Warhammer 40K 7th Edition: The Dust is Settling

Tabletop GamingIt’s been three months since the release of Warhammer 40K 7th edition and it seems people are getting accustomed to it and more comfortable with the rules. I thought I would take a look at 7th edition now that some time has passed.

This is not a full on review of 7th edition but instead a look at some of the more notable aspects of it. I am also not a competitive player and my gaming is pretty well limited to the LGS I play at. I’m an average 40K gamer and this is just my humble opinion and observations.

Unbound Armies

Warhammer 40K 7th Edition: White Dwarf
This scared the hell out of so many people some are still curled in the fetal position.

If there’s one thing that had a majority of players up in arms it was the introduction of Unbound armies. It was one of the early confirmed rumors before the rulebook hit and quickly started shadowing the release of the 7th edition. It put a sour taste in the mouths of many, myself included. One of the few balancing elements of 40K, the Force Organization Chart, was being thrown out the window. The doors were being kicked wide open.

I don’t know about you but I have yet to face an Unbound army. I have played 19 games so far in 7th edition and not seen one Unbound army. The rule Objective Secured seems to have kept many Unbound armies as a passing thought to many players. To build a successful Unbound army I feel is far harder than many think as you have to be able to overcome the lack of Objective Secured.

I’m glad to see that this particular threat, Unbound armies, has remained just a threat and nothing more; at least in my area. I would be cool seeing a thematic Unbound army but not one geared at just tabling an opponent.

Psychic Phase

One of the oldest and most powerful psykers yet after 10,000 years he still isn’t an Eternal Warrior.

This was yet another rumor confirmed early, the psychic phase. The 40K community seemed split on the subject at first.

It’s a powerful phase of the game by all means. The ability to cast psychic powers with no impact on your movement, shooting or assaulting is a huge boon to psykers. I feel that psykers got more powerful in 7th. They are not casting as much as before, and now they face being shut down on any power cast, but the overall change of powers into a phase of the game really benefited psykers.

That being said, where I play, psykers aren’t the big scary threat they could be. I find many players are forgoing a psyker completely. Some people just don’t want to deal with another phase of the game when it’s voluntary. Others take a psyker to boost their army but I’m not seeing the psyker abuse that could be happening and I’m glad for it.

Maelstrom of War Missions

The introduction of the Maelstrom of War missions had a lot of players extremely excited. I couldn’t wait to see how dynamic mission would play out; how they would alter the game itself.

I am now, as I was then, still excited about Maelstrom of War missions. I’ve heard players complain about them, and I have read some valid points against the Maelstrom missions, but I still love them. It has made for a completely different game of 40K. How you build a list varies when considering Maelstrom of War missions. Of course, how the missions play out is night and day from the old missions.

In short, I enjoy the close games they create and the fact that you are never out of the game. I have seen games with 8pt margins swing in favor of the player who was trailing for so long. It’s a constant back and forth struggle for both players trying to achieve missions while preventing their opponent from doing the same.

Maelstrom missions are easily one of my favorite new features of 7th edition.

Codices, Supplements & Dataslates

Crimson Slaughter CodexThe first 7th edition codices are out: Orks, Space Wolves and Grey Knights. There’s a distinct trend developing with these codices too. Force Organization manipulation is far more toned down than it was in 5th and 6th edition. In general the new codices are offering point reductions, boosting underused units and toning down some of the more powerful units. The codices are serving as a great base to build an army from and then Games Workshop has been keeping a fast and steady stream of supplements coming to give you some of those old builds you enjoyed and to inject a bit more flavor into the army.

Dataslates are available to get some cool formations and new units as well as further increase the potential of a codex.

It seems that Games Workshop has realized we do not want to wait years before seeing new material for our favorite armies. We are getting new stuff at a breakneck pace these days and it can be overwhelming. However, I would rather be overwhelmed with too many choices than wait 4-5 years before I see something new again for my armies.

In time I feel this will level out to a more moderate pace and be far easier to keep up with. That being said, some players look at all this new stuff as required material and increasing the cost of the game. Nobody is required to buy a codex supplement or a dataslate, it’s all optional and not needed to play a game of 40K. You still only need your codex and a rulebook to play. The choices are there should you choose to utilize them but they are just options, additional ways to play an army.

As much as I love my Chaos Space Marines, I have only bought the Crimson Slaughter supplement for them. I do not own Black Legion or any of the dataslates. I may eventually pick them up but I’ve gotten along just fine without them as well.


The game of 40K is a vastly different game than it was a year ago but a far better game in my opinion. No edition of the game is without its share of problems but I have found 7th edition to be the most streamlined and cleanest edition I have played and I have played since 4th edition. The game is evolving, our armies are evolving and we have never been presented with so many options as to how we play as we are now.

What do you think of 7th edition? Was it a major shakeup for you or were you able to adapt quickly? What’s your favorite aspect of 7th?

  • I think the secret to unbound armies is the secret to all tabletop games. Don’t be a dick.

    If you play unbound armies in the spirit they were designed around, they are fun.

    If you play unbound armies because you hate people, and just want to win so you feel better about yourself…then it is not broken, the person pulling that crap is.

    I think the psychic phase worked out a lot better then everyone thought, because they didn’t realize just how hard getting powers off would be. It really put a dent in a lot of armies which just needed to roll a 10 or less to get powers off before (90%) to roughly a 4+ (50%). Having to guess how many dice to use (and increasing your chance of perils), just gives a great risk/reward system.

    I love malestrom missions. Every game I’ve played with them has come down to the wire. (usually a 2 pt spread max). As long as you discard the ones you can’t complete (most peoples house rule), it works quite well.

    I can see where you could just get a big run off, but as long as you have the actual cards, and shuffle the heck outta them, it seems ok!

    Agree with you as well on the supplements and such. Plus the blogs have such great coverage, you can get an idea of whether or not the book will help you prior to purchasing it.

    • The ability to abuse something with regards to intent is the case all around. If there’s some grey area in the rules, or a loophole, then it’s safe to say it wasn’t intended to be abused. I don’t imagine GW wants anything they put out there to be abused. It’s in this regard, Unbound armies being an easy example, that GW’s “miniature company first, gaming company second,” mentality shows through. They want people to build an army easily, take what you have and put it on the table, and to have fun creating thematic armies that aren’t possible under normal rules. However, the reality is that restriction removal opens the doors to douchey lists. I find they can be blinded by optimism and fail to see the repercussions. Of course, if everyone played as intended it wouldn’t be an issue.

      • I think there are a number of checks to balance out Unbound lists. Objective Secured is a factor but not the only one. The Maelstrom missions take a lot of value out of the face-beating, death start kind of approach by giving so many other ways to score victory points. Multiple detachments and the benefits of some of the special detachments allow you a great deal of flexibility without going for an Unbound list. The more restrictive Allies matrix blunts a lot of the cross faction shenanigans (though not all) and reduces the number of abusive options available to Unbound armies.

        In short, the way it has been implemented I don’t think Unbound really opens up many options that are any more abusive than could be achieved within a Battle Forged list. Unbound does open a lot of different options but I don’t think it gives you much of an advantage.

        • So far it seems they have a balance in place, agreed. I’m sure in time we’ll see one or two Unbound lists that makes the rounds on the internet, some that get people to notice, but overall I’m not real concerned; which is really my point.

          Most everything people were afraid of with 7th has been nothing to fear. So, people should crawl out from under their desks, get back to playing the game and having fun.

          • I agree. We’ll see some powerlists do the rounds but I don’t expect anything game breaking. So far this edition has a lot of promise. Nice article!

  • Berman

    Great article. Pretty much sums up my feelings on the edition. 6th was quickly spiraling into a death star 40k and 7th seems to have shaken that up some.

    • Thanks.

      6th Was definitely headed down a rocky road. It may very well be that’s why we saw 7th so fast. I know people love to dump on GW but they do watch and they do listen and they may have seen the faults and the writing on the wall and quickly jumped in to recover before things got too out of hand.

  • BenitoSenence

    Great article. Although this is a far better balanced system I feel the market approach to new and old players is seeing less of this work. I have only played a single game myself and watched more on YouTube. But most of my gamers just feel the money crunch in hard with the quick releases. Well keep up the great work you do here it still keeps me entertained and is why I still follow your work and play!

    • Thanks.

      What’s being released that you NEED to have though? The codices are flying out, which is great to see so many armies finally being brought inline with one another. As I said, supplements and dataslates are 100% optional. Sure, GW is trying to wrangle in more cash with these things but you don’t need them. I guess I’m not seeing where the game has somehow gotten more expensive.

      • BenitoSenence

        Well for AM and Tyranids it was easy to take the new codex and go. The new GK codex removed Inquisition and Assassins from the core. Meaning get more GK to supplement the loss or you need to get the dataslates to have the rules for an army I had already built from the old edition. I’ve been with GW for awhile tho isn’t all new with removing units but the cost of models makes the race a little more difficult

        • I can see that and it’s annoying when they remove units but it’s nothing new either. Hardly does a codex drop where you can play what you were previously. We always have to evolve and adapt. There’s always something, be it new units, removal of units, a change in how a unit performs, whatever.

          I’m not saying it doesn’t suck, we’ve all been through it with every single codex they release. Now, if they were putting out a new codex for the same army every year then that would be too much but the GK codex came out three years ago. I wouldn’t consider having to drop some cash every few years to bolster an army excessive by any means.

  • I like pie

    Honestly as far as I know the only thing I don’t like are eldar seer/deer councils, 5 dreadknights in a 1k listing all that kind of stuff. Otherwise the game seems to be going in a good direction.

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