Thursday, July 5, 2012

6th and the shift of ridiculousness, with a Bonus List at the end

Cool, so I'm back.  6th edition is here, and now so is my desire to actually talk about wargames via blogging, lol.

Anyways, as per usual, I'm just a tournament dude, trying to make sense of how this is all going to turn out.  I have some thoughts on it, so let's have a

So!  By now we've all read the rules, and interpreted them as best we can, with the full understanding that nobody really quite has quite as good a grasp on them as we ourselves do.  Yes, yes, we all rock, nobody is as cool as us, nobody should have the audacity to hope to be as correct as us.

Now that all of the awkward back-patting is over with, let's delve into some stuff I'm sure others have covered, and though (obviously) less skillfully than myself.  Mostly, I want to talk about some changes that we need to be aware of.  The fundamentals of how the game is played hasn't exactly changed so much as shifted.

My goal is to explain these perceived shifts and my reasoning behind them.

Shift #1:  Roles of Transports

It's not much of a secret that transports have changed a bunch.  I won't insult your intelligence by listing the changes.  Instead, let's try to make it into a logical progression of sorts.

We can all agree that in 5th edition, a transport with cover was a tough nut to crack.  In fact, it was never really a sure thing that an entire army could kill a single transport, with the elusive 5+ damage result looming over our heads like a grail-shaped beacon.

I like to think of this as a dependability issue.

Our ability to kill transports wasn't dependable.  Yes, two multi-lasers might kill two smoked rhinos in a single burst of awesome, but let's be honest - if someone started shooting S6 weapons at our vehicles, we just didn't care.  In fact, it was awesome, because they weren't shooting at the other stuff we had that they could wound on a 2+.  They had a terrible shot at doing any real damage to whatever metal box we had.

Now, if a S6 weapon shoots at a rhino, we can (rightly) cringe, because whereas it may not be likely to kill the transport outright, if it gets a result, progress is made toward the vehicle being destroyed.

How many times have you rolled like nine 'stunned' results in a row on a penetrating hit and lost a game for that exact reason?  Just think - those nine results in 6th edition now equate to three destroyed transports.

Let's get a quick summary in here, before we move on:

1) In 5th, vehicles weren't dependably destroyed
2) In 6th, vehicles can be destroyed dependably

This means that if a competitive player wants your mans out of their transport, it will happen, and unless you can roll 5+ consistently (cheater), you can't really defend against it.

Add this to the fact that transports can no longer contest objectives, that troops inside a transport can no longer contest/hold objectives, and that we can only move a transport 6" if we want to take guys out.  This all equates to objective-grabbing by transports laden with soldiers as a risky proposition.  Here's why:

  • In 5th, you couldn't just ignore a transport, as it might eventually contest an objective and lose you the game. 
  • In 6th, you really can ignore them once the troops have gotten out, unless it's a kickass transport with lots of shooty (i.e. more of a support vehicle than anything)
  • If someone keeps troops in their transport for a last-minute move-disembark6"-run2d6, their opponent has a choice to stop them from getting that extra 6" of movement from the transport because they can destroy that vehicle at will.

So, transports are no longer dependable for objective-grabbing at the last minute (unless they're flyers, but that's a totally different can of worms).  Of what use are they, then?

Well, they can't hold units that want to assault, that's for sure.  

I see transports specifically as something to help you get to midfield during your first turn.  It's an additional 12" move toward the middle of the board for troops.  Move up your 12", then flat-out another 6", getting the troops up where you want them.  Next turn, when your transports die, the guys inside are within rapid-fire/assault weapon range.

Whether or not that vehicle is worth the 40+ points you pay for it depends on how much you value your troops being the middle of the board.

Does it make sense?

I hope so.  Let's move on.

Shift #2:  Value of Glancing Hits

This one should be easier.

It's better to take things that glance vehicles in 6th than it was in 5th.  In 5th, it was nearly impossible to glance a Land Raider to death, whereas in 6th, that's pretty much the easiest way to get rid of Land Raiders.

Things like Scourges still suck, because the unit is so flimsy.

But, things like the Voltaic Staff the Necrons have suddenly become awesome (Assault 4, Haywire).

Also, things like Riflemen Dreads are much more consistent, being able to get rid of transports and other vehicles dependably, while still providing solid anti-troop if you need it.

Honestly, whereas sometimes you'll get the lucky explosion from a Pen, competitive players are going to gravitate toward the 'sure thing' rather than 'potential'.  Glancing hits are where it's at now.

Which touches on a different shift, that I'll discuss a little later:

High-volume mid-str weapons are suddenly awesome, because they can kill both tanks and troops reliably.

Things that can serve dual roles are... useful.  Obviously, lol.

You're probably wondering then:

  • If transports aren't that great anymore, then
  • why on earth would taking lots of glancing weapons be good, since nobody will use transports??
Shift #3:  Support Tanks Win

Whereas transports aren't that useful because they only serve a single function, and do it poorly, shooty tanks in the back are going to be extremely useful.

There are quite a few tanks that can now serve two functions:  kill both vehicles and troops.  Since the game consists of only those things, many shooty vehicles got much better.

An Example:  Baal Predators have their TL Assault Cannons, which could back in the day potentially kill the stray Rhino, but it was in the end primarily anti-troop.  Now however, it can kill tanks reliably, with the Assault Cannon getting a guaranteed glance on AV13, and a more-than-likely glance on AV14 when it rends.  Heavy Bolters used to suck at anti-vehicle (glance-only), but now they threaten all sorts of vehicles.

Which leads us to the truly largest shift of the article:

Shift #4:  Volume Fire Wins

Your reward for reading the whole thing
There are some that could make the argument that this 'shift' was also true in 5th.  I won't contest that, since I personally no longer care about 5th.  However, I think that no matter how true it was in 5th, it's even truer in 6th.

Here's why:

  • In 5th, volume fire would kill troops, but was much less dependable vs. vehicles
  • In 6th, volume fire also kills vehicles, as well as being even more effective vs. troops due to worse cover saves.
What the stated goal then becomes is... well... 

Lots of mid-strength, high-volume weapons are going to be what's needed to be competitive, especially if we want to have a chance hitting flyers.  

But that's a story for a different day.

Instead, let's jump into the aforementioned 'Bonus List'.  It actually ties in really well with this article, I think.

Sorry for the spam.  :)

1850 Grey Knights w/ Allied Necrons:


10x Strikers w/ 2x Psycannons, 1x MC Demonhammer
10x Strikers w/ 2x Psycannons, 1x MC Demonhammer
10x Strikers w/ 2x Psycannons, 1x MC Demonhammer

Dreadnought w/ 2x Autocannons, Psybolt Ammo
Dreadnought w/ 2x Autocannons, Psybolt Ammo
Dreadnought w/ 2x Autocannons, Psybolt Ammo

Allied Necrons:

Overlord w/ Warscythe, Mindshackle Scarabs

Destruction Cryptek w/ Solar Pulse
Harbinger of the Storm Cryptek w/ Voltaic Staff
Harbinger of the Storm Cryptek w/ Voltaic Staff

5x Necron Warriors // Night Scythe --> Storm Cryptek here
5x Necron Warriors // Night Scythe --> Storm Cryptek here

Annihilation Barge


Drive on the Night Scythes 24", the guys get out and move another 6", and shoot something 42" from your table edge.  Great anti-tank, with alright anti-troop if not many vehicles.

Destruction Cryptek is literally just there for Night Fight Control.  Just hide him in a corner for fun, or shoot a S8 AP2 shot every turn.  Whatever you want, lol.

Coteaz will probably just take the power that lets him twin-link a squad.  

First turn, I imagine I'll want the Strikers to run instead of shoot, generally.  

Annihilation barge is alright anti-flyer, because any hit it makes turns into three, with re-rolls.

Most of the army is high-volume of fire, and can do alright in assault if absolutely needed, with four hammers and the warscythe.

I can swap out the Annihilation Barge for a Chariot for the Lord if I want.

Thoughts?  Adulations?  Am I wrong about something?

I want to know!


Creidhnan said...

Great to have you back!

I agree with most of what you said - skimmers seem to be the exception, being more survivable with jink, and 30" move to stay out of trouble until they are needed.

If success now depends on mid strength fire at volume, what do Dark Eldar do? They have volume fire, but not the str.

Creidhnan said...

Oh, and thanks for the pic ;)