Theorycrafting Close Combat with what Games Workshop has previewed for the upcoming rules and changes to 9th Edition, many of them focused on how 9th improves on 8th Edition. Today we’re going to be looking at some of those previewed changes and what they mean for anyone looking to get up close and personal. 40k has mostly favored shooting-based armies over its many editions and changes. 9th Edition is shaping up to try to adjust this very difficult balance so that both close combat and shooting are viable. Close Combat was among our Top 5 Changes to the 9th Edition.
Terrain: Theorycrafting Close Combat
To start us off, we’re going to look closely at some of the terrain rules and what they mean. From The New Edition: 9th Terrain Rules, we can look closely at the two pieces of sample terrain as well as other previewed terrain rules. Armored Containers are Scaleable, but Ruins are Scaleable and Breachable. We don’t have the exact rules for these terms. If we take the terms literally then we come to some interesting conclusions. Breachable means you can make a hole to go through it. Scaleable means you can climb up it. This implies that models can’t just walk or climb up any piece of terrain in 9th.
Currently, in 8th, Infantry units have a ton of mobility. Depending on the exact meanings of Scaleable and Breachable, gun lines might have more options to use Terrain to slow close combat threats down. Instead of just walking through some barrels, imagine having to spend movement to climb up and down them. Or having to walk around a Fortification since its not Breachable. This is offset by how Obscuring works, as shooting across tables with the terrain will now be much, much harder. Assuming these predictions are correct, there will be a lot more counterplay between players and melee versus shooting.
To The Skies! Theorycrafting Close Combat
As an extension of the changes to terrain, units with the Fly keyword are likely going to be a premium option for close combat armies. They can ignore screens by moving over them (more on this later!) They can eaily hop between pieces of terrain to stay safe from being shot. When they close onto the enemy they can move from unit to unit using their added mobility until your opponent finally removes them from the table. Flying melee units are already powerful in 8th. With the added focus on counterplay that 9th has, the ability to Fly will be a real premium. Even standard units like Raptors or Assault Marines might have their day in the sun!
Furthermore, we know that Fly units won’t automatically get to Fall Back and shoot.
‘Ere We Go!!!
In 8th Edition, it’s pretty standard practice for charging units to declare multiple charge targets. Then using your movement to hit the closer targets and your Pile In’s to tag the further targets. This gets particularly brutal with units that can fight multiple times in a turn. It also makes screening your opponent out difficult or borderline impossible depending on the situation. Games Workshop has completely destroyed this dynamic with a single rules change. In 9th, you have to reach all of your charge targets or your charge fails!
This puts a large premium on two kinds of units: screens, and units with abnormal charge distances. Screens can now speed bump your opponent in really meaningful ways by stopping your opponent’s ground threats from reaching your core army in a way they just can’t in 8th. On the flip side, there are units that can re-roll charge distances or push for huge charge ranges via Stratagems. These units can fight through these changes and get into contact with the enemy despite screens, and deliver the hurt where it’s needed.
Force your opponent to spend those command points to shoot at you with Desperate Breakout. In that regards Tripointing will still be effective. Of course before making the charge and keeping units stuck in combat or limiting their ability to shoot again you will still have to survive overwatch. The Death of Overwatch cleary did not apply to Tau.
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