Saturday, 21 April 2018

The Law of Unintended Consequences

It's a well-known fact that tweaking a game like 40k is complicated. With the enormous amount of factions, special rules, models, rules (and differing interpretations of said rules) in the game now, anything GW does to fix an issue runs a very real risk of breaking something else. Several of the changes in The Big FAQ and its related documents have done just that.

Kabalites Can't Have Spearheads, and other stories
Of all the Codexes for 8th Edition, you'd expect the Drukhari to be the most compatible with the most recent FAQs, seeing as it came out something like a week before them. However, the unique way that DE are split into Kabalites, Cults and Covens poses some pretty serious issues, at least in 'events'. It's already  well documented that due to the limit on Detachments, the DE's ability to gain Command Points by taking multiple Patrols doesn't work very well, but what's been discussed less is that the changes also deprive them of some Detachments altogether. For example, one list I was playing about with had a Wych Cult Battalion, supported by a Kabalite Spearhead. However, this was a 1000 point list and at that point level, you can only take two of each Datasheet, and since Kabalites only have one Heavy Support choice (Ravagers) it's not possible for them to take a legal Spearhead. Even at higher point levels, the fact that most of the DE sub-factions only have one HQ choice, plus the special characters, means that even if you could take multiple detachments, you'd soon have no-one legally available to lead them.

Yes, somehow they nerfed Sisters of Battle
If you're a Sororitas player you probably read that last part going 'yeah, cry me a ***** river.' However bad the limits are for Drukhari, they're much, much worse for Sisters of Battle. With a grand total of one HQ choice that isn't a special character (plus Celestine and maybe Uriah Jacobus, depending on your tolerance for shotgun-toting hillbillies) it starts to get really, really tricky to field more than one Detachment. It's sort of ironic that in an update that was supposed to crack down on 'soup' armies, Sisters have been all but forced to field other Imperials to make legal lists.

You can't see me because I'm not hiding
I've talked before about the fact that I think the current Character targeting rules are dumb, and the most recent changes have done little to change my mind. I understand that Rhino Sniping was a thing, and I even made some suggestions to address it in the previous post, but GW still don't seem to think there's anything wrong with units being forced to not shoot at a model which is literally the only thing they can see to shoot at. The idea that a player can lock a unit in combat so they can't be shot, and then have a character standing behind them who can't be shot because there's a closer unit is silly, and it's the sort of thing that makes any game a hard sell to new players. Sure, old hands know about all the exploits the rule is there to stop, but to a newcomer "your guys won't shoot him because they don't think he's important." sounds plain daft. I miss Look Out Sir!

You can't hit me because I said so
This is the worst one for me, the real gear-grinder. The FAQs confirm that if a player manages to place his models in such a way that enemy models can't get into base contact with them, most typically by standing on any elevated floor of a GW ruin, then they can't be Assaulted. Doesn't seem to matter if you're a Knight Titan or a Lord of Skulls who one might expect to be quite pleased to not have to bend down so much, and no-one much cares that you've got a Jump Pack or even that you're standing on the level above with a Power Lance, they're immune. Fill a Ruin floor with Scouts, and 2000 Daemonettes can do nothing to them apart from give them some funny dreams. Put Alaitoc Rangers there and a buff or two later you can push Orks into the 7+ to hit bracket for their shooting whilst making it impossible to charge you because bricks.

Of all the changes, this is the one I think is going to cause the most trouble. GW better hope that the players at live-streamed tournaments get the hint and drop assault units like they're on fire, because the pros are going to abuse this one until it begs for mercy. At my own FLGS we've generally just house-ruled this sort of situation as a Wobbly Model Syndrome scenario, but that's not going to fly at Adepticon or Throne of Skulls, I fear.

The Inevitable Cheerful Bit
I should say, though, that overall I like the intent of the Big FAQ, if not all of the results. Hopefully GW will continue to listen to feedback and the kinks will get ironed out. Hopefully....

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