Warhammer 40k 8th Edition - First Impressions

So, as you may or may not have heard, this past weekend was a big one for tabletop gaming. Not only was saturday Free RPG Day (more on that in a few days), it also marked the release of the 8th Edition of Warhammer 40,000.

8th edition is probably the first time since I started playing Warhammer that I've seen near-universal enthusiasm for the new release. Unlike previous editions of the game, extending back to the transition between 3rd & 4th edition, all existing codices and expansions were invalidated upon the release of 8th. While yes, this means that everyone does need to buy a full new set of rulebooks, this also allowed GW to provide balance to a game that was in dire need of it. Nearly every faction/list you could want to play is, at the very least, theoretically feasible now.

All the rules for every model in 5 books

Another big change, that is slightly controversial amongst some small sects of the fanbase, is the simplification of the overall 40k rules. The core rules for 7th edition took 40-ish pages. The core rules for 8th fit in 12 (not including scenario missions). While not as light as the 4 pages of rules that Age of Sigmar have, it does clear out a lot of the bloat that 40k had acquired over the years.
But for the most part that all just sounds like marketing copy, doesn't it. To truly get into the depth of the game, we have to play it!


So far I've played one game of 8th, against Steve of Hobby Night in Canada. It was 1500 points, and the one stipulation we made is that we had to pick units that would have never been used in a 7th edition game. For Steve, this meant a Dark Eldar list. For me, it meant a very unconventional Necron list. The exact army lists are as follows:

Jastrick's Necron Leftovers:

Flayed Ones105
Triarch Stalker181
Fast Attack
Annihilation Barge153
Doom Scythe220

Steve's Dark Eldar List:
5 Incubi90
3 Grotesques93
5 Kabalite Warriors35
5 Kabalite Warriors35
10 Whyches90
2 Hydra Guantlets8
6 Reavers180
2 cluster caltrops10
2 Heat Lances50
Razorwing Jetfighter115
2 Talos176
2 Raiders190
2 Venom130
2 Splinter Cannon30

We didn't play any specific scenario. Rather it was mostly just a "kill as much stuff as possible" list. We ended up calling it at the end of Turn 3, as the last few units of my Resurrection-able Necron units were wiped out.

I really, really like this new edition of the game. It moves fast, and no unit feels like it's completely useless (everything wounding on a 6 regardless of strength/toughness helps that a lot). This is especially true when it comes to attacking vehicles, as they have wounds like everything else now (albeit a large number of them).

This game also gave me a good look into how my Necrons will play in 8th. Flayed Ones are amazing now. 4 attacks per model, being able to enter the game 9 inches away from an enemy unit, these guys tear shit to pieces. I'm actually taking a look at potentially building a melee-focused Necron list, something I never would have done before (aside from a unit of Wraiths). I'll do a more detailed look at that list in the near future.

All in all, I'm a huge fan of 8th edition. It feels like the first time I played AoS (with the General's Handbook). The game has been simplified, yes, but in so many ways it's for the better. This is going to be an exciting next few years in the 40k scene. I'm very interested in seeing how the meta turns out.