Sunday, May 7, 2017

Newhammer: Happy, Happy Walkers

Don't know about you, but I think those Dreads that have been sitting on the shelf for a while just cracked a smile...

One could certainly argue that Walkers (NOT Super Heavy Walkers) have had a bit of a tough time in 7th Edition.  Sure, there is the Drop Pod army that spits out Dreads, but that is the exception to the rule.  Contemptors and Leviathans, with their improved armour and invulnerable saves, have given a bit of a shot to the credibility of the Walker community.  But for the vast majority of Walkers (Dreads, Sentinals, Killa Kans, Deff Dreads, Helbrutes, Mauler Fiends, e.g.), there has been a reluctance to bring them to the table.

Who can blame someone for shelving these units?  Having a 150 pt model single-shot off the table is not something most of us enjoy.  In the age of shootyness (not a word, of course), none of the aforementioned Walkers have much a chance of engaging with their claws, fists, slashing tendrils or mega-ripper thingies.  All we need do is set up a few Grav Centurions, Kataphron Breachers with ranged Haywire, or any of several anti-vehicular weapons and it's time to start placing the ubiquitous cotton balls to indicate a fiery death and a smoking mechanical corpse.

Enter the wound mechanic.  After literally years of discussion, we have what we have asked for; wounds for the Wound God.  Now not only Tau Boo-Boo suits and Wraithpunks get wounds, but every walker in the bloody 40K universe (I hope!).  I will enjoy seeing those six Killa Cans with 5 wounds each (JUST A GUESS!) clanking across the board on their way to Orkish fun, while the enemy army tries to shed all of those wounds before they arrive on target.  In 7th, I can drop those cans like a land line phone.  One shot, one kill.  That certainly doesn't mean you won't ever be able to knock them out with a single shot (depending on the damage characteristic of the weapon).  It is still possible.  Just mathematically much less likely.  Gorka/Morkanauts might be fun to bring again.  Waaaagghhh!

How about the ubiquitous Dreadnaught?  The Lascannon could pen on a 4 (5 with that pesky Contemptor armour), and with the +1 on the table, it could activate the ejection seat on a 6.  Alternatively, just take the 3 threadbare hull points off with glances, and the job is done with just a much, if not better efficiency.  How many Land Raiders never saw daylight because of Grav?  Now, given the stats we have seen, that Dread will get a 6+ save before the damage die is rolled ((3+(-3)).  Of course, we still haven't seen the Strength/Toughness interaction, but I am encouraged that those Walkers have a bit more durability, and more importantly, more time to get across the board to their targets of choice.

8 wounds is a great stat for a walking war machine occupied by a 500 year old veteran.  3 hull points?  Seriously?  A bloody Rhino has 3 hull points.  So do most tanks occupied by 30 year old Guardsmen.  I wonder how the Walkers/Suits that currently have wounds will make out with the changes?  I am hoping Tau Battlesuits get a fair shake, at the same time, I want those shooty bastards to feel some pain.  Don't let that Space Marine Dread get too close Riptide Boy...all those fancy guns won't do you much good when that Power Fist rips (heh, heh) into all that tasty tech.  Wonder if the Mauler Fiends and Helbrutes will have a chance to shine?  Since I am going Thousand Sons now, I would like to think that both of these bad boys might be worth taking again (were they ever?).  Wonder if any of the new force org charts will allow an army to take mobs of Walkers?  How about 10 Killa Kans?  Maybe 6 Dreads, or 10 Sentinels?  How about 6 Helbrute buddies, all screaming in pain and ecstasy as they rip their opponents apart in showers of blood and mechanical fluids?

Another thing that should be making Walker groupies happy is the fact that since there is no armour value,  they won't have to worry about facing.  Want to have your S4 gribblies run around back and smack my armour 10 backside around?  Not happening.  You are still more than welcome to overwhelm those Walkers with piles of dice, but you will have to work just as hard no matter what facing you strike.  I am invincible!

The one new mechanic that some folks are probably making faces over is the "degradation tables" (my quotes).  I am not one of these.  I think it is nuts that a model has lost 5 out of 6 wounds, and is still shooting/swinging at full capacity...despite the fact that it is probably missing one arm, one leg, and can barely see where it's going.  This mechanic will add a welcome tactical aspect to our game, as players will have new choices when it comes to target priority.

From what we have seen and heard, I am hopeful that Walkers will again stalk the tabletop as a force to be reckoned with.  It will certainly motivate me to go out and buy a few more kits to put together.  Those Helbrutes will look so nice in blue and gold!  The Lord of Change has spoken!

Do you think all Walkers will once again be a viable option in the world of 40K?

NOTE: I am calling May 27th for Newhammer pre-orders...June 10th drop.

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