Monday, 11 December 2017

8th Edition and the Horus Heresy - a gaming crossroads!

I’ve played a few games now and feel I’ve seen enough to give a view, at the least from the perspective of the Imperial Fists anyway. I used to play friends who had 40k armies at 7th no problem. My army was fairly well balanced with theirs and the difference in genres didn’t seem to affect us at all. So it was with some trepidation I tried out my army with the Horus Heresy fandex (which is too casual a description really for the great work that the guys have put into this - take a look at against a Blood Angels and Imperial Guard Army. 

General thoughts on playing 8th from the Horus Heresy

- it’s got the potential to play fast, although because we were still learning the rules it wasn’t much faster than 7th, but the potential is there.
- the psychic phase seems much simpler - I’ve not used Psykers for a long time so it’s difficult for me to compare. But compared to 7th I picked up how to do psychic stuff in no time at all so it’s got to be better than before. 
- templates gone - I like this, much quicker all around both as it doesn’t mean you need to worry about bunching up squads and it’s quicker in the shooting phase to play with largely similar results (although see my comment later!). 
- no scattering for deep strike - yippee!
- turn 1 charges - yippee!
My 30k Imperial Fists and 8th Edition

- Breachers and boarding shields lost their shine - I have had a love of these units and run stone gauntlet for a couple of years. They have been great units playing both an offensive and defensive role. The impact the shield wall had on incoming attacks (reducing each attacker by 1 Attack usually) was awesome and although the fandex isn’t canon the version they have there has lessened the effectiveness of these guys. 
- apothecaries I used to give me re-rolls on my wounds, usually one in a Breacher squad of 20 and one in a terminator squad of 10. They were brilliant, making their cost back time and again. But now in 8th their effectiveness is greatly reduced and this isn’t the smart move it used to be. 

So those two rule changes alone have kinda wrecked the backbone of my army which was full or boarding shields and storm shields. And this has kinda trashed my army for now - I will adapt, but it’s a shame cos I loved this set up and it felt true to the Legion. 

- quad launchers (with the filthy upgrade to give them Phosphex shells). I loved these but they don’t really have a home in 8th right now and the whole idea of leaving Phosphex areas over the table was cool. Maybe they will rule on phosphex soon, I certainly hope so. They are tricky though as they can with the ‘crawling fire’ rule which allowed them to move the template 2” if it covered more enemy models - loved that and it reaped its rewards but there really isn’t an equivalent in 8th unless you give them a load more hits I guess. 

Templates in general seem a bit worse for me, I can’t escape the feeling that they seemed like they did more damage in 7th. I’ve got nothing mathematical to back that statement up though so am probably wrong!

- the Leviathan is another loser. Mine is armed with the Grav Flux bombard which was definitely more effective in 7th and it also has phosphex and Volkite which doesn’t seem to have translated across to 7th well. It also seems a little easier to kill - or maybe that’s just been my opponents putting the right things against it. I was gutted though to see it go down to smite attacks - no saves! 

Lascannon Heavy Weapon team - these guys definitely got a lift in 8th. The lascannon is a beast and splitting fire is amazing. They wreck face in every game and attract an according level of return fire. 

One other comment I’d make is that the marines in 8th seem really vanilla, I guess that may change if chapters get their own codex but what I have seen so far looks a bit dull. 

The 30k scene
I’ve read on a few forums that 8th hurt the local 30k scene and I can sympathise with that - I’ve spoken to a couple people in my local store and they have dropped out of 30k now as they can’t cross over against 40k armies any more. I have also read a few that counter that, saying it’s even helped their local scene as it’s kinda polarised players in a positive way. 

Whatever happens I hope that the Heresy gets going again and gets over what feels like a lull after the death of Alan Bligh and any instability caused by 8th. I also wonder if the pace of specialist games has also taken the ‘foot of the gas’ in terms of the pace of the Heresy - time will tell. 

In conclusion

So that’s my take on 8th, it’s not done my army any favours, and I will need to adapt! But thats always been the way when the editions change. And perhaps its time I started a new army! – A blog about Warhammer 40k and the Horus Heresy by four Dads


  1. They have revamped things so heavily that I imagine a few models need shifting around ti make a 30k army work.

    1. Hey Rory, thanks for the thoughts. I think its very possible and would rely on us all accepting that we will get some wins and some losses. And, those would include losing the flavour of the missions from the earlier books to a degree. I still think its do-able in a way that would keep us all addicted to the heresy.
      I've seen mixed thoughts on the impact locally, a lot of people saying that 8th has killed HH in their local area, but with a vociferous few who feel like its been fine or even strengthened the HH players around a more distinct game.
      My gut feel from trawling the inter webs is that FW will see a drop in sales and start to react to that, although that reaction will probably have a 12-18month lead time...

  2. I have a similar issue.
    Of my two 30k armies I can only really use the Alpha legion now (its easy to get the equipment right due to how 8th edition works: buy the base model then the weapon. so I can still field my power armoured recon squad with sniper rifles. Helpfully I didn't have any of the unique units and my gaming group is receptive to such activity. We have already VDR'd some vehicles in 8th.)

    As for my second army I have about 4000pts of Mechanicum. (all 30k units as well so I can't use the 40k ad mech codex. So the whole army is now in storage waiting until I can unleash them once more. Crosses fingers for fires of cyraxis to release soon)

    1. Yeah, to be fair to GW most of the rules for our units are there in the Imperial Armour supplements if you go looking for them, and those guys who have done a basic translation have done an amazing job. I guess my only problems with that are that the most official version we have now has killed off a lot of whats good in my Imperial Fists. That, and I kinda wish we could all just be on the same Edition.

  3. That's a really nice review, glad to see you kept a sense of perspective too, too many people that lose their rag when something changes.

    My only query would be whether you'd looked at some of the forgeworld produced rules for the crossover units? I've faced leviathan's with the grav flux bombard and it's brutal against vehicles - a pair of them took out probably two thirds of my army on one occasion when I took a mechanised marine list, the only thing that saved me was getting something into combat with them to stop them shooting.

    Overall I honestly feel that Forgeworld missed a trick by not updating their rules to the 8th edition changes. It's really dropped out a lot of people from our club from playing heresy (myself included) and I think that a major shake up like that was needed to reset the meta from the standard lists I was seeing - it seemed to get to the point where 75% of a list was identical across the board and then 25% was flavour units from a particular legion (usually whatever version of terminators they had).

    That was what began to put me off the game, and then not transitioning to 8th saw me sell off my stuff.

  4. Thanks Nick, I think I've been a little unlucky with my Leviathan so far which has made me feel like its taken a bit of a hit more than in reality. I am coming around to the idea that FW should have just switched to 8th. I think the perfect storm of Alan's death (poor guy) and the surge in specialist games has seen them forced into the wrong choice. There is a bit of me that is wondering if the 7.5 delay isn't them realising they need to go full 8th, but we shall see. Shame you've sold your stuff, I hope you are still in the hobby in some way!