Monday, June 26, 2017

The First 8th Edition Warhammer 40,000 Post to the Unorthodoxy Empire

Allow me to remind you why we are all here.

There are a legion of internet personalities and lesser known blow hards whose only goal in life is to attempt to join the cool kids club by becoming sheep themselves.  They ostracize anyone who has a tuft of anything but the same white fur they all prefer, and they employ and enjoy the mob mentality when it comes to telling you what is and is not possible, even directly attacking you as if this somehow made their point any better.

We on the other hand subscribe to the mad scientist philosophy.  We know that the designers aren't all complete idiots, that they had an idea when they created each unit and they imagined uses for them that may require synergies in order to manifest their usage to maximum effect.  There truly are easter egg units, whose value is very specifically for those who would take the effort and time to identify and practice with them.  For us, the road less traveled is not only more fun, but validating on some level.  For it is one thing to plunk a bunch of "great units" on the board and pretend like your skill has anything to do with the outcome...  and it's quite another to show your skill in play and through creative thought.  We endeavor to improve the skill and the diversity of units we can use effectively.  Sometimes we even succeed.

That really is the essence of why I bother writing this blog.  You may notice that I have never monetized it and have never sought to profit from it.  As I like to point out from time to time, the goal here isn't to inundate you with click bait or post so prolifically that we become a destination for those with the addiction as a way of making money.  We obviously appreciate those who regularly come to listen and offer their own great perspective in the notes below.  I write this blog because there are wins to be had and because skill matters.  The General matters.  That is not a message trumpeted often and it is a view that has been vociferously opposed on these very pages.

Half the fun of any blog is reading the responses and with them, learning yet more from those who think of possibilities, and not limitations, first and foremost.  The Blogger may have the podium but the audience can add a great deal to the discussion and I've learned things from you and extended my own thoughts on the blogs subject line just by reading what you come back with.  It's pretty great.

And now I am ready to begin writing about this edition.

I will wrap up by telling you that my first dozen games of Warhammer 40K in 8th Edition are in the books.  I have fought the Necrons, the Tau Empire, the Blood Angels, Orks, Imperial Guard, Adeptas Astartes, and the Craftworld Eldar.  To date I have not lost.  I am finding that the strategies I am using are working well.  I offer that up to qualify myself in saying that while I have not seen the entire panoramic view of all the armies and have had the advantage (and disadvantage) of dealing with a new ruleset which will require an adjustment period for my opponents and for me, it is a good start and it encourages me to keep writing about what I learn.

As 8th Edition is new, there have already been some bumps in the road.  In my first nine games I was overestimating what it cost me to war gear my units.  So I was at somewhat of a disadvantage.  the last three I played without that error and it helped considerably.  Another bump in the road has been tearing free my preconceptions which are the natural hangover of an edition change.  I have had to correct myself on a number of occasions as I attempted to learn the terrain rules (which have changed a lot and which will require some Tournament Organizer interventions at first).  The intuitive way the Armor Piercing (AP) system works has lulled me a couple of times into underestimating the way some weapons worked at first.  you really do need to pay sharp attention to the details of the changes to make sure you're not missing out on opportunities.  One example is the strange way Plasma works now.

In 8th Edition I have played as the Dark Eldar and as the Militarum Tempestus.  I focused in on them in order to learn the game, and moreso the Dark Eldar at first.  Their changes intrigued me so much that I had to find out if they were as cool as they looked.  As I get more games in I will start to explore the others I own so stay tuned for that.

Any thoughts you have about 8th Edition, please post them below.  Rules changes you noticed or important little tactics you've learned are all valuable information for us to hear.  Let us know what you're finding and get ready for more articles here.

It's on like Donkey Kong now.


  1. I hear that assault is strong in this edition. Is it overpowered when compared to shooting?

    1. Assault is strong from a certain point of view. It actually has a lot of layers to it in its impact. First thing is, it's a lot tougher to outright kill things. There are so few things that flat "turn off your save". Second, people can just pull out of the combat and THATS the real huge issue. Think about it: There is no more sweeping Advance (one way to kill an entire unit and shorten the game) and when they pull out there is no subsequent assault phase (another way we could eliminate units with yet another sweeping advance roll). So Assault got worse in some ways because there is just so much less chance of killing a unit outright with it. The second impact that has is game length. Games are much longer in my experience so far. it is really hard to finish a game in the proscribed amount of time unless both of you brought super elite small armies. Assault has lost some of its effectiveness because taking someone off an objective is a lot harder to do strictly with an assault as well.

      Assault got STRONGER in some ways. The biggest is being able to multicharge into units to stop all their shooting the next turn. Consolidation moves and pile in moves all serve to make this good because you can now lock up units you DIDNT charge with them. This is a key thing to remember to do when a combat has ended is to take advantage of both of those things to shut down yet more enemy shooting. This possibility in turn has enhanced the importance of having some melee dedicated units, even in forces that might not traditionally carry them.

      The Result? I have seen pretty convincing evidence that more balanced forces are going to rule the day. Not because of some fanciful wishful thinking by people who want you to play with them and want to sell you on 8th Edition, though there are plenty of shills who refuse to say a single negative thing for fear their player base will dry up. No it simply appears to be a naked necessity of 8th. Melee capable units don't have to be good at their jobs, just hearty enough to protect the line.

      One interesting tactic now is to remove the closest models in close combat in an effort not to end within 1" at the end of combat. TECHNICALLY there is no such thing as being "engaged" anymore. You are within 1"...or you aren' the end of combat. making sure you aren't allows a shooty unit to shoot the next turn without having to withdraw and lose their shooting phase.

      So to summarize: Melee UNITS got more important, but they also got less effective at removing units while gaining a better ability to shut down shooting.

  2. The answer: When a charge is imminent it is time to execute the super-secret "SHOT GUN PROTOCOL". I made the name up. It just means that when you are about to charge, you need to spread your shooting into the units about to be chanrged, so that when/if you multicharge, you will get enough TOTAL casualties to force them into failed LD checks afterwards. That means you would do this in preference to finishing entire units off with your shooting even though you might totally be able to do so. This requires you to keep your Finkin' Kap on and REMEMBER to do this.

    If you don't... the enemy can stagger their lines with cheap throw away units and create a line that just retreats behind the next, never quite weakened enough to stop it from functioning as a picket.

    One more thing: Characetrs cannot be fired on, even if they are the ONLY viable target, when they are not the closest target. Every single unit could be tied up and only characters not tied up... and you cant shoot them. It's a weird element of close combat I became aware of after playing against the Tau Empire. their characters can don a LOT of firepower and stay pritected with chaff units. We played it wrong the first time I came up against it (sorry Dan!) but I have been corrected. So this is another interesting element of ther "melee game within the game". Throw away melee/other units as defenders can also be there to allow far more potent characters to do their damage. I am thinking specifically of things like my Razorwings which now only cost 7 points per model and are utterly terrible at fighting but which can simply stand there and blockade for the far more shooty and effective units in the force. Another example is Kroot Hounds or perhaps even conscripts which can engage in melee, use a nearby character for LD and frustrate the charging enemy for a crucial extra round. "Bubble Wrapping" has moved from an "interesting tactic" to an almost certain thing in 8th Edition. Deep Strikers also illustrate how important, if less effective at killing, some spare melee units can be, forming a "halo" at the 9 inch line for the artillery to fire behind, and pushing meltas away from them.

  3. BA are very interesting, as we are now the masters of deep strike without having to rely on drop pods. Point and click fragnoughts are gone, but jump pack melta vets are definitely a thing now.

    I was able to beat Orks on my first outing, but only by virtue of being fast and playing the objective game. The Gorkanaut was too tough for my list to handle.


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