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Fifth Edition Thoughts

Hey folks, meet the second of my new guest writers, Docrailgun! He has been a consistent contributer with nice articles and batreps in the past and has a flare for writing in character. Adding him to the fold was a no brainer! I was pleased that he jumped at the chance. I look to Doc to continue bringing this blog great stuff. I have two more guest contributers to introduce from my list of steady buddies who fell into that DUH list when I started thinking about adding guys to the blog. Then I will get to the pile of emails I got from other guys. I will be selecting two off the list to be added as well. More to come... Jawaballs

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Though the Ork Codex is considered to have been written with the 5th Edition rules, the Space Marine Codex was released after the new rulebook and the Tyranid Codex recently, it seems now clear that the first two truly 5th Edition armies have only just now been given to us: the Space Wolves and the Blood Angels.

Why are these two books "5th Edition" and the previously-mentioned two not? Let's examine the core changes of the most recent ruleset. The 4th Edition was about killing things, lots of things. We had Victory Points, which encouraged players to kill the most valuable units on the field. It didn't matter much what died, so long as there was lots of it. Vehicles were also discouraged, being deathtraps for their passengers. The 5th Edition is quite a bit different. Now, killing things is only a prerequisite for victory in 1/3 of the standard missions, and even then one must kill all of an enemy unit to get the Kill Point it is worth. The other 2/3 of missions are about objectives - capturing and contesting them. It's easy to contest an objective, any model can do that. It is much more difficult to capture an objective and keep an opponent from contesting them, (usually) only infantry Troops choices can do so. Thus, the game encourages draws and makes it more difficult to gain a victory. Further, one can kill every model in an opposing model save one and still draw or lose a game. It follows then that there are two ways of winning a game of 5th Edition 40K - kill all opposing scoring units or have the most objectives held by your own scoring units alone.

Orks were the first attempt at this - they have large scoring units (mobs of Boyz) that are difficult to kill off completely, especially when given cover saves or Feel No Pain. Large Boyz mobs can also potentially claim more than one objective at the same time. However, Orks have a low I and no armor to speak of, so die in droves to shooting. They would also die in close-combat if it weren't for the power-klaw Nob in every squad which discourages many from engaging them. Orks are a good army, especially if played well... but their success in the edition is due to the usefulness of some of their unit choices. The Space Marine Codex was also a step in the right direction. It provided players with the chance to have very mobile and sturdy (3+ armor saves) units on the field. Further, it made powerful weaponry cheaper, especially the free flamers and missile launchers. But perhaps un-Marinelike, this edition encourages Marine players to keep their scoring units in ther now-useful transports until they get shot out from under them... and the wreckage then becomes a cover save. The concept of Combat Squadding also helps Marine lists have a lot of scoring units (though without as much staying power as a full squad might). The Tyranid Codex gave players the ability to disrupt enemy formations and to keep them from coming across the table. There's something to be said for the 'be everywhere at once' approach.

This leads us to the Space Wolves and Blood Angels' Codexes. What these two armies do best are surely oriented to do what wins 5th Edition games - be in sole control of more objectives, or kill all the enemy scoring units.

The Space Wolves are very good at staying alive and in one place. They have Wolf Tails to protect their units from psychic attacks such as Lash of Submission, they have psychic powers of their own that can offer their units cover saves, their Tactical squad equivalant has an extra A (due to their bolter, bolt pistol, and close-combat weapon) and they have the Counterattack USR. So, assaulting a Grey Hunter pack will most of the time result in an opponent facing 3 attacks per Space Wolf, rather than the 1 they might face against normal Marines. Worse, for a small outlay of points, each Grey Hunter pack can have a model that gets +d6 Rending attacks. This makes taking an objective from a Wolf army a dangerous and difficult proposition.

The Blood Angels are excellent at the other task - killing enemy infantry. First, the Angels have Fast vehicles. This allows the army to put scoring units where they need to be in decisive moments, but more importantly to put massive firepower while still remaining mobile. A fast Vindicator can move 12" and still fire its S10 area affect weapon. For a few points it can do so while hiding in cover on its turn (the siege shield allows a vehicle to automatically succeed on dangerous terrain tests). The Baal Predator can move 6" to bring all its weapons to bear on a target. Fast lascannon Predators will always be able to get a good shot from behind a building. But what the Angels do really well is kill infantry. The 5-man Assault squad with a melta, and a power sword in a Heavy Flamer Razoback with extra armor is dirt cheap... one could easily max out one's Troops chocies for less than 1K points with them. Throw in the possibility of Feel No Pain and Furious Charge along with offensive grenades and a few gouts of heavy flamer Promethium, even enemy infantry in heavy cover will be in trouble. The list also has models especially designed to kill infantry, no matter how large the unit. A scoring unit might also drop an AV14 mobile bunker literally right on top of an objective late in the game. The list's weakness might be against heavy armor, but there will be a number of S10 attacks in most lists, along with melta pistols and (with Furious Charge) S9 power fists. There will be quite a bit of long-distance tank shocking going on at the end of Blood Angel gamers. The Blood Angels' army is made for Assaulting, from the surgical Deep Striking units to a 30-strong squad that can fire 60 bolter shots and still assault with 60 S5 I5 attacks.

Will the Design Studio continue this trend? It seems likely, as the Dark Eldar should be very good at snatching objectives at the last moment, and the Eldar after them should have very mobile firepower. The Necrons should be good at the defensive game, and the Tau at mobility themselves. If we assume that there will also be a Black Templar and Dark Angel Codex for this edition, we should also see these two design philosphies continue - the Templars might have large squads that simply won't go away, and the Dark Angels might have speed and firepower on their side.

The 5th Edition is quite a different beast than the 4th Edition. Embrace the change... the Design Studio has.

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16 comments:

slackpeatos said...

Great article.

What about IG, can't help but notice you didn't meantion them.

Turbo said...

its because they can do all of the above. im not sure they don't fall into 'true 5th edition' after all, they can have a massive amount of heavy shooting while simultaneously sitting on multiple objectives with large squads - the jwolf commy-blob and mass-destruction combo. plus they've got mobility better than anyone but d/eldar because of valkdettas.

the only thing they can't really do is landgrab - they have to move into the holes they blast in your army instead of tank-shocking you off your base.

HuronBH said...

I hate to say it, but Space Wolves came out before Tyranids and I think while you observations are sound for wolves and BA, Not mentioning IG and skimming over Bugs doesn't do those to books justice. Tyranids are definitely a 5th ed book. With far more Psykers then any other book to date save maybe Eldar.

Psykers are back in 5th, and having a way to deal with them if you are able too are a must, Space Wolves, Tyranids, and now BAs have great ways to do that.

AutarchAndrew said...

very well wrote great article surprised that daemons and guard were not included in the article

Michael said...

I enjoyed the analysis too, well thought out.

There is something I want to ask the BA community though. Lots of talk about the heavy flamer razor, but how do you guys feel about the Las/TL plasma combo on the razorback? They make imm. rolls much easier to stomach and they make weapon destroyed rolls less destructive. They have some serious range, and get even better when you are closer with rapid firing plasma. They make sure you get the cans opened before it is assaulty time. You lose some of the mass infantry killiness, but couple them with flamestorm cannon Baals and problem solved.

I'd love to hear some thoughts from the other people that play Blood Angels seriously. I think they have loads of potential in light of the ability to field 6 of them, and 6 predators in a 2k list. I think that is just silly-good.

jawaballs said...

I think that in a few months the true strengths of the codex will shine, and you may be right about the las razors. I posted on a BOLS article that the Las is back. A cheap way of getting 12 of them into an army might make a huge difference, especially considering that 40k is trending into even more vehicles... Yes, I think the las razor is great, especially attached to a las tactical squad.

1260 will get you 3 ten man tacticals with 3 LazRaz, and 3 Lazspon Preds. 12 las shots and about 600 more points to spend in a 1850 list.

jawaballs said...

I think that in a few months the true strengths of the codex will shine, and you may be right about the las razors. I posted on a BOLS article that the Las is back. A cheap way of getting 12 of them into an army might make a huge difference, especially considering that 40k is trending into even more vehicles... Yes, I think the las razor is great, especially attached to a las tactical squad.

1260 will get you 3 ten man tacticals with 3 LazRaz, and 3 Lazspon Preds. 12 las shots and about 600 more points to spend in a 1850 list.

Max said...

As previously mentioned, why leave out IG? Spehss Mehreens scared of the competition from non-augmented humans? :)

Michael said...

Thanks for your ideas Jawa, but I'd like some more input from the readers. I know not everyone likes Stelek, but his site is great for info. Lots of ideas from lots of people, not just one.

Anyways try this on for size.

Librarian
6x RAS with melta in Lascannon/TL plasma Razorbacks.
3x Dakka Preds
3x Flamestorm Baals (or ass cannon if you prefer)

Total = 1750

6 lascannons
6 TL plasma
6 melta
7x Autocannon
15x HB
3x str6 Ap3 templates

That is 12 tanks, 6 of which are predator hulls, all of which are fast.

That seems exceptionally strong to me.

Thoughts?

Doc Railgun said...

Las razorbacks may be a great option, and as mentioned so might the las-plas types that used to be so beloved during the "Rhino Rush" days. I guess at the moment I'm obsessing on trying to pack in a lot of scoring units, even though they're small ones. Assault cannons would be nice too.
There may be something said for pairing combat-squadding Tactical squads and a Sanguinary Priest in a shooty Razorback... not as many A, but 10 attacks (plus the Priest) with S5 I5 might make up for it and mitigate the return attacks.

The funny thing is that 4th edition tried to get us away from the mandatory 5-man las-plas squad in a Razorback, and now they sort-of give it back to us. Rhino Rush is back. 5th Edition seems to encourage large Troops squads, but then we get this.

I could see an army of las-las Predators, las Razorbacks zipping around killing tanks and letting the embarked Tacticals (or Assault troops) cleaning up whatever's left.

I forsee brisk sales of the LR Ares upgrade kit.

Doc Railgun said...

Guard do deserve a mention. They surely have the capacity to win objective-based missions. I think my problem is that I have never seen a Guard army do well. Which I entirely attribute to the people I have seen play Guard rather than the Codex being sub-par. It's certainly not.

Pretty much all the post-new edition armies CAN win missions by killing enemy scoring units and capturing objectives, but the Wolves and Angels seem made for it. The BA list encourages players to take power weapons (if one goes with Furious Charge) and the Furioso options can make them into total infantry killing machines.

Maybe that wasn't GW's intention, but I think people will agree after they see the working of a certain piece of optional Furioso wargear.

jawaballs said...

I think that in a few months the true strengths of the codex will shine, and you may be right about the las razors. I posted on a BOLS article that the Las is back. A cheap way of getting 12 of them into an army might make a huge difference, especially considering that 40k is trending into even more vehicles... Yes, I think the las razor is great, especially attached to a las tactical squad.

1260 will get you 3 ten man tacticals with 3 LazRaz, and 3 Lazspon Preds. 12 las shots and about 600 more points to spend in a 1850 list.

Doc Railgun said...

Hmm. That IS a lot of dakka, Michael.

Another example of a good Codex - being able to make a lot of different effective builds that are just fundamentally good rather than being based on a certain unit's special abilities.

GW could have just given us Fast Baals and Rhinos, brought point costs into line with the SM Codex, and give us some special rules for DC and Furiosos... but instead I think they've changed how Marines are played. Who will want to play normal Marines when they can play with Fast armor that have no downside to that mobility?

Michael said...

The list is not much less than vanilla marines could field I think. They may be able to put more shots on the table for the same points, but they will have to be static. They will have to chase me around the board while I am still firing lascannons, and have 5+ cover from my Libby for most of my tanks.

Plan is first turn pop at least one transport, hopefully 3-4 with my long range power. And my Baal predators that just scouted into 12" of your models will be right on top of the contents of said transports with cover denying, marine roasting flames of death, x3

I need more predators/razorbacks. Thats all I have to say. Lol.

40k Junkie said...

Firstly Welcome to the blog.

Secondly:

"But what the Angels do really well is kill infantry. The 5-man Assault squad with a melta, and a power sword in a Heavy Flamer Razoback with extra armor is dirt cheap" Space Wolves can the same thing here. Except you but these in a FNP/ FC Bubble and they are much better then the wolves.

The KEY difference with BA is 1st Codex Creap. You cannot fight it and the newest codex will almost always overshadow prior ones. Embrace that :) 2nd The complete win for BA is the amount of AT 13 they can field... and the speed at which it can move. Like you said tanks in 5th are where its at, and BA have mastered that.

Yes I know there are a ton of amazing other things like Libby dreads and Stormraven. Those are exactly what I mean by Codex creap. Kinda like thunderwolves in the Space Wolves. Something for out of left field that they toss in for the wow factor.

woroxon said...

thanks for the article it had some issues but overall it hits the nail correctly and it made my mind to order the new codex.

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