This is Part 1 of the Rules Analysis series.
Key Changes in 7th Edition
Turn Order of Operations and the Movement Phase
1) The introduction of "start of turn" and "end of turn" phases - In 6th Edition, any abilities or equipment that were resolved at the "start of the turn" would be resolved at the start of the movement phase which often created conflict as to the order of operations for multiple abilities of this type. This famously resulted in rulebook FAQs for manifesting Blessing type psychic powers before Reserves rolls but still created confusion as to units arriving from reserves using Blessings, Maledictions and Conjurations in the same turn. Now, all these abilities and actions are resolved before the actual movement phase, and they further clarified the same "phase" for the end of the turn. Note that these do not count towards the Runes of Fate psychic power "Death Mission" in regards to phases, but it will nonetheless help to differentiate Reserves abilities or other effects from interfering with other actions resolved with the initiation or closing of a game or player turn. This is mostly to clear up overlapping rules and the order of operations and is a welcome change to get rid of unnecessary rules confusion and potential arguments.
2) The introduction of a Psychic Phase - Going hand in hand with the order of operations in regards to Reserve rolls and manifesting certain psychic powers mentioned above, a dedicated Psychic Phase has been introduced to stream-line all psychic abilities into one convenient area. Now you can cast powers such as Iron Arm or Hallucination the turn a psyker arrives from reserve, while being able to move before using these powers increases the odds of the preferred target unit being in range to cast the psychic power upon. This also has the notable effect of removing the restriction on firing witchfires as opposed to the models' standard ranged weapons and thus gives psykers armed with guns more effective firepower to work with. A Hive Tyrant with a pair of twin-linked brain leech devourers and Warp Lance can now use all three in the same player turn and aim the psychic power and ranged weapons at separate targets, devastating a Land Raider with the former and shred a Rhino with the latter, for example. As well as the "start of turn" and "end of turn" having clear time slots in a player turn, introducing a dedicated Psychic Phase stream-lines Warhammer 40,000 to be simpler and easier to keep track of.
3) Unit Coherency clarifications - In 6th Edition, Unit Coherency was described as a flat 2" except in the case of Ruins where this was increased to 6". What made this rule vague was that the two were split up with the latter only applying for Ruins almost 100 pages further into the miniature rulebook. Now, this blanket rule applies not only to Ruins but to all instances where such an issue would arise. Certain custom terrain pieces that were not classified as Ruins struggled with this rule and I am glad this has been clarified and simplified to one single rule rather than two different rules spread dozens of pages apart.
1) The introduction of Psychic Focus and Chaos Psychic Focus - Many psykers - particularly Mastery Level 1 psykers - were constrained by knowing only one psychic power from one discipline either of their choice or forced upon them. There was no real penalty to splitting powers from multiple disciplines and this was common for an Eldar Farseer to, say, take Guide from Runes of Fate and then roll both other powers on Divination. Now, all Mastery Level 1 psykers automatically know the Primaris Power of their chosen discipline, and for higher Mastery Level psykers, choosing to generate all of their powers from one discipline gives them the Primaris Power in addition to any randomly generated powers. For psykers such as Broodlords, Pink Horrors or Eldar Warlocks this is an amazing change and serves to give them so much more versatility on the battlefield in terms of potential abilities, while for psykers such as Tigurius or a Farseer there is now that incentive to pick one discipline and stick with it. I like this change as it doesn't necessarily favour solo-discipline play but gives players a good reason to do that while sacrificing some good powers elsewhere. For Chaos Psykers in particular, knowing the Primaris Power of their chosen god's psychic discipline and still being able to generate powers from other disciplines is a great ability and gives players another good reason to purchase Marks such as the Mark of Tzeentch. This potetnially means a Mastery Level 2 Sorcerer with the Mark of Tzeentch will know the Tzeentch Primaris automatically which satisfies the requirement for god-specific lores and can thus roll their two powers on another discipline such as Telepathy. Note that the requirement says "roll one power", but the intent of the Chaos Psychic Focus rule seems to differ. For now, play it as "roll one power" as the mandatory power but expect an FAQ later on.
2) Psychic Focus can be lost - As a minor counter-point to Psychic Focus (but not Chaos Psychic Focus), if a psyker for any reason generates a psychic power from another discipline to the one they have Psychic Focus in during the game, they immediately lose the Primaris Power gained via Psychic Focus. I can only really see this affecting models with the Scrolls of Magnus or the Blue Scribes, so I wouldn't pay too much heed to it.
3) Force special rule is now the Force psychic power - This alteration brings about a handful of big changes in how the Force special rule will function. The first of these is that Force weapons are now subject to Deny the Witch - though no modifiers are available as it does not target enemy units - and thus opponents can have some say in stopping a Grey Knight Purifier squad from tearing down their Dark Eldar Talos Pain Engine, for example. This also gives the operating player more tactical considerations; you will have the guaranteed knowledge of a unit either having Force weapons activated or not before declaring any charges and can thus plan accordingly. The second change is that Force weapons will now be activated until the controlling players' next Psychic Phase rather than just applying for one assault phase in which they were utilized, meaning a unit that activates them can deal out the death for an entire game turn based on one successful test. In addition, a character armed with a force weapon that is attached to a unit armed with force weapons now no longer requires more than one test to activate all available force weapons; only a single test is required for the entire unit. Perhaps the biggest advantage of this change for Force Weapons now is that applicable Feel No Pain rolls can no longer be taken before the requirements for activating Force Weapons could be fulfilled; now, if a unit activates them in the Psychic Phase no Feel No Pain rolls will be possible against them for an entire game turn!
4) Warp Charge generation - In 6th Edition, all pyskers generated a number of warp charge points equal to their psychic mastery level. Warp Charge points were not shared among differing psykers; a mastery level three Farseer could only use the three warp charge points he generated and not others generated by accompanying Warlocks, for example. This also meant that a mastery level one psyker could not attempt to manifest a psychic power with a warp charge cost of two as they had insufficient warp charge points to cast that power. Now, all psykers contribute to one pool of warp charge points; the total of all psychic mastery levels across the army are added up in addition to a single D6 roll made by the player whose' turn it is. The opponent gains a number of warp charge points for Deny the Witch purposes equal to the D6 roll made by the opposing player in addition to the total of their own psychic mastery levels across the army. Let us look at this example; a mastery level three Farseer is in the same force as one mastery level two Spiritseer, and rolls a four on the D6 roll at the start of their Psychic Phase. The Eldar player thus generates nine warp charge points, while the opponent who has one mastery level two Librarian instead generates six warp charge points as shown in the example below. This also means that any single psyker can use as many warp charge points as they want to manifest their psychic powers which, again for a Farseer in particular, means they could manifest three Warp Charge two powers and still use their Ghosthelm to ignore Perils of the Warp all in the same Psychic Phase.
The Farseer and Spiritseer each generate three and two warp charge points, respectively. The Librarian generates two warp charge points. The D6 roll for both sides in this Psychic Phase was a four, so both sides add four warp charge points to their warp charge pools.
6) Units cannot manifest the same psychic power twice or more - This is a very important change and one that will directly affect psychic death-star units such as "Screamerstars" or "Jetseer Councils" and even basic psychic units such as Pink Horrors with attached Heralds of Tzeentch. In the case of psychic death-star units, perhaps the most important psychic power - aside from maybe Fortune for the "Jetseer Council" or "Beastpack-star" - is (and was) Forewarning. Now that you can only cast it once in the same unit, both you and your opponent will likely put all your warp charge dice into getting it off or stopping it - the same theory applies for other powers, of course. This will likely end up being more of a lateral change for those death-star units though as denying Blessings is incredibly difficult anyway and there is no limit to the amount of dice you can throw at getting that one crucial power off. Forcing through powers on less dice might be more difficult but there is also the possibility for players to put those psychic characters in other units. This is definitely a down-grade for Pink Horrors and attached Heralds of Tzeentch with a particular Locus as now only one or the other can manifest Flickering Fire of Tzeentch. Going hand in hand with Force weapons now being activated for both psyker and attached unit or vice-versa, if a unit fails to activate its force weapons with the character it can't then make another attempt with the unit which could be an issue for Grey Knight players.
7) Psykers and Transports - Previously, Psykers could only target themselves, the transport itself or their attached unit inside the same transport as them with psychic powers like Blessings or Maledictions. This is now no longer possible as psykers can now only manifest psychic powers from inside transports if they are Witchfire (or sub-type) powers provided the transport has a fire point. Considering that Blessings, Conjurations and Maledictions were previously manifested in the Movement Phase and are now down in the subsequent Psychic Phase, this is only a good thing for psykers jumping out of their transports as they can move and get into range before casting their powers now. This is a change that encourages psykers to actually get out of their transports to use their powers unless they have Witchfires available and I for one really like it.
8) Psychic Tests - Instead of rolling 2D6 against the psykers' own unmodified Leadership value and passing based off scoring equal to or lower than the psykers' Leadership value, this is all now done by using a number of warp charge points to attempt a psychic test. For each die that rolls a 4+ out of the warp charge points used there is an equivalent number of "successes"; the number of "successes" required is equal to the Warp Charge cost of the psychic power being manifested. To successfully pass a psychic test to use a Warp Charge two power, for example, a psyker would thus need two "successes" or two 4+ results on the dice. The amount of warp charge points or warp charge dice used to cast a psychic power is completely up to the player; you can use anywhere from two to twenty dice to successfully cast a warp charge one to three psychic power.
9) Deny the Witch - In the same vein as all psykers contributing to a total warp charge pool for casting psychic powers, this is true also for Deny the Witch. Where each individual unit used to perform its own Deny the Witch attempt, now all attempts draw from the defending sides' warp charge pool. Where psykers manifesting powers earn successes by rolling 4+ results on the dice, Deny the Witch attempts follow the same dice-rolling mechanics and (lack of) restrictions but instead require an equivalent number of 6+ results subject to modifiers to the opponents' successes to stop the psychic power. If a player used three dice to manifest a warp charge one power and rolled two 4+ results, the opponent would thus need to roll two 6+ results subject to modifiers to stop the psychic power. This means Deny the Witch is incredibly difficult now for most armies excluding the psychic heavy forces, but the potential for denying Blessings, Maledictions and Conjurations does serve to soften the blow somewhat.
10) Perils of the Warp - The new Perils of the Warp still operates off of psychic tests but now functions quite distinctly to its previous incarnation. Rolling double ones when performing the psychic test has no effect, but rolling at least two sixes on the dice used to manifest a psychic power will cause Perils of the Warp. This means that Perils is far more likely if a player uses the average amount of dice required to successfully cast a psychic power if its warp charge cost is two or more, while using certain psychic disciplines further increases the odds of this occurring. If Perils does manifest, the player must roll a D6 and apply the equivalent result on the Perils of the Warp chart instead of just automatically causing a wound with no saves allowed (other than Feel No Pain) on the psyker - on that note, Perils has been clarified to cause an automatic glancing hit with no saves allowed on a psyker if it has the vehicle unit type. Results one through four are guaranteed to cause at least one wound or glancing hit to the Psyker, while five through six can be avoided by passing a subsequent Leadership test. There are various effects for results one, two and six based on passing or failing a Leadership test but the high Leadership of most psykers means this won't be an issue in many games....but Wyrdvane Psykers and Astropaths beware the "one" and "two" results!
11) Perils and a Brotherhood of Psykers/Sorcerers - Thank you Games Workshop on behalf of Grey Knight players everywhere (and us poor Thousand Son players)! Previously, Perils' interaction with a Brotherhood of Psykers was that it would first inflict wounds on the "character" model(s) in the unit and thus each time a Grey Knight caused Perils its Justicar would die immediately. That it affects a random model means that it can of course still affect the Justicar equivalent but the lack of a guarantee is such a big boost for those kinds of units.
12) Modifiers for Deny the Witch - One of the common mistakes I am seeing in regards to Deny the Witch modifiers in the new rules is that players assume merely having modifiers through a psyker unrelated to the target unit still means that affects the Deny the Witch rolls for that unit. Per the rules, the unit targeted is the one that makes the Deny the Witch test with the following wording for modifiers; "Apply any of the following modifiers that apply to each individual dice roll: (if) The target unit contains one or more models with - Modifier". You can't have a Lord of Change sitting on the other side of the battlefield contribute to a Deny the Witch test for a unit of Bloodletters, for example. Modifiers also do not apply to stopping powers that don't specifically target an enemy unit such as Blessings or Conjurations.
13) Psychic Hoods - The only exceptions to the rule listed above in regards to modifiers for Deny the Witch attempts are Psychic Hoods. Where 6th Edition allowed a psyker equipped with one of these to act as if they were in a friendly unit within 6" for Deny the Witch attempts, 7th Edition has increased this range to 12" and thus made the Psychic Hood far more valuable than it was previously - though it still doesn't reach 5th Edition levels of usefulness.
14) Conjuration and Generating Psychic Powers - Those summoned Pink Horrors look rather weak. It would be a shame if they....could cast psychic powers. YEEEEAAAAHHHH! Bad joke aside, yes, Pink Horrors and any other unit you could summon with psychic powers - like a Lord of Change - can now manifest psychic powers. This solves so many issues everyone had in regards to units of Pink Horrors being summoned through the Portalglyph or a particular Warp Storm table result, while being able to summon Daemons through Malefic Daemonology also makes this change so awesome.
15) Conjuring Daemons - As if summoning entire units of Daemons wasn't enough, there's a nice little rule hidden in the Psychic Phase section that I think quite a few players have missed. If the conjured Daemon unit has the option for an Icon of Chaos (standard bearer), Instrument of Chaos (musician) or unit champion then you can take those upgrades for free provided they are modeled on the unit summoned. While other upgrades are unavailable except where stated otherwise, being able to add a "challenge monkey" even just for an extra attack, a re-roll on any harmful Warp Storm table results (if the primary detachment is Chaos Daemons) and both a bonus to combat resolution and safer deep strike scatter for other Deep Striking Daemons all for free is really neat! Definitely try to model a few icon bearers on your Daemons at bare minimum just so you can safely Conjure more Daemons without worrying about deep strike scatter.
16) Manifesting Multiple Witchfires and the Shooting Phase - Per the 6th Edition rules, a model could not manifest more than one witchfire per turn unless they had a specific exemption to the rule - most notable of which was Ahriman. This was mainly because they counted as firing a ranged weapon in the shooting phase and most models couldn't shoot more than one ranged weapon anyway. Now with the new Psychic Phase for all psychic powers, a psyker can manifest as many witchfires as they know provided they have the necessary number of warp charge dice to do so. While witchfires have never been as useful as blessings or maledictions traditionally for various reasons, this is still a helpful buff for psykers like Ahriman with access to lots of low cost witchfire powers. On the other hand, a psyker with a witchfire power and one or more ranged weapons - like a flying Hive Tyrant - can now actually use all the tools available to them rather than having to sacrifice one to use the witchfire power. This isn't the buff witchfires needed to really push out blessings in particular but it is nonetheless a much appreciated change.
17) Beams no longer reduce in Strength - One of the more quickly forgotten but central rules for psychic beams (beans, you say?) was that the Strength value decreased by one for every model or building and ruin it touched, reducing in Strength the further the beam stretched away from the psyker. Therefore, the closest model was the only to take the full Strength hit which really reduced the value of beams billed as anti-vehicle powers. With this change, beams are now much better than they used to be if players actually remembered the Strength dropping - so many players I know of forgot this that it was almost comical! This is a very nice and necessary change that serves to make powers like the Bolt of Change far more useful.
18) Focused Witchfire Activation - Like with 6th Edition, the method for actually choosing the individual target of a Focused Witchfire is based around the psychic test for manifesting the power. In 7th Edition this is done by rolling at least one more "success" or 4+ than the warp charge cost of the power. In practice, this means that a warp charge one power such as Crush would require two "successes" or 4+ dice rolls for the player to be able to select the target model rather than have the target randomized. This is probably as likely as rolling under a six on 2D6 if you roll two dice at casting a warp charge one power, but the value here is that if you really want to select the target model then you can throw any number of extra dice at guaranteeing that particular effect.
19) The introduction of Malefic and Sanctic Daemonology - Adding what amounts to two entirely distinct psychic disciplines to the main rulebook for every psyker in the game other than those aligned to the Tyranid faction is a huge addition to the game. You can expect to see so many more varied psychic powers in 7th Edition than in 6th Edition not just from these disciplines in particular but from player-perceived counters to both sides of Daemonology and particularly the Malefic kind. Speaking of Malefic Daemonology, is it fair to say that we finally have proper Conjuration type psychic powers in the game? Unless I am mistaken, Malefic Daemonology brings us the first Conjuration abilities we have seen ever since their rules were listed in the 6th Edition rulebook. These two not only offer massive changes for Grey Knights and Chaos Daemons in regards to tactical make-up and potential army builds, but the sheer potential of summoning Daemons in particular is insane and will shake the competitive meta up quite a bit.
20) The risks of using Daemonology - The theme behind Daemonology is that only those who have prepared for its use through rigorous training can hope to employ it safely. To represent this, non Grey Knight units suffer Perils of the Warp on any double when taking a psychic test rather than just a double six, while units with the Daemon special rule can't use Sanctic Daemonology. Units with the Daemon special rule are the only ones that don't suffer Perils of the Warp on any double when employing Malefic Daemonology, though Grey Knights can't employ this discipline. Not only does this make sense where harnessing the power of Daemons or the power to stop them is reserved to only the most well trained psykers or Daemons themselves because of how dangerous Daemons are, but that each side can't choose the others' discipline helps to distinguish them truly as rivals.
The Shooting Phase
1) Individual weapon types are fired separately - More stream-lining, more stream-lining! 6th Edition had issues with wound allocation in regards to maximum ranges, order of saves taken and so on. In the new rules you must instead resolve each weapon with the same name in a unit separately to other weapons, giving players more control of how wounds are allocated. This also eliminates the wonky maximum range issues that allowed wounds to be allocated from an 8" long template to models that were well outside of its range at the back of the target unit. Let us use a squad of Tactical Marines with a flamer and heavy bolter as an example of how these rules work in practice. The ten Space Marines are faced by twelve Tau Fire Warriors and an attached Cadre Fireblade. Ignoring bolt pistols and grenades, I have three weapon types to choose from; bolters, a flamer and a heavy bolter. I must choose to fire either the bolters first, the flamer, or the heavy bolter. To make this example easier, I have included a picture with a possible set-up of both units.
As you can see, the Fire Warriors are relatively well spread out and thus the flamer will only be able to reach the middle of the unit at best. If my Tactical Squad elects to fire their bolters first, I run the risk of running out of any viable models to use the flamer against as it will not be in range of any Fire Warriors. If I choose to fire the heavy bolter after the flamer but before the bolters and kill a few more Fire Warriors, I will likely be out of rapid fire range with a few of my bolters and thus lose out on shots against the squad. This is because each weapon group based on names is fired in sequence rather than simultaneously. In this particular example, it would be most advantageous to first fire the flamer, then fire the bolters, then fire the heavy bolter. In most circumstances you will want to use the short ranged weapons first and then the long ranged weapons so as to maximise your total potential hits against an enemy unit. Template weapons in particular generally take priority because a template can only hit as many models as there are in range and in the unit at a given time, as opposed to normal weapons like bolters that can hit a target multiple times even if it consists of only one model. This is also because the longer ranged a weapon, the less likely it is to be out of range when it is fired later in sequence. Note that the template weapon rules cover multiple template weapons in the same unit - you work out the number of hits for each one separately then roll to wound or penetrate armour normally. This does create a bit of an issue as to whether or not you still resolve each template weapons' hits first or if they are still bound by the "weapon name" rule. Also be aware that you still cannot allocate wounds to models you cannot see.
2) Clarification that invulnerable saves affect vehicles - While this really wasn't that big of a deal in 6th Edition due to certain rules found in various sections of the rulebook, quite a few players still found this a confusing issue because the rules for vehicles using invulnerable saves weren't specified in the actual invulnerable save section. This is not really a change but more a "round-up" of varying rules that should halt any further confusion that vehicles can indeed use invulnerable saves. This is great for beginners in particular as it means they won't need to go through at least two different pages in completely differing sections of the rulebook to find the correct rules.
3) Units that have Gone to Ground cannot fire Overwatch - In 6th Edition there were very few penalties to certain armies for going to ground on an objective to survive incoming fire if it meant they could still fire Overwatch at a charging unit, for example. They would automatically get back up when assaulted anyway and would get a defensive boost in the process. Now, being unable to fire Overwatch actually gives a tactical consideration to the Go to Ground rule and not just using it at every opportunity if you had some form of mitigating its effects like Tyranid Synapse or Astra Militarum Orders. While Overwatch isn't necessarily all that important for most units, some with lots of shooting or who get buffs when firing Overwatch will now have to stop and think about this rule. This also drastically increases the value of weapons that cause Pinning tests such as Blastmasters or the Tyranid psychic power The Horror so that friendly assault units can charge without fear of failing the charge or losing models based on defensive fire.
The Assault Phase
1) Units can charge vehicles they cannot hurt - A common rules misconception - one that even I was guilty of - in 6th Edition was that units could charge targets they could not hurt but only so long as the victim was not also a vehicle. This rule was cleverly hidden away in the Vehicle section and thus prevented players from attempting to tie up walkers in close combat or surround a transport so it could not move with an extra "free" 2D6 inch charge move. Now, tying up a Mortis Contemptor or a Forgefiend in close combat with a cheap throw-away unit of Plague Zombies or Termagants is both possible and a great tactic. In other words, Tyranid players rejoice!
2) Changes to charging through difficult terrain - I like this change as it stops players from trying to work out if Move Through Cover affects charging through difficult terrain with the all too similar extra dice roll, while the potential to fail a charge of 2" or even 1" is hilarious. That latter one is worse than before as regardless of discarding the highest dice roll if your unit was 2" away from the opponents' then there was no possibility of failing the charge, though the idea of a Wraithknight bumping its toe on a tree stump and stopping short of some Fire Warriors literally in stomping range is just too amusing personally.
Fun Note - Charging a unit that had Gone to Ground never caused an Initiative penalty for charging through difficult terrain in 6th Edition. It is hidden away in the Multiple Combats section.
3) Models charging through difficult terrain pile in at the Initiative 1 step - This is a minor change and one that might have an affect on which models get to fight in a combat. I see this mostly affecting abilities that target models in base contact or attacks that "detonate" causing blast templates to be placed such as Prince Yriel's Eye of Wrath.
Non-Vehicle Unit Types
1) Bikes and Jetbikes gained the Very Bulky special rule - I seem to recall this being clarified somewhere in an FAQ, but in any case the Very Bulky special rule has been added to Bikes and Jetbikes in their unit profile section for convenience. This mostly affects the Tau R'varna from Forge World and is generally just for future-proofing I assume.
2) Eldar Jetbikes and the assault phase move - One minor change to note here is that Eldar Jetbikes are now forbidden from doing their 2D6 move in the assault phase on the same turn in which they turbo-boosted. I can't see this being too much of an issue seeing as a combined 48" of movement should almost always be enough to get Eldar Jetbikes where they need to go anywhere, but I guess for capturing objectives or scoring certain victory points this might have an affect in one out of a thousand games.
3) Flying Monstrous Creatures and Jink clarifications - The old rules referenced a "Dive" that swooping Flying Monstrous Creatures could perform when shot at, similar to the "Evade" used by a Zooming Flyer. As with the new rules for Jink, using this would give the model a cover save at the cost of Snap Shots; seeing as Jink functions mostly identically, it makes sense that Flying Monstrous Creatures gained the core special rule. There are two main changes here, the first of which is that the choice to "Dive" was made after any hits and wounds were inflicted. whereas the new Jink is declared before any to hit rolls are made. The other tweak is more significant as it allows Gliding Flying Monstrous Creatures to claim a Jink save, giving them a minimum 4+ cover save against any impending shooting attack even while moving as a Jump Mosntrous Creature. For assault-oriented flying monstrous creatures that now cannot charge when they switch flying modes, this is a significant defensive ability they have gained to somewhat make up for having to endure at least one round of shooting. Note though that a Flying Monstrous Creature that fails a Grounding Test cannot make use of the Jink special rule until the start of the next player turn.
4) Flying Monstrous Creatures assault restrictions - Perhaps the least surprising change we saw for Flying Monstrous Creatures to limit their incredible close combat threat range in a rule-set that previously (and apparently still does) favoured shooting was to stop them from charging when they swapped flight modes. The effects of this really depend on the Flying Monstrous Creature in question and whether it really damages their competitive potential or doesn't bother them whatsoever. A Bloodthirster or several Daemon Prince builds really despise this change, while there is now little to no reason to ever take a melee Flying Hive Tyrant over a ranged variant. However, monsters such as Fateweaver, Harpies and Hive Crones generally don't mind as for the most part they are far better suited to ranged or support roles.
4) Flying Monstrous Creatures that are Swooping cannot Fall Back - One of the lesser known tricks to pull against certain flying monstrous creatures such as the Tyranid Harpy or Hive Crone was to use Terrify and force it to fall back even while swooping. The rules surrounding this were certainly vague and confusing though their combined application was admittedly rare. Still, it is nice to see that this has been fixed up and is no longer a point of contention.
5) Flying Monstrous Creatures cannot leave the board when they arrive - Flying Monstrous Creatures tend to be expensive, but often they are also crucial to your army because of a Warlord Trait or other army-wide ability they provide. The most classic example of this is Fateweaver; sometimes, keeping the two-headed bird off the field of battle could prove pivotal so that your opponents' massed Skyfire was wasted until you could destroy it first. As is the theme with the Flying Monstrous Creature changes, there are certainly improvements to their core rules but they are balanced by more limitations.
6) Grounding Tests only work on unsaved wounds - Oh, thank you, thank you so much rules designers! I grovel at your feet! This is the change I think everyone agreed was absolutely necessary for Flying Monstrous Creatures if only for the sake of common sense and logic. How exactly would a titanic creature weighing several tonnes plummet from the skies just because it got a fusillade of red laser dots to the face? This means actually grounding a Flying Monstrous Creature is darned near impossible for most ground units lacking Skyfire without re-rolls or massed shots with good offensive stats. This has also appropriately been balanced out with Flying Monstrous Creatures now unable to declare a charge on the same turn they swap flying modes.
7) Only one Grounding Test per phase resolved at its conclusion - Considering how much I already bumbled so positively about the above change, this one in particular in conjunction with the other just makes me swoon with joy. Forcing units to actually cause unsaved wounds to satisfy the demands of grounding tests would have been good enough, but now having only one grounding test per turn means a Flying Monstrous Creature has at worst a 33% chance (rounding down) of being grounded in any shooting phase. My precious, dear old Fateweaver; Games Workshop decided to make you even better!
Thanks all for taking a gander at the first in a series of 7th Edition rules analysis' articles. I hope you found the content presented either entertaining or useful (or both) and I am eager to hear your feedback. Thank you and have a nice day!