To start with, let's highlight the key changes to the game from 6th Edition:
- The new Psychic Phase has been added to the player turn, and psychic powers work differently now.
- Vehicles now are very hard to kill with a single shot, due to changes in the Vehicle Damage Table.
- The Force Organization chart of old has a new friend in the form of Unbound Armies, which let you take literally any unit you want, though armies that still follow the FOC get a good boost in game
- A new way to play the game, Maelstrom of War, has been added, using Tactical Objectives that change each turn.
Those are the big changes. Some minor things have been changed (such as when Jink is declared, and how terrain works), but these four things have, for me, vastly improved my gaming experience and the outlook for the Third Company. If I was going to rate this edition comapred to 6th edition, this one is much, much better overall.
First of all, Maelstrom of War has given armies like mine a huge boost. I haven't taken an article to talk tactics yet (I will, don't worry!), but I refer to my Dark Angels force as the "masters of the mid-range game," meaning that in the 12"-24" range slot, they dominate, and my army is all about getting into that range slot as quickly as possible. In Maelstrom of War, when your objectives change every turn and you have to be mobile to adapt, my army gets highly favored over the shooty Imperial Guard armies and slow Grey Knight Paladin-spam I faced before. Now, I get rewarded for having my tough Marines spread around the board with plasma and assault cannon death. MoW has leveled the playing field and makes people rethink how they play in that you can no longer start the game with the best list, you HAVE to play it well.
Second, the new Vehicle Damage Table has renewed my love of tanks, at just the time I was about to give up on them. Let me give you an example. In a recent game, I had a Predator take shots from a Land Raider Redeemer for 4 or 5 turns and survive, because even though the Redeemer had Rending Assault Cannons and the AP1 Multi-Melta, my opponent could not get that 7 to blow it up, and AV13 with 3 HP, if it was tough to break down before, is even harder now. With that experience, my plan for the next step of my Angels will, of course, be more tanks, specifically Razorback transports for the Tactical Squads.
Third, and transitioning from the second point, is the new FOC rules. By playing the same way I've been playing for 13 years and starting with 2 Troops and an HQ choice, I now get a bonus in trying to take objectives in that the Troops choices win the tie-breaker if an enemy unit is also on an objective. Remember those Razorbacks? Being Dedicated Transports for Tactical Squads, they also count as Troops choices, essentially doubling the number of scoring units! Win-win, for the win!
Lastly, there is the Psychic phase. Honestly, the first couple of times I used it, I wasn't very impressed. It made some of the psychic powers people rely on (Prescience, in my case) harder to cast in way. And then I had a game like the one with the Predator example. That game, I took a level 2 Librarian with a force weapon and a power field generator and put him in a Drop Pod with one of my Tactical Squads. He had powers from the new Sanctic Daemonology table, and his powers helped his squad, while at the same time helping me win the game (he got the Deep Strike power, so once his squad cleared one objective they jumped to a new one and cleared that). I don't think the Psychic Phase is something to rely on to win the game, but it's much better than people make it out to be.
So those are my long-winded thoughts on the new edition. What do you think? How have (or would) you adapt to the new edition?