For my first game of 8th edition, I wanted to limit things in a couple of ways:
- First, for anyone who has tried to create a list with point values, you’ll find that it’s utterly incomprehensible, so I wanted to start off easy and go with power levels.
- Second, I thought it would be great if we could recreate an older battle that I’ve already played from the blog.
- Third, I wanted to make the armies vastly different (no marines vs. marines). Brandon had already played his first 8th game with his Orks and he wanted to play his marines, so that meant I was playing Tyranids.
- Fourth, I didn’t want to play too huge of a game. Initially I had tried to come up with a power level (100 points) and just started throwing units into it, but it quickly became overwhelming for a first game. It made more sense to have a little less diversity for learning purposes.
- Lastly, with the vast differences between the editions, we wanted to have power levels that were roughly equivalent. Not all 1,500 point lists convert the same.
We really hunted around for a game that made perfect sense, but never came across it. There were a few close calls, but we eventually opted to recreate our first battle of 7th edition. That list was a bit on the point heavy side, and also included some units that just don’t have rules / options for 40k at this time, but I figured the value of the nostalgia alone was enough to justify it’s recreation.
Hive Fleet Proteus (1844 pts)
- 3x Zoanthrope (Catalyst)
- 3x Venomthrope
- 5x Genestealers
- 5x Genestealers
- 30x Termagants w/ Spinefists inc. 2 w/ Stranglewebs
- Fast Attack:
- Harpy w/ 2x Stranglethorn Cannons
- Heavy Support:
- 1x Biovore
- 1x Biovore
- 1x Biovore
We had to make some changes to this list to make it work for the current meta. Firstly, the original list included 4 squads of a single zoanthrope and two more of single venomthropes. In the latest version these changed to minimum 3 man squads. After totaling up the power levels for the two armies, Brandon made a command decision to combine these into two three man squads. I had a little heartache at first, but when he told me of the already disparate power levels, I accepted the change. Likewise, the Broodlords and Tervigons from the old list had to shift around to become HQ slots.
All of the other units I played stayed the same as they were from 7th edition. That means that whatever I had them armed with, they retained (with the exception of cluster spines, which seem to have gone the way of the dodo). Though we were playing a power level game, the list would’ve been better with different upgrades on the various units (and it would literally not cost any more), but our goal in this endeavor was to learn how the game has changed–not to try to break 8th edition. That sort of thing will surely happen in time, but that’s not the mindset of our local gaming group.
Our game was set forth to use “all of the advanced rules” (though we excluded all of the special scenario rules like Stronghold Assault, City Fight, etc.). With that in mind, we were constrained to 3 detachments (based upon the value). My list was a Battallion detachment (+3 points) and a Spearhead detachment (+1) point for a total of 7 command points.
Salamanders (2000 pts)
- Terminator Librarian w/ Storm Shield
- 5x Terminators w/ Thunderhammers & Stormshields
- Ironclad Dreadnought
- 10x Tactical Marines w/ Grav-Gun, Plasma Cannon, & Combi-grav
- 10x Tactical Marines w/ Meltagun, Multi-melta, & Combi-flamer in Rhino
- 10x Tactical Marines w/ Flamer, Multi-melta, & Combi-flamer in Drop pod
- Fast Attack:
- Stormtalon Gunship
- 10x Assault Marines w/ 2x Flamers & Thunderhammer
- Heavy Support:
- 3x Devastator Centurions w/ Grav/Hurricane Bolters
Again, this is not an optimized list for 8th, but rather an update of his 7th edition list. This is the list that mowed down every monstrous creature I owned in 7th edition (largely because of the Centurions). It also came out to slightly higher power level (which I made up by being able to summon a squad of ‘gants if I so chose), but the difference in total points is pretty huge. I guess points and power level don’t have a direct correlation though.
Mission & Deployment:
Normally you’d roll off for deployment, board edges, missions, objectives, etc., but I thought it would be nice to play with the terrain and deployment exactly as we had in 7th edition. That’s why the table is so sparse.
At least the terrain was all painted this time, so it looks a little better, and the astute observers out there will realize that at least one of the craters I deployed was not the exact same one as we had last time.
I deployed my biovores in the building (they require line of sight now), and then clumped everything to the line. Deployment itself was a new game (or really, just a rehash of the old game from days long ago). I wasn’t exactly used to the you-go, I-go model, but it made for an interesting dynamic. I found myself wondering if there was a real advantage to using fewer units in your army so that you could ensure that you get first turn.
But nothing I could do about that. My list was created for me before the game, and Brandon had a lot fewer units, so I was doomed to go second. Unless, of course, I managed to seize the initiative. I didn’t…
Turn 1: Salamanders
Brandon’s first move of the game was a real eye-opener. He had reserved much of his list and I had deployed with the intention of moving forward into his most heavily concentrated flank. I just completely didn’t realize that he could drop in behind me without fear of deviation. Yes, I knew deviation was gone from the rules, but when he placed an assault squad, a terminator assault squad, and his HQ in my back lines, I immediately discovered the power of deep striking (And reserves in general…).
His plasma cannon marine opted to overcharge and promptly blew himself up at the start of the shooting phase. Shortly thereafter, he remembered that he could use a command point to re-roll and save his little buddy.
He was deadset on killing that Exocrine before it had a chance to shoot. Luckily for me, he had to charge across a crater (one of two types of terrain that actually affects charges) and despite having a psychic power that allowed him to re-roll the charge distance, neither of the units hit my line. The rest of his shooting was fairly abysmal, and I had some pretty great saves, so the end result of the turn was that he was able to kill off a handful of ‘gaunts and a genestealer or two, before claiming one objective in his own deployment zone and passing the turn.
Score: Salamanders 1 vs. Tyranids 0+1
Turn 1: Tyranids
It didn’t take long before I realized why he wanted that Exocrine to die. He was already six shots on a 3+ of plasma in the previous edition (assuming he didn’t move), so the base weapon is practically the same. Having an extra six shots if he doesn’t move is good, but that extra 12″ of range is immense. Previously, he always wanted to change targets because he was good at killing marines/terminators. Now, since he does equally good against “vehicles” and marines alike, plus he has the additional range, he can hold tight where he is and be effective. Of course, it really would take a turn or two for that to sink in, but man, he was good…
At this point, I completely ignored the previous strategy and chose to focus on the more immediate threat in my backfield (helped by the fact that I had a card that gave me D3 points for killing his warlord). I turned my ‘gaunts, tervigon, biovores, one flyrant, heck… practically my whole army around to beat up on the newcomers. Despite unloading everything, including quite a number of mortal wounds from psychics and biovores, I only managed to kill of two terminators and two assault marines. To further complicate things, I failed my charges with my first five units and then opted not to charge with the Flyrant at all (figuring she couldn’t do much unsupported).
My other unit of ‘stealers and a broodlord moved forward and charged his rhino (first turn charges are seemingly going to be a pretty common thing) and managed to destroy it thanks to his monstrous rending claws. The other Flyrant took on his flyer and did a few wounds, but then forgot to charge (hard to remember to charge a flyer). I didn’t earn any objectives, but at least I earned a point for first blood (barely).
Score: Salamanders 1 vs. Tyranids 0+1
Turn 2: Salamanders
Five genestealers alone on a bridge aren’t much against a couple of squads of bolter fire. The broodlord isn’t much himself–especially when you throw in a handful of meltagun shots.
In assault, he managed to charge the Flyrant with his terminators in such a way that they didn’t trigger the nearby spore mines, and then pulled some assaulting shenanigans with his Librarian against my broodlord. He declared the assault and then didn’t move all of the way into base to base, because doing so would’ve pulled his null zone bubble out of range of my Flyrant, and he wanted to ensure that she would die.
Fortunately, she had gotten off “The Horror” on the terminator squad so they were only hitting her on 5’s, and they managed to take her down to just two remaining wounds (thanks in no small part to her warlord trait: 6+ Feel no Pain).
Brandon picked up two objective cards, but wasn’t able to score either one of them.
Score: Salamanders 1 vs. Tyranids 0+1
Turn 2: Tyranids
In previous iterations of the game, my warlord would be a write off, but now she can just walk out of combat, so that’s what she did. She and the broodlord positioned themselves so they could throw mortal wounds at his Librarian, while my spore mines and termagants lined up to charge the terminators. My firepower wasn’t doing me much good though, as anything with mortal wounds was either rolling a single wound, or being saved off by Brandon’s warlord trait.
I merely had tied up his terminators and librarian, and opted to keep the broodlord in combat so that I could finish his warlord off if it came down to that. It did, but I didn’t finish him off. In fact, I did a few wounds to him, and killed off a single terminator.
Elsewhere, I didn’t have much more luck, but did earn a point for holding an objective, and started earning working towards a couple more for defending another.
Score: Salamanders 1 vs. Tyranids 1+1
Turn 3: Salamanders
My only remaining broodlord was bested in the psychic phase by a smite roll, and that allowed his terminator to charge my warlord. Thankfully, she managed to shrug it off without taking any wounds.
Across the battlefield, with nothing left to shoot, his army took aim at the Tervigon and brought the beast down–which wasn’t a big deal because he had nuked it the previous turn as well. Had I been smart, I would’ve made more termagant babies with the Tervigon, as she was clearly going to die next turn–but my baby making blindness has clearly not disappeared since 7th edition.
The rest of his reserves showed up and applied pressure towards objectives in my deployment zone. His terminators could’ve fallen back out of combat with my ‘gants, but that wouldn’t have done him much good. They couldn’t charge again that turn (or even shoot) and he had nothing else to keep the tide at bay, so he stood his ground and swung away, though his rolls were fairly bad.
He earned points for big game hunter (tervigon) and another for killing a “flyer” (a unit of Zoanthropes).
Score: Salamanders 3 vs. Tyranids 1+1
Turn 3: Tyranids
With his Librarian down to a single wound, you would think he’d be a piece of cake, wouldn’t you? Well, I’m happy to say that I did kill him off, but it wasn’t at all easy. Between all of my smite rolls, nearby guns, biovores, etc. I did manage to take him out, but not before the last shot of my shooting phase. It took everything I could muster to peel that last wound off the guy.
I also had more problems in that his Ironclad was moving into the core of my army. I had plinked away a bit at him with my Harpy and other Flyrant, and then charged him with a stray spore mine, my lone remaining ‘stealer, and a squad of venomthropes, but that didn’t do much good. The stealer managed to sneak in a hit, as did the spore mine, but neither lasted long against the dread. On the plus side, his dread whiffed against the venomthropes, so I at least tied him up for a round.
My exocrine managed to put a round of fire into the Centurions and all but wiped out that squad unassisted.
I earned two points for successfully defending the objective from the previous turn, one for slaying the warlord, and three more for Kingslayer giving me a nice healthy lead.
Score: Salamanders 3 vs. Tyranids 6+2
Turn 4: Salamanders
The dread proved to have an equally sad time in combat in this turn as well. Despite a fair number of attacks and re-rolling 1’s (to-hit), he just couldn’t manage to kill the venomthropes. In hindsight, I’m not sure he was subtracting the 1 to hit because he was so close to the Venomthropes though…
His other units swarmed on my far flyrant and managed to rip half of her wounds off, then charged her. And his final terminator lost the prolonged combat with the termagants. My exocrine had found himself out of combat with his assault marines, so apparently they had charged me a turn earlier–so perhaps the Centurions died a full turn earlier than I’d thought as well.
He picked up another point for holding an objective and started accruing towards defending another one that I was unlikely to contest…
Score: Salamanders 4 vs. Tyranids 6+2
Turn 4: Tyranids
In what turned out to be our final turn, I swooped over with my (fairly) healthy flyrant and my Harpy to hold objective four from his drop pod.
Though I haven’t mentioned it before, the Harpy was doing a bang-up job in this edition. She was rolling 2d6 s7 AP-1 shots, so was actually putting out more damage than the Flyrants, and was also dropping an occasional spore mine for a mortal wound here and there. Plus, when they actually made combat, she was able to put some sort of armor modifier, whereas the flyrants were not.
My venomthrope walked out of combat with the Ironclad and I splattered it quickly with mortal wounds from a ton of sources before realizing I had overcommitted to killing it.
I did score two additional points for killing a unit in shooting and holding another objective. That was enough for Brandon to call the game, figuring he wasn’t going to be able to come back from that.
Score: Salamanders 4 vs. Tyranids 9+3
It was a pretty bloody game filled with some atrocious rolls overall. In the end, I had three monstrous creatures alive, with a total of 8 wounds between them (more impressive to think that they started with 32-34), along with my biovores, and a single venomthrope, plus a handful of gaunts. On the other side of the table, he had a drop pod, and a few partial squads of marines that weren’t terribly well positioned.
It wasn’t likely that he was going to overcome the deficit, but had the cards rolled out the right way and the dice been bad for me, the game was still winnable for him.
I can’t blame him for calling it though. Not only did it look pretty rough, it was getting fairly late. Being our first game, we looked up tons of stuff throughout and it took longer than a normal game did in the previous edition. I’d say we were in it for close to four hours. Of course, a lot of that was just open discussion about how the rules work, what better strategies would be etc. I didn’t look at this as a game to win so much, but a game to better understand the new edition.
What I Learned:
There was so much to learn over the course of the game. If I wrote down everything that I learned, this would be a post in-and-of-itself (or maybe even a series of posts). So, for now, I’ll just write down a few that I found noteworthy in this particular game…
- It’s a different game. So many things that I want to hold over from previous editions are going to be hard to retrain my brain with. Flyers can be charged, jink isn’t a think, 3+ armor saves actually mean more than they used to, invulnerable saves are even better, etc.
- Pay attention to special rules. Many of my units had special rules that I completely ignored throughout the game. Broodlords allow nearby ‘stealers to hit more frequently, etc. They likely wouldn’t have affected the game all too much, but there were a bunch that I missed.
- Deep striking is fantastic. I completely misplayed by leaving a gap open behind me and exposing myself to the choice of his units. Deep striking is no longer the risky liability that it once was–especially since you can bring reserves on basically whenever you want. I can see most armies wanting to include something that has this ability in the future.
- Monstrous creatures aren’t good in hand to hand. Well, maybe those that are dedicated to the purpose would be good, but if you take one that’s kitted out for shooting, they don’t naturally also do well in assaults. My dakka-flyrants were flat our miserable in assaults.
- Smite ain’t bad. Before the game, I was down on the ability as it seemed worse than the other psychic options; however, there were multiple times during the game where I forwent casting anything else so that I could cast smite a few more times. I also need to remember that if you roll a 10+ on your psychic test that it instead does d6 wounds. Of course, my smite rolls were so bad, that I was only rolling 1 wound per attempt anyway.
- Biovores are good. Mortal wounds are good by themselves, but biovores suddenly became a way of dealing with heavily armored targets. Missing isn’t even a big deal because you still get the spore mine that you can use to charge them later. Granted, they can split fire and kill it off, but if you give them some more immediate threats, those spore mines get lost in the shuffle…
- Harpies are good. They’re not units that I took all that much in the previous edition, but her gun turned out to be better than the flyrants’ (though they would be worse than her deathspitters), and she also got to do mortal wounds. Hey, this seems to be a sort of recurring theme…
- Exocrines are great. 12 shots at s7 with a -3 armor is pretty intense–especially at 3+ to hit. The biggest buff on this guy isn’t the extra 6 shots if he stands still, but rather the 36″ of range. In the previous edition he looked good and played alright, but his shorter range meant he was forced to move around. At 36″, I wonder if I couldn’t just place him in the center of my army and blast everything to bits while standing still…
- Onslaught requires you to run before you cast the power. I don’t like this power because of that. I guess that you can run and shoot with virtually everything anyway, so this shouldn’t be a big deal, but I just haven’t wrapped my head around this. Maybe I should be looking at this more as +1 to hit for a unit that ran this turn?
- Charging does not require you to go base to base. Charging as a whole is quite different. You don’t even have to move some models if you want. The first time he charged me and deliberately stayed far enough away to keep a bubble on other units was a real eye-opener. It also allowed me to charge a unit with my large ‘gant squad and still hold an objective with impunity.