40k: The Divide Between Melee and Shooting in 7th

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Let’s talk about the balance between shooty and choppy in the Grimdark – and how to fix it.


Guns VS Knives – 40K Style

Whether CC should take a secondary role to melee is a matter that can still be debated, of course. War has definitely evolved toward killing the other dude from a football field away and further from sticking a piece of metal in his guts. But then again, I much prefer to play a game where dudes hit each other with chainsaws over one of lobbing cruise missiles back and forth.

My personal opinion is that 40K should have a strong close-combat focus, even if shooting will always be  important. It’s an integral part of several “Feudal Future” settings, like Dune, Fading Suns, etc. Pretty much all of the bigshots of the setting are or were warlords that get in close and smash the opposition: Abaddon, Gaghzkull, Marneus Calgar, Dante, the Swarmlord….basically, if you are not a Psyker or Tau, your HQs are meant to be punching faces in.

The matter of just how much focus it should have in the game, and how strong/rewarding combat should be in each army, is a more thorny one, and it doesn’t help that many people are quite disingenuous about what constitutes a proper  melee  unit, or even if a given army should be good or bad at it.

If you really have a severe lack of irritation in your life, try arguing with a GW fanboy that maybe, just maybe, Dark Eldar were supposed to be a melee-oriented force from 5th-6th edition. “They were meant to be shooty all-along! Having exclusively assault transports, universally high Initiative, combat drugs, 2 out of 3 troops choices being melee-centric, Fleet and basically 60% of the units all being close-combat beatsticks means nothing! Nothing, I tell you!”

Everything is Better with Lists

Just so we start things on a clean slate, let’s briefly go through the pros and cons on melee and shooting in the game as it is.


Shooting Pros and Cons:

+Range: Obvious. Even a short-range firearm can start inflicting harm from further away than a knife.

+Safety: You’re dealing wounds without taking any retribution. In fact, many weapons can fire and do their thing being fully outside the threat range of a melee unit for that turn, and plenty let you ‘kite’ a melee unit around.

+Speed: A goodly chunk of the weapons in the game have range/strength to be seeking targets and hurting the enemy right from turn 1, while assault will usually have to wait until turns 2/3 to even consider doing damage.

+Volume of fire: Almost every infantry weapon can put out two shots per dude, sometimes more.

+AP values: Long-range weapons boast AP values far more often than their melee counterpart.

+Higher Strength/Special Effects: With few exceptions, every lowly grunt in the game has an S4 gun and gets better from there, and some get S5/Rending/Gauss and other sweet stuff on top of that!

+Overwatch: Free hits before a unit is engaged. Might not mean much against elite armies who are hard to wound or have good saves, but it’s still shooting, and it can still be affected by things like twin-linking. I’ve seen dreads being insta-punked when charging a unit with a single twin-linked meltagun (Damn Vulkan, grumblegrumble), and some armies out there twin-link nearly everything!

+Ambush: You can fire any ranged weapon you please after arriving on the board via Infiltrate, Outflank, Deep Strike, jumping out of an airplane, burrowing under the earth, leaping from your Segway.

+Easier to hit: The BS chart is way more forgiving when it comes to hitting things. It actually goes down to 2+ and even lower!

+Casualty selection: With a bit of preparation, it’s not hard to pick which model your enemy will have to start saving for. This lets you focus on special weapons, characters and such, now that wounds are allocated from the nearest model. Some elite sharpshooters can even just skip this step and name their targets.

-Cover: Enemies can lessen your onslaught by getting cover. Not much, as the basic cover is a 5+ and nothing to sing about, but when you factor in things like Night Fighting, Shrouded and unique wargear and other modifiers, you can see some tanks boasting a 3+ cover and Godzillas stomping around with a 2+. The top armies usually have ways of negating it entirely, though.



Melee Pros and Cons:

+Attacks in both turns: Melee gets to attack both during your turn and keep fighting during your opponents. This can be good or bad, as it also means more attrition if the fight is not dramatically stacked in your favor.

+Higher volume of attacks: This is conditional, and not as true as it once was. Specialists will be tossing out 3-4 attacks when they charge, then dropping down to 2-3 per turn. Still, a depressing number of supposed CC-geared units have a single base attack.

+No cover: You can’t hunker in cover and get a sudden save boost from melee. Not always a thing, since everyone is rocking some sort of armor, but at least you know what you can expect.

+Chance of wiping: Melee has the possibility of scaring away/destryoing your target outright, which can be really handy. Won’t work on Marines, most Orks, Fearless enemies (so some 70% of the game), but when it does, it’s really nice. Except when you don’t want it to happen because….

-Sitting ducks: Killed an entire enemy unit in melee! Congratulations! Now get shot to pieces by all their friends. The game rewards staying locked with just a few enemies over winning decisively.

-Meaningless High WS: A WS4 Eldar Guardian and the WS10 Avatar of Khaine both hit a Chaos Cultist on 3’s, despite one of them having THREE TIMES the score of the enemy.

-No AP values: Common CCWs have an AP of -. This means anyone wearing a shirt can start cramping their damage efficiency. And their low-AP options usually have drawbacks (Striking at I1, losing attacks, costing points, etc)

-Random Fail: Day or night, rain or shine, your shots are going to work with full range and accuracy. Charges, meanwhile, fail all the time.

-No melee from reserves/Deeps Strike: You can march out of an ambush and unleash all the flamers, meltaguns, plasma and spitballs in the world at your target. Hell, you can even get out of a drop pod and move six more inches to have the optimal angle and distance for every weapon. Getting into fisticuffs is a social faux pas, though.

-Challenge shenanigans: You can have your character kept from fighting because of an enemy CC monster, making him pointless, or be forced to sacrifice your character because a rule forces you to make/take challenges.

-Inferior Allocation: Outside of challenges, the enemy will usually get to pick where to start making saves and preserve key targets.

-Degraded Power for multi-unit attacks: You can place a blast or flamer across three units if you want and that’s alright, but try to get more than one in a charge and kiss your extra attacks, Furious Charge and such goodbye.

-Harmless to flyers: Unless they are in Hover Mode, melee will never affect a flyer, even if you are a jump unit. Regular firearms can at least pray for a 6.


Most good CC units that still cut the mustard do so by being amazingly durable/fast for their points, and that is very unevenly distributed among books. The fact that the developers themselves seem unclear on what is a ‘good’ unit only complicates matters. Thunderwolf Cavalry and Warp Talons are both supposed to be close combat terrors, and yet only one of them is able to be a realistic threat on the table. By a margin so wide you could drive a Baneblade through and never have to worry about scuffing your paint job.

As it stands, melee is a rigged game. It’s only worth engaging in if you have access to well-priced deathstars (Imperial Knights, Bike chapter masters, Necron Wraiths, etc) or cheap/free hordes (gants/boyz). Otherwise, it’s usually not worth it. Not that everyone has a choice (again, Orks). Of course, there are exceptions, like the truly murderous SM datasheet that lets you assault out of drop pods on turn 1 while rerolling everything, but those are aberrations that don’t address the larger issue, and instead bend it in one army’s direction.


Equalizing Shooting & Assault

Here are some solutions to bridge the gap somewhat (two or three of them would suffice, as all of them might go too far the other way):

-Normalized charge ranges: Have your charge range be a fixed number plus a die roll. The number can even change depending on the kind of unit to add variety: 6 for most infantry, 5 for ponderous terminators, 7 for bikes and jump troops. Fleet could be a flat +1 or +2 to this value. There’s still room to take chances but no more Trygons failing to make contact with a target 4 inches away.

-Shooting modifiers. Having weapons get a -1 penalty when firing over half-range doesn’t really add much book-keeping trouble to the game and help reward good positioning. Not to mention keeping things a bit more real. Having a grot crouching 42 inches away and an Imperial Knight one inch away should not both demand a 3+ roll from my Devastator. Special weapons like Sniper rifles and others that are -meant- to engage at extreme ranges could ignore this, of course.

-Modified Overwatch: Having Overwatch happen at I10 would still keep it useful while letting more units actually connect. As a small bonus for the defenders, it would now count toward combat resolution, so Tau would be able to brag that they beat that ork mob…in melee!

-Post-combat defenses: Striking a vicious blow by wiping out an enemy unit, only to be vaporized by return fire while you sit there like a moron builds very crappy narratives and rewards lame gameplay like bubblewrapping. Let victorious units pick between a 2d6 Consolidate move or 1d6 and Stealth for the coming turn.

-Combat resolution with more bite: Combat Resolution and things like Sweeping Advance are clearly meant to keep melees from becoming boring, slow slugfest that last for 3+ turns. The thing is, in typical GW two-step, they went back on it and basically made a bizarre number of armies able to basically ignore it. ATSKNF, Mob Rule, Nids and CSM spamming fearless all over the meta…the only times you actually overwhelm and sweep someone are usually the combats that were a foregone conclusion anyway. Scale down the immunities (ATSKNF and Fearless making casualties count only half for the penalty, for instance), grant more circumstance bonuses (+1 if you charged in that turn, +1 if you won a challenge that turn, etc) and we’re in business. I’ve seen games (like Bolt Action) where all close-combats are solved in a single turn, with the loser being wiped out instantly, and while I wouldn’t advocate that for 40K, it’s really intense and keeps things moving fast.

-More but worse charges: Let units charge out of vehicles that did not move, and out of Outflank again. Make them Disordered charges. These guys are meant to be getting stuck in. Let them do it, even if not as competently as usual.

Who do you think is winning the shooting vs Assault war in 40K, and how would you fix it?

  • Syra

    Good ideas. I lament the noble melee unit.

    • philosophile

      Seconded. Sephyr, thanks for the well written analysis and ideas.

  • Tsumugi123

    “Harmless to flyers” Really now, I mean, REALLY NOW. Is this guy on something illegal? How is this even a con?

    While I do agree that charge should be 6+D6, but having different charge range on different unit is stupid, and it’s totally AoS.

    • The problem with a 6+d6 is it raises the average charge distance to 9″. I prefer a 6″ or 2d6″, you choose. This way you can always make the safe easy charge, but you have to try and make those long ones.

      • thirdman

        I prefer the old way of double your base movement – back in the day when units had a movement value as part of their stat line.

        • Djbz

          Some of the old movement rules returning would be nice.
          More reliable running (rolling 1s sucks)
          Simpler difficult terrain- simply reduces move by a set amount.
          And one that I really want to see- vehicles turning based on how far they are moving ( kinda sick of seening necron ghost arks flying sideways- it feels wrong and people who do it should be ashamed)

          • But GW has shown us with all their recent work that they believe in a philosophy of “why roll dice 1 time to determine an outcome when you cane roll dice 7 times to determine it!”

            I’d love to see this happen, I just have 0 faith it will.

        • Free NJ

          Bringing back the movement characteristic would solve numerous problems, eliminate pages of special rules and speed the game up without dumbing it down. Dropping it was maybe the biggest mistake of the 2nd to 3rd transition.

      • Spacefrisian

        Maybe even go as far as state a model cant be within 3″ of an enemy model (its the only usefull thing from AoS imho), provided it we take the 2d6 charge range.

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        make it 4D3 then.

    • Matthew

      So the poster puts the effort and time to explain his vantage point. Makes a reasonable argument and offeres suggestions on how to balance.

      Then you come along and comment “having different charge range on different unit is stupid, and it’s totally AoS” . What does your minimal effort to explain your vantage point offer to him or us?

      I can see having different charge ranges adding more unnecessary variation to an ever-growing cumbersome game and that being an issue.

      • MPSwift

        I would say that the different charge ranges could be fairly simply done if it was simply the movement value of the unit type + d6 with USRs like Slow and Purposeful imposing a -2 penalty but ignoring the -2 for terrain. We all know (hopefully) the basic movement stat for our units so would limit complexity. Then change the fleet USR to +3″ on a charge to represent that they are faster than the normal unit of that type and call it a day.


      • Tsumugi123

        Oh lord.

  • Malthrak

    There are two *very* large Pro’s for melee you did not include.

    First and foremost, you lock the opposing units actions, they cannot move, shoot, nor use many abilities or cast many psychic powers once you lock them in CC.

    Second, and almost as big, how can you forget hitting vehicles on rear-armor automatically against vehicles as a pro for melee? That rule means most vehicles are effectively auto-killed by even basic troops equipped with krak
    grenades off a charge in a single round of combat.

    There are assault units in the game more powerful than ever before in 40k, and mobility, assault radius, and resiliency unheard of in older editions where CC supposedly reigned supreme.

    There isn’t a problem with melee other than with transports and reserves. Allow units to assault out of non-open topped transports that haven’t yet moved, or to assault out of walk-on reserve, and you’re going to fix a lot of problems.

    Ultimately, the ability to wipe units without having to actually kill every model, lock their actions, hit automatically on rear armor, and strike in both turns is plenty of advantage.

    • The thing is a unit can finish combat and be caught out in the wide open with a 1″ random consolidation, where as the shooting unit probably moved safely from cover to cover, and if they ran and got stuck in the open, that was a risk decision made by the player.

      • Malthrak

        Same can be said of many shooting units, particularly those reliant on short range weapons like meltaguns and the like.

        • Muninwing

          … but the maneuvering for shooting versus the maneuvering for melee are different.

          if it’s important, shooters have the ability to still be close by if still in terrain. usually cc happens in open ground for most effectiveness.

          “can be” is not necessarily “is usually what happens”

    • chip6793

      excellent observation Malthrak and a lot more valid than changing something that doesn’t need changing.

    • Matthew Hoag

      If they allow charges for walk on out flankers, the Space Wolves would be incredibly OP. Not that I would complain about that.

      • MPSwift

        I was just about to say, bring back charging from reserves and call it a day haha. When my 15 blood claws with wolf guard and wolf priest had an 18″ threat range from any board edge it made gun lines EXTREMELY nervous. As long as you don’t also bring back being able to consolidate into a new combat they are still going to be stood out in the open on the next turn.

        • benn grimm

          When proper null deployment was a thing it wasn’t such a problem. Also, once you got flank charged by multiple units of Genestealers, Wolf Scouts, Scorpions or Kommandos or whatever once, you found ways to make sure it didn’t happen again.

          I personally didn’t mind consolidating into combat as well; if you will line up your units so, I think it makes sense that my elites would tear through them with their next move, rather than stop and stare whilst getting blasted from all sides.

          • MPSwift

            Neither, I love the imagery of a unit of blood thirsty Blood Claws, Khorne Berserkers, Ork Boyz etc. rolling up a battle line taking losses left, right and centre while trying to hack down as many of the enemy as possible but I can hear the cries of cheese/OP/broken already if consolidating into combat made a comeback.

            As you say, it becomes a threat you have to deal with in the deployment phase. You know you’re opponent is trying to outflank you so maybe don’t put your artillery support in the back corner of the board, protect it with a disposable unit etc. Tactics and strategy are wonderful things…

            For me the easiest way to bring combat up to scratch would be:

            1) Allow assault from reserves
            2) Value x+d6″ charge depending on unit type is an idea I really like. It feels wrong when a unit of Wyches double 1 their charge distance only to have a unit of terminators slam into them from 12″ away! As mentioned above, infantry 6″, heavy infantry (like terminators) 4/5″, bikes maybe an 8? Then with Fleet adding as a modifier rather than a re-roll all makes charging more reliable.
            3) Allow assaults from stationary vehicles that aren’t assault vehicles. No one wants a return to the days of rhino rush spam but with the newer hindrances of negative modifiers from terrain and overwatch it should be far less of an issue.

          • benn grimm

            I still hate random charges; if I know how far my ‘grinder can spit phlem, I should probably know how far he can waddle at top speed… I honestly think they just took out fixed charges because they believe rolling more dice equals more fun.

            The other thing, and this is more crucial for me, is that because of this random element to charging, I end up taking units that literally cannot fail to charge by turn 2; seekers, hounds, screamers, furies, slaanesh grinders, (wraiths, bike stars, thunderwolves etc are the same, but suffer from saturation issues) are almost impossible not to get into combat (unless they are torrented down by fire-power lots of armies don’t have). When I can move to an inch away from you in my movement phase by turn 2, random charge is not an issue. Lack of player interaction is though.

          • MPSwift

            I hate random charges on 2d6 because the bell curve is just so harsh on the extremes but I like the idea of flat value (perhaps movement value as this represents the unit moving with caution?) + d6 (as they’re legging it towards the enemy not ducking and dipping) as it adds an element of realism (to me personally) to take into account broken ground, fatigue, slight hesitancy as the enemy open up with overwatch etc. but reduces the harshness of it. If I know that my infantry are always going to go at least 7″ with a possibility of 12″ it would have a huge effect on how I play with them. As it stands my terminators pour out of their land raider at 2-6″ from the enemy just so I don’t have a turn of thumb twiddling which is ridiculous.

            This could also reduce the “auto-include” combat unit syndrome you mention about units that are almost guaranteed to get into combat turn 2 as you have that safety net of a guaranteed charge distance greater than 2″. If things like fleet then add a modifier so much the better. For example, Eldar Howling Banshees (ignoring the lack of assault grenades *facepalm*) as infantry would get a 6″+d6″ charge move, +3″ from fleet taking their guaranteed charge to 10″ with an upper limit of 15″ which fits their hyper mobile nature. Keep the terrain modifier at -2″ to show that being fleet footed still confers an advantage and anything with move through cover ignores the penalty.

          • Muninwing

            i won a game in 6th because an ork player was 4″ away and rolled a 3 on a charge.

            it was a crucial point in a game that got away from me almost immediately, and not only was the loss of the charge the issue but the contestation of an objective.

            while it did cause me to be a bit more cautious about my planning, i know it also screws with all the maneuvering and acting in regards to the decision to charge. it’s too nebulous, too potentially flawed.

            a 6+d6, or even a 3+d6, would make it a fair minimum while also evening out the curve.

          • MPSwift

            This is exactly the kind of situation that just shouldn’t happen. A unit of Orks, unless utterly decimated and broken would always throw themselves into the charge and at that range really shouldn’t fail. As you say, it’s not about making a charge a guaranteed thing, I quite like the risk/reward element of it but the curve does need some evening out.

          • Azrell

            They put in random charge range so you wouldnt know EXACTLY how many models to shoot down to prevent the unit form making a charge. Same thing goes for overwatch. The 2 mechanics work nicely to add some suspense into a CC charge rather than just a flat statistical move. I do think it needs both random charge and overwatch to work, however.

          • benn grimm

            Those two mechanics, along with a whole bunch of other irritating changes murdered my two favourite 40k armies. I just don’t get why someone thought shooting needed a buff, assault was far from the be all and end all to the game before those two wretched rules were shoe horned in.

            Knowing exactly how many models you need to kill to stop them making the charge (without pre-measuring) requires skill and a good eye, plus acquired knowledge. These are all things I value above ‘suspense’ in a table-top game, which can be created in far better ways; such as secret missions etc.

            Rolling snake eyes for an assault doesn’t feel like a gamble which didn’t pay off, it feels stupid, it breaks immersion and it makes me want to play a different game. There is far too much dice rolling for the sake of it at this point and as someone who likes 2nd ed, that’s saying something.

            Overwatch is just another round of shooting, albeit at slightly reduced effectiveness, if you(the universal, not necessarily just you personally) can’t see how that stacks things unfairly against assault units then I’m guessing you don’t play assault orientated armies or are just being deliberately obtuse.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            the being stood in the open problem would be better fixed by alternate activation rather than consolidate into combat. Its the fact that the whole enemy army gets to shoot at you that is the problem. If it was just one or two units shooting before you got to activate your melee unit it would be a non issue.

          • benn grimm

            While i like the idea of alternate activation, I have a feeling it would require a massive overhaul of the rules and (ahem) balance between the armies, which I’m sure we can agree isn’t likely to happen any time soon. Could make a cool friendly scenario to play with a mate though and could definitely be included in a book as such.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            some people have experimented by grafting Bolt Actions activation system onto 40K and I’ve heard it works well without too many changes.

        • Arthur Hartman

          if things can charge from reserve it will put a huge hit on any army that doesn’t have strong melee units and relies on the shooting phase to eliminate enemies. The problem with 40k is not just one rule or two tweaks. There is a huge balance issue with the different codices. Tau need shooting phase to win, if you change the effectiveness of the assault phase you ultimately change that armies entire ability to function. I’m not saying Tau aren’t OP, cause they are, but if you make it easier to rip people apart in melee I would be willing to bet the shooty armies don’t make those ever popular top 10 army lists. Just my opinion of course

          • MPSwift

            A fair point but I don’t think it would necessarily put a huge hit on them, just means they have to adapt. They would have to be aware that there is a threat range on the edges of the board and play appropriately.

            If you play Tau, as an example, it would encourage you to guard your flanks with units like kroot (thereby encouraging diverse army selection) who can hold up a unit until ranged support arrives or deploy in sets of narrower waves nearer the centre of the board rather than a gun line from flank to flank and use your mobility to play around the limitation placed on you by your opponent. Tau have long ranges on a lot of their stuff (30″ infantry weapons, 72″ Hammerhead etc.) who can make the most of firing over/through other units so being forced into a column so you don’t get jumped is a viable tactic.

            As a guard army, one of the most traditional gunlines there are, hold back a counter attack unit as a reserve (as in the actual military tactic, not as in Reserve off the board) to plug the gap or jump whatever comes at you. Rough Riders, Ogryns/Bullgryns, Storm Troopers with HSLG, Chimera or 2 with special weapons etc. Deploy in cover so the enemy have a harder time getting to you and you have an initiative advantage if they do (unless they have grenades but that’s another conversation). Use 25% terrain. If you know that enemies can come at you from the sides, and jump you when they do, it is suddenly in the interests of both players to have a decent amount of terrain on the board rather than just the player who needs to get close.

            Also, for the most part outflanking is still unreliable (barring perhaps wolves but my god is acute senses all but pointless as it stands). First you have a 3+ reserve roll then you have a 2/3 chance of getting the right board edge which gives an end chance of around 0.45 of having a unit turn up in the right place at the right time on a particular turn. Hardly game breaking odds.

            I appreciate what you’re putting forward, and it may be that the ideal is a middle ground but I think player skill would be a big part of mitigating the risk of being flank charged rather than just trusting to a rule that says that the unit that just sprinted around an entire battlefield is only going to move on 6-12″ and then stand there for me to shoot for a turn.

          • Kevin Mitchell

            -Or the tau can know that they need to be careful around the edges of the map when you have out-flankers in reserve. Drop pods dropping a dreadnought with a heavy flamer behind your lines turn one is way cheesier than having to worry about getting assaulted 12 inches from the edge of the board.

        • Muninwing

          see, i want to bring back the old sweeping advance — the consolidation into a new combat. crazed berserkers would not stare at their shoes if there’s another enemy to fight close by.

          and unless you’re looking at a parking lot, there are easy nullifications to those situations.

          changes i’d make:

          – disordered charge becomes from a non-assault vehicle. charging into multiple combats becomes no big deal (except for getting outnumbered). add a combat modifier to resolution if the unit is outnumbered by the end of the round.

          – relentless ignores terrain for charging penalties (this is a no-brainer, and should have already been addressed with errata)

          – charging becomes 6+d6… there needs to be a bit of reliability, because failing a 3″ charge with snakeeyes is stupid. 6+ the best of 2d6 is good for the faster units (bikes, non-hammer jump troops, cavalry, etc).

          – ASTKNF and fearless units get a Ld to avoid being wiped out (it’s not just about fear… but about reorganization after a tactical retreat).

          • Nameless

            with Consolidation from combat to combat a game of a shooty army against an assault army ends at the end of turn one.

            there are two situations: 1) the assault unit can’t charge next turn and is about to be swept from the board.
            2) the assault army can charge, there is next to nothing the shooty army can do for the rest of the game and has to sit there to be swept from the table.

            either way, as when I started playing in 4th, there is no point playing, agree who would win and stop playing as the rest is a formality.

          • Muninwing

            this is wrong, except when you make mistakes.

            all you need to do is not put another unit within close reach, and you will not lose unit after unit.

            my point is that it should be an option, partially because it will definitely change gameplay, while only offering an advantage if your opponent makes a mistake.

          • Nameless

            my personal experiance runs contary to that, the board is often quite littered with units, this seems to be the case in other places as well given that mulit charging is a semi-common thing.

            back in 4th having to space out units by 7 inches left very little room to space out units and avoid blasts and now with miniatures with larger foot prints it seems like failing to have a 7 inch (or more) gap between each unit would not fall under tactical failure.

          • Muninwing

            how far are you willing to allow them to consolidate? we’re not talking about a full move+charge here, but a post-combat consolidation. it’s a good thing to try to maneuver for, but will not always be able to be done.

            i got confused a few editions ago when it was either a d6 or 3″ depending on situation… but that’s about right. add in “and must be able to draw line of sight to the models” and it’s really not OP at all.

            and if you have so little terrain that your units are within an average 3″ move of each other, maybe that’s the problem… that and your deployment.

          • Nameless

            if you make the consolidation too low then it will be only the same as assault grenades in 6th being standard (if everyone has them, no one is affected by terrain: why does the rules for charging into terrain exist.) if the consolidation is too short to reach another unit why have a rule saying you can.

            I seem to remember in 4th the consolidation was a flat 6 inches. I doubt that 3 inches will have any real affect on how the game plays, equally d6 runs the same problem as the random charge. no one wants to have a charge halt 3″ away from the charged unit.

            whilst we have true line of sight it is hard enough to hide a unit from another, outside of the first couple of turns when armies are still far appart from each other.

          • Muninwing

            while in understand what you mean, making it a relatively low number means that it’s an option without bein a guarantee. i’d do 3+d3 and then it’s a possibility but not a guarantee.

            it’s not about always-useable. in fact, that’s quite imbalanced. it’s about an option, maybe even exploiting your opponent’s flaws or mistakes. a tool, not a whole game plan.

          • Roshi

            Could it work if you modified overwatch for it? Yes the close combat unit can consolidate into another combat but the unit being charged second gets the option to fire overwatch at a higher BS than usual to represent the the fact they’ve had chance to see the assaulters destroy one unit so prepared themselves for the risk of the angry brutes heading their way?

            I think this would balance it out and make shoots armies accept it.

          • MPSwift

            I would love to be able to sweeping advance into a new combat but I was trying to find some middle ground between the current and the old; as I said to benn grimm above the OP gunline armies will cry foul and I’d like to be able to smash them apart with average combat rules rather than great ones just to teach them a lesson :P. From a narrative point of view you could say that the reason it is a consolidation move not a sweeping advance is that the unit has to stop, check themselves, find a new target and then engage as opposed to a sweeping advance where you are bounding after an existing foe.

            As to your changes:

            1) Disordered charges from non-assault vehicles: Fully agree though I would say that it has to remain stationary before the unit disembarks to encourage a bit of tactical planning. A dedicated combat unit has a lot of attacks in general and a penalty of -1A to take a vastly cheaper (in general) transport is something I would pay every time. 9 blood claws in a rhino with a wolf priest puts out a ridiculous number of attacks with re-rolls of 1s to hit and wound so I would definitely pay the -1A tax to move 6″, disembark 6″ and then charge. Instead by forcing a vehicle stationary you make it a tactical choice for the player.

            2) Relentless: again agree, I had it on my list too and why it hasn’t been errata’d is beyond me.

            3) 6+d6 ( best of 2d6 for faster units) interesting take. Personally I prefer unit type movement +d6″ but both have a way of flattening the curve which is a good thing.

            4) ASTKNF needs a nerf. I’m a marine player and even I cringe when I flee combat, get a 3″ reform for free and then a full turn of move, shoot, charge. Make it stubborn and a leadership test to avoid being swept and get rid of the special rallying ability. Fearless is mostly ok but I would change it to you may choose to pass or fail at the end of combat + the refined ASTKNF above. As you say, you’re meant to be fearless, not stupid. Reforming out of combat is a tactical decision as much as a self-preservation one.

          • Chris Eyler

            ATSKNF no longer offers the free 3″ of movement.

    • Kukow

      Thank you very much! Thats what I was thinking too.
      My IG (now AM) Vanquisher tank squadron (THE AM Tank hunters) have problems to finish a single armor 12 vehicle, like a hostile chimera, but nearly any blob of str4 CC units can pop 2-3 tanks out of that formation… thats nasty…

      • Malthrak

        Aye, CC is murder on tanks, while actual dedicated tank hunting units with specialized big AT guns like Vanquishers are actually pretty bad at it. It would almost be amusing if it weren’t so absurd.

    • Andrew Thomas

      You don’t get the charge bonus with Grenades.

      • Malthrak

        Correct, but I don’t recall stating anything to the contrary, only that a unit with krak grenades is highly effective against tanks.

        A basic unit of ten guys will typically kill most tanks in one round even with one grenade attack each. 10 Krak grenade attacks hitting on 3’s gives you an average of 6-7 hits, glancing on 4’s gives you an average of 3 HP’s inflicted, so on an average roll (really technically even if they roll below average), any 10man unit will typically kill a 3 HP rear-AV10 vehicle (~90%+ of most tanks) in one round of combat.

        • Andrew Thomas

          I inferred from you mentioning that they’d be awesome on the charge. TBH, having a hi-Strength, low-AP CCW on the Sarge is a bit better than the Grenades, b/c you get your full attacks and your charge bonus, but yeah, Krak Grenades in a big enough squad is a good investment against vehicles and MCs.

    • Me

      The only thing about your last paragraph is that I do not think that you can shoot into a group that you have units involved in CC with. So, if the unit is not wiped, there can be no ranged retaliation. Correct me if I am wrong.

  • Djbz

    It would be nice if overwatch worked like the other major shoot in your opponent’s turn ability(interceptor)
    Especially as some armies (dark angels) can fire at full BS

    And the initative penalty for charging through terrain shouldn’t apply to units with move through cover

  • One of the worst things is not being able to charge out of stationary vehicles. It wouldn’t be as bad if shooting was only snapshots when disembarking as well, but the fact is you can get out and shoot to full effect, but can’t charge? Are you telling me Blood Angels or Khorne Berserkers getting out of a Rhino would just be befuddled and stand there while Ultramarines and Black Legion would heroically (or malefically) unleash a torrent of highly precise bolter fire?

    • Drpx

      Best you can hope for is that your enemy is dumb enough to pop your transport out when it’s sitting in front of him and dismount your guys without exploding it and you’re either fearless or pass the pinning check and hide behind the wreck until your turn.

      • Yes, rules wise this is best case unfortunately. But lets look at this from a fluff perspective. This is saying people are more likely to charge out of a destroyed vehicle than a parked one. It is like saying you can sprint a 100 yd dash and jump right into a boxing ring right after a car crash, but can’t possibly do the same after parking your car.

        • petrow84

          In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only… sprint-boxing!

        • Valourousheart

          Well of course, when you park your car you’ll want to hide your belongings, take your keys and lock your doors.

          On the other hand if while driving your car, someone caused your car to get wrecked, the first thing you would want to do is beat them up.

      • LawyerDavid

        You cannot charge out of a non-assault vehicle that was destroyed in your opponents turn, during your subsequent turn – in the rules for transports my friend.

        • yep, you are correct. my bad.

          I always use Land Raiders and Jump Troops, sooo…

          Still the disembarkation rules are dumb.

        • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

          I think that came in as an FAQ in 6th. Shows a lot of people haven’t spotted that. Also shows how badly laid out Gw’s rules are- there should be a list of ‘things that stop you from charging’ in the assault rules.

    • Azrell

      Have you looked at a rhino? SMs already have to crawl out of the thing, how are you going to charge?

      The model its self really needs to be updated and increase in size about 25-50%

      • Nothing is to scale properly, so I am fine with in TBH. Keeps the tables from getting too cluttered, and rhinos are easy enough to pop without being harder to hide.

      • Muninwing

        you want reality in a game where heroic space nazis butcher angry fungus in their off-time from fighting crystal space elves and the powers of nightmare fuel?

        i do like the idea of being able to charge if the model did not move, even if it is a disorganized charge. a bunnyzerker isn;t going to help his friends out and wait around for the driver to drop the “stop” sign. they might not have a great view of what’s going on, but they will head toward the enemy their commander told them was out there…

        maybe they can’t charge out of the old rhinos? those were even smaller…

  • Daniel McCarty

    Random charge distances help attackers because the defender can’t know for certain if you can/will make the charge. The odds are in the attackers favor for rolling a 6 or higher anyway. Also, I’m sick of hearing how good wraiths are. Mine never do jack. Lychguard are a far better choice.

    • Kevin Mitchell

      7th edition flayed ones are horrifying.

      • steelmage99

        Are they?
        Please, note that I am not arguing, but genuinely asking. Can you elaborate?

        • Kevin Mitchell

          The new book gives flayed ones two flayer claws so they pick up an extra attack for two close combat weapons at ap5 that re-roll failed wounds thanks to shred. They already have 3 attacks so they come into the assault with 5 apiece and are about the same price as a tactical marine. The new we’ll be back is really just a better version of feel no pain so surviving units still get their attacks in which was their biggest problem at I2. So really, better WBB is the main reason they are awesome but the extra attack, ap5 and shred don’t hurt either. They also gained fear which I guess makes them scary unless you are a space marine, ork, tyranid or high leadership army.

          • petrow84

            Sidenote: orks are still highly susceptible to fear tests, especially when backed by the Deceiver’s Dread aura.

          • Kevin Mitchell

            Ha, I had not noticed that. I have always found fear a little underwhelming so it is nice to see it have more uses.

          • petrow84

            Against ork, tau, eldar, dark eldar, it works like a charm. Necrons with their cheap monsters, flayed1s, nightmare shrous and between the deceiver’s aura and MSS can do an unexpected amount of mind tricks.

    • Haha…

      That’s a good one, you even managed to keep a straight face while saying it…

      So this sort of concept would be true only in a situation in which the attacker knew that the charge WILL hit and the defender doesn’t. Instead with both having no idea the uncertainty is actually placed upon the attacker, not the defender.

      Cool news people, being bipolar is actually helpful in life as no one knows what you are going to do!!!

      • Nameless

        Okay here is the thing, with premeasureing Player A (the shooty army) posittions all of their units .5 inches past the maximum charge range. player B moves forward but can not charge due to that .5 inches. Player A moves back and repeats the process.

        set charge distances worked when both players had to guess how far that 12/18″ would take them. Now set distances favour the shooty side as they know exactly how far you can reach and can get another round of shooting in.

    • benn grimm


    • HorusTheWarmaster

      Praetorians for me

  • Keaton

    This post tips its hand by stating the author prefers melee, and then very obviously slants the analysis towards the conclusion that assault is weak. Heres the problem:

    They aren’t mutually exclusive. Units can shoot AND assault. Nearly every MC is an example, bolt pistol and chainsword, and most of the Big Bads you mention.

    The argument as always presented it like you do, should your army be assaulty or shooty, as though you are forced to make some arbitrary choice. If you want to take exclusively choppa boys or thunderwolves, fine. But don’t pretend like the game should be balanced in such a way to make that a good idea.

    Bottom line, yes. Pure assault armies are usually not as good as pure shooty armies. But no one is “winning the shooting vs assault war in 40k”, and nothing needs to be fixed (on this front, at least). They are supposed to supplement each other, pure and simple.

    • KRQuinn

      Do an analysis of how many special rules or psychic powers allow you to re-roll misses or wounds (or re-roll ones) with shooting and how many turns that works (in the average game) vs the same in assault. It is much easier to win with a pure shooting army then a pure assault army..period.

      • Keaton

        So…there are less turns to assault with and a pure assault army is worse than a pure shooting army? I agree with all that. We just disagree that thats a problem.

      • Azrell

        ALL rerolls in 40k need to be changed to a +1 to a dice roll or a “reroll on 6”. The massive amount of rerolls floating around is game breaking in most cases. “reroll” has become the default buff for GW, rather than coming up with new or interesting ways to diversify units and weapons.

    • Kevin Mitchell

      The tyranid have a plethora of units with no shooting attack or who come stock with no guns.

      • And as mentioned so do dark eldar and craftworld eldar. Such terrors of the battlefield, the most viable armies for nids, eldar, and dark eldar obviously are melee oriented!

        No? Then surely they must hav some melee in them!

        Also no? But so many of their units are melee oriented!

        How could a company ever design a system in which units were terrible by design?!? That’s downright improbable!

        • Another Biased Opinion

          And Daemons 😀

          • Kevin Mitchell

            Daemons more so than anyone else as most of their shooting attacks are witchfire.

      • Keaton

        Everybody has some. But they also have lots of units that can do both well, and the most MCs in the game.

        • And dreadnoughts too awwwwww….

        • Kevin Mitchell

          -and no T7 monstrous creatures. A tyranid monstrous creature is their equivalent of a vehicle but no vehicle is vulnerable to s3 attacks at all where as all tyranid monstrous creatures are. Alas, whining about tyranid was not my goal with my original post. Having a both shooty and assaulty unit would be best but many units (hormagaunts, genestealers, flayed ones, blood letters, plague bearers, wracks, incubi etc..) don’t have that option at all.

    • Chaosrex

      “Units can do both…”, my Bloodletters, Fleshhounds and Berzerkers would like to have a word with you.

      • Keaton

        The fact that KHORNE has some troops dedicated to assault contributes exactly nothing to this discussion.

  • James Regan

    I’ve always thought allowing sweeping advances/consolidating into combat again might solve the problem with glass cannon type melee units (e.g. dark eldar), as it would mean they’d not automatically be shot to death on making contact with the enemy (especially considering overwatch means shooting armies would still get to use there guns against them)

    • Dennis J. Pechavar

      We had that a few editions ago. I still had nightmares of the unkillable deathstar of doom hitting my lines and rolling down them. Space Wolves vs Imperial Guard, it was painful.

    • Malthrak

      There was a reason they removed that. It was absurdly abuseable. The game has compensated with more far more speed, which would only make the issue even worse.

  • KRQuinn

    I think you missed the biggest problem for melee units that have to close the table with the enemy. I am a Wolf player and have many, many different units in my cupboard to use and lately have tried Thunderwolves quite a bit. I love CC and TWs are no slouch, the problem is all the things that allow my opponents to reroll hits and wounds. They are so numerous from army to army that I often have to make so many saves that I get severely whittled down.

    I don’t use battle bros shenanigans or Invisibility or any of that stuff, so I guess I have it coming to me. In the meantime I keep tweaking builds to take pressure off, adding various units in DPs to make target decisions more of a problem. Once I get there with the TWs, very few units can stand up to them. So to me CC isn’t a problem vs shooting, it is the vast amount of re-rolling special rules or psychic powers. I still have a ton of fun with my army and get better and better with it the more games I play (CC armies are not the ‘just go forward and slay’ armies people think..I would argue that shooty armies are the idiot proof armies) which for me is good enough.

    • Keaton

      It should be noted that wolves are best used as a counter assault army, since all their dudes come with defensive grenades and counter attack. You’ll probably have more luck shooting and waiting for people to come to you before winning the assault anyways. They’re actually a good example of what I meant about assault and shooting being complimentary.

      • Andrew Thomas

        Defensive Grenades? From where?

      • KRQuinn

        If I wanted to play a shooty, counter-attack army then I would, this was about trying to use an Assault army which is what I am trying to make work. Also, as Andrew said, there are no Defensive Grenades in a Wolf list.

    • ZeeLobby

      40K is the Age of Rerolls. My friends and I bring it up every game.

      • Azrell

        Change the term “reroll” to “roll on a 6” and not only can you now stack “rerolls” but it dosnt so dramatically effect the game. Its still worth getting but you strategy will no longer center around having them.

  • Kevin Maloney

    Here’s an idea I heard tossed around for a while now: make Overwatch just like Interceptor. In other words, if a unit overwatches, it may only snap fire next turn. It really forces the defending player to decide whether or not he really wants that Overwatch.

    • Mark Hewitt

      Interesting idea, but if a shooty unit has to overwatch, then it often won’t be able to fire at all next turn anyway, either from being locked in combat, or simply being wiped out. This would only really affect things like supporting fire.

      • disqus_I1VIVQiPZK

        Not true, a unit fires overwatch before the charge dice are rolled, so if an assault fails that unit still got shot by overwatch

        • Kevin Maloney

          Right. So if an enemy unit makes and fails a long distance charge, the shooting unit may have put itself at a disadvantage in its own turn.

  • sleeplessknight

    Close combat was disproportionately powerful compared to shooting in previous editions. They could have balanced that with shooting by eliminating charging from vehicles, eliminating charging from reserve, eliminating charges after running, eliminating sweeping advance into a fresh unit, making charge distance a random die roll, or giving the defending units overwatch fire.They decided to implement all of those making close combat practically useless and swinging the power disproportionately to shooting. I believe they can swing balance back by allowing non-random charges like in previous editions and sweeping advance into other units like in previous editions of the game, or eliminating overwatch again altogether.

  • Robert Thornton-Kaye

    A very good article. How about charge ranges being Initiative + 3″? It would make genestealers better for a start.

    I would also ditch the challenge rule. We do this as a common courtesy when I play friendly games unless forced to by the rules.

    • petrow84

      Prepare to be linched by ork players.

      • Kevin Mitchell

        ‘Ere we go! could add 3″ to attack range. Problem solved!

        • petrow84

          Or, go back to the old 3rd ed codex, where orks doubled their initiative, when charged.

    • MPSwift

      I can see where you’re coming from with charges being I+3 or similar mechanic based on racial speed but as petrow84 states, some CC units just don’t have the initiative to make that viable because that stat is used to balance out that there are 30 of them with a silly number of attacks such as ork boyz. (though nids get a free pass on that one due to other issues…). I would prefer to see a flat value based on unit type with a d6 +/- modifiers similar to the one outlined in the article.

      I really like the challenge rule personally but I can see why some people dislike it. I play wolves (all infantry all the time, none of this TWC nonsense 😛 ) so heroic challenges make or break a game for me.

      The modifier system you suggest for WS could become a bit book keeping heavy over multiple turns. I would prefer something like if your WS is double your opponents you hit on 2+. If we assume that a marine with WS4 is considered a super human then WS5 is exceptional with anything above that being superlative in skill and therefore able to defend slightly better against all opponents. Means that higher WS combatants get a decent boost against all but the most capable opponents.

      • Robert Thornton-Kaye

        It needn’t involve bookkeeping. Simply allow the player with much higher WS to choose to fight offensively or defensively that phase. This grants more control and involvement to the player instead of always having to watch and wait for the assault to finish.

        I think challenges could stay for independent characters, but for squad leaders it’s just embarrassing watching a cultist champion pick fights with termie sergeants or watching your squad leader duck out of a fight due to having an Unwieldy weapon.

        • MPSwift

          Perhaps, I do like the idea of being able to change fighting style I’m just aware of how long a game takes these days which is probably more why I’m hesitant than the book keeping aspect. But as you say, if it’s a choice on the fly in every assault phase rather than game turn then it shouldn’t be an issue.

          Fair point on the challenges in terms of game mechanics but from a narrative point of view it kind of depends on the army. A Wolf Guard in a unit of blood claws wouldn’t hesitate to take on the biggest bad in the room but an AM squad sergeant would be more keen to fight as a part of the squad as that is how they are trained. But then you end up with yet more codex rules. If I had to choose between IC only and any character I would probably choose any character but that is likely more due to the fact I play Wolves and love having my Lone Wolves or Wolf Guard challenging great Chaos Lords or Tyranid beasts as well as my Wolf Lord etc.

    • Morgan Peck

      I like Armor Save + d6″ (or maybe +4″ flat). That way light infantry gets long charges, while heavy needs to get close. Then you could add bonuses like +3″ for Fleet, +3″ for Monstrous Creature, or whatever.

      • MPSwift

        Only issue with that is that things like Artificer armour, which is just better power armour, has a charge penalty compared to it’s more mundane equivalent so you start adding in exceptions to cover these eventualities and suddenly half the units in the game have some special rule affecting their charge distance! I do like the heavy/light infantry differentiation though. Perhaps a divide in the infantry unit type along the lines of bikes/jetbikes?

  • Spineyguy

    An idea we had at our club was to give basic Melee Weapons more bite. It doesn’t make much sense that a Chainsword would be no more dangerous than a knife. Giving Chainswords, Ork Choppas and Eldar Mono-molecular blades Ap5 would make Close Combat a lot more threatening at its most basic level, without the need for big, expensive melee-specialist units.

    • Azrell

      I always thought of going the other way, making shooting less effective vs armor. That way your units make it into CC and having a 3+ armor save actually means something.

      • Spineyguy

        Perhaps. I was never really convinced by the Ap3/2/1 on a lot of blast weapons. A blast is a big, expanding ball of quite unfocused energy. If anything, it stands less of a chance of hurting someone in armour than a bullet or a sword point, hence why we have Krak Grenades, as well as Frag.

        However, I wouldn’t want to rob shooting of its teeth. Shooting people is certainly a more efficient way of killing them than trying to stab them, and we certainly don’t want to turn 40k into Call of Duty, where a knife to the foot does more damage than a bullet to the chest.

        I think making Chainswords and things more effective, and distinguishing them from basic CCWs is the way to go. Why have a Chain weapon at all if it’s no more effective at killing than a knife? Doing this would also make Assault Squads, Ork Boyz, Wyches and such a bit more threatening, without affecting the delicate balance of special power weapons.

  • Master Avoghai

    Lots of valid points and nice suggestions.

    However there’s one point I disagree with : charge from reserve.

    With now 2 or 3 units/codex that ouflank, this will reverse totally the balance in favor of CC.
    People are moaning about drop pod delivering strong shooty units without nearly any possiblity of defending against that (bar from rare interception unit).

    But allowing the charge from reserve is nearly as broken… If not more.

    Sure, I already here people claiming ” But me genestealers are useless!”

    But is this the only way to make genestealers useful?

    I play DA, with outflanking Black Knights, with their TL plasma guns they are already powerful… Do you think that allowing them to charge after a 12″ move and TL plasma shots and strike 4A each with S5 rending hammers would help balance the game?

    I think the most simple way to power up CC units is to get back to the old Lines of Sight system. True Lines of sight killed CC because you cannot hide your CC unit anymore behind a 6″ ruins base. Make that + give move through cover to genestealer (if they don’t already have it) and you’ll see the problem will be solved.

    • Kevin Mitchell

      You can strategically position your forces away from the edge or in cover (genestealers don’t have grenades) but it is hard to completely protect yourself from a drop pod assault as it can land anywhere. Also outflanking shooters can show up behind line of sight blockers and kill things as soon as they come in, why shouldn’t assault troops be able to do the same thing?

  • Excellent comprehensive article. I think all those changes would be great for the game. As it stands 40k is boring as hell most people of the time, it shouldn’t be the norm that you can immediately tell with 100% accuracy who will win a game before you even set up!

    Shooting is way too powerful, for anyone who thinks it should be try reading any black library book and realize what universe you are playing in.

  • Spacefrisian

    No indebt mention on how players are supposed to put down terrain, or in other terms, why would a melee army fight a shooty army on a desert world, i doubt even Orks are that stupid.

    • Chris. K Cook

      Now now the WAAC guys will tell you that Planet Billiard Table is how the game is supposed to be played, its GWs fault that the guys who designed the game expected you to use some damn scenery!

    • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

      the terrain guidelines for 5th were good, the weird mini game in 6th was odd and now 7th has no terrain rules at all (for placement). Shows GW have given up on balance. How can points values work for both shooty armies and cc ones when you could be playing in a city or on planet ping-pong ball?

  • benn grimm

    I love discussions like this, because I can just look smugly over at my Daemons and go haha, yeah….

    Smugness aside at playing the only faction CC is still an armywide viable option for, I think overwatch being so melee focussed doesn’t help, random charges pretty much suck and the whole grenades/difficult cover dynamic has invalidated formerly scary close combat beasts all across the range.

    But its also an issue with terrain; the skew towards shooting in the game means generally people do take less terrain, or at least are not too bothered about playing on a fairly sparse board as they feel it benefits them. Shooting players who play other shooting players all the time seem to conveniently forget the benefits of LOS blocking terrain…Unless they play Tau properly of course…

  • Another Biased Opinion

    My biggest gripe (as someone coming from 2nd to 7th) is the fact that Initiative is now king of CC, this gripe is not against the way CC works but about how units stats are, for example, Khorn Bloodletters are meant to be beasts in CC but are outclassed by Daemonettes purely as the Slaanesh Daemons have a higher I and go first.
    I would like a fundamental change in teh way charges work, instead of +1A on charge, which seems to be a hangover from 1+2nd ed when WS was king, models should get +1I, it seems more realistic to me – when charging into a combat doubling your attacks (in most cases) doesn’t seem right but being more likely to strike first does.
    I will admit that this would require some other aspects of CC to be changed as it could make combats even more drawn out. (+1A and +1I on charge could work…)

  • Morollan

    My biggest issue with melee is actually the To Hit table itself. A Bloodthirster misses one in three attacks vs an old lady in a wheelchair. Conversely, said old lady gets past the guard of the Bloodthirster one in three times. Did GW forget that the numbers 2 and 6 exist when they wrote that chart?

    • Azrell

      I dont think GW is good at math…. anytime number of any kind are used in 40k, GW is wildly inconsistent with the application of said numbers.

    • disqus_I1VIVQiPZK

      The high WS is more to keep an edge over others that are good at fighting than allowing you to beat up lower WS units. They wanted to give low WS units a chance to hold their own against higher WS stuff

  • Quirijn van Dierendonck

    I like your ideas. To me, they seem like very ballanced fixes for the current rules. I particularly like the fix for assaulting after Outflank or disembarking from non-assault vehicles. Nothing is less fun that seeing your Lychguard draw all the enemy fire after they teleported out of a Nightscythe and just stand there doing nothing… Goodbye 200 points of dedicated Melee troops…

    • Andrew Webb

      You are kidding right? Lychguard with 3++ followed by 4+ RP and probably an orb re-roll from the lord. Not to mention re rolls of 1 on the armor save…..

      • Quirijn van Dierendonck

        Who says I am playing with a Decurion detachment or a Reclamation Legion? Or having them kit out with their Shields? Maybe they are hunting Terminators or other examples of a myriad of units with access to a 2+ armor save and thus have no 3++. Please do not assume stuff if you don’t know it for sure. Plus, this thread is about changing CC to make it more enjoyable, not complain about individual units.

  • edrodpe

    you didn’t mention the benefits of locking powerful shooting units in combat, or hitting rear AV, or being inmune to enemy shooting while in combat… sometimes the safest place for my Archon is being with grotesques or wyches in the midst of a melee fight. Well, that’s not the case when facing a wraithknight… i’d aim all my dark laser pointers and poison guns at him.

    • Chaosrex

      You’re partially immuned to shoothing in CC, if the foe shoot a Blast template somewhere near and it deviates right on top of the ongoing CC, the models get hit and killed!, there is no ” oh well their in CC so their immune to blasts”.

  • Smudgethinks

    How about –
    1 – Charge is the models I +D6″
    2 -To hit table is modified to include 2’s and 6’s, just tack them into the current table where appropriate.
    3 – Charge from reserves / outflank requires a LD test. Unit arrives on table edge, no move phase and no shooting is allowed.

  • MPSwift

    Posted as a couple of comments but here is what I would like to see as a best case for assault. Some will consider it a bit OP but I’m going to suggest to my opponent on Sunday that we try it and see how it goes (we both love assaults):

    1) Charge distances become unit type’s movement +d6″
    2) Fleet is a +3″ modifier to run and charge distances
    3) Terrain imposes a -2″ penalty and reduces initiative to half, rounding down, to a minimum of 1.
    4) Slow and Purposeful imposes a -2″ penalty but you ignore the effects of terrain.
    5) Relentless ignores the effects of terrain.
    6) You can assault from reserves
    7) You can assault from any vehicle that was stationary during that movement phase
    8) You may consolidate into a new combat under the following restrictions:
    You must have charged in that assault phase
    You must not have already consolidated during that assault phase
    It is a single d6 + any and all modifiers for terrain, USRs etc. apply but assault grenades cannot be used
    You may not use a Sweeping Advance from an enemy that has fallen back from combat to assault another unit, you are too focused on finishing off the previous one.

    Possibly a bit extreme but I’m interested to see how it plays on Sunday.

  • Andrew Thomas

    Answers: Overwatch is always single shots; Pistols/Assault weapons/weapons fired by Relentless Non Vehicle/MC models or designated anti-infantry weapons on Vehicles/MCs can be used in lieu of melee weapons for purposes of Strength and AP; Walkers get Smash; Vehicles can Overwatch with their anti-infantry weapons; better Fear rules (make fear add ~d3 to combat res, Ld test to stand and fight, make ATSKNF ignore Combat Res buff, but still test to fight); bring back debuff weapons.
    Armies that are optimized for Assault won, with the caveat that most of the real assault optimization these days relies on some mix of rapid deployment, cover optimization, numbers, and Overwatch mitigation, with varying degrees of effectiveness.

  • Bill Anderson

    If you want more melee play Warmachine. Shot in ranges are less than 12 inches and shooters can’t stop a charge.

    Bringing a knife to a gun fight is stupid. That is what the saying means. Dune and other sci-fi books that are feudal anachronism aside, melee weapons have been obsolete since the 30 Years War.

    40k has always been a simulation of British Imperialists fighting the natives before WWI. It is 19th century steam punk. Think Clive in India Rorks Drift or Kitchener at Omderman. The fuzziness thying to get into the thin red line.

    When you start losing the sense of the theme you get generic armies and Warmachine.

    • Chaosrex

      A gun will run out of ammo eventually, a knife is always usefull and discret…

      • Bill Anderson

        I only ever used my bayonet to clear the brush under my hammock and open c ration cans.

  • Azrell

    Fearless should let you chose to pass or fail a moral test rather than rolling for it, but not automatically regroup as to give a down side if you decide to bail. This way a fearless unit could chose to disengage from a CC fight but may be cut down as it tries to get away ie… sweeping advance.

    Its supposed to be fearless not stupidity after all.

    • Kevin Mitchell

      Well seeing as fearless also means you can’t go to ground or disengage if your weapons are useless, it really should be called hubris or something like that.

    • Muninwing

      fearless and ATSKNF should give a Ld for resisting catch-and-kill, not an immediate success…

      • Tynskel

        That defeats the point.
        Fearless and Space Marines are not demoralized and are actively fighting. The whole point of wiping out the unit is that they have entirely lost the will to fight, so either run until they can no longer run, or are killed while running.

        • Muninwing

          i thought the point was a balanced, playable game…

          if you still protest, we have some options:

          1. increase points for SM to offset this advantage

          2. give it a drawback, so that while it might prevent certain situations, it could lead to other danger

          3.make achange that isn’t in line with the ririduclously exaggerated fluff

          4. redefine the sweeping advance as it has been thought of in other contexts” in WHF, it wasn’t that everyone was killed, but that the unit was smashed and scattered, so fighting became less important than either gettting away or reforming later.

          the “they run until they can no longer run” is what happens if they are not caught and do not reform, so no need to explain it that way.

          the “entirely lost the will to fight” is debatably similar… but also accounts for the soldiers who realize that fighting is less important than bringing news or the like… or those who have lost weapons and trying to retreat… or the like. sometimes there’s a reason to not fight and to become a noncombatant.

          why can SM not be killed while attempting to disengage and reform? why can SM not lose their weapons and escape? why can they not decided to make a strategic retreat with a reform outside of the combat area? the only difference is in the explanation, not even in the spirit.

          the point of wiping out the unit is removing combatants. it’s not a measure of cowardice to retreat if it’s not a rout.

          perhaps a Ld check isn’t sending the right message…. it’s not actually about resisting the urge to run away. it’s about resisting the urge to follow the current orders, as opposed to defaulting to a plan b.

          • Tynskel

            they tried extra wounds before. It blew chunks. The current system is fine. The real issue is did you bring your killy unit to kill fearless stuff?

  • Azrell

    Charging a moving vehicle should be cause a model removed result on a 1. Since when is charging a moving tank a no risk option for infantry? answer: never. Get in there and punch a tank, run the risk of it running you over.

    • Kevin Mitchell

      -Or let the tank driver make some kind of roll to try to defend the tank in close combat.

    • Muninwing

      unless it is immobilzed…

      or maybe depending on the speed?

  • OrkiePancakes

    Im not a fan of allowing assault out of deep striking, especially with something like a drop pod. It essential will move 40k to a melee heavy game. You know people would abuse the hell out of that, and next thing you know, either people will build a heavy deep striking melee army, or the counter of heavy melee forces to counter a potential turn one or turn two slap to your face.

  • Its fine the way it is. No system will ever please the masses.

  • disqus_I1VIVQiPZK

    I would say the high WS thing is more about being able to go toe to toe with other high WS things than to beat up on the lower WS guys

    • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

      but surely its odd that a grot or a Tau fire warrior has as much chance to hit an Avatar of Khaine as a Chaos Lord or Chapter Master?

      • Tynskel

        that’s why you have 2+ armor…

  • WineShark

    Sadly, there are multiple assumptions in here that are widely debatable.

    – Assuming the premise that shooting vs. assault is broken
    – The concept of “top armies” is completely tournament related, which frames the argument of game balance.
    – The idea that shooting and assault should be equal and present in every army.
    – The same concept considered a pro in both lists, with different names: “volume of fire” vs. “higher volume of attacks” – so which is it? Is it better to shoot many times, or swing many times, and if so, which is the advantage?

    – Mistaking advantage of something from one form of attack (cover) as a disadvantage to the other form.

    – multiple missing other factors, like assault vs. vehicles, D-weapon prevalence in assault vs. shooting, etc. etc.

    The points cited don’t back the premise that shooting is more powerful than assault, AND ALSO that this imbalance should be corrected at all. Overall, as an analysis of two key game mechanics, this isn’t really a coherent argument, even if some of the proposed changes are interesting.


    • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

      Personally I don’t think assault is underpowered, I think it is about right, aside from charge lengths which are too random. However assault has got less good an option over the last two editions but the points values of assault troops have not been adjusted to reflect this, making assault seem like a poor option.

      Rather than change lots of rules (aside from charges which needs a change) GW need to change how they calculate points values for dedicated close combat troops. Compare a Zerker to a Sternguard and you will see what I mean.

  • Gavin Bateman

    Id love to see melee be stronger for units meant for melee.

  • Crablezworth

    bring back assault from reserve and outflank

  • deuce1984

    Great great great article! I will trying some of these ideas out in home brew games