What Went Wrong in Warhammer 40k 7th Edition?

I had originally made some drafts for posts about why Traitor’s Hate didn’t fix Chaos, how Wrath of Magnus wouldn’t fix Thousand Sons, and how Legions wouldn’t fix us spikey boys. While writing this, I realised it became more of a general criticism of the edition due to the differences in codices. This introduction thus serves as the framework for my criticism, so the reader can understand the thought process behind the criticism, so bear with me as I start off with a quick CSM intro!

Striking a Balance

In short, why I didn’t think the aforementioned supplements would fix the CSMs boiled down to these being supplements, our codex being terribad,  and GW’s policy is that codices are the go-to for points and statlines. Within that framework, and based on previous supplements measured against the Emperor’s lapdogs’ formations, I made a list of demands required to make us playable, much like a demented hostage-taker with no hostage.

  • Drop pods or viable delivery method
  • Null deployment
  • Free transports
  • Army-wide …ATSKNF/Fearless equivalent (or which doesn’t cost an HQ cost and/or 100+ points)
  • Weaponry to compete with grav
  • Chapter Tactics (turn 1 charge or similar)
  • Chapter Doctrines
  • Point reductions for all sub-standard units

First of all, this isn’t to make CSMs the best codex. It’s a list of what we would need to be balanced against the Emperor’s lapdogs so we all can have a fun game and not see how many dice throws it takes to remove all the bad guys. Granted, we do have some things, like VotLW, Marks, better Sorcerers, Decepticons, Daemon Princes etc. that the aquila-polishers don’t have, but it goes both ways (Land Speeders, Razorbacks etc).

Judging by reviews etc., we get 1-3, depending on the Legion you pick, as Death Guard and World Eaters get Fearless for CSMs, and we get some useful Legion Tactics. Essentially, we’re now better than ‘Nids, IG (though I have never beaten them personally!), Orks and non-monobuild Sisters of Battle, and possibly start nudging our way in the mid-tier. Then I saw the below tweet, and I started thinking about why these others codices are so bad from even a casual or game design point of view, and why Eldar, Tau, mono-build Daemons, and SM are so good. What, in this edition, is it that makes them so bad?

It Began in 6th Edition

I’m gonna start by rolling the clocks back to the beginning of 6th edition, when Chaos Space Marines got their flying Decepticon, the Heldrake. While you can obviously go much further back, to wh40k being essentially a skirmish game of 10-15 models adapted to a few squads, this is the crux for now.

From a game balance point of view, adding flyers was like adding another item to the rock-paper-scissors. While adding another dimension can add depth, and make it more fun for everyone if implemented properly, it wasn’t necessarily added properly. People didn’t have counters at all in many cases, and the Heldrakes ran rampant. This was especially telling at lower point games where you didn’t have points to bring counters for everything else. Here is where it began becoming important to talk to your opponent prior to the game, and know whether he’s bringing Heldrakes or flyers.

Imperial Knights were the next culprit. Lords of War outside Apocalypse games is another massive shift in how the game is fundamentally played. It started becoming more about packing enough firepower to drop them ASAP. Then these got Invulnerable saves, and that damnable shield which affected anyone NOT mobile enough to avoid it. The game moved even further away from a skirmish game.

Furthermore, how Allies were handled became an issue in 7th (see Superfriends). Limiting the amount of combinations possible is a good way of preventing a lot of potentially game-breaking combinations that are difficult to prevent when you suddenly allow different armies to share benefits. While Unbound was a piece of the puzzle, the combinations of the different Space Marine codices was the main issue here, though Tau/Eldar combos were also exceedingly common earlier in the edition. The BRB has issues, but I think this is the main issue.

Magic; the Gathering prevents most combinations by having several formats than prohibit certain block (a series of cards) and cards from being combined. You then notice the level in power between Legacy, which allows a lot of cards, and Modern, which only allows the most recent cards. These decks can’t really be played against each other as a fair game. Warhammer 40k does not such thing. Honestly, while Allies make sense fluff-wise, and they are here to stay, at least a blanket ban on squads consisting of models from separate codices would be a good place to start, unless they have special rules that would allow that. It would make creating balanced codices without potentially game-breaking combinations much easier.

Formations really began to come into their own in 7th edition, with the unkillable Necrons in the Decurion Formation romping Eternal War missions. In addition, the formations quickly began giving some incredible bonuses to firepower, or allowing certain units to be spammed. As one of the Norwegian ETC players said when he played his Eldar vs. another ETC player’s Tau – whoever goes first, wins. While these lists are obviously competitive, they are indicative of what is happening in the more bigger casual game scene. However, you don’t want to have 2 dice rolls (who sets up first and Seize the Initiative) be that important. Alessio Cavatore and Rick Priestly solved this by abolishing the old You Go, I Go system in Bolt Action, which again is a relic of both time and 40k’s origins as a skirmish game.

Maelstrom missions increased the value of drop pods and mobility in 7th edition as well. Don’t get me wrong – I love the Maelstrom Missions, but they had effect of boosting many of the already strong codices, which further exacerbated the problems associated with the codices. The value of mobility Maelstrom Missions did not seem to be taken into account by the codex writers.

Shooting is Everything

The firepower of Tau, Eldar, and SM, and to a lesser extent AdMech/Skitarii, is then too strong, point-for-point, when compared to the durability of units in other codices. Think about it; Telepathy is considered the best Psychic Discipline because it means you can guarantee any unit to survive for at least one round (as long as you go first). Remember that the mainly close combat armies Orks and CSMs struggle massively because they can’t get into close combat. I know at least us spikey boyz complain about a lack of viable delivery methods, which has begun to boil down to drop pods or assaulting out of Deep Strike, due to grav Immobilising everything, meaning Land Raiders are too expensive. When you combine this with bringing an extra few hundred points to a game just because you have aquilas on a bunch of Tacticals, ignore cover when needed, re-roll To Hit rolls, being able to spam your already unbalanced units through formations, incredible mobility, durability, Interceptor, drop pods and/or Psychic phase domination, it ruins the game balance. The game essentially began to boil down to going first, and making your opponent incapable of retaliating after your initial onslaught, or having some way of weathering the first turn.

tau_problem_astartes

This guy.

The Tau codex is certainly not the only culprit, they’re the poster boy for how things went terribly wrong this edition. The power creep associated with the firepower and its accessibility in some codices forced me to begin talking at length with my opponent to simply get a balanced game, which was reliant on both of us having a certain level of experience and knowledge of 40k.

Power Creep

The power creep had made it impossible to turn up with just any old army (though there are differences in synergies), and have a somewhat balanced game. The newest power creep in the form of cheaper firepower spammed by formations exacerbated this problem. I’m not saying wh40k was ever a perfectly balanced game, but it is much less balanced than it ever was. Da boyz, the Sisters, the Guard, and us spikey boyz can attest to that.

While having to almost coordinate lists is impractical for me, what about the newbie who likes Riptides and brings them against his newbie friend, who built an army around the CSM force from the Dark Vengeance kit? They have no working knowledge to really balance their game, and thus their game will be utterly lopsided. The codices exist for them as a reference point to create a balanced game.

So while the ruleset is bloated, Telepathy is god, and stupid rulings in FAQs (Grenades…), combat resolution hurting mob-style units, vehicle rules at least need tinkering, a new ruleset can help make the game more accessible for newbies, and can truly benefit from some streamlining, but that is not where the main issue in wh40k lies. The codex designers need to get their noses out of Phil Kelly’s medicine cabinet and apply some common sense, and hopefully begin playtesting again. My hope is the creation of an online “living” codex ruleset, where GW and its codex designers get feedback from the community and tournament organisers to tweak the rules every few months.

tl;dr: Shooting is too cheap for some codices and exploit the frailties of the BRB, the rules in the BRB are fine, though streamlining would make it more accessible.

  • Well said.

    I think the game over the past few years has just grown beyond them, GW. I’m really hoping that 8th edition can clean up the bloat, balance shooting vs assault, and just get it under control. It’s going to be nearly impossible with detachments and formations dropping every other week, but I’m hoping that’s going to come to a halt as well. They just need to stop pushing out more and more stuff, sit back, and evaluate it all objectively.

    • Chaz Sexington

      Yep, they need to sit back and reevaluate the codices in their entirety. If this keeps up, we’re looking at 1-2T games, at which point there’s nothing left. It becomes less about tactics and strategies, more about who has packed in the most firepower.

    • ming2005

      I dunno. I can assault stuff and shoot stuff and have fun with stuff. At first I was afraid of over-watch, but now I’m practiced at dealing with it. I love that every faction is entirely different and each unit is unique. We are not playing chess here! Red marines are not blue marines and nurgle is not orks. Flyers are not demons. Tanks are not grots. Its all fun and complex and good!

      • 7th Edition neutered assault. The advent of overwatch (try charging Tau some time), the loss of assault from reserves (including outflank), random charge range (works both ways I know), and so much more.

        The fact is that the shooting phase is the most dominant phase of the game. It used to be that the assault phase was the great equalizer. You’d spend turns getting thinned down, losing units, but once you reached the enemy lines then the tide could change. I’m not saying you can’t do that now, but I am saying it’s a whole lot harder to do, which removes its value as a balancing element of the game.

        Noone is complaining about uniqueness. However, that uniqueness needs to bring a form of balance. I’m not talking model by model, unit by unit, I mean the sum of the parts, the perceived value of the codex.

        CSM don’t want to be Marines with spikes, but they do want a fair shake, and the same for any other army out there. In the current state of the game, that is not really feasible.

        • Assaulting Tau with CSM requires that you bring either Cultists to act as bullet catchers or that you equip everything with Dirge Casters. It’s not like it impossible to pull off.

          • I don’t ever get to assault Tau. I just march across the field, getting mown down, as the Tau Thrust Move etc away. Once the Stormsurges, Riptides etc. open fire, I’ve hardly got anything left, and the Markerlights wreck my Invisible guys :(

  • I believe with the new CEO of GW, we may see that positive spin to the 8th edition. The 7th BRB isn’t bad but the points for units as told by codexes have broken their system. I think that was by designed as they were in the market to sell products that “won” tournaments and to those type of players. Recently though it feels GW has finally felt the presence of it’s competitors and is trying to reel in those gamers to it’s games. Those examples are all those intro board games such as “Lost Patrol”, They have all that 90’s under-priced for what you get in the box feel and the games look pretty fun. I think GW realizes they need a gaming system that’s fun and keeps being interesting yet challenging enough to keep a strong player base that will promote the game. They seen what Privateer Press has done and other companies are growing rapidly as well. I am excited for once to see this new direction and I am hopeful GW finds that charm that made them so addicting, they won’t be what they were but I would still like to play in their universe more regularly if they can do that.

    • Chaz Sexington

      I completely agree with you; the new direction is very different in a good way. While not dying, GW was losing market share to their competitors at a steady rate, I think, and a shake up was needed. A proper ruleset cannot cost that much to make, and I think how they ended up doing AoS was a good idea. Talking to TOs and players gave them valuable feedback about what they’ve actually created and what to fix.

  • It’s an interesting glance back into 40k and highlights some of the reasons I enjoy WarmaHordes now. I don’t want this comment to start one of THOSE conversations, but I’d like to highlight a few pros and cons.

    The first thing is the alpha strike. You typically won’t be doing any damage turn 1 unless you go second.. and your opponent will know if you’ve got a couple models with stupid range and can plan accordingly. (Protect key models / rush other ones to deal with your range.)

    What I more want to talk to is fluid rule systems. I think it’s great that Privateer Press will update rules as required and release new and exciting models and theme forces throughout an edition, compare to GW’s rigid stance on releasing the “Codex” and you’re stuck with those rules and power creep until the next edition drops. HOWEVER, that coin has another side to it. WarmaHordes is in a new edition as of this year and Privateer has taken an even more casual approach to the rules. We have a big change hitting January, one faction about to get a major rewrite and the top 5% under/over-performing models across all factions are being changed. That also fills me with a feeling that they’re being a little cavalier about rules and play-testing as there were large changes in how models worked from the old to the new system. We already paid for a deck of cards to update all our rules and less than a year later a bunch of that’s about to become invalidated. (They may make the revised cards available free as PDFs, but still.) And sure, there’s an app that’s always up to date, but many of us prefer not to use it / drain our mobiles / prefer having all the rule cards spread out infront of us.

    I’m not sure what the best scenario is. I’ve always felt GW does more rigorous testing before new editions drop and are generally just trying to hone their ruleset rather than toss old mechanics out the window, which I like. But there typically are armies that feel the pain more than others and I feel like they need to be OK with releasing updates when a faction is hurting.

    • With a new CEO at the helm, things have already taken a very different course for the better. Countless improvements to name, but most importantly they are updating the FAQs and erratas. We seriously sat for pretty well on 3 years without any.

      Overall they are making strides towards making 40K the community game it once was. The current edition of the game itself isn’t bad, it’s actually the best one yet I feel. The problem is the codex balance. I’m looking forward to an edition of the game released under the current CEO, as I feel he understands what we want – and I have never said that about any CEO for any company. However, 8th edition will mean little if they can’t balance out the armies, and that’s a damn tough spot they put themselves into. There’s just so many sources of material now for a single army (codex, supplements, dataslates, Forge World, Imperial Armor, etc), that I don’t know if they will ever be able to fix it now.

      • Yeah, the cats are out of the bag now and I think it would be very hard to cram them all back in now.
        I like the supplements, as they free GW from the old “you get nothing until seven years pass and you get a new codex” policy. The problem is that there are now SO MANY factions/Codexes that they simply cannot update fast enough or widely enough to keep things level.
        The existence of flyers and superheavies also skews unit design and player perception of units. A book like Genestealer Cults looks fun and a little overpowered until you realize Knights and flyers exist and those GC units can’t really touch them. So you either ally in superheavies or flyers, or you get jaded by their presence across the table from you. There’s no way to win the moral war here.

        • I really wish they’d make codices like they used to, where each army had a way to deal with anything. Not all armies dealt with things the same way, or as easily as others, but you had a means. Now, as you said, some armies are forced to ally so they have a chance at fighting common threats.

          Supplements should be used to offer different styles of play. Not enhanced styles of play, but different and parallel to the codex in terms of power. Instead, right now we have lots of stop-gaps for outdated armies, and the polar opposite where supplements just increase an army’s power level exponentially.

          I have faith things will get better, but you’re right, the cats are out of the bag.

          • Chaz Sexington

            I very much agree – In retrospect, I feel I should’ve mentioned allies as well. Allies are a problem in that they also allow for way too many potentially broken combinations (see Superfriends). A minor change could be barring allies from joining each others’ squads unless they have a special rule allowing for that.

            What you say about supplements is spot on as well!

    • Chaz Sexington

      I pretty much agree with all your points. wh40k has an utterly outdated system, as I mention, and I think they need a revamp, though I am enjoying it as is. The issue is the codices exploiting a lot of the mechanical problems.

      A living, online ruleset really does have both ups and downs. I’m one of those reactionaries who prefers a solid book for reading, but I appreciate the epub versions. GW even updated the Crimson Slaughter and Black Legion supplements for free if you had a epub version! I hope that is the way forward. I purchased the eBooks for 30k as well, to avoid nasty import fees and double paying VAT.

  • Even the 7th Ed Core Rules have some serious issues. Things like the way Regrouping got so much harsher for anyone without ATSKNF and forced Casualty Removal from the front really hurt some Armies.

    Not to mention the ambiguity and poor writing in so many places. They really need to bring on board some technical writers who will stay separated from the Devs until they get the functionality of the Rules down, and then sit down with them and work out what that means the wording needs to be.

    Also, more feedback from people who play the Game at a high level. Even beyond the need to ditch their reliance on Wheaton’s Rule, they’ve hit the point where it’s now possible to make a badly overpowered Army (compared to the majority of the field, not to tournament winners) more or less by accident, or just on the basis of “ooh, shiny!”.

    • Chaz Sexington

      I agree! I recently started an argument at a tournament by raising the issue that a single jump infantry model in a squad shouldn’t allow the squad to re-roll charges, which lead to quite a heated discussion. The wording should definitely be better, but RAI I don’t think much beyond streamlining and using the grammatical correction version of singular dice is needed – the main issue is the codices.

  • Richard Cowen

    It’s time for another 3rd Ed-style revamp.

    They’d need to be cautious, taking warnings from the aftermath of 3rd Ed itself, which trimmed the fat so liberally that it took several editions to grow back the meat that was sliced off in error, but the game would definitely benefit from being taken back to first principles and rethought.

    Warlord Games did a good blog entry comparing 40k and their World War II game Bolt Action. (Seriously, they managed to compare the two games honestly and fairly, without resorting to ‘this is why we’re better than anything GW will ever do’ rivalry.) One of the comments on the article made the point that 40k is a company level game with platoon level rules and squad level unit profiles.

    This is a legacy of the continual evolution of 40k from a semi-roleplaying squad skirmish game at the start of 1st Ed, to the small armies of late 1st and 2nd Ed, to the deliberate leap in game size for 3rd Ed, and now into a game with potentially hundreds of models a side, supported by flyers, knights and even Warlord-class Titans.

    The core systems of the game need revamping. So many rules appear to be patches of issues developed since 3rd Edition:

    – How many pages of the rulebook should the assault phase really take? If I recall (my book’s all the way over there, and I can’t be bothered standing up), it’s currently 11 pages. That’s an obscene number of rules and diagrams for a sequence that can be summarised as ‘move models into base contact with enemy, roll to hit, wound, save, remove casualties, the loser takes a break test’.

    – If you’re providing each side the option to move another 3″ to get more models into base contact before a fight, then maybe there’s a problem with charge distances, or maybe simply stating that all models in all involved units get to fight, whether in base contact or not. “What about 30-strong units of ork boys with 120 attacks?” is the usual response to this. My response to that is that if you’re poor enough a player to allow 30 ork boys to reach melee, or your opponent’s skilled enough to manage to get them there despite your abilities, then those 120 attacks are deserved.

    – Emphasise that squads are more important than the models that make them up; this is, after all, a large-scale game rather than a skirmish. Treat squads as a single entity, rather than as a collection of models who each fight as individuals. A Space Marine tactical squad is currently composed of a sergeant, a heavy weapons guy, a special weapons guy and up to seven bolter Marines. Instead, treat that Space Marine tactical squad as a 10 Wound unit with a 3+ armour save, 10 Attacks and so on. Each Wound is represented by a model being removed (which reduces the number of Attacks, the number of shots and so on). If upgraded to have a heavy bolter, so long as that heavy bolter is on the table, the squad can fire it at anything the squad can see, buy the sergeant a power fist and the squad gets a power fist attack, and so on. If the squad are largely in cover, then they all get a cover save. This is largely a philosophical change, although that becomes reinforced by stuff like shared line of sight.

    -On a related note, the last model to die in a squad should be the hero leading them. How can anything else be remotely considered in-character for Warhammer 40,000? Strip out the wound allocation rule for anything other than challenges. This is an army-versus-army game, not a pen and paper RPG. Two sides are fighting in this melee or shooting match, not fifty individual pairs of attacker and target. Throw out wound allocation rules and simply allow the owning player to allocate wounds to the attacked unit. Sure, you can argue that weak characters are being protected inside large or tough units, but that represents what happens in-setting where a large or tough bodyguard unit needs defeating before our heroes can slaughter the cowardly villain.

    – Abolish vehicle Armour Values. They are nothing more than Toughness values that require an entirely new vehicle damage system to justify their existence. In game terms, Armour 10 = Toughness 7, Armour 11 equals Toughness 8 and so on. In a prime example of bloat replacing rule-writing, the over-enthusiastic explodability of vehicles in 3rd Ed, thanks to the damage tables, was remedied by eventually giving them Wounds (Hull Points) as well. Go all the way and give all vehicles infantry stat lines. You can even do what dreadnoughts do and have multiple ‘Toughness’ values for different facings, while otherwise having a more-or-less infantry profile.

    – In summary, a good guideline for writing an evolving rule system is that if the reason a rule exists is to cover a hole left by a previous rule, then that rule should probably be deleted and replaced with something that works. (The evolution of the Rapid Fire weapon rules, from the short/long range to hit mods of 2nd Ed onwards is a good example, as is the patch of Eldar getting Fleet of Foot to remedy the disadvantage they suffered from the 6″ infantry movement rule, and later giving Tyranids Fleet of Claw for the same reason, and then later coming up with Fleet of Whatever The Hell Your Guys Walk On as a standard special rule.)

    • Well said.

      I got into 40K in 4th edition, and some of what you say is reminiscent of that, like wound allocation, how shooting was handled, etc. It definitely made things faster. When 5th came, it started to break things down, made things more compartmentalized, and began the rules bloat we currently have. I’m all for a kick back to simpler times, and getting this game back to combat on the proper scale.

    • Chaz Sexington

      I completely agree 40k needs a proper revamp! I only touched upon it, but you can tell 40k isn’t, at heart, a company level game; it’s a skirmish game! I looked up the Warlord games article you mentioned – top notch! Thanks for taking the time to write up such a detailed (and good!) response! :)

    • I definitely think they’ve hit the point where a hard reset is necessary, like 2nd to 3rd was. Figure out what they want the Game to be, and and build it from the ground up to work at that level. Make Kill Team and Apoc substantially different Rules Sets if they want the Game to be played at those sizes as well as “normal” sizes, don’t try to stretch it to one size fits all.

      • I’ve floated this thought too, but also along the lines of restricting flyers and LoWs at certain points:)

    • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

      agree with everything you’ve said. I would add that the movement rules and vehicle shooting/moving rules really need simplification, This would best be done IMO by adding a M characteristic to everything including vehicles, letting stationary vehicles fire everything, moving vehicles fire one weapon and allow them to move twice by not firing. Fast vehicles just get a higher M and no need for further rules. Heavy vehicles can move and fire everything, but not move twice even if they don’t fire. Walkers are the same as vehicles except they can charge/fight and treat terrain the way infantry do. Simple and easy to remember and no need for all the confusing rules around jump troops, bike troops, skimmers etc etc.

      • I agree – there seems to be a discrepancy there. Alternatively, tack it on to the Fast rule :)

      • Good idea; I like it.

        For the longest time, 40K was the only tabletop game I played. The rules were the rules, and I had nothing to compare them against. The last few years saw me get into Blood Bowl, and I learned you can have a really simple set of core rules, and still have an amazingly fun game to play. Your movement idea, for example. It simplifies the process, but it doesn’t eliminate anything. That’s exactly what the game needs.

      • Richard Cowen

        Good suggestions there.

        I could have added a lot more to my ramble, but I realised how long I’d spent making a very simple point, and stopped. :-)

  • The biggest issue (since I started playing 40k at the end of 4th) has been consistency. There is zero consistency between the codexes. You get some mellow ones, then some mega ones, then nerfed ones to compensate for the mellow ones, then that one went too mellow so OMFG WTF.

    The whole thing needs to be nuked from orbit, and rewritten from scratch, and everyone setup on the exact same playing field. (AT THE SAME TIME FOR ONCE)

  • ming2005

    I don’t really agree with the premise of the post. It’s like a click bait header on a faux news site. With 7th edition heading in a few months to that part of the shelf where all my older versions collect dust maybe it would be better to enjoy what has gone right? I’ve played three different factions in 7th and each has had its pluses and minuses in this rock-paper-scissors-phil world of 40K. If anything, my only disappointment is how some players as always look for ways to break the rules, stretch their own interpretations, and otherwise violate the fluff aspects of a game that has at its core the storyline of a fictional universe. 7th edition brought in unit complexities and details focused on the units and models to allow players the ultimate level in detail that they would want to include. Want an army of just grots? You can do it. Want an army of dark eldar supported by an imperial Knight? Sure! Want an army of awesome dreadclaw-deployed CSM supported by Heldrakes and summoned demons for the win? Awesome! Its so cool to play games in 7th. The Maelstrom / tactical cards, battle missions, campaign missions, alternative missions, its all good fun. The longer I play 40K, the more I appreciate the Journey and the challenge of each game over the wins and losses. I always have fear of the next edition – what will change? Will it be easier? Less complex? Seems it might head that way. Will that cause issues? Yep. But every edition has had its issues or weaknesses or strengths. Regardless, I would not say that anything went wrong with any of them – they are all just different. The current one – I think – has been the best to play because it gives the optimum in player control. You get to forge your own narrative using the core rules and whatever else you and your opponent decide to use. The rules encourage you to do that. As anyone knows, when I start a game, I go over the impact of terrain – which if any thing is 7th’s weakness. I want terrain played WYSIWYG, if it is solid you can’t shoot through it, if it is vertical, a wheeled or tracked vehicle can’t climb it. I have never had a 7th edition opponent disagree with those pre-game declarations. As for the armies, locally, the quality of play is pretty high level. What we clearly see is that the quality of the player means more for for winning a tournament than the army played, and that the depth of your pocketbook won’t rightly overcome that. Will my IG always struggle alone vs demons? Of course! Duh! Will my Ultramarines Battle Company roll over and crush CSMs? Yes. Will my Blood Angels wipe out Eldar? No, of course not! But I will have fun trying. I will miss 7th. I can only hope that 8th will be as fun and challenging. And I’ll keep writing about my adventures over at my blog…celebrating 7th edition to its end.

    • Chaz Sexington

      First, I think we don’t actually disagree on what actually went wrong this edition, I think we just enjoy different things :)

      I’m not don’t think your clickbait accusation is justified – the bulk of the article is on 7th edition and its flaws, and the CSM stuff only serves as a framework and introduction so the reader can understand where I’m coming from with the criticism.

      Playing Unbound or bringing what you want I started doing back in the 90’s when I played my brother. We didn’t have miniatures enough, so I pitted my Terminators and a Land Speeder against his Lictor and Gaunts. It was all good fun! We didn’t need to get permission from the BRB to do that. Unbound always existed, because players would make up games and such. I think making Allies part of the BRB had a much bigger negative effect on the edition (though this was done earlier), as there are so many more potentially game-breaking combinations to be made. I really don’t envy the game designers trying to predict and find all the potentially broken combinations between all the different supplements and codices. Magic; the Gathering has dealt with that, to massive extent, by creating their various official formats and banned cards and blocks in each format.

      I agree with you on terrain and Maelstrom Mission – I find it counter-intuitive that models can walk through a wall, but a bullet can’t be fired through it. Maelstrom Missions, though derided for their supposed ridiculousness, have proven to be maybe the best addition this edition had to offer, and I almost always play Maelstrom. Again, the BRB is mostly fine, the problem lies within each codex.

      I’m not sure I would describe, from a game perspective, the gulf in quality between the codices as something positive. While you and I enjoy uphill struggles, it’s not necessarily like that for 11 year old Timmy who really likes the look and feel of his Orks, only to have to pack most of them away by turn 2 as Tau firepower obliterates his Boyz. As I talked about at length in the article, it’s the durability vs. firepower that has made 7th edition considerably less enjoyable than it should and could have been.

  • I’m pretty much in the opposite corner here I guess. Yes, the CSM codex is old and it needs tweaking. As a whole it’s quite ok. Not great nor horrible. With the new formations, Core-Auxiliary-Command (CAC) detachments, new spells and stuff there fewer and fewer areas that actually needs to “fixed”.

    I would like for GW to take CSM further away from the Loyalist Marines. Bring on more esoteric wargear, more Daemon Engines, more Possessed-type units. I think it’s a good representation of the background that we lack ATSKNF or that everyone isn’t Fearless. Fearless is for the mindless fanatics and ATSKNF is for the serfs. Most CSM doesn’t want to die on some battlefield holding the line because their commander says so, no they want to live and stab that commander dead and take his place. Running away is a good thing if living is important for you. Knowing fear is that too.

    But there are plenty of things that I would see change in the codex. Our squad leaders should be more important. I love what they did with the Scarab Occult Sorcerer. More things like that, please. That’s more important than dropping a few points here and there.

    The biggest culprit of the game right now is free points, especially free risk free points. Now free points has been in the game for quite some time. Long before the rise of formations. But not as a part of your list building. It’s not fair to bring 300-400 points of wargear and units above the agreed limit. Sure we get free points in our CAC detachments but not in that manner. Free Veterans of the Long War for your units doesn’t compare to free transport vehicles (and free chapter tactics). That said, I believe that free units will be nerfed. AoS did the right thing with the Handbook.

    If they continue to streamline the game I’ll be a happy camper. Again AoS blazed the trail. It is possible reduce the rules complexity without lose the tactical and strategic complexity of the game.

    Oh, and the clarification of the rules regarding grenades is the best ruling in the FAQ.

    • I also don’t want CSM to mimic SM. CSM should be unique, which is why I like the new daemon engines we got. It was a step in that direction, same with Mutilators and Warp Talons. Some of those units need work, but it’s a step.

      That being said, it should stand on par with SM, not copy it. The codex strength, when you weigh all the options, should hold up to an SM codex, or Tau, or Eldar, and it doesn’t. The new stuff helps, but it doesn’t change the fact that basic Chaos Marines need to be cheaper, we have units that just aren’t worth their value like Mutilators and Warp Talons. The codex needs to be redone for all the new detachments and formations to really shine.

      Sure, the codex is OK, but aren’t you tired of OK? Our previous codex was bland and stale. It had a brief moment in late 4th, early 5th, but was quickly cast aside. We then got the first 6th codex, had a month or two, and the other 6th codices came out, and made the CSM one look like a hack job.

      I’m tired of OK. I want what we deserve damn it.

      • When I got back into 40k the legendary 3.5 codex was still around. I hated that codex. It was impossible to navigate and the constant cross references and rules all over the place made it hard to use for a noob. When Calavatores codex dropped it was a blessing. Clear, direct and streamlined. I loved it.

        Chaos Space Marines being cheaper won’t help them really. They are still marines so you can’t have them too cheap. A point or two max but that won’t help you. I rather see a development of their rules, much like they’ve done with Traitor Legions and Crimson Slaughter.

        The same goes for units like Possessed and Warp Talons. Points alone will not save them they need rules or stats.

        • I would love to see them get proper rules to bring them up to value. One or two points cheaper per-model only matters to the die-hard competitive players, where that’s the difference between another melta gun in the list or not. I, like you, would just prefer to see them be worth the points you pay. However, I’m a cynic when it comes to the CSM codex, and getting the rules/wargear we need, it seems like a dream…

          • The current design culture of GW is extremely nostalgic or retro. They are going back their rich past to bring the game forward. I think we will see more of that. For CSM I think (or hope) that we will see more corrupted Heresy era wargear coming back.

            • I’m crossing my fingers.

    • Chaz Sexington

      I disagree, to a certain extent. Changing we organise our force and adding some small bonuses isn’t enough to solve the underlying problems inherent to the codex – this I extend to the IG, Orks, Nids, and Sisters of Battle. We need a full overhaul to survive in 7th edition and grossly underpriced firepower. I’m very happy it works for you, but it really doesn’t work in my meta, sadly :(

      I am not saying that I want us to become Loyalists, and I’m sorry if it came across that way! I would love to see them bringing back Kai guns and everything else as well, but I was just using the Loyalist codex as a benchmark for the powerlevel of the codex :)

      I’m unsure about Fearless. While fluff-wise, it translates poorly, but mechanically, …ATSKNF is worth considerably more than one measly point and we need some sort of mitigation. I usually run Legion-strength squads of CSMs, and I had 1100pts lost (it included a Cyclopia Cabal) in Sweeping Advance in my last game, because I lost combat massively due to my Renegade Guardsmen in the same combat losing 15 guys. I would have won the combat eventually (I was Invisible and had Endurance), but how it worked out was meant I lost the game, whereas Loyalists would have held.

      I completely agree AoS did a lot of things right (in the end). I’m particularly a fan of working with TOs and the community to work out balancing issues, in addition to the required streamlining!

      And we’ll have to disagree on the grenade ruling ;)

      • I haven’t studied all the legion rules in depth yet but from what I see they did more than just sugar coat with the rules. They basically changed the way you want to build your army. They mitigated a lot of morale issues that we have. Fearless for your guys for example (you play Emperor’s Children right?). I think they hit the ball out of the park with this release. It is a game changer and I can’t wait to put it to good use.

        Bringing weak guys next to elite units (prone to sweeping) is a liability. Getting swept is something you need to take into account. But losing 1100 points, man that’s brutal. I feel for you, mate.

        But one thing I would like to see is an incitement to go full Legion size. I love 20 man units. But it doesn’t really do anything for you. The unit becomes a premium target as no shots are wasted when shooting at them but ironically you can waste shots when you shoot. MSU is better for the most parts. You can shot at more targets, claim more objectives etc

        Still you pay the same points per model when go up to 20. That’s just counter-intuitive. The price should drop after dude number ten, down to ten or nine points per model.

        • Chaz Sexington

          I play Alpha Legion, so I’m still gonna be running, but I’ll run Emperor’s Children Legion Tactics for my detachment at my next tournament, I think. Only DG, EC, and the WE get Fearless, mind. The squad is used as ablative wounds and to overrun anything that isn’t a deathstar, essentially.

          I think Stubborn for everyone that didn’t get Fearless would have been good. It would represent they’re tougher than LD 10 (which isn’t worth much in CC), while still representing their lack of brotherhood and unity.

          I think 30k solved MSU really well. IIRC, 10-man squad costs 150, but each additional is just another 10.

  • I have yet to try Alpha Legion. It’s interesting, but hasn’t quite captured my desire to run it.

  • Hivetyrant36

    Wow Heinsight is 20/20 isn’t it. GW has promised a living rulebook with constant support for 8th. They also promised better assault viability and every unit will be useful, but we will see.

    • I’m optimistic. I think GW has done great over the past year, but years and years of getting shafted does leave one hesitant. Still, I have a good feeling about 8th.

      Oh, I was the one who asked about close combat in the life Q&A ;) It has annoyed me that 6th hurt it, and 7th has all but killed it. It’s my favorite phase of the game.

      • Hivetyrant36

        Exactly my favorite aspect as well, I miss me genestrealers rip

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