|Learn it, use it.|
Let's look at the Huskblade, Shadowfield, Soul Trap build for the Archon. Right now, it sucks ass because being an unusual power weapon, it's AP3. With almost every Space Marine IC in the game having 2+ armor, this makes for a very lame time if they challenge you to a duel. Or would it? It's one of those things those double-edged swords because you'll probably go first as the Archon being I7, and you'll hopefully force some ID wounds down your opponent's throat. Sure, he'll have to roll a 1, but there's no FNP involved and if he fails and doesn't have EW, he dies. Not to mention he'll be stuck in combat with you and the chances of wounds getting through your 2+ invul is also lower. In short, you are better in duels than most ICs, because the threat of Instant Death is always there, and a 2+ invulnerable save is just bullshit for duels.
Would I always challenge with my Huskblade Archon? Fuck yes. The reason why is because you literally shit on every SM Sarge in the game (aside from 2+ ones like Termies or Sanguinary Guard). You get in combat, issue a challenge, and if they decline, they can't attack. If you charged a unit of Space Marines and the sarge is carrying a Power Fist, you issue a challenge and either force him to fight, or not use his Fist. This allows faster ICs like Archons the ability to pick out Power Fists and slay them before they get the strike and therefore, saving your IC from all sorts of ID threat.
Challenges, in a way, can keep your ICs safe. If you know you can kill his character or you know his character will have no chance of killing you, you issue challenges to stay alive. Not only will you kill a high value target (Sergeant with a Power Fist), but you'll stay safe since no one else can attack you. Not that matters really because characters can no longer be singled out. Placement, however, is more important because you can now move your character in BtB with some models, roll some 6s to hit and allocate wounds to models anywhere in the combat. This gives you the chances to pick off a Fist, an IC in the odd case no one issues a challenge, or some other valued target. Of course they'll get the LoS! rule, but there's always the chance he'll fail that and the target will get cut down.
Another thing to do is always run your IC with a full squad that already has a squad leader. This means that if you run into a particular boss IC, your chump can step up to the challenge so your IC doesn't have to die. Keep in mind that when you refuse a challenge, your opponent can choose which model retires. This can mean the model with the highest leadership, so if your assault troops rolls over his shit, you can almost bet they're running.
Alright, now that challenges are out of the way, let's talk about the changes to the FOC. The first time I read this, I laughed long and hard, but mostly hard. Can you believe that once you reach 2K, you're allowed to take 12 Troops, 6 Fast Attack, Elites and Heavies? How fucking crazy is that? Combine that with Allies and Fortifications, I don't even know what to say. The meta around my area used to play with 2K, but if some cheeseball thinks 2K will allow him to bring 6 Ravagers, I'm just going to punch him in the face. This is written as such, so it's not like he's breaking the rules, it's just not cool to do so. I think the meta will now be 1999 instead of 2K just because of potential exploits and cheese, but I since I've been loving 1500 and 1750 lately, I think that's where most of my games will be.
Now, what about Allies and Fortifications? I see that Allies don't require a certain point range to be enabled, so I guess you can mix and match at any point value. The same goes for Fortifications. I'm assuming players will be building lists with Allies in mind, but surely not Fortifications right? It just seems strange to me that players can buy fortified defenses to start out with. Imagine playing against someone and he drops down a Fortress of Redemption. My first reaction would be: Not sure if serious or not..
Next, let's talk about cover saves on vehicles. With 25% being a really easy number to reach for the purposes of cover, it looks like you'll be able to mess with people in terms of how durable your vehicles actually are. For point of reference, check out pg.75 of the BRB. If you're in a 4+ cover because of ruins, if you angle your vehicle so the shooter can't see any part of the vehicle they're intended to shoot, you get +1 bonus to your cover save. This is great for my Dark Eldar vehicles because the front has such a narrow frontage and the cover save is the same all around, I'll be getting a lot out of this particular rule.
That's all I got for now. More to come later.