Friday, May 7, 2010

The Direction 40k is Headed

So fifth edition has been out for almost 2 years now and players have, for the most part, adjusted to the changes. It is a very different game from third and fourth edition, but then again that should be expected when editions change. Otherwise we would just be wasting our money on a new rulebook. Though I have a strong dislike of True LOS, you have to take the good with the bad, and pretty much all the other rules changes were for the better. So anyway, this post is about what trends we are seeing with the most recent codex releases, and judging by these trends, what the future codices will hold in store for us.

The Alpha Strike
This concept has been around for a long time but it has never been as prominent as it was following the release of the Imperial Guard codex. With vehicles that could shoot d3 STR10 ordnance blasts mounted on an open-topped 12/10/10 hull, it was crucial to get first turn, because they are so easy to kill. This is the epitome of a glass hammer. The idea behind the Alpha Strike is that your first shooting phase cripples the enemy enough that they don't have enough left alive to come back and win the game. It's disliked by many, but this is a perfectly valid strategy. It was perpetuated by Darkwynn's win of 'Ard Boyz 2009. Now I'm not going to get into whether or not his list is good or the ensuing flamewar between BoLS and the Voldomort of 40k, but the main thing that this win proved was the effectiveness of the Alpha Strike army.

Manipulation of Reserves
One of the best counters to the alpha strike is to keep everything off the board. GW has realized this, so they have added ways to manipulate reserve rolls in order to have an advantage against the alpha strike. Now, someone can put their entire army in reserve and come in on 2+. Not only that, but their entire army can be deep striking and outflanking. This means they will be in your face immediately, not coming on peacemeal like they otherwise would. I love this new game dynamic because it changes the way we think from, "I line up on my side, you line up on yours, and we blast away" to a much more complex battlefield because there are so many more options. Fritz's Null Deployment strategy is a good example of this.

The Other Stuff
But MOM, what about all the new psychic powers and cheap transports? Aren't those changes just as big? Well, yes, they are. But in a different way. Mech and Psykers are just two examples of how to do well in the alpha strike game. They are tools which help complete the task of winning. In other words, it cannot be said that psykers or mech are ways of playing, but it can be said that alpha strike and reserving everything are.

In short, the game is becoming very dynamic, and it is most certainly not Fantasy's retarted little brother. Once all the codices are updated (HA! yeah right), the game will be very interesting and I can't wait.


  1. Interesting thoughts. Those are big changes fo' sho'. All for the better too.

  2. Guard have it too good when it comes to countering enemy units that come in from reserve and to be honest they don't need it. They add +1 to your reserve rolls & can force you to reroll what side of the table you come in on when outflanking. I think that looking at this broken codex & Nidz my conclusion is Robin Cruddace cannot write a good overall codex. Don't get me wrong, IG are in many ways like Tau used to be & I always play my best games versus guard. I love to beat them more than any other army out there.