Sunday, 11 June 2017
Trying 8th: First Impressions
So, I finally got to try out 8th Edition! And it was.. well, a little frustrating. But we'll get to that.
Since I've also been playing Shadow War a bit, I decided to lug my Orks down to my FLGS and see if I could get a test game in. We ended up playing a 79 Power game (we were going to go with 75, but my first try at a list hit 75 dead but wasn't practical for the Detachments, so we just added in the Weirdboy and moved up to 79). I ended up playing against Tau. I was using:
Kaptin Badrukk (with one Ammo Runt)
2 units of 20 Slugga/ Choppa Boyz led by Nobz with Power Klaws
1 unit of 20 Shoota Boyz with 2 big shootas, led by a Nob with Power Klaw
10 Flash Gitz
A Battlewagon with 2 Big Shootas, 2 Rokkits, and a Killkannon
This used a Battalion detachment, IIRC, giving me 6 Command Points.
The opposing Tau were (to the best of my memory, yes kids it's another blogger who doesn't take notes)
Commander with two Fusion guns and a missile pod
Crisis Bodyguard team with 6 Flamers
Stealth team with 2 burst cannon and a fusion gun
3 Broadsides with heavy rail rifles and smart missiles
2 units of ten Fire Warriors
2 units of ten Kroot
2 units of Pathfinders with a mix of rail rifles and ion rifles in addition to Markerlights
This was also a Battalion detachment
Now firstly I should point out that we were still very much learning the rules, the store copies of both the rules and the Indexes were getting passed about all over the place and the terrain was more than a little improvised, so I'm not taking how things went as being all that representative, but it certainly brought up a few issues. I got the first turn, and identified the infiltrating Stealth team as a danger, so I moved up the Battlewagon full of flash gitz and Badrukk to deal with them. In hindsight this turned out to be the first of many mistakes borne of my unfamiliarity with the new rules, but as I said this was a learning process. Anyway, despite unloading 30 shots with the Gitz' Snazzguns, hitting on 4+ and re-rolling 1s due to Badrukk, plus Badrukk's own gun which is now basically a plasma caliver I was only able to take two out. This was due in no small part to the fact that the Stealth team not only forces -1 to hit against them, but also got +1 to their saves for being in cover. I even added the Battlewagon's firepower but to no effect.
I'm not going to do a tedious blow-by-blow of the entire thing, but suffice it to say that in the following Tau turn this happened:
Using the homing beacon carried by the Stealth team, the Crisis bodyguards dropped within flamer range of my supporting Boyz. Units with lots of flamers are going to pose real problems for armies like Orks and Daemons in 8th, because not only can they kill models which are out of their immediate range but they can then Overwatch repeatedly so long as they manage to stay out of combat. On the following Ork turn, the surviving Boyz (about 13) along with a couple of Flash Gitz and Badrukk were left with the problem of trying to assault the Crisis team through 6D6 automatic hits- not a new problem, but one made worse by the fact that using the two Gitz to ablate the Overwatch was no longer a viable tactic. (In the end the Boyz made it with about 6 of their number left, allowing the others to get in.) Overall I'm not a big fan of multiple Overwatch at all- it removes a tough decision people used to have to make and I don't think it makes much sense narratively- how is the unit supposed to be firing all its weapons at multiple charging units at once? It's not like they're standing there politely waiting their turn to charge.
In a big positive for Orks, though, the new Weirdboy is much improved. I took Da Jump as his power, and teleported the Shoota Boyz up into the corner of the board, ready to distract and hopefully charge the Tau flank. It didn't work for the shootas (despite their 'ere we go reroll) but on the subsequent turn the red sluggas tried it on the opposite flank with more success, and finally accounted for two Broadsides and a Fire Warrior squad on their own.
I was also quite impressed with the Gorkanaut. Though the Deffstorm mega-shoota still seems to continue the tradition of being less effective than the Big Shootas, being able to split its fire and charge something it didn't shoot, coupled with improved durability, makes it a lot more effective. In this game it blew great chunks out of the Tau, slaughtering an entire squad of Kroot in one turn and inflicting heavy casualties on several other squads before its rampage was brought to an end. With the way the Transport rules now work I think I'll definitely be using its ability to carry six models in future, with Burnas looking like a likely candidate.
The Battlewagon, on the other hand.. well, I think in this game I mishandled it due to still thinking in 7th Ed terms. With its toughness of 7 in the open-topped configuration and gaining little benefit from it for delivering assault troops, my Battlewagon in this game should have been trying to stay out of trouble and keeping the Gitz inside in 24" range of their target, rather than closing. Due to the Battlewagon's basic save being 4+, Tau small arms which mostly damage it on 5+ were a very serious threat to it, which coupled with the fact that Markerlight hits now persist for the entire turn spelt doom for the thing in short order, and subsequently for the Gitz inside.
Speaking of the Gitz, another big error I made with them was putting a KillKannon on their ride. This reduces the carrying capacity of the Battlewagon to 12, which meant that with Badrukk in there too I could only take one Ammo Runt since Runts now take up transport slots and have a profile. I really could have benefited from more re-rolls to hit and the KillKannon was somewhat useless anyway, I still think, however, that Flash Gitz and Lootas using the Battlewagon's Mobile Fortress rule to fire on the move looks like a solid combo, I just used it poorly here.
I was more than a little shocked at how poor Boyz were in assault, though we should remember that Battlesuits are an edge case. With the Klaw Nobz hitting on 4+, not gaining a bonus attack for charging, and only inflicting -3 save (meaning a 2+ save Broadside still gets a 5+) and then only inflicting D3 damage (on a 6 wound model) it took three rounds of combat for 17 Boyz and a Nob to kill one suit. Things were even worse against the Crisis team, which lost a grand total of one model to the charge of 7 Boyz and a Klaw Nob, two Flash Gitz, and Badrukk, before simply using their Fly rule to leave combat and shoot them again. With the new Morale rules there was no chance of them breaking due to losing combat whilst I was forced to burn two Command Points to stop my Orks fleeing due to the damage they'd taken from the Overwatch. At the moment, the 7th Ed version of Mob Rule feels much better to me given how easily Boyz mobs can take ten or more casualties in a turn.
In general- and this is I'm sure in part due to this being a tough match-up for Orks- my models felt very fragile. Since Ork Boyz can no longer get 'eavy armour (as far as I could see) and cover is now a bonus to your save, it was extremely rare for them to get any save at all against Tau shooting, even without markerlights. Meanwhile the Tau models would often have 3+ or 2+ saves against most Ork weapons outside of melee. It's telling that many of the Ork lists I'm seeing pop up at the moment are Kan Walls. Certainly at the moment- and I speak as someone who plays amongst others Daemons, Orks and Khorne Daemonkin and regards themself as a bit of an assault specialist- Assault based armies feel like they're going to be weaker than ever, especially those using Infantry. But I'm speaking without trying things like charging vehicles into melee first to stop Overwatch or using Kustom Force Fields, which with their bubble of 5++ look like they may be essential again, and for most of this game my dice were disgusting, so it's still early days yet!