Monday 1 May 2017

40k 8th Edition Reveals- Thoughts so far

The information has been coming thick and fast from GW over on their community page. Each day, new details about 8th edition are being released and feverishly discussed online. In this post, I will do a quick round up of what we have found out so far and give you some of my thoughts on the information. 

Unit Profiles
The Community Page gave a sneak preview of some of the unit profiles that will feature in the new edition of the game. 

As was previously revealed, individual movement values make a return to 40k. I actually quite liked the old system of standard movement for units in 40k. You knew each infantry unit could move 6", a bike or assault unit moved 12", etc. Perhaps it didn't fit the background that a Guardsman was as fast as a Space Marine, which was as fast as a Tyranid, but it was a nice, simple system. I can see the appeal of giving different units different movement values, but I think it will be a bit annoying trying to remember the different movement values of all the units that you may be facing. I am glad that they appear to be keeping 6" as the standard movement for units, as I would have hated going back to the 4" standard movement of 2nd edition.

Another big change is the flat values for WS and BS, rather than competing values in the current edition. Also glad to see the 2+ finally appear for close combat. I didn't mind the current BS system and was always confused when I read about people having difficulty remembering what ballistic skill required what roll to hit.

Initiative also makes a disappearance. I imagine that combat will use the alternating unit activation mechanic that is used in Age of Sigmar. Basically, players take it in turns to pick units in combat, with that unit getting to attack, followed by an enemy unit, perhaps in another combat entirely. Added to the "charging unit gets to strike first" mechanic, this will probably create some interesting tactical play for games. The only annoying thing will be when it comes to battle reports. I only wrote up a few games for Age of Sigmar, but leaping all over the table for combat order did not make for an interesting narrative for the games. I may have to amend the battle reports to have a more narrative flow for combat, rather than an accurate depiction of the order of attacks.

The new information on the psychic phase (more on this below) appears to suggest that invulnerable saves will still be a thing in 8th edition. This means important models will probably still get a save against powerful weapons.

Weapon Profiles
As expected, armour save modifiers have returned to 40k weapons. I actually liked the AP system we have had for several editions, but can see how it made certain weapons insanely powerful (such as grav). I am also happy to see that the save modifiers do not follow the old pattern of 40k or Warhammer Fantasy. For example, S4 gave a -1 penalty, S5 gave a -2 penalty, etc. This would have made a Lascannon -6 to a save, so essentially no save at all. However, the Lascannon example is now only -3 meaning that even Marines should get a 6+ save against powerful weapons.

Finally, my Orks might actually get to use their armour save against something other than a lasgun or close combat (only kidding! When did my Orks last make it into combat!).

Templates are going away to be replaced by random number of hits. This makes sense in speeding things up in the game. No more will I have to worry about exact 2" placements for all my models in competitive games. Though, I will be sad at retiring my templates that have been with me since 3rd edition.

Movement Phase
Running now comes to the movement phase. This makes total sense to me. Unless you were running psykers in your army, most people folded their run moves into the movement phase anyway, so I don't see a lot of changes there.

Falling back from combat is an fun new mechanic. This stops units getting bogged down in combat for too long and allows you to shoot at all enemy units in your shooting phase if you want. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out in the game. Will it be too punishing for assault armies and continue to make shooting armies incredibly powerful? We will need to wait and see.

Psychic Phase
I imaging the psychic phase will see big changes in the new edition and a big toning down of some of the crazy psychic powers.

Again, a lot of overlap between 8th edition and Age of Sigmar appears to be coming. Each psyker gets to cast their powers by rolling 2D6 and beating the casting value. Each psyker will also get to use their powers, it looks like, so are not just there to funnel power dice to a more powerful caster. Blocking of psychic powers is also going to be a thing, with increased range. I imagine that you will not be able to block powers if you do not have a psyker, so these may be regular additions to many armies now if the new powers are particularly potent.

I wonder if powers will still be random or fixed as with Age of Sigmar? Maybe you will need to pay for powers to add more variety to the game.

The example power, Smite, also shows that Mortal Wounds will be a new addition to the game. These appear to be similar to Age of Sigmar in that they cannot be stopped by armour saves or invulnerable saves. That is going to be an interesting new mechanic in the game.

Shooting Phase
Cover is now going to give bonuses to armour saves, rather than an additional save as with previous editions, or a penalty to "to hit" rolls as per 2nd edition. This will make cover valuable for many armies, not just those with poor armour saves.

One of the more interesting aspects revealed is that heavy weapons incur a -1 to hit penalty when moving, rather than having to snap fire as in the current edition. This is pretty huge for me, making heavy weapons much more viable for moving and firing during the game. Marines hitting on a 4+, rather than a 6 when moving and shooting is great and will make putting heavy weapons in transports or drop pods much more viable. One of my favourite things about the Skyhammer Annihilation Force was that Devastators were Relentless when firing the turn they arrived. On things like Grav Cannons, it was incredible and seriously overpowered. However, I would frequently load a squad up with Heavy Bolters. Very thematic, but only really useful in the Skyhammer. Now, Heavy Bolter Devastator squads in drop pods could be a common feature in my armies.

I am a little unsure about vehicles also suffering the -1 penalty to hit when moving. One of the great things about vehicles was that they could move and fire heavy weapons with fewer penalties. It will be interesting to see how it works, but it could make vehicles a little worse. Hopefully, this means that snap firing other weapons when shooting Ordnance weapons might disappear. This would make my Leman Russ Battle Tanks very happy indeed!

Charge Phase
Assaulting appears to work pretty similar as it does now; roll 2D6 and see if you can make the charge.

Interestingly, overwatch appears to be remaining. I thought that with the new mechanic to fall back from combat in the movement phase, we would see overwatch fire disappear. Not only does it remain, but now it appears you can fire overwatch several times a turn, unless you are locked in combat. This will be useful if a unit is being charged my multiple enemy units and some don't make it in to combat. Whereas before, you could use a "sacrificial unit" to absorb overwatch fire for your more valuable unit, this will only work now if the sacrificial unit survives and makes it into combat.

It appears that you will be able to shoot at all enemy units most of the time now. No more locking enemy units in combat or keeping your own units safe while in combat. The enemy unit can now fall back in the movement phase, allowing your unit to get shot at. Not only that, but you will still suffer overwatch fire when you charge in to combat. For most units, overwatch fire was not that punishing. However, units armed with flamer weapons or with a high volume of twin-linked shots could be punishing to charge in against in 7th edition. It will be interesting to see how this works in 8th edition with overwatch remaining.

So that appears to be all we know so far. Based on what has been revealed so far, I am excited for the coming of 8th edition. I am hoping to have a lot of fun games in the next wave of the game, as I have for several editions past.

So, what are you excited about for 8th edition? Have there been any of the hints that have you particularly excited, or worried? Comment below and let me know what you think. 


  1. Not too keen on overwatch remaining I have to say. It punished combat centric armies far too much in 7th (looking at you Wyches) However I will withhold Judgment until I have a few games in the new ed under my belt. All the rest I am very excited about :)

    1. Me too. Need to get a few more games of 7th in, but very excited for what is coming.

  2. I'd rather GW stopped with these snippets and just tell us when 8th will be released. The snippets are creating more questions than they're answering. The Charge stage for example; we now know that a model doesn't need to be in base to base contact just within 1", does this mean only models within an inch of an enemy can fight? (I hope not because close combat will be a complete waste of time if it is) Without context the snippets that they are releasing are pretty much worthless.
    As someone who's favourite phase is the combat phase, I see more areas for concern than I see positives (unlimited overwatch, random charge length, pseudo hit and run), but they reckon that they've been play testing it, so hopefully there is something we don't know about that will make attempting close combat worth it.

    1. Hit and run is one thing that I've been thinking about since the running away from combat was mentioned, I guess if it remains it'll mean you still get to act normally after you've run away, which will be quite useful.

    2. The 4th of June's been bandied about. The UK Games Expo's on that day and GW have a seminar on the new 40k booked in, which some people have taken as a convenient tie-in to release day.

    3. I've heard a lot of conflicting dates about the release.
      A month of people not buying anything 40k seems like a bad idea to me. Everybody is in limbo now, most people will not spend money on something when they don't know if it will be usable. I know GW have said everything will be usable but to what extent? I've been running a Grande Cavalcade just recently (5x 2 Slaanesh Chariots & 12 Seekers) but because all of the books are incompatible I'm expecting my Grande Cavalcade to become unusable.

    4. That's certainly something I've been worried about, too. My only army is Ravenwing so losing an all-bike option will be a bit annoying.
      Also, in fairness, a month without anyone buying 40k is better than a couple of months. I'm certainly not buying any more Ravenwing stuff but I may pick up a box of troops for Genestealer Cult or Nurgle as I'm interested in both.

  3. Overall I think that the changes are positive. There are quite a few unanswered questions still, and yes, the little snippets are raising more questions than answers but that's the point, to raise interest and intrigue.

    I like many of the new mechanics and can't wait to get hold of the full rules, but I think its going to be an expensive release for me, starterbox, at least one book, if not 2 plus anything else thats still to be announced. Lucky though, its being released almost bang on my birthday!

    1. I'm certainly hoping I have some spare pennies for the starter box to start a Plague Marine army!

    2. I like that the rules are being released for free. You don't have to buy them if you don't want, but I much prefer a physical copy than having to look them up on my phone constantly.

  4. Today's release of multiple overwatch opportunites made me think of Tau and whether the supporting fire mechanic would remain in place as is.

    I am very interested about learning more about pistols in CC. Overall, I feel very positive about these changes, though I was by no means angry with our 7th edition.

    Is increased speed for faster armies a replacement for initiative? I really wonder about that.

    1. As someone who uses Noise Marines and Slaanesh marked Chaos Marines I would be happy with that ;-).
      I don't think marked Marines will work the way they used to. I think it will be all about 'keywords' granting certain abilities rather than a stat change, such as +1 Toughness or +1 attacks.

    2. I wonder if the pistols will be limited to one attack only? Thought my slugga boyz might enjoy being S4 for a while, but if I am limited to one attack each, it may not be so great.

  5. One thing I'm really hoping is that this edition is going to allow you to play competitive games much more quickly during the collecting process. 3rd ed. was great for that but 7th has been a bit of a nightmare in that you either need to fill up on Troops for a CAD or build toward a formation before you can get a decent game in. I'm looking forward to buying a couple of boxes or a Start Collecting box and plonking it down on the table the next week.

    1. That would be cool. Even to build a 1000 pts army in 7th edition was a decent investment and took a while to get on the table.

    2. The start-up cost, even if you have rules and paints, is prohibitive. One thing I've liked about AoS (from the outside) is that you xan buy a character and a regiment bix, build them, split the regiment in half and it's playable. With 40k, that's rarely the case right now (i.e. you can't play a decent mission with 200 points).

  6. I'm hoping that close combat becomes more viable again. My Tyranids have been sitting on the sidelines for far too long. My Carcharodons also get ripped up really good before making it in. The thing I am looking forward to the most is cleaned up rules. No more 35 pages of special rules.