8th Edition: The Floodgates

Hey everyone, Danny here as always, and let’s just jump into it, yah? Well, the floodgates opened, and if you know how to use Facebook or google, you can probably find scans of just about anything. For sure, we have a full scan of the Core Rules, the Missions, Tau, Chaos SM, and SM.
There will be plenty of in-depth analysis coming out from faction specific people, so I am going to stay higher up on the atmosphere to look at things as a whole system as much as possible.
The Rules:
They are 14 pages (like 3 pages of Detachments), and yes, they are much leaner.  Moving has been streamlined to individual speeds per unit, no such thing as difficult/dangerous terrain, and reserves are both automatic and no scatter.  There is a lot of AoS here, and the rules are more or less the same except that being in cover does not work in melee as in AoS.   One big thing to note is also that it is pretty explicit that the whole unit must be inside the terrain piece or obscured by it for the unit to gain the benefit.  Also, yes, walls matter as only infantry can move through terrain freely. If you are a bigger model, if you can’t fits, you can’t sits.
The one hiccup in the shooting/melee rules is the order of operations for using multi-wound weapons against multi-wound units.  The way it is written out, you have to do each dice individually, so if you want to batch roll, you’ll need to work out a way with your opponent as the rules only dictate the order for a single die.
A lot of points have stayed in the same ballpark for infantry, but the super granular points system is on its way out.  Right now, it is actually more complex to build via points as the generic point cost for a unit is on one page and the post cost for upgrades are on another. yes, that’s right, there are no more unit specific upgrade points: all upgrades cost a standardized amount per faction, so a multi-melta is 27 points regardless of who can take it.   This means some models look cheap on the surface (like a Razorback) but once you start throwing on weapons, it gets real pricey.
I do worry this will (at least in the beginning) open up a lot of room for list building errors. One could argue that this is GW slyly trying to push us away from granular points to just power-level, which definitely makes the game far simpler.
The highest Toughness in the standard game so far is T8, and the highest strength is also 8 base (but up to 16 on a Knight with a Thunderstrike Gauntlet).   Why does this matter? It changes the math quite a bit.  Right now, nothing but a Knight with a Gauntlet wounds anything on a 2+.  Lascannons wound everything they are designed to kill on a 3+ (if you are shooting a Lascannon at a T4 infantry model, reconsider life) while even a Knight with a Reaper Chainsword wounds anything T7 and above on a 3+.  A 33% chance of *whiff* is not to be ignored, particularly since we haven’t seen attacks go up by a huge margin, so a Knight with a Reaper against anything T7 is hitting 2.68 times and wounding 1.79 times, so realistically only twice.  Granted, they do 6 damage per wound, so that’s 12, which kills most things, but saves matter, and well, a 2+ (like a Land Raider) has a 1/3 chance in negating one of those hits, and well, invulnerable saves still exist.
The math has changed, so it is something to be quite aware of. Strength is now not as important as AP and Damage as once past S8, you are wounding everything on 3s unless you hit that sweet spot of 16, which is likely going to be non-existant at range.
The Meta:
GW clearly listened to the playtesters about what was Meta warping and what wasn’t.  Grav has been significantly changed, and while it is still excellent at killing MEQs/TEQs, it will struggle to reliably kill vehicles/monsters.  Grav has a place now as if we see horde armies of power armor or Primmies, Grav is a great answer, but you’ll want Lascannons and Multimeltas for the big hitters.
Riptides are far too expensive to spam. Markerlights are redesigned.  Stomp is gone. Psychic Powers are limited to 1 unique instance of a spell per phase (except for Smite).  Again, a lot of the things that force the meta to reconcile as gone, so at least for a small bit, we won’t see obvious lists that you must always expect.
We can predict though:  Knights are a thing with the most wounds. Smite spam could be a thing (although very limited as it must target the closest enemy).
I still hold that combined arms armies (a mix of infantry, outflanking units, and a few hard units) will be the way forward, at least until people start to figure the system out.
Command Points
This is a big change to the game as quite realistically, it is a new variable. We’ve seen AP before, we’ve seen damage before. Stratagems are not new, but this level of integration is (at least to me).
We haven’t quite seen what all of the faction ones do, but there are mission specific ones like redrawing maelstrom objectives, and this gives a whole new level of tactical and strategic play.  Do you take an army that uses a lot of different units to unlock more CPs? Do you say screw it and just spam what is the best?  When do you trigger your stratagems?  You will need to answer these questions, and even from the list building phase, you need to game plan how you are going to make use of these resources.   Some armies are going to abuse them, getting consistent rerolls or messing your charges, and some armies are just going to spam the best things in their codex and hope the CPs don’t matter.  Either way, you need to anticipate both.
Lastly, Travis brought something up over our group chat, and it bears a mention here: The sheer volume of leaks is not always a good thing.  Yes, we all want it to be the 17th already, but there is a sweet suffering in waiting for something, in cultivating anticipation and patience.  In our world of instant gratification, should we really celebrate another instance where the chance to sit and experience a rare feeling is gone in the name of immediate answer?   As we get more and more leaks, our conversations shift from “what if?” to “this is clearly the best option”.   We stop engaging the game with hope and start to simply treat it as a system to break, and well, that lessens it all a little bit.
Thanks as always, and prepare your bodies for our 100th episode, featuring all sorts of cool prizes, and of course, on the 17th, we will be streaming all day as we play as many games of 8th edition as possible, and of course, we will have a ton of prizes for you.   Hit up our Patreon to help us give you all more cool prizes and provide even more cool content.