges that ups their survivability. This is easily fluff based as Orks fight challenges all the time to establish dominance, and a Nob should have fought many challenges. I think something as simple as getting FnP in challenges would be neat and simple and fluffy. Heck, you could even have a piece of wargear for it, maybe disregard the first hit suffered in a challenge or something.

        Basically, Nobz are critical for keeping Orks in the fight and dealing consistent high S, low AP damage, but can be negated too easily. That’s probably my biggest complaint with Orks in melee right now, the mob rule certainly isn’t.

        • Avatar
          fluger October 7, 2015 2:21 pm #

          I’d also like to see the basic boy drop to 5 pts total.

          • Avatar
            Dbiesto October 7, 2015 2:32 pm

            So it sounds like Orks with high model counts are hard to play competitively because of the sheer mass of models? Why not keep them the same points cost and give them extra attacks? 3.5 hours on average is waaaay too long for competitive games, or do you game mainly casual? I love playing orcs but always run out of time to finish games usually. Fast play feels like the only way to play them, I used to have a feral Orc army. 3.5 hours was about right per game lol.

          • Avatar
            Dbiesto October 7, 2015 2:40 pm

            Maybe giant squiggoths could shorten game time? I remember a pod cast mentioning they have a ton of wounds and aren’t too expensive points wise but they could eat my wallet alive.

          • Avatar
            fluger October 7, 2015 3:25 pm

            I currently game mainly casual, as I said, huge armies of boyz aren’t really conducive to tournament play. Last time I went to an RTT, I didn’t finish a single game in the time limit.

          • Avatar
            AbusePuppy October 8, 2015 5:11 pm

            It’s certainly possible to finish games with high model count armies, but you’ve gotta be REALLY on the ball and your opponent can’t be slow, either.

        • Avatar
          Calle October 8, 2015 3:25 am #

          You can still avoid challenges pretty easy as it’s not possible to challenge a character that is to far away (you can only challenge engaged models). Just make sure to place your nob so that he does not pile in with the initial charge move. Another trick to avoid challenges is to bring the 15p mek an throwing him into a challenge with an though opponent, thus saving your 48p Nob.
          But I agree that Nobz should be great in challenges, so you don’t have to avoid it.

          • Reecius
            Reecius October 8, 2015 9:24 am

            That little trick is how Orks survive combat, but, it only works the first round. If you haven’t won the combat, your Nob is in challenge range and if he dies, the unit often dies with him =(

    • Avatar
      Vercingatorix October 7, 2015 10:03 am #

      Which previous version are you referring too? I threw out my old ork rulebooks and don’t remember how it worked.

      • Avatar
        AbusePuppy October 7, 2015 10:39 am #

        Presumably he’s talking about the 4E version, where it gave you a Leadership value equal to the number of models in the squad and if you had 11+ you were Fearless. In practice, what this typically meant was that if you dipped below 11 models, you were instantly dead/worthless- because, for example, if you were fighting in close combat and took (say) eight casualties, bringing you down to ten models left, you’d be Ld10 rolling that morale check with a -8 penalty, or functionally Ld2. It was even worse for units of Boyz in a Trukk, who would inevitably be Ld~8 when by the time they disembarked and quickly subject to annihilation.

        It’s also worth remembering that this was during the era of the No Retreat! rule, which inflicted additional wounds on Fearless units if they lost a combat- so even if you started with thirty and lost ten in a fight, you were looking at losing ten more during combat resolution. The mechanic could easily be abused by multicharging units of Boyz, killing off anything in range to swing, and then piling the wounds onto BOTH units. I saw three thirty-strong units of Boyz evaporate in a single multicharge once.

        The current version of Mob Rule I feel is a bit too punishing (it should probably be d3 automatic wounds or d6 S3 hits), but many of those complaining about it are taking a rather rosy-eyed view of how it used to be.

        • Avatar
          Vercingatorix October 7, 2015 11:59 am #

          I remember that now. I used to play all truck boys and I basically stopped playing altogether when spacewolves became popular. Missile spam was devastating to trucks and then even if you got there, a 10 man wolf squad with close combat weapons and counter-attack would win combat and wipe the squad for about the same amount of points as I spent on the boys.

          However, the old rule made you far more resilient to shooting. So when your truck blew up and you had to make your leadership, you were leadership 10 or 11. Now that same event kills 5 orks in the explosion and an average another 1.75 to leadership. leaving you with 4 orks and a nob whereas before you’d have 10. I believe that is the scenario where the new edition plus new mob rule is punishing.

          • Avatar
            fluger October 7, 2015 1:13 pm

            Couple things.

            1, explosion on the trukk is less common in 7th, less likely to have an explosion and take casualties at all.

            2. Your leadership for taking casualties out of a truck wouldn’t be 10. If you were taking a test, your leadership was at least a 9 (since you have to lose 3 boyz to even be forced to test).

            3. Boyz in a trukk are the absolute worst case scenario for the new mob rule, in almost all other cases, the new rule is better.

          • Reecius
            Reecius October 7, 2015 2:30 pm

            Yeah, I much prefer the old rule. Fearless boys above 10 meant you didn’t need character support to keep them form beating the shit out of themselves or running away.

        • Avatar
          fluger October 7, 2015 12:17 pm #

          That is PRECISELY my point, you hit the nail on the head. When I had a whittled down mob with like 15 guys left get hit with a beat stick melee unit and lose 7 guys, I’d be needing snake eyes to hold. Now? I’d have snake eyes as an option (twice with Face Rippa) then two rolls on the mob rule table where I can stick in the fight. Also, having about a 30% chance to roll a 1 in melee is great. As long as you have a Nob with BP alive you have a good chance of holding up regardless.

          • Reecius
            Reecius October 7, 2015 2:31 pm

            I see your argument but I find my Nobs are always getting killed in challenges, and so any benefit they provide is often null.

          • Avatar
            fluger October 7, 2015 3:24 pm

            Psst, decline the challenge!

          • Avatar
            Novastar October 7, 2015 7:57 pm

            Then your Nob can’t attack or use his bosspole to help out after if needed, as a character who has refused a challenge can’t do anything or use his cool rules to help

          • Avatar
            AbusePuppy October 7, 2015 10:08 pm

            Not true. You cannot use the Leadership value of that character (not that Orks care, as Nobz are only Ld7) but any other special rules they have are still applicable- including the Bosspole.

  19. Avatar
    bigpig October 7, 2015 10:09 am #

    Tyranid MCs are only good at wrecking transports and buildings because they lack sufficient volume of attacks with their WS3. The Haruspex is a great example of this. Supposedly designed as an infantry law mower, it will on average kill 3 guardsmen a turn in combat. Expect to kill a couple grunts then get opened up by a power fist or T-hammer. The mights 4+ MCs are worse and die to krak grenades (as you pointed out) even if there is no fist/klaw. MCs need a WS boost and a way to get more swings to be viable.

    Other units would benefit from army wide FNP while in synapse and, yes, grenades.

    • Avatar
      Jural October 7, 2015 10:39 am #

      My favorite impotent MC is the Mawloc. He looks so awesome until he gets in close combat…. The Mawloc and Trygon should just have been the same piece, Trygon stats, Mawloc ability to kill you/burrow.

      • Reecius
        Reecius October 7, 2015 2:29 pm #

        The Mawloc is good at eating guys when he pops up, but yeah, he is hot garbage in melee, lol.

        • Avatar
          Kwodd October 7, 2015 5:43 pm #

          Because of the T-Rex baby arms.

          • Reecius
            Reecius October 8, 2015 9:31 am


        • Avatar
          Jural October 8, 2015 2:09 pm #

          He is good at eating a few people, not enough, and dying to a deep strike mishap too!

          • Reecius
            Reecius October 8, 2015 2:39 pm

            Lol, fair enough!

    • Avatar
      fluger October 7, 2015 1:06 pm #

      I’d like to see a mini version of stomp for MCs/Walkers. Something like 1, nothing, 2-5, d6 S4 ap – hits, 6 = d6 S4 AP2 hits.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 7, 2015 2:28 pm #

      Agreed. They simply aren’t all that scary in melee which is why you never see them. Shooting versions all day, every day. The notable exception is the Carnifex as he is cheap, and his high strength helps a ton, but, still slow as mud.

      • Avatar
        Dbiesto October 7, 2015 4:28 pm #

        I agree, walkers kinda stomped in Dawn of War. Dreadnoughts pimp slapping infantry out of their way, and Bloodthirsters smashing everything in their path was awesome. Really wish they would have included something similar for realistic effect. Smash is realistic enough since all the power is being focused into that attack, but it really handicapped MCs. I mean, flying circus still is strong enough thanks to psychic upgrades, but actual close combat you have to charge half your army points in to just kill 1 unit this edition to get 3-4 smash attacks

        • Avatar
          VonCrown October 8, 2015 9:25 am #

          I think replacing the current special attack for smash with a single large blast at like str -1 or 2 (and maybe only ap 3 or 4, to give teq a new lease on life as mc hunters? ) would be a very interesting change imo. Currently smash attacks are basically useless anyways due to the high risk of completely wiffing.

          • Avatar
            AbusePuppy October 8, 2015 9:44 pm

            Making Smash AP1 and/or allowing it to benefit from bonuses to your Attacks value (such as charging, extra CCW, etc, but otherwise starting at 1) could help a lot.

  20. Avatar
    Jural October 7, 2015 10:37 am #

    It’s fun to list everything lost for assault!

    1) no assault out of most transports, stationary or not
    2) overwatch
    3) no assaulting out of infiltrate or outflank
    4) challenges
    5) Nerfs to multicharge
    6) random charge range

    For Chaos every single change hurt. For Nids, the assault our of transports is moot, but the rest really hurt.

    The solution is a complete rethink of both of these armies conceptually.

    • Avatar
      WestRider October 7, 2015 10:56 am #

      Also the change to Casualty Removal from 5th to 6th. Having to pull dudes from the front instead of being able to take casualties from the back generally adds at least a Turn until they can Charge, and with the levels of firepower currently in the Game, one more Turn is at least one too many.

      • Avatar
        Vercingatorix October 7, 2015 12:01 pm #

        or again, to the article, for orks it means I usually get far less returning swings.

        I actually like the random charge because it’s actually better for orks but this is a very particular case.

    • Avatar
      Jural October 7, 2015 1:17 pm #

      Forgot about the casualty removal- huge one as it interacts with overwatch in a terrible fashion.

      Also- a lot of assault armies have feel no pain, which got nerfed in 6th Edition at the same time (4+–>5+)

      • Avatar
        AbusePuppy October 8, 2015 10:43 am #

        The ability to take FNP against AP1/2 weapons is pretty relevant for many armies, though.

    • Avatar
      Jural October 7, 2015 1:19 pm #

      Oh and one more, lol! The change to smash (one attack only) really hurt MC’s. I think Smash needed toning down, but it’s really a non-option in many cases now… and with All the T8 and T9 in the game, now we need it even more than before!

      • Avatar
        Dbiesto October 7, 2015 5:13 pm #

        The whole not being able to assault out of anything that is not an assault vehicle I think made almost every assault army salty. Haven’t read up on open topped vehicles since CSM don’t have any, but I was so sad when I found out. I was about to drop $ on 4 squads of MoS marines with FnP banners only to find out assault is almost pointless with certain/ most builds this edition. And now here comes the Tau lol. It took so much remaking my list for this edition, I’m almost glad I started over. (Still miss my emperors children army heavily NEVER sell models if you can avoid it.)

  21. Avatar
    Toranaga October 7, 2015 7:35 pm #

    Maybe 40k isn’t actually about close combat and the assault phase, but about the movement and shooting phases – which makes sense considering its futuristic setting and fluff.

    Yes, there are futuristic settings where close combat is more prominent. Dune is a good example – where technology has progressed to a point where the reaction between a personal force-field and an energy-based firearm is a catalyst for a nuclear explosion, thereby necessitating close combat with poisoned knives and other hand to hand weapons if both sides want a hope for survival.

    In 7th edition, the psychic phase came into its own, though it is far from perfect yet. I think it was a great move and provides so many interesting dynamics, yet perhaps something had to give?

    To me, as someone who has been playing since 2nd edition and has seen assault wax and wane with its effectiveness – the assault phase now strikes a balance where it is high risk and high reward. Assault, to me, is a last resort which is used to clear an objective at the later stages of the game, or to tie up a tough unit while others do their job (a horrible mechanic actually, in my opinion – assaults should not last for more than one turn – they should be absolutely decisive in a futuristic context – also why can’t infantry use their fire arms in close combat?) It is not the be-all-end-all of causing damage. I always use one or two assault units as my shock troops, but not many more, and that has always worked out well for me, but then I play more shooty based armies (Eldar, Dark Eldar, Imperial Guard).

    The armies that Reece described as lacking in assault, are really actually factions that are weak overall in most categories (well, Dark Eldar can be good at shooting and movement, and tyranids can be good at movement and defense/durability). Perhaps the solution is just to boost their shooting or psychic effectiveness, while maintaining a few badass units that can still kick some tail in the assault phase. Unfortunately 40k just isn’t about the assault phase, there are other games for that…

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 8, 2015 9:14 am #

      You make some good points and of course, a SciFi setting lends itself more to shooting than chopping of course, but 40k is hardly a realistic SciFi setting. The real dilema I was alluding to was the fact that armies that are supposed to be good at fighting in melee as their preferred method of winning games, are actually not good at it at all.

  22. Avatar
    Zarryiostrom October 7, 2015 7:46 pm #

    This edition of 40K started out with someone in charge saying, “We need to tone down the codices. Make the game about strategy and tactics, and less about gimmicks and power.” That’s why the first few codices were relatively weak, yet well balanced with each other. If you take the Necrons, (new) Space Marines, Khorne Daemonkin, Eldar, and presumably Tau out of the equation, you have a great game. When the Necrons came out, either the person originally in charge of this edition left the company, died, or someone bashed him over the head and pulled a “Weekend At Bernie’s” with him. “Sure, the other codices are fine, if you like bland, unappealing game. So from now on, we’re going to add OVERWHELMING POWER in order to sell a crapload of miniatures!” “But what about the poor bastards who are playing the older codices?” “SCREW ‘EM!”

    My fear is that once the final codex is released and they ramp up for 9th edition, the first person will be back in charge again. “Very funny knocking me on the head and using me like a meat puppet, Cedric. But now that I’m out of my coma, things will get back to normal. So, I propose the following change to Dark Eldar to tone them down for the new edition. Wyches really don’t need Dodge at all. Let’s take that away, and increase their points by 2 per model. That way, when we get to the Space Marine codex in 2 years, they will be in line with what I feel should be the perfect level of weaksauce. Oh, and get rid of all of the special characters this time. No one else needs them, so why should they?”

    • Avatar
      AbusePuppy October 7, 2015 10:11 pm #

      >If you take the Necrons, (new) Space Marines, Khorne Daemonkin, Eldar, and presumably Tau out of the equation, you have a great game.

      Uh, no, what you have is Orks and Tyranids absolutely stomping on everyone else because the BA, SW, DE, and GK books were boring garbage. Those books were not “more tactical,” they were poorly balanced and poorly conceived from the very beginning.

      • Avatar
        Jural October 8, 2015 2:12 pm #

        ‘Nids and Knights would just dominate in that meta.

        But actually ‘Nids wouldn’t be that good if you left them with their vanilla codex minus all the updates since…

        • Avatar
          AbusePuppy October 8, 2015 5:13 pm #

          They’d be worse, but I think they’d still roll faces- “just” running 4-5 Flyrants is still super good against most armies, especially what would be left after those changes. Knights would also suffer a lot against Orks (all those Tankbustas and S10 Klaws), so they might end up a half-tier below the other two even if they’re pretty blatantly superior to the rest of the field.

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            westrider October 8, 2015 11:08 pm

            Yeah, some of the Formations are helpful, and Mucolids are nice for freeing up a few Points from the mandatory Troops, but with Double CAD, the only thing I think would really make a big difference would be relying on Venomthropes for Shrouded instead of having Malanthropes available.

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            punchymango October 9, 2015 6:12 pm

            As a side note, 4-5 Flyrants is probably the most NPE of NPEs. The entire game is your opponent flying in circles deleting units, and you aiming guns skyward and hoping for 6s. It’s the worst kind of mechanical degeneration.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 8, 2015 9:16 am #

      It really does feel like there is a big descrepency between some of the books which are mega powerful (Orks, Eldar, Marines) and the also ran codices (Dark Eldar, Orks, Nids). I agree that it feels like two totally different teams with different goals that didn’t communicate with each other wrote the books these past two editions.

      • Avatar
        westrider October 8, 2015 2:07 pm #

        I like how you put Orks in both categories 😉

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    123 October 8, 2015 12:14 am #

    I noticed vanilla Space Marines have a lot of the solutions that hold Chaos Space Marines from assaulting well. Do you feel like that army can do well in assault? Especially using chapters like Carcharodons or White Scars that boost assault even more?

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 8, 2015 9:22 am #

      Space Marines are not a premiere assault army but they can do it very well, particularly when you make a Super Friends deathstar, but I really don’t like that style of play. It does work very well, though. However, Marines have the amazing ATSKNF, which helps mitigate their lack of melee punch. But, Hammernators still get it done, particularly with a Priest. And, they still have old trusty Chapter Master on a bike with the Shield Eternal. Chaos lack so many of these good options and their morale is just crippling.

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        Jural October 8, 2015 2:14 pm #

        Space Marines have a lot of options to survive and also get into/out of combat easier. If you consider their bolter shots between combat rounds, Space Marines are a very good assault side viewed overall

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      Vercingatorix October 8, 2015 11:22 am #

      Space marines aren’t so much amazing at assault but with prevalent storm shields and decently high toughness they simply don’t die. It’s slightly different than being good at assault but they are not scared of it in most cases.

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    Morollan October 8, 2015 1:10 am #

    Apologies if this has already been mentioned but one glaring weakness with assault armies is the melee To Hit chart itself! Did GW forget that the numbers 2 and 6 exist? Where’s the melee equivalent of having 6+ BS? Why does a Bloodthirster miss 1 in 3 attacks against an old lady in a wheelchair? Why does that old lady HIT the poor old Bloodthirster with 1 in 3 of her attacks?

    Adjust the table as follows and you get a far more interesting and, potentially impactful assault phase.

    WS half (or less) that of your opponent = 6
    WS lower than that of your opponent = 5
    WS equal to that of your opponent = 4
    WS higher than that of your opponent = 3
    WS double that of your opponent = 2
    WS more than double that of your opponent = 2 with reroll on misses

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 8, 2015 9:24 am #

      Yeah, I agree. I always thought a sliding scale like you propose would be so much better. However, I would guess they did it the way they did because back in ye old days, you got so many more attacks in melee than you did in shooting so they made it less accurate. Now though, shooting throws way more dice down the field and so gimping assault tips the scales in the wrong direction.

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      WestRider October 8, 2015 10:48 am #

      I think there should be a little more of a gap before the lower WS goes to hitting on 5s, but I like the general idea. As you’ve got it, tho, there’s a huge swing with relatively small WS differences, and then no further change for quite a while. Somewhere I have a more complicated chart written up that (as I recall) put a change on one side or the other with every increase in difference.

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      Vercingatorix October 8, 2015 11:26 am #

      While more realistic, It won’t make a difference in the game. Most armies you’ll see are weapon skill 3,4, or 5 so yeah, the weapon skill 9 stuff will be better but that’s about it. Your bloothirster will destroy whatever he hits even worse and maybe tyranids will beat up worse on guardsman, but so what? The big difference your chart would make and I don’t think you mentioned it would be assaulting vehicles would be far more effective. That wasn’t really your goal though?

      • Avatar
        Morollan October 9, 2015 1:08 am #

        There would be a slight difference in combat between units that are fairly close in WS. Essentially, WS5 v WS3 would still be 3’s to hit for the WS5 unit but 5’s for the WS3 unit, a slight change but still noticeable.

        The big difference would be for the real combat monsters and the absolute turkeys who would now perform in the way that they’re supposed to. Tau, for example, would need 6’s to hit most dedicated combat troops (anything WS4+) and would be hit on 2+, possibly even with re-rolls (I’m still undecided on whether that’s going a bit too far). At the opposite end of the spectrum, things like Bloodthirsters, Avatars, Deamon Princes etc would be absolute monsters if they ever get into combat, as they should be.

        Vehicles would perhaps be a little too easy to hit but if we’re talking rule changes then it would be a fairly simple matter to apply variable WS to vehicles depending on size, speed or whatever criteria you feel appropriate.

    • Avatar
      Jural October 8, 2015 2:18 pm #

      In most cases, that would be a huge defensive buff compared to the current table, but some of the models with WS 9 and 10 would become really awesome, while the melee models with WS 3 would become useless.

      One could ask- why are there melee models with WS3? And it’s a good question!

      • Avatar
        AbusePuppy October 8, 2015 5:16 pm #

        Because of poor conceptualization of what many of those units represent, basically. Daemon Engines and “slow” MCs like the Carnifex are supposed to be huge, hulking brutes that soak up punishment and hit really hard in return- however, the reality of the way the game plays out is that they are only vaguely difficult to destroy for even the weakest armies and too often do nothing in combat because of their poor ability to hit targets.

        A S9 or S10 weapon doesn’t kill Marines any harder than a S6 weapon, which is where the problem comes from. Just DESTROYING one stupid little Tactical Marine is actually pretty terrible combat performance.

  25. Avatar
    Chris November 23, 2016 3:04 am #

    Because melee armies are low skill armies.

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