Cube Jägers and Battlefield Tasks

For this tournament season Corvus Belli has added a new mercenary unit to all the vanilla Infinity factions: Cube Jägers. I’m super interested in Airborne Deployment troops and the Jäger is the most 40k thing in Infinity right now (it’s essentially an Apothecary, running around harvesting geneseed—I mean, cubes—from dead troopers). So when a discussion about it came up in our local group my comments got long and I’m posting them here. Along the way I hope this post introduces useful general ideas for newer players toward evaluating troops (not that I consider myself especially experienced at Infinity). Comments, questions, and corrections are welcome!

Model

One quick real life sidenote is that I’m not excited about models exclusive to winner’s kits. I really liked the Scarface Turner model last season and being able to buy it would have tipped me over into picking up his TAG, which I was seriously considering for a while. At least in the Jäger’s case there are plenty of very similar proxies to choose from (Scarface had a lot of unique personality) and I like the model but aren’t super captivated by it (I think the green Tohaa “hair” on the demo model is putting me off).

Profile

More important: Gameplay, starting with availability. Unlike Scarface in the previous season, the Jäger wasn’t added to any of the sectorials (as far as I can see spot checking). So whether it’s a useful troop or not depends in the first place on whether or not you’re playing a vanilla faction. Otherwise it’s not even an option. The Jäger also only has an AVA of 1, so beyond that you’re back to your usual choices.

Assuming it’s available, next up is the troop’s profile and options.

First thing to note is that, fairly unsurprisingly for a mercenary, the Jäger is Irregular. That’s a big tradeoff, but less punitive than on a typical trooper because it only matters for at most 2 turns under Airborne Deployment. If you’re bringing a Jäger you’re also probably doing so to achieve a specific active task, so presumably it has something to do each turn and being Irregular isn’t a big limitation. That’s different from, say, a Crusader or Akalis airborne troop that I might bring mostly to drop in and cover a forward area with Suppressive Fire while their Regular order is used elsewhere.

Second is that the relative utility of Airborne Infiltration versus the higher levels of AD, most commonly Combat Jump, depends a lot on the size and density of the boards you play on. The local tournaments I play in tend to have very very dense boards. Every other month they are also RECON+ events on 2×3 tables. Pickup play naturally goes similarly. In the overwhelming majority of my games therefore there are limited viable options to drop in versus walking on. So for me, having Airborne Infiltration isn’t hardly different in practice from having Combat Jump. In other scenes that won’t be the case.

Third, the Monofilament Close Combat Weapon I see as at best a small bonus for hunting TAGs and Heavy Infantry rather than a primary feature of the Jäger. On this troop it doesn’t seem that scary. The Jäger has no Smoke to shield an advance toward close combat and that could be tough for squadmates to provide given it’s likely arriving forward on the battlefield—if it’s easy to get the smoke up there, you probably have better forward CC options anyway. Further, most of the units for which I find Monofilament terrifying (TAGs, Father Knights, etc.) have the edge against the Jäger in CC even if it manages to Stealth in without getting shot. We do have to allow somewhat that CC without genuinely superior skills is very unpredictable due to the low number (B) of D20 rolls. The Jäger could win these matchups; but you can’t count on it. So the limited value I see for the Jäger’s Monofilament CCW is to quickly kill TAGs and HIs that have been Immobilized with the E/Mitter, the latter being the real threat because at that point they’re mission killed anyway. The Jäger would be more efficient without the Monofilament CCW and presumably thus lower points or SWC.

Battlefield Tasks

Beyond that, given its abilities, equipment, and cost, the Jäger isn’t a general purpose troop to bring without a specific role, in which terms it should then be evaluated. I see five primary battlefield tasks for the Jäger:

  • Doctoring: A paramedic coming in up the battlefield could resuscitate your prime mover without having to spend orders following behind them or getting there.
  • Suppression: Walking on with an SMG to cover a forward area with Suppressive Fire and deny the enemy easy movement in that space could be useful.
  • Trooper Hunting: Appearing on the side edges with a Boarding Shotgun can be a fun way to hit advancing troops from their rear and either stop or divert their forward thrust, or to go after backfield cheerleaders.
  • TAG/HI Hunting: Coming in behind advancing Heavy Infantry or especially TAGs, because they’re more likely to be visible, and tagging them with an E/Mitter can really neuter your opponent’s main weapons.
  • Button Pushing: A Specialist with Airborne Infiltration can be real handy to tap objectives, especially on RECON+ boards or missions with many objectives where they will be easier to reach from the sides.

That might seem like a lot, but there are many other roles in the game. Most obviously, between its abilities, weapons, and BS, the Jäger is not, for example, well suited to provide any kind of relatively static mid-to-long range fire support. The Jäger’s ability to arrive late & either forward or somewhat flexibly where you need it also puts it in a different class of these roles: It’s not just Suppression, it’s Airborne Suppression.

First up is simply thinking about how viable these roles might be for the Jäger in general, setting aside for now whether it’s the best option.

Doctoring

Airborne Doctoring sounds real neat but I think is easily dispensed with in any general discussion so this post won’t talk about it more. For that to make sense you would need to have a specific plan and very expensive key trooper to support. There are very low odds it’ll pan out—that critical trooper needs to not be outright killed, in a position readily reached from the sides, and pass a PH-3 roll. Airborne Engineering would be much more useful, because a TAG is generally much more valuable and it’s much less likely to be outright removed from the game. I would, for example, be very interested in such an Engineer to support my Seraph, because a regular Engineer can’t keep up with it 6-4 Super-Jumping up the board and even a Palbot would require spending orders to follow along with the TAG or run up to it once downed.

Suppression

Certainly seems that tucking into cover with an SMG in Suppressive Fire with a lot of flexibility to do so around the board as necessary is a useful ability.

Trooper Hunting

Being able to exploit weak points and uncovered angles to rob the enemy of Orders and weapons is also definitely a useful thing to do.

A quick follow-on then is that if we’re specifically tailoring the Jäger to hunt troopers via Airborne Infiltration to get into close range and confident we can do so, then the Boarding Shotgun is indeed the weapon to take. For example, face-to-face against an Alguacile in cover at ≤ 8″, the Jäger SMG has a 40% chance of killing its opponent, with a 22% chance of the Jäger itself being killed. With the Boarding Shotgun though the odds improve to a 49% chance of killing the Alguacile and a 20% chance of the Jäger itself being killed. Roughly similar matchups in this tactic, such as the Alguacile being out of cover or in Suppressive Fire or fighting a Medium Infantry target instead, continue to favor the Boarding Shotgun. However, if we won’t be able to get into 8″, the SMG becomes dominant via its extra die, though generally by a somewhat slim margin.

TAG/HI Hunting

It’s also worth thinking generally about the TAG/HI Hunting role to make sure it’s viable at all, because that’s not obvious. This is really about the Jäger’s SMG+E/Mitter profile:

  • SMG can do 3 shots at DAM 13 with AP, cutting ARM in half.
  • E/Mitter can do 1 shot at DAM 13 with E/M2, which forces two rolls on half BTS, failing either of which causes the target to become Isolated and TAGs/HIs/REMs to become Immobilized-2 as well.

Some newcomers miss this due to the name, but Immobilized prevents attacks as well as movement. That’s likely a mission kill, most times it’s not going to do anything else that game. So the E/Mitter can possibly one-shot a TAG, but how likely is that?

Let’s assume the TAG has ARM 7 and BTS 6, which most of them do. If you manage to use the Jäger’s Airborne Infiltration and Stealth to get around behind a TAG, you could:

Those are of course best case scenarios, and the likelihood of getting into that position highly subjective. If the cliche that TAGs never leave their deployment zone bears out, it’s going to be difficult. Playing any of the several ITS missions that heavily encourage TAGs to move forward, you should have a better chance. For me, frequently fielding a Seraph whose whole deal is to advance hard forward, I’m pretty scared of this attack.

The odds are also not impossible even in worse situations. Most TAGs have BS 14 and an HMG. Say your only chance is to go at one head-on. Within 16″ and the TAG not in Suppressive Fire, there’s a 34% chance the Jäger takes it down with the E/Mitter, 34% chance the Jäger goes down, and 32% of nothing happening. Of course it goes downhill from there, but that’s a better matchup than I would have guessed.

All told, whether or not it’s the best approach or if it’ll even work are huge questions. But it’s at least not ridiculous on its face to send the 18pt Jäger TAG/HI Hunting.

Pretty scared right now, actually.

Button Pushing

Finally, it seems completely reasonable to assume that a ~20pt AD Specialist might be pretty useful and efficient to send after objectives.

Given that the Jäger might be applicable to at least the latter four of these battlefield tasks, we can start comparing to other unit options available, evaluating from the perspectives of each because effectiveness and relative cost varies per role.

Tomcats

One of the most immediate comparisons for the Jäger is to Nomads Tomcats, which are also Airborne Infiltration with Specialist options and similar cost.

I don’t play Nomads, but I don’t think you’d take the Jäger over a Tomcat unless you really really didn’t have the points. Across the profiles, a few extra army points and equal or less SWC buys you:

  • Regular instead of Irregular—it’ll only matter on 2 turns, but this is still significant
  • Climbing Plus—super useful for arriving in total cover & getting where you need to
  • Combi-Rifle for long range & Suppressive Fire
  • Light Flamethrower for short range & Intuitive Attacks
  • Extra point of BS
  • Extra point of PH
  • Doctor over Paramedic—WIP 13 vs. target PH-3, opportunity to reroll on Cubes
  • Alternately, Engineer+D-Charges—an auto-win for the Sabotage Classified
  • A Cube

In contrast the Jäger has:

  • Monofilament CC Weapon
  • +3 BTS
  • +1 CC
  • Shock Immunity
  • Stealth

I think the Tomcat’s abilities are well worth that short list plus a few points. A Combi-Rifle alone is valued at a point over a Boarding Shotgun (see, e.g., Crusader Brethren and Akalis Commandos options for fairly direct AD troop comparisons), covering the difference between that Jäger profile and a Specialist Tomcat. Regular and Climbing Plus are probably each worth a couple points, and +1 BS another.

Evaluating in terms of the Jäger’s primary battlefield tasks we then get:

  • Suppression: Generating a Regular order combined with +1 BS, other abilities, and greater utility of the Combi-Rifle for +1pt tips this role toward the Tomcat.
  • Trooper Hunting: At close range the Tomcat with a Combi-Rifle would do 3 shots on 15s while the Boarding Shotgun Jäger does 2 shots on 17s. Against a BS11 Alguacile with a Combi-Rifle in cover, the Jäger Boarding Shotgun would hit & win 49% of the time while the Tomcat Combi-Rifle would only win 43% of the time. However, if the Alguacile is not in cover, the Tomcat would hit & win 62% of the time while the Jäger would hit & win 60% of the time. Further, at ≤ 16″, even with the Alguacile in cover, the Tomcat Combi-Rifle leaps out ahead: 43% win versus just 27% win for the Jäger, and that pattern continues for not in cover and other situations. The Tomcat Combi-Rifle would also of course dominate the Jäger SMG due to the range bands and higher BS, except against less common targets where the AP or Shock ammo on the latter really matter. So, this role could be swung by a small set of specific expected situations, but considering the Combi-Rifle’s wider applicability and that it alone usually costs 1pt more, combined with the Tomcat’s other advantages, for +1pt I’d say this role goes to the Tomcat.
  • TAG/HI Hunting: Tomcat also has an E/Mitter option at just 2pts more, as well as a D.E.P. option at just +1pt (AP+Explosive though Disposable 1), so with its better stats and other abilities this role as well seems to tip toward the Tomcat.
  • Button Pushing: Climbing Plus is very very helpful toward getting to objectives after walking on hidden, so I think that plus better stats for just +4pts tip this role as well toward the Tomcat.

So unless I’m mistaken or misjudging, there’s no reason for Nomads players to take a Jäger unless they’re desperate for a couple points. The very similar Tomcat is better at each of the Jäger’s battlefield tasks and costs only slightly more.

Parachutists

Haqqislam and Ariadna also have very similar units among their Parachutists, and I wouldn’t consider them dominant (better in all roles) as I would the Nomads’ Tomcat.

Haqqislam

For Haqqislam, Bashi Bazouks are very similar to the Jäger but cheaper.

Notably, Bashi Bazouks are also Irregular. The two have similar stat lines, with the Jäger at +1 WIP and +3 BTS in trade for the Bashi Bazouk’s +1 CC and +1 ARM. However, the latter’s Holoprojector L2 is a very useful piece of equipment, even in using their AD ability (which would normally make L1 much less useful), as the Holoechoes provide substantial protection for the unit. The Bashi Bazouks are also a little to much cheaper across the board. Evaluating by the four battlefield tasks though:

  • Suppression: Bashi Bazouk is better as it’s cheaper (in some cases much cheaper), has Holoechoes and better ARM, and selecting a deployment location in advance doesn’t hinder this role as much.
  • Trooper Hunting: Many will debate this hotly in favor of the Haqq troop, but I think there’s some competition between these units for this role. The Boarding Shotgun Bashi Bazouk is a big 6pts and 0.5 SWC cheaper, and has Holoechoes. But for this role it’s just so useful to not have to commit to a deployment segment in advance that I would consider, but not necessarily choose, the Jäger.
  • TAG/HI Hunting: Somewhat surprisingly, this is a close call, I think leaning toward the Jäger. The two unit’s SMGs of course have the same effectiveness, so with the Bashi Bazouk’s considerably lower cost that’s a question of how effective that weapon might be in this role. Comparing the Jäger E/Mitter to the Bashi Bazouk’s AP Rifle though, at their shared best situation, from the back at ≤ 16″ so good range and no ARO, the E/Mitter has a 54% chance to disable a typical TAG, while the AP Rifle has a 72% chance of doing at least one wound, 27% of doing 2+, and 4% chance of 3+ wounds. To a large extent these are doing different things, going for a lower probability (but likely) quick kill versus a more reliable whittling down. So comparisons from there get complex: Airborne Infiltration versus cheaper Parachutist with Holoechoes? How long will you actually live to whittle down a TAG? The Jäger of course also has both SMG and E/Mitter. At minimum I would say there are reasons to at least consider the Jäger for this role. I personally am probably slightly more inclined to try for the one-shot kills.
  • Button Pushing: This task of course goes to the Jäger as the Bashi Bazouks have no Specialist options.

It doesn’t seem to be the case that Bashi Bazouks are a strictly better choice than the Jäger across all roles. Indeed, at the very least there are reasons to consider the Jäger for Trooper Hunting, and very much so for TAG/HI Hunting. The Jäger in turn also isn’t obviously better or as efficient, but it’s at least competitive enough to be a plausible alternative selection. And of course there’s relative utility in the Jäger as a flexibly forward deploying Specialist, which Bashi Bazouks simply can’t do.

Ariadna

Ariadna also has very similar troops in its Para-Commandos and Airborne Rangers.

The relative utility of these to the Jäger are close calls, in large part because of their inferior AD level requiring you to choose their arrival segment during deployment. A big counterpoint to that though is the Jäger being Irregular while these are Regular. Which is better among these units I think varies by battlefield task:

  • Suppression: This is tight, but I would give it to the Para-Commando at 20pts and no SWC. In this role you can often plan in advance where to AD the unit, so parachuting isn’t a huge disadvantage. The other two units have a better gun for Suppressive Fire, which equalizes the range bands between the Rifle and SMG but keeps the latter’s AP or Shock modes. However, the Para-Commando’s Mimetism will help it win firefights. It will also provide a Regular order while it sits there.
  • Trooper Hunting: This goes to the Jäger. The extra point of BS on the other two is maybe worth the couple extra points, and the Para-Commando’s Mimetism is a big plus. But being able to choose where to walk on based on the current game situation is such a huge advantage in assassinating something. Being Irregular also isn’t a huge disadvantage for this role because it’s frequently sacrificial.
  • TAG/HI Hunting: The Jäger is a cheaper SMG than the Ranger, but otherwise these units go at this role in totally different ways. At minimum there’s space to consider the cheap E/Mitter approach of the Jäger versus the Ranger’s Molotok or Para-Commando’s HMG, especially given its higher AD level.
  • Button Pushing: This is a toss-up which I would maybe give to the Para-Commando. Flexibility to arrive on the battlefield wherever is best is important, but if you’re running at an objective you can also do a lot of advance planning. So the Para-Commando’s Mimetism and higher WIP probably edge out its inferior AD.

Spetsnazs also have Parachutist profiles, but at considerably more cost (starting at 31pts) and no Specialists. Ariadna also has a variety of units with Infiltration at similar cost that provide strong competition for the Jäger in these roles. I would guess though that at minimum it might still have a place in the two Hunting roles, because it’s just so useful in those to be able to deploy precisely where needed to best hit a juicy target.

Akal Commandos

For PanOceania, my primary faction (albeit in MO and SA sectorials), the Jäger is also interesting. The most similar unit is the Akalis Sikh Commando, of which I am a big fan.

The Akal Command starts just a few points more than a Jäger and has +2 BS, +1 ARM, +1 PH, and +1 CC, with the downsides of being slower (2″ secondary move) and -3 BTS. The value of Religious is somewhat subjective as it depends on what you usually want to do with the troop. I think it’s mostly a strong benefit that occasionally gets your unyielding dudes killed. Combat Jump versus Airborne Infiltration is strictly better but, again, may not actually be more useful depending on play area size and terrain density.

With its range of options, the Akal Commando can tackle all the same battlefield tasks:

  • Suppression: Combi-Rifle at +2 BS, +1 ARM, Religious, and Combat Jump for +3pt tips toward the Akal Commando for being more likely to win shootouts and hold its ground. E.g., in Suppressive Fire against an Alguacile at close range, the Akal kills 45% of the time and dies 28% of the time, while the Jäger kills just 35% of the time and also dies 35% of the time.
  • Trooper Hunting: Boarding Shotgun at the same cost and less SWC with better ARM and Combat Jump means the Akal is strictly better than the Jäger for this role.
  • TAG/HI Hunting: With an E/Mitter at +6pts, and a Hacker or Spitfire at +10pts, there’s space here to consider the Jäger. Comparing the E/Mitter options straight-up, it’s close: Again in the best situation, the Akal has a 61% chance to one-shot a typical TAG, while the Jäger has a 54% chance. For +6pts I’m not sure that’s worth it, especially with the Jäger having Climbing Plus and the Akal only +1 ARM and -3 BTS. Either way, it’s enough of a points difference that the Jäger might fit in a good number of lists that the E/Mitter Akal doesn’t, especially in RECON+ games.
  • Button Pushing: At +10pts for a Specialist, there’s almost certainly space here to consider the Jäger, particularly if you generally won’t see the benefits of Combat Jump versus Airborne Infiltration.

Crusader Brethren, the other PanO AD trooper (setting aside Kirpal Singh, a 35pt Akal character), cost more than the Akal but has +1 ARM and +3BTS.

So, off the cuff it’s a tough call between the Crusader and the Akal Commando for the Suppression and Trooper Hunting roles, but the Jäger doesn’t win either way. For TAG/HI Hunting the Crusader has HMG and Spitfire options, so it’s debatable between that and the Akal Spitfire. But all of those are a different and more expensive approach from the E/Mitter, leaving the Jäger viable versus the Akal’s E/Mitter as discussed above. There’s no Specialist option at all for the Crusader, so it also leaves space there to consider the Jäger since the Akal isn’t an auto-select for that role.

Among the other PanOceania units, I don’t think there are options that dominate the Jäger for the latter two roles at its cost and in the fashion it approaches them. The Specialists with Infiltration all cost quite a bit more (starting at 27pts for a TO Camo Spec Sergeant Forward Observer), which might be worth it for their various abilities and equipment but leaves a place for the Jäger in low-cost flexible Button Pushing.

Button Pushing

I’m not as familiar with the other factions and there aren’t as direct comparisons as the Tomcats and Parachutists—unless I’ve missed some there aren’t other low-to-moderate cost Airborne Infiltration or Parachutist units in the vanilla factions, excluding a few somewhat pricier characters here and there.

But I would guess the other factions largely shake out like PanO:

  • There are better options for Suppression and Trooper Hunting;
  • Some place for the Jäger in TAG/HI Hunting if you think the low-cost Airborne Infiltration E/Mitter approach is viable;
  • But almost certainly space to at least consider the Jäger for Button Pushing.

To the latter, surveying the vanilla factions for Specialists with Combat Jump to use as very flexible objective grabbers, we get:

  • Tohaa Gao-Tarsos Paramedic is +12/+9 pts; effectively an extra wound, +3 CC, +1 BS, +2 PH, +2 ARM, Combi-Rifle, D-Charges; but -2″ second move and -3 BTS
  • Aleph Ekdromoi Hacker is +8/+6 pts; has Martial Arts and Super-Jump, +8 CC, +1 BS, +3 PH, +1 WIP, +1 ARM; but only -3 BTS and whatever your take is on the merits of Chain Rifle and Nanopulser versus the Jäger’s SMG or Boarding Shotgun
  • Combined Army Fraacta w/ Hacking Device is +17/+14 pts; effectively an extra wound, +3 CC, +1 BS, +2 PH, Combi-Rifle and Nanopulser; but -1 WIP
  • Nomads Meteor Zond Forward Observer is +3/0 pts; has Sensor, Sat-Lock, Repeater, +1 PH, Combi-Rifle, +2 primary movement; but is -6 CC, -1 ARM, and an S3 Remote so harder to move & hide and an inferior Dodge
  • Nomads Hellcats Paramedic is +6/+3 pts; has Superior Combat Jump and Courage, +1 BS, +2 PH, +1 ARM, Combi-Rifle; but -2″ secondary movement
  • Haqqislam Hassassin Ragiks Hacker is +14/+11 pts; has Dogged and Religious, +1 BS, +2 PH, +2 WIP, +1 ARM, Rifle and Light Shotgun; but -3 BTS
  • Yu Jing Tiger Soldier Paramedic is +11/+8 pts; has Mimetism, +1 CC, +2 BS, +2 PH, +1 WIP, +1 ARM, Combi-Rifle and Light Flamethrower; but -2″ secondary movement and -3 BTS
  • PanOceania Akal Commando Hacker is +10/+7 pts; has Religious, +1 CC, +2 BS, +1 PH, +1 ARM, Combi-Rifle and E/Mitter; but -2″ second move and -3 BTS

Here again I think the Nomads have better options in their faction already unless you really can’t squeeze out the points (and the Tomcat dominates anyway).

Among all the others though the point savings are significant enough that it’s worth considering the Jäger. For example, in RECON+ games I see the boundary of what I can usually scrounge up without changing the basic character of a list as being about 4pts, which all these options are well over. The counterpoint to that is if you significantly value Combat Jump over Airborne Infiltration; think the Irregular Order is a real limitation; or will make use of the faction unit’s other abilities, such as hacking.

Conclusion

I started looking into the Jäger because I enjoy using Airborne Deployment troops extensively and wanted to see if it’s worth considering. Many people on various forums have of course immediately decried the Jäger as trash completely useless to everyone. I disagree with those takes. If you break down the analysis by battlefield roles, there’s most likely a place for the Jäger in every faction except Nomads. Even against Haqqislam Bashi Bazouks, for example, cited by some as totally superior, the Jäger seems at least competitive in several roles, and can fill one they cannot.

More generally, I hope newer Infinity players take away the idea that there’s often limited use in just comparing units generically. You have to evaluate units and their profile options in context of how you’re planning to use them. Of course the ability for a unit to adapt and cover multiple roles as the situation changes is very important. But in choosing a list you should be thinking of your strategy and evaluating efficiency and effectiveness of units and options in light of the specific tasks that plan entails. Most of us do that intuitively, but it’s worth explicitly framing the process.

40k: Stompin’ Time—Notes on Knights

This past weekend a good-sized crew from PAGE went out to the NOVA Open. I pretty much got my face punched in throughout the Trios and Narrative tracks (reports here & here), but I learned a lot and had a great time. Even in those but especially walking around the Invitational and GT you couldn’t help but notice the multitudes of Knights: Imperial Knights, Wraithknights, Rip-knights… Gorgeous models, under-costed points, for once GW figured out how to really sell something everyone will like, as long as it’s on their side of the table. The following are some lessons I’ve learned about fighting and using Imperial Knights.

Your weapons are (all but) useless, puny fleshlings! Charles Craig's sweet Chaos-allied Knight picks a fight with Sgt Titus and his meltagunner friend.

Your weapons are (all but) useless, puny fleshlings! Charles Craig’s sweet Chaos-allied Knight picks a fight with Sgt Titus and his meltagunner friend.

War at Range

Knights have considerable effective shooting range: 36″ on their guns and 12″ movement over clear spaces. Gerantius the Forgotten Knight, a White Dwarf character that should have been in the damn codex (making for a whopping ~4 pages of rules), can additionally run and then shoot. That basically means if you want to shoot at one you’re going to need at least 36″ effective range, ideally 48″ if you want to hit it on turn one while it’s still in its backfield. For the most part that requires a vehicle, able to move and shoot, or missile launchers, which have enough range to sit & shoot. I have a multi-melta on one of my tacticals because I get a re-roll to hit (Vulkan) and it’s useful against Dreadnought Drop Pods coming down on my lines, of which there are still some in my club. The range isn’t enough though to help me fight Knights, which take far too long to walk into range, even assuming they don’t just hang back and blast away. So in the future that MM will be either swapped out for another missile launcher, or start riding down in a Drop Pod with its compadres for early melta snaps and hopeful midfield positioning.

Sir Stomps-A-Lot

Depending on which side of the machine god’s wrath you’re on, stomp attacks are either really useful or more salt in the wound. Of course they’re powerful just for clobbering whatever is currently in close combat with a Knight, particularly if it’s being tarpitted with a gaggle of weak infantry. But they also have a handy ability to reach out and touch enemies.

A stomp attack has you put down D3 blast markers. The first one goes in base-to-base with your Knight, but the others can be up to 3″ from a previously placed marker and don’t have to be placed over an enemy base. That allows you to chain the attack out and hit targets up to just under 15″ away. There are also no line of sight restrictions on placing the blasts, so even large terrain doesn’t provide protection. Nothing came of it, but in one game I was caught off guard when an opponent used that to hit a Landspeeder tucked behind terrain over a foot away, waiting for the combat to end so it could pop out and melta the Knight.

Stomps can also be useful to cause secondary casualties and force a positive combat result. In a different game I used a second and third stomp to pile wounds & then casualties onto a bunch of Blue Horrors nearby but not involved in the combat in any way. Since all unsaved wounds incurred by a side are counted in combat results, that drove the leadership way down for the Instability roll on the Daemon Prince my Knight was actually fighting. In that case it created a bunch more free wounds, but against other armies it’d be a good way to force a morale break on an otherwise stalwart unit.

So, as a Knight player, the stomps let you reach out a bit from combat for some neat tricks. Playing against a Knight, you have to be aware that units could be directly affected by the combat even at a significant distance away.

On the left, a Knight stomps its way through a warehouse and into a poor lonely Landspeeder. On the right, a Knight drives down the leadership of a Daemon Prince by stomping Horrors trying their best to avoid the combat.

On the left, a Knight stomps its way through a warehouse and into a poor lonely Landspeeder. On the right, a Knight drives down the leadership of a Daemon Prince by stomping Horrors trying their best to avoid the combat.

Huddle Up

The large blast, low AP shots rained down by a Knight are a huge problem. Getting models into cover is obviously good, but even better is not being targetable at all. Unfortunately getting and staying out of line of sight can be difficult given how tall the Knight is and how fast it moves over open terrain. However, another way to not get shot at is to huddle up close to enemy models. Blasts generally can’t be placed such that they’ll be over the shooting player’s own models. If it’s not possible to put the marker over your models without touching their own, your unit will be safe from being directly targeted.

Clearly that’s pretty situational, there’s a relatively limited set of circumstances in which you can or want to be that close to the enemy. However, one such situation that comes up fairly often is deep striking units to join an assault. The arriving unit is very exposed, typically having to stand around for a turn and get their bearings before joining the combat. When there’s the potential to be tagged by a Knight or other large blast in the interim, better than ducking into nearby cover is to use the combat itself as a shield. By getting up tight with the enemy models, those models won’t even be targetable by the blasts and will have a much better chance of living through the next round of shooting to make it into the fight.

Drop Podding Vulkan and a powerfist combat squad huddle up tight against a combat for blast protection before being able to assist their Terminator battle brothers.

Drop Podding Vulkan and a powerfist combat squad huddle up tight against a combat for blast protection before being able to assist their Terminator battle brothers.

Bubblewrap

In my local scene there’s a bunch of meltagun Drop Pods, with their 6″ armor penetration bonus, as well as Screamers of Tzeentch, which have armourbane on their bite attack, so bubblewrapping key vehicles is important. One thing to note is that unlike a normal vehicle, with any reasonable amount of terrain on the board it’s quite a bit easier to bubble wrap a Knight on the move without sacrificing its mobility since it moves as normal infantry—so slow!—through terrain and the base is so big it’s bound to hit some wherever it’s going.

To protect my Knight I’ve been vacillating between cheap Imperial Guard and expensive storm shield Terminators. There’s a clear tradeoff between the two: For ~100 points I can bring enough Guardsmen to wrap completely around the Knight and protect it from all angles, but in a purely sacrificial way. Something else, possibly the Knight itself, needs to step in to actually remove the threat, and quickly so before all the Guard are eaten through. On the other hand, for 225 points a squad of thunder-shields can clobber most assault threats, or at least tarpit on their own for quite some time. That handful of models though has a tough time maintaining an effective wall against mobile threats like Screamers that will just do an end run around it. Which approach is better in general is tough for me to say, but in many tournaments, as at NOVA, restrictions on detachments, allies, or sources may force your hand. Similarly, Come the Apocalypse allies won’t really be able to wrap at all against an alpha strike.

This bubblewrapping successfully protected my Knight against incoming dangerous assaults. Note that the opposing Knight is basically not shielded at all, because it had to deploy 12" from CtA allies.

This bubblewrapping successfully protected my Knight against incoming dangerous assaults. Note that the opposing Knight is not shielded at all, because it had to deploy 12″ from CtA allies.

It worked out ok in the end and the Knight lived on the rest of the game, but this bubblewrapping has failed completely and the Knight should die. Screamers have a ton of ability to just fly over and around low model count walls.

It worked out ok in the end and the Knight lived on the rest of the game, but this bubblewrapping has failed completely and the Knight should die. Screamers have a ton of ability to just fly over and around low model count walls.

Tarpits

Similarly but on the flip side, an important tactic fighting Knights is tarpitting. Every turn it spends stomping expendable troops is a turn it’s not dropping pie plate blasts or mega-chainsword swipes on critical units. In thinking about doing so, it’s easy to overestimate how killy a Knight is in close combat.

Like many big models, with the 7th edition Destroyer weapon table and the Knight’s basic statline, it’s more efficient and effective going after big targets than little ones. Successful D weapon hits put multiple wounds/hull points on models, not units, so they clobber vehicles and monsters but are way overkill and not more effective than a standard powerweapon or monstrous creature against typical infantry. In ongoing combat, a Knight is only going to kill 1.25 MEQs per round with its base attacks (3 attacks, 4s to hit, 2+ to wound at AP2). The effect of the stomp attacks is fairly situational because the hits are determined by blasts and thus dependent on precise positioning. But, if I’m doing my math right, each MEQ has a 65% chance of surviving each hit (2/3 chance of Ker-runch effect times 5/6 chance of wounding at S6 times 1/3 chance of dying on 3+ save plus a 1/6 chance of the Overrun effect is 35% chance of an unsaved wound per stomp blast over a MEQ). Each Marine thus has a 45% chance of surviving a stomp attack (1/3 for 1 blast times .65 plus 1/3 for 2 blasts times .65^2 plus 1/3 for 3 blasts times .65^3). So even if a full combat squad is bunched up to be wholly placed under a blast, it should expect to lose “only” 2.75 guys per round to stomps, and remember that the guy killed by the base attacks can’t be hit by the stomps.

All in all, that’s pretty good for the MEQs! Even a few lowly Tacticals can tarpit and hold up to one of the Martian C’Tan’s warmachines for a bit. They might even do some damage, because their krak grenades and melta bombs if they have them will strike simultaneously with the Knight’s base and stomp attacks respectively. In the photo at the top of the article, those two Tacticals tied up that Knight for several critical rounds of combat, leaving my other forces free to deal with other threats.

Don’t Get Shot!

Against longer range shooting attacks, bubblewrapping and protecting a Knight can be difficult. The model’s just so big that almost no models and only the biggest, purpose-built LOS blocking terrain will give it a cover save. Its ion shield of course will give it a save, but only against one facing. It’s therefore important to try to force incoming shooting into one arc, and to otherwise minimize the damage through range and any available LOS blocks as well as the board edges.

In a recent game against Necrons, I set up my Knight as in the picture below. Without Drop Podding melta or fast assaults to worry about, I placed my Knight aggressively in hopes of moving forward quickly and clearing the central LOS blockers for more shooting options. In actuality though this Knight was dead before my first turn: I got literally caught off guard by having the initiative seized, and then caught off guard again by a Cryptek and Vargard Obyron teleporting ~30 Necron Warriors on top of me in double tap range. The two blobs went into two separate arcs, rendering my ion shield applicable to just one. Either way though, no Knight’s going to stand up long against 60 gauss weapon shots and it promptly exploded.

The game begins, and I've already made horrible mistakes!

The game begins, and I’ve already made horrible mistakes!

Jeremy Chamblee's Necrons are about to take this Knight down, and how.

Jeremy Chamblee’s Necrons are about to take this Knight down, and how.

What I probably should have done is set the Knight hard into a corner with just its front facing exposed, enabling the ion shield to protect the whole exposed area. Further, I should have used various units to build a wider diameter bubblewrap around the Knight, leveraging the two board edges in the corner to minimize the models needed. I’m so used to protecting against melta Pods and assaults that I was thinking there was little I could do about longer range gauss shooting. In reality though, I could have forced them to teleport in beyond double tap range, literally halving the number of shots the Knight would have to survive.

Notable there is that with melta Pods I worry about bubblewrapping a 6″ radius with a tight cordon so dudes can’t work their way into bonus range on disembarking. Against double tapping gauss or other weapons the bubble has to be much wider, pushing them out beyond twelve inches. Making that easier though, the wrap doesn’t have to be as tight. Individual shots sneaking through aren’t as lethal as melta, and a large blob like these tens of Warriors will have a large deep strike mishap footprint that stands a good chance of hitting a loose curtain wall if they’re dropped aggressively or scatter badly.

Pincer Attack

Conversely from the defender wanting to force all shooting onto one ion shielded facing, I think the most important tactic in going after an Imperial Knight is being able to hit more than one facing at once. This seems to be overlooked by many/most tacticas and maybe overlooked by many people but is fairly easy to apply, at least in theory.

The Knight’s ion shield confers a 4+ save, 3+ if it’s a Seneschal or Gerantius, and a re-rollable one if deployed in the Adamantium Lance formation. It’s limited to one facing though, chosen at the start of shooting. The best way to leverage that limitation and mitigate a key part of the Knight’s defense is simply to hit multiple facings at once, ideally with a roughly equal spread of power, leaving it able to shield only a portion of the attacks. This is going to be more effective than a mere large number of shots alone.

My lonely Knight is taken down yet again, this time by Joe Johnson's gorgeous army of Knights+Eldar buddies.

My lonely Knight is taken down yet again, this time by Joe Johnson’s gorgeous army of Knights+Eldar buddies.

To do so, the attackers need multiple units capable of hurting the Knight, and the mobility to get them into multiple arcs. Flyers and skimmers are a good option for this as they can’t be blocked as easily from getting into position by terrain and other units. To me, Crimson Hunters seem particularly ideal as the Knight can’t shoot back at them effectively at all, mitigating their AV10 weakness, and their Vector Dancer USR enables them to loiter around a battlefield longer and deliver shots on target much better than most flyers.

For the ground pounding Drop Pod set, hitting multiple arcs realistically means either multiple Pods or two combat squads coming out of a single Pod bearing roughly equal amounts of vehicle killing power, presumably melta. The combat squads are cheaper in points, take up less FOC slots, and in many cases are easier to deliver onto target. Multiple Pods though give flexibility if there for once isn’t a Knight or other single major target to pile up on, as well as potentially being able to constrain future movement of the target and create some cover for your own guys. Either way, the key thing is moving those guys into more than one arc on the drop.

Kingbreakers Marines attacking from all angles.

Kingbreakers Marines attacking from all angles.

Facing

Finally, to that note, facing is not a completely straightforward issue. The Imperial Knight has a fairly complex model & shape, and many get posed with the base, legs, and torso all at different angles, all of which can lead to different interpretations and intuitive takes on what is actually part of the hull, what is not, and how to determine facing angles.

In the picture below, Sternguard with a couple combi-meltas have dropped from the skies to destroy the traitor Knight. They’ve disembarked as far as they can. I looked at that quickly and my intuitive read was that they were in the Knight’s rear facing. My opponent just as quickly thought they were on the side armor but wasn’t completely confident. It was kind of a big deal, I had two other melta shots coming in from the right side out of picture so I really wanted these guys on the rear armor and there was a good chance to do a lot of damage (Vulkan giving me re-rolls on to-hits for meltas). It wasn’t worth a big thing though and we could each see the other’s view so we just rolled for the couple on which he was in doubt to decide their quadrant; they wound up on the side armor and both units got ion shielded.

Combi-melta Sternguard disembark as hard as they can toward the rear armor of their target.

Combi-melta Sternguard disembark as hard as they can toward the rear armor of their target.

Looking at it more closely from that photo, I’d also now lean toward side armor but there’s definitely some gray area. In the annotated picture below, yellow is the hull bounding box and associated facing line if you include the Knight’s shoulders. Previously this was roughly my intuitive approximate take on facing for Knights. The pink line is the facing divider from the leftmost to the rightmost corners of just the main body. The green line goes from the leftmost corner of the main body to the angled corner of the main body behind the smoke stacks. I didn’t have time to ask, but assume my opponent’s interpretation was something like those two. The blue line goes from the leftmost to the bottommost point in that corner of the main body. Finally, the red is the bounding box and associated divider of the main body. There’s quite a difference among all those slight variations!

Various hull bounding boxes & extremal points and the dividing lines they entail for facing.

Various hull bounding boxes & extremal points and the dividing lines they entail for facing.

So, there’s a couple questions here: Do you use the bounding box for vehicle facing, or a specific point on the hull body? My impression is that almost everyone uses some sort of intuitive bounding box for rounded vehicles like Wave Serpents. With the boxy but not quite regular shape of the Knight’s main body though, a lot of people might be using a specific point on there. The follow-up is then, of course, are the shoulders considered part of the hull? What if someone has assembled their model without the shoulder covers? I was pretty close to doing that with mine just to get a different, more mechanical look. There’s probably a variety of opinions on including the shoulders. From my end, I’ll only say that everyone is more than happy to tag the sponson wings on my Predators as part of the hull when shooting at them, and ditto the shoulders of my Knight. I would guess though many Knight owners getting shot at would not consider the shoulder covers as part of the hull, and/or aren’t including them in determining facing, making the front and rear arcs much more narrow than they otherwise would be.

I don’t (yet) have a strongly held take on what should be the correct arc lines. More important though than the actual “correct” answers to those questions is nailing down with your opponent the answers that will be in play for a given match before beginning a game and finding yourselves with different interpretations at a clutch moment. From now on I’m definitely going to include them in my ever-growing list of topics I try to remember to discuss with new opponents before matches.

Conclusion

All in all, the Imperial Knight’s an interesting model/unit. It’s almost certainly under-costed in points but I can’t quite decide what point value I think it should be. In particular, it’s very robust but you can’t just throw it out there willy-nilly either. A large variety of units and attacks can make it pop quite quickly. Similarly, it can do a ton of damage in both shooting and assault, but is also prone to being tarpitted or held up in terrain and not actually delivering much. One thing’s for sure though, there’s bound to be a ton of them on tabletops for the foreseeable future, so please share your attack and defense ideas in the comments!

Nothing can stop us! No, seriously, nothing.

Nothing can stop us! No, seriously, nothing.

40k: 7th Shooting—The Bane of Vulkan

40k-7th-coverAs most have no doubt heard already even if they haven’t yet gotten their own rulebook or given it a play, shooting in 7th edition 40k has been updated. The changes aren’t earth shattering, especially in casual play, but they are worth taking note. For example, Focus Fire is gone, so you can no longer specifically target just models outside of cover and pile more wounds onto them. Although that was useful and a good tactic, I don’t see its removal as a terrible loss. I doubt most players, particularly outside competitive play, had ever even used it much.

What I want to discuss briefly is the change to the order in which weapons fire. It also is neither a huge change nor one I consider negative, but it does have consequences on how you shoot, and depending on how you look at it either reduces the effectiveness or changes the tactics for some weapons loadouts.

If you spot any needed corrections to my understanding or have thoughts on the handful of open questions, please share them in the comments below!

Sixth Edition

Previously, all weapons fired simultaneously. All rolls to hit and wound for pistols, flamers, boltguns, etc., were conceptually all done at the same time. This could lead to some funny effects that weren’t game breaking, particularly as they generally only came up infrequently, but definitely weird if you even noticed it.

For example, suppose I have a couple Ultramarine Tacticals with a meltagun staring down some Chaos Marines and their buddy Abaddon, as in the figure below. All of the Ultramarines are within 12″ of one Chaos Marine. Another traitor and Abaddon are not. Clearly, the two boltgunners can double tap for 2 shots on the first guy, and the meltagunner is also in range to shoot. Somewhat weirdly though not obviously so, by the 6th edition’s “Out of Range” rules (pg 16), I could apply all of those boltgun shots to all the enemy models even though I got 2 extra shots for the one guy alone being in half range (12″). Really weirdly if you stop to think about it, by those rules I could also use the boltgun shots to take out the two Chaos Marines and then apply the meltagun shot to Abaddon, much better for me, even though he is completely out of range for that weapon.

Abaddon takes an impossible melta shot to the face.

Abaddon takes an impossible melta shot to the face.

Similarly, suppose I have two Tacticals with boltguns and one with a flamer facing off against Hormagaunts coming out of some ruins as below. I’d like to apply the flamer wounds to the guys in the back to negate their cover save. By those same “Out of Range” rules in 6th edition, I could do that even though the template doesn’t reach them. Everything shoots at once, and say everything hits and wounds (quite conceivable). I allocate the bolter wounds first and the front three Hormies are dead, maybe one guy in the back makes his cover save on the remaining bolter shot. I then apply the flamer wounds and the back guys are denied cover and die.

A gout of flame magically leaps into the nearest ruin.

A gout of flame magically leaps into the nearest ruin.

Seventh Edition

Relatively minor as they were in the overall scheme of 40k weirdness, seventh edition eliminates those oddities. Now, you activate a unit to shoot with and nominate a particular weapon class, e.g., boltgun or flamer, further defined below. All of the weapons of that class in the unit may fire, and all of the hits, wounds, and casualty removal for those shots is resolved simultaneously before nominating and resolving another weapon class. Players can still elect to not shoot with particular models for any given weapon class, but cannot go back to that weapon class to shoot with them later in the order. Models still of course cannot fire more than one weapon in a shooting phase unless they’re specifically permitted to do so, e.g., vehicles, Techmarines with a Servo-Harness, some characters.

Most importantly: It’s implied by the new ordered shooting, but the revised “Out of Range” rules (page 35) then make very clear that enemy models cannot be removed if they’re not in range of the models and weapon class currently firing. In the above examples, that means I need to nominate the meltagun and flamer before the boltguns or risk wasting the special weapons. Firing the boltguns first might remove potential casualties within the special weapons’ lesser range, while the boltguns could have shot models in the rear even with those in front removed.

Apply with care!

Apply with care!

Notably, weapon class is determined by the combination of name, ammo, and mode. So, bolt pistols and boltguns are different weapons even though they both fire bolter shells with the same damage stats. Ammunition is also clear; Sternguard firing their Dragonfire bolts (24″ range, ignores cover) shoot at a different order step than Sternguard firing Vengeance rounds (18″ range, AP3, Gets Hot).

Unfortunately, I don’t believe a formal definition of weapon mode is given in the rules. Perhaps not totally obviously, it all but certainly means differentiating between rapid fire weapons double tapping at half range versus shooting single shots at full range. Salvo weapons firing stationary versus moving are a more intuitive example of different modes. Importantly, the rules explicitly state that the maximum range for a weapon is applied regardless of the mode used. In the topmost example above, if the boltguns fire first, rapid fire due to an enemy being in 12″, and produce four wounds, all four would be applied even if that single model within half range to double tap is removed. The rules justify this as the shots flying on and getting lucky. Sounds reasonable to me, and makes sense in terms of a small practical convenience and not diminishing those weapons.

Similarly to not defining weapon modes, I don’t believe the rules explicitly state whether mastercrafted and twin-linked weapons fire at different times from the regular weapon. Given the focus on ordering weapons by “different names,” they all but certainly do when purchased as entries with those adjectives in the army list. More tricky is whether or not they count as different names when purchased the same but upgraded through some other mechanism. For example, is a Salamanders Sergeant’s boltgun that has been mastercrafted via their chapter traits different from the other boltguns in his squad? I would have to assume so given that you would have to roll different dice for those weapons anyway.

Fortunately, the rules do make clear that combi-weapons fire at the same time as whichever component you are choosing to fire, e.g., boltgun or meltagun.

Flame Away!

Given those rules, there are a few new tactical considerations, the most obvious ones revolving around range, templates, and blasts.

For example, units with different classes of flamers now need to be maneuvered with more care and in different fashion than before. The figure below shows one of my favorite setups and tactics: Vulkan and some Tactical buddies leap out of a Drop Pod to double flame a blob of baddies in a column. Unfortunately for me, either Vulkan or the flamer now has to resolve shooting first. In the arrangement below, that’s going to completely remove all the enemies in template range, wasting the other flamer. Previously the Salamanders here would almost certainly eliminate the entire blob (16 Hormagaunts versus 14 definite flamer kills and 9 remaining bolt shots: 2/9 hits+wounds needed to eliminate). Now they’ll severely cripple but almost certainly not completely remove the Tyranids (16 Hormagaunts versus 7 definite flamer kills and 9 remaining bolt shots: 9/9 hits+wounds needed to eliminate).

Fire does not mix with fire!

Fire does not mix with fire!

At first I was thinking this made mixed-flamer teams inefficient, and it does in some precise configurations like this one. But really I’ll just have to think more about how I deploy and move them. For example, looking at that blob, I need to put higher priority than before on landing and moving to the right, top, or bottom of it, so that both flamers will have at least some targets even after casualty removal. This consideration applies for some other units as well. Presumably Vulkan’s Gauntlet is not a heavy flamer in terms of having different names for shooting ordering, even though his entry says “The Gauntlet … is a heavy flamer.” So I have this same issue even if he comes down with heavy flamer toting Sternguard. Somewhat more difficult to accommodate given the practicalities of Drop Pods, movement, and terrain would be a Sternguard squad wielding a mix of heavy flamers and combi-flamers. In my experience the heavies would frequently render the combi-flamers useless. Another unit with the same new challenge is a Blood Angels Dreadnought equipped with a heavy flamer and twin linked heavy flamer.

Tactics

Generalizing from that, these changes to shooting aren’t huge but do require additional care. Right now I’m working on developing my rules of thumb for ordering shots in common situations. At the top level it’s pretty clear that should generally follow increasing range with exceptions to maximize templates, blasts, and rapid fire/single shot flexibility, something like:

  1. ~9″ Templates
  2. 8″ Grenades
  3. 12″ Pistols
  4. 12″ Rapid Fire
  5. 24″
  6. 36″
  7. 48″

For my Marines the details of those rules of thumb, largely for Tacticals, so far are:

  1. Heavy flamers
  2. Flamers
  3. Combi-flamers (save for last of flamers in case they’d be useless to pop)
  4. Frag grenade (after the flamers as the former are generally more likely to wound, particularly for Salamanders) or krak grenade (not actually sure if it doesn’t make sense to put this first, before flamers, given the limited range)
  5. Meltaguns
  6. Plasma pistols (after meltaguns to avoid gets hot if not needed)
  7. Bolt pistols (after meltaguns and plasma pistols if potentially assaulting to delay decisions (see below); otherwise, before plasma pistols)
  8. Frag missiles (fired here to maximize models under the blast, moved after rapid firing if there’s a bunch of enemies outside 12″ range, and again to after single-shots if there are clusters beyond 24″ range)
  9. Plasma cannons (fired here to maximize models under the blast, moved after rapid firing if there’s a bunch of enemies outside 12″ range, and again to after single-shots if there are clusters beyond 24″ range)
  10. Rapid-firing boltguns
  11. Rapid-firing plasmaguns (after boltguns to avoid gets hot if not needed)
  12. Storm bolters (moved before bolt pistols if potentially assaulting)
  13. Multi-meltas
  14. Single-shot boltguns
  15. Single-shot plasmaguns (after boltguns to avoid gets hot if not needed)
  16. Heavy bolters
  17. Krak missiles
  18. Lascannons
weapons

I don’t care who shoots first, just shoot, shoot!

Obviously actual circumstances would dictate changes to the ordering, e.g., moving meltaguns up or down depending on where the toughest armor is in the opposing unit. Some orderings also don’t matter, like multi-meltas versus single-shot boltguns or krak missiles versus lascannons. But that’s the kind of general priorities I’m trying to get into my head.

One interesting note is that the order isn’t declared in advance. That’s helpful if you’re looking at potentially assaulting a unit. Again thinking mostly about Marines, if you have some flamers, a special pistol on your sergeant, meltaguns, and/or use a grenade, you could shoot at a unit a bit before making a decision about whether or not to use bolt pistols with the bulk of your squad so you can assault, or use rapid firing boltguns to try and finish it off in shooting instead if it’s been severely diminished. Similarly, the ordered shooting allows you to have a bit more information before you have to decide whether or not to shoot with every model or weapon in cases where that might risk putting the target out of realistic assault range.

Conclusion

Other than probably needing some tweaks to army construction and potentially but not necessarily a few of the psychic powers, I’m pretty optimistic about seventh edition. I don’t think there are many new things that will slow down the game more once people are used to them, including this new shooting algorithm as well as the psychic phase. Several of the changes, like the vehicles updates, have actually brought more balance to the game, while others like this revised shooting have fixed some oddities. My early thoughts are it should be a really good era of 40k once tournaments figure out what they need to tweak.

Bring it.

Bring it.