Thursday, 7 April 2011

A lengthy rant about Deep Strike

This post is titled, why deep strike is the only rule I would change in 40k 5th ed.  It will be essentially a rant, a very long rant, please bear that in mind while reading, thanks.  40k is a fun game, it was fun when I played it back when I was 10 years old and it had rulebooks just for wargear and its fun now. 

The rule system has clearly been adapted and improved over the years and various editions to a point where its mostly polished right now, due to think I was quite surprised when I heard rumblings or a 6th ed on its way sometime next year.  I have to say I don’t really want this, I’m worried they will break it in some way and well, like a lot of people I guess I just don’t like change.  That and its great as it is.

There is one gaping flaw I feel however, the rules around deep strike.  Deep strike for anyone that does not know (if that’s even possible) is the ability to appear from reserve, out of the sky or from the warp or by teleport or from underground etc and appear anywhere on the battlefield, a powerful ability I’m sure you’ll agree.  With that power there definitely has to be some drawbacks and dangers but what we have currently are far too harsh in my opinion.

When you deep strike you roll a scatter dice which has arrows and hit symbols on it, getting a hit is the same odds as rolling a 5+ save.  You then also roll 2D6 and if you get an arrow and unless you have some ability like Decent of angels to cut this down you move the distance shown and where you land is where you land.  Marines are the masters of deep striking, Blood angels as above reduce scatter to 1D6, they have a lord that ignores it completely and lands on a pin point.  They also have Drop pods across the marine range that although do still scatter 2D6, they don’t mishap, they just stop right next to things.

What this gives marines, especially Blood Angels is a solid chance to avoid the flaws with deep strike and mishaps.  This leaves everyone else with dread, all other armies when coming in have to avoid other units, board edges and to an extent if they don’t want to take dangerous terrain tests area terrain as well (difficult turns into dangerous if you deep strike into it).

What makes deep strike as rubbish as it is I find is the deep strike mishap table which is essentially, roll 1-2 and your dead, yes dead, completely dead, as in not alive anymore, as in removed from play, nope no saves, no chance at all, EVERYBODY IS DEAD DAVE.  Roll 3-4 and your opponent can choose where you come in, which on a 6x4 board  and depending on what sort of unit you are could virtually be the same as dead, you will be out of position, miles away from where you want to be, wondering how the hell this could have happened.  Roll 5-6 and you stay in reserve with a chance to come in the following round and hope not to mishap this time, unless its turn 5 in which case your dead, yes dead, like before.

This to me is far too harsh.  I gather from the fluff of the rule it’s meant to portray that a unit deep striking can get shot at as it flies in, putting if off course or making it crash into something nasty killing it on impact or enemy fire forces the unit to delay its arrival or move to an alternate location that’s safer.  

 On the first and most important point, if that’s true, then why can’t you shoot down drop pods on their way in, if this is the fluff for it, why can’t they blow up, even with internal guidance systems they can land perfectly right next to a unit? Why don’t they crash into it, on dawn of war 2 the game you can bring down drop pods on enemy units heads, killing half of them in the process, call me crazy but a tank landing on a unit wouldn’t kill the tank it would kill the unit it landed on. 

This brings me to skimmers arriving from DS, like Valkyrie’s or storm ravens, the fly in, they don’t zoom down at terminal velocity like pods or jump packs, so why cant they do the same as pods, slowing down to avoid hitting that lone kroot hound that OH MY GOD we just crashed into and now oops were dead (and the hound is alive and well).  Also, why does teleporting scatter, you cant get shot at, nothing disrupts it, did you ever see Picard beam down to a planet for a meeting only to find himself inside a wall dead? No, you didn’t because when you develop teleportation you develop sensors to make it accurate.  

Chaos daemons arriving from the warp, they don’t fly down, they appear out portals, so this shouldn’t scatter either, maybe but something else in like they cant bring portals in a certain distance from enemy units otherwise they get a free shot at you when you arrive which brings me on to the end of the rant (bonus points for you if you got this far) how I would fix the Deep strike. 

Let’s be fair, it has to have some kind of danger or everyone would do it and it would be cheesier than a guy that smells of cheese with a beard full of cheese guy taking a bath in cheese made from melted down space wolves and grey knights.

As such if you scatter into a unit and you are a vehicle, it’s the same as a tank shock, if its another vehicle it’s the same as a ram.  If you are a non vehicle unit and you land on another vehicle unit, a vehicle or terrain you all take dangerous terrain tests, the things you land on take a wound like a vehicle explosion with cover and other saves allowed.  Should DS be a potential weapon? hell yes, it would be if this was real.

 Arriving safe and sound

Scattering off the board I was going to say means you go back into reserve but this can be good for some armies who want to delay their units so instead it’s as if it was a 3-4 on the current chart and your opponent decided where you land.

I’m sure many will disagree with all this.  It’s just my ramblings on how I think it should be done and again I congratulate you for getting to the end.  The solution may not be the best way I’m the first to admit that however something definitely needs to be done to improve it, the rest of the rules in 5th? I love em (well except kill points but that’s a different discussion).



  1. Blood Angles for the win :).

    As for deep striking, yes I agree. Grey Knights really are masters of teleport attack as they always deep strike into battle yet they scatter as normal? I can understand Drop Pods as onboard computer avoids stuff, and ok the Angels do well because well trained but Grey Knights should scatter 1D6" too. Moan, bitch etc.

    The deep strike mishap table is pretty harsh too as you mentioned with a third of the table taking out your unit and the other two thirds moving or delaying the unit - not good either way. I've done deep strike in the past and it seriously annoys me losing units, scattering where you don't want them and units stuck in reserve because the dice are against you.

  2. It is an interesting perspective.

    To be honest I sort of feel like Games Workshop kind of transitions to different "themes" to encourage purchases. There was an Armor 14 phase, and now we are on an Armor 12 phase, and maybe one day it will shift to Deep Striking or drop pods again for Marines.

    I am a Deathwing/Ravenwing player and Deep Striking is the only way my Termies come on the board... so maybe that was more common before. I've only been playing 2yrs now though.

    I enjoyed your perspective.

  3. Hell yes deep strike should be a weapon. Some tyranids get to lay down blast markers to clear the way for "tunneling". Why not landing pods on enemy units? Especially since drop pods have to be purchased.