Hi Guys, today we are going to be having a closer look into Out of Line of Sight shooting and its impact on the current meta, including a look in to why the mechanic might be leaving a sour taste in the mouths of 40k players on the competitive scene.

Units that have access to weapons which can target enemy units that are not visible to the bearer have been in the game for a very long time now, and personally I like the idea of having such units exist in the game as they add variety and some flavour. But the issue is coming from the fact that some of these units have no disadvantages of shooting in such a manner. What this is leading to is a certain level on non-interactive play which I’m sure, nobody enjoys.  Of course it is a huge benefit to be able to target enemy units with ranged attacks while you yourself are hiding and can’t be targeted in return, but there is a balance to be reached where it is fair.

Now in my opinion, a great unit for comparison is a Plagueburst Crawler that can be taken in a Death Guard army. I actually think this is a great unit for shooting out of line of sight becuase there are also a few drawbacks to it. Now, yes its Mortar is Strength 8 with an AP of -2 and also has a damage of 2 which is quiet a powerful profile, but something to consider is the fact that it has a totally random number of shots (d6), gets no rerolls to hit, and also costs 160pts. Now all of a sudden it seems like a good choice to take, but it’s not something we would consider a problem in the meta. Averagely 3 of these would get 10/11 shots between them and get a total of 7/8 hits from that, now considering you’ve paid almost 500 points for the ability to have that amount of indirect fire in your army, I’d say that was fair play. Now I think from that we could agree that the mechanic of shooting units indirectly in the game is not too bad in itself.

I believe the problem is arising from units such as Hive Guard as they can gain an obnoxious amount of reliability when shooting indirectly and that leads to a non-enjoyable experience for atleast one player at the table. Now the shooting profile of Hive Guard with Impaler Cannons is very similar to that of a Plagueburst Crawler, Strength 8, AP-2 and Damage d3, but there are some buffs I am going to run you through which explain why they need nerfing urgently. They can get +1 to hit just for having a unit of Warriors stood nearby with the correct upgrade, they can have rerolls to hit from a character nearby with the Swarm Leader Warlord Trait and they have a stratagem which allows them to have additional hits for each 6 they roll to hit. Now this means they are hitting on 2+ with rerolls and exploding 6’s leading to an average of 14 hits from a unit which only has 12 shots. The reason that’s so ridiculous is that they are getting averagely twice the number of hits as 3 Plagueburst Crawlers added together which cost 500 points and this unit of Hive Guard is only 300 points. If that wasn’t enough this unit can spend 2 Command Points and fire for a second time in the same shooting phase for a total of 28 hits averagely and thats the same amount of hits as 1000 points worth of Plaguebursts. RIDICULOUS!!

Tau are also having a similar effect on the game because they can, if they so wish, pump out well over 100 shots each turn that can target units which are not visible to the bearer and they can do this fairly reliably and from a very safe distance away where they can not get hit back. This again is contributing to the bad feels of playing against non-interactive armies.

Now what can be done to balance indirect fire so that it doesn’t leave such a bad experience in the minds of players and also can still remain a viable mechanic in Warhammer 40k? Well i have a few ideas and they wouldn’t be very hard to impliment. I believe indirect fire is becoming obnoxious currently due to the fact some units can do it very very efficiently, now if we introduced a rule where you could only ever hit on the unmodified roll of a 4+ if you are targeting a unit that is not visible to you, that would hamper the reliability but still leave the option attractive enough for players to include such units in their force. Also alongside that rule if a second ruling was added where such units can never benefit from any rerolls to hit i think that in itself would also balance the rule so much so that no other nerfs need be implemented. Imagine if all units that targetted something they could not see, could only ever hit on the roll of a 4+ with no modifiers and no rerolls to hit allowed. That would mean averagely half of their shots would hit which means the mechanic is still a very powerful one in the game but is no longer overpowered. That I think is a great way to hit the mechanic because it nerfs it, but doesn’t completely shut it out as a viable option to the point where no player sees the point in even taking such units.

Now that is my opinion on the topic of Out of Line of Sight shooting, but I would be really interested in hearing what you all have to say on the matter as well, so please leave your thoughts and comments below and I will make sure to reply. Peace out, Mani!!

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