Monday, 9 May 2016

Death from the Skies and new FAQs- it's all up in the air..

This was going to be a more general discussion of Death from the Skies, but I think there's more important things to talk about. If you've picked up a copy of White Dwarf or the book itself, you'll know DftS adds new rules for 'all' the 40k flyers. I say 'all' because as usual Forge World have missed the bus, including the Vendetta, which we should remember still only exists as a FW conversion kit for the Valkyrie as things stand. 

Many players might think that unless they want to use the new Dogfight rules, they can safely ignore the book. That's not likely to be true, since there are loud whispers of a consolidated 40k update some time this year and if these rules don't make it in in some form I'll be quite surprised. The important thing to note is that aside from Dogfights, which I'll admit I'm not keen on since they basically involve three rounds of scissor-paper-stone, there's some important new flyer rules in there.

Firstly, being the only player with flyers in Reserve grants Air Superiority, which allows the player with it to add or subtract 1 from their Reserve rolls and forces their opponent to subtract one from theirs. Potentially quite a big advantage, especially with combos.

Next, and most interesting, Flyers now have two additional characteristics, Pursuit and Agility. Pursuit just adds movement in Dogfights, but Agility allows a flyer rolling equal to or under it on d6 to make a 'Break Turn' at any point in their move of 90 degrees. For most flyers, it's usually 3, but for Heldrakes it's 4, meaning they'll pull it off 2/3 of the time and might just get that Baleflamer lined up. Eldar and Dark Eldar flyers go as high as 5, and the Crimson Hunter of course keeps Vector Dancer, adding some serious manoeuvrability. 

Then we come to a very odd thing indeed. According to the new book (and correct me if I missed something) only Fighters can now choose to have Skyfire, and they also suffer -1 BS vs ground targets. At a stroke, several armies just lost a lot of air-to-air firepower. Confusing things still further is a reiteration of the Hard To Hit rule saying that Blasts, Templates and auto-hit attacks cannot hit Flyers, whereas the new FAQs in discussion on the GW Facebook say that such attacks, if fired by a model with Skyfire, do hit them. This one is pretty confusing and will hopefully get cleared up now that GW is actually talking to people again.

I'm not going to dwell on the new Attack Patterns other that to say that (shock here) they're quite powerful but have some very vague rules. Those where the flyers are arranged diagonally show the distance, but say nothing about the angle, so that one's going to need hashing out, as is how, using the current movement rules, you're supposed to stay in formation. (Real aircraft can do this by flying in curves, but using the 40k method as soon as you turn it seems the formation is broken.)

Bah, I've confused myself now. Comments and discussion especially welcome on this one!


  1. There really has to be a 7.5 edition or something at this point. There are so many books and is disheartening to try and nail it all down!

    1. Yes, it looks like that's what they're aiming at. It reminds me of 3rd edition or whichever one it was where the entire melee combat system had been completely re-written in White Dwarf.