Greetings, 40k Multiverse!
Captain Morgan from Forge the Narrative here and I wanted to share with you all my impressions of 8th edition as we get closer to the official release date. As you are all aware, we have been on the edge of our seats waiting for the new 40k to arrive, and now that we have the rules in-hand, what better time is there to try it out?
My good friend Warboss Russ agreed to throw some dice with me with his excellently painted Ork army. He was more than happy to set up our game, happily observed by some art that perfectly illustrated how he felt about the upcoming battle…
We jumped into the game in full-on learning mode, taking our time to adjust to some of the changes and knowing we might make a few mistakes along the way. If you see anything, please let us know in the comments! With that in mind, let’s jump right in.
A Note on Lists
While I ended up building some tools for myself to keep track of my lists electronically just because of the sheer amount of bookkeeping that matched play listbuilding represents, Warboss Russ used pencil and paper which is decisively more difficult to copy/paste into the web…
As a result, forgive me if both lists are not 100% complete, but I will do my best to remember. Also, as these are 7th ed armies (much of mine were unused since 5th ed…), some may not be WYSIWYG yet, but we were very clear beforehand who had what.
*NOTE: Looks like the missiles on the Raven weren’t included! Whoops! Luckily they didn’t really do anything all game. Thanks to Tim for pointing it out – CM
Captain Morgan’s Airborne Assault Company (5 Total CP)
Command Supremacy Detachment
|Sanguinary Priest w/JP|
|Assault Squad (JP)|
|Power Sword x1|
|Bolt Pistol x10|
|Combat Shield x1|
|Assault Squad (JP)|
|Power Sword x1|
|Bolt Pistol x10|
|Axe x 4|
|Power Fist x1|
|Melta Pistol x1|
|Sword x 4|
|Power Fist x1|
|Melta Pistol x1|
|Death Co w/JP|
|3x Power Sword|
|5x Bolt Pistol|
|Death Co w/JP|
|5x Bolt Pistol|
|Stormraven – LC|
Warboss Russ’ Ruffians (7 total CP)
Command Supremacy Detachment + Battalion Detachment
Warboss in Mega Armor + Claw + Attack Squig and Shoota(?)
2x Big Mek in Mega Armor + Claw & Shoota(?)
Painboy w/Painboy stuff
Battle Wagon with 4 Big Shootas, Claw, Deffrolla
2 x Boyz Squads (Choppas/Sluggas) w/11 boyz + Nob w/power claw
1x Boyz Squad (Shootas) w/11 boyz + Nob w/power claw
8-ish Mega Nobs, 4 w/claw & combi-skorcha and 4x w/Killsaws
Nob with big choppa & Waagh Banner(?) (gives +1 to hit)
2x Loota Boyz Squads w/11 deffguns
We decided to use the Matched Play rules and rolled randomly for a mission, getting Big Guns Never Tire. This was interesting for me, because I had no heavy support, and Russ had three. That meant that I needed to kill his heavy support fast, not only because I would get a victory point for each one, but also because if they were on an objective there was no way I could contest them. I won the roll off to place objectives, so Russ picked a Dawn of War deployment and began deploying first. My lack of transports meant that he would for sure get to choose who went first, so I deployed my units defensively so I could maximize cover and avoid the lootas he positioned on both sides of the board. I put the Sanguinor and the Axe Sanguinary Guard squad in the Raven, and kept the Librarian, Priest, and Sword SG squad in reserve with Lemartes & Both DC squads to try for some cheeky turn one charges.
With an epic handshake, Russ bid me start the game off propa by rolling to seize the initiative. “You won’t roll a six…”
BAM! Not a bad way to start out the new edition. With the initiative seized, I proceeded through my first turn.
Cap’s Turn 1
Never one to turn down an opportunity, I decided that goal #1 should be to kill the lootas on both flanks. They are heavy support, sitting on an objective, and had the best chance of killing the Stormraven. I rushed up the board with the raven on the right flank, unleashing the power of 24 hurricane bolter shots on the very surprised lootas, who pondered the true meaning of dakka as 9 out of the 11 succumbed to their wounds and died, the rest fleeing in the morale phase. I split the rest of the shots between the nearby trukk full of boyz and shot a couple pot shots at the battlewagon, doing very little to the rumbling machine full of pain. The jump marines with the Sanguinary Ancient advanced up the board, and jumped into the building in the middle field hoping to close the distance as fast as possible while still gaining the benefit of cover.
On the opposite flank, Lemartes and the Death company came down to engage with the other squad of lootas. I decided against shooting, knowing that Russ would take the casualties closest to the charging units to make my charge more difficult to pull off. Luckily, Lemartes re-roll charge distance paid off, and one squad of Death Company were able to engage the lootas, while Lemartes himself went to play ping-pong with a trukk full of boyz, scoring 8 wounds on the rickety contraption. The Lootas took heavy losses from the DC, rolled a six on leadership, and ran off. Mission accomplished!
Russ’ Turn 1
Russ’ Orks wasted no time in trying to reverse their fortunes, with the Battlewagon full of Meganobz rushing into the Death Company who didn’t make it into combat the round before, crunching 2 with its deffrolla. The shoota boyz got out and moved to support the slugga boyz who ran in to take on the Sanguinary Guard who just busted their ride. The golden boyz turned out too resilient to succumb to the Orks’ crude shootas, so they resorted to choppas instead. The nob managed to kill one of the golden boyz with his claw, but the rest of the squad took heavy losses at the edges of the lethal Encarmine Swords (which I swung first using up 2 of my 5 command points) and the Librarian’s Force Sword afterwards. Deciding that that the cunnin’ thing to do was to live, and that’s what Mork would want anyways, the few survivors fled in the next morale phase.
Meanwhile, the other Trukk boyz that had gotten such a serious migraine from Lemartes’ hammering decided to have a word with him. Having used my command points to save the Sanguinary Guard, I could do little but watch as an angry green horde swamped Lemartes and brought him low before he had a chance to retaliate. Meanwhile, the Mek in Mega armor came down and crumped 3 of the Death Company that had killed the lootas with his power claw, taking no wounds in return.
Cap’s Turn 2
Now was the time for some decision making. All my units were now on the table, and I knew that I could easily get overwhelmed by the nobz on the ground if I didn’t play it carefully. The Death Company decided to withdraw from combat with the Big Mek and the Battlewagon and jumped high onto the buildlings to keep them safe from further vehicle charges and to make the Nobz charging more difficult. I used this tactic a lot during this game, and the hit and run aspect of it was incredibly dynamic. Ignoring terrain as a flying unit made it feel like the Jump Packs actually mattered instead of being “worse bikes.”
The Stormraven sped off in the direction of the battlewagon, now free from combat and a viable target for the Raven’s heavy weapons. My accuracy proved a bit sketchy, and the tank itself pretty resilient as it weathered the firepower from the Raven’s heavy weapons. Using the opportunity to split fire, the raven then shot another full volley of 24 shots into the shoota boyz, rendering them from wholly fungus to holy fungus. The Sanguinary priest rushed up to the fallen Sanguinary Guardsman and was able to revive him, bringing him back from the brink of death. I LOVE how thematic the priests are now, acting as battlefield medics and taking an active role instead of a passive one. The assault marines jumped out of the building onto the two objectives close by, and the Sanguinary Ancient leaped forward to support his golden comrades, together poised to jump into action with a wary eye on that Battlewagon.
Russ’ Turn 2
With his left flank buckled under the weight of the Blood Angels assault, Russ moved to consolidate his power on the right flank. Shooting dakka at every available target, he was able to kill another death company model, but was unable to make it into combat with them despite getting the re-roll on his remaining Trukk boyz and Big Mek. Pulling back a little with the Battlewagon, which he repaired with another Big Mek and Grot Oiler, Russ set himself up for the next turn by potentially threatening the Blood Angel backfield the next turn. Whichever choice he made would depend on how I engaged him with the Raven.
Cap’s Turn 3
Considering Russ’ cunnin’ planz, I decided that I wanted to take some risks. Moving the Raven down to hover (losing the ability to avoid charges by non-flying units, but no longer needing to move in 90 degree turns or with a minimum move distance), I positioned the Raven to have a clear line of fire to the battlewagon, while also keeping the remaining boys within rapid fire range of the hurricane bolters, I planned to unleash hell and destroy the still-wounded wagon. Unfortunately, my dice disagreed and I whiffed JUST ENOUGH to leave one hull point on the accursed machine. The boyz, however, didn’t fare as well. The ones that survived the shooting were mopped up by the Death Company who moved in after perching on the rooftop last turn. The Sanguinary Guard, priest (who healed my injured warrior), and librarian moved up in a supporting position to the Raven. I knew it was danger close, but I felt confident that Russ wouldn’t be able to make the 22+ inches from the wagon to get the now-hovering Raven.
Russ’ Turn 3
Well, I laid the bait confidently, but woof, I was completely unprepared for how fast those big meganobs/boss/mek/painboy/standard could cross the table! Russ saw his opportunity and using the power of Waagh! he crossed half the table and completely SMASHED my Stormraven (using a command point to re-roll the explosion result), consolidating into combat with the Sanguinor and bodyguard afterwards. The Big Mek charged and killed another Death Company model, and the boyz in black were looking really thin. My response would shape the game’s conclusion, as I was sitting on only one command point (having used one on a charge and another unsuccessfully on the Raven’s last round of failed shooting) left and Russ had enough to counter-assault if needed and to spare.
Cap’s Turn 4
It was time to go big or go home. Ramping up the Sword Guard with the Shield of Sanguinius (for a 4++) I positioned all my characters around the upcoming combat VERY carefully so that the warboss couldn’t consolidate in. I decided I wanted to soften him up, and since he was exposed with his nobs having consolidated into combat after killing the Raven, I took pot shots with all my available shooting. Hitting him with the Inferno pistol, he failed his save (and command point re-roll), and I rolled a 1 for damage. With one command point left, I decided it was now or never, and re-rolled it successfully getting enough damage to kill the brute! The Sanguinary Guard charged in with the Ancient, and thanks to the power of the Priest’s +1 S, the re-roll attacks from being within 6″ of the now-free Sanguinor (my Warlord), and re-rolling to-wound rolls of 1 from the Chapter Banner on the ancient, I was able to kill six of the meganobs (Swords encarmine inflicting D3 wounds each, and rolling four 5’s and 6’s), effectively sealing their fate. Using his last two command points to jump ahead in the combat, he swung his remaining killsaws at the Sanguinary guard. Luckily I saved 2 of the 3 attacks he inflicted, only losing one of the golden warriors before the rest of my stuff got to swing.
It was a gigantic melee, and at the end, the Angels persevered and the Orks were broken. With nothing left but a limping battlewagon, an angry couple of Big Meks, a Painboy, and a couple trukks, Russ conceded the game.
Wow! What a different feeling this game had. We both were still getting used to some of the changes, but the biggest thing that impacted the result here was me seizing the initiative, effectively killing the biggest threats to my Raven turn 1 before they could shoot. It would go on to inflict major damage on Russ’ army and letting me set the pace of the battle. I had some fantastic good luck with some of these rolls.
Deployment was a lot more dynamic, and while I will miss the ability to run to the restroom while my opponent deploys his army, I enjoyed how involved I felt in each step of the process. There’s some mind games involved… which unit will I deploy next? Will I deploy this unit in reserve or on the table? The ability to go first or second is powerful if your army finishes deploying first, and will impact people’s listbuilding.
Terrain may have less complicated rules, but it is by no means less important. Having tall, line of sight-blocking terrain will be more important than ever. Knowing beforehand whether or not an event has terrain that can protect your units should definitely inform your list composition.
Combats are definitely a new animal. Careful positioning of your models and characters can make or break a charge. Careful spending of your command points can really take the wind out of an opponents charge, and turn a major loss into a costly win for your opponent. Combat is going to be the thing that takes the longest in the new edition, and that’s mostly in the pre-combat in the movement phase where you are positioning to dodge characters.
Vehicles were absolutely more survivable. That battlewagon just wouldn’t die! Even the trukks had a hard time going down, and they did a good job of eating overwatch and letting the better fighter charge in without taking losses. I still worry about the raven’s survivability to concentrated shooting, but it is absolutely a versatile killing machine. Once it was killed, I was a bit short on ranged killing power, so I’m considering adjusting the list to allow for two of these flyers just for the extra punch and shooting insurance, but at close to 300 points, that comes at a cost…
When I made this list, I wanted to see if jump packs would be shelved again or if they had value, and they definitely have value. Being able to move around, up, and over buildings had so much utility. Adding the advance to the movement also meant that I could jump further on the movement jump, making more areas accessible. Will this hold true in future games? The only way to tell is to roll more dice.
Units in general feel more like they do the job they are supposed to. Every unit that I took had a job, and was GOOD at that job. Even thematically, stuff like the Apothecary healing/resuscitating models really added some dynamic narrative value AND game effectiveness. For Blood Angels in particular, stacking the buffs from these key characters is going to be crucial to success.
I’ve seen many people express concern that the game is dumber or that it has lost tactical depth. I can tell you from this game so far that I never felt the game was lesser for having less rules to trip over. Each decision mattered (especially the ones for spending command points!), and it felt like the game moved more towards a conclusion instead of tripping over a lot of unnecessary rules. 40k may have trimmed down, but it has gone from big to lean and fit. Intelligent movement will separate the good players from the great ones.
A big thank you to Warboss Russ for graciously opening his home to use for our battle report, and for being a good opponent the whole time! His terrain is part of the Urban series available from Frontline Gaming. As usual, he is an excellent person to roll dice with. Any of you that travel out to Utah for Salt Lake Gaming Con’s 40k GT in July or Salt City Gladiator Games in October would be lucky for the change to play against him.