Games Workshop have already shown so many innovations from the 8th edition of Warhammer 40000 that we can already create an image of how will it be and build theories about what’s still hidden. So, let’s have some analysis.
The most painful issue is definitely new wounds system – including weapon profiles, unit stats and new save mechanics. The fact that WS and BS are now just a simple value which shows what result is a successful hit – is great. Now it’s’ much easier to explain it to the beginner. There’s a doubt about close combat – no matter how skillful you are, you can be hit. But Age of Sigmar experience shows that this can be easily compensated by unit’s special rules, which improve the defense of the most skillful swordsmen.
To-wound chart has also changed. As you can see, it’s much easier to remember now and it’s still quite logical. However, it excludes the situation when a massive creature is immune to small weapon. Now even a gretchin can hurt Great Unclean One. Sure, such creatures might have some kind of Hard-to-wound special rule. But there’s nothing like that in the profiles we already have. So, a platoon with lasguns and some orders can eventually destroy even…a tank. Yes, vehicles that we used to know are gone. Now, Predator, is a monstrous creature with wounds and armor save. And a big number of wounds and high armor save don’t grant that it will survive for long. And here’s one of the biggest problems at the moment.
Vehicles are now much more vulnerable. Even mighty gorko (or morko) naut now can die of massive troops shooting. Sure, they will wound him only on 6+. But big numbers of dice have always been an ultimate solution in Warhammer. Moreover, new save mechanics has rend (also taken from AoS) and all your armor save can be easily decreased.
From the one hand, everyone can wound a vehicle. From the other – now vehicles now have armor. But again – there are A LOT of guns with rend. So even -2 rend makes solid 3+ save 5+ which actually gives nothing. Yes, you can’t blow up a tank as it used to be. But now even the weakest squads can destroy Land Raiders. And melta-drop has become almost an ultimate elite slayer.
Another sad thing is how they’ve made bolters. An iconic weapon of space marines… doesn’t pierce armor. At all. Having no rend makes it a kind of a lasgun, 1 point stronger than usual. However, lasguns can be taken 40 times for one squad, while bolters can’t. So, now space marines tactical squad is nothing but 4 extra wounds for the lascannon you will definitely give them. Now models can shoot into different targets and lascannon has become one of the most ultimate threats to single big models.
Speaking about big models. Now characters can’t join units. (Again, say hello to AoS). All command buffs now work as auras and have keywords. From the one side, it kills Death Stars cancer. From the other – it’s easier to target a single character. Even considering the restriction to shoot it if it’s not the closest one. However, it’s not a problem for some races. Tau drones can be wounded instead of the nearest units. Considering the number of drones, you can take… It seems, our favorite races are still on the top. By the way, all Eldar Phoenix lords have 2+ armor save. While Gorkonaut and Leman Russ tank have only 3+. Sure, we don’t point at anyone….
Another thing that destroys death stars is new psychic phase. GW have officially admitted that in 7th edition it used to be too complicated and now they’ve taken it from the same AoS. By the way, it’s really interesting if it is possible now to play 40k models against AoS ones. The rules are really close to each other now. Such magic can support (and kill some stuff with mortal wounds) but can’t change the battle dramatically. It’s nice but not for the armies which totally rely on magic. For example, 1000 sons, who have recently got the new rules, now are out of business again. Magic is cut, invuln is now only 5+, and inferno boltguns, which used to ignore even 3+ armor now just lover it to 5+. The only hope is flamers…
…which now are also strange. No more templates. All template weapons now just use d6 to determine – the number of wounds (for flamers), and the number of hits (for others). It seems a bit unnecessary. Scatter dice hurt no one. And templates (if not twin-linked barrage) didn’t make game longer. Now you can’t rely even on the deadliest guns. One is one. In fact there was not a single reason to bring more random to the random wargame…
There’s one really new thing – strategems. The army, gathered in accordance with its keywords and structure grants you some points which can be spent on different buffs. We were shown just 3 common and they are nice. For example, the first one gives you 300-pts-Kairos ability for free. It’s really interesting what strategems we’ll see in the armybooks.
In general, you can expect lots of cheap shooting squads (if your army has them, of course) and some special units with heavy weapons. Vehicles, monsters, psykers and flyers are out of business now. However, there’re still many questions – how does new invulnerable work, when to hit with a power fist, where to place all your space marines models…
P.S. Sure, you have already seen those true scale marines. Sure, they look great. GW promise us that it’s a completely new squad and that it won’t substitute regular marines. But we clearly understand that they will eventually do it, step by step. WE were also promised that they won’t have special weapons, but there are some photos leaked into the web, where they DO have special weapons. So… Well, let’s hope that this renovation will be gradual and thoughtful so that the players could collect the ENTIRE army of these models. Not just loyal space marines ant CSM tactical squad.