5 Things That Gave Us Nightmares in 40K 5th Ed.


Phat J Sleaze is coming at us with the top 5 units, weapons, and wargear that kept you up at night during the reign of 5th edition 40k.

Let’s face it.  Most of us spent the majority of 2010-2014 sitting at our computers and whining about the the overpowered stuff in Warhammer 40,000 on sites such as Yes, the Truth Hurts, Bell of Lost Souls, and Dakka Dakka.   The sound of furious typing could be heard from space, and as we tilted up our trilby hats to wipe the sweat from our brow, we collectively let the world know that ‘WE DON’T LIKE THAT THING!’, and they shouldn’t either.  Yes, 5th edition was plagued by some of the most over powering things the community had ever seen.  We need to come together and remember them lest Games Workshop ever decides to try and increase the power level even further. Here are my top 5 nightmares from Warhammer 40,000 5th edition!



Split-Firing Long Fangs

So you are telling me that the Space Wolves had a unit that could fire   S8 AP 3 missiles at TWO different targets?  What’s next, you’re going to allow giant monstrous creatures that look like vehicles to fire all of their 10 weapons at different targets with each weapon more devastating than the next?! HUH? That would be the day.  When this was a thing, people were really pissed that these dudes were knocking off a couple vehicles a turn, mostly Blood Angel players who were running beardy stuff themselves.  This was when the split fire rule allowed them to actually split the unit down the middle and fire multiple weapons at different targets, not the single shot split fire we see now that the Space Wolves codex got hit with the nerf bat during the time before the Necron decurion became a thing.



Psyflemen Dreadnoughts

Just whose idea was it to give ANYTHING 4 twin-linked S8 AP4 shots?  That volume of shots, especially twin-linked, has no business being anywhere near my tabletop.  My buddy Todd once played against someone who had 3 of these, if you can believe it.  Those things almost took a couple wounds off of his Daemon Prince. What kind of craziness is that?  Below the belt, Games Workshop.  That was literally the most terrifying thing around back in 5th edition. It’s laughable now that we have single shot and remove entire units and 60 s6 twin linked units but there was a time when 4 twin linked S8 AP 4 shots made you ‘that guy’.



Nob Bikers

Remember these guys?  These guys were multi-wound models with a 4+/5+ and of course you had a Painboy in there for some sweet Feel No Pain action.  The frosting on this sundae?  No wound allocation rules! YEAAAH!  I remember people having laminated spreadsheets so they could keep track of which models had taken wounds.  You know what would be really bad for a unit like this? Something that could remove entire models with a single die roll. Thank god no one at GW would ever think to do something like that!  Can you imagine that? Not me!



Grey Knight Paladins

Holy crap, are you telling me there were models with a 2 + armor save that had 2 wounds AND WS5?  Who came up with that ridiculousness? These bad boys not only had the ability to strike at initiative 6 with AP2 power weapons (sigh) but get this, they also were able to fire like 20 S5 Stormbolter shots as well.  Did I forget to mention they also had a Psycannon in their squad? Talk about over powered!  Usually someone had like 6 Acolyte squads in Razorbacks with a melta gun or something else devastating. Like the Nob Bikers you could use the wound allocation shenanigans in 5th edition to make sure the wounds got shuffled around so you didn’t kill off any one model in a single round of shooting.



IG Leafblower

Bear with me, but there was a time when mass S8 AP 3 blasts were so terrifying that the rustling of jimmies could be heard throughout the Warhammer 40,000 community.  The IG Leafblower for those of you who were not around during 5th edition, was essentially an Imperial Guard army consisting of a mix of codex and Forgeworld artillery tanks with Veteran squads mixed in to pick up objectives.  It had Hydras when they were good and was called the Leafblower because it would literally blow most armies off the table by turn 2 or 3.  I myself took an army like this to Adepticon in 2012 and only lost to Albert Fennel and only because he brought his Necrons and made it Night Fight the entire game (yes that was also a thing in 5th) and rained lightning bolts down that smashed most of my tanks turn 1.



So there you have it, the top 5 things that kept me up at night during Warhammer 40,000 5th edition.

~What were some of the builds, wargear items, or units that gave you the most trouble during this edition? Let us know in the comment section!



Some mats are as low as 35$ Prices slashed because we are moving to a larger location! Hurray!

  • belligerent191

    Make 40k Great Again 5ed!

  • The_Illusionist

    If you want scary stuff, go and take a look at 2nd Edition.

    The days when the Avatar of Khaine bestrode the battlefield like the true incarnation of the God of Murder that he was meant to be….

    When Terminators had to make a mere 3+ save on 2d6….

    When Lascannons penetrated armour by rolling 3d6+9 and Heavy Plasma Cannons used d10+d8+d6+10 (which they had to do, because Dreadnoughts had AP24 on their front),

    When in a 2000pt game it was perfectly legal to spend 1000pts on a single Space Marine Librarian who could and would wipe an equivalent amount of points off the opponent’s side of the table single-handedly….

    When a single Vortex Grenade would roll around the table for 6 turns, “Remove From The Table With No Saves Of Any Kind”-ing everything it came into contact with….

    Those were the days. Simpler days. Better days.

    • deris87

      I’ve heard plenty about 3+ on 2d6 Terminators, but tell me more about these mythical days where the Avatar was awesome…

      • Iconoc1ast

        Truely were mythical days….

      • The_Illusionist

        *Ominous drumbeat* Between the times when the oceans drank the Squats, and the rise of the AP rules, there was a time of high adventure! *BOM BOM-BOM BOM, BOM-BOM, BOM….*

        Honestly though, the Avatar wasn’t THAT much different than it is now, but it was an age when there were far, far less counters to tough units and the price and availability of models made them unlikely to appear.

        Avatar’s had a gruesome statline, comparable to a Bloodthirster which was really the only unit in the game that was on an even-footing. If anything, a fight between the two would go either way – the Bloodthirster was ST8 with A10, but the Avatar was T8, with a “multimelta” shooting attack and a better saving throw – could you imagine what an Avatar would be like in 7th edition, if it was a genuine and viable threat to Skarbrand and the likes?

        Similarly, the Avatar was still immune to heat-based attacks, and this was long, LONG before armies like Dark Eldar (Poison), Necrons (Gauss), Tau (spamming high-ST shooting) and the Rending rule (‘Nids and such) even existed in the fluff, let alone on the table. It basically meant that if you were fighting Eldar and you hadn’t stocked up on Lascannons, the Avatar was probably going to eat you alive… And again, there was no such thing as Landraiders, or Long Fangs, or most varieties of IG tanks; you took Devastator Squads or AT MOST two Razorbacks and a Predator…. Which you usually couldn’t, because you could only spend up to 25% of your army’s value (so 500pts in a 2000pt game, for example) on what we might now think of as Heavy Support and nothing like Formations existed, which was brutal.

        And of course, the Avatar of Khaine caused Terror, a rule that was Fear’s bigger, meaner brother. It meant that you didn’t just take a rally test when you were in combat with the thing, no sir – you had to take a break test EVERY TUN that you were within 12″ of a Terror causing model, or else run for the hills. Just the sight of an Avatar walking towards some armies, like Orks and Tyranids, would cause huge swathes of them to break on the spot and leave the table even before a shot was fired.

        Commander Dante saw an Avatar and cried (inferno pistol lol). Marneus Calgar with his Terminator armour and pair of Power Fists would die honourably, but screaming. The Bloodthirster of Khorne itself would eye it up and down and then ask some of it’s friends to come along and soak wounds, “just in case”.
        This was the Avatar of Khaine that I grew up with; the Galaxy itself trembles at the very thought of it’s return….

        • deris87

          The modern Avatar could certainly go toe-to-toe with a Bloodthirster, the problem as you say is that the level of firepower else has scaled up so much on everything that neither is a particularly reliable unit.

        • Oldworld Survivor

          You didn’t always need to have lascannons. My personal favorite way to deal with large critters like the avatar was the disk of tzeentch riding chaos sorcerer with a void grenade (auto kills anything) and a 2+ invuln power field. Or if I wanted extra lulz the displacer field, 3+ invuln and moves you 2d6 in a random direction when you use it. Fun times! Void grenades really changed the entire strategy of the game.

      • Ben_S

        In fairness, they had save modifiers so a Lascannon hit became 9+ on 2d6.

    • Dennis J. Pechavar

      Solitaires with combat drugs and murder in their eyes! Also melta bombs that could be used as many as you had attacks. So much fun.

      • Iconoc1ast

        My eyes are so misty right now

        • Iconoc1ast

          I might need to dig out the rulebooks for second ed. Have a trip down memory lane….

    • Iconoc1ast

      All hail 2nd ed! The true monster.

      • Iconoc1ast

        I alway used to field an assassin with polymorphine and a vortex grenade. Bye bye enemy general….

        But then i grew up and got my friends back lol

    • Agent OfBolas

      OMG I LOVED 2nd edition!!!!!! 🙂

      The fluff was strong in this one.

    • wibbling

      Turn. Radius. Ratio.

      No, they were not simpler. They certainly weren’t better!

      • mannstein

        That was RT. 2nd ed used a little card template with a 45 degree notch. No maths required…

    • kingcobra668

      Man, I hate when ppl mention that term save they never mention save modifiers which totally change that idea of 3+ on 2d6. No one ever mentions it. Always the reply has to.

  • SilentPony

    Nob Bikers are still pretty hoss though.

  • Djbz

    The “Psyrifleman Dreads”
    “Those things almost took a couple wounds off of his Daemon Prince”
    Daemon princes have been pathetically flimsy since the 4th edition Chaos codex. One spray of rapid fire bolter fire ruins their day

    • petrow84

      Well, in my records chaos lists around 5th ed were beginning with 2 Prince + Wing + Lash of Submission. They might had been flimsy, but not the 3*3 Obliterator with their follow-up attacks…

      • Karru

        Princes went down relatively fast since they only had a 3+ save and a 5+ Invulnerable save on top of their Toughness 5. Only reason I ever saw princes getting fielded by most players was because of the broken Lash + Wings + 3x 3 Obliterator combos.

        • jonathon

          and because they were the best of the bad options available.

          • Karru

            Yeah, you just have to miss that amazingly versatile and unique list of 2x Lash Prince, 3×3 Obliterators and the remaining points are spent on 7-man squads of Plague Marines in Rhinos. People complain always seeing that from Chaos players and then wonder why CSM players would like to revert back to 3.5 or just get a book that has options outside Plague Marines and Obliterators.

  • Defenestratus

    Surely this can’t be a genuine hater-ade thread without mentioning at least ONE eldar unit?

    Oh 5th edition… you mean, that one edition where Eldar didn’t get a single codex update and people still gave you a hard time when you showed up with Forgeworld units to a casual game.

  • The things that made me sit out most of 5th edition:

    * it was an orgified celebration of the color grey because everyone in my area played necrons, space wolves, or grey knights due to those being the easiest crutch to use at that time.

    * grey knights were typically my opponent 50% of the time or thereabouts… and draigo was in almost every one of those armies.

    * watching draigo and his paladins lol-walk across the table taking obscene amounts of damage and distributing the wounds while lol-trouncing whatever they hit if you weren’t fielding an optimized force.

    * long fang spam.

    * how every game was basically the same game played over and over like groundhog-day with the same basic forces (see above)

    * how trying to bring forgeworld into your casual games was seen as personally insulting a player’s family heritage.

    * how trying to get people to play campaigns or expansions was seen as personally slapping someone across the face.

    * the typical response to complaining about the OP stuff in 5th edition was “git gud and l2p newb”.

    • DaveTycho

      http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/242c58b89b62b93181391f71d5f62ea928ea300ecd5444ac2e194dff00798a77.jpg don’t forget about people complaining about forgeworld in tournaments

    • petrow84

      Necrons? Really dude? It was the last 7-8 months when the new codex was out, and the necrons became a decent (and not an OP) faction. We had to sit through the previous 3,5 years with a codex, which

      – could shovel up its glancing weaponry into its shiny metal a**, as the best you could do is to immobilize a Rhino

      – had 4 units altogether with access to power weapon, out of which 3 was a HQ (out of which 2 were 0-1 choies, and over 300 pts)

      – swept off-board in close combat, thanks to the new morale rules, and no access to fearless troops.

      – were completely at the mercy of the dice against psy powers (still having nightmare from the 4 Runepriests with the JotWW)

      Oh, and add the old phase-out rule for that.

      Sure, C’tan + 3 Monolith lists were tough to crack, until you could bypass them, and get to the warriors to phase out the whole force.

      • Karru

        I seriously can’t agree with people who blame Necrons for being broken AF during the end of 5th edition. Necrons deserved that update and it made them very fun to play against, as long as you didn’t smell freshly baked cheese filled Croissants coming your way. Necrons was my least favourite army to play against before they got updated thanks to the fact that it was nothing but Necron Warriors and Destroyers with a Monolith thrown in for good measure.

      • Well I did say thats what *I* saw a ton of. The breakdown was roughly for every 10 people present, 5 were running grey knights (4 with draigo, 1 with cotez), 3 space wolves, 1 necron, 1 “other”.

  • Vepr

    Stopped playing the game in 5th. Grey Knights and Cheese Wolves galore. Jaws of the world wolf and grey marines going before my nids with power weapons every other game was a bit much.

    • Omnia Incendent

      a friend of mine loved using Jaws of the world wolf against my initiative 2 Necrons – Ouch.

  • Randy Randalman

    All of these things sucked, but didn’t matter once Grey Knights hit. Major tournaments towards the end would see 7 of the top 8 as Grey Knights players, because everything else lost to them. No matter how good of a player you were, you lost to them. Even today’s Eldar isn’t like that.

    • Karru

      It was great fun until Grey Knights came to ruin everything. As long as you didn’t see people play Grey Knights, the power gap was very minimal, at least compared to the current gap that is the approximately as long as the distance between Earth and Alpha Centauri. There was no utterly useless unit in the game like we have now. One of the many reasons why I loved the edition so much. I never had to worry about not bringing super strong AT or the big guy just in case my opponent decided to bring his.

  • Emperor’s Champion

    As a long time Eldar player, 5th ed was a horrible time, a very dark and horrible time to play this army. But now you other players can get a taste of your own medicine.

    • Crevab

      Ah yes, the one edition Eldar weren’t considered overpowered. How terrible

      • Emperor’s Champion

        I joined in 5th so anything before hand means not to me lol

        • Crevab

          Hi welcome to 40k

    • Karru

      Wait. You complain that you weren’t utterly broken for one edition and instead you were balanced and because of that everyone else is the bad guy?

      • Chardun

        For one, they weren’t great in 5th (or 3rd or 4th either). Tau, Necrons, almost everyone else took the top spot for shooting over Eldar, aspect warriors were over costed, and psychers weren’t what they are today. Balanced isn’t what they were, when compared to Grey Knights, Chaos Demons, Spez Muhreens, Space Wolves, IG & Necrons.

        • Karru

          As someone who faced Eldar during 5th edition a lot, I can freely say they were balanced compared to then and now. These days everyone, literally everyone, groans when someone mentions they are bringing Eldar to the table. During 5th? No problem, it would always be a close game as long as the Eldar player knew what he was doing. It wasn’t just deploy and win strategy they can do now.

      • Emperor’s Champion

        no just marine players

        • Karru

          Now I agree with you. As someone who also happens to play a balanced army with multiple different units while filling my Troop section with Guardians and Rangers while staying away from Jetbikes, I do agree that Eldar do have a nice codex that doesn’t force you to take certain units. Your original wording just had that “negative” vibe to it that made it sound like Eldar weren’t viable at all during those days. Guardians were overpriced and underpowered compared to Dire Avengers during those days.

  • Jeff Smith

    I miss my Strength 10 Broadside Railguns, those caused a lot of issues for my opponents.

    • Karru

      I’m glad they removed them, just because there was no reason to take the Hammerhead.

      • Coltcabunny

        Just like Devastators mean there is no reason to take a Predator Annihilator? Mmmmkayy…

        • Karru

          Hammerhead costed 150pts with the Railgun. It had an armour value of 13 on the front. One “Weapon Destroyed” Result and that tank was 100% useless.

          XV88 Broadside Battlesuit, 70pts a piece, Toughness 4, 2 wounds and 2+ save + Drones. The Railgun is also Twin-linked compared to the Hammerhead. 140pts you got 2 Twin-linked Railgun shots that didn’t have a change to go away by the first Autocannon shot. On top of that, these guys could actually utilize cover a lot better. The only benefit you got from Hammerhead was the Submunnition Railgun that was Strength 6 AP 4 Blast. They had the exact same role in the Tau army. Heavy Long Range AT. Of course, the Hammerhead could also be very weak medium armour threat or small elite unit threat with the 3 Strength 7 AP 3 Ion Cannon shots. Also, that Hammerhead could be disable for a turn with a single glancing hit.

          (I’m using the 5th edition SM codex here)

          Predator Annihilator was 165pts for 2 Lascannons and 1 Twin-linked Lascannon. 5-man Devastator Squad with 4x Lascannons was 230pts. I would never take Lascannon Devastators for that price. Instead, I would take them with 2 Plasma Cannons and 2 Lascannons with a full 10 man squad for a grand total of 290pts. Then I would Combat Squad them to two separate units. One with 2 Plasma Cannons and the other with 2 Lascannons. This way that squad now fills two different roles, but still costs almost twice the amount I would’ve paid for two Annihilators. Also, Predators aren’t bad with 2 Lascannons and the Autocannon combo, which costs less points while still offering relatively good firepower for a grand total of 120pts.

          The difference between Hammerhead vs Broadsides and Predators/Devastators boils down to their role and flexibility. Hammerhead and Broadsides shared the same role which the Broadsides could perform a lot better. Meanwhile Devastators can be taken as light or heavy infantry killers or tank hunters while the Predator is mostly meant against armour, light, medium and heavy armour depending on what you need.

  • Impressive how much non-scary Psyflemen Dreadnoughts are in 7th compared to all the other fancy crap running around handing out far more shots with better kill-ratio (grav or scatter spam anyone?).

    • Karru

      Also, Psy-ammunition was nerfed in the new codex if I remember correctly. It no longer gives Psyflemen their Strength 8 Autocannons.

  • Crevab

    Ha Ha, the joke is that these things have been far outclassed in current 40k.

  • Dennis J. Pechavar

    I miss Hydras being good.

    • Carey_Mahoney

      Yeah. They used to be quite versatile, weren’t open-topped and had cooler looking models from FW.
      Still, I’m glad I did not buy one back then (although I actually planned to), given how they suck nowadays.

      • Karru

        Hydras are still very good, they are just don’t outclass all other choices in the Heavy Support slot any more. They should’ve kept their “Ignores Jink Saves” rule though.

      • Dennis J. Pechavar

        Agreed. Sadly they are good now but only if your opp is using a ton of flyers. If not…they are a bad investment.

  • Carey_Mahoney

    Long Fangs with only Missile Launchers, led by a Wolf Guard Terminator with a Cyclone… those were like “make ’em prime target or loose yours”. We already had a hard time fighting those pesky Thunderwolf Cavalrymen lead by that 2+ Wolflord and simultaneously chucking up due to that equally pesky Psyker… But in current 40k, Space Wolves got punished for what they did to the tabletop back then (main punishment was ugly new models, though).

  • J Mad

    The worst was hitting moving vehicles/skimmers in melee… terrible you needed 4+ or a 6+ of fast vehicles.

    • Beoron

      God, I hated that!

    • Djbz

      And now it’s far too easy
      Especially now hull points makes them far easier to destroy than back then. (Where you could penetrate dozens of times and still do nothing because you can’t roll higher than a 2 on the damage chart)

      • petrow84

        Yeah, most of the skimmers now break like egg-shells in CC. You can put a grenade on a tank, crawling with 2 mph in an urban battlezone with the same ease, as you do on an empty field against a hovering anti-grav vehicle, rushing with a speed of a Bugatti Veyron…

        I don’t want either 6+ to come back, but a forced re-roll against fast moving skimmers would be nice.

        • Karru

          I think they should just make it something like this:
          Automatic if the Vehicle didn’t move,
          3+ if it moved at least 1″ and less than 6″,
          4+ if it moved more than that up to 12″,
          6+ if the vehicle moved Flat Out.

          This way, moving vehicles aren’t basically automatically dead as soon as they get assaulted, no matter how fast they moved during the previous turn.

      • J Mad

        It wouldnt have been to easy without power creep.

        • Djbz

          It’s generally the (pretty much unchanged) basic troop units I see tearing tanks open in combat with their standard melee attacks, I don’t think power creep has anything to do with it.
          They just overdid it when they reduced the vehicle’s ability to take dozens of glances/pentrating hits without being destroyed and making them easier to hit in combat

          • J Mad

            Not for me, its the mass S6 from Eldar/Tau or the Plasma shots from WS’s and DA’s

  • Karru

    To me 5th edition will always remain as the crown jewel of 40k. I have the best memories from those days regarding the game. From the games that I played to battle reports that were posted to list building. It wasn’t the same skeleton lists each and every game, outside the troop section.

    Long Fangs weren’t as broken as most of the stuff we have now in the game. Well, basically all of these are nowhere near the levels of broken we currently habit.

    Long Fangs could be killed relatively easily, either trough Outflanking units that could tie them up or even kill them since they only had 6 models in them. Yeah, they hurt people that did Mech Spam, but balanced armies still had a chance to fight these guys.

    Psyflemens and all those that fielded them can go and rot in the deepest parts of h***. With that single god damned unit, they broke the game and made it nearly impossible to enjoy. It didn’t matter what you had, those things slaughtered everything. Luckily they arrived near the end of 5th. Those that fielded Paladins on mass can join them.

    Nob Bikers. I NEVER had issues with these guys. They usually made up around 2/4 to 2/3 of the armies total points and after quite a bit of focus firing, brought a loss to the guy that brought them most of the time. These guys weren’t annoying and more often than not, I’d see people actually take the time to convert them with very cool bikes and actual Nobz.

    Leafblower was the second most annoying list in the game. Of course, it was super easy to identify and thus after the guy who played it realised that no one wanted to play him as long as he continued to use it, he changed his list.

    It’s quite the surprise that it was Nob Bikers that got into this list, but not the 4 Space Wolf Rune Priests with JotWW running around, killing everything.

  • Agent OfBolas

    I loled.

    I had much more fun with 5th edition than with 7th, just because less things like Invisibility. Current game is all about getting invisible, fielding knights and making deathstars.

    5th was great.

    4 TL AP4 shoots “insane” …. seriously? Centaurs anyone? Grav Guns anyone? D weapons anyone? Riptide anyone?

    I seriously loled hard.

    • Karru

      Just look at the difference. During 5th edition, the worst thing we could face during those days was the Psyflement Dreadnought with 4 Strength 8 AP 4 shots.

      • Agent OfBolas

        I’ve played Eldar. It was not scarry at all 😛

  • Kirdrak

    Where are the killa cans???