welcome to my humble corner of the internet once more, and to my latest thoughts on how to get the best format for a codex review, incorporating all the essential information about a particular unit and how it performs, not just in isolation but in conjunction with all the other units within the codex.
8th edition 40k has changed a lot of things in our hobby world, and in more ways than you might think. In particular, it has resulted in many of the things that were previously significant in a unit's armoury to now be less so, whilst boosting significantly other aspects of the squads in the game.
I'm looking at producing a codex review for the Craftworld Eldar codex and so before I begin that process I wanted to make sure I had all of the essential elements covered in my template.
Please let me know below if you think I've missed anything, but otherwise I'll be looking at the following areas in order to assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of each entry in the codex.
8th edition games begin before they begin, if you know what I mean. The alternating deployment of units and changes to arrival from reserve make how, where and when your units deploy even more important than ever before.
On that basis, the first element of a unit's abilities I will look at will be how it can deploy - does it have reserve options, can it deploy beyond the limits of your deployment zone, does it move before the first battle round begins? These will be assessed not only in absolute terms, but also in relation to the remainder of the codex, any stratagems that can be employed to affect deployment, and the weapon loadout of the unit.
Next up is the perennial favourite, mobility. As with 7th edition (one of the few similarities) the ability to outmaneouvre your opponent in 8th ed can win you the game. Here I will look at a unit's basic movement characteristic, any transport options or mobility upgrades it may take and how that affects a unit's performance. I will also make an initial assessment as to whether or not a unit's mobility is likely to be hampered by, or hampers, its firepower.
The third category and one that's of great significance in 8th edition is the firepower a unit is capable to dishing out. Key elements of the assessment here will be the absolute maximum firepower values, along with the variance dependent on range, unit movement etc. Not only that, but an important factor in a units firepower will also be its ability to maintain that firepower in all circumstances (such as while falling back from combat) and any key weaknesses that it might have.
Melee barely registered for many units (or even factions!) in 7th edition. That's certainly not the case anymore, with the ability of melee-centric armies being greatly enhanced. Units not intended for melee will now more regularly find themselves in that situation, and so I will assess not only the capability of a unit to dish out melee damage, but also to resist such damage in return. Similarly, a unit's ability to exit melee without being hampered significantly will also form an important part of that unit's key characteristics.
Damage output has increased significantly in 8th edition, I'm sure all of you will agree. As such, those units that are capable of stacking saves to resist damage become exponentially more powerful with each additional save attempt. Equally, where a unit can limit the incoming damage (or ignore it somehow) then these become huge additional factors in a unit's efficiency on the tabletop.
Key unit upgrades.
There's no escaping it. As 'balanced' as 8th ed 40k is (especially in comparison to 7th edition) there are still some weapon choices or relics that simply outperform others, and have become 'essential' unit upgrades. In this section I will assess those options, tactics for employing them most successfully, and ways in which they can be validly counted.
Stratagems, psychic powers and traits.
Whilst many reviews assess the stratagems, psychic powers etc separately, I like to think of them far more as a coherent part of the consideration of the unit in the first place, particularly in view of my favoured method of utilising stratagems in game, which is to limit the deck in my hand to those cards that I can actually use (which speeds decision making up no end). As such, I think it's an important part of the assessment of each individual unit to consider what stratagems, psychic powers etc could be used to make them more efficient and deadly at their allotted task. Clearly some will be more effective than others, so I'll try and limit consideration here to those elements that particularly affect a unit's battlefield roles
Speaking of which (it's almost as if I carefully planned out this article so it flowed well isn't it) the final element of any assessment of a unit is to figure out what it's good at and what it shouldn't attempt to do unless it's the only unit in a position to make that attempt.
I'm not going to attempt to pre-determine a comprehensive list of roles that a unit will fall into, but you can be sure it'll be things like 'mid-range fire support' or 'melee' etc.
So there you have it. 8 areas of assessment for each unit in a codex, which I think should give us a pretty comprehensive picture of all the units and abilities that a codex can provide, and hopefully it will also allow me to keep a full review list of the codices I've looked at in order to compare and contrast across books as well as looking at internal balance.
As I said above, if you think there's anything I've missed, please feel free to mention it in the comments below - I'm not claiming to know all there is to know about units and their abilities and I'll obviously consider incorporating any attributes I may have missed above.
Till next time,