Saturday, June 30, 2012

6th Edition First Impressions: Fliers

Greetings readers!

I have the 6th edition BRB that my FLGS owner let me purchase this evening and I have been skimming through it to find some of the more interesting tid bits.  Ishmael, Loki and I will be examining the BRB in various aspects of the rules and hobby sections of the book in the next few weeks as we come to be familiar with it.  So far I have been trying to determine how some of the existing units will be changing to incorporate the existence of fliers, specifically which weapons have the skyfire rule and which fliers can hover.

The skyfire rule allows the shooter to shoot at flyers, flying MCs and skimmers at their normal ballistic skill and unless the weapon has the intercepter rule it can only fire at other targets by snapfiring.  Snapfiring means that the shooter hits on sixes only.  Unless a weapon has the skyfire rule, all shots at a flier are considered snapfiring.  All of the models on the large ovular fight stand are fliers (e.g. Vendetta, Nightscythe, Stormraven) are considered fliers in the new appendices (p.410).  Now for examining what being a flier entails.

Fliers that do not have the hover special rule are forced to move a minimum of eighteen inches in each movement phase or count as wrecked.  This movement restriction is part of "Zooming".  Note that zooming fliers cannot be assaulted in any circumstance.  If a flier is wrecked it becomes flaming debris and all models within the flier take strength ten hits with no armor saves before they can disembark rather than the normal strength four hits.  Fliers with the hover mode rule can choose to be treated as fast skimmers, meaning their occupants suffer weaker hits on vehicle destruction, the ability to be assaulted and eighteen inches becoming its maximum, rather than minimum, movement distance.  While this makes the flier easier to kill, it also allows greater tactical flexibility to the flier.

Now, who gets the tactical flexibility to hover, who doesn't and who gets to shoot down these aerial menaces.  Those people who have fliers no have vehicles that are protected to a degree that other vehicles are not and skyfire weapons have the way to get around that protection, so we can agree that having one or both of these would be quite a boon to an army. So, looking through the appendices all of the Imperial fliers have hover mode, despite the fact that only one has the ability to vector their engines.  But, surely, non-imperials must have some hovering fliers...give me a must be here somewhere.  Okay, so the fixed wing vendetta and stormraven can hover, but the other fixed wing aircraft (e.g. ork, necron and dark eldar fliers) can't.  So, the imperium who fears technology has better technology than the more technologically advanced xenos who can't rely on thier numbers or durability to stand up to the hordes of humanity or the indomitable spess mahrines.

I'm sure, having invented flight technology and being at war with each other as well as the imperium, xenos must have come up with some way to destroy fliers more efficiently than their imperial enemies.  Let's see what weapons got the skyfire rule, barrring fortifications (all of which have an option to purchase these weapons).  Well the hydra autocannon is no surprise...the ubiquitous missile launcher makes sense with its ability to give so many armies an answer...the eldar missile launchers don't get this third firing mode?  Wait a minute, the eldar missile launcher has been shown to be more advanced than the imperial model (its frag equivalent is ap four and has pinning), but they did not receive an erratta to allow it to reliably shoot down fliers.  Well that's okay, surely they have some other weapon that can cover for it...nope!  No xenos weapon, barring fliers themselves have the skyfire rule.  Therefore, unless they take allies with imperial missile launchers or fliers, xenos that don't have fliers of their own are forced to hit zooming fliers on sixes.

So, if you can ally with the Grey Knights I would suggest you clear up 555 points, plus some for wargear, and take the following:

Taskforce Xenobane
Five terminators
Stormraven Gunship

Don't be worried bout them shooting you down.  Unless they have finally bowed to the immaculate Emperor of Mankind, sided with the diabolical forces of Chaos or stolen our technology (btw only Imperial Fortifications have rules) they won't be able to shoot you down unless they fire their entire army into  it and get lucky.  When you get there don't worry about dying, their power weapons are ap 3 and if you somehow lose combat you don't take any no retreat wounds, as that rule is gone.  You can flee if your faith is weak or you can just refuse to be hurt when the fools try to sweeping advance you.  If you're worried about not being able to go through their armor with your ap 3 force weapons, don't worry extremely few xenos units (e.g. phoenix lords) that have 2+ armor.

So, in the name of the immortal emperor, I am very pleased with the turning of the tide toward an imperial resurgence.  In the name of balanced game play and wanting to promote the sales of non-imperial forces (as there were three non-imperial armies and six imperial armies updated in 5th edition), I have some very choice words so far for the prospects of sixth edition.

I'm UndergroundHeretic and I have to live with that every day.


  1. So, dedicate between 1/3rd to 1/4 of my points to something that doesn't get along with the rest of my army? All the while I will give up my other HQ slot and one of my fast attack slots.

    They still die like terminators. And not even FnP terminators. They have to arrive from reserve and to land them into assault with you, the Raven has to go into hover mode (if I'm right). At the earliest, they get into assault 3rd turn. And you can completely see them coming and move your army to get out of the way. Moving is viable, given that rapid fire is worth a damn now, and that you can snapfire heavies.

    Furthermore, if you knock the bird out of the air before it drops its cargo, the knights are all but dead and even when they get to charge you, you get to overwatch them in response.

    This isn't that potent.

  2. I think his point was more or less that xeno's are feeling a bit underwhelmed with the current rules and associated FAQ response by GW.

    That said the atrocity of "Accept Any Challenge" on my Templars has me feeling a bit down myself, and it's an Imperial army. So far I have viewed over every FAQ put out for 6th, and as I had somewhat feared, and alas sort of expected, GW seems to have very much dropped the proverbial ball on them.

    With Fantasy we saw massive FAQ documents to ammend the massive number of changes that were coming to the game, and while a good portion of 40k's more pressing topics were covered... we got on average a 3 page set of "fixes"... and that includes old fixes from 5th. Honestly I feel like these FAQ's were rushed, poorly designed, and honestly did very little to fix much besides averting stupid ally combos.

    The rule have a huge amount of promise. However, my faith was very surely not rewarded in terms of the FAQs. My Templar will have to sadly get used to the view from the top shelf until they get a solid new codex instead of this half cocked old codex with point issues, and lack luster half-way answer FAQ (which frankly hurt them more than it helped), and from my point of view the xenos have a pretty solid reason to feel the same.

    Long story short... GW dropped the ball, are we surprised?

  3. Funny thing of note with the Missile Launcher. The rules say that some missile launchers will have the option to upgrade to the flack missile but none specify that they can yet.

  4. Yeah, we don't have the round in SM codices... Yet...

  5. yeah, my Sisters are getting dustier and dustier.

    It's like BT and SoB are the 'xenos' imperial armies. The Sisters FAQ wasn't even a full page long...

    teh girlz are bad at warhammers.

    I guess I can always play SoB 'counts as' BA or SW. Makes me even more glad I picked up a Flames of War army for $200, and can do multiple forces.

  6. Corvus, the Xenobane may not fit in with shooting armies and only get a charge on turn three. Getting a charge on turn three or four, when you enter the board turn two, isn't that bad (compare to turn two or three charge for non-reserve units). Getting there shouldn't be too hard when only the hydra has the skyfire rule, at least until everyone ponies up the cash and points for an aegis defense line and a unit to camp on it.

    Also, when was dying like a terminator a bad thing? I mean they only have 2+ armor, a 5+ invul if you can punch through that, the ability to buy stealth that can't be stopped except by wolves or a lucky roll on the Diviniation table to get a 4+ invul. Last time I checked, there isn't anyone who can outrun a flier and very few who can outrun a fast skimmer. Again, terminators still have their 2+ against overwatch (and any xenos power weapons) and xenos really can't pack special weapons in most squads (with few exception).

    Xenos are that impotent.

    Nightstalker, yep people with missile launchers can argue they get it free and people with fliers can ask "how?".

    Farmpunk, I can feel for you at least to a small degree. I haven't begun to rant about how Tau go hosed (at least not here), but I can sympathize somewhat. I too am glad I picked up another game (MtG), but I still want to give 40k a chance to clean up its act.