Pimpcron has some portents of doom for you.
Hey all! We are gathered here today to mourn our dear friend, Overwatch. Overwatch was taken from us too soon, at just the tender age of 7. It will truly be missed, having purged many xenos and imperials alike. With the start of 9th edition, we lost a dear friend. I think we can all say that Overwatch wouldn’t want us all to sit here crying, but to live our lives as Overwatch lived its, after charges were declared.
Overwatch, A Real Game Changer
For all of you newer players out there, you may be surprised to hear that Overwatch is fairly new addition to the Warhammer mechanics. When it was introduced in 6th edition, it made quite a splash, as well as cementing flamers as great choices for a Tactical squad. Over the years, we kind of took it for granted and it acted a small safety net for our units that weren’t super open to the idea of being assaulted.
It Was Effective, Kinda
I always liked Overwatch, but now that I think about it, it never seemed to do much. I mean, a full unit of something shooting a ton of shots would result in a few wounds. You’re only hitting on 6’s so it’s not like you’re setting the world on fire. You *should* only be hitting once every six times you fire a ranged weapon so a group of 10 dudes is hitting 3 times. Then of course you have to wound. It is so often so ineffective that it kind of gets to the point of “why even roll for it” most of the time.
The obvious exception is flame weapons, since they auto-hit. But in most cases a unit will only have one flame weapon and you could roll 1 hit just as easily as you could roll 6. Not super effective. I’m actually kind of surprised that Overwatch made it into 8th edition at all. For those of you who don’t remember, we used to have things like Initiative order and character challenges to worry about. Those mechanics slowed the game down considerably, and they were introduced around the same time as Overwatch. When they re-tooled the core mechanics for 8th edition’s sleeker, faster theme it is a wonder why Overwatch was not on the chopping block with its brothers.
9th Edition Killed Overwatch
With the exception of Tau, I feel like Overwatch is completely not worth it in 9th edition. You know all that rolling you used to do to score a hit or two in the Charge Phase? Yeah, now that ability has several limitations that simply make it stupid. Not only does its status as a Stratagem limit it to one use in the Phase, but now it also costs a Command Point! As I stated, the benefits of Overwatch were already minimal, but now paying a CP for the off chance you might score a hit is just crazy.
Here’s How To Fix It
If they wanted to speed up the game and also preserve any semblance of value for Overwatch, here’s how they should have done it. Make it a Stratagem like they did, but make it hit on 5+ instead. That would make Overwatch a serious tool in your strategic arsenal and it would make it worth doing. Part of the reason why they originally made Overwatch a 6+ could have been because anybody who can shoot has at least a BS of 6+. So they could make that a universal rule and it could apply to any army.
But I submit that I can’t think of any models with a BS worse than 5+ off the top of my head, so I don’t see how my suggested version would interfere with many unit capabilities. The way it is currently presented, I will have to have a huge unit of shooters, or a bunch of flamers to make me even consider using that Stratagem.
In conclusion, I feel like this was a misstep for 9th edition and it could have handled better. I have played several games of 9th edition and only one time did I ever use that Stratagem. It did nothing and I felt silly for paying for it.
What Are Your Thoughts On Overwatch?
Hey! This article is brought to you by my top-tier Patreon supporter Mike Cowley!
Thanks Michael, smooches!
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