I’ve been a bit 40k crazed as of late, so naturally this would not escape my attention for long.
I saw the excerpts from White Dwarf like I am sure many of you did. Warhammer 40k 7th Edition is around the corner and will likely be on shelves at the end of this month. My question really is why? 6th Edition had problems, but it was largely functional. Plus there were plenty of armies that have not been updated for 6th yet, let alone 7th. 6th Edition has only been around for two years so far, half the time of most other editions that tended to last for four years.
What do we know so far? The light shed on the situation can be broken down as such:
Battle-forged and Unbound armies. This is basically a way of throwing the Force Organisation Chart out of the window. You can play an entire army of Heldrakes if you want, (and if you do then you get no hugs or cookies from me!) you could field an Eldar army comprising solely of grav-tanks, you could field a Space Marine 1st Company themed list. The options are there. From what I gathered a battle-forged army, an army that still adheres to whatever Force Organisation Chart they have in 7th Edition, will gain in-game bonuses as a way of attracting people to play them, whilst an Unbound list will be able to field as many and whichever units they wish to without the need for an HQ and two troops. If you are wondering what my stance on it is, I will potentially surprise you by saying that I believe that it is a good thing. If you have read any of my other articles, you will see that I am a fluff player and generally hate cheesy army lists, so I am guessing that this response would seem odd at first; let me tell you why. Firstly, it is optional. As human beings we have a thing called free will, you can choose to not play against Unbound armies should you not wish to play against them. You can say that you only play against battle-forged armies much in the same way that you can say that you refuse to play against any Escalation army. It also opens up opportunities for heavily themed lists, such as the 1st Company list using only Sternguard, Vanguard, Venerable Dreadnoughts, Terminators and Land Raiders; or the Iron Warrior siege army with artillery, armour and human waves of cultists. Whilst these could have been done before, the introduction of Unbound armies makes them more possible. However, the negative part of this is obvious: it will be abused by people. You will see people using this to field vast numbers of overpowered units without any reason other than the fact that they want to win. This just means that we, as intelligent beings, will just have to choose our opponents. If somebody comes to the table with ten Heldrakes as his army, I will not get my models out and find another opponent. Then again, I am not a tournament player, I am merely a casual player who occasionally attends campaign weekends, but never tournaments. What I can see though, is that tournament play is a very different kettle of fish to casual play, so I could not comment on this for tournament play beyond the fact that I believe that it will be abused horrifically.
Secondly, something that I believe will only be a good thing: more dynamic missions. What does this mean? Well, what I assume is that it means that objectives will finally have some actual depth to them again. I am not interested in holding poker chips on a board, I want my objectives to mean something. There will undoubtedly be objectives that you have to hold, much like the current ones, but hopefully they will introduce more interesting ways to win. At the moment, all of the rule book missions are very, very uninspiring. I can only see this as a good thing; breaking up monotony is never a bad thing in my books! As a guideline, there are “a suite of 36 Tactical Objective cards”. I like what I read.
Thirdly, the psychic phase. If you have seen my typical armies, you will know that I love my witches. I love Farseers for my Eldar, I love Primaris Psykers for my Guard (I still am unable to bring myself to call them Astra Militarum), I love my Inquisitors. I feel that psychic powers, especially Divination and the Eldar Runes of Fate tables, can really swing a battle in your favour where your forces would normally lose. The psychic phase has me both excited and worried. On the upside, it could be incredibly interesting. It could prove to really augment your army and add a real punch, but it could nerf psykers into the ground. As a disclaimer, I will keep fielding huge numbers of psykers even if we do get nerfed into the ground, however I do not believe that they will. Magic in Warhammer Fantasy, I am told, is important and has its own phase (I could be wrong here, I have no idea how Fantasy works) and is not nerfed into the ground. I am hoping that the fact that GW are giving psychic powers their own phase is a sign that they will become more important, or stay the same. (I would prefer it if they did not get buffed or nerfed. They are important enough at the moment) I like that Perils of the Warp is becoming more like it is in the Fantasy Flight RPGs where you roll on a table for some pretty scary results. An unsaveable wound was very lacklustre and this new table could prove to be very interesting if your psyker messes up (ghosthelms are going to be even more coveted by the psykers of the lesser races. Ha!) Also, there are the new Daemonology powers, Sanctic and Malefic. We have not been told much beyond the fact that it allows you to “summon the fell denizens of the Warp to do [your] bidding on the battlefield!” If I play as my traitor guard, I will be sure to try those out, but otherwise I will not be touching them. I am a fluff-fanatic and it strikes me as strange if the Eldar or Inquisition start summoning daemons to the battlefield. Especially considering that my Inquisitors are either alongside my fiercely loyal-to-the-Emperor Imperial Guard or my Eldar. I think that both armies would turn on my radical Malleus Inquisitor if he did that. Heck, his Ordo Xenos former student would probably shove her force weapon through his chest!
Whilst it is difficult to pass any real opinions on 7th Edition with what we have, I am personally excited. Hopefully it will bring a new starter box as well. If it was a starter box with Eldar and Sisters, I would cry tears of joy, run all the way to Warhammer World (which is a 10min walk from my house, so that is a lot less impressive than it sounds), break in and hug the design team before getting arrested. All would be forgiven if there was a new starter box that was Sisters against Eldar. I would buy at least eight… However, we all know that it will be Space Marines against someone else. Hopefully they will not have the iconography of a chapter this time so I can use them as an allied detachment for my Guard.
As I get more information on 7th Edition, I will write more, though right now I have no more information and it is 1:20am. I need to go and collapse. My prediction is that 7th Edition will be a decent rule set and will hit the shelves either last week of May or first week of June. It will be decent, but not amazing nor terrible.