40K: New Codexes: Our Hopes & Dreams

Warhammer 40,000 8th is here and it’s great – but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some room for improvement!

I have been super thrilled with this release and new edition of Warhammer 40k. I have been trying to get as many games as I can in while devouring all the rules and unit abilities I can handle. It’s been a trip so far but things are starting to stick. I’m really enjoying this journey of discovery and I hope you are too – we’re all learning cool new things and it’s a wonderful time to be in the hobby.

We’re having fun! See the muzzle flash – that’s fun coming your way!

The Indexes have been really helpful thus far as well. I like that each index has multiple factions and sub-factions in them. I’ve been learning about T’au, Orks and Genestealer Cults as I’ve been playing my Tyranids, too! That said, these books are definitely a stop-gap for this new edition. I mean, we all knew that right? These books are not the “final-form” of how the 8th Edition books will end up. How do I know? Well, look at the evidence:

  • Light on background – there was virtually no lore/background for the factions. You got a page or two and that was pretty much it.
  • All the factions crammed in to “logical” groups – Yes, the groups made sense but the Indexes are certainly jam-packed with datasheets…but it still felt like a lot of the flavor from the codexes were missing.
  • no real art or models, it’s all rules – Where are all the unit entries? Where are the disgusting tid-bits about how Tyranids weapons are maggots that bore into your brain and eat you from the inside? And were are the pictures of the models, painted to perfection and showcased all over the place?

And the Painting Guides!? I WANT THEM!!!

But the biggest piece of evidence isn’t from these observations, it’s direct from Games Workshop with the Live Q&A:

New Codexes?

Yes! Codexes are not going away, but they will come at a later date.

and let’s not forget this tid-bit from the follow-up Q&A:

Specific Army Rules (examples) – this one was unscripted so it’s very general concepts

Imperial Fist – Better vs. Defending/fortifications

White Scars – Hit and Run

Battle Forge Army Each Unit/Detachment must share one keyword, Examples:

Imperium – limited stratagems to just generic “Imperium”

Space Marine – Gain access to Space Marine Stratagems on top of Imperium Stratagems

<Chapter> – Specific Chapter Strategems on top of the others

The more specific the key word the “deeper” you can go with the Stratagems

Pete, we want another Live Q&A!

So we know new codexes are on the way, it’s just a matter of time. We’ve also got some hints that they will get some Specific Army Rules and that they will get some special benefit with list construction and Stratagem access.

But now that we know those things…What do we want out of codexes? Well here’s a small list of things we’d like to see:

New Lore

So the Galaxy kind of exploded in a psychic shockwave and a tear through reality formed. That’s a BIG deal and every single faction was impacted by this. There was even an entire Tyranid Hive Fleet that went MIA due to the warp – that’s unheard of! I want to know what happens to each faction and how they are reacting to this massive warp tear! I want to know what’s next for them and how they are reacting and adapting to the new “state of things” in the galaxy. So yes, I would like to know more!

New Models

Okay – the Primaris Space Marines are new and cool. But they are still Space Marines! They can’t be the only ones that got some sweet new upgrades – even if they were 10,000 years in the making… The new Death Guard models are also fantastic. But I want to know about the other cool new kits for the rest of the factions. New Models for EVERYONE! Especially Plastic Sisters of Battle for all you die hard fans. I don’t play them, but I’m still rooting for you.

GW has quite a few kits that are a tad dated at this point. I won’t bother naming them all but there are a few models that need some updates. Here’s a list of the Top 5 Chaos models that need some love to give you an idea. You could make one for each faction – and I think we will at some point!


Do you remember when the Genestealer Cults came out? Do you remember all the different Sub-Factions they had? I want those to come back – and I want Lore Based Detachments (see below) for those. Is this a pipe dream? I don’t think so! I think this is the direction that GW is moving with their new codexes and as evidence I present you with this picture from the Kharadron Overlords book:

I want this in 40k. These Sub-Factions are fun, fluffy and they are slightly more powerful than a “generic” faction. Which ties in nicely with my next subject…

Lore Based Detachments

Last edition suffered from the over abundance of detachments and formations. I do NOT want to see that return. What would like is for each sub-faction to get a cool detachment and be based on the Lore. For example, if you were playing Dark Angels Ravenwing and you take a Fast Attack heavy detachment, then you should get a small bonus for the Ravenwing units in that detachment.  Something like a -1 to enemy rolls to hit them vs shooting attacks for Ravenwing units that move over 10″ in a turn. This represents their skillful rider-ness in a flavorful way that doesn’t seem too Over Powering.

Now a special detachment for EVERY sub-faction would get overwhelming pretty quick. The good news is that thanks to the Keyword system, you won’t have to worry about units getting the benefit when they shouldn’t.

More Psychic Powers

This one is for my Chaos players out there. You guys got a fantastic pair of releases with the Tzeentch book and the Traitor Legions books. I’m sorry for your loss because it’s got to be hard to go back to a “generic” index after those two amazing books came out. I’m hoping that when the codexes do come out you’ll get the same treatment you got – only better! I’m also hoping that GW includes a couple more Psychic Powers for your daemons to toss out because right now Smite and a few other just aren’t enough.

I have a feeling each army will get at least 6 powers each. The 3 basic ones you get in the Indexes are all really low-level powers that are fairly reliable. I want to see some powers with more risk and more reward. Maybe a few powers that go off on an 8+ but can really buff or cripple a unit. Heck, I’d setting for the basic powers that are in the indexes, but just amped up! For example Smite does more damage if you cast it on a 10+ right? Well what if appropriate powers did the same thing? So maybe on a 10+ the range of an aura increases or maybe you can target a second unit with a buff power. Things like that!

Warlord Traits

We need more Warlord Traits, ASAP. The 3 basic ones in the core book range from mildly useful to completely useless depending on the army. I get it – folks don’t want to see Warlord Traits become game breakingly powerful. I don’t want that either. But I would like for the them to be useful for their specific army. For example – What if the Tyranids got their old Warlord trait that added 6″ to their synapse again? That’s much more useful than +1 leadership to creatures within 6″ of the Warlord – especially considering Synapse lets you ignore morale tests. Just sayin!


These are from the Blades of Khorne book for AoS – but I want this concept for the new Codexes. The art is cool but also they have them listed later in the book as wargear options you can take. This was a concept from 7th that I do hope they add back in 8th!

Keyword Based Stratagem

Now this one is kind of a gimme because we know this is already been confirmed. But I want to go on record saying that I’m a firm believer that if you are taking a list that is entirely made of one sub-faction you should be rewarded for that. If you’re playing all Ultramarines, you should get access to a super cool Ultramarine only strategem. If you’re playing a straight Snake Bite Clan list for Orks, you deserve a cool strategem! Now, what those could be – I’ll leave that up to your imagination. But they should be represented from the Lore and they should be worth spending command points on.


I could go on. I didn’t even talk about custom missions or new Special Characters – but you get the idea. What would you like to see in the next batch of Codexes!?

  • davepak

    Interesting thoughts.


    That is how we got the crazy imbalance of last edition and the crazy formations.

    What you CAN do, is give command points for lore based detachments.

    For example – you can’t do ravenwing in a Brigade – you need six troops!! So, even if you want a 2000 point ravenwing army that is fluffy – you can’t get the big brigade bonus (9 cp).

    The lore friendly “Ravenwing Brigade” would be something like;
    * 3-6 hq – On bikes
    * 0-3 troops
    * 3-6 Elite
    * 6-12 fast
    * 0-2 Heavy
    * 04 flyers

    then just give them access to some extra stratagems, either new or existing one ; for example –
    * Outflanking Reinforcements 2 cp (from Meat grinder)

    Most armies are already powerful, and I am sure some will get even more so (chapter tactics coming) – we don’t need bring back “formation benefits” – under any other name.

    • kloosterboer


    • ZeeLobby

      Please Lord

    • nekned

      What if, there were Lore base detachment with bonus BUT they were not usable in Matched Play…

      If you want balance you play matched play and people who enjoy lore can have something fun for narrative play…

      • NNextremNN

        Things shouldn’t be excluded from matched play. If this is something tournament organizers want to do they can do it. But those exclusions do not belong into a rule book.

        • nekned

          There is already differences written in the core rulebook between Matched play and Narrative play (faction and multiple detachment for instance).

          It’s not that I want things excluded from matched play, on the contrary. It’s more of an answer to Matched play player that want to remove or strongly oppose options for the whole game because it doesn’t fit there vision of balance with no consideration for narrative player.

          So the middle ground could be thematic detachment that might unbalance the game for narrative play and homogeneous detachment for matched play players.

          If tournament want them included they still can, their tournament, their rules.

          • NNextremNN

            But who says that narrative formations have to be unbalanced? Maybe those give Special rules instead of CP or maybe they cost CP or even Points or Power?

          • nekned

            I do not disagree with you.

            My impression though was that Competitive player found them unbalanced and prefered Homogeneous detachment for the sake of balance in simplicity/similarity.

          • NNextremNN

            I think there are no homogeneous group of players which all share the same opinion. I think there are quite some competitive players who want things they can exploit. And from some lists I have seen some have already found such things.

  • Dan

    I’m excited for ways to recreate unique powers for factions and sub-factions. For instance IG orders:

    when you buy a unit in a platoon there’ll be a keyword. when a junior officer gives an order it’s not to a specific squad, but any members in range. Senior officers could give 1 order a turn that affects any members in range, and if that order sits a junior officer it routes through them to their , extending the potential range of the SO’s order. So we have fewer orders but they affect bigger blocks of troops. that also means the officers are much bigger targets.

    The IG should also get a strategem that lets them nominate a non-fficer squad to take over an officers position as order-giver if they’ve been killed.

    • Randy Randalman

      I completely disagree. Then there’s literally no way to stop them from issuing orders. Being able to stop that – just like stopping Mob Rule, Synapse, etc – should be a viable strategy for an opponent. Characters are already extremely difficult to kill just because they can’t be targeted in shooting and are easy for armies like Astra Militarum to onion wrap.

      • John Henry III

        Orders mainly counteract the weaknesses in the IG army that exist for the sole purpose of letting orders be useful. I wouldn’t be worried

        • davepak

          Just like markelights – tau, the “shooty” army, is ironically, very bad at shooting.

          • NNextremNN

            Only sad part is what they have done with markerlights …

  • Randy Randalman

    I don’t think lore/faction-specific detachments should be added in each codex. That would basically be formations all over again, and suddenly you’d have blue White Scars; bearded ice-claw wielding Ork Wolves, etc. No. Just…no. Detachments should still be about structure and command points; NO ADDITIONAL SNOWFLAKE RULES.

    Besides, you can already build virtually every play style that has ever existed with the core detachments. Want Kult of Speed? Play the Outrider Detachment. Want Deathwing? Vanguard Detachment. Want an all-comer’s? Battalion or even Brigade Detachment.

    What the codices should have is more narrowly focused Warlord Traits (but still keep it 3 total), psychic powers (also limited to 3), and perhaps stratagems for spending command points. As an aside, Chaos is currently very powerful, and Thousands Sons do not need more psychic powers. The warp dice pool system was utterly broken; the only complaints are coming from people who liked cheating by producing 1800 points of free models every game. Sure is fun to play 3800 points vs. 2000 points, right? Magnus is still very over-powered at the moment, but can thankfully die. If they get their own codex (which they will), just having 3 of their own unique psychic powers is enough.

    The last thing the game needs is to expand wide. That’s what sent 6th/7th into an unrecoverable state. The game currently feels like it has a lot of variety, simply due to the fact that more units than ever are playable. There are more possible competitive level army builds than have ever existed in any table top game in history.

    My group got in 40+ games the last few days, and there were still tons of builds we wanted to try.

    • orionburn

      I do not want to see the psychic phase get bloated again either. It was ridiculously long with Thousand Sons. Matched play seems to keep things under control more so than PL games do, so I’m good with things staying that way.

      My other want is that when a codex comes out it doesn’t invalidate the points/rules in the index books. Would it be nice to have some bonus things like stratagems and such in a codex? Yes. Do I absolutely need that in order to play a game? No. Yes we know these books are temporary, but that’s a big FU to people that had to buy 3-5 of the indexes. Asking your customers to spend $125 on books and then invalidate them within 2 months is salt in the wound for so many of us that got burned from late arrival books in 7th.

      • ZeeLobby

        I still wish we had “winds of magic” and extra psykers don’t add dice. Abilities could be strong, but it was fickle, and you couldn’t base your whole force on it. That and the phase went super fast. But alas.

      • NNextremNN

        I decided to not buy all indices and rather wait for actual codices. And I hope the tau codex changes points and some rules because those are just stupid.

      • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

        I think keeping each of a Detachment’s Psykers locked to their list is reasonable, especially with the 1-of rule. But some diversity within those boundaries would help.

      • Brettila

        You know darn well they will invalidate. That is why they have the klunky points pages in the back. It is easier to make changes when they need to.

    • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

      Tying special rules to Keywords should be enough diversity without breaking the game.

    • Brettila

      I’m guessing there will be 6 spells. Otherwise the 1 attempt rule (p.215) will make armies either play without psykers or cast Smite 15 times a turn like one Tzeentch demon player did. A million smites will become pretty boring for all of us I am going to guess.

  • Boondox

    I like the Indexes because they concentrate on the rules and get us playing in 8th Ed. with a minimum of non-rule filler. They’re not perfect but they seem to be intended to fill the gap before the Codexes are released. I’m sure the Codexes will have plenty of fluff and painting guides just like they have in the past. Personally I hope they could offer condensed softback Codexes that are rules only as well. I’d prefer not to have to flip past half of the Codex to get to the rules that I use for the game. I can always buy novels from Black Library for the fluff and a few issues of WD is all I need for painting guides.

    • kloosterboer

      I’m all for fluff – the more, the better. It’s easy to forget that newer players don’t have decades (!) of history to draw from.

      I just think more rules only leads to more rules to counteract the rules you were just counteracting with new rules.

      Special Rules themselves don’t make the game any more or less interesting.

      • Boondox

        I see your point on the fluff and do forget the perspective of a new player since I’ve been with 40k since the RT days.

        As for rules. Do you think the Codexes are going to replace the indexes? Or augment them? Or are the Indexes the Lite Codexes I was mentioning? I don’t want to get back to carrying a small library to every game but the Indexes do have room for improvement. They have mentioned the return of Chapter Approved each year (if I understood that correctly?) so is that going to help the Indexes or Codexes? Or both?

        • Danbob

          Thats a good point actually, does anyone who plays AOS know if you can play the units that have entries in a battletome out of the compendiums?

        • NNextremNN

          Depending on your army you will still have to carry a library around with you.

  • J. Philip vanHeijkoop

    Let the codex-creep-a-thon commence!!!! Personally I hope that all the army abilities will be linked to CP/Stratagems. So I you want that great army-wide rule it’ll cost you, while your opponent gets something else. They could also do it different, where you don’t have to pay CP, but your opponent gets them instead. That way even though your codex might be old or non-existent you still get some reroll or something.

  • Spacefrisian

    Adeptus Sororitas is what is needed. There models have a 20 year anniversary this year for starters.

    • DJ860

      The faction has been taken down on the GW website now, you seem to have to search for them to find them and they’re listed under other armies.

      • Nameless

        Basic sisters (armed with boltguns) seem to be missing completely, good luck starting an army without those. I’ll be honest it doesn’t look good…

        edit: my mistake, they show up if you search for them, but not if you use the filters on the left of the page.

        • Ben Dutton

          When I click on Adeptus Ministorum they come up just fine.

  • Marc Berry

    And rules for certain vehicles like predator tanks being tied down in combat by infantry need to be addressed.

  • Ryan Miller

    Iron Hands better not get shafted and get some unique characters with names and such.

    • Diagoras

      The Iron Warriors agree.

  • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

    And, FFS, get rid of stupid unit restrictions.

  • Adam Wright

    Easy way I see of doing this for Marines at least, is by giving them special rules and stratagems for each chapter keyword. I’ll use my Salamanders as an example…

    Space Marine units that have the “Salamanders” keyword gain the rule “Masters of Flame and Forge.”
    – This rule allows any Salamanders model to add 2 to the number of hits with any flamer weapon, re-roll any failed armor saves of 1 vs flame weaponry, and characters may select any one weapon to add 1 to the damage result. The choice of weapon must be selected before before deployment.
    (This is just a wishlist example of course)

    An Army composed solely of units with the Salamanders keyword gets access to a special list of three Warlord traits. As well as Salamander specific stratagems. Finally, Librarians with the Salamanders keyword get access to some kind of special psyker power (not a whole list of 3, just 1).