Battle Plan Roll 6s

Monday, July 2, 2012

6th Edition - Shooting Vs Assault Preliminary Analysis

So, after a full read on the codex and a couple of test games here are some initial thoughts I’m having on the 6th edition balance between shooting and assaulting. 
Per general internet wisdom shooting was better than assault in 5th Edition.  Based on my read of the new rules the gap has grown wider now that we've moved to 6th Edition.  If shooting was not formerly better than assault it most certainly is now.  Evidence following. 
I’ve listed many of the rules changes and how I feel they impact the balance between shooting and assault.  These don’t cover all the rules changes that could affect things, but they cover the majority of the big ones.  Or at least the ones I can think of right now.

For your consideration:
1)      Cover Saves - Cover saves have been reduced overall.  In many cases they are easier to get on a model by model basis, but the average save is lower.  And of course focus fire will allow you to ignore cover saves altogether under the right circumstances.  As units become less durable, this will result in more damage done from shooting over the course of the game.  End Result:
Shooting:  Gets Better Obviously (Buff)
Assault:  Fewer Models Make it to Assault (Nerf)

2)      Wound Allocation – Wounds are now allocated to nearest models (more or less).  Ignoring wound allocation shenanigans with characters this means that as a unit gets shot it will get farther and farther from the unit it is shooting.  End result:

Shooting:  Remove from Front Increases Chance of Failed Charge (Buff)
Assault:  See Above (Nerf)

3)      Overwatch – Units may now snap fire at one unit assaulting them.   Not much to say here.  End Result:

Shooting:  Extra Shots = Good (Buff)
Assault:  Fewer Models Make it to Assault (Nerf)

4)      Go To Ground - Units that go to ground can now Snap Fire their weapons.  Again, not much to say here.  End Result: 

Shooting:  Extra Shots = Good (Minor Buff)
Assault:  Minimal Effect

5)      Disembarkation & Assaults – Models that disembarked from a (non-assault/open topped) transport may not launch charges in the turn they disembarked, even if the vehicle did not move.  By contrast in 5th if the transport had not moved you could disembark, move, and assault.  End Result:

Shooting:  Free Extra Turn to Shoot at Transported Units (Buff)
Assault:  Must Stand and Take it on Foot for a Turn (Nerf)

Sneaky Addendum:  If your transport is wrecked by shooting and you disembark as a result, you can assault just fine in the following turn.   Potentially handy if you can bait your opponent to shooting the right transport at the right time.

6)      Disembarkation Distances - Disembarkation distances are now a maximum of 6” from the hull of the vehicle.  Additionally models may not disembark if the vehicle moved faster than cruising speed.   Bottom line, units coming out of assault vehicles lost an inch or two of range. End Result:

Shooting:  No Effect
Assault:  Reduction in Assault Range = Bad (Nerf)

7)      Random Charge Distance – Random means just that.  Random.  Sometimes you’ll go 12” and sometimes you’ll go 2”.  Average Charge is 7”, so that’s a boost from 5th.   But occasionally you’ll just be screwed hard by your dice.  Bottom line, its an extra chance for something to go wrong, compounded by an extra chance for something to go great.    An additional point of note, snap fire happens before you roll for charge distance (I think), and definitely before you move the first model.  So it is possible with the wrong charge roll to get shot up AND fail the charge.  End Result:
Shooting:  Does not rely on Extra Random Movement for Damage (Minor Buff)
Assault:  Random = Unreliable = Bad (Nerf)

8)      Rapid Fire Upgrade  - Rapid Fire weapons now do their sweet funky out to max range at all times.  This is a straight buff to the base gun of a majority of factions.  Tau Rejoice.  End Result:

Shooting:  More Shots at Range = Better (Buff)
Assault:  More Shots = More Dead Berserkers before they charge (Nerf)

9)      Transports – Units in a Transport that moved at cruising speed may now snap fire from Fire Points.  Units in a Shaken (but not stunned) transport, may also snap fire. End Result:

Shooting:  More Shots = Better (Minor Buff)
Assault:  No Meaningful Effect

10)   Outflank/Reserves – Units arriving from Reserves via walk-on, deep strike, or outflank may not launch assaults on the turn in which they arrived unless they have a rule which specifies otherwise.  No Brainer Here.  End Result:

Shooting:  Works Just Fine (No Effect)
Assault:  Sad Snikrot in Snow (Major Nerf)

11)   Fearless – Two items for fearless units.  Firstly, they may not go to ground causing them to take additional shooting damage.  Secondly, they no longer take extra wounds when losing combat.  Got to hack up all the orks/nids the hard way now.  End Result:
Shooting:  Fearless = Easier to Kill (Buff)
Assault:  Fearless = Harder to Kill (Nerf)

12)   Fliers – And the big boning here for assault.  Fliers cannot be assaulted while zooming.  Period.  ‘Nid and Daemon/Chaos players can shut up about their MC Vector Strikes.  We all know your special shit is special.   Bottom line here is that for the vast majority of armies the ONLY way to destroy a vehicle is with shooting attacks.  Having an entire class of unit you cannot hurt is a big nerf for assault in my book. 
Shooting:  No Effect
Assault:  Did you read my comments? (Nerf)

13)   Multicharges – No Bonus Attacks when multicharging, and more restrictive guidance on when it is allowed.  End Result:

Shooting:  No Effect
Assault:  Less likely to Sweep Whole Blocks off the table (Nerf)

Those are the key differences that came to mind when I pondered on overall changes to the various styles of army performance.  Bear in mind I don’t think assault is completely useless.  The threat of assaulting your opponent is a key and important part of the game.  But what I do think is that in the long run shooting armies with a couple of key assault elements will end up being the better armies.  I’m not saying that a ‘balls to the wall’, ‘go for the jugular’ assault army won’t work at all, but my read is that as a player you’ll have to work harder at it to pull off a win than you would have under the old rules set.

At the moment I’m feeling a lot more enthusiasm for my Imperial Guard army and to a certain extent my Tau army, than I am for my Space Wolves at this particular point.  That being said my test games were all with Guard for the most part.  I’ll try and test out the Wolves this week to see if a couple of games shake any new thoughts loose on gameplay.

Til next time.

Wolf Lord Wooten

1 comment:

  1. why is NIDS being harder to kill in combat an assault NERF?.... it is just a nerf for non-NID players. BTW I liked this post Lord Wooten