Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Some simple fixes to improve 6th Edition 40K

6th edition has some issues, but I think they all stem from some simple core rules problems.  Mainly flyers and wound allocation.  I don't think their approach was all bad, they just failed in execution.  They didn't anticipate the full effect these changes had across the system.

We all hoped flyers would be balanced out in the codexes.  Everyone would get their own jet planes and AA units, and it would all work out in the end.  So far this has been inconsistent.  Most of the new flyers have been underwhelming.  Plus, outside of Tau no one got decent AA options.   As a result there's not much to challenge the trifecta of Nightsythes, Vendettas, and Helldrakes.  Well except for Wave Serpents, but I'll get to that later.

#1: Change snap shot rules to -2 BS instead of always BS 1.
For a good chunk of the field, things stay the same but it has a few effects.  You still have an advantage for the 4, 5, and 6 BS models you pay the points for. The small elite armies like Marines need an answer to Helldrakes.  Letting some of their units act as supplemental AA that can hit on 5+ instead of 6+ would help in that regard.   It also will forces flyers to stay away from elite ground units because their combined small arms fire gets scary.  And what's more cinematic than your BS 6 warlord pulling a Patton on a flyer bearing down on him, hitting on 3+ with his plasma pistol?

#2: Weapons that fire in overwatch can't fire in their next shooting phase.
This change goes in hand with the previous one.  If we make snap shots better we have to compensate for their increased efficiency in defensive fire.  Makes it consistent with interceptor fire in that all out of phase shooting forfeits your next shooting.  We also clarify that shooting phase rules like Multi-trackers don't work in defensive fire.

#3: Allow focus fire on armor saves like with cover saves
Wound allocation is a major time sink and NPE in this edition.  In concept it's cool, but it's exploitable.  If I can fire on the guys outside of the woods instead of the ones inside the woods, why shouldn't I be able to shoot my lasguns at the cultists I can actually hurt instead of the Chaos Lord in impenetrable terminator armor.  A slightly altered way to word it is to say that the wounds must be taken on models that have the majority armor value first.  Though I think the first way is better from a pure rules simplicity standpoint.  

#4: Something has to be done about that Serpent shield
It's ridiculous.  Even as a life long Eldar player it shames me.  I'm torn about the actual fix.  I think the range is too long on it for starters.  My gut says to strait up reduce the range to 18".   A fairer option may be to just attenuate the number of shots as the range increases.  So you get D3+3 at 12", D3+1 at 24", and D3 beyond that.

#5: And that stupid Hellturkey...
It's too versatile. Either it should loose torrent, or template weapons should be disallowed while a flyer is zooming.  Make the thing enter hover-mode to use the baleflamer.

#6: No joining MC's with IC's: Period.
The Riptide loophole is ridiculous.  Close it.  

There's probably some other balance issues that should be addressed, but I don't want to get to nit-picky.  I don't want perfection, just playable.  Good enough is good enough.  I can live with random charges and things like that.  Randomness to a certain extent can be mitigated by play style and good list construction.  The goal here was to get the major items that are standing in the way of this being a fun game.  The really obvious missteps that a design team that was paying event the slightest attention would have FAQ'ed into oblivion months ago.


  1. 1. I prefer the notion of re-rolling successful hits for Snap Shots. That way it scales with Ballistic Skill and allows all Ballistic Skills to make shots.

    2. Being able to make Overwatch in an opponent's phase and then Shoot in your own Shooting phase goes a long way to equalizing Shooting and Close Combat. Historically you could fight two phases of close combat for every phase of shooting.

    3. The thing about the Chaos Lord in impenetrable Terminator Armour is that it's an incentive to lead heroically from the front instead of cowering wisely at the back when wounds are allocated to the closest model.

    4. Either you can glance a Wave Serpent to bits, or it can attempt to stop you from shooting, and it's an expensive target to be penetrated in your following shooting phase. The fact that it's AP- evens it out, in my experience. Oh, and it can't harm AV14.

    5. That rear AV10 is a killer, literally. It's like a gigantic 'kick-me' sign on it, particularly with a unit that has to get close for best effect despite a torrent weapon, and its weapons (including the Vector Strike) are all AP3, and S7 or less, so Sv2+ and AV14 get away scott-free.

    6. I'm pretty sure that allowing a Riptide to be joined by Independent Characters because they can take Drones is a loophole that needs closing. On the other hand, I'd say the real problem is stuff like And They Shall Know No Fear or the Puretide Engram Chip that hand out too many bonuses.

    Mind you, these issues don't break the game for me, but then your mileage may vary.

    1. About once or twice every weekend since it came out, with all of my armies (IG, SM, CSM, Orks, Necrons, DE, Tyranids). My experience is that the assault phase isn't dead, and it's been fun figuring out just how to make it work.

      Take "Look Out, Sir!" that really only works, and tanking only works, if you can't outflank the unit you're shooting that. I've rolled up units of Paladins with my Carnifexen because I moved past the unit prior to charging, making sure that I was in position to nail the guy with the Daemon Hammer, and then kill him.

      Wave Serpents don't get cover saves from Krak Grenades, although I've found that simply hitting them with a Jump Infantry unit with S4 does for them.

      Hitting anything on the board is nice if there's something worth hitting, and doing so doesn't leave you in position to get that AV10 ass caved in by S4 shooting, incidentally the kind of shooting that tends to hit on 6s. Honestly the best anti-air I have has been the Land Raider, which is kind of weird, honestly, but you put one in the centre of the board and any flyer attempting to go past it is fucked.

      Even with the Iv5+ from Daemon, the Heldrake is still automatically glanced by a Lascannon hit, and usually penetrated (and penetrating hits screw flyers immensely when you get the +1, because either the Baleflamer is destroyed, its velocity is locked, or it explodes. And AV12 with Iv5+ still isn't reliable protection against Lascannon hits.

      Which is the interesting thing. If you go by the averages you'd actually want a skyfiring autocannon (or quad-gun) to a lascannon, but the actual breaks, the results mean that you're better off taking the risk for the greater payoff than trying to chip flyers out of the air on 4 to glance and 5+ to penetrate.

      I think the hardest thing for many players in 6th edition, particularly those players that emphasized reliability in 5th, is understanding how 6th is about managing risk. And when I say "understanding," I mean being comfortable with it instead of finding it oppressive, rather than anything intellectual.

  2. How much 6th have you played? Assault phase is pretty much dead. It's more of a cope de grace than and actual strategy.

    Look out sir may be cinematic, but it's extremely bad from a game play perspective. It slows the game down, and generates some pretty bad tanking combos where you have 2+ save characters with essentially 20 wounds. Playing against someone who knows how to abuse the current wound allocation system is hair pullingly frustrating. And the bar for abuse is not that high.

    And it's pretty tough to glance 4 Wave Serpents to death with their 4+ cover saves before they shred your army with 28 S6 and 4+4d6 St7 shots a turn. Who cares about armor 14 when the rest of the army is dead.

    Torrent+flyer = hit anything on the board almost every turn. At least you could out maneuver it before they FAQ'ed it so that the flamer can be place 360 around the base. The possibility of 3x in a list means marines can't be competitive. And 5+ saves plus flyer rules makes that armor 10 rear hard to capitalize on.

  3. I'm kind of tired of people complaining about ic joining an mc like is some kind of loophole. It has been around for two additions now. But now that a strong codex has a chance, everyone complains. Ugh

    1. It was mostly for the always single model exception that the Riptide side steps since you can take missile drones. Always single model needs to be clarified better, I happen to think that it should be considered always single model at deployment time, not army list creation time.

  4. The rules for fortifications are a sticking point... Seems like they were simply tacked on at the end. Specifically, the Skyshield. RAW, putting Eldar Wave Serpents up there means you will likely have 2+ cover saves on a platform that will be nigh impossible to get to in order to assault.

    The AA rules are horrible, but the real problematic fliers are MOSTLY from the previous edition with the Heldrake being the one major exception.

    Between the Heldrakes and the Eldar silliness (and I am a LONG time Eldar player who stopped playing them die to their silly overpowered rules), I started moving more to a Legion list playing a 30K based force... 2 Land Raiders and a Spartan rolling across the field is amusing, but probably not going to be tournament legal :-)

  5. Random charge distance needs change. Maybe 1d6+6 if the opponent over watches, 2d6 if they don't.