I have spent this week doing a little bit of research into the new rulebook and tried to find out any handy or play changing rules.
So first up the Big (Obvious) Changes-
1. The Psykic Phase- So this is altogether probably the largest change from 6th to 7th edition. Surprisingly, I think it means that things like prescience will have a harder time being cast, without throwing a huge amount of dice (and points) at them. With a warp charge of 2, prescience requires 4 dice to get a 50% chance of going off. Most guard armies run 2 Primaris Psykers these days, but that means they only get 2 dice, with only D6 extra from the roll off. For me this means that reliance on Psykic powers has actually been lessened for the guard, as before the chances of casting 2 Prescience was quite high, but now you will have to throw down over half your dice to give you better odds for one casting.
This Psykic system makes the Astropath a lot better as he no longer needs to rely on his leadership to cast. Getting extra Warp charge can be quite cheap for the guard, with Primaris Psykers being upgraded to a level 2 for only 25 points (only 5 more points than the old level 1 Primaris Psyker). And also with our awesome Imperial Battle-brothers, we can get inquisitors/rune priests/Tigirius with no downsides. :)
2. Battle Brothers are now like Martin Lawrence and Will Smith!- Bad Boys Ride Together and Die Together!
That's right Battle brothers can now share Transports. Ever wanted your Ogryns to ride in a Land Raider? OK, not exactly game winning, but I'm sure it would be fun! I see this ruling as an opportunity to bring Allied Independent characters fully into your Astra Militarum force.
3. In 6th Edition there was a roll to decide who chose to deploy first or second. Then the person who deployed first went first, unless the opponent stole the initiative. However it works slightly different now. Now the players roll off and the winner decides to deploy first or second. Then the opponent deploys. Then the person who deployed first decides whether to go first or second (although the opposition can still attempt to seize). Not a huge change, but still potentially very useful. If your enemy out deploys you defensively, they can now be wrong footed by giving them the first turn, a very flexible manoeuvre in objective based games, especially progressive objectives.
This change to the damage chart also increase the survivability of the already tough Leman Russ. With most of the variants being cheaper to field than ever, it is a double win for the Stalwart tank, just avoid those melta. :)
5. Non troops Scoring and Objective secured- This has been discussed at length HERE. Pretty Important, particularly for guard. this will definitely impact on the decision to blob up. Do you want MSU or Large survivable troop squads?!
Now for some of the smaller stuff...
At least I can still use these as scatter terrain.
6. Exploded vehicles no longer leave craters- Well I guess I wont be getting much use out of the above templates. :) Still I think this is actually quite a good move as it does not bog your troopers down in difficult terrain. It does leave them very exposed to enemy fire, but clever placement of vehicles should stop too much of a massacre.
7. Ramming- Previously a guard gun line had little utility for this rule, however, with vehicles on the increase again and the change to the ramming rules, it has become a rather good defensive strategy. The distance travelled by the vehicle is no longer taken into account, so a Leman Russ is not penalised for being slow. Give the Leman Russ a Dozer Blade (a worthy upgrade for a mere 5 points) and all of a sudden you have a very powerful ramming vehicle. Lets do the Maths- Starting with a basic strength 7 for a ram (half the armour value, rounding up), then adding 1 for being a tanks, and then adds a further 2 for being a heavy tank. A Dozer blade then adds a further one to that, bringing the strength to 11 (please correct me if I'm wrong, but I cant find anywhere that says it cant go above 10, as I would usually assume with strength).
The Dozer blade is one of my favourite vehicle upgrades, especially as it has a dual use for added protection moving through dangerous ground. Also very handy for giving chimeras that extra punch in a ram (strength 6+1 (for being a tank) +1 (for Dozer blade) gives a solid Strength 8 attack.
8. A small note, but worth keeping in mind, Walkers have the Hammer of Wrath special rule, just encase you want to throw your sentinels into combat. Always nice to have extra tactical options.
I'm sure there is still lots of new little twists and turns that I have yet to touch upon, particularly the whole lord of war/ Combined Arms Detachment/ foramations/ dataslate thing, but still have a lot to learn. Looking forward to getting a bit of a game in this week.
Please, if there is anything I've missed or got wrong please let me know. I'm keen to learn as much about 7th as possible. Its a bit of a mine field, but it really is quite a positive edition in my own opinion.