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March 8, 2013

40K: Why the Next Space Marine Codex is Critical

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Hi everyone!  I want to talk about the most important codex in Warhammer 40,000 - Codex Space Marines.



I have been very busy working on completing my army for a Grand Tournament this weekend so not much time for blogging. The hours so quickly pass by while painting and I like to play nice looking armies. I told myself though I need to dedicate some time to write a serious article about 40k. You might not believe it but I can easily spend eight hours or more writing what I consider to be a good article. I'm not really into bashing GW, the hobby or other people so I try hard to focus on subjects that I feel passionate about and want to spend the time to do it right.

I am playing in a GT this weekend and took the time to research every army that will be there. As is often typical the vast majority is some flavor of power armor and I am cool with that fact. If you stop to think about it in many ways Necrons are kind of an exotic power armor army... In the past that seemed to be common knowledge but probably not as much so now for whatever reason(s). There has been some huge changes to the game over say the past three years. Some of the veterans have left and to me it feels like there has been a huge influx of new players. New players and veterans are both the life blood of the hobby - it is what it is for whatever reasons.

Historically vanilla Space Marines (e.g., Ultramarines, White Scars, Raven Guard, Imperial Fists, Crimson Fists, etc.) have been one of the most popular armies. A lot of players have stuck with these armies over the years through each new edition. Not everyone wants to jump on the band wagon each time a new codex rolls out. The fourth edition Space Marine codex written by Graham McNeil was a very powerful codex and highly customizable much like the fourth edition Chaos Space Marine codex. There was a lot of backlash on the Internet back then as is always the case with any very powerful army that is released. If we jump forward in time the fifth edition Dark Angels codex was an attempt by certain parties within GW to fix Space Marines... It was an awfully horrid codex and only with the advent of the Dark Angels FAQ that allowed Deathwing to finally be able to take the 3++ stormshield did the army come back en vogue.

I know some people don't like Space Marines in general but on the other hand this codex is in many ways the life blood of the game. The money spent by consumers for Space Marines funds many other armies... It is the proverbial cash cow. To me that is something you don't want to screw around with either. Space Marines are intended to be an army that is easy for beginners to pick up, learn how to play, collect and paint. For many many years power armor was all I played and I was a very vocal advocate in favor of Space Marines. I still am for sure.

So now here we are in sixth edition. It seems to me that Chaos Space Marines are very popular again, more so than the new Dark Angels. So I ask myself as a hobbyist what are the good things we collectively as players can take from each of these two new codices. In my opinion they both have more flavor now and as a hobbyist that is what is most important to me. As a competitive gamer I want to avoid building new armies that have only one or two competitive builds. So there should be a balance. A codex should also pass the test of time... That is it should still be competitive when the next new edition is released. Orks pass this test while eldar fail. While some might hate on Grey Knights and Space Wolves they have both stood up well going into sixth edition so far.

There are obviously lots of new codices to be released for sixth edition and it's too early to clearly determine what is the new direction for the game. Sure we all know that flyers and the Aegis defense line are strong along with allies but that is in and of itself is not everything plus it's quite obvious as well. Generally speaking it seems like the overall power level has been toned down a few notches. That is fine but I wouldn't be willing to bet yet that will be the general trend... Like I said its still too early.

Getting back to the main topic of Space Marines in general - I would like to see a new codex that is like what I said above... It should be an army that is easy for new players to learn how to play, collect and paint. Somehow the developers should design it so that you can play a wide variety of different chapters that are all fun and interesting. If only say Salamanders are competitive then it will overall fail. The same can be said more specifically about the various choices for units and their new special rules. I think it's safe to say most of us don't want to see a handful of undercosted over powered units... You know what I am talking about in this specific regard. To me that could be quite a daunting task and it's very important it is done very well however the developers choose to go about meeting these goals.

That is all I have to say on this subject for now. I'd love to build a new Imperial Fists army and that would be a brand new venture for me.

Excitement, passion and interest are what keep me in the hobby... That is not going to change.
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