Goatboy here again with my take on the biggest thing to hit our little 40k game – Chapter Approved.
Overall I feel a bit underwhelmed as I thought it would have more matched play changes – and while the updates to some index armies is good I still feel like the book is kind of a flash in the pan. The matched up play updates we pretty much already play with if you lived in the ITC land. In fact there was really only one new rule that caught my attention more then anything else as it didn’t “fix” the issue and just made the issue “better”. I am talking about the Character change.
No Big Rules Shakeups
First of all there is no other changes in the book besides Boots on the Ground, Objective Secured for non Soup Detachment troops, Understrength Units in Auxiliary detachments only, can’t use Reroll CP for end of game/beginning of game/etc stuff, and finally a super charging how you get to target characters.
That is all there is.
There is no Smite update (Currently in a talk there is a smite change coming with an FAQ – in March or something), no removal of problem Detachments (Supreme Beef Taco Command I am looking at you), nor any other answers about some weird gameplay issues. The only true thing is this complete update on how you get to shoot at characters. Let’s look at the initial rule and then how they changed it.
The Character Rules Change
“A CHARACTER can only be chosen as a target in the Shooting phase if they are the closet visible enemy unit to the model that is shooting. This does not apply to CHARACTERS with a Wounds characteristic of 10 or more, due to their sheer size”
Basically you can only shoot a character if it is the closest visible unit. This means you can do some tricks like utilize terrain to block LOS on your models to only see the Character or maybe drive a vehicle or two to block your models view. This way you could “snipe” characters by utilizing some smart movement tricks. Of course this was deemed to good and they decided to update the rule in Chapter Approved.
Chapter Approved Rule update
“An enemy CHARACTER with less than 10 wounds can only be targeted if it is both visible to the firer and it is the close enemy model to the firer. This means that if any other model is closer, whether it is visible or not, then the enemy CHARACTER cannot be targeted.”
This is a huge change and means models can easily be hidden with hidden units. Do you have some guys hiding being a big LOS blocking terrain? Well your Captain can strut out in the open and not worry about getting shot. Do you have some hidden brims who are tiny, short, and a pain in the butt? That big and bad Daemon Prince is well protected by his “hidden” flaming turds. I don’t know why they needed to add this as the issue was with multiple character armies – not with how you could snipe out a character or two. It is a frustrating thing to have to rethink, rebuild, and figure out how your army could get rid of these hidden screens.
This really feels like most competitive armies that don’t rely on massed assaults will need to find some way to get some non LOS targeting options. Of course as a lot of it isn’t very good – hitting on a starting 4+ which usually means a 5+ for most armies, not having enough shots to be good, or just being way to expensive and normally FW. This also means I think will have to see some true forms of assault shot up to try and clear these things out. I was hoping to see a fix to this or some kind of clarification but instead we get a big boost to an otherwise normal unit that didn’t need this.
This also makes sniping options a heck of a lot more powerful. I have found most snipers to be rather meh most of the time. Sure they can hit me, but they hit ok, wound kinda bad and normally don’t finish off whatever they are shooting at. Of course this could change as we saw the return of the Reaper Launcher Auratach who can easily get a mean Warlord trait to help target characters. A non LOS gun sounds pretty dang awesome and I wonder if will see more character targeting rules. Thankfully this targeting isn’t hurt by Smites as you hit what you see so maybe there is a way to not be caught “off guard” with tiny blocking units getting in the way.
The Non Codex Factions
Beyond this the book is full of Index book updates. I really like the add ons to Sisters rules. They got 2 good stratagems that can put a world of hurt on an army. I think Space Wolves got some good ones as well – as one of the Stratagems lets them have some crazy movement as they can be across the battlefield if need be. I am glad Harlies got the Webway Portal rule as it feels very much within their wheelhouse or rules. Overall the extra rules are kinda ok – as anything more is good.
The Point Updates
The big thing this book does is update some points.
Thankfully the Big Bird and the Taunar both got kicked in the teeth. Both of those guys were way undercosted and were part of the issue of limiting Power Level to 31 and under in ITC. With these massive point swings there is no need to limit the Power Level now. Overall the points are alright as most of my armies were not effected or need to find a way to utilized a few points. A few things got nerfed pretty hard too which is kind of weird. Conscripts already got hurt and adding a point is another kick in the junk for them. I am very excited about trying some Butcher Cannon Contemptors for my Death Guard army as they got very cheap. It gives them some long range punch for a decent amount of points. Plus they get access to the Legion rules and can move and fire with those big meat cleaving cannons. Weirdly the Fire Raptor went down in points. I find it odd as it is a pretty gnarly vehicle for Chaos as it answers a lot of things for the army. Seeing it go down is pretty weird but of course I am jaded as I have buddies who play it and murder many things with it. The Malanthrope got pretty expensive too so the common Nid builds have to adjust with the new book, updated points, and less “protection” then they had before. The AM books from FW all got updated to match the points in the new AM book. This is kind of a bummer as they are missing a lot of rules to make them fit within the AM frame so it makes me kind of sad. Earthshakers got a big change too so a lot of armies lose their LOS ignore damage output. Overall the point changes feel kind of all over the place so while yes – things got more expensive they didn’t seem to get where they needed to be.
Thumbs Up or Down?
Overall I will be buying the book as I am still heavily invested in the game and most of my stuff wasn’t affected. I am excited to see the new Daemon book as it will finally allow me to have full options for all my armies. I would just need some new rules for Magnus to complete all the nonsense I have. The updates did give me some hope on some Death Guard builds that are not just Pox Walker factors and resemble something that could actually let me win games with. Here is hoping testing, painting, and thoughts all combine into a cool army for LVO.
~Until next time – keep all my models as bad guys.