40k: Vehicles in 40k – For Better or Worse?

Mercer from www.imperiusdominatus.com here. Vehicles in 5th ed were a big part (if not over powered) of the game. In 6th ed vehicles have changed, but have they changed for the better or worse?

Vehicles have changed a fair bit in 6th ed. They move and shoot differently and damage is dealt in a different way. Also, do not forget the addition of flyers and chariots. Speaking of flyers and chariots, I’ll talk about them another day. Walkers haven’t changed much to warrant their own post, but one can be found here about walkers in assault:  death of the close combat Dreadnought?

I’ve got more points than yao

Hull points is a big change to vehicles in this edition. I haven’t decided if this makes vehicles weaker or stronger yet, or just a total different way of doing things.

Lets take the humble Rhino. The Rhino has three hull points. To wreck the Rhino via glancing hits you would have to score weapon destroyed, immobilised and either one of those results again. So from a glancing destruction point of view, the Rhino has ‘three wounds’ before it snuffs it. In 6th ed the Rhino has three hull points before it snuffs it. Overall the Rhino hasn’t been effected by death by glancing.

The next popular vehicle I am going to look at is the Chimera. To wreck a Chimera in 5th edition you would have to score weapon destroyed twice, immobilised and then either of those results again in order to wreck it – that’s ‘four wounds’ so to speak of, from a glancing perspective. In 6th ed the Chimera has three hull points, so now is weaker, as only three glancing hits are needed to total it.

Now time to look at some xeno vehicles; Dark Eldar Venom and Necron Ghost Ark.

In 5th edition a lucky glance could take down the Venom, just roll a 6+ on the damage chart when you scored a glancing hit and the Venom would be wrecked. Now the Venom got more survivable, it takes two glancing hits to take down the Venom. So no lucky glancing hits to blow it to bits!

Now the Ghost Ark, while this vehicle is more robust than the Venom, a lucky glance could take it down thanks to the vehicle being open topped. Now the Ghost Ark has four hull points, so it has ‘four wounds’ before it is wrecked! That makes the Ghost Ark massively survivable.

Overall I think hull points are a nice change. Some vehicles have been effected in a good way, while others not so good. It also keeps the whiners quiet about how hard tanks are, I know, I know glancing a tank and getting crappy damage results did blow. At least now you know what the result is going to be if you glance a tank. I guess also it makes vehicle less survivable on the other hand, as they are not going to keep being shaken/stunned, and will be wrecked at some point. Everyone profits!


At a first glance you would think that the damage table has got worse for vehicles. Really, it hasn’t…

See in 5th a melta shot would total a vehicle on a 4+. In 6th a melta shot will total a vehicle too.

Same with the AP2 weapons as well. On a 5+ in 5th ed a plasma gun would take out a vehicle; in 6th ed it is the same as well.

Also applies to open topped vehicles; 5+ in 5th ed and it was smoked, same happens in 6th.

The only change is non AP2 and AP2 weapons. In 5th, say a Eldar scatter laser fired at a Rhino and rolled a 5+ on the damage chart, it would be then wrecked, though now in 6th it would only be immobilised. But, scatter lasers tend to glance things more than penetrate, so will probably wreck a Rhino with glancing hits anyway.

Dakka dakka on the move

A nice profit change for vehicles is how they shoot on the move.

Previously, if a vehicle moved at combat speed (up to 6″), then it could only fire a single weapon (unless a fast vehicle). This was a bit lame as I am pretty sure vehicles can move and still shoot in the real world. Also it was mega despressing if you had a vehicle with more than one weapon. To add salt to the wound, if you move 12″ you couldn’t fire at all!

Now vehicles can move up to 6″ and fire one weapon normally and snap fire any other weapons. Ok, this isn’t awesome, but it’s better than not firing anything at all. It is very cool if you have twin-linked weapons and even better if you play Necrons and have tesla 😉 . There’s more goodness as well; you can move 12″ and snap fire all weapons if you like, again it’s not awesome, but better than a kick in the pants.


Not only did vehicles get better at shooting, but they got better at moving as well. Instead of shooting, they can move up to 6″ in the shooting phase (fast vehicles move further and no tank shocks either!). In total this gives a vehicle a 18″ movement, this is extremely useful, as all but one of 40k’s games are objectives.

Cover me!

Vehicles just got cover saves a whole lot easier. 5th ed you needed 50% of the vehicle covered, which sometimes was tough. 6th you need 25%, which is much easier to do. Keep in mind that cover saves are granted from the type of cover i.e trees, ruins or fortifications. It’s so easy to tell what is 25% covered on a model, makes things massively easier.

You can get a cover save bonus if the armour facing at the shooting unit is totally obsecured, yet the unit can see another face. The vehicle gets a +1 cover save bonus, which if you’re using fortifications i.e fortress of redemption, you could get a 2+ cover save!

Speaking of cover, one thing which springs to mind is special rules or wargear which give a 5+ cover save. For something like Orks Big Mek’s KFF, this is bad news. Smoke launchers are also 5+ too.

Not all gravy, baby

It’s not all sweets and honey for vehicles. The first thumbs down is that vehicles are WS1 if they moved, if they haven’t moved, then they are WS0. This means that all infantry are hitting on a 3+ or auto hitting. While this isn’t good for vehicles, I can say that I agree with this and it’s fair. After all, infantry are hiding in wait for a passing vehicle (I think of Saving Private Ryan sticky bombs), not charging directly at it swords raised. Infantry assaulting vehicles seems pretty fair to me, and no doubt assault army players would agree i.e Orks and Tyranids.

Transport rules also got shafted. The first one is there is no 2″ disembark radius from a vehicle – this isn’t too bad.

I wouldn’t say this next one is bad, but more of a change. If a vehicle moves 6″, a unit can jump out and move 6″. The unit cannot bail out if the vehicle moves over 12″. This makes perfect sense, as I cannot get out  of my car while it is doing 30mph +. Over all the movement distance is about the same, move 6″ in a tank and bail out and move 6″, 12″ movement in total, so no biggy here.

One issue I do have, is that units cannot assault from a vehicle (unless its an assault vehicle) if it hasn’t moved, which is totally lame. If a vehicle is stationary and hasn’t moved, I cannot see why a unit cannot bail out and charge. I am pretty sure I am leap out of my stationary car and lay the smack down on someone’s roody poo candy ass.

Speaking of charging, looking from RaW point of view you cannot assault from a vehicle if it was wrecked in the opponent’s turn (they shot it to bits for example). But, the rules say subsequent turn, which means following, and your assault phase doesn’t follow after the opponent’s movement phase….what do you think? Btw, this is a general question directed towards the readers.

Final Thoughts

I think vehicles have perhaps remained the same. Hull points have made some vehicles stronger i.e Venom and Ghost Ark, while something like a Rhino remains the same, but a Chimera got weaker. The damage table hasn’t changed for some weapons i.e melta, but AP2 got better and others got worse as 5+ no longer wrecks, need a 6+ instead.

I guess one bonus of hull points is that you know the vehicle has ‘wounds’ so to speak. So if you glance a Rhino three times, you know what the end result is going to be. In 5th ed if you glanced a vehicle three times, you could get bad luck and get several shaken and stunned results, which was “less than ideal”.

A nice new bonus is that vehicles can move that little bit further, as mentioned, in objective heavy missions, this is grand 🙂 .

Shooting definitely changed for the better, there’s no doubts about that. That’s a +1 bonus for vehicles.

Cover also got better for vehicles; another bonus. Well perhaps I should say easier to get? Don’t forget that vehicles cover save from smoke etc is only 5+, but if you’re playing a ruin heavy board (like I do), then cover isn’t going to be changed for the worse.

The cherry isn’t quite on the cake yet. Transport vehicles got worse, as units cannot assault out of them. So take Grey Knights for example, who like to dakka away and charge whatever is left later. Alas this cannot be done any more. Same thing applies for any army which has assault abilities who use mass non-assault vehicles i.e Blood Angels Razor-Spam and Space Wolf Rhino-Rush. Which is a shame as I play spam ‘o lot Razor-Angels and Rhino Rush Purifier Order. Drat! – I need a new netlist a.s.a.p so I can win all my games 😉 (e-sarcasm alert).

Of course you still have the normal advantages of mobility, and do not forget immunity from small arms fire for your units inside vehicles.

I think I am going to go out on a limb and say that vehicles got that little bit better. Hull points means they can reliably absorb punishment instead of getting blown up with a lucky glance or shut down early, yet this also balances it out in being able to destroy them. The only short end of the stick they got was no assaults, but 40k is now a shooting game and this is a another nail in the coffin for assault style armies.

What do you think guys? Vehicles better, the same or weaker? 

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