This is a change for me.
To me, this is about complicating the game for my opponents and capitalizing on mistakes. Focusing firepower against a single unit until it is destroyed is important in combat, real world and 40k. It's even more important when fighting against Black Templars. I think we're actually THE army that teaches new players the importance of focusing fire ("I caused one casualty to each of your units and they're doing WHAT?!") They won't make the same mistake again.
This ruling gives you options during your opponent's shooting phase and complicates his decision making process. Against really smart players it won't matter. They can process information quickly enough already. Other players, though, are already borderline overwhelmed by the decisions they need to make in the shooting phase: what shoots where, what shoots first, what shoots last, what units have one potential target, what units have several potential targets. We all ask ourselves these questions during every turn, and everyone is bound to make mistakes. With this ruling, we're increasing the potential for mistakes.
Let me create a scenario. A reduced Crusader Squad (4 initiates and 2 neophytes) is in cover and is being targeted by a Long Fang squad, a Grey Hunter squad, and a Rhino. He's looking to wipe out that squad. Before this ruling it wouldn't really matter the order in which these units fired. Against the Long Fangs you'd get a 4+ cover save and against the other bolt weaponry you'd get 3+ and 4+ armor saves. If the Long Fangs had other targets they'll probably go last. The important thing to remember is not to remove casualties as to negate your cover save, but that's a Templar decision not an opponent's decision.
Now with this ruling, shooting order becomes a little more important. Your opponent has evaluated his shooting, the plan is in his head, and he starts shooting at the Crusader Squad. His Long Fangs have several potential targets so he holds their shooting until later. The Rhino shoots but does nothing. The Grey Hunters make you roll a small handful of saves. A Neophyte fails his cover against the melta shot and one Initiate dies to bolter fire. Now the Long Fangs, most of which hit and wound. Go to ground
. Now you have 3+ cover against his krak missiles instead of 4+ and you're guaranteed a morale test. Maybe you're rolling like I am right now and everything still dies, or maybe it doesn't. Maybe you lose 1-2 model instead of 3-4. Maybe you have 2-3 models standing where he was expecting none and he has to divert other another unit of Long Fangs to try to kill that powerfist before it wrecks a nearby tank.
Even better, the Rhino kills a Neophyte. You go to ground against the Grey Hunters. Allocate wounds and stack multiple wounds against the remaining Neophyte who actually saves everything at 3+.
Of course, he could shoot with the Long Fangs first, but that's not optimal and you could still go to ground and risk not getting the morale check. Either way it adds more to computation to his shooting phase which could lead to mistakes.
Or maybe the opponent simply doesn't understand the rules. You've taken a casualty, go to ground against the second wave of incoming fire, and he shifts further fire thinking this unit is "immobilized" only to have it zeal forward with good combat power.
This could also lead to more use of 5 Initiate/5 Neophyte Crusader Squads, not sure.
Another way to look at this is, our entire army now has storm shields... provided you're in cover. Ghetto storm shields, yea.... but they're free and even Neophytes get them.
All in all, I think it's a good thing. Useful. Definitely something to exploit... err explore.
According to this, Las/Plas weapons are destroyed with a single Weapon Destroyed result. Fortunately for Vanilla SM players, their FAQ says they are separate weapons. However...the Blood Angels and Space Wolf FAQs don't...
Good to know.
Edited by bigdunc, 18 November 2010 - 05:34 AM.