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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

7th Edition Thoughts and a Short Battle Report

Hey there Chaos fanatics! I know I've been away a bit, but things have really been crazy in my corner of the Eye of Terror. Yet, I know you don't care about any of that hogwash. You just want an update from Old Man Chaos- well, I'm back baby! As the summer begins I'll be posting more regularly once again.

So, 7th edition landed a couple of weeks ago, and I've read through it cover to cover once, and re-read certain sections (like the Psyker phase stuff). Ultimately, I find that the book is more of a 6.5 edition than an outright new edition, but... that's fine by me. There are changes, big and small (look at counterattack for an example of a slight change that could go unnoticed).

Basically, if you liked 6th then you'll pretty much like 7th. Most of the mechanics are the same, and ultimately the changes that were made (save two) don't have an enormous impact. The Psyker phase isn't quite a "game breaker"- the odds against getting off warp charge 3 spells are higher than you think, and Deny The Witch can block any psychic power- well, let's just say that unless you are fielding an all sorcerer army, then the new phase isn't going to drastically alter the game. Even a Daemon summoning Daemons isn't easy. The Maelstrom of War cards/missions are fun, but again don't change everything about 40K.

 There are two changes that are huge though. First is the whole unbounded/battle-forged army list. With ALL units now counting as scoring, this changes the dynamic of the whole thing- I know everyone is rethinking their troop usage and the like. The concept of unbounded armies is an idea fraught with peril, but also filled with promise. On the one hand, you know there's going to be butt-holes (this is a family publication) that are going to field an army of Riptides or Heldrakes. Sadly, there won't be much you can do about them except choose not to play them. However, unbounded also opens up the codexes, allowing for more variety. For example, an Iron Warriors army could field 4 Maulerfiends and a couple of Vindicators and a handful of Warpsmiths. That is a fluffy army and one that ISN'T invincible. That means a Khorne Bezerker army can take Bloodcrushers without the old HQ/2 Troop "Tax". It is endless possibilities, and no two armies need be the same ever again. Again, I just hope players act reasonably with this.

The other big change is that indeed, Lords of War ARE part and parcel of the new rule set, meaning you could see super-heavies at any time in any battle. While I don't think this is a "bad thing" per se, I just again hope that players act responsibly, and discuss with their opponents if this is OK or not. I do think TOs can choose to have them or not (indeed, I think GW is being quite open ended, making it easy for TOs to make the tournaments as they wish).

I played my first game of 7th edition last Friday. My brother and my friend Brian teamed up, with Brian as Grey Knights and my brother as Imperial Guard. The total was 3,000 points per side/faction- Brian and Steve had 1500 each then. My bro went unbounded, taking only tanks as his force (since they were together, we decided that their whole army was "unbounded"). I was originally going to do battle-forged, but... the temptation to do unbounded was just too great! For the first time ever, I did a combined Khorne Bezerker / Plague Marine army. I've had combined daemon forces, but never Khorne and Nurgle Chaos Marines. I didn't have to worry about who was troops or elites, as with unbound they are all scoring. I must confess it was quite freeing.

I ended up taking Kharn, a Nurgle Sorcerer, a Warpsmith, 2 squads of Bezerkers, 2 squads of Plague Marines, 2 Heldrakes (I normally don't do that, but at 3,000 I think its acceptable), 3 Maulerfiends, a Land Raider, 2 Dreadnoughts (one with Helcult), 2 squads of cultists, and a Daemon Prince of Nurgle (so that's a mastery 6 total). Taking an army with no limits is great, but I kept thinking "Ohhh... how about I take this? Or how about that...?".

We decided to use the tactical cards, with each side having 3 secret cards (discard, etc allowed). The game started off rough for me, with the Imperial scum going first. Steve's tanks blew chunks out of my army, felling a Maulerfiend turn 1. The only way to win was to get in there and negate his tanks range as much as possible.

The game was a see-saw at first. Ultimately I managed to summon two squads of plaguebearers but- every other thing I tried to summon failed- either denied or I didn't get enough 4s. The Plaguebearers distracted my opponents, and even Touch of Rust-ed a tank, but they were more annoyance than game changing. The Grey Knights proved frustrating with all of their bells and whistles, as usual. Iron Arm was amazing though, allowing my Sorcerer to survive just about anything, and cursed earth is good for daemons, no doubt.

By mid-game, my 2 Maulerfiends began to tear up the tanks, as did my close combat Helbrute. I kept my daemon prince airborne, attempting to use my psychic powers to lash out at the enemy or summon new daemons (which didn't work out so well). My Heldrakes arrived, torching the Grey Knights quite a bit. My brother's Hydra couldn't hit the broad side of a barn.

The cards made things interesting. There was a constant shuffle to try to reach one objective or another. I wouldn't play with the cards EVERY time, but when you get tired of Eternal War missions the Maelstrom ones make for a fresh experience. I approve, and I hope they release other cards (for campaigns or just new missions), as I think there is a lot of potential here.

In the end, adding kill points and objectives gained, it was a score of 11 to 15. My forces were all over the Imperial table edge at the end, and I still had fresh guys in their tanks (you try not to put troops outside of their transports when you are facing several ordinance launching tanks). The game was an absolute blast though, with plenty of back and forth throughout.

It was a fun game, and I am pleased to say that this first test was just fine. The sky isn't falling. The only big concern is how people might abuse the rules as I mentioned above. Barring that, 7th is worthy. At any rate, I'll be playing at my local this week- my opponent and I already talked, and let's just say both of us will be bringing a super-heavy (see? agreed in advance). Should be a blast!

Until next time...

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