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Sunday, 29 January 2012

A Few Points I Feel I Need To Make On The 6e 'Leak'

One thing I have seen mentioned a couple times in reference to the 6e 'leaked' PDF is the belief that it will somehow "balance" the game.

It's commonly asserted that common builds from 5e, such as Razorspam, will magically cease to be any good, and that the weaker Codexes get a boost that puts them on par.

Now, I don't actually believe this is the case, in fact I believe it's a crock of shit.

People talk as though MSU is weaker, because of the ability to charge before shooting, or something.  Or maybe because of the unit-by-unit activation? Honestly, I really don't know exactly what the supposed nerf here is.  Perhaps the fact that they're less likely to obtain Directed Hits?

Either way, the fact that it's easier to torrent wounds onto Special or Heavy weapon guys in small units, a balancing factor in 5e, is not a fact, and is indeed reversed in the Leak... Isn't it obvious? The fact that the more expensive guys are more likely to survive for longer, if anything, STRENGTHENS MSU as a way of building lists.

Moving on, Razorbacks are surely better, no? Oh noes, Hull Breach rules etc.  You're still a fairly cheap guntank and less likely to be outright destroyed now.  If you're a GK, it;'s even harder to silence you, since Shakes are more likely.

The biggest thing is, though, that people are missing the very obvious - new Codexes aren't just better because they're good options are often a step above the good options of other books - sometimes this isn't really even the case, no-one argues that Plague Marines aren't a damn good unit, no-one claims Wave Serpents don't fit the Gold Standard is resilience, there's no question that Deathwing are the single best Terminator unit in a Codex, that Fiends aren't solid Cavalry, that Lootas wouldn't benefit most armies...etc etc.

Good Codexes are so because of DEPTH and BREADTH.

Imperial Guard aren't good only because Hydras are good, because they have a pile of other viable Heavy choices.  Grey Knights aren't only good because Strike Squads are good, as they have other Troops available.  Examples can be found in them all - the 5e Codexes, with two very obvious exceptions (thanks Cruddace!) are all solid, variable books chock full of options.

This is simply not the case with older books.  Orks, on the surface, have a great Elite slot.  Lootas, Burnas, Nobs, Kommandos - they all can do a job... the problem being, the job each of these can do, is either better filled elsewhere in the FoC, or more points efficiently by a different unit entirely.  Who needs Burnas, when you have so much anti-infantry in the army by default?  Who needs Kommandos when they've no armour and thus die when the enemy replies to their introduction with a stiff breeze?  You think this will change if 6e looks like this? You think the best ranged support unit in that book suddenly becomes less vital somehow?  Armies still deploy some distance apart y'know.

This isn't about Orks though - it's about ALL the older books. You think Vespid become better when it becomes easier to charge them with the removal of random distances? You think Fire Warriors lack of variable weaponry will be overcome somehow by these rules? You think Banshees being able to actually assault out of Serpents means they won't be shot down after annihilating what they charge? You think that Swooping Hawks will magically kill things now? That the Witchblade nerf makes Seer Councils more viable than Fire Dragons now? Or that Possessed somehow overcome the heinous flaws in the unit's design? That Raptors and Bikes aren't horribly overcosted now?


Sure, these changes MAY improve SOME units in the older books - but the vast majority of unused units aren't used in competitive play for reason that can only be fixed by a new Codex, or at least a rewrite.

And there we have our next issue.

See, the game, supposedly, is being expanded to have Super Heavies and Flyers introduced into the core rules - and in order to properly compete with things like that, we'd need more and better toys on the other stuff.  This, in turn, leads to a scaling up of the base power level, starting with the next Codex, presumably Black Templars.  If this is the case, the the older books, the 4e ones, are EVEN FURTHER out of date, even more hamstrung in comparison, and even weaker than they are at the moment.  How can the like of Shining Spears possibly compete against things like Baneblades and Stompas when they can't even compete for points in their own Codex now?

It shows a fundamental failure to understand the game, and arguably games in general, to think that no new paradigm will establish itself, and that the great units will cease to be the the stand-out popular choices, that players won't continue to write lists using the best possible equipment to win them games.

It's despicable and reprehensible to pander to the masses of idiots and morons, and propagate this farcical notion; that dialling the average strength of the Codexes up doesn't lead to the same basic situation simply with some different players at the top of the tree.

People like to talk about this ruleset as if it magically makes foot armies better compete with mechanised ones - as far as I can see, Infantry are easier to kill now, and Tanks harder, because Meltaguns aren't an easy answer anymore.

They talk like the obsolete Codexes benefit from being 2 Editions behind instead of 1, but when 6e books start coming out, they will invariably have to outdo the 5e books in order to truly fit into this era of Super Heavies and D-strength weaponry, meaning those that get left behind get left further and further behind.  You think DE players would even exist if their armies hadn't been able to stay pretty much unchanged for the past decade?  How would they have reacted if they'd been put in a position where they needed to replace all their Raiders with more foot troops at the start of 5th instead, but without either new models or rules?

People talk about the game being quicker, and easier to play - and back it up with claims like 'we've been playing it 5 or 6 times in my local shop, and obviously it's easier, because that's our experience so far!' - and yet, a GREAT number of these people have proven themselves unable to demonstrate a good rules knowledge of the CURRENT ruleset - how on earth can we believe they've instantly assimilated a BRB they've had for less than a month when they've failed to grasp often basic tenets of one they've been playing for nearly four YEARS?  Furthermore - how can a game possibly be quicker ALREADY, when you should still be needing to cross reference things, and the rules themselves are a mess of page numbers and references to other sections?  You should be flicking those pages like a fucking Fighting Fantasy novel, and that can't possibly be quicker than me and my games where I never need the BRB to be opened.

People talk like the change to how No Retreat works makes combat better - but the fact that getting Swept is MUCH easier, and that fleeing units basically get one shot to regroup or get wiped, just make the majority of units even worse in CC than they already are - which is LESS of a reason to try and build combat-heavy armies, not MORE.

People talk as though Wound Allocation was this horrible, incomprehensible nightmare that's now completely balanced and simple.  Nonsense.  Wound Allocation was only difficult to understand if you find basic English difficult.  Was it balanced? Well, that's of course a matter of opinion to an extent - but the fact that it punished small units and not large ones made it seem perfectly fair to me.  Did it take more time to work out on the table, allocating wounds to 5 or 6 different groups at times?  Well, it took more than simply rolling saves and pulling models as it suited you, sure.  But then, the problem with that system is that it becomes very easy to ignore all concept of player skill, and simply reactively remove models to suit the new situation - such as removing all models in range of the next enemy unit's shooting, thus wasting their turn entirely.  Is that really fairer than risking the loss of heavy weapon guys?  Patch Up also goes too far in restricting the use of fully complex units by essentially making them completely unplayable.  What 'fairness' is there in wiping out up to half a unit in a compulsory action at the end of a turn?  When that unit isn't Marines or Fearless (eg, Ork Nobs) there's a very good chance they'll take that opportunity to depart the battle entirely.  Hardly an appropriate response from a design perspective.

This ruleset has some positives, no question.  Some of it is written better than now, which is great.  But it doesn't do very much to address any of MY least favourite parts of the game, and goes far too far in my view in the opposite direction.

I'm not saying I won't try this ruleset out for myself - but I anticipate that if this is more than about a third accurate, my 18 years of playing WH40k are coming to a close.

Rest assured, I intend to give you my reflections after playing with this set of rules, I'll tell you all about my experiences with Heck armour and Gracing hits - and unlike some, I won't be ignoring rules to better suit my purposes - if the game as I describe it is more fun to you, then bully for you.

Lastly - MSU will forever be King under a system that dictates number of KPs based on unit cost.  Complain about Gretchin being worth the same as a Land Raider, welcome to the natural antithesis - if I kill your LR, you have to kill 4 or 5 of my units to even the score.

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