Well my copy of 6th edition has shipped and is on its was to me in Japan. YAY.
I am looking forward to sixth with an eager and nervous anticipation. There are alot of rumours flying around at this point, and they are getting more and more hammered out, and somethings are even being pulled from copies of the book.
So I just want to have a quick discussion on some changes I see happening in 6th.
Plasma Pistol- with random charge ranges, close range weaponry is more important than ever. Popping off some sure shots before charging will be critical because you never know if you are going to fall short in assault. High S and good AP make plasma pistols a reliable way to score a wound. Sure the melta is high S and close range, but not everyone/everything can take it and it still provides no benefit in CC.
Plasma Gun- being able to always shoot twice at 12 or once at 24 is GREAT. This gives you high S and AP at range and more firepower up close. As well, the new hull points mechanism benefits the Gun as penetrating isn't as ciritical anymore when wheight of fire at sufficient S alone can wreck a vehicle. At S7, the Gun fits right in there, able to glance 13 and under, with A 11 being easy and ideal, and still likely to penetrate. Plust this can happen at range or double up with rapid fire, where as meltas are no more than once at 12. Plus, with casualties removed from the front explicitly, I feel more comfortable have weapons with reach in the back of my squad than my short range power at the front just begging to be gunned down.
Plasma Cannon- With blast templates being uniform S across the template against vehicles now, you get a very potent weapon able to smash aside heavy infantry and light to medium vehicles with ease. Yes Krak missiles can get a higher S, but are more likely to miss and Frak missiles are far worse vs infantry.
BASICALLY it comes down to the tactically flexibility offered by plasma under 6th, and IMO that is a flexibility no other weapon type surpasses.
2- The reign of the Mech is over- So while vehicles will still be potent, I feel they are now shootier and more fragile, which is perfect. Tanks should always shoot ALOT. They have several people inside them just for that. I always hated limiting how much I could fire when I KNEW my Leman Russ had separate gunners for the sponsons. Meanwhile hull points make tanks vulnerable to weapons they were never vulnerable to before. What did chimera's ever truly have to fear of 2 heavy bolters. Now one heavy bolter can chew one up in one turn with some luck, never mind 2.
Then there are some minor changes I see occuring. Tau will gain some foothold again with 1/2 distance instead of 12" rapid fire (if true) with Pulse rifles (15" x 2) and Kroot Guns (24" x 2). I don't like the different power weapons. IE Sword vs Axe. While cool, it means models I have built with Axes because I liked the look of them more may now have to be redone to change to a sword just for a reason in the rules, though I don't know how this may shift the meta.
The mission set ups are going to cause another shift. With 1/3rd of them being potentially short edges, you are going to see bikes, skimmers and jump infantry grow in popularity, not even to mention the comign of Flyers. Mech will still be essential, but as a deivery rather than combat system IMO. Speed matters in 6th edition, and if you are slow, you might as well be static and prep a good defence. One thing I haven't seen is about random game length. I hope it is gone acutally, because with SO MANY fast things on the table, the 5th/6th turn swoop and grab is going to be really prevalent, so a known factor of when the game will end can play a critical role in preventing such a manuever.