When it comes to combat options who’s going to be the top dog in 8th Edition?
Games Workshop has provided us with a ton of teasers so far. They have talked about the movement, shooting, psychic powers, unit profiles and weapons, charges, and today they just teased the new “Fight phase” changes. It’s been a whirlwind of things to process and extrapolate out. But after today’s reveal, it’s hard not to wonder about one big question: What’s going to dominate combat in 8th, Shooting or Melee?
It was pretty clear in 7th that Shooting was KING. With Overwatch, random charge distances, D-weapons, Stomps and a bunch of other factors, armies that relied on getting into close combat to win the battle took a back seat. The Tau gunline in particular could be pretty devastating in the right circumstances (never forget those overlapping Overwatch with normal/almost normal BS shots). It seems like a lot of those ideas are still around in 8th with some tweaks thrown in.
Moving and shooting heavy weapons with a -1 seems to favor units with those big guns. I was just thinking how awesome it’s going to be to have a unit of Space Marine Devs walking around with Lascannons or Plasma-cannons. And how great it’s going to be to actually get to use my Heavy Bolter Tactical Marines to move-and-fire! But really, this benefits those gunline armies quite a bit. Why? Because now you can BACK-UP and SHOOT. Do you see the charge coming? Take a step back and blast away.
That said, I wouldn’t discount melee units just yet. There are a few things that are unclear. First and foremost, we don’t know how FAST a lot of these melee units will end-up being. We might see Hormagaunts with a 9″ move – or FASTER! That’s not going to leave those gunlines with a lot of room to fallback. Also, I was re-reading the movement article and GW says that the “Advance” move has been rolled into the movement phase:
“Running has been rolled into the Movement phase now, too. You can “Advance” when you move by rolling a dice and adding the result to your Movement to go a bit faster at the expense of shooting.”
The important part there is the “at the expense of shooting” part – it didn’t say anything about charging. And from the charging article, it says that you “an select any unit within 12″ as the target of your charge, and your units will move towards them 2D6″.” It doesn’t mention any restrictions about “unless you advanced (ran) during your movement phase.”
Melee units also only need to get within 1″ to engage an enemy now! And if they do, they get an additional 3″ move to follow-up with. That means, they could be 17″ away and still drag a unit into combat. How? Well, 12″ charge + 1″ engagement zone + 3″ follow-up move = 16″ right? Well that follow-up move means can get within 1″ of ANOTHER enemy unit for a total of 17″ of threat range. Oh and you’re charging so you swing first, before all other units.
This seems to be confusing a lot of folks. Let me just apologize – I got excited about the extra 3 inch “pile in” + 1 inch engagement range. Here’s the corrected diagram:
*Edit: Here’s a (crappy) diagram of what I’m trying to describe/illustrate.
Edit: The Black circle has declared a charge on the red circle (assume it’s part of a unit and they are in coherency). The Red unit is only 9″ away from the closest model. So the Black circle moves behind the Red Circle, but still within 1″. This is a legal charge. During the following “pile-in” move, the black circle moves 3″ closer to the blue circle, who ends within 1″ of the black circle and is now engaged in a combat that it was not expecting. You can pull this off with a unit that is large enough, and you’ll probably still need 1 model from the “Black” squad to remain engaged, but it’s possible to engage a unit that was 16″ away at the start of the phase – that’s all I’m trying to say. Threat Range and Charge distance are two different things.
Additional Edit: Here’s the quote from GW
“Units that activate gain a free 3″ move towards the closest enemy. This can be used to get within 1″ of other enemy units, if you’re cunning, dragging more foes into the melee and preventing them from shooting next turn, even if you didn’t charge them directly (giving them no chance to overwatch). Enemy gun lines will need to be careful about how they position their supporting units, so as to avoid getting dragged into the fight too.”
And I still didn’t add in their BASE move or the potential “advance” move either. In fact, lets just take away the movement phase altogether. If standard Tactical Marine starts the charge phase 12″ away from a unit, then you can still have a 16″ threat range! Do you have to get really, really lucky? Yeah, but I’ve seen it happen. You only need an 11 on the dice to make it into that first combat. You still get a 3″ follow-up and you still only need to be within 1″ to engage an enemy…
On top of all that, we STILL don’t know what the special rules will be for these unit’s movement will be. We don’t even know if other weapons will have restrictions on firing in Overwatch. Maybe heavy weapons are too cumbersome to fire in Overwatch – that could be a thing, we simply don’t know for sure. We also haven’t seen any of the close-combat weapons either. Who knows how deadly specialist close combat weapons will be!
What Comes Next
Now, I’m pretty Games Workshop has thought of all this already. They talked about in the Q&A sessions they tested the crap out of this game. We’re also getting a preview of how morale will work tomorrow. That could have a BIG impact on the deadliness of both shooting and close-combat. For now, it’s all just speculation – Personally, I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the actual rules so we can answer some of these questions for sure.
So what do you think? Will Close-Combat or Shooting reign supreme in 8th Edition? Why? Let us know in the comments below!
*We don’t know for sure how all the rules are written, but this is a possibility based on what GW has already said.