The nature of 40k is changing, recently we have had a mass of updates and new units that can and probably have changed 40k for us all forever. With the two big books coming out adding lords of war and massive fortifications we have many many options available to us now and data slates adding formations to regular 40k, it will be interesting to see where 40k is heading, will it all be good though?
In the past it has always been fun talking about what you would do if you faced a super heavy in regular games of 40k, and indeed i tried it out back in Feb (here for the game) and it was a fun game but i will go more into that later. Now though he has been thrust upon us with out need of opponents permission. Interesting to say the least. Each force (bar sisters of course) have a super heavy (gargantuan creature for nids) which they can use, but imperial guard have about 6 as that's what the plastic bane blade kit can make (i think). As far as i am aware the rules for the tanks are exactly the same as apocalypse, so they ignore everything on the vehicle damage chart (bar explosion, which deals an extra hull point) and strength D weapons are still kept in. The biggest issue i have with this is keeping in D weapons, they ignore too much of the regular rules of the game to be considered fair, they ignore armour, cover AND invulnerable saves, so they can cut down terminators as easily as a mob of grots. It just doesn't seem fair to me that a tank, even a very expensive tank can do that in a regular game of 40k. In apocalypse it's fine as you expect that sort of thing and the system is designed for that (kinda). Hell even super heavies with out strength D weapons are a commanding figure on the battle field. In the game i linked above the stormlord, it only has a strength 6 gun, but it was so dominating that i had to destroy it or go bust, other wise it would just murder my force.
To try an combat this the rules give us an extra warlord table to use when you are facing super heavies, which focuses on your warlord and his unit being designed for taking down a lord of war E.g preferred enemy or twin-linked when shooting at it. We also get extra victory points for taking 3 hull points off a lord of war, which i guess makes taking them a little risky in low vp missions like the relic, but we will see if that matters, as if you take a super heavy you are probably going for the table any way.
Now that leaves us with a choice, do we make our army list specifically to take down a lord of war? do you embrace them and take the biggest with a scary D weapon yourself? or will you be ignoring them as if they have one you just have a small number of troops to wipe out and win? personally i will probably just take a few extra heavy weapons and go after the rest of his army and then do as much damage to the lord as possible afterwards.
Again another cool thing to play out when you make a custom scenario with your opponent before hand, but probably not great when its just a pick up game. being able to add in vast networks of defence is a great idea but with some of the bigger fortification i can see this being quite game braking. Say you bring 3 bastions and hide your most powerful units in them and your opponent goes for a close combat army he is already on a major disadvantage as they probably wont have the ability to crack your buildings by the time they hit your lines. In war i would Imagen it would be easy to accident run into a hastily set up aegis defence line, but to stumble across a whole fortified area? you need some pretty bad intelligence in order to do that.
That being said it does give armies more options, and some of the older armies with little to no air defence, it gives the ability to fight back with a number of quad guns from defences. I wont say this is a terrible idea, we have had the fortress of redemption since the beginning of 6th edition and i have only ever seen 1 person use it, and it was in apocalypse. So while we have had big fortifications before, maybe these new ones won't change the game as much as escalation will.
It doesn't mean that we can ignore it though, you will have to change your list to deal with large defence networks, so probably more heavy weapons (handy as you need them against super heavies) or hell just bring your own super heavy and D them to death. We will see how this pans out over the next month or so.
Black library have been releasing data slates in the run up to Christmas as an advent calender type thing. The first was the introduction of The prince of shadows, Belakor himself, which i though was a great idea as we have missed him from the fantasy book. he has now also been brought into 40k (no idea why they can't leave some guys unique to one system) and can be used by both marines and daemons. The idea of releasing characters for use is a brilliant one and one that i am all for, i would love to see a return of some of the old classics like Chaplin Xavier of the Salamanders or Nadhu fireheart of Saim-hann with new rules. Great idea. What i don't think is such a good idea is the introduction of formations to regular games of 40k, that shit needs to stay in apocalypse.
What do these formations do i hear you say? well you get a certain number of units together as an allied choice (but doesn't take up your allies) and you get bonuses for them. At the time of wriing this you can get a fuck ton of battle suits and a riptide with tank hunters, some space marine flyers (greay for space wolves i guess) with a tiny perk and some crappy Iyanden one. So this means that theoretically you could have 4 separate factions in a single army Primary space marines, allied guard, inquisitorial allies, then a Tau formation.
If they insist on having formations i would have though making them only usable by their primary would have been the way to go i.e. Only tau can take a tau formation. But as its not the case i can see some of us having major headaches in the future.
With all this content addition being given to us in such a short amount of time its rather up in the air, we need some time to figure out what works and what doesn't. As is always the case my predictions will turn out to be wrong and nothing much will change, or will it this time? it will be very hard to ever go back to the infantry vs infantry game that 40k was a week ago, and it will be interesting to see what's next.
Will we start getting lords of war in a standard codex? will race specific fortifications come out for the odd xenos like nids? (HA fat chance). I am guessing forgeworld will soon bring something out with lord of war, saying what tanks it has produced for us can be used in standard games of 40k and which are apoc only. We have a lot to look forward to, but will it be too much to soon? possibly, as i can see some people leaving the game in a huff over being beaten by a bane blade turn 1.
What do you think will come of all this?