Warhammer 40k 7th edition: A few thoughts on the impending rules update

A rather belated article this weekend, considering what happened in terms of Warhammer 40k, but revision, food shopping and meeting with a friend to give some Astra Militarum parts got in the way, so I have only just sat down to write this a day later.

So, what happened, you may ask? Well, if you are a Warhammer 40k player, then you will probably have heard more about 7th edition; some of you may have even pre-ordered the rulebook already. I walked to Warhammer World in Nottingham today to pick up this week’s White Dwarf magazine. I do not usually buy it, but this week I felt that, with 40k 7th edition around the corner, I should probably buy it and have a read through to get an idea of what’s ahead.

From what I have read, I have a feeling that psykers, or anti-psyker wargear, will be an auto-include for most lists. The psychic phase, which resides between the movement and shooting phase, is a high-risk high-reward phase where your psykers can attempt to manifest their powers and your opponent can attempt to dispel them; from the sounds of it, it sounds a lot like the magic phase in Warhammer Fantasy. I also gather that any army gets the ability to dispel their opponent’s psychic powers, even those who lack any psykers like Tau or Necrons, but would benefit from taking some psykers from another codex (I will go over unit selection later). The psychic tables in the rule book will be the standard five: Biomancy, Divination, Pyromancy, Telekinesis and Telepathy, however they will also be joined by the two new disciplines: Sanctic and Malefic Daemonology, the latter of which has been revealed in this week’s White Dwarf. Malefic psychic powers are all about summoning daemons. There are a couple of offensive shooting attacks, but three powers plus the Primaris power are about summoning daemons. These range from summoning ten lesser daemons, such as Bloodletters or Daemonettes, to greater daemons such as trading the life of the casting psyker, or lives if it is a brotherhood of psykers, for a greater daemon such as a Bloodthirster or a Lord of Change, who can also roll on these powers. You could say that this is an obvious money grab by GW, daemons are not the best selling models in their collection so adding these powers that require daemons to be useful and will be available to a wide spectrum of armies could be seen as a business move, but I like it. As a fan of Dark Heresy, Black Crusade and the other Fantasy Flight games, I think that summoning daemons definitely has a place on the battlefield. As an Eldar player, I will not be dabbling. I have not seen the Sanctic table, but I imagine that it will be the reverse, powers specifically aimed at banishing daemons rather than summoning them. Also, rolling a double of any kind when summoning daemons (which is incredibly likely with the higher warp charge powers) when not a daemon yourself will cause Perils of the Warp, which will apparently have new and more deadly effects. Oh, and one final boon is that if a psyker rolls all of their powers from the same discipline, they get the Primaris power for free. More psychic powers means more variety at least, but I’d still prefer if I could choose my psychic powers like before.

Another thing that was directly confirmed and built upon were the aspects of unbound armies. Unbound armies are completely free of any restrictions apart from the points limit. For example, you could take an army of 4 Wraithknights, 2 Riptides, 3 Heldrakes, Sternguard Veterans in a Drop Pod and a Carnifex brood. I have already gone over the pros and cons of these Unbound armies from my point of view, but at least we now know that a Battle-forged force (one that abides by the Force Organisation Chart) cannot have its objectives contested if their Troops are on it and a Battle-forged force can also re-roll its warlord trait. All in all, it will not rebalance the potential cheese that a power-unit spam list can bring to the table, but it is nice to at least get something (being able to capture objectives that cannot be contested is a great boon, do not misunderstand me on that; it just is not enough). I will reiterate that I love the idea of Unbound armies, so long as myself and my opponent can act like adults about it and not just seek to make the most broken combinations.

There have been many tweaks hinted at that are apparently all over the rules, including vertical unit coherency being 6” to accommodate multi-story buildings, Split Fire no longer requiring a Leadership test and the requirement of scoring a 7 on a penetrating hit to drop vehicles in one shot, making AP2 and AP1 weapons a necessity if you want to one-shot kill a vehicle. You can still whittle them down with weight of fire (so… Hull points will still be around I would guess). As a mechanised Eldar / Dark Eldar player I am rather pleased that my vehicles will be even harder to destroy, though my gaming group may throw a tantrum at this.

Another change that was hinted at is the fact that they are bringing back the idea that all units can score. This is nice as I could imagine there being an important objective in a building with a squad of Celestians clearing cultists away from it, then wandering around aimlessly as they are unable to “hold” the objective, being an Elites choice. They are supposed to be the elite Sisters of Battle, yet they are unable to pick things up or secure locations? I am glad that sense is finally being re-introduced in this scenario.

I will not be buying the rule book when it comes out. £50 for all three parts (rules, art and story) is too steep for me and the £200 limited edition is nothing short of an absolute joke, I will be waiting for the starter set to come out. The starter set has not been officially leaked to my knowledge, but the word on the internet is that it will be Blood Angels and Orks. I can use the Blood Angels to increase my current Space Marine force and I will keep the Orks around for a rainy day (unless I hear of anyone who wishes to trade their Space Marines for my Orks). This is, of course, dependent on two things: the price of the next starter set and whether or not they release the rule book separately in the future.

Personally, I am still excited for 7th edition. It comes out on the 24th May, next weekend, but will it improve on 6th edition? I am cynical in the long term, as whilst 6th was better than 5th, in my opinion, 4th was better than both. All we can do, however, is wait and see.

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