Yesterday, finally with rulebook and Index supplements in hand, Matt and I began the first in our first series of games for the new edition. This is our “getting to know the edition” series, naturally, I used my Flesh Tearers because they are my training wheels army (I haven't played regularly since the beginning of 6th edition). Matt, meanwhile, spent an hour or so gluing his Death Guard together so he could start the edition with an army he has no preconceived notions of (this actually turned out to be a good plan).
So, not our first game but the first outside of using slightly incomplete resources off the internet. Matt had the contents of his Dark Imperium box and I had the roughly equivalent power points Flesh Tearers force consisting of:
Librarian in power armour
Chaplain with jump pack
10 Tactical Marines
5 Vanguard Veterans
Land Speeder with multi-melta
Death Company Dreadnought
This worked out to 2 power points more than Matt's and so he got his underdog bonuses. We had a straight up fight with no objectives just to get a handle on things.
Result: win to me. I had both characters, the Dreadnought and a couple of Tactical Marines still standing at the end, Matt had one Poxwalker and his Plague Champion (who... just... would not... die!). We learnt a few things and we forgot a few things.
Things What We Forgot
Shooting pistols in combat is something you really, really need to remember you can do. The loss of additional attacks for charging affects Tactical Squads' effectiveness a lot more than you think it will so, seriously, remember that they have pistols and you can use them.
Cataphractii armour has a better invulnerable save than normal Terminator armour and the Lord Of Contagion is wearing Cataphractii plate.
You can't deny psychic powers if you don't have a psyker on the table. This is why I targeted Matt's Malignant Plaguecaster early on but we forgot this detail and so some of my psychic powers got denied in Turn Two out of the clear blue sky.
Morale at the end of the turn, not the phase, we did a couple of morale tests at the end of the shooting phase and just had to remember the result for later.
Things What We Learnt
Matt used his twenty Poxwalkers to roadblock my Death Company Dreadnought, a slow and interminable beating I took because my Dreadnought was not in a position to do anything useful by leaving the combat. Given how resilient the Poxwalkers turned out to be (it took me eleven turns of combat to whittle them down to one guy) I dread to think what they might have achieved if they'd reached my Tactical Squad.
Plague Marines: super resilient. Matt was trying to use them to take out my Tactical Squad at range but as I kept failing to kill him from a distance we quickly realised that it would just have been better for him to wade through the bolter fire for a turn or two and charge me. This edition is a lot better for designing units to do what they're meant to do and Plague Marines are footslogging attrition specialists.
My Land Speeder is now a character sniper. The speed meant that in about every turn I was able to ensure a character was the closest possible target for my multi-melta.
Also, Land Speeders are a lot more fragile than I anticipated at only Toughness 5 and 6 wounds. Definitely a vehicle that needs to avoid combat wherever possible.
In an edition where extra attacks don't just materialise out of thin air, chainswords are worth their weight in gold.
On the other hand, I'm not sure meltaguns (or any multi-Damage special weapon) are really that useful in a Tactical Squad anymore. They seem more of a contingency fallback than something you'll get full use of most turns.
Given how poorly it did in the one turn it was fighting my Dreadnought, I think the Feotid Bloat-Drone is more of an anti-infantry thing than anti-vehicle.
Area of effect is better than having buffs that only work for the unit a character is with. My Dreadnought managed to get Litany Of Hate re-rolls just from having the Chaplain nearby. Obviously, though, this is a thing to keep a ready eye and a ready tape measure out for.
I love my Chaplain's inferno pistol. It is a good pistol.
Bonus Background Fact!
According to the main rulebook's appendices, there is still a planet of the catgirls. This joke persists.