A couple of weeks ago, I talked about how the quality of the minis has changed over time. In this episode, at the suggestion of a friend and fellow gamer from my local store, I will look at some of the change of tactics between 4th edition (circa 2007) and 8th edition 40k (current rules).
Now before I get into this, I want to throw up a big caveat here: I am not now, nor was I back then the best wargamer. I won more games back then, and I have touched on why I believe this is. But I was never an ultra-competitive gamer and I can only really speak as a Space Marines player.
Right, with that out the way, let us get into episode 3 – Change of Tactics.
The first thing that I noticed when I got back into 40k after my break was the new armies. Previously, Space Marines had been one of the smallest model counts in a list. Now, you have Deathwatch and Custodes who are very small numbers. And every Imperium or Chaos player seems to have a Knight or equivalent these days.
This took me a while to get used to. I am still getting used to it. Big models used to be reserved for the rich kid who had been to Warhammer World, and they tended to be the only one in the club. Now everyone has something big and scary to deal with.
So what does this mean for tactics? Well, primarily it is an indicator of how tough each model is. So now I find myself facing fewer models, but each one is a beast to deal with. Better toughness and better saves when I am shooting them. And better strength and better guns when they are shooting me. But I do not have the numbers of a horde army to deal with this via combat.
Because I knew most of the armies I would play against fairly well, I could try and ensure my typical list was as well suited to these as possible.
Currently, in 8th edition, I am still trying to get familiar with the armies I am playing against. I am yet to play an Ork, Imperial Guard or Tau player in 8th. But these were typically what I would play in 4th. Suddenly I am in unknown territory and in all honesty, I am finding it pretty tough to make progress.
Right, I could get fairly emotional here. I loved the weapons templates in 4th edition. Any time I could I would take a flamer or heavy flamer. And plasma cannons. Lots of plasma. Again, I typically played horde armies and it was fun to get the templates out and work out how I was going to place it in order to maximise the hurt.
Now, I do not want to suggest this is a massive game-changer. But in 8th edition, a Plasma Cannon is a Heavy D3 weapon. In 4th edition, it used a blast template that, combined with the on average smaller bases, could quite easily hit 4+ models. Particularly a unit of Orks moving through terrain.
This one may sound like a weird change of tactics but bear with me. The internet was a much different place in 2007. It was slower and full of horrendous websites that would automatically start trying to play music despite the horrendous speed and quality of the average connection.
This meant that whilst there were definitely Warhammer fan sites and a Games Workshop website, there was nowhere near as much information available for the casual viewer to read. Tournament winning lists were not shared online for thousands to read. They entered your local group as whispers and rumours, passed on by friends of friends who had supposedly attended said tournaments.
Youtube did not exist at the same level either. There were no in-depth battle reports, with videos and commentary. The most I remember having access to was the monthly battle report in White Dwarf. I constantly hear younger players at our local shop talking about what some unit or a character they saw being used well online and wanting to play it. We did not have that in 2007, you sort of stumbled across it in your local communities.
In summary, most of this will probably make me come across as an angry old man angry at the clouds. But it really isn’t meant to. I love watching Youtube battle report videos, and tactical analysis videos. But it means you end with a meta. You end up with people copying ‘netlists’ and trying to emulate tournament winners. This becomes more frustrating when you are up against people with higher budgets than you. At this stage in my life, I feel more like my Warhammer budget is akin to my pocket money as a teenager, able to buy one or two models a month.
At the risk of rambling on for ages, I am going to bring this to a close. I hope this provides some level of insight. Or at the very least is mildly interesting. Despite all the above, I love Warhammer. I feel more at home at my local Games Workshop store than I have in a long time. And I love being part of a little community again.
Until next time, peace out.