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Fortifications in 6th Edition Warhammer 40k
In my last article, I wrote about using allies in 6th edition Warhammer 40k. This is a choice you will need to make when you build your army list, before any dice are thrown on the battlefield. Today, I'm going to continue my discussion of new rules that take place before the battle is fought. They include a look at the new Force Organization Chart (FOC), which will include a slot to buy Fortifications. I will break down the options for Fortifications and look at the benefits they might provide. After this article, I will post links to new articles as I write them, analyzing the new 6th edition rules for the actual battles!
Force Organization Chart Changes
The standard FOC is still in play for 6th edition 40k. You must take 1 HQ and 2 Troops selections. Once you've taken those, you are free to take additional units of various types as we've always done in 5th edition. This is called your Primary Detachment. However, there have been some interesting changes that allow you to add to your force.
- Allied Detachment - (optional choice) You must take 1 HQ and 1 Troops from an allied army. These choices are compulsory (if you choose to take allies), after which you may take 1 Elite, 1 additional Troops, 1 Fast Attack, and 1 Heavy Support. You can read my past article on Allies in 6th edition here
- Fortifications - You may choose 1 Fortification, which I will discuss in greater detail in the next section.
- Additional Primary Detachment- .This is interesting! At 2,000 points or more, you are allowed to take an additional primary detachment. This is right in the core rulebook. It isn't 100% clear as written, but I read it as you must take another HQ and 2 more Troops, and it opens up the other options. This means you could select 1 HQ and 2 Troops from both detachments (2 HQ and 4 Troops total) and you now have access to 6 Elites, 6 Fast Attack, and 6 Heavy Support (as well as 4 more Troops). Wow!
The interesting thing about choosing an additional Primary Detachment, is that it allows you to take another Allied Detachment (from same allied army you already chose) and another Fortification! I think games at 2,000+ points are going to be more common and very interesting. However, this article is focused on using Fortification, so let's jump to that and leave the other strategies for another article.
You may field 1 Fortification for each Primary Detachment of your army. Remember that at 2,000 points of more, you may have an additional Primary Detachment, so you could end up with two fortifications. Fortifications are bought with points and they range from 50 points to over 200 points. Each Fortification has its own special rules, terrain type, access and fire points, and even weapons! Many of the Fortifications can be upgraded with additional options (more points) to really customize them for your specific need. Right now there are four Fortifications to choose from in the core 6th edition rule book, however, new Fortifications will be forthcoming in future White Dwarf magazine articles. The four Fortifications to choose from are:
- Aegis Defense Lines
- Skyshield Landing Pad
- Imperial Bastion
- Fortress of Redemption
You will notice that these are all Imperial terrain pieces and that they correspond with terrain models already produced by Games Workshop. The 6th edition rulebook states that ANY army can purchase these Fortifications and that you should feel free to modify/customize the models to represent your own faction "taking over" these defenses. I expect that clever players will scratch-build their own Fortification models to more accurately represent their army's flavor.
It's also important to note these points:
- In 6th edition, which table half you will play on is decided before any terrain is placed, including Fortifications.
- You then place Fortifications before any other terrain is placed. If both players have Fortifications, then you alternate placing them.
- Fortifications must be placed on your table half. This means they don't have to be in your deployment zone, but be warned, the Fortifications can benefit either player. Make sure you are the first to get there since you paid the points for it!
- Objectives cannot be placed in or on a Fortification.
Now, let's look at these different options in more detail.
Aegis Defense Line
This will probably be the most common Fortification you will see on the battlefield. For one thing, it's the cheapest option point-wise, and the actual model is about $30 from Games Workshop. In the game, it provides a 4+ cover save for models behind it and if those models go to ground their save is increased to a 2+ cover save. Wow!
The Aegis Defense Line gives you four long sections and four short sections that must be placed in base to base contact with each other, which will cover 28" of the battlefield stretched in a line. Of course, you can always angle or box them together for a smaller area. Be careful with Assaults, though, as the Aegis Defense Line doesn't do anything to slow down your enemy! They just have to be in base contact with your Aegis Defense Line to be considered in base contact with you.
If your models are not in base contact with your Aegis Defense Line, then I would rule that they cannot shoot over it without giving your enemy a cover save. It's not explicit in the rulebook, but I think this makes sense. The advantage of this, however, is that Battlefield Debris (as the Aegis Defense Line is considered) is Difficult Terrain, meaning that if your opponent has to cross it to get to you, it does slow down their Charge move and will reduce their Initiative to 1 (unless they have Assault Grenades).
The Aegis Defense Line gets even better when you consider the upgrades. For additional points (20-50), you may add one of the following:
- Comms Relay - let's you re-roll your Reserves rolls.
- Icarus Lascannon - single shot anti-tank weapon with the Skyfire special rule.
- Quad Gun - Lower strength weapon with 4 shots and the Skyfire special rule.
Notice that Skyfire special rule? This is the rule that allows you to shoot at Flyers with your normal BS. The Aegis Defense Line model kit comes with a Quad Gun model, so as Flyers become more common in the games, expect these Aegis Defense Line upgrades to become more common. Also note that these guns must be operated by one of your models in base contact with it, so you can't leave the defense line alone and expect to shoot flyers down!
Skyshield Landing Pad
This Fortification is a little more expensive point-wise than the Aegis Defense Line, and will also run you about $50 from Games Workshop. It's a large model, though, covering enough space to hold an Imperial Guard Valkyrie flyer. So what do you get for your points and money?
First, moving onto or off from the Skyshield Landing Pad counts as Difficult Terrain. However, the flat surface on top is open terrain. Secondly, there are two "modes" that the landing pad can be in, and any model in base contact with it can change modes at the beginning of the movement phase (this doesn't cost the model any movement or actions).
- Shielded - (sides up) - Models on top of the landing pad have a 4+ invulnerable save. This is better than a cover save because they can always take their save.
- Unfurled - (sides down) - Models entering the game via Deep Strike can land on the landing pad without scattering (deep striking vehicles or infantry). Also, any jumping or skimming troops can end their movement on the pad and not take dangerous terrain tests.
That's it! It could be very useful, depending on your army selection.
The Imperial Bastion kit is available from Games Workshop for $42 and will set you back less than 100 points for your army. The kit also includes an Icarus-pattern Lascannon on a mount, a Comms Relay model (or other tech terrain). It's a nice model that has a solid presence on a battlefield, but what does it give you in the game?
First, it counts as a Building and follows all the standard Building rules in the 6th edition rulebook. It has an Armor Value of 14 (same as a landraider!). Let's give a quick rundown of the Building rules in 6th edition.
- Units move into and out of a building just as if they were embarking/disembarking from a vehicle.
- Buildings have Fire Points and two models may fire out of each Fire Point.
- Units inside a building cannot be directly attacked by shooting or close combat!
- Enemy units must shoot at the building or assault it, just as if it were a vehicle. There is a damage chart (much like the vehicle damage chart), and glancing or penetrating hits cause a single wound on a model inside (normal armor save applies). Buildings do not have Hull Points, so they can't be destroyed by Glancing Hits.
So the Imperial Bastion is an AV 14 Building that you can place anywhere on the battlefield. It also has four Heavy Bolters included (one on each facing) and can be upgraded in the same way that the Aegis Defense Line can be (Comms relay, Icarus lascannon w/ Skyfire, and Quad gun w/ Skyfire).
For around a hundred points with upgrades, it's not a bad buy for a defensive army.
Fortress of Redemption
This bad boy is an impressive model. The actual kit comes with over 90 pieces and is loaded with Imperial detail. While I'm not an Imperial player, I can imagine spending hours of modeling time "defacing" this beast into something full of Chaos or something nice and "orky". The kit will set you back about $115 (ouch!), but you do get a lot out of it. The tower stands 14" tall and the two bunkers stretch across 24".
In the game, the Fortress of Redemption is actually a set of four separate AV 14 buildings: 2 bunkers (small buildings), 1 walkway (small building), and 1 tower (medium building). Each building can house a separate unit, and must be targeted separately by your enemy. You don't just "shoot at the Fortress". It's so big that your enemy has to select a section.
Included with your points are a missile silo on top of one bunker (large blast frag missile), and an Icarus lascannon (w/ Skyfire) on the other bunker. You can spend points to upgrade the missile silo to krakstorm missiles (large blast krak missle!) and add up to four heavy bolters.
You get a lot of defense and offense with the Fortress of Redemption, but it will cost you over 200 points, and almost 300 points if you take every upgrade.
Which Fortification are you planning to bring to the table?
There you have it! The addition of Fortifications in 6th edition Warhammer 40k is going to change how we play the game. It will allow defensive-minded players to try new tactics, and with the addition of so many Skyfire weapon options, it may be the only way most of us can immediately take down those Flyers zooming around overhead.
I think what I like most about the inclusion of Fortification rules is that, if used, our tabletops are going to start looking more like battlefields of the 41st millennium. I also can't wait to see how different armies modify their terrain to fit their armies, or kit-bash/construct their own. Not to mention that new armies will likely get new terrain rules in upcoming White Dwarf issues. What kind of interesting terrain might the Eldar, Tau, or Tyranids have in store for us? Time will tell!
If you are interested in checking out my other 6th edition Warhammer 40k articles, you can find them linked below.
- New! Chaos Space Marine Codex Overview (6th edition) - New codex, new units!
- Rule Changes in 6th Edition Warhammer 40k - Part 1: Setup and Missions
- Character Rules in 6th Edition Warhammer 40k - (new!) Rules and tactics
- Orks in 6th edition Warhammer 40k (general tactics, how the rules affect us)
- Using Allies in 6th edition Warhammer 40k (how it works and basic strategies)
- New Flyers rules in 6th edition Warhammer 40k (how they move, shoot, and die!)