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Saturday, 30 June 2012

40K 6th- First Impressions- USR's and Units

Hi all,

welcome to the Cheat Section review :) Yes, it's time to look at Universal Special Rules, and how many different ways you can break or bend the game to your will. There's a whole raft of USR's in this edition (80 in total!) and most of them have remained the same, so I'll only cover the stand-out ones here.

Acute Senses lets you re-roll the table edge for Outflanking moves. Which from what I can gather, only affects tau stealth suits at the moment, being the only unit with the ability to Outflank that also has Acute Senses (why in the name of all that is Holy do long Fangs and Raveners have this rule?) Although it does also affect the unit when it arrives from a random table edge that's not from Outflank. this, I suspect, is going to be one to watch out for.

And They Shall Know No Fear- Yes, Marines break all of the regroup rules, and move/shoot/run/assault when they rally, and fire at full effect. There's no additional hits from being caught in a sweeping advance now either.

Blind is a new one- affected units must take an I test, if they fail then they are WS and BS 1 until the end of their next turn.

Concussive is a new weapon type which reduces the model hit to I1 until the end of the next assault phase.

Fear is a new rule, which applies to all Daemons, and works as Warhammer Fantasy (take a Ld test at the start of combat, if you fail you are WS 1 for the rest of the fight sub-phase.) This is bypassed by ATSKNF and Fearless.

Fearless means that models pass Pinning, Fear, Regroup and Morale tests. they cannot Go to Ground or Voluntarily Fall back, however the additional hits from losing combat are gone. It also passes from a character to a unit and vice-versa, so a Fearless character joining a non-fearless unit will stop them hitting the deck or voluntarily running.

Fleet is a re-roll for run and charge rolls. You can re-roll one or both die.

Deep Strike is now a little more reliable- the unit will only die on the roll of a 1.

Furious Charge is only +1 Str now, and has no effect if you charge more than 1 unit.

Hammer of Wrath is a great little ability, which gives models with this USR 1 extra Attack on a turn they charge at I10 AP- Str user. Pile In moves are still resolved at the basic I of the model, so it only affects models which physically move into base-to-base contact in the Charge sub-phase, it won't affect models which subsequently pile-in.

Interceptor allows you to fire in the enemy movement phase, at a unit which arrived from Reserve this turn.

It Will Not Die is essentially a 5+ Regenerate roll.

Jink is a 5+ Cover save, which applies as long as the model moves. If the model moves Flat Out or Turbo-boosts, then the save increases to a 4+.

Independent Character is now a USR. They can still leave or join units as before. Importantly, they pass Look Out Sir! tests on a 2+, and if an Independent character is with a unit they can rally on normal Leadership even if below 25% starting strength.

Move Through Cover- I'm flashing this up as a rule in need of clarification. Move Through Cover gives you an extra dice when moving through difficult terrain, pick the highest (incidentally, it also means you can ignore Dangerous Terrain rolls.) When assaulting, does this mean that you roll 4d6 discard the highest and lowest? Or do you simply ignore both rules and roll 2d6? Either is valid, but I can see confusion occurring.

Poison has been amended, so that it wounds on a 4+ unless a better roll can be found- in which case, you re-roll wounds. So Tyranid Monstrous Creatures with Poison are back in the game :)

Power of the Machine Spirit can't be used if you go Flat Out any more.

Rending hits count as AP2

Scout now gives you a 6" redeploy after deployment and Infiltrators. This is no longer a move, so it doesn't trigger terrain effects. If you redeploy, you cannot charge in the first turn.

Shrouded is a new rule which confers +2 to cover saves, and stacks with Stealth.

Skilled Rider automatically pass dangerous Terrain tests, and get +1 Jink save. Roll on the mighty Ravenwing!

Smash is the new one for Monstrous Creatures. You halve your Attacks, but double Str. You also get to re-roll armour-penetration rolls (so Str 10 re-roll!) Oh, models with the Smash rule always count as AP2 in combat as well.

Snipers allow the shooting unit's controller to allocate wounds on a 6.

Soul-Blaze- yes! Flamers are back! Well, not quite- attacks with Soul Blaze can keep affecting units. If a unit takes 1 or more unsaved wounds, then keep track of it- at the end of each turn, on a 4+ the unit takes d3 Str 4 AP 5 hits, and keep the token :)

Strikedown means that a model hot with this weapon is knocked off its feet. It has 1/2 I, counts as in Difficult Terrain until the end of its next turn. expect the first long-range gun with this to feature heavily in games.

Tank Hunter now means that you re-roll armour penetration against vehicles

OK, that's all the USR goodness for now. There's some nice new abilities there, and a few decent tweaks (Blood Angels with Furious Charge are a little less daunting without I5, for example.) There are so many of them it would be impossible to predict the effects of all of them over the course of 6th's edition lifespan- but hopefully this provides a snap-shot so that you can get a feel for what this edition might mean for your army.

Now, a quick look at Unit Types.

Infantry are the standard. No special rules, no hinderance.

Bike and Jetbikes are now pretty impressive. They ignore the effects of Difficult Terrain (yes, even the ones on wheels) but instead count it as dangerous. So full distance all the time. Thanks to moving 12", this makes them some of the more reliable assault units. They get Hammer of Wrath, Jink and Relentless (Eldar Jetbikes get a Cover save! Yes!) and their Turbo-Boost means that they can make an extra move in the Shooting Phase instead of firing weapons- 12" for Bikes, 24" for Jetbikes, 36" for Eldar Jetbikes. So Bikes are now incredibly maneuverable, reliable, hard hitting and survivable. How much all of these statements are true will be shown by playtesting.

Artillery has seen some major changes, but most importantly guns are now T7, W2, Sv 3+. So no more glancing-hit them off the table. I have no idea how good they are going to turn out to be, but I will be trying out Artillery Pieces with Eldar in the future.

Jump Units are what you are used to, plus Hammer of Wrath and re-roll assault distance.

Jet Pack units (like Eldar Jetbikes) get the Thrust move, which lets them move 2d6" in the assault phase regardless of whether they are charging.

Beasts get Fleet, Move Through Cover, M12" and are not slowed by dangerous terrain. Contrary to popular wisdom at time of writing, this does not seem to mean that they ignore terrain when striking blows and still suffer the I1 penalty like everyone else.

Cavalry get Fleet, Hammer of Wrath, M12" and ignore difficult terrain (but they do treat it as dangerous.)

Monstrous Creatures can fire 2 guns, get Fear, Hammer of Wrath, Move Through Cover, Relentless and Smash.

Flying Monstrous Creatures get even more! they have 2 types of movement- Swoop and Glide. When Gliding, they are Jump Monstrous Creatures (so they benefit from both sets of rules.) When Swooping, it must move between 12" and 24" in a straight line (it can turn 90 degrees at the start of its turn), ignores terrain, can run 2d6" and cannot charge or be charged. When Swooping, models shooting at them can only do so as a Snap Fire. They can also Dive after rolls to hit and to wound are resolved, in which case it gets Jink but can only shoot with the rules for Snap Fire next turn. if it is hit, it must roll a dice- on a 1 or 2, it is Grounded- it takes a S9 AP1 Ignores Cover hit, can be charged and loses Jink. they can also vector Strike, meaning that they can inflict D3+1 hits on a unit they moved over, at users Str and AP3 (hitting side armour of vehicles.)

So to summarise- unit types seem to have become more specialised. Assault units are now keyed in to assaulting, Monstrous Creatures are now truly Monstrous. there are also plenty of special rules for future Codex releases to use and abuse- we'll see how it plays out. However, for each Codex, most of them have gained more advantages than they've lost, so all in all it's fairly positive.

Comments, as always, are welcome.


  1. You forgot that all unit able to infilrate or scout can also outflank...

  2. Hey Morko,

    Yeah, these reviews were done on the day of release, and I was really aiming to highlight the big changes for 6th. Of course, one of the things I should have mentioned is that if you outflank, you can no longer assault on the turn you arrive :)

    Nice catch, thanks!

    1. I was pointing bit on to topic about acute sences, as many acute sence units can outflank with infilrate or scout....

    2. The only unit that I can find in the rules that has acute senses, and also has Infiltrate or Scout so that it can Outflank, is Tau Stealth Suits. It's an incredibly useful ability, and I wish that other units had it, but as it stands- just XV25's!