The New Approved Ops 2023: Hazardous Areas

This week Games Workshop dropped a matched play update for the new Killzone Bheta-Decima terrain set. So we asked Ace to provide some thoughts on the new rules and what they mean for competitive play.

Attention operators! Today we bring you a short brief covering the new “Approved Ops 2023 Hazardous Areas” pdf, specifically made to allow players to use the new Bheta-Decima terrain with the Critical Operations Missions cards used for competitive events.

The Approved Ops 2023:

The first major note here is that the pack recommends using the scatter terrain markers in the Bheta-Decima box as objective markers. This will be at the TO’s discretion, but if they choose to do so, these markers have the Light and Traversible traits. We think it makes the most sense to use them, Beta-Decima needs as much cover as it can get. Yet this still leaves problems with factions that can ignore light cover such as Pathfinders. Also operatives can be positioned on top of these small hatches, which is good for polishing up positioning problems that may arise in games.

In addition to the above changes, several Tac Ops have been adapted for the new environment:

  • Plant Transponder: You can ignore gantries and ferratonic furnace when you want to choose the location of a Transponder. This means that as long as there is no barricade or objective nearby you can do it on the new terrain.
  • Secure Vantage: To be able to do it at least half of the piece must be in enemy territory. It seems this one was deemed to easy on a board that is composed ENTIRELY of vantage points.
  • Secure Center line: Normally only operatives at ground level count towards this objective, but this change allows operatives on vantages to eligible.
    Central control: This Tac Op is basically replaced, and now you must control the Ferratonic Furnace, but operatives have to be on top of it to do so.

As you can see a majority of these changes are related to Security, often considered the weakest Tac Op category. In some cases they are required to make these playable AT ALL.

In addition to these updated rules, the download contains several new map layouts, and we’ll have more on those as we have the opportunity to test them – though we’re certainly eager to give them a try.

Final thoughts:

This is a nice update to the new Kill Zone as it gets it ready for tournament play prior to any large events but we still have some key concerns. Unfortunately, there are still a number of lingering issues we brought up in our prior review of the Killzone, such as how to handle Obscuring ignoring mechanics, Jump tests, Forward Deployment, and Fly. All of these may cause players to find this Killzone weighted against them in ways that may feel unfair in a competitive environment, particularly if this is the only terrain set in use.

Maybe in a future FAQ this will change but until then, a man can dream! Until then, see you at the tables – Ace out!

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