Saturday, February 14, 2015

How competitive is close combat in 7th edition 40k?

There's a nip in the air. I sense a change on the horizon. Close combat is going to start becoming far more competitive in games of 40k.

Truthfully? It seems out of place to claim a phase of the game could actually become dominant after years of subtlety. Especially after no rule changes. Yet I sense it coming.

It could be in part thanks to Tyranids and Blood Angels getting lots of new toys. We even saw an incredibly fun formation for Khârn and company released for
Chaos that undoubtedly made a lot of players very happy. The new Harlequins are certainly geared for close combat for the most part. This is going to give an incredible boost to the hitting power the Dark Eldar and Eldar both need. 

I can feel the negativity creeping into your fingers as you read this. Objections of "random charge rolls" and "overwatch" and "challenges" and "interceptor for deep strikes" are itching to explode all over my comments section.

Yes. Those are issues to making a flawless assault execute. As a Blood Angels player I may have failed more 5" charges than are statistical or fair for any normal player. It doesn't stop me from trying.

I think there are critical tactical advantages to using dedicated assault units. My favorite is the psycological impact it has on your opponent.

Close combat models LOOK intimidating. They're often some of our favorite to build. Hell, I've put swords on models that don't even have access to them...because it looks awesome. I strongly believe that these units draw fire and attention from your opponent and a good tactician should not ignore the advantage that gives you. If you pair this feeling with a "hammer" type of movement (several unit all moving as a single dedicated force at one point of the field that have the potential to wreck face.) you will force mistakes. 

A unit that shoots cannot shoot if it's locked into close combat. This is a tactic as old as time. Shoot the assault units, assault the shooty ones. Something I don't see as often however is using your own units, even the less powerful assault units to lock a unit in combat just to deny shooting. If I've got Dark Eldar warriors close enough to assault something like Fire Dragons, Heavy Weapons Teams, or even something like Grav Centurions....why not? I happily give up any "offensive" capability the Warriors could provide in order to effectively stop shooting even for a few turns. It doesn't need to be Incubi to accomplish this.

So these are two concepts. I'm not done with this article. I have a lot to say about it. I love assault in 40k and I do NOT think it's dead. I think over the next few months of 2015 we will start to see the game shift into a more balanced shooting  and assault game. 


  1. I tend to agree. Especially with how impressive CM/bikerstars, wraiths, and thunderwolves can be atm. They are fast enough, and survivable enough now to not only actually make it into combat and tie up shooty armies, but kill their target outright and move on to the next.

  2. I couldn't agree more. I just started using a Space Wolves/Grey Knights combination, with a good amount of Thunderwolves Cavalary and 2 Teleporting Dreadknights. The Knights are so fast an resilient, every enemy has to get them down and it's no easy task. With that time the cavalary is free to cross the board and be on the enemy turn 2 latest. Not everything will arrive to make the charge, but every unit is hard enough to put a serious dent in almost anything. Thanks to nemesis flamers and bolt cannons even horde armies are not the biggest problems. Thanks to a squad of Grey Knight Terminators and a Librarian you even have some limited board control, a some maelstorm missions can be quite hard if you have to capture to many objectives as this army is not really great at that.