40K 8th Thoughts

Warhammer 40K is Dead! Long Live Warhammer 40K!

I don’t like to write news or rumor articles for Warhammer 40K. There are sites out there for that, and there’s no need for me to be the 1,000th blog to share the same information. However, I did want to chat 40K 8th edition a bit because how can you not?

Note: I have since played a game of 8th edition if you’re interested in my review of it.

An Evolution

It’s interesting to look at the changes of the game over various editions, and our adaptations to them. When I got into 40K in 4th edition, the rules were more abstract than what we have with 7th edition. Then, from 5th edition on, we got rules that became increasingly more realistic, and in turn complicated. I remember at the time being happy for these changes. Removing casualties based on direction of attack made sense. Challenges were a cool thematic mechanic. So forth and so on.

I loved the changes at the time, and I thought I wanted those things. The result though was a game that had grown too big for its own good. Balance became impossible to achieve. Games were long and burdened by so many rules and mechanics that it was unenjoyable – for me anyway.

I’ll be honest, so far 8th edition seems like everything I want out of 40K. That may change once the rule book is in my hands, but what Games Workshop has shown us so far has been impressive. The game is returning to a more abstract approach, which I’m thankful for. A game that’s more realistic and has more depth is great for one-offs, or for something you do a few times a year. When you play it weekly, as many of us do, that level of depth becomes a chore. At my FLGS we used to play two games of 5th edition in an evening, but now some are lucky to finish one game.

I’m rambling a bit here.

A New Game

What I like about 8th edition is that it seems to be the community edition of Warhammer 40K. Games Workshop listened to all our pissing and moaning throughout 7th edition, and in turn is delivering to us the game that we asked for. It looks like GW has gone to great lengths to balance the game. There’s still that distinct Warhammer 40K feel to the game, but without being weighed down by too many rules to accomplish it. Hell, they’ve been advancing the story forward, something many of us have wanted for a very long time. I’m excited.


It has bothered me that I haven’t blogged about 40K for months and months. Despite Creative Twilight covering other games, albeit not terribly often, Warhammer 40K has always been the primary drive behind this blog. However, 7th edition just took its toll on me, and writing articles to complain about 7th edition is not something I wanted to do. I like to remain positive, or at the very least keep my mouth shut if I can’t be. So, I’ve kept my mouth shut and tried to occupy myself otherwise, though I did write about my withdrawal from 7th.

Hobby & Fluff

Once 8th edition drops I should get back to full-on hobby mode as well. I’m doing some long overdue work on a Land Raider at the moment, but otherwise keeping a low profile. Like everyone, I waiting to see all the changes that are coming, and from there decide how to proceed with my Chaos Marines. It’s not that I’m afraid something won’t be useful, but instead that new ways to play will open up, ways I prefer, and I’ll need to adapt my collection.

I’m actually looking forward to that, the adaptation of my CSM. It seems 8th isn’t going to punish you for playing an army the way you want, as is apparent with so many force organization choices. It will be a breath of fresh air to field what I want, not what the game has dictated I need to field.

With all these changes also comes the chance for me to revisit, refine, and continue the fluff for my Disciples of Twilight – Chaos Marines. Fluff is something I work on when I’m happy; when the game feels right. That’s been a long time coming for me, and I would love to do some writing again.

What are you looking forward to the most with 8th edition 40K?

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Kenneth Raymond

Vehicles being viable once more. Now that they also get an armour save and no more damage tables so you won’t loose a whole predator/vindicator/leman russ squadron to a lucky set of dice rolls. (The only vehicles that survived turn 1 in 7th could either jink [flyers/landspeeders] or had an invulnerable save [SW dread with blizzard shield, contemptor/leviathan dreadnoughts])
That and maybe I can bring tyranids not have to rely on my scythed hierodule. (I lost 3 carnifexes and two flying hive tyrants on turn 1 in a recent game. Got seized on and two sicaran battle tanks snacked on the Hive tyrants while plasma and lascannon fire deleted my carnifex’s so beyond my scythed hierodule pretty much everything else had to test for instinctive behaviour. grr)


I’ve played the various versions of this game for so long, I just appreciate getting a new rulebook before the old one disintegrates. It will be interesting to see the new mechanics of the game in action, but based on what I’m seeing, you better be able to do a better job at protecting your forces, or just keep your travel case next to the table to ease the pickup of casualties! The game seems to be heading into Turn 1 travel in a transport and shoot, turn 2 and 3 assault and counter assault. Turn 4 try to score with the survivors. He who goes first with the mid- to long range firepower gets the advantage, especially if backed up with strong counterassault units. Brrrrrrrp. Charge. Medic. Pretty much sums it up for the moment. Now even more so! Imaging a SM tactical squad holding the line vs an Ork horde. Bolters churning up the oncoming orks, heavy weapons trying to kill the trucks/wagons/Kans. Orks still hitting like a wave. Tons of dice, hitting, wounds, saves, damage. The games will be faster as the casualties will likely be enormous for the first 2-3 turns….


I’m really looking forward to being able to take a Chaos Land Raider full of Terminators without getting laughed off the table again :D


I’ve resisted posting anything on 8th edition just because my thoughts on it swing widely from one pole to the other within a day.
Vehicles look like they’re about to become a lot more dominant and troops look like they’ll be better simply because they’ll be cheaper compared to everything else. Close Combat looks to be more tactical with counter assault becoming a viable tactic once more.
I’m still not seeing how 8th will lead to more destruction though, MEQ’s are getting saves against most things now (I can’t even begin to talk about how upset I am about my Blastmasters!) and so far the only stand out unit for me is the Terminator. Heldrakes are utter…….no I’ll stop talking about Chaos Marines until I know all of the facts but let’s just say I’m very concerned that Chaos Characters will be wearing nothing but Terminator armour from now on ;-)

I hate the new Primaris Marines and I think the new Blight Kings….sorry Plague Marines look bloody awful.
The Background moving forward does nothing for me, 40k had a well established setting that allowed me to carve out my own history with my army, so I never understood why people wanted it to move forward.

Despite all that, I’m still pretty positive about this edition (I know it might not seem like it but I am…..honest!). The hitting on 6’s and re-rollable 2+save followed by a 3+ FNP seems to be gone, along with the superfriend deathstar, so hopefully the game will be better and that Rock, Paper, Scissors feeling will be a thing of the past.


I am really torn. I like some of the simplification. A single system for all unit types is good.

I lament however some changes that will make the game far less tactical. With no armour facings, choosing casualties to remove, no blasts or templates then model positioning such as outflanking is irrelevant. With new easier DeepStrike(tm) making the risk/reward calculation to drop a unit in the enemy rear, and its cinematic success or failure, is over. New wounding mechanic and loss of vehicle damage chart flattens the difference between weapons and stops vehicles feeling different to MCs.

From what Ive seen of the datasheets, Obliterators, one of my favourite units and core of my Iron Warriors Warpsmith’s entourage are completely nerfed. The ‘balance’ favours Marines as usual.

As for the new posterboys, the Primaris, it makes me sad I bothered building an Iron Hands company.

I started off optimistic and excited but most of what I’ve seen makes me sad.


You know what I am looking forwards to the most?

A rule system where I can look at a units stats and abilities and have a realistic chance of knowing what it can do, how it does it, and how good it is, without having to refer back to a massive core rule book, at least one codex, and having an excel spreadsheet to calculate its performance.

Other things that I am also looking forwards to:

– From the leaks on actual unit rules it looks a lot like a lot of the boring, time consuming, and ultimately non value adding rules that ‘tweaked’ unit performances are gone. I mean, does giving a unit special rule (that requires reference to a different book for the actual details) a 1 in 6 chance of selecting the model you hit, that you then have to wound and they have to fail their save to have a different result to just rolling the dice normally, actually add any meaningful decisions or value to the game?

– That between competing design decisions it seems to be that they have taken the option that is more easily understood and gives more control to the player fielding the models. A good example is the whole closest model versus controlling player removes casualties. Closest model sounds more ‘realistic’ until you realise that it means that sometimes models will shoot quite literally through their own unit to hit the closest model, while ignoring the model that is in actual space closer to the shooting model. It also does not add any real tactical decision making for the shooting unit. Controlling player removing models gives scope to make some tactical decisions to both players: the shooting unit may not want to target a unit if they want to charge as the casualties may make the charge more difficult, the controlling player will have different priorities depending on their unit, who is shooting them, who else may shoot at them etc.

– Split fire for all units. The rule requiring a unit to target only one enemy unit was to my mind the number one cause for why things like Grav Cannons / autocannons / Scatter Laser were so ubiquitous. While in 7th a Heavy Bolter might have killed Ork Boyz better than an autocannon, it didn’t make any dent on a vehicle. Similarly a las cannon may have bust AV 14/13 better than an autocannon, but against anything else it was a waste. Having split fire now means a las cannon in a tactical squad is a reasonable suggestion.

– A removal of special snowflake rules based on somewhat arbitrary unit and weapon classifications. I mean why should the Wraithlord operate under a completely different set of rules than a Dreadnought? Why should firing my battle cannon prevent firing other weapons effectively but firing your prism cannon does not? Why can the Morkanaut be killed in one hit, but a Knight can’t?

– Removal of daft formations but leaving the options for creating interesting armies. I think you can tell something is wrong with a game mechanic when tournaments are dominated by the availability or otherwise of powerful formations. All of that gone and in it’s place lots more flexibility to create unique armies.


I thought that was a nice little piece talking about a subject I have mostly avoided and it has led to some great dialogue in the comments. Over all I am looking forward to 8th, I don’t have a clue about the rules but things needed to change.


I feel very excited for 8th. Really did not enjoy 7th at the end either. Only slightly worried by the lack of flavour in a few of the armies I have seen, but I am sure once I have played and see how the game works it will all make sense and be fine :)

Jack Shrapnel

I’ve had the opportunity to get a fair number of 8th edition games in (my local FLGS had me put together their preview copy of the boxset and I’ve had the rules for a week or so and have been running demo games for the store). I must say this is my favourite version of the game I’ve ever played. They’ve learnt a LOT of lessons from Age of Sigmar (another extremely fun game system they finally got to working order!) while keeping some rules that just wouldn’t work if they would have gone straight AOS (the strength vs. toughness mechanic remaining).

I have many different armies for 40k, so my perspective comes from not someone who played the “top lists” per se, but everything appears to have a purpose. When I can field old one eye, melee carnifex, warriors and the swarmlord as not only a viable, but dangerous and effective list, I’m pretty damn happy. Dark Eldar in particular became effective again without having to rely on their Eldar cousins for all the heavy lifting. Wraithknights and Riptides became appropriately costed finally, and all that formation nonsense is gone (at least initially – but you know how GW loves their power creep!). Knights aren’t the “I run over you or you run over me” they were previously, and there should be very few “I lose at deployment” moments now (which happened WAY too much in 7th!).

I like how it seems (at least initially – this is still super new to me) everything CAN be played if you want, and nothing is really an auto-take. The increase in options is fantastic.

oh and helldrakes can grab flyers and attack them in combat with their claws… how cool is that???