I've been waiting for something like this for ages and its finally here, so who does it tell us? It actually tells us quite a bit, some good, some not so good.
The new orders are pretty much the same as the last orders, but just adjusted to the new rules. Many of them have got better, such as FRFSRF giving double the number of shots rather than just one, so 4 in rapid fire range. Take aim and bring it down give rerolls to hit and wound, but are no longer specific to a target type. Forward for the emperor and move, move, move are pretty much unchanged. Get back in the fight is very similar, giving the same basic ability to rally troops back in to normal actions, but its fix bayonets that seems like it could be most useful, giving you an extra fight phase, something that could be very useful to the guard, who are not exactly known for their close combat abilities.
Now, this is the first of two pages which has the not good bits on. Infantry squads are a troop choice, but special weapons squads are marked as elite! On the next page heavy weapons squads are marked as heavy support and vets are elite. So is this the end of the Infantry Platoon? Are infantry squads the only troop choice?
As for the squad rules, well, nothing really changes, apart from the sgts gaining a chainsword. One thing that stood out but isn't really unexpected is written in the vox rules. It mention friendly officers, which I assume means that officers will now be single models, not a surprise really, but what happens to the company and platoon command squads? Will they now act as the leaks suggest that the SM command squad will, being able to take wounds for the officer at the expense of every one becoming a mortal wound. If so, your going to want a few around, especially for your warlord.
Special weapon squads still appear to be useless, apart from demo charge spam, which still looks like it could be fun.
So with heavy weapons teams being relegated to heavy support, this means that they are now in one of the most congested slots in the FOC, good job we can take more of each of them now. As for rules, nothing seems to have changed. It will be interesting to know if the same rules applies to weapons strength as before, ie strength twice toughness causes instant death, if they do, then the squads are just as squishy as before. The only advantage I can see now is that I might be able to shoehorn these guys into my MT force as some heavy support.
The vets seem about the same as well. There is only one thing that is interesting. It says that one vet can take a heavy Flamer and that up to three other vets can take special weapons. There doesn't seem to be any caveat a out if you take the Flamer you can't take a third special weapon, so ill have to look at upping the number of special weapons in each squad. There is however a bit of bad news, there doesn't seem to be anything about doctrines, hopefully its on the bottom of the page that's been cut off, but it looks like we could have lost them! I'm still hopeful, as this was one of the key features of vets but then so was the platoon structure and we seem to have lost that.
One good bit is the fact that squadrons still exist, which I find strange as they seem to have removed platoons. Coupled with the fact that you now run the vehicles seperatly is good, means that taking different types of tanks, ie vanquisher and punisher, in the same squadron is not such an issue. It means that I don't have to take two squadrons to get my choice of tanks.
On the right there is a little peak of the demolishers variants, you can't make out much but they are more expensive, power level 12 instead of 11, hopefully they will have more wounds or higher toughness to show for the tougher nature of the vehicle as shown by the higher rear armour on the previous editions.
As with the rest of the characters in 8th, the tank commander has lost his buddy and is now flying solo. He remains the same in most other ways, with a similar stat line to standard tanks but with better BS, as before. His orders seem to be exactly the same and will be very important if you fancy supercharging your plasma guns, using the gunner, kill on sight order. Here we see the extra rule for the plasma cannons, which states the vehicle only takes 6 mortal wounds instead of being removed, hopefully this is just been missed off the page of the LRBT entry. There is not much else to say about the tanks apart from the fact that storm bolter finally make sense, rapid fire 2 is what they should always have been, as they are basically two bolter duck taped together. Granted assault 2 was the best they could do in precious editions, but now there defiantly where they should be.
So, what's my overall verdict? My feelings are mixed right now, there are some good bits, namely orders and extra weapons in the vet squads. But there are some bad bits, the potential removal of the platoon system, something that may well effect both the MT and the IG. Also the moving of the various squads, heavy, special and vets, is not something I'm in favor of yet. The main thing is though, were still lacking a lot of information, what will happen to platoon and company command squads, what are the rules for commissars and priests (although I suspect these will be similar to the sisters versions), what will happen with artillery squadrons? If the same applies as with tanks, what will happen to barrage weapons? One thing is for sure, there's going to be quite a few changes to my armies!