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Monday, April 23, 2012

Things to come in 6th edition?

Of the greatest archetypes in the universe, none is as emulated as the wise-cracking Detective-type.  In fact, entire RPGs are based on this theme!  But I digress.  This post is to discuss quickly some things I recently noticed and may infer through my detective skills...

We all know that GW loves to drop hints for upcoming releases well ahead of time.  Remember the Dreadnought's cameo in a battle report all those years ago?  It was months before the plastic version was finally released.  Remember that crazy writing that randomly appeared in White Dwarf waaaaay back in '01?  It turned out to be a Tau message to the Imperium, and the Tau were introduced to 40k a few months later.  Have you noticed the Azrael image on the spine of the last few months' White Dwarfs?  Obviously, this means Dark Angels will be getting some love soon.

In fact, it seems that the rumour-mill has pounded the idea of the new starter box contents being Dark Angels and Chaos Space Marines.  To steal from this unconfirmed source, the contents are apparently as follows:

Dark Angels
-Terminator Captain
-10 Tactical Marines
-5 Terminators
-3 Bikes
Chaos
-Sorceror
-5 Possessed
-5 Chosen Marines
-10 Cultists

Now I don't think this is a very strong balance between the two forces, if this turns out to be true, but then look at the current starter kit.  Or the one before that.  And before that.  Yeah, balance is not the key to a starter kit.  In any case, here's my source (and even they claim it's not reliable, so take it with a bit of salt):  http://apocalypse40k.blogspot.com/2012/04/flyers-gw-2012-release-schedule-6th.html

So what have I gleaned from this?  If true, this means that a)Cultists make it into the Chaos Marine codex!  Yay!  As a Word Bearer, I find this to be completely welcome and even well past-due.  b)Chosen may become beefed-up Troops or just damned amazing!  and c)Possessed may actually become useable in smaller games, which would mean a reduction in points-cost or even simple abilities (i.e. no stupid roll to gamble on goodness).  As far as the Dark Angels, well...  they're Dark Angels, so what is there to say?  They've been the same for decades now, so no surprises there.

So there's some cool clues for ya.  But, much like an infommercial- THERE'S MORE!!!

If anyone has taken the time to pick up the White Dwarf this month, there's some cool bits in there.  Go grab your magazine (at least the three of you that still bother to pick one up each month, that is) and open to page 75.  You'll notice it's the start of the 'Death Worlds' mini-dex with a few scenarios.  These scenarios may hold some clues you may not have noticed...

Pg 78- Scoring units...  In the current edition, only Troops are scoring.  However, these scenarios allow for all infantry, jump infantry, cavalry, and bikes to count as scoring.  Is this for a single scenario?  Nope.  I would venture to guess that 40k 6th Edition may redefine 'scoring' units as this list.

Pg 80-84-  Deployment/First Turn...  Notice that all three scenarios require the players to deploy differently than the current rules.  In the current game, one player sets up their whole army at once and then usually goes first.  But these scenarios require players to take turns deploying one unit at a time and then to roll off to see who goes first.  I feel like 6th ed. may be returning to this format for game setup.

Pg 80-85-  Deployment...  See how all three scenarios are split length-wise?  Now I don't know if this means that the three basic versions of setup for these scenarios means that all 6th edition games will be this way, but it is an interesting situation that there are now three distinct types of deployment zones, all using the same pattern.  Most specifically, check out the pg. 85 deployment, with the table split into 6 sectors.  Not only do I think this is actually brilliant, but it does fit quite nicely with the Realm of Battle tables.  Wouldn't it be obvious to use this as a potential deployment instead of the common 'table quarters'?

Now, check out the battle report starting on page 86.  This is definitely stretching, but you never know...

Pg 87- Army Lists...  Notice how small these armies are?  I'm not saying that this is gonna be normal, but is 6th edition gonna go down in points for the main focus?  We know most gamers out there have gazillions of points and thousands of models, and we know that new hobbyists have a hard time getting into the hobby because the Hobby Centers no longer recruit as well as they used to, but also (and much more obviously) because the price to collect an army has shot upwards to almost unaffordable.  How should GW fix this so they continue to grow the business in the future?  Why not drop the size of games so the cost isn't as high and 'noobs' are not-so-easily discouraged to get into it?

Pg 89- the Battle itself...  In the entire three-page battle report, the Tyranids assaulted into combat twice, while the Space Wolves only did so once.  But here's the kicker- on this page it seemed that both players got their respective move and shoot phases in order and then charged at the same time.  I may be reading too deeply into an abridged report, but the impression I got from this is that a turn works like this:  Player 1 moves then shoots, player 2 moves then shoots, player 1 assaults, player 2 assaults.  Maybe GW is gonna use an 'integrated turn sequence' where each player gets to act in each phase of the game before moving to the next phase.  Wouldn't that actually be kinda cool?

Do I know this stuff to be even a possibility?  No I don't.  Do I think or hope these extrapolations will be true?  Nope, it's not scientific.  I make no judgements until the new edition's book is IN MY HANDS.  That's why I haven't looked at the online version of the 'leaked rulebook' and why I haven't called my 'Fortress Monastary' and badgered my many sources.  I simply refuse to fall for the rumour-mongering.  But I can't help but point out certain observations.  After all, my service to the Imperium taught me that clues are everywhere, if you just know where to look...  :-)

Whiners should be turned into Spawn!

It has been years since GW put out the latest version of the Chaos Space Marine codex.  It replaced one of the most broken army books ever written, but that hasn't stopped the skads of haters over the years. 

I have been playing this awesome game since Clinton was President of this country, and I've had the honor of seeing EVERY army get their love over and over.  Add to that my time in the Emperor's service and I can tell you that my own Power Armor has taken every kind of shot the less-controlled gamers out there can throw.  One of the many has been the incessant whining about the CSM book.

In second edition, the game saw a great Chaos codex- thicker than any other and packed full of great artwork and fluff!  Then, the much-ridiculed third edition was released and the Chaos Marines were given their 'pamphlet', just like everyone else.  Unlike everyone else, however, this pamphlet/codex worked for Chaos.  The Ultramarines were terrible, the Eldar were useless, and the Orks didn't even know they were an army for the longest time.  But all this came as hindsight and, eventually, GW produced addendum codices and Chapter-approved articles which helped flesh the armies out.  For Chaos Marines, this equalled ridiculous 'up-gunning' in the form of Legion rules.  Oh how frustrated I was, as a Word Bearers player, that the background and army-themes changed to better fit the models.  But alas, it was cool and really allowed the CSM to exhibit that customary theme they so desparately craved.

Then came the days.  GW released 4th edition and the greatest of all Chaos codices.  This book was packed full of options- so much so that tournament-organizers such as myself had to judge those army lists separate from the rest of the pack just to dedicate the necessary time to check everything!  Daemon Princes were broken, Bloodletters were beyond broken (even at 28 points or whatever they were at that time), and the Legion rules found in the back of the book were redonkulously broken.  This book was so powerful that tournaments in the entire tri-state area I was in were dominated by the Chaos ilk.  This book was stupidly good, but at least it was fun and could be beaten.

Now is the days of 'woe-is-me' from all those Chaos players.  No longer do Legion rules exist.  No longer do Chaos Marines 'pop out' Bloodletters with little the enemy can do other than die.  No longer does the Chaos player simply need to show up to almost always win. 

You see, GW released the newest book just before 5th edition was revealed.  The codex showed a distinct format of 'simple and good'.  No longer was there supposed to be an entire science to understanding the army-building, but instead focussed on the playing IN the battle itself.  It wasn't the only book to get this format, either.  Check out the Dark Angels and Eldar books.

So let's talk about what the gripes people have brought to me are and how I answer all those:

My army sucks because I'm a moron!!!
  • The units aren't as good anymore!  Apparently, Berserkers being WS5 and with Furious charge (while rockin' 4 attacks on the charge) doesn't make up for the lack of 'choppas'.  Apparently, Raptors are useless even though they're nothing but special-weapon-wielding Assault Marines for only 20 points, which was cheap before normal Space Marines dropped in cost.  Apparently, Daemon Princes aren't as good as Lords, despite being waaaay cheaper AND with better stats!  See a theme here yet?
  • Chaos Marines are no good compared to everything else!  Yeah, because being cheaper than loyalists, with a higher Leadership (making up for not having ATSKNF) and being armed with bolters AND close combat gear is terrible, right?  Second only to Grey Hunters, they are the most versatile troops in the game!
  • There's no options in this book anymore!  Let's see, of all the options in the 4th edition version of the army, players took the same things that are now listed in the 5th edition codex.  In other words, GW did little more than remove the overpowered 'daemonic gifts' and leave the common options in the book.  Did I mention this was the new format when that codex was released?  Also, every single unit in the book has tons of options as it is.  Did Lords lose their Daemonc Mounts?  Nope.  Did Terminators lose any weapon upgrades?  Nope.  In fact, they gained Lightning Claws!  For cheap!!!  Again, most common options, in.  Stupid overpowered Daemonic crap, out.  Easy.
  • They can't take real Daemons anymore!  Of all the daemons that Chaos could take, it was Bloodletters or Plaguebearers that were seen on the battlefield.  I must admit that the 'summoning' rules mixed with Daemon Banners and holding Bloodletters were so broken that it frustrated the hell outta me (see the pun I did there?).  That being said, GW wanted to make an all-Daemon army, and they could only do that if CSM no longer used them.  Who would use all Daemons when they don't have armour, transports, or heavy weapons if the CSM book gave you all those PLUS the warp-spawns?!  In addition, there is a great reason from a 'fluff' standpoint- When the Chaos Gods look to send help to their forces in the Material Realm, they'll send their best to help the poor Cultists and they'll send their average to help their nigh-unstoppable Renegade Marines.  What help do the Legions need?  Not much...

  • Finally, the most important and common complaint of all- I can no longer do my themed list anymore!!!  Man, it must suck to not be able to use Khorne Berserkers and Bikers to back up that Khorne Lord...  Oh wait, you can!  Seeing as Cult Troops are still troops, this isn't an issue.  What's really missing is the bonus to summoning for 'sacred numbered' squads.  Well, waaaaaah!  The ability to still represent a chosen Chaos God or a basic Legion is still there.  If anyone should be angry, it's me!  I play Word Bearers.  First, we lost our cultists to the damned Alpha Legion, but we gained Daemons and Dark Chaplains.  Then we lost all of it.  If any armies suffer from this sudden 'lack of theme', they're the Undivided Armies- Word Bearers and Alpha Legion!  Black Legion, Night Lords, and Iron Warriors lost little or nothing at all.
At the end of the day, I get so tired of the cry-babies.  I have been an avid Ultramarine player for years and always pooped on, yet I didn't start whining until this year.  And that whining was in response to Chaos players whining about their book.  I like theme.  I like specific Legions/Chapters being awesome at what they do.  But I'm also a lover of the game for the story, not the rules.  And until my Ultramarines become something other than the worst Chapter in their own book, and my Word Bearers become something other than red Black Legion, I'm gonna tell all the whiners out there this:

Anyone who continues to whine about this deserves the final fate of all failed champions-  Spawn-hood!!!