Looking to 8th: The Assault Phase

Hey-Hey everybody, Danny here to theorize about what 8th edition will look like when we finally get into it in hopefully the next 6 weeks or so.  Don’t worry, I am not going to wax too poetic about how right we were. But we were.

So what is the assault phase going to look like in 8th edition 40K?  Well, let’s see what we know.

Overwatch is still a thing, still hitting on a flat 6 (but Snap Fire is gone, so you can overwatch with more weapons like blast weapons).  More importantly, a unit may Overwatch more than once per turn so long as it is not engaged by an enemy unit (an enemy within 1 inch).   If Tau keep supporting fire, that means that they can absolutely obliterate enemies that try to get into the mix. Kroot stocks are rising! Rising!

Charges are still random 2D6, but to engage a model/unit in close combat is now increased to 1 inch, not base-to-base (B2B), so really, everyone gets an extra inch to their threat range.  For super fast assault armies, this is a huge boon.  If we can take GW at their word, it also means that you could theoretically charge into an enemy if you have a friendly unit currently engaging that unit, so long as their base size is small enough to allow one inch. The old 25mm small bases come in handy here.

What we know has changed is that initiative is gone, so the fight sub-phase seems to be resolved in two ways: First, all chargers fight first.  This does not mean that the combat resolves first, simply that any unit that charged in that turn gets to swing before anybody other combats.  After chargers swing, then players switch between activating their engaged units.  Tyranid Lash-Whips and Slaanesh Daemons get called out as being able to play with this a bit, and you know the new Stratagems and Command Points will mess with this as well.

After this, it seems like we are going to an Age of Sigmar style select a unit to swing. Again, this does not mean resolve combat, so, assuming it all works like AoS with a few alterations, assault can actually be pretty brutal and tactical as you have to Sophie’s choice which unit gets to punch while knowing that another unit will get punched.  This is a whole new level of the game where a canny player can save a unit’s bacon by making the right play in terms of who swings first.

Think of it this way: you could get three charges off in your turn and have two fights happening from a previous turn.  You get to have your three chargers fight first (and if these hit a unit currently fighting with another unit, that can be sweet) and then, you get to choose who fights first, so you could have 4 units fight in combat before your opponent has any chance to swing back.  If you set up a good multiassault, you could bash an enemy unit with two or more units before they get to swing back.  This means that even a tough unit fighting two weaker units could end up in a bad spot thanks to some tactical play.

Let’s not forget that you can now pile in 3 inches and engage other units, and while this isn’t 4th edition, it is still damn powerful.  You will absolutely have to learn how to deploy and stagger your battle lines if you don’t want to be drawn into melees, and having powerful melee figures that can easily be drawn into a fight can help deter charges.

We don’t know how morale works, and again, if like AoS, there is no morale check at the end but rather a Battleshock test at the end of the turn.  This means everyone stays and fights to the last man unless you choose to disengage.  We don’t know this yet (although that appears to be the topic of the next article that posts the same day as this), so this is all speculation, but seeing as how 8th Edition seems like 80-90% AoS, it seems highly likely that Battleshock will replace general morale tests at the end of combat.

Overall, you can expect assault to be pretty damn brutal, and really, it rewards the player who can best orchestrate a good turn of charges.  If you can get a few charges off on the same target, that target can get obliterated before it even has the chance to do anything.   Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you all next week as we know more.

Also, I’ve heard some rumors that the 100th episode is going to be cool.