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The 6th Edition Rules You Haven’t Heard About
By now, you’ve heard/read about/discussed all the big changes that 6th Edition 40K has brought us: Overwatch, Challenges, Armor Penetration for melee weapons, throwing grenades, new and expanded psychic abilities, Allies, flyers, bring-your-own fortifications, etc. 

But there are a lot of other, smaller changes that you might not notice, usually for rules that have been around for awhile.  I mean, everyone who’s been playing for more than a few years knows how Reserves and Deep Strikes work, right?  Well, you used to know, but now those rules—and many others—are quite different.  Let’s look at a few of them.

Moving
You can move certain models in a squad, not move others (such as those carrying heavy weapons), and still fire the heavy weapons with your regular Ballistic Skill.  Don't believe me?  Check out the section titled Which Models Are Moving on page 10.  Since 3rd Edition, the rule has been that if one guy in the squad moved, they're all considered to have moved.  Yeah, well, it's not 3rd Edition anymore.  

Shooting
A Rapid Fire weapon can now move and fire once up its max range or move and fire twice up to half its range.  In most cases, this will still be 12", as was the case before, but certain weapons will differ: Tau pulse rifles and Kroot guns, for example, can fire twice at 15" and 24", respectively.

If your model has two Pistol weapons, you can fire both in the Shooting Phase.  Woohoo!

Technically, this is a new rule, not one that changed from 5th Edition, but it bears pointing out.  A template weapon, such as a flamer, can fire in Overwatch, automatically inflicting D3 hits on the charging unit. 

Assaulting
Fleet
units can’t charge after running.  The beauty of having Fleet of Foot/Claw/Pseudopod was that one could launch an assault after Running in the Shooting Phase.  This served Eldar, Dark Eldar, Tyranids, and Waaaghing! Orks very well, but the new rules have put speed bumps for Fleet units.  As stated on page 14, units that Run cannot assault, and Fleet (see page 35) has changed to re-roll Run attempts and one die of charge attempts.   

Pile-In used to be done after the first turn of fighting to get those who hadn’t been close enough into the fracas.  Now, it’s done after the charge but before blows are swung to get more models into either base-to-base contact or within 2" of a friendly model in btb so that they can fight in the first (and subsequent) turns.  Remember how under 5e, when your unit was charged, you had to move in your guys before the actual fighting started?  That’s been subsumed under the new Pile-In rule. 

“Run away!  Run away!”  If your Gretchin are being slowly picked apart by a Carnifex or Dreadnought, you can invoke the Our Weapons Are Useless Rule (page 26) and try to get yourself out a fight you can’t possibly win.

Disordered Charges.  If you assault two or more units at a time, you’re making a “disordered charge” and your guys don’t get the +1 Attack for charging.  Oh, and when you charge two (or more) units, they can both Overwatch you.  So, yeah, you might want to think twice before doing this.

Morale
Regrouping got easier.  Units can now regroup even if they are below 50% of their starting size—in fact, so long as they are above 25%, they regroup by making a normal Leadership check.  Units can regroup if they are below 25% strength, but only with a double “1” on the dice.  Unlike in previous editions, units can now regroup even if there are enemy within 6” of them. 

Special Rules
Acute Senses
lets you re-roll table edges if the unit Outflanks or otherwise comes in on a random table edge.

And They Shall Know No Fear allows Marines to regroup even if enemy are within 6".  Also, the unit is immune to Fear (but is not Fearless).  

The Deep Strike Mishap Table has changed: now it’s more likely that your unit of Termies will be merely delayed instead of destroyed.  Hand-in-hand with Deep Strike is Reserves, which now gets your guys on the board sooner: units arrive at the start of Turn 2 on a 3+; on Turn 3 with a 2+, and automatically at the start of Turn 4. 

Furious Charge no longer gives your guys +1 to Initiative.

Gets Hot now applies to vehicles as well, which it never did before.  You say you have a plasma cannon on your Chaos Dreadnought?  Interesting…. 

When using Poisoned attacks, you wound on the fixed number (usually 4+) unless you would need a lower number (for example, against a target with a low Toughness), in which case, you would need the lower number.  Note that this only applies to close combat.  So a Strength 3 model with Poisoned weapons wounds Carnifexes (T 6) on 4+ and Gretchin (T 2) on 3+.

Models who have a Preferred Enemy can now apply this to Shooting in addition to close combat (as we guessed as much when the Necron Codex came out), AND can apply this to rolls to wound, not just to hit.  The downside is that instead of re-rolling all failures, you may only re-roll “1’s”. 

At first glance, the 6e Scouts rule—with its talk of “redeployment”—reads like it’s different from the previous version, but it actually isn’t.  Well, that is except that you can’t assault on the first turn if you do a Scout redeployment, which would usually only be a factor if your unit also has the Infiltrate special rule.  GW’s has that covered though, because units that Infiltrate can no longer assault on the first turn, either.  Because….well, because being able to do that was good, that’s why.  Apparently.

Swarms no longer have Stealth (no more +1 to cover save) but are still vulnerable to blasts and templates.  And did you notice that cover saves are no longer as generous as they were in 5e?  Swarms, however, are not slowed by difficult terrain, which is a change from before.

Tank Hunters used to get +1 to their Armor Penetration rolls; now they re-roll failed pen attempts in shooting and close combat.  They can also re-roll glancing hits to try to get penetrating hits.  They no longer auto-pass Tank Shock tests. 

Unit Types
Turbo-Boosting gives Bikes a 4+ Save instead of 3+, like it used to.  The new Turbo-Boost also makes Eldar and Dark Eldar Jetbikes ridiculously fast.

Artillery now is vastly different.  Guns have Toughness 7 and you use that for wounding the unit.  Hits are no longer randomized among crew and weapon.  Check out the details on page 46: maybe those Guardians and Gretchin in the back are something you need to pay attention to….

You can use Jump Packs in the Movement Phase or the Assault Phase, not just the former.  Jet Packs now go 2d6" in the Movement *and* Assault Phases (unless in close combat, of course).          

Cover gets easier for big guys.  Monstrous Creatures can claim cover if it’s 25% of their height, not 50%, as before.  In other words, now they’re treated just like any other model.

Beasts and Cavalry move 12" now instead of 6".

Characters
Independent Characters
are no longer considered “separate units” when fighting in assaults.  Remember situations where your IC couldn’t attack—or be attacked—because no one was in base-to-base contact with them?  That’s all gone now.   

Independent Characters no longer come standard with Move Through Cover or Skilled Rider.  While it’s a new rule and not a change from an old one, Indy Characters pass Look Out Sir rolls on a 2+. 

Vehicles
It got easier to be Obscured. 
Only 25% of the vehicle needs to be hidden for it to count as being obscured, not 50%, like under the 5e rules. 

The Vehicle Damage Table is only used with penetrating hits, not glancing hits.  The only thing glancing hits do is take off Hull Points.

When a “Weapon Destroyed” result is rolled, the weapon affected is rolled randomly, not determined by the attacker.  That’s a big change from previous editions, when the attacker would, of course, choose your vehicle’s biggest gun. 

There is no “Wrecked” on the Vehicle Damage Table, only “Explodes.”  The way to “wreck” a vehicle is to take off its Hull Points.  

You can’t charge a vehicle you can’t hurt.  Back in the 3rd and 4th Edition days, one of my favorite dirty tricks when playing Dark Eldar (an army that needs all the dirty tricks it can get) was to have my Wyches charge tanks if they couldn’t reach enemy infantry.  My reasoning was that even if my Wyches (with their ridiculous Strength 3) couldn’t hurt the tank, they could at least get that much closer to opposing soldiers so they could charge them on the next turn.  With this rule, there are no more of those shenanigans (of course, with the new DE codex, my Wyches pack haywire grenades anyway, so they CAN hurt tanks).

It got easier to hit vehicles in the Assault Phase.  Under the 5e rules, you hit vehicles in an assault either automatically (if the vehicle hadn’t moved), on a 4+ (if it had moved), or on a 6 (if it had moved at cruising speed).  Under the new rules, vehicles are treated as being WS 0 if they hadn’t moved (meaning you still hit them automatically) or WS 1, regardless of speed—and almost all models hit WS 1 on a 3+. 

You take out vehicles in a squadron just like you do models in a squad.  That is, the vehicle closest to the firer takes the hits and damage until it’s gone (Wrecked or Explodes), and then you move on to the next closest one, etc.  Previously, hits were spread out among each vehicle in the squadron.

Models can’t disembark if their transport moved more than 6".   In previous editions, your typical transport could move 12" and the passengers could get out.  Now there’s no more jumping out of speeding cars.

Vehicles and Overwatch.  This is a new rule, not a rule change from 5e, but it’s worth noting anyway.  Most vehicles can’t fire in Overwatch to repel assaulting enemy models, but Walkers can.  So can passengers embarked upon a transport. 

Conclusion
I’m sure the sharp-eyed player can find even more subtle rule changes.  When learning the new rules, don’t assume you know anything just because you played 5th Edition, or 4th, or anything else.  Sixth Edition Warhammer 40K is brand new in many ways, and it helps to approach it as if you were a brand-new player.


Posted July 2012

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Fighting Tigers:
Codex <> Tactics <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers

Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
Events and Battle Reports <> Campaigns <> Terrain <> FAQ <> Beyond the Jungle