In this article, Paul takes a look at heroes and v4. Who is now a ‘must have‘ and who is’yesterday’s hero‘?
The Special Rules and Warriors booklet is the second book that Battlefront will be giving away free with the new v4 rules for EW and LW. It is designed to bring all the current briefing books up to date for v4, and, as such, covers changes to special rules as well as warriors. In this article I will take a look at the warriors, specifically at how warriors and independent teams have changed overall in v4, and then show how subtle rule changes affect your favorite warrior.
Global Changes to Warriors
Firstly, let’s look at what generically changing for warriors.
Warriors, when selected for a hit can use the mistaken target to select another team. Not a big deal and pretty much expected.
Warriors can still fight in assaults with units however they now need to be the same type (infantry, tank) as the platoon command team, and within 6 inches and line of sight. I am calling this the “6 inch bubble” and I see this as a big deal. To set this up, players will need to be much more careful where they deploy warriors and platoon commanders. You will see later on, this is a new theme for v4.
Should a warrior be destroyed, the owning player may switch to another team of the same type within 6 inches, on a 3+. So, easier to save, but more restrictions for the owning player to ensure there is a suitable team available.
Warriors have a large interaction with motivations tests – yes there are a variety of tests now and movement orders. The motivation tests are pretty straightforward. I will briefly explain the movement orders though. Blitz move allows a unit to skill check to move 4 inches at the start of movement to then either fire at halted rating or move again. Shoot and Scoot allows a move instead of assault. Bailed out vehicles cannot issue special orders (follow me, blitz, shoot and scoot etc). Don’t get your warrior bailed out!
Example Detail Changes
Next I will take a look through some of the EW and LW books and warriors, and review the effects that their changes and v4 has on them. I will then provide a completely subjective view on their viability in v4.
Battle of the Bulge
Lt. Col. Creighton Abrams
Abrams retains the ability to spearhead with two units. As mission tactics is now part of the standard rules for all units, Abrams loses this. The ability to storm trooper is replaced with a re-roll of the blitz move so long as Abrams is within 6 inches and line of sight of the platoon command team (i.e. the previously discussed “6 inch bubble”).
I think Abrams may now be the ‘go to’ LW US warrior. Blitz move will be incredibly important for tankers. Basically a pass allows them to make small adjustments to position to get clean or better shots whilst then still being able to fire at halted ROF. Failure means they can still shoot but on the move and with a +1. Re-rolling this will greatly improve the chance of success.
Spearhead has always been important for an attacking tank force. Possibly even more so now with reduced tank movement.
Three Purple hearts is changed so that Murphy is not destroyed on a 2+ not a 3+ (in line with the generally improved save). Murphy can still re-roll hits on a bunker. He loses the special recce move and the range-in benefit. Instead, he can make a spearhead.
Murphy has always been an interesting warrior and remains so in my opinion. Worth a shot.
General George S Patton
Patton has received some further changes. He still gives up a VP if he dies and he may still re-roll one reserve dice. But now he no longer auto-attacks and Platoons that Patton attaches to pass motivation tests on a 2+.
Patton is yesterday’s hero. He has lost too many special rules now and is not worth the lost VP. I would be steering clear of Patton in version 4.
Captain Richard Winters
Winters has changed completely. He no longer bestows eyes and ears as it no longer exists in v4; nor does he re-roll company morale. Instead, after your opponent’s deployment, you can redeploy a unit.
This is a nice ability but not as valuable as the eyes and ears and re-roll of company morale. In my opinion, unfortunately I don’t feel that Winters is worth taking.
Brigada Komissar M A Dedov
Dedov remains basically unchanged except that he becomes the formation commander should the commander die rather than becoming the 2ic. He retains his Kommisar type ability.
I think Dedov is not as useful as he once was. Large tank companies will need to lose more tanks in V4 than in V3 before they test. This is because tank units test when they have less than 2 active tanks in command distance. Therefore morale buffs are less critical.
Kapitan Dmitriy Loza
Now becomes formation commander should the original die. He still infiltrates a platoon and has an extra dice in shooting (3 dice Halted and 2 on the move) which is unaffected by hen and chicks.
I think Loza is as helpful in a lend lease company as he has always been. I would seriously consider using him in that list.
Bridge By Bridge
Oberstleutnant Van de Heydte (VDH)
The ever-present Fallschirmjaeger commander can still take 4 trap teams, has a 2+motivation bubble and can resurrect teams that die within 6 inches.
All very nice abilities. However, the abilities are limited to a 6 inch bubble area. In the past, you could simply string VDH somewhere at the back of the table within command of all critical units and provide a save as required. Now, he needs to be in line of sight and within 6 inches of the commander. The commander needs to be in 6 inches of his teams to be in good order. You need 3 infantry teams in good order to not need to do a motivation test in v4. Therefore to be in good order, you more likely to be at the center of a unit. This means that the ability to string VDH (or similar warrior) between units is very limited.
This new 6 inch bubble is THE critical rule for warriors. I think there will be a steep learning curve whilst players come to grips with this new rule.
Allows a blitz move of 6 inches in the 6 inch bubble rather than 4 inches. He and his unit hit on assaults on a 2+. Again in the bubble.
A nice combat type character to lead an assault.
Oberst Hans-Ulrich Rudel:
Rudel now arrives on a roll of 3+ each turn. Rather than having 2 dice to hit, he now re-rolls unsuccessful hits.
I think Rudel just got a lot better. He can now arrive more often, and do more damage. He was already a machine in v3! I expect we will see a lot more of this ace.
Now for Early War!
Lots of people built Pz-38t lists around Rommel in v3. The good news is that his rules are basically unchanged. He must now be within 6 inches of a platoon commander to have his 3+ motivation and re-roll Blitz moves. He retains fingertip feeling.
In game terms, there is a big change here. Given the way that shooting priorities now work, shooters assign hits to teams within 6 inches of the target point. For Rommel to be effective, he needs to be within 6 inches of the commander and visible. Likewise for motivation purposes, the commander should be within 6 inches of his troops. Therefore key players like the platoon commander and Rommel will be open to either a bombardment (exactly 6 inches square and can now be centered anywhere on the table – not just on a team) or direct fire where hits are assigned to targets in 6 inches of the target team. Players will need to be much more careful with Rommel who will be in the enemy sights. This will be the same for all tank warriors.
Overall, I think Rommel is still worth taking but has taken a hit here. He is still a great force multiplier. Tank armies need time to grind down AT assets and clear objectives. Keeping tanks alive either with superior armour, better training or re-rolls are all ways to do this. This allows them to last longer to give the army a chance of achieving the objective. He will do this by helping to pass tests and keep the tanks firing at full ROF (Halted)
Colonel Charles De Gaulle
Has a 3+ motivation for a platoon commander in 6 inches and line of sight. His attack special rule is still in place. I think this is a winner in version 4, where tanks now move relatively slower than infantry (Tactical moves of 8 inches for infantry and 10 inches for standard tanks). A free move will be valuable to get tank forces closer to the enemy much quicker and reduce the number of turns that AT guns can pick them off.
Again like Rommel, the magic 6 inch bubble is in place for motivation rolls.
Hellfire and Back
Brigadier Jock Campbell
Jock can still leave the table to bring on reserves, and retains the gunner rule; allowing him to re-roll hits on the halt within 16 inches for RHA guns. He also has the 3+ motivation in the magic bubble.
The big stand out for me is the ability to guarantee reserves. Given that reserves in v4 are based on points rather than number of units, I am expecting more units will be in reserve than is currently the case. Someone like Jock will remove some of the uncertainty of reserve rolls. Especially useful to see that first, important unit arrive.
Jock’s re-roll for the Gunner rule has always been nice but is at odds with the reserve rule. He cannot be everywhere.
Overall I think Jock is worthwhile and has had a slight buff.
Well that’s it. I think BF have done a great job here not making our old books redundant. Yes this is 66 page document; however, each of the current briefings is covered in just a few pages and most of the changes are pretty small. Some warriors have had major changes, some a small update. All of them are available for the table from day 1 of version 4.
I think some of the changes in rules – especially the 6 inch bubble will have a big change on tactics. To everyone that said this was a dumbed down version of the rules, I disagree. If warriors are anything to go by, I think BF have simplified the rules without removing any of the tactical nuance.
I hope my taste of what has changed has given you a feel for how v4 will treat warriors and especially heroes. Look out for more great reviews and articles on version 4 from Breakthrough Assault.