You knew this was going to come up on my blog. The rules no longer have a requirement that half your units start on the board. WHAT?
I literally did a happy dance and had my wife looking at me like I was a mad man as I tore the new rulebook open to the index, pounded my finger on the entry for reserves, flipped with abandon through the book to figure out where the hell the page numbers even were, and finally found (or rather, didn't find) what I was looking for: Null deployment is back. Oh glorious day. GW still aren't letting you assault from reserves. Frankly, I was quite surprised that stupid restriction didn't go away (I understand the Deep Striking thing but normal reserves?). Having said that.... I say again, Null Deployment is back! No more having to set up the pins so the enemy can knock them down. No. A whole new level of awesome occurs when you can turn the elite of the enemy into paper weights. You'll see more from me as I experiment with the possibilities of the new codex's, using this tool...
That aside there is more here. Generally the player who wins the roll to Deploy first now gets to CHOOSE if the enemy has to go first or not AFTER BOTH DEPLOY! A surprising development, but a welcome one. Of course, once the choice has been made, the opponent can still seize initiative but that's of minor consequence, given you had to deploy first anyways.
GW also made it very clear that characters join the unit and are in reserve together. No more arguments over that should come up. The rule says not just that you can but that you must announce he is joining them; and therefore he/she must come on the board with them from reserve. Pretty clear.
I'll start with movement. There are no longer any Blessings or Maledictions to do before this phase! Hooray. One less thing to forget. In addition, because psychic stuff no longer happens before the movement phase, there are a lot of maledictions that have had their range extended considerably. The movement phase is now not only when you get into position for all the normal reasons, but also you now use it in consideration of positioning Psykr powers. This is important to remember as you move towards 7th Edition in your mind.
It is in fact a rule that once you move a unit and then move on to the next, you cannot go back and change it. This is one of the rarely enforced rules that kind of gets ignored in the interests of the social contract between players. Obviously, on one hand, you're breaking that contract by forcing your opponent to be "cool" about something they really shouldn't allow. On the other hand, both players would rather know that they won even despite careful enemy maneuvering. By allowing the opponent to break this rule (usually repeatedly) you ensure moral superiority come victory/defeat time. So, for a number of complex and bizarrely human reasons, this rule gets ignored routinely. However I thought it worthwhile to point out that it's been the rule forever. If you want to truly be the best, living by it may cost you a show or two, but you'll know that you won the right way. It's also been a rule for a long time that you cant start moving a unit and then go back, just like chess. This is for the obvious reason that once moved, there's no way to go back and know for sure if it was REALLY where you put it before you moved it. Such inaccuracies can show up to be significant in later rounds. Again, many times players ignore THIS in favor of the social contract. I'm not sure what to say about it other than that I've let it slide and had to be forgiven more times than I could count. I like that it's still in the rules, I feel like if it was enforced, lots of little things would be solved, but I cant bring myself to be incredibly hard core about it.
A change that might not get much interest but that I found intriguing is that they eliminated the hypotenuse when ascending or descending. Now you must move TO the base of ALL terrain types, then count the distance up. This is not just a ruins thing nor a hill thing. EVERYTHING works like this now. The change to horizontal coherency (now if a model is within 6 inches above you, your unit is coherent), many arguments will be solved. Also notice that the example shows that the model is moving UNDERNEATH the floor and THEN up. That's important. Obviously you must include this extra base width of movement in order to get up. Many Walkers and other units with larger bases will have a harder time climbing up. As for hills, the base width is equally an issue to be cognizant of. All of this is quite intuitive. Many players are used to saying "Hey if the edge of my base makes it to that floor up there diagonally, then I'm on it". Not so, says the 7th Edition rules. So pay close attention. No cheap climbing or free inches. No hypotenuse climbing.
Yet another great change that will perhaps not be as appreciated as it might be, is that they have actually made the units like Jump Infantry CLEARLY Infantry that may use a Jump Pack. They are considered Infantry. This matters little in the grand scheme except that certain rules specify that they affect Infantry which Jump Troops now are, clearly. Food for thought. See the top of page 65 and 66 in bold to understand more about that.
Wow. That there is a Psyker phase is new. There were lots of rumors and, as usual, the truth was somewhere in the middle.
As mentioned, all Psychic powers happen at this stage of the turn and that means that there are no more arguments about "beginning of the turn" as aforementioned nor whether a power could or couldn't be used, no confusion over whether the controlling player decides the order... None of that matters one fig. It just happens...here.
Psychic Focus is a thing now. Limit yourself to just your one favorite discipline and you are said to have Psychic Focus, which means your Psyker gets the Primaris power automatically! Level 1 Psykers are getting TWO powers this way. But wait. Chaos Sorcerers with Marks of a Gawd ALSO get the Primaris Power from their Gawds Discipline, regardless of any other powers they gain. So a simple level 1 Chaos Tzeentch Sorcerer can have three powers to start the game. That's pretty much not terrible in any way.
One of the weird things that happens when you create a Psyker phase though is that odd things start to have to be put in that phase that were quite easy to adjudicate before. Force Weapons were an unexpected complication of this. It costs a Warp charge to activate Force Weapons and so they had to figure out how that's going to work. Their answer? Make Force a Psyker Power and manifest it like any other power! This unexpected twist means now that a unit of Purifiers who may never make the charge are forced to use up their Warp Charge to power their weapons in lieu of another power they might choose to use! Another example is the item for Eldar that allows them, for one Warp Charge, to ignore a Perils result. Ironically, they have to manifest that power in the Psychic phase and if they used all their points beforehand, weeeeeeell... It is what it is. In any event, a model with a Force Weapon automatically knows the Force Psyker power in addition to all the others they know.
With as many as 4 Psyker powers on one Psyker (Tzeenthc Primaris, Biomancy Primaris, Iron Arm and Force for example), you'd think things could get real crazy. Not really. It does elongate the pre-game stuff a little to roll randomly for all those powers, as you furiously write everything down. In practice the Psyker phase is nowhere near as sure a thing as it used to be and the Psychic Cards you can buy ($15.00 is just way too much but whatevs) make it easier to track.
First off in the Psyker phase you roll a D6 and both sides receive that many dice. Each Psyker on both sides adds their Mastery Levels to the pool of dice. Voila. Start manifesting Powers. The Warp Charge of a power is now a threshold number representing how many 4+'s the Manifester must roll in order to pull off the power with hi dice! No sure bet. Suddenly you start to see how quickly those dice in the "Mana pool" can run out. I recently watched an Iyanden player with 17 dice fail three powers and used up 13 dice doing it. The other interesting thing is the enemy uses his pool to Dispel your successes. So if a caster roll's 4 dice and get 2 4+'s, his opponent can roll as many of his Dispel Dice (as I like to call them) as he wants to stop it, and on a 6+ he dispels one of the casters successes. If he gets rid of enough to drop all successes, the power collapses. This makes it even tougher on the guy manifesting because he can't JUST throw enough dice to statistically get the power off, but he must also try to get enough successes to make resistance futile.
Lets use a real example. An Eldar and an Astra Militarum player square off. Eldar player rolls a 6 for the Warp Dice, and so The Eldar player owns 17 dice(6+ his Psyker levels in the army), the Astra Militarum player owns 10 (6 + the manifester levels in his army) after all calculations are made. The Eldar player decides to play cat and mouse and use 4 dice to cast Perfect Timing (Warp Charge 1) and gets 2 4+'s. What he's doing is choosing a suitably scary power to force the enemy's hand into perhaps using up his pool early. The Astra Militarum player wisely allows the power to go off, knowing what the REAL prize is. The Eldar then casts two dice and gets a single 4+ to cast Forewarning. This is a really hard one for the Astra Militarum to let go, and so he grudgingly rolls 4 dice, but fails to get any 6's. The power goes off. The dice pools are down to 11 to 6. Now for the power the Eldar REALLY wants to get off. He rolls them all for Prescience (Warp Charge 2!) and gets 3 successes! It goes off with a little insurance to boot. the Astra Militarum player, cursing his bad luck on Forewarning goes ahead and commits his remaining 6 dice to stopping Prescience and rolls 3 6's. The power is enied!! The Astra Militarum sighs the sigh of the relieved.
This little and relatively short game of cat and mouse is one you will need to get good at. Always use a "diversionary Power" when you can, especially if you rely on certain powers a lot.
Now if that Eldar with his 11 Dice had rolled Double 6's, it would trigger a Perils of the Warp, AND his opponent would STILL get the chance to dispel it (Or Deny the Witch as Warhammer 40,000 calls it). Bad news. Because the Eldar has no more dice, he will not be able to activate his wargear that eliminates the Perils!
As you can see, the Psyker phase is not going to be nearly as scary as it used to be with near automatic success and Eldar Psykers shrugging off failures like its yesterdays underwear.
Another enormously big change and blow to death stars everywhere is that a units members can only ever try to cast a power once. So a unit with three Psykers in it, all with the same power, can only try to cast it one time. The other two Psykers cannot try that same power. So Psychic redundancy within a unit is not going to be a "thing" and that's pretty important when you're talking Jet Councils and the like.
Psykers can use NOTHING except Witchfires from a transport and that, only if there's a firing point. Yet another way in which the game is being brought back into sensibility and balance. So if you want to manifest powers besides Witchfires, get out of that Trukk and fight like a real ork.
ALL powers must be within line of sight unless specifically written otherwise (such as Nova powers, which don't require it). This is also an end to some of the odd "hey dude over there" type stuff that happened a lot in 6E. Can't see the target spot, can't target it.
The Perils chart is brutal. I wont spend too much time on it but lets just say that you better pray for a six on that chart. 5's not bad either since you can shrug off the wound on an LD check.
They have now very specifically said that a blessing can only benefit a unit once, and again have stated that Different maledictions stack. This was one of the things I felt they kinda dropped the ball on. This was the same Malediction language that led to such bitter debate in 6E and may again, though I think the clarity on Blessings will now clarify for most reasonable people the issue. People who don't understand English are going to have fun with that one.
One of the best things about this new phase is that it's NOT shooting. You can actually fire at several targets and CAN fire multiple Witchfires which UNscrewed you from having to choose what to do: shoot your multi-melta or the Psyker power? Now you can do both! You could even go crazy and fire off several Witchfires in a round at different targets(Page 27)! A shooty caster is a totally interesting possibility.
Focused Witchfires reward you for overspending on Power dice by saying that if you get more successes than the threshold (the Warp Charge requirement) you can simply choose your victim model. No added rolling. Yay.
The internet is buzzing with panic over the possibilities of summoning Daemons using the Maelefic Powers of Daemonology. You're quite likely to blow your own head off doing this as ANY doubles (not just Double 6) will cause a perils of the Warp (unless the manifester has the Daemon Special Rule). Talk about dicey. The Incursion Power (where you summon serious numbers of bad dudes) and the Possession Power (where you literally turn into someones worst nightmare) are a whopping Warp Charge 3, which is no small thing. Getting the power off would require, minimally, 6 dice to give yourself a shot, and given that the enemy may attempt to stop you, you shouldn't try it with that few dice unless you have no choice. So yeah. Anything COULD happen but you better make sure your caster is a Daemon before you try this. The horror stories online aside, I think it's a fools errand for anyone BUT a Daemon to try until maybe the end of the game, perhaps to jack an objective or something. Still, Daemon summoning is officially a thing and all kinds of armies are doing it for the perceived advantage of "free" troops. Since they are not actually from your own troops slot, they don't get to be Objective Secured and most have rules that you deal with Daemons EXACTLY as you would any other ally on the matix, so...
One last note. The Psyker phase does give one more opportunity for forcing a leadership test so 7E has increased the value of High leadership both because of this fact and because of the Psyker powers out there that are going to lower it.
Time to shoot an apple off someones head at 50 paces (because we are shooting their equipment riiiight?).
It was observed by the 40K design team that people found wound allocation difficult to understand. They also observed the expedients players got in the habit of using while dealing with it. Using that information, they revised how we handle the multiplicity of weapons a unit can carry and the many different wounds and saves an enemy target might have.
Well... their solution is interesting. It boils down to this: You better not screw up the order you fire weapons in. This is going to be a critical area where mental lapses are going to cost lesser Generals a game here and there. So let me give you a rule of thumb to use. Always fire your weapons in the following order:
1. Templates if they can affect the target
3. Grenades (if you need it to hit)
4 Rapid Fire Weapons
6. All others
Weapons are resolved in order, so you fire one type of weapon, resolve the wounds, take out the dead and continue on with the next type of weapon. Clearly if you don't do it in the order I just recommended you will lose the efficacy of the attacks. For example, a Flamer is only 8" long. If you fire your Haemonculae Casket of Flensing into a unit of Necron Wraiths before firing the Liquifier gun, you could put a lot less Wraiths in the path of the Liquifier, as the Liquifier doesn't get to fire until after the Casket of Flensing's wounds have been resolved. And in turn the Orb of Despair will not kill as many if you throw it after you fire the Casket. Tough choice eh?
A similar thing happens with Plasma Rifles in a Tau Crisis Team firing it's Twin-linked Flamer and plasma rifle on a group of Tyranid Hormagaunts. Rapid firing weapons could lose shots if the flamer is too successful, but you're probably okay with the trade off.
This took a little bit of bite out of shooty units that are on the edge of range and it is significant. You really want to get as close as possible when shooting now (while maintaining your sanity and sense of self preservation).
Speaking of resolving wounds, the different kinds of saves are all universally under the heading of Saving Throws. I like that they included the very clear text from the old FAQ concerning Invulnerable saves. Even if a wound ignores ALL armor saves, an invulnerable save can still be taken. Clear as glass.
In the case of cover...Listen carefully... If just ONE firing model finds the target obscured, it gets cover. That simple. No majority. No nothing. Same as before. If a wound is against a target model that is obscured from ONE out of the 25 guys shooting with that particular weapon, he gets cover. It's simple. Gets the game moving. Also, remember that when the next round of weapons in the unit goes off, its from THEIR perspective! That's where the real change in application comes in. Its actually harder to get cover against ALL the guns.
NEWS flash: Pinned models can't fire Overwatch, which was kind of an interesting change. So when you KNOW you'll be charged in 6E, there was simply no reason not to go to ground. Now... You gotta decide if you want to be able to Overwatch or not when the inevitable charge occurs. I thought that was quite interesting.
Similarly interesting is that a unit that is charging can go to Ground! That means if the chargers would be obliterated, you can take a hail Mary attempt to preserve them! What a great option
Missiles are more menacing now. Flyers like the Void Raven Bomber and others can carry missiles and in 6E you were limited to firing 2 missiles in a turn. They eliminated that rule so you can fire all four if you want to! Imagine the fun devastation that could be. You're still only allowed four weapons at full BS, and the bomb still counts as one, but what's awesome is you can now decide which four. Whatever the situation calls for is what you do!
Another good piece of news for Chariot fans is the rider can fire as if stationary. There was some chagrin over this issue for Daemon players and I am sure others I'm not thinking of at the moment; but that is resolved.
Sadly, though Ordinance may fire on the move, they still gave the Astra Militarum no love in regards to allowing them to fire their other weapons when firing ordinance. So Heavy tanks remain as Stationary even when moving and still unable to fire their other stuff if they wanna' use that bad ass cannon of theirs.
The No Escape Rule for flamers now makes it a cruelly ironic opportunity to roast those Orks in their Open topped vehicles that so gleefully came forth to murder you with their 15 Burna Boyz packed in. Vehicles hit with a Flamer weapon are smacked with D6 hits! So the next time you see that Deffrolla coming up on you and preparing to dump all kinda of unholy fun on you, return the favor with your Retributor Squads Heavy Flamers. I can already see that Dark Eldar will have to learn an extreme level of caution because one of the favored tactics is to run the flotilla of boats to the enemies gates and LET them shoot the flotilla up, secure that the effort will blunt the attack on the actual Elites inside. But now that you can char broil them in their coffin, it's a different story. Frankly, I really don't know if this was a good idea even if it makes sense. It's a major tactical blow to several army builds i can think of (Raven Guard, Dark Eldar flotillas, and Ork Burna mobz to name a few) that didn't need the adversity.Time will show how to deal with this new reality but this one was a surprise. One more thing: the wounds are random. So no tanking while inside by the Big Bad Leader Guy when the No Escape rule is invoked. Urien hates that.
Precision Firing/Striking is no longer an Independent Character thing or a Character thing. So they fire as normal and strike as normal. The rule still exists but there is nothing tying those rules to characters. Odd. I looked for it. Not there no more!
Barrages no longer Pin and neither do Sniper rifles. I tried to reverse engineer that decision to see why GW would decide that. One of the only good things about Sniper rifles to be blunt was the ability to pin a unit down. Sure, precision shot is still there, buuuuuut... Dark Eldar Hexrifles, Tau Longrifles and a number of other units will lose a lot of value here but the big loss is fluff. I mean come on. it's a SNIPER rifle! Barrages I could somewhat understand. I don't think I'd stay where I am after some big 152mm cannon blasts my position. I'm thinking it is time to GO. Digging a fox hole now isn't going to save you. Too late for that. So I got why Barrages might lose that despite my disappointment over it. Multiple barrages might give you nowhere TO run and so pinning makes sense there... but at that point the designer has to make a decision for simplicity and so they went with the "chuck it" option. I have no rationalization for you on Sniper weapons though. That one mystified me. If it's the worst thing I have to put up with in 7E, I probably won't care too much. I guess it's less dice rolling per game? I dunno. I got nothing on that.
Wanna' shoot at planes and monsters? Well... Once you are selected as a target you must announce whether you'll Jink. Not a dice gets rolled before you decide; and once you decide, you're snap firing next round. Same for skimmers actually (so Eldar Mech spam is going to have a tougher choice to make). In any event, it's now a 4+ Jink save for flyers! Hey now that is really not bad at all. If you're the one doing the shooting, it's kinda not awesome and now knowing its a 4+, there's a lot of weapons you'd have otherwise fired at them which you might not, now that it's a 4+. So Flyers and especially Monstrous Creatures got a lot easier to save.
Jump Monstrous Creatures are kinda crazy too. They are only taking a single grounding check, as has been remarked I am sure in a hundred online sources, at the end of the phase. So no one knows whether it worked or its not til the smoke clears. Best to have a unit prepared to assault if it does. But if it doesn't work, since they have to alight to the ground for a round before assaulting, there is no down side for the attacker to set up for this charge in the movement and shooting phase.
Assault PhaseWell this is new. First off, distances. Terrain is just -2 to the charge. Love it. That is just an easy way to handle it and I am 100% okay with it.
Flying Monstrous Creatures must alight to the ground for a round before they can charge as I explained so the new hotness one must assume is constantly flying and shooty Daemon Flying Circus's. Be aware though that if you DO knock them outta the sky they ARE allowed to then charge on their turn! Though they may not choose to do so, it is something to think about earnestly before you even shoot them. But once you're committed to knocking one out of the air, make sure the assault is set up.
Enough on that. The Assault Phase itself is somewhat revamped and there are some noteworthy little things to remember.
First is that shots made in the Psychic Phase do not affect your choice of assault target at all. So ignore whoever you shot then. It's irrelevant.
Next is that as mentioned, you can't go to ground and then fire Overwatch. So this makes pinning a unit down quite valuable. In addition on that note, if the enemy DOES kill you on Overwatch YOU can go to ground to try and avoid it, but that ends your charge of course. Also remember that those who have gone to Ground surrender their terrain advantage and you need no frags to go on your own initiative in that case.
You go at the rate of your slowest model so if you attach a guy to a unit of Thunderwolf Cavalry you better darn well make sure he's got Fleet!
The challenges did have some fine print worth mentioning. First, it has been reported incorrectly in numerous places that if a Daemon Prince waxes my Chaos Warp Talon Aspiring Champion, doing 6 wounds, that the 6 wounds are used for combat resolution. This is not exactly accurate. Let's assume the Chaos Aspiring Champion had two wounds thanks to its Boons chart. After the first two wounds, the Daemon basically does 4 wounds to the REST OF THE UNIT (which can and should take any invul saves they are normally permitted). So no, the "ovrkill" doesnt just tack onto combat resolution because the rest of the unit might save some or all of those wounds.
The biggest thing about Multiple unit charges is that when you declare them you must make sure there is no way that your models could not reach base to base with the primary target. As before it is therefore really hard to pull off multiple unit challenges.
Morale is essentially unchanged, albeit when falling back there is a bit of a nugget there. It says that you must be found to be in charge distance in order for the failed Regroup test to destroy the enemy. Obviously that would not be known until you have shot Overwatch. So basically the way I read it is, you do the assault EXACTLY the same as normal, move in, everything...and then remove the unit that failed to regroup.
Those are the basics so I hope its helpful to you in getting acclimated to the new Edition.