40K: Taming the Alpha Strike

With all the talk of Alpha Strikes out there in 8th, let’s brainstorm how to put Pandora back in the box.

Some decent sized competitive events have taken place and folks are starting to talk about how to minimize the effects of Alpha Strikes.  Here’s our early thoughts on what you can do.

Quick Note: All of these ideas are meant for organized competitive play. For casual & narrative games – I think 8th works just fine.

I see 2 HQs and TROOPS – let’s roll!

Make the Battalion Detachment Mandatory

One key to minimizing the alpha strike issue is to make lists that use the more exotic detachments harder to build.  Making all tourney players have to purchase a Battalion first, stabilizes the overall army lists and drains points away from the crazier combos out there.


We love night fighting!

Institute Night Fighting Rules on Turn 1

An oldie but a goody. If you want to limit the effects of turn 1 alpha strikes, bring back the old “dawn mission” rules with night fighting rules in effect for the top of turn 1.


Additional LoS-blocking Terrain – in the Mid-field

With the limited effect of terrain and the increase in shooting lethality – LoS blocking terrain is mandatory for a fair gameplay experience. Realistically the cheapest, largest most mass produceable LoS-blocking terrain is some type of tall “billboard – walls”.  I expect to see lots of it at events going forward.


Make the Turn 1 roll-off Random

The rules say lists with the smallest number of deployments goes first by default.  This is fundamentally unfair as equal armies of equal points should have the same ability to go first. Making the roll to go first random will eliminate the sub-game of building armies for minimum deployments and bigger more costly units.


But I just have a bunch of ratlings…

Ban/Neuter Troublesome Detachments

There is a lot of tricks and BS to be had in the  following detachments that encourage spamming rare or exotic units:

  • Vanguard
  • Spearhead
  • Outrider
  • Superheavy
  • Air-wing
  • Supreme Command Network
  • Fortifications

Armies that are based on any of these will be unbalanced by nature and encourage exploits of rarer units. Things like tons of Imperial Assassins, blocks of named Characters from all over fighting together, and the like will be the norm.  Anything from an outright ban to command point penalties, to other restrictions should be tried.


~ How would you help tame the mighty alpha strike?

  • Napo81

    First player only play half of its units.

    • Koonitz

      There is no option to hold units in reserve unless a given unit has its own type of rule allowing it (ie: The various deep strikes, cult ambush, et cetera).

      In addition, deploying a unit in reserve counts as a deployment, so you must go through these units in turn. Simply deploying the “half” on the board merely means you let the enemy see where you deploy, first, before you then go through your reserve units in the same fashion.

      Your suggestion doesn’t work.

      • Napo81

        I said play, not deploy.

        Full deployment. Only half of units are played by the first player ( or activated, if you prefer ).

        • vlad78

          That’s an artificial rule which will hinder the first player too much without any logical explanation. YougoIgo is the culprit like in every edition since RT.

          • Napo81

            Well, many rules seem artificial. It’s a game, let’s have a good time.

          • vlad78

            So is it too much to ask for a logical and intuitive and cinematic ruleset?

    • vlad78

      Alternate activation. Nothing else.

    • petrow84

      First player… I see what you did there 🙂

  • YetAnotherFacelessMan

    Play a narrative mission where the player who goes second has twice the power of the player who goes first.

    Double the wounds of every model in the game.

    Play a game where you play on different boards and none of your men die and you just march on parade, because when your little painted men get shot it makes you feel sadness.

    Play 35 turns before the first game turn where your armies desperately attempt to hash things out, but the heavy weapon guys keep yelling out memes and blowing airhorns because they “want to fire this big gun.”

    Play a one-player game of Civilization V on the biggest size planet allowed and with bandits disabled.

    There are so many options.

    • Drpx

      I’d want to keep the bandits and reenact the Great Crusade.

  • Dave

    Or have the TO “house rule” that if you are on the opposite side of the terrain from the opponent, count it as blocking. GW terrain (like forests) are so devoid of things like ground cover, hedges, rocks, rubble, etc. that true LOS isn’t represented very well as compared to their real world counterparts. Then again, something’s that count as cover on the table top would only be concealment in the real world, so there is that.

    Back to my original point, if it gives you a +1 if you’re 1/2 way in it should block shots if you’re 100% on the other side of it. That’s my take on it anyway

    • YetAnotherFacelessMan

      So, 4th edition forests? Back in 4th edition, you could only shoot at units in forests if they were within 2″ of the edge. Beyond that point, the forest blocked Line of Sight. People used to use a section of dark-green felt to signify the forest.

      Simpler times. Also stupid in their own way. Target Priority tests. Not a fan.

      • tomas pardo

        4th edition forest rule is the better bols rule, and could fix lot of problems on 8th

      • Dave

        No one said anything about priority tests. Area terrain would work better in this edition in my opinion. It makes ZERO sense that if you are in the forest you get a save but on the opposite side you get nothing. It’s a simple solution and that’s they house rule at my table.

      • Koonitz

        I seem to recall that it was 6″, instead of 2″. And I don’t recall if it was 6″ into, or 6″ through (if it was less than 6″, you could see through it, but it granted cover as normal).

        I, personally, like the 6″. You could also do a “the entire board is a thick jungle.” Though I think a lightening of the visibility rule would be necessary there (ie: Use night fighting rules).

        I have always, ALWAYS been a fan of dense tables. Everyone loves their big, super-flashy, dakka guns. But when the best you can ever do is a 24″ line of sight due to dense urban buildings or jungle terrain, suddenly, you put a lot more stock into things like infantry, flamers, and demolisher cannons. It forces both shooting and melee armies to make some very interesting and, often, very difficult decisions, while also allowing you to see certain things that match the fluff. Got a dense block of buildings, but one clear road up the middle? Watch that Land Raider/super heavy tank storm the front gates like a boss!

        People get used to ‘traditional’ boards where visibility tends to be good to ‘Tau’. Change things up.

        I think it was Reece from Front Line gaming (ie: One of the people that playtested 8th before its release) that commented on a recent batrep they posted on their Youtube channel that the bottom floors of buildings should be assumed to block line of sight (ie: windows blockaded and shuttered, doors closed). Makes it much easier to get a few more LoS blocking terrain pieces on the board.

        • vlad78

          You can have the board you like, 8th removed any usefulness for terrains. Almost no movement is hindered and rules removing cover already appeared in the new SM dex.

          Only blocking LOS terrains matter now and GW doesn’t sell them.

          • Bakvrad

            The Aquila temple is quite good in blocking los. You can even put a knight behind it.

          • vlad78

            Only if you build it without windows nor open doors. ;p

            Seriously it’s the only one, people put windows everywhere on the ground floor.
            Am I mistaken if I think the knight is a bit to tall to avoid towering above the base of the windows?
            If any part of the model or unit can be seen, then it is possible to shoot it and IF rules remove the cover bonus.

      • AircoolUK

        Area terrain is what we use. The base of woods or ruins etc… show the boundary of where a model is either ‘in or ‘out’ of that terrain. Whilst ‘in’ the terrain, you can draw LoS to them (even if they’re behind a solid wall) and they can draw LoS out (even if they’re behind a solid wall). Otherwise, the terrain totally blocks LoS (as defined by the base of the terrain), even if you can see a target through a window etc… For things like woods, they’re treated as being 6″ high when determining LoS.

  • quaade

    My suggestion is that for competive play, all units should have the same subfaction.
    The exceptin is aux. detachments and adepta sororitas and frater militaris in the same detchment.

    • Simon Bates

      Doesn’t work well for Guard though, with Scions, Ogryns, Ratlings, Commissars etc not having the Keyword.

      • quaade

        Thought they had regiment keyword. Again, I would rather make exception than let the current go on.

        All aeldari share a keyword. Look at the death jester. Dirt cheap, now combine it with phantasm grenade launcher and a hemlock wraithfighters and you have something truely disgusting that should never see competetive play in my opinion.

        • Simon Bates

          Quite apart from the fact you’d also have to ban Ynarri (not that this would bother me much) I don’t see the problem here. So the PGL and the Hemlock between them stack up -2 Ld on one unit (which has to be very close to both) and then you have a decent (but not guaranteed) probability of getting to use “death is not enough” if the Death Jester does some damage to the same unit. Even if that all works out, “death is not enough” lets you snipe a single model from a unit. What’s so overpowered about that? What have I missed?
          Admittedly both PLGs and DJs could be taken in quite large numbers and the Hemlock covers a wide radius (though it has to keep moving, which limits your ability to coordinate this) but I still don’t see why that would be so terrible.

          • Brettila

            I agree. That’s a schtuffton of effort and points to remove 1 model. However, it can move back and forth like a carnival shooting gallery, so placement isn’t too difficult.

  • King Renegado

    You really wanna fix alpha strike?
    Alternating activation divided by the phase.
    Night fighting will only hurt shooting armies turn 1 and favor anything that can pull off turn 1 assaults.
    If not that, LOS blocking terrain.

    • Zingbaby

      Night fight is bad idea I agree, as someone else suggested though, a CP “alternate activate” interrupt during the shooting phase could fix this quite nicely using common game mechanics.

      • Simon Bates

        Indeed, why not have a shooting equivalent of the Assault stratagem. It’d need at least 2 CP and you’d have to render the unit unable to shoot in its own turn. Probably also limit it (like the Assault equivalent) so that it can’t be used until the player whose turn it is has shot with their first unit. Mostly it wouldn’t be worthwhile using, but it would prevent powerful artillery pieces (for example) being wiped off the board before firing a single shot.

  • badmojo1966

    I do like roll for random player to start with no option to steal the initiative unless you spend 2CP.
    Night fight rules for range -1 per 12″ and
    Fog of war on 1st turn. Each reserve only arrives on a 4+
    Certainly enough terrain to block line of sight and slow assaults.

    • Mr.Gold

      maybe there should be a stratagem:
      for every command point spent (after the first) you may add +1 to the dice roll to sieze the Initative…

  • vlad78

    Do you realize you propose to change the game to the core, the game GW said they’ve playtested? lol
    I’ve said it, and I’ll say it again, alternate activation is the only saving grâce for 40k.

    • AircoolUK

      I actually agree. Whilst I love the new 40K and think it is ‘the’ best edition, I thought shooting might go the same way as close combat; for the player whose turn it is, they can shoot all units that didn’t move, then, it’s alternating activation’s with the player whose turn it is shooting first. This gives the advantage to the player whose turn it is, but still includes alternate activation’s.

      • Karru

        Sooooooo my Guard army would literally just blow the enemy off the board because I have more Heavy Weapons Teams in my army than my opponent has units that would be able to shoot me unless my opponent decides to stand completely still with his whole army while my Infantry Squads just swarms the table and grabs all objectives. Yep, that sound like a perfect fix to me.

        The unfortunate fact about the Alternate Activation is that it isn’t perfect. It has just about the same amount of different problems that come up as IGOUGO system.

        The real problem isn’t the IGOUGO. It is the way GW has handled both CC and Shooting this edition. I’ve been playing 5th edition a lot recently and I’ve been drawing many comparisons between the two. Now, before people start pulling out the “5th edition was just as broken waaaaaaaah Grey Knights and Leafblowers waaaaaaaah” comments, hear me out.

        First thing I noticed about 5th edition base ruleset was the unit lethality. There were many rules set in place to prevent total wipeouts. Night Fighting rules for example, you physically couldn’t shoot over certain range and even the distance was RNG so you didn’t want to risk it in certain cases. Cover was plentiful in 5th edition with most units looking at a 4+ Cover save pretty much always. Ignores Cover Saves were basically non-existent back then as well so that helped a bunch. Movement could mean no shooting for many units thanks to things like Rapid Fire rule back then.

        Second thing I noticed was speed. Most units, even Assault units, moved only 6″ or 12″ with the potential D6″ from Running. Then there was the fixed 6″ Assault range. You could put your units inside a Transport and move faster, but those could be destroyed or stunned pretty easily in 5th.

        Third of course was the numbers of models. As has always been the case, GW drops the price of models in order to make the game bigger to increase sales so this isn’t exactly nothing new or shocking that 5th edition had less models on the table than we have now.

        Just a quick reminder once again, this is just the base ruleset I am analysing here. 5th edition had many ways later on that basically just circumvented those rules set in place to avoid situation like the Leafblower because GW stopped playtesting I guess.

        Anyway, back to 8th edition. Many units are looking at having enough range to reach from their deployment zone to the opponent’s deployment zone. This leads to gunlines very fast because there is very little reason to move because you are already in range, nothing can stop you from shooting and you have negative modifiers to look forward to if you move, so why in the world would you move?

        Then you have extremely high movement speeds. Ranging from 6″ all the way to 45″ with many benefits that help you Advance better and farther to getting re-rolls in your Charge rolls of potentially 12″, there is very little actual manoeuvring left in the game. You can just hop towards your opponent at amazing speed and swarm or rush him. You can go around him and his defences to strike at his important backline units and there is literally nothing he can do about it because that is how the edition works.

        Then you have the joke GW calls Cover. It is nigh impossible to gain Cover in this edition without house rules. You are looking at the ability to gain Cover save only if you are physically inside something. Shooting at an enemy behind a wall and you can see his gun barrel? No Cover Save as he is not inside the cover, just behind it.

        The point is that both systems have their flaws and that the real culprit are the rules set in place to allow all of this stupid stuff to happen like First Turn Charges and Alpha Strikes. Before people start to mess around with IGOUGO/Alternative Activations, try to fix both of those problems first and then see if the IGOUGO system is the “core problem of the game” as it seems for many to be.

        • ZeeLobby

          I mean 5th was the last 40K edition that I thoroughly enjoyed playing throughout. Honestly it was just harder to get long range special weapons back then.

        • vlad78

          Whereas I share all your assessments of the different 40k editions I totally disagree with your conclusion.

          Why? Because under every edition half the ruleset is designed to mitigate the alphastrike potential created by the yougoIgo system. Lots and lots of rules have no other purpose than that.

          The way GW handled both CC and CT is another layer of bad rulewriting aggravating all the flaws the system has.

          But if you take 5th or 6th or 7 th edition of the game and apply a full alternate activation system, it has always tremendously improved the game and worked with 95% of each ruleset. And I’m talking from experience here.

          Have you ever seen an edition where fighting a full drop pod army is
          fun? I haven’t. With Alternate activation, it really feels like drop
          pods are raining upon troops on the ground trying to react before being
          overwhelmed, and attackers are trying to shut down the defenses to allow more pods to land unharmed.

          Have you ever seen how the most broken eldar armies fare with alternate activation ? Suddenly their main strength which is firepower saturation doesn’t work, each unit exposing itself can die and will die if not carefuly used because eldars are fragile. Suddenly range and potential counter fire becomes critical.

          Alternate activation is not perfect, there will always be flaws, but it cures quite a lot of the problems created by GW rulewriting. First of all it reduces the disparities between shooting armies and close combat armies though I admit this specific point has to be playtested quite a lot concerning pure HTH armies.

          But YougoIgo system will always be inferior to alternate activation system especially in a sci-fi setting depicting battle at a tactical level.

          Even better, most of the rules you can add in such a system are cinematic and feel logical without awkward rulings.

          Problem is GW seldom used that system and never with their 2 main games, 40k and the now deceased wfb. (less useful in wfb imho, yougoIgo is great for medieval fantasy battles) So most GW customers and vet and not able to really have an experience of that kind of system.

          Imho 40K is begging to use alternate activation.
          Yet I’m not sure it could save 8th. 8th is too streamlined imho, it’s not a wargame anymore, but it’s another topic.

          • Karru

            After trying out Alternative Activation in the last edition, I can say that it isn’t, in no way, for me. It just made the game so boring and increased the length by a ton. Now days I mostly play with my Guard, which uses basically nothing but Infantry. That means that my units are almost always guaranteed to outnumber my opponent.

            This always meant the same thing. I aimed my heavier weapons towards those units that hadn’t activated yet or had moved out of cover in order to advance with my units. Once my opponent had done everything with his army, roughly half of my army still had to do their thing.

            I never got assaulted in any meaningful way. It was so easy to predict and avoid. Instead of getting worried that my opponent had 3-4 melee units across my lines, all ready to hop in to melee as soon as the opponent’s turn started, I was given the chance to wither them down twice before they even got the chance to charge me, first by regular fire from my units, then from Overwatch which was enough to stop them in their track or finish off the units damage potential.

            The reason why I found IGOUGO much more enjoyable was because you always had to think in advance how your army was going to manage the enemy’s whole turn. You could try to overwhelm your opponent with multiple units coming in from all sides, forcing him to fall back or face the charge.

            Anyway, I have concluded a long time ago that IGOUGO vs Alternative Activation will always boil down to one thing. Preference. Some people prefer IGOUGU and find it better while others say that Alternative Activaion is the superior one. It is just a matter of opinion, nothing more.

          • vlad78

            Then we shall agree to disagree.

            I’m sure you would have squashed your opponent under both systems (and even more should you get the initiative wth yougoIgo) and he never changed his list or tactics in order to take into account how different the game becomes.
            Alternate activation gives you a chance to react before suffering from the wrath of your opponent full strength, this principle explains why it tends to balance things a little, but it will not make every fight fair.

            BTW it needs some change from previous editions like allowing the possibility to remove the ability to overwatch by damaging a unit which will later be assaulted which in turn opens combined arms tactics. But the rules allowed that, next problem was moral test were seldom useful or failed, so you have to add a little tweek here and there to improve the thing.

            Anyway you don’t like it so there’s no point lingering here.

      • vlad78

        If you go for an alternate activation system, you’d better allow units to do everything while they are activated and not try a hybrid system which will be really difficult to balance.

  • z3n1st

    add a 2CP Stratagem that allows a player to interrupt the opposing player shooting phase to fire one unit, after the first unit fires for that turn. Example: Player A gets first turn and begins his Alpha strike, after Player A shoots with his first unit, Player B can spend 2CP to interrupt and fire one of his units. Much like the assault interrupt stratagem.

    • Zingbaby

      Needs a little work but probably the best type of idea I’ve seen here so far, a CP based solution is a great way to solve this.

    • orionburn

      Maybe expand on it a bit and give the option to do like 1 of 3 actions – move a unit, shoot with a unit, or attempt to charge with a unit (thinking of somebody like Raven Guard with their infiltrate-like deployment ability). Either way having something to interrupt the shooting phase makes as much sense as doing the same during the assault phase.

    • ZeeLobby

      Would have been nice if they just went with alternating activations.

      • orionburn

        There’s a really chill guy I play with at my FLGS. I may ask him if he’d want to give this a try to see how it works. Can’t hurt to try it.

        • ZeeLobby

          That’s true. With how simple the core rules are it might be pretty easy to lay on top. I’d be excited to even try the bolt action dice bag approach.

  • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

    Foam Board is cheap, GW models are expensive. Mandatory/banned Detachments aren’t solutions, especially when the game already limits your CP when you take most of those non-standard Detachments, and the loss of FOC-shifts make certain Subfactions impossible to play right without them.
    Low unit count advantage may make sense from an Ease of Command standpoint, but letting the game devolve into Knights Go First makes things depressing when fighting a lot of HVTs.
    First Turn Night Fighting is a good idea.

  • Randy Randalman

    Zero need for any of these changes. For one, the game is too young. All the early play-testers said this would seem strong at first until people learned how to mitigate it.

    Basically, stop being a bad player. With standard Battalion AdMech, Orks, Harlequins, Astra Militarum, and Tyranids I have been rofl-stomping these min-maxed lists in tournaments. The all fliers or all super heavies + an uber character are just so simple to neuter or cut in half; plus they automatically lose objective games.

    Furthermore, none of the detachments need to be changed or penalized right now because the codices are still not out yet. (Well, I have the first four, but still…) They will change everything about current list building. The lopsided “pick-em” lists will fade away for more focused and thematic lists with better synergy and more powerful rules.

    • ZeeLobby

      Oh Randy…

      • Horus84cmd

        …..You came and you gave without taking

        • ZeeLobby


  • psyclik

    What about both players paying the alpha strike with CPs ? The player willing to pay the most CPs pays and plays Alpha strike. This will naturally favor players building high CP oriented list – and assuming this also means balance – will leave a faire trade-off to the players.

    • Simon Bates

      I don’t think I like this quite as much as allowing a 2CP interruption of the enemy shooting phase, but it’s not a bad idea.

  • Jared Swenson

    I agree with the way the ITC is trying to curb it, and I think one of the most effective ways. Finishing deployment first just gives you a +1 to going first on a roll off. If a player knows that going first is mostly going to be random, it will change the way he builds his list, and deploys it.

  • Dan Brugman

    The problem with restricting formation types too much is that it removes the option to play some armies that are very much thematic and aught to exist. You need to outrider formation to play saim hann eldar, or ravenwing dark angels. You need vanguard to play Deathwing dark angels or lysander’s first company. All of those armies are in theme for the game and for some players the reason they love the army they play. I agree a solution needs to be found. But not at the expense of players who want to play thematically appropriate armies.

    • AircoolUK

      But the only ‘tax’ you’re paying with having to choose a Battalion is two HQ units and three Troops. You’ve still got two more detachments to use, and we have no idea what sort of detachments are available in codexes as of yet.

      I’m sure that the thematic detachments in codexes will be far better than the options currently available for making thematic armies.

      • orionburn

        A big gripe of DA players was no longer being able to field a pure Deathwing army. One can argue that the fluff says Deathwing/Ravenwing are there to support the green wing guys, but one of the draws to DA was that ability to run pure Deathwing.

        It sucks that at the core of the problem is that we’re once again having to put limits on detachments because some tourney people are breaking it as much as possible.

  • AircoolUK

    We often see competitive players complaining about one tactic or another, which is fair enough. However, it’s not difficult for tournament organisers to impose a few rules on army building. So the biggest question is, why don’t they?

    Forcing Night Fighting on turn one is a bad idea as it impacts every army regardless of whether they’re designed for alpha strikes or not.

    Forcing the Battalion Detachment is a good idea, especially as it then only allows two more detachments to be taken legally.

    12 Pieces of terrain, 6 of which must be LoS blocking. Around here we treat terrain such as ruins and woodland as LoS blocking unless you’re actually ‘in’ the terrain, in which case you can be seen and see out, but get the +1 cover bonus. For woodland, we use a base with some trees, but remove the trees when placing models. The woods also count as being 6″ high for determining LoS.

    Basically, the base of a terrain piece blocks LoS unless models are occupying that terrain. It prevents all the nonsense about being able to see half a miniature on the other side of the table through a small window in a building.

    • Karru

      “However, it’s not difficult for tournament organisers to impose a few rules on army building. So the biggest question is, why don’t they?”

      Simple answer, it would mean extra work for the TO and they risk lower attendance.

      More complex the ruleset and more “restrictive” the limits placed my the TO, it requires more work from the TO. TOs already have their hands full with the Tournament itself and now they have to make basically a whole new ruleset for the Tournament with all the playtesting as well in order to make sure it actually works well.

      Then you have the attendance. There are many players who won’t bother with a Tournament that restricts their lists hard. This has been a topic of many conversations with my friends who frequent tournaments. If the ruleset feels too restrictive, for example their army theme is basically banned from the tournament, they’ll just ignore it and wait for the next one. If the rules are about as complex as the game they are planning on playing there, that is also quite the turn off for many.

      Balancing a broken game is very hard if you don’t want to change the whole game in one go.

      • ZeeLobby

        Agreed. It’s never an easy fix for TOs.

    • Dave

      Love the way you handle terrain. This is what I was talking about earlier. I do have to agree with Karru on his one. Restricting lists is a bad idea. For example, I am working on a list for Raven Guard that is based on one of their codex formations from last edition. It’s fluffy and pretty cool IMO. If I HAD to have a battalion, I couldn’t build it or use it in a tournament, so that limits my attendance.

  • Snord

    It always amazes me that a new edition can be released, mastered, declared broken (although that often happens before it’s even released) and ‘fixed’ in the space of a few weeks…

    • AircoolUK

      Indeed. We don’t even have the first codex yet. Of course, we’ve had a sneak peek and the codex will be declared OP (sorry, has already been declared OP) because there’s no other codexes for comparison.

      Not until the majority of codexes have been released, along with any new models and the Chapter Approved book will we be able to make an informed decision on the state of the game.

      For most people, it’s great. People around here are digging out old models that haven’t been built or painted, along with people collecting Primaris Marines and Death Guard.

      • ZeeLobby

        That’s a huge failure on GWs part imo. I know they were in a hurry to release 8th, but the game is always going to be judged on it’s content at release. It’s not as bad as a year without points, but it’s still pretty weak for the leader of the industry. I still don’t understand why the Indexes couldn’t contain actual rules, and the Codexes provide additional CPs, Detachments, fluff, etc. later

        While everyone locally was excited and quick to dust off their old armies, we’ve already lost about half of that initial group who’ve either been put off by the lack of rules with depth, or have said they’ll come back in a year when the Codexes are released.

      • MadProphet

        Well… its not like GW doesnt have a reliable history of power creep.

    • ZeeLobby

      That’s what happens when you have thousands of people playing your game. Heck, most flaws are found within the first week of a release.

    • markdawg

      Look not everything needs to be play tested sometimes you can read something and know it’s bad.

      Like when 6th ed came out and you read about first blood. In and IGOUGO ruleset that’s a really dumb idea.

  • orionburn

    With the Nova Open coming up I would really like to see statistics on the number of players that win their game by going first. That article BOLs had the other day about a smaller tourney was interesting if true that 89% (IIRC) of people that went first won their game. This is one of those areas where perceived may not match up to reality, although I have my doubts. Having some hard numbers to back up the imbalance is the best & quickest way to implement change.

  • Hendrik Booraem VI

    Lemme ask you a question, BOLS. Prior to the release of 8th edition, I heard a lot of “7th edition is too bloated. Games take too long to play. 8th edition fixes that, it’s the best thing ever!”

    How, exactly, did you think games were going to get FASTER without units getting blasted off the table FASTER?

    This whole problem was easily foreseeable. Now I’m reading lots of posts that say “8th edition is broken, even though it completely changed the ruleset. The only fix is for GW to add alternate activation. This is bullcrap!”

    That’s stupid and offensive to me. How about we look at what was in 7th edition that could help fix this issue, instead of looking at going further away from what WH40K has been for the last 30 years? Instead of taking the new and adding more new, lets take the new and moderate it with some old and see if we can fix things.

    • thereturnofsuppuppers

      Units tend to be getting removed quicker in 8th.

    • ZeeLobby

      Lol. I dunno about your local meta, but most of our 7th games ended by turn 3. Alpha has been a problem for the last 2 editions as well, and most of it comes down to ease of access to special weapons with table-wide range. It used to be necessary to purchase a tank or small vehicle to get strong long range firepower. Now it’s common in most units. Without changing the game to AA or cutting ranges in half, I’m not sure how they’d fix it, but it’s definitely not new to 8th.

  • Heinz Fiction

    Armies with fewer deployments going first isn’t unfair as the sacrifice potential command points for building their army that way. Also: making a random roll doesn’t alter the fact that having the first turn is a huge advantage.

    To really adress the problem you’ll have to introduce advantages for going second and/or disadvantages for going first. Sadly the much appraised alternate deployment got rid of the only advantage going second had: being able to deploy after your opponent.

    Suggestion: apply night fight rules (-1 to hit) for the first player turn of the first battle round.

  • pokemastercube .

    makeing the batallion detachment compulsory doesnt work for imperial knights or a pure skitarii army for different reasons (knights all being LoW’s and skitarii having no HQ’s)

  • David Flm MacMav

    The Night fight is a good idea. But ask for battalion Detachement or make the first turn random would be unfair too really elite forces like grey knights or deathwing. If I field a Battalion I won’t be fielding much else. And having the first turn is the almost the only way to stand a chance against hoards armies or really shooty once

  • Master Avoghai

    Soooo what you propose is to ban deathwing/ravenwing/Iyanden/saim hann armies from tournies because a bunch of guys spam some dumb units?

    Those armies are “unbalanced by nature”?

  • Horus84cmd

    Now my article on – Taming alpha strike

    Use army list construction and apply tactics/deployment (based on mission objectives) to outplay your opponent

    • ZeeLobby

      I mean you could say the same for 6th and 7th. It doesnt change the fact that alpha strike armies still had the best performance. Now that alpha strike is even stronger and easier to obtain, I’m not sure how “outplaying” is really going to be the answer, at least in the competitive arena. The only armies in 6th/7th which defeated alpha strike armies were ones with ridiculous save rerolls, which don’t exist anymore. Deathstars were a necessary evil to defeating alpha strike. I think they could have tried to mitigate this via changes to the core rules, but they didn’t really.

      • Horus84cmd

        Gamers are still learning what works as they adjust. I’m not convinced by the argument its a issue with the core rules.

        • ZeeLobby

          Normally flaws like this are discovered at major competitive events. The fact that it’s already recognized as an issue prior to that is slightly concerning. I agree it could be proven wrong given time, but all indicators are pointing in the other direction.

          The good news is that if GW is truly dedicated to fixing their game this edition, we may only have to wait a year til they update their core rules to resolve the issue.

          • Horus84cmd


        • Karru

          I am not sure how it wouldn’t be.

          Like ZeeLobby said, Alpha Strike armies were a big problem in 6th/7th editions, but could be “countered” with things like Death Stars. Now those are gone and Alpha Strike got even stronger through the core rules. How did this happen? Well, let me explain that.

          First of all, Cover got nerfed hard. Even though Cover was basically considered a myth in 7th edition due to the plentiful ways one had to obtain the Ignores Cover Saves rule, sometimes you still got it. It gave you a nice 5+ or even a 4+ save.

          Now all that is gone. Cover is almost impossible to obtain because your unit has to physically be inside cover to get it. My usual larger terrain piece holds roughly 15-20 models on average for reasons of storage and placement. Typical terrain piece usually holds roughly 10 models.

          Then, even if you get Cover, you are looking at +1 to your save, that’s all. So a Weapon with high AP such as a Plasma Gun will still outright kill you even if you stand in cover most likely.

          Then there is the new deployment rules. Before, both players had an equal chance to get the first turn. Now, the one who deployed first gets to go first, so one can easily tailor a list that makes sure they go first basically always.

          Finally, you have the Detachments. The Detachments and how armies are build allows all this. 5 Storm Ravens for example wouldn’t be possible in the old 5th edition CAD for example. Just taking the
          Air Wing Detachment that has no tax is enough to field 5 Storm Ravens. What allows this to happen? Core rules.

          The entire point is that the problem is with Core rules. If the problem wasn’t with the Core rules, it would mean that something like this wouldn’t even be possible to begin with. Even if people started to “adapt” to facing 5 Storm Ravens on a regular basis and builds an army that can face that, they will get stomped by another extreme list like Infantry Spam.

          Only situation where Core rules wouldn’t be the one to blame is when the Army Books would break something. For example, the old Formations in 7th edition. Those were not Core rule problems technically as they weren’t released with the Core rules, but even then it was the Core rules that allowed people to take both Formations and the CAD/Allies. Even if they “fixed” the points for things like Guilliman and Storm Ravens, still the ability to spam the next broken thing would be possible unless the Core rules make it impossible to do.

          • Horus84cmd

            Still not convinced. That an awful lot of “it not like it was before” arguments. People are still learning and adapting. Codex’s are going to impact it. If its still an issue in 6 months or so then there may be a debate to be had.

          • Karru

            Okay, let’s look at it this way. How would you counter the Storm Raven spam for example without having to go full on “counter” against it that would make your army ineffective against the other extreme?

          • Defenestratus

            5 hemlocks 😛

          • Horus84cmd

            How many Stormraven’s would you class as spammy in proportion to what size game? 5 in a 2000pt game is pretty spammy; however you’re easily racking up 900-1000pts in flyers. With my “all rounder” Orks I usually like to play 90 boys, 15-20 lootas a couple of shokk attack guns, warboss with meganobz and as many grots as I can squeeze in at 2000pts; I can literally cover the table with the army and severally limit where those stormraven can move too. I reckon I be able to down one or two with area denial tactics alone.

          • Karru

            With 5 Stormravens, you are looking at 60 Assault Cannon Shots, 10 Typhoon Missiles/ 30 Heavy Bolter shots/ 5 Multi-melta shots, 10 Stormstrike Missiles and 120 Bolter Shots within Rapid Fire Range. None of these suffer from -1 to-hit thanks to Power of the Machine Spirit and instead you are the one trying to hit him with -1 to-hit.

            Area Denial Tactic won’t work, because Stormravens can go into Hover Mode if they are risking death.

            With only a handful of models, the Marine player will go first 1/6 times. His Assault Cannons and Bolters will most likely wipe most of your Boys and Lootas on Turn 1. Even if you hide most of your Boys in Trukks, those won’t live long against Stormstrikes and Typhoons.

            From there, it is just a matter of clean up. With massive speed advantage, the Marine can just run circles around you until your army is wiped. If nothing else, he can just park his Ravens right next to all the objectives because there is very little hope of killing these things off.

            The main problem with this army is rooted in two things. First problem is the insane firepower, manoeuvrability and survivability this army has. The second one is the pretty much the fact that this army has no counters. With only roughly 8-10 units to deploy in a 2000pts game, this list will always go first in a “normal” situation. This means that whatever you brought that might counter it, the obscene amount of fire this things can dish out guarantee that those units are dead way before they can do actual damage to these guys.

          • Horus84cmd

            So the stormravens are going to roll max rolls for each weapon every turn? Once you get within 1″ of them they aren’t shooting and have nowhere to move if you leave little to no gaps for the base to squeeze into.

            My 2000pt Necron force led by the Nightbringer and supported by 3 monoliths would make a mess of it too.

            There are plenty of general army builds out there that can handle ‘alpha strike’ armies.

          • Ronin

            If I see someone who actually owns 5 stormravens, didn’t mooch of 5 different friends for theirs, and they look great painted, I’m not even mad.

  • GravesDisease

    What’s your beef with fortifications??? The fact that they can’t move seems to be a pretty big downside for the majority of mission types available.

  • The problem with houseruling the game from a tournament standpoint is that by and far the majority of tournament players do not like houserules and will not attend the tournament.

    This even extends to creating custom scenarios for your tournament, which is a clever way of imposing different rules in the game without houseruling, but which are seen by many tournament players as cleverly using houserules and thus … also will avoid your event.

    If attendance is something you care about, houseruling is the last thing you want to do.

    • Admiral Raptor

      Why is it that tournament players have a problem with house rulings? I don’t attend tournaments so I don’t know why it would be an issue.

      • The answer will vary, but having asked that and read that same topic for years and years:

        * tournament players want everyone to play the same game, that being the game as it is written by GW. That way their games can have a ranking because all of the games have a context that they can fit into.

        If Bob goes to the LVO and places 3rd, and Jim goes to Adepticon and places 1st, and they are both playing Rules As Written, then the context of the game is the same and the rankings mean more.

        If Bob goes to a tournament and places 3rd, but you went to another tournament and placed first, but the event was done under a set of houserules, then the two sets of games that were played are no longer under the same context, and thus you winning first place at house-ruled tournament means something different than Bob placing 3rd at a different tournament, because without the house rules you may have finished 8th.

        It also introduces inconsistencies in their practice games… aka the games they play against casuals at the FLGS. If the FLGS crew wants to use house rules, then the tournament player cannot properly prep for his tournament using the rules of the tournament without having to negotiate with the other players to do so.

        Its simply much easier if everyone is playing RAW, because then no negotiations need to take place, and all games are being played under the same context.

        Next there is purchasing, painting, and buying models specifically to take advantage of the RAW rules exploits, that if you houserule means I have an army that was fully optimized and OP under the RAW ruleset, but the houseruled ruleset makes my army not as OP and optimized and thus puts the army at a disadvantage because its not top of the power bell-curve.

        These are the common themes that are revealed when this topic comes up.

        • Admiral Raptor

          Thanks that clears it up nicely! I guess I can understand where they’re coming from.

  • Txabi Etxebarrieta

    Minor quibble, but…

    “With all the talk of Alpha Strikes out there in 8th, let’s brainstorm how to put Pandora back in the box.”

    Pandora was never in the box. She’s the one that opened it. The evils were inside the box.

    • Horus84cmd

      Minor quibble, but…

      “The furies were inside the box.”

      Pandora opens a pithos (jar) containing death and many other evils which were released into the world. She hastens to close the container, but the whole contents had escaped except for one thing that lay at the bottom – Elpis (Hope/expectation). Box comes from a miss reading of pithos being as pyxis, which is greek for box. The furies where deities more ancient than the Olympians and were never in the pithos as they are not evil. Their task is to hear complaints brought by mortals against the insolence of the young to the aged, of children to parents, of hosts to guests, and of householders or city councils to suppliants – and to punish such crimes by hounding culprits relentlessly.

      if you want to be nit picky…

      • ZeeLobby

        Those damn furries!

        • Stealthbadger

          And thus space wolves were born.

      • Txabi Etxebarrieta

        Neat! I didn’t know that was an error in transliteration. Learned something new today 🙂

  • Do you really need to ban or nutter those other detachments?
    I can see requiring a Battalion first but after the taxes are paid your points should be spend how you like. It’ll all work it self out.

  • OldHat

    Worst kind of knee jerk silliness for a game literally not even three months old. How about we let the game actually get some time under its belt before we go house ruling it into something else?

    • Karru

      You do realise that this is the way things should be done, right? Analyse everything, find every single problem with the system and start breaking it to the point where even GW has to take some sort of action against it. This way GW can show that they really are planning on listening to the community.

      I mean, take AoS for example. On launch, that game was basically unplayable without more house rules than the game itself had normal rules. Summoning for example. Anyone with a brain knew it was broken the second they read the rules. Do you think something like that should be allowed to plague the game for over a year before people should start proposing fixes to it? No. If it can be abused even in the slightest, you bring it up and then you start to think how would one fix it. That way you can start testing the possible fixes early as possible while others check if the system works.

      Why is this so hard for people to understand? The best way to fix any problem is to bring it up for as many people to see so they can see for themselves if it is indeed a problem, no matter how “young” the thing is that the problem was attached to.

      • OldHat

        Dude, check your lecturing tone crap. You are among 40k peers here. I do realize quite a bit – as a veteran gamer and someone who has playtested other game systems.

        The game needs time to settle from GW’s standpoint. Players can look to break stuff, as that is what they do. And making GW aware is a great idea, so they can address it.

        That is NOT what is being said here though, so come down off that high horse of yours and maybe re-read the actual article. These are houserules ideas that undermine the game before it has even been out a full quarter. That isn’t constructive for GW. It will skew the game away from real issues and they may not get solved because of it. Play the game as is, report issues to GW, and let them fix it with their new approach to living rules (via Errata/FAQs, GHv2).

        So no, this isn’t the “best way to fix it” by any stretch. It is just a kneejerk reaction to a fresh game that needs time to settle before we go messing with it unofficially. If we see issues, send them to GW and post on their FB so other players can chime in. But houseruling doesn’t fix anything in the long term.

  • Defenestratus


    Oh… Oh how righteous if feels to be completely vindicated.

    Meet 8th edition, the same as 7th edition.

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

  • majbjörn

    Mandatory battalion sounds good!

  • Drpx

    How quickly we all forgot why everyone was spamming invisibility, stacking saves and null deploying in the first place.

  • highwind

    But 8th edition with its craptastic FOC charts, dumbed down tactics and worthless battlefield roles is so good!

    And it was extensivly playtested for balance!!!!

    • Nyyppä

      Honestly “pick a deathstar or 2 and kill everything” which was literally all that 7th was is a lot less tactically demanding format than 8th. Just saying.

  • Matt C

    or quit worrying about tournaments all the time?

  • Nyyppä

    OR let people do what ever they want and make every unit a separately deployed unit regardless of transports (ie. a rhino and 2 5 man squads inside it count as 3 deployments instead of 1). That seems to solve the alpha strike problem and gives large units and elite armies a reason to exist.

  • GiftoftheMagi

    Strange how an obvious and potentially major flaw of the new system requires the players and tourneys to fix it instead of the company. And strange that players found this flaw within a month of release when GW had months to find and correct it.

    • GravesDisease

      In all fairness GW plays the game with proper terrain.

  • Xar

    NO new rules. If you don’t want to get shot at: hide behind something.

  • MadProphet

    8th edition was a wonderful oportunity to implement alternate activation which I find more tactical and balanced (I play other games which us it, like Malifaux). Its a pitty we are back to the same loopsided system. I’ve had several games so far decided on turn 1, just before the other player has any chance to interact.

    • Indeed. I am a fan of alternate activation. Unfortunately a lot of people are strongly opposed to it.

  • Jared McWilliams

    Having fewer units generally hinders alpha strike, as low unit count armies typically have high model cost units. Often due to multiple wounds or higher durability than average.

    Making 1st turn random favors alpha strike as often MSU cheap units with 2-3 special spam is more effective alpha strike than low model count armies.

  • Taming the Alpha-strike by rolling off who goes first? So basically let the entire game be decided on a single dice roll. Not sure how that’s gonna help.
    #1 and #3 sound most plausible to me.

  • Sir_Prometheus

    Just so you know, it’s nearly impossible to fill a Battalion Detachment with GK.

  • vyrago

    whaddya know, another 40k edition broken by horrible meta-exploits. That was fast, new record?

  • DaveWeston

    Still think my FREE Print & Play terrain templates are ideal for cheap LoS blocking terrain. They’re only simple boxes but they’re pre-textured, quick to build and cheap when stuck to foamboard or card board
    http://www.40kaddict.uk/2011/02/terrain-is-everything-standard-template.html http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/dff8c0c1de957530d646e719388c68d8e03f8f926defd69b7c97c30c0ed35b74.jpg

  • Robert Thornton-Kaye

    How about requiring no more than half of the deep strikers/ infiltrators to be deployed per turn? So if you bring 8 deep strikers, 4 deploy on the first turn, 2 on the 2nd turn, 1 on the 3rd turn, and 1 on the 4th turn.

    Alternatively, half may deploy on the 1st turn, the rest on the 2nd turn.

    Maybe just make it -1 to hit if you’ve just deep struck in?

  • Napo81

    Euh…. well, your army is probable more powerful as it is now going first. You get to shoot with ALL your army without being shot at first, even if it’s just by half an army. I don’t know why you think attacking second after being shot at is better than attacking first without being shot before.

    And the point is, of course some people would want to go second. It will be part of the strategy. But not everyone. The nerfed alpha strike would still be useful, but less powerful. That’s the point.

    • So your pro alpha strike? If I go second and cripple my opponent on my first turn it’s still an alpha strike. (Call it what ever you want.) We didn’t get rid of it or change it we just hurt one players army.
      I very much like going second. I get to see the other players opening moves and know I have the last say in the game. Please drive closer to my army so I can assault you. Only Orks are better at it now days than they have been in a long time. IG going second would be even stronger under those conditions. So, yes it would be more useful but not less powerful, you’ve just redistributed the power.
      I’m not saying being shot at before I get to do anything is better but on balance I don’t find your solution fair.
      I’m against your idea because I know I would abuse it and I’m not even a competitive player, minds worse than mine are working this out even now…

  • ReveredChaplainDrake

    I like the idea behind the first turn night fight, but think that there are other ways around such a limitation. Looking at my Tyranids, a first turn nerfing of shooting may irritate an Exocrine or two at most (in fact, it arguably makes Biovores even *better*), but it’s the first turn assaults that cause mass havoc in our case.

    What I’d propose is that whoever gets the second turn has one of three zero-cost command strategems that they can use at the start of the game that last until the end of the first player turn:

    -1 penalty to all To Hit rolls using Ballistic Skill

    -1 penalty to all To Hit rolls using Weapon Skill

    -1 mortal wounds caused by the Smite power (or basically something that makes the Psychic Phase less nasty; I went with this rather than -1 to casting because non-Smite powers are limited enough to a single cast attempt per turn and, from what I’ve seen, these generally aren’t the real problem with psychic spam anyway)

    This way, every army is encouraged to diversify into doing more than just one kind of trick or risk suffering a relevant penalty to nearly everything they try on the first turn.

  • Viper666.Qc

    For friendIy games, I houseruled 7th with a random activation (similar to Bolt Action) and it made the game great. Working on my 8th ed version….pretty sure it will still be awesome.

  • sethmo

    Follow the damn mission and game rules iTC. This is your fault with fixed terraign and +1 roll nonsense.

  • N. Thanks

    The current rules of “fewer deploys = go first” gives a balance to the spammable nature of horde armies. Having MANY units gives you a leg up in the objective game. Having fewer units and letting that player go first gives them a chance to secure an objective early.

    Think your points through before posting butthurt crap after you play a game you don’t like 😀