16 July, 2012

Sixth Edition Unit Types: Infantry

This week I'm going to cover the various unit types you'll find in Warhammer 40,000 6th Edition. I'll break down what they can do in each phase and how this differs from 5th Edition. Let's start this off with the most basic: Infantry.


By default, Infantry do not get any Universal Special Rules added. They are considered by the 40k rules as the default unit type. As such, you don't have to worry about remembering anything special about how they move and what they can do . . . other than the many other Special Rules that will tend to apply to any given unit. But it's something. When you read the rule book, you can assume that they're referring to Infantry if they're talking about moving, shooting, and assaulting.

Because Infantry are rather basic, I'll throw some more general changes and notes that apply to the rest of the unit types that will follow.

Movement Phase

Despite what the rumours may have spread, movement is much the same in 6th Edition: You move up to 6" during the Movement phase and must maintain 2" coherency. Sure, there are things to mix it up for your ground-pounders, your foot-sloggers, but those are the default rules. Moving across difficult and dangerous terrains remain the same. Difficult terrain makes you roll 2d6 and the highest of the two is the max distance you can move through it. Dangerous terrain causes each model to move through it to suffer an AP - Wound that Ignores Cover.

Shooting Phase

One of the biggest changes is that you no longer consider the whole unit to move if only one model does so. Tactical Marine squads can have their Heavy weapon fire with full Ballistic Skill even if another model simply moved closer to get in cover. But even if you do move that Heavy weapon Marine, they still get Snap Shots if the weapon does not fire Blasts or Templates.

True Line of Sight is stronger than before. Not only do your models have to be able to see and have range to a model in the target unit to fire, but if no models in your unit can see the target unit anymore, your shots are done even if there were still unsaved Wounds to allocate. This combined with closest-to-farthest Wound allocation makes the game seem a bit more realistic and more cinematic.

Hand-in-hand with the new Line of Sight limits on models you can wound is the new Focus Fire rules. Gone are the days of 50% of the unit needing to be in cover to grant the unit a bonus. In 6th you need only one model to be in cover to grant it to the whole unit! You don't want to give a 4+ cover save to the other 19 Ork Boyz who aren't in fortifications, so you choose to Focus Fire. When you Focus Fire you ignore all the models that are too well covered when you resolve Wounds -- effectively treating them as out of Line of Sight.

You choose what level of cover you're willing to allow which in this case is no cover since they're in open terrain. But if you're attacking a unit in mixed cover saves, you can choose to allow 5+ cover saves and still try to hit all the models in ruins, behind razor-wire or whatever else. Wait, 5+ for ruins? That's right, cover has been downgraded a little bit for 6th Edition, so don't let your opponents get better saves than they deserve!

You can still Run if you wish. It remain 1d6" and ignores Difficult terrain. Keep in mind that if you decide to Run and roll that die, you're considered to have Run and cannot charge that turn. It is very important to note that Fleet no longer allows you to Run and charge in the same turn.

Assault Phase

Big changes here. First up is all weapons have an AP statistic. No longer do Power Weapons ignore all armour saves. At AP 3 Power Swords ignore all but the strongest armours, but Terminators and Artificer Armours have gotten a boost from it. Now there is a reason to take some of those Unwieldy Initiative 1 weapons.

Charging: 5th Edition: 6" charge. 6th Edition: 2d6" charge. Yes, it's a random charge range. You may have an awful 2" or you might get an amazing 12" charge! The average is 7", but never forget that you still have that chance to stumble. If you don't have Assault Grenades like the ubiquitous Frag Grenades, you have to worry about the assaulting through cover rule: 3d6 drop the highest.

Overwatch, or why-you-don't-just-declare-a-charge-when-you-likely-won't-make-it: After you declare a charge but before you roll those charge range dice, you resolve the new (old?) Overwatch shots. The victim of the potential charge fires Snap Shots at the charging unit as regular (albeit with 6+ to hit) shooting attacks. This means you still have to worry about range on firing models. If you have an Inferno Pistol in your unit, it will not be able to shoot at a charging unit that starts its charge over 6" from your model. The previous restriction on Template weapons not being able to fire Snap Shots is ignored through the Wall of Death rule: Template weapons ignore range and inflict 1d3 hits on the charging unit.

Pile-In is no longer something you only worry about at the end of the Assault Phase. At each initiative step, any models not already in Base-to-Base contact that get to act will Pile-In (starting with models of the player whose turn it is) up to 3" (instead of the 6" in 5th Edition) to attempt to do so. This is important due to the new Wound allocation rules. Since Wounds are allocated from the front, you may end up with a gap after an initiative step is resolved. If no models are in Base-to-Base contact at this point, the combat is finished: determine Assault results (unchanged from 5th Edition) and take morale tests. If both sides are still in the game, you both Pile-In again. If even this is insufficient to get a single model in Base-to-Base contact with an enemy model, the units are no longer locked in combat and will Consolidate (which has also not changed).

Fearless no longer gets your models hurt. In 5th Edition you suffered Wounds for failing combat if you couldn't run, but in 6th Edition nothing bad happens. Non-Fearless/And They Shall Know No Fear units still have to worry about Sweeping Advance wiping them out however.

Final Thoughts

Sixth Edition is a major change from Fifth Edition. Even then it's still the same basic game and most of what you know already carries over. I'm personally excited by the changes and look forward to playing some games once I get some more paint put down on my models. The rest of the articles this week should be a bit shorter with a lot of the basics covered in this one. Tomorrow: Bikes, Jetbikes, and (Dark)Eldar Jetbikes.

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