June 14, 2016

Thoughts on the Space Marine FAQ

In case you hadn't noticed, GW released the draft FAQ for Space Marines. It's rather large. Here are my thoughts.

This one is the largest since the main rule book FAQ. There has been some wailing and gnashing of teeth over it, of course. Then again, there's been wailing and gnashing of teeth over all of them in typical GW fan fashion. "Give us FAQs!" Finally they do and then they respond with "You broke [insert rule/army/the whole damned game]!" Here's my thoughts on a few parts of the FAQ.

Power of the Machine Spirit

The first page is all clarifications on Power of the Machine Spirit. It basically confirmed what most SM players already knew. That pretty much any situation that would cause you to Snap Fire can be overcome with PotMS. The sole exception is firing at flyers. PotMS won't help with that (unless you already have Skyfire).

My Analysis

Truthfully, the firing at flyers conundrum was the only true conundrum in the rule. It's pretty cut and dry as written as it says as long as you haven't moved flat out or used smoke, you can fire one more weapon at full ballistic skill and can fire it at a different target. (This is a slight paraphrase) The rule gave you the restrictions (no flat out and no smoke). What I found people to have the most difficulty with was basic math. 1 is greater than 0. In situations where the vehicle was shaken or stunned, and all weapons had to Snap Fire, people would try to say PotMS didn't apply. Of course it does! The old argument of "Well, you get to fire at full BS but then stunned makes it Snap Fire so it's still counted as BS 1." No. Just, no. And "Well, it's a Blast weapon so it still can't fire". Again, yes it can. This clears it all up to be able to shut down those arguments. This was very welcomed.

Drop Pods

This one seems to be causing the most consternation. Primarily due to the FAQ question: Q: Do Space Marine Drop Pods count as solid walls that block line of sight? A: It depends on how the model is constructed -- use the actual model to determine line of sight. So what does this mean exactly? If the doors are open, you potentially have line of sight (albeit with cover) to a unit. If they're glued shut, then it blocks LoS.

My Analysis

Basically if you glue your doors shut you block line of sight and are a dirty, dirty model for advantage type. At least that's going to be the accusation. I'm all for gluing doors shut more for a "model for simplicity" reason so I don't have to build the interior or paint it. So what now? Do I HAVE to model the interior? Because I could conceivably not put the interior harnesses in and stuff, but then when open it gives a great view through it. Modelling for opponent advantage?  It's not like you have a great view through it to begin with.

Can you see the Space Marine on the other side?

I moved the figure up against the door ramp and
you can just see the top of his backpack. And this is from a higher angle
so you likely still wouldn't see him from model height.
I have seen people play it where they just fire at a unit on the other side and give a cover save. Truthfully, you should be seeing exactly how many models you can see first through the Pod. Maybe chalk this up to "People Have Been Doing It Wrong All Along". Or PHBDIWAA (pronounced FIB-di-waaaaaaaaah... bonus points if you whine on the waaaaaah part). I find that most of the wailing and gnashing of teeth over these FAQs come from PHBDIWAA problems. (grenades in assault and passengers on jinking transports being the other biggies)

People have talked about laying down a wall of drop pods to block line of sight and create an impenetrable barrier. Seriously though, how many people are going to do that? Not to mention that they have to land and not scatter to make that a possibility. I mean really. It has devolved into the realm of extreme silliness.

There's solutions to many of the "problems" generated by this.

  • If you land within 3-1/2" of a table edge (the length of a door from the hull) the door can make you mishap. Then again, nothing in the rules say you HAVE to open the doors when a Drop Pod lands. So don't open the ones that would go off the table. The Marines can get out of the ones that are open. Not to mention that they are Open Topped vehicles so they can get out even if you don't open the doors at all. In a way it's sad that it arrives by Deep Strike or they could charge after it lands since Open Topped vehicles are assault vehicles. Cest la vie.
  • The solid wall of closed door pods? It's not really a problem. Don't worry about it. Maybe once in a 1,000 games that might work. 
  • Passengers get an extra 3-1/2" of movement when disembarking. It's an open topped vehicle so the whole vehicle is considered the access point, and they clarified the open doors are counted as part of the vehicle. So truthfully, this has always been a possible move. After all, why wouldn't the open doors be part of the Pod? Most people played it where they ignored it, so again, it's a PHBDIWAA issue. Measure from the open doorway just as if you hadn't opened the door and were measuring it from the hull. Does that mean people are always going to do that? No, some people will measure from the end of the open door. Truthfully though? It's within the rules. So does that make not gluing your doors shut modeling for advantage (damned if you do, damned if you don't)? And are you "That Guy" for doing something that is clearly within the rules?
  • Pods have a bigger range for holding objectives with ObSec. Yeah, they do. It's going to cause a change in tactics. Is this a game breaker? Not at all. People have been dropping CAD/Demi Co. Pods near objective markers to hold them while the passengers go off to do other things since the beginning of 7th ed/release of the SM codex. The only difference now is you have more leeway on where your pod lands to be within 6" of the objective. It's not that big of a deal.
Unfortunately, much of the FAQ is filled with stuff that, frankly, I find tobe "duh" questions. Like "Can formation X, Y, or Z that isn't listed as part of a Gladius Strike Force be used in a Gladius Strike Force?" Obviously you have to choose from the ones listed so I am not sure how this is even a question that frequently comes up. Another one was about a formation stating 1 Dreadnought and does that mean 1 Dreadnought or 1 unit. It means 1 (singluar) model, not a unit. The same thing vexed people in the Necron book with the Canoptek Harvest formation that specifies 1 Spyder. A lot of people tried to argue that it meant 1 unit. Good to have that cleared up but I fail to see the confusion there.

Another good clarification that I wonder why it had to be clarified is an IC joining a Skyhammer Annihilation force and if the IC could gain the benefits of the formation. Of course the answer is: Yes the IC can join, no they don't get the formation benefits. The benefits only benefit the models that are part of the formation. The IC is not part of the formation, he's only hitching a ride. Truthfully, the only squad he could join would be the Assault Marines since the Devastators have to be a full unit of 10 so he couldn't fit in the Drop Pod. Also, If he joins them that mean that squad can't assault when it arrives since he wouldn't be able to. You'd be handicapping yourself.

Lots of other little odds and ends, but those were the biggies. Did the FAQ raise any other concerns for you?

1 comment:

  1. With locator beacons and the fact that pods aren't allowed to scatter onto each other, the wall becomes much easier to accomplish.