Sharpen your powersword, and oil the chainaxe. Here’s why Melee looks like it’s badass in 9th Edition.
The drip, drip, drip of rules for 9th Edition approaches and as more puzzle pieces fit into place a picture is becoming clear. Melee is goint to be better. Shooting was king in 8th Edition, and the community let it be known loudly that they wanted something done. It looks like GW heard the message loud and clear and is rebalancing shooting vs melee in 9th. They have done before in previous editions like 5th, when things got a little out of balance. Here’s out list (so far) of what is making melee look stronger.
I’ve already talked about Overwatch in detail, but the big picture view is clear. Overwatch may not be gone, but it’s going to play a diminished role in the game. And by definition anything that reduced shooting attacks on assaulters helps melee units get “stuck in”. The melee units have already made the long journey into assault, so that one last out of phase Overwatch shot to cut them down was probably just a bit over the top.
The Strategic reserves rules are totally new. The big news is the new option to drop unit onto various board edges to give the enemy a surprise. The units that can already deepstrike by default are unaffected, but now you can put ANY of your units into Strategic Reserve. Trading a few CPs for the ability to get a handful of normally slower assault units deep upfield mid-game sounds like a more than fair trade to me. Especially after seeing so many of my melee units torn up before they made it 12″ up the board in 8th. Yes please!
The New 2CP strat is a game-changer. IN 8th, a lot of units had the ability to get out of combat easily and mow you down. The existence of this pricy stratagem tells me that GW realized that was an error. At that cost, this wont get used a lot, meaning that in general once you get your melee units into assault, most of time they will stay there. Players are only going to be breaking out especially valuable units. For most of the rabble, it’s time to duke it out the best they can and go down swinging. Again, a thumb on the scales of melee.
This one is huge. The FLY keyword was considered to the be the most powerful in the game and with good reason. FLY made it’s bearers just ignore so many rules that affected everyone else, from movement restrictions, to assault. It was a clear dividing line between good vehicles and crappy ones. No more. We haven’t seen the exact text, but it seems that FLY may be relegated to only enhanced movement. Removing the ability of FLY units to fall back from combat and shoot with impunity bring them back down to earth, and makes them play in the same sandbox as everyone else. About time. I already have some flyers in mind who deserve some payback from my assault units after the last 4 years. I bet you have a list too.
Last but certainly not least the smaller board directly help melee. The 4″ lost off the board’s depth aren’t the bid deal. It’s the losing the 1 foot of the tables width that diminishes the entire concept of “flanks” and makes it that much easier to reach out and punch someone. There will be less of parking shooting units way back in the corners and assuming they will be safe. Id would say that on average the smaller board size may let assault units “get there” 1 turn earlier, increasing pressure on shooting elements and again, increasing the value and effectiveness of melee.
~CHOP! CHOP! SLICE! SLICE!