40K: Why 8th Edition Made Hordes The Best

With horde armies dominating the meta it’s time to take a moment and look at how they become so good in 8th Edition.

Horde armies are all the rage these days. Just the other day I talked about how they have been dominating the meta since day one. With all their dominance it’s good to ask: why and how did this happen? And the truth is that horde armies themselves did not change very much. Most of them work a lot like they used to, but in many cases have gone from being low or mid range lists, to winning lists. In fact it’s not that horde armies really changed at all; it’s that rules of the game changed around them. So what changes in 8th made hordes so good? Lets take a look.

Everything Can Hurt Everything

A lasgun can kill anything in this room

The most widely cited reason for the rise of horde lists was the change to how wounding works. With the new unified stat line anything in the game can now hurt anything else. This means that your basic cultist can wound  a tank, or titan, when before you needed special weapons or equipment. Now this change has obviously been a boon for hordes. Horde lists tend to contain a lot of weak models and guns in them, before this change there were a lot of things in the game that they could not hurt, while the strong units were always able to wound the hordes. In the hordes vs elites fight this change has in fact only benefited hordes, and yet it is only one of many reasons for hordes newfound power.

Toughness and Strength 5 Got Nerfed

Of course T5 models still have their uses…

When 8th unified the statline it also adjusted the rolls needed to wound targets. Now in 40K the three most common strengths/toughnesses are 3, 4 and 5. Out of these horde armies are mostly based around S/T 3 units/weapons, while more elite armies tend to use a lot of S/T 5 weapons and units. Out of these three brackets it is its S/T 5 that suffered the most, in particular in its relation to S/T 3. In these particular match ups S/T actually remained unchanged, wounding 5 on 5s, and 3 on 3s, and being wounded by 3 on 5s and 5 on 3s. This hasn’t changed pretty much ever. However S/T 5 used to wound S/T 3 on 2s and only be wounded on 6s, under 8th it wounds on 3s and is wounded on 5s. This is a clear shift in favor of S/T and horde armies.

Changes to AP Helped Hordes

Just doesn’t seem to work like it used to.

Another major change in 8th was to move AP values from denying/allowing saves to modifying them. While at first this may not seem like a huge help to hordes it really has ended up being. Lets take the common example of an Imperial Guardsperson with a lasgun facing a Chaos Space Marine with a bolter. Under previous editions the lasgun with its ap of – would have allowed the CSM a full 3+ armor save. In return the bolter, which at the time had an AP of 5, would have negated the guardspersons entire save. However under the current edition, while the lasgun and its effect remains unchanged, the bolter is now ap 0 and the guardsperson gets their 5+ save. In essence his unit has increased its survivability by 33% vs one of the most common weapons in the game, while the CSM gained nothing.

Putting These Together

It doesn’t take a horror movie villain to see how these fit together.

Here’s another quick example that shows off how some of these things have come together to make hordes better. Lets take our Guardsperson and our CSM and shoot them with a heavy bolter – another common weapon. Under prior editions the the Guardsperson would have been wounded on a 2+ and gotten no saving throw. The CSM, on the other hand, would have been wounded on a 3+ and gotten a 3+ save. Under 8th Edition the math is a lot different, the Guardsperson is only wounded on a 3+ and still gets a 6+ save, conversely the CSM is still wounded on just a 3+, but now has their save reduced to a 4+. So not only did the changes make the CSM LESS survivable this edition, they also made the Guardsperson significantly MORE survivable. When you compare the changes between the two you see a big shift.

And here is the thing. None of the rules or states for the Guardsperson or CSM changed. Neither got better armor or upgrades, or special rules, it wasn’t the units that changed, it was the rules. And these still aren’t all the changes.

Removing Comparative Weapon Skill

Turns out you can in fact touch this. 

Another, smaller to some, change that was made in 8th was removing comparative weapon skill. In previous editions units would compare their respective weapon skills when making attacks and this would determine the number needed to hit the enemy. In 8th all units have a base weapon skill they always hit on. This hurt elite units a lot. Since most elite units have high weapon skills they were hitting most things on a 3+ or 2+ , and this hasn’t changed. In return however they could expect to wade into low quality troops and only be hit on a 5+ or even a 6+. Now however it is far more common for low quality troops, like our humble Gaurdsperson, to hit everything, be it Nurgling or Bloodthurster, on a 4+, another improvement for hordes.

Leadership Got Less Punishing

It really is a mercy. 

Look, leadership isn’t really an issue for most horde armies, or armies in general. Though in theory it should be a weakness of hordes – most of them have way of simply negating the effects of bad leadership. The infamous Commissars are but one example. However, for those that can’t 8th also made leadership tests less punishing than before. Instead of a everyone is destroyed or no one is lost mechanic they’ve added in a slightly more forgiving system that means horde players no longer have to worry about a botched roll killing off dozens of troops.

Auras are Better For Hordes

8th Edition is when the hippies took over.

Another change that subtly favors hordes is the introduction of aura abilities. These abilities tend to buff units/models within a certain distance of the character. Simple logic says that the more models you can have effected by these abilities the better, and no one can have more models affected than hordes. 10 models getting +1 attack is good, 40 models is amazing.

A Farewell to Templates

Ages long past.

Of course we can’t forget the removal of template weapons in 8th. In previous editions template weapons were the bane of hordes. A well placed flamer or battlecannon shot might hit 8-12 models. Horde players had to very careful with placement of their models and space issues were real. Reducing most templates to d6 or d3 shots was huge for hordes. Not only do they not need to worry about spreading out to avoid templates, but the overall damage output is lower. Overall the changes to templates made hordes a lot more survivable.

It All Comes Together

He Loves it. 

When looked at as a whole its pretty clear that most of the major changes to 8th’s rules benefited hordes. Taken together there was a general sort of moving towards the middle, a flattening out of the curve. The commons bands of stats got pushed to be more similar to allow for higher bands. S/T 4 is a smaller step above S/t 3 than it was in previous editions. More than any edition this has made 8th a numbers game, and a volume game. And hordes are going to win a battle of volume of dice. In the end the cheaper, low powered models in the game got not just more deadly but significantly more durable, while at the same time the rules changed to make elite armies  more fragile.

Its also important to remember that these changes are in many ways the bones of what makes 8th Edition, 8th Edition. These are not unit abilities or army special rules. Nor are they loopholes or mistakes to be errata-ed. The very core mechanics of 8th favor hordes. And it’s for these reasons that I feel hordes will keep running the meta.

That’s all for today folks. Did we miss any reason that hordes got better and do you feel that the rules really are slanted towards them? Let us know, down in the comments! 


  • LankTank

    I have ato strong suspicion blast weapons will be buffed in chapter approved. Im hoping for an increase of shots against more models or a +1 to hit for 10 models or more

    • Charon

      Wich again benefits Imperial guard probably more than anyone else.

      • Tim

        If it’s just given to blasts this is likely true. Otoh the most likely thing to get this is flamers, and that will hit guard way harder than it helps. The fundamental issue is there is no weapon that is best suited for shooting at conscripts/grots/gants/horrors etc. The closest you can get is lasguns, and when the solution to hordes is hordes there’s an issue. Adding in a rule like this or a new str2 ap0 high shot volume weapon would go a long way to fixing hordes.

        • Fredddy

          I guess that this is the way GW will go with the newer codexes.

        • Puppet Soul

          the Grav-Flux Bombard would like a word with you

          or 10d3 words, depending on your size

        • John Henry III

          Perhaps they should change flamers to be something along the lines of 1d6+1d6 for every 5 models over 10.

          • Puppet Soul

            That would make flamers absolutely devastating, but not in a good way.

            Imagine charging a group of 30 Boyz at a squad of four flamers: 20d6 automatic hits. Seems reasonable. Orkz would win every tournament after that.

            More importantly, it wouldn’t change how the two dominant armies are played: Chaos and IG. It does nothing to Horrors or Lords, which is MSU spam, and would merely force IG to take regular Infantry Squads, Bullgrin, and/or Ratlings instead of Conscripts.

            Those armies wouldn’t change though: IG still wants to overwhelm the saving throws on your value units with volume fire, and Chaos still wants to ignore the saving throws on your value units with mortal wound spam.

          • LankTank

            I think +1 to the amount of shots for every 10 models is more modest. So you get D6+2 against 20 cultists, 4-8.

      • LankTank

        Well not necessarily because if Guard are vs lets say Marines, Marines will get the buff vs their units, but they won’t get any return back. It would only buff if you are shooting at a horde unit which will hopefully a) Give players an option to combat hordes of which currently their is very little & b) encourage a bit more variety in the list build away from mandatory massive blocks of infantry

      • Marco Marantz

        Imperial Guard blast weapons already got buffed in their codex….im interested to see if GW buffs everyone else’s blast weapons. Eg Battlecannon is now 2D6 but the battelcannon on the Defiler is still 1D6, and still hits on a 4+ just like guard.

        • Charon

          Even worse as the Defiler also gets a -1 to hit after moving.

    • Moke

      I think blast weapons should auto hit. You’re only getting d3 or d6 shots anyway.

      • This could really help with some units. The ork Stompa and Shokk Attack Gun are completely useless as they are now.

      • What about blast weapons that get hot?
        Maybe roll, and on a 1 they don’t fire at all? Or they take a Mortal wound?

        • Moke

          Fair point. A mortal wound would probably do it.

      • Muninwing

        nope. they didn’t auto-hit before.

        they actually missed more than people remember. that’s one of the big issues as to why they feel worse now. a guard blast would scatter 0″ (either a hit with the die or via the distance reduction) as often as it would miss by more than 3″ (both about 39% of the time).

        d6 hits seems small, especially seeing so many closely-clustered targets as we have now… but that’s missing all the time spent spreading all those models out. in reality, the hits are about just as likely.

        certain weapons — battle cannon, for instance — suffer more because they do multiple wounds to a single target, but to tougher enemies they are more effective. others — also the BC — lost some or much of their old AP (now -2, was AP3).

        it’s a new edition. it’s a new game. weapons do different things now. just need to adapt to it.

        • LankTank

          True but you are talking about a difference of 4-5 models hit 33% of the time, then an avg of 3 models the other times with a large blast template.
          Now its avg of 3.5 SHOTS, so then only maybe 1 hit for an Ork Killkannon? Agasint a 30 man conscript squad covering a large area?
          But a modifier could make it either D6+3 shots against 30x conscripts with a +1 to hit for over 10 models. suddenly avg of 3 hits.
          I for one like the idea of D3/D6 shots from a blast weapon when it comes to the idea of attacking single models, but when it comes to attacking hordes, literally the purpose of blast weapons, they don’t fit the bill. A simple addition to make them more effective against large units is not hard to introduce.

          • Tiernoc

            Hell, if they just changed all former template weapons to have (instead of the D3 / D6 shots by target size) a +1 modifier to the To-Hit role that would be an effective boost vs large units.

      • LankTank

        That would skew the difference between a Marine shooting or an Ork shooting so I think +1 to either the amount of shots or +1 to the hit roll works better.
        Orks hitting on 4’s is ALWAYS amazing. But it would also make sense that happens only if their is a mass of bodies to represent that it’s very hard not to hit

    • Righ TingTong

      they should do some changes to hits. look at the plagueburst crawlers mortar. D6? Really? Judging by the size of that thing, it should hit 4 Models just by having a successful hitroll. another thing is the damage scaling. 1 hit 8 strength D6 Damage should pierce inf squads, at least killing another model with half of its toughness. imagine a rocket with 1 hit, just … sticking to some guardsmens chest, wounding nothing else. this makes no sense to me. mortal wounds being the only wounds jumping to next target, is maybe a lil bit too exclusive.

    • I_am_Alpharius

      I don’t. Chapter Approve is going to be akin to the AoS General’s Hand Book; for which GW have said will not be used to make fundamental changes to the core rules.

      Any changes to weapons that used to be “blast template” weapons will be done as Codex’s are publish. Give they’ve have not made any drastic changes to all the Codex’s that have come out baring some point changes or tweaking a units abilities, I would hazard the designer don’t necessarily see it as an issue.

      • Puppet Soul

        Given the changes to the Russ and Baneblade variants, coupled with the reroll-shot-volume of Cadian and Catachan and as a stratagem, I would assume the designers are well aware of these shortcomings.

        • I_am_Alpharius

          Oh for sure.

      • LankTank

        Fair point but I do hope they do make some small amendments.
        I would like to see
        a) basic 50% of unit behind cover +1 save system which would help with Alpha Strike, bring cover ignoring weapons back into the game and also encourage small units to take advantage.
        b) The amendments to blast and flamer as discussed above
        c) Sniper rifles (despite Chaos only able to get 2 useless ones in one marauder squad) getting a +1 to wound the first time they fire at each unit representing suddenly deadly fire but afterwards units being more aware and prepared.
        d) Renegades Index not being the most poorly written pile of garbage that it is.

        Now I’m sure d) is NOT going to happen but I’m still hopeful for the other 3 =)

        To be fair I’m also going to add a Renegade Leman Russ Punisher to my Apostles of Contagion so that index can’t be all bad! =)

  • Simon Chatterley

    As per 7th there will be a strong list in 8th. Then people will work out counters to it. I’ve found that -1 AP is super strong against the sort of hordes I’ve faced as suddenly that 5+ goes to a 6 or a 6 to dead.

    Of course the bones of the horde list is usually some long range heavy hitter sat behind so you need to bring something that takes care of that issue too.

    It’s interesting as you can easily write a list that destroys hordes but it will invariably struggle against the big stuff and the points differential is usually stacked in the hordes favour. I wrote a Cadian list (I use old school 2nd ed metal models!) and the models I could get on the board wrapped around my now viable leman russes was pretty insane. I’m not even cheesing it (not 2nd edition, not in the list!)

    This is a usual ramble but in summary, the tournament folk will work out how to beat it and it’s probably going to be Aeldari that does it so we can all have a good cry about them again…

    • ZeeLobby

      Let’s pray it’s not like 7th. The only lists that beat strong lists we’re equally broken and gimmicky lists available to only several factions.

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        Its bound to be the same because its GW and they seem incapable of good balanced rules, though it seems they mught fix some of the issues quicker.

        The big difference to me is that 7th was more fun on a non vompetitive level than 8th. Obviously just my experience, but 7th really “forged the narrative” for me. 8th is very predictable.

    • Tim

      The reason there is such an issue is there really is no gun designed to shoot at the hordes every single weapon in the game will kill points more efficiently when shot against another target.

      • Mr.Gold

        the Heavy Phosphor Blasters on a Dakka Kastellan Robot Maniple do fairly well, and at S6 they also are capable of taking on other non-horde units.

      • LankTank

        I think it’s that anti horde guns are no longer anti horde. Large blasts get on avg 2 hits. Players are really relying on having their own horde to kill their horde (kind of cool actually…)

  • Luca Lacchini

    Good points.
    Elite armies are less elite and relatively underperforming, while lacking dedicated anti-horde weaponry with a proper proportional effect on massed enemies.

    Chapter Approved will need to deal with this too (mostly with those too streamlined vehicle rules first, please).

  • Karru

    Once again we see the major issues that 8th edition caused by streamlining too much. It is not really the case of “horde armies are just op, all you need to do is increase their points and you are good to go”, but a case of fixing many of the core rules that nerfed Elite armies and buffed Horde armies.

    A good start would be to make old Template Weapons Anti-horde again. Currently most Template Weapons are Anti-Elite, low amount of shots, high killing power, which makes little sense. I already made one suggestion on how to fix this one, add the amount of extra HITS depending on the amount you initially rolled with your first dice and hit per 10 models in the unit. An example, I roll 5 shots, hit 3 times, enemy unit has 30 models, I hit 9 times and now proceed to roll to wound. Suddenly Template Weapons are Anti-horde again.

    Morale system needs to be changed in 8th as well. I find it to be a major balance breaker when it comes to Hordes vs Everything. If you can’t remove it, Hordes die in droves. If you can ignore it, your Hordes are basically invincible. Even with rules like the Valhallan “Lose only half your models to Morale” is absolutely devastating. Since Hordes still lose 10+ models per shooting phase, even if they reduce that to half in terms of morale, you are still looking at loosing 5-10 models easily per Morale Phase and that is not balanced in my mind.

    Bringing back the old Morale system with multitude of rules like Pinning and Falling Back would do wonders. Make it so that no army, excluding maybe ‘Nids, can ignore Morale but only buff it. Then certain amount of losses, for example every 5 models lost in the unit counts as -1 Ld and losing 25% of the unit triggers Ld check to see if the unit Falls Back. In CC, if the enemy breaks, they can be ran down on a 3+. Now you just fixed Hordes, Morale AND Melee.

    Here is just some ideas on how to fix Hordes, unfortunately this will never happen as it would require GW to do some actual work.

    • ZeeLobby

      I like your template suggestion. Too bad GW will never implement anything that doesn’t involve rolling dice, consistency be damned. I’d expect every 10 models to be an extra d6 or d3. I’d much prefer your way though.

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        Perhaps they should move to BAs system for templates. No scatter, place template, roll to hit all models under the template.

        I like scatter personally, but this might be an acceptable compromise for those who don’t.

        • LankTank

          I understand why GW got rid of templates but that is an easy compromise., But then you go back to the idea of a blast weapon which does minimal damage to a monster even if it hit’s it directly in the face.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            Just say MCs take D3 hits from small blast and D6 from large blast.

    • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

      The old morale system wasn’t quite granular enough. In 7th a unit was either fine, falling back or over-run. This made morale too swingy. It needs a ‘shaken’ category (cannot advance towards enemy, loses half CC attacks in next round of CC) as well as the others. I would change ATSKNF so units don’t fall back but may be shaken.

      Likewise there should be something between normal morale type, ATSKNF and Fearless. I would add an extra category for experienced troops like CSM and Sisters so relatively elite units can’t be over-run and destroyed outright in H2H but instead fall back, but without the auto rally of ATSKNF. They should rally on a Ld roll but be pinned for a turn.

      • Puppet Soul

        To be fair, changing the Sisters’ morale system is a waste of time: if a unit gets caught in melee, you might as well roll their number of attacks as saves upfront and then remove the unit from the board.

  • MarcoT

    A simple increase in points for hordes would fix all of this. There’s no fundamental problem as everything is playing by those same rules. It’s just a problem if some models are far more expensive for little gain.

    • ZeeLobby

      But doesn’t that make them no longer hordes though? I’d rather have a core rules system that supports both options rather than forcing armies to be elite or less elite.

      • MarcoT

        That all depends doesn’t it? If a guardsman is 1 point more expensive, you can still have many. Or if poxwalkers are S/2T2, they would be less effective. What I meant it that the tools of balance are there, there’s nothing inherently tilting the advantage to hordes; it’s just that they pay slightly too little for their abilities.

        • ZeeLobby

          Yeah. I get what you’re saying. I guess I have minimal frame of reference for GW games because they’ve traditionally never tweaked points, haha. I would much rather see them update points costs to fix some of these issues than changing the rules. I can understand reluctance to do so when trying to spread point options, but GW has never really thought about that in the past.

  • Ironheaded Painting

    A game of hordes sells lots of models and kits.

    • ZeeLobby

      Which is probably the real reason. See WHFB 8th edition.

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        Which ultimately killed 8th whfb…

        • Nostok

          Maybe they could then do an AoS on 40k… oh wait.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            Or bring in the worst parts of AoS and 8th WHFB 😆

  • Fredddy

    Most of this is not true (from my experience of playing a horde since 3-4th).
    -Everything can hurt everything only is true until you do the math. It is simply not worth to shoot at a tank with conscripts- they barely make 1-2 wound out of the 10+. Maybe for small vehicles, but they were vulnerable for bolter fire before, being AV10.
    -T5 get worse, thats right, but most T5 models got an extra wound in return: One wound on 6+ or two at 5+ is the same.
    -Templates- theoretically, that is right, but the problem is that no one used them- because hordes were not a thing to prepare for. And for that 1-2 Vindicator template- an IG army of 200 men really did not care for that 6-8 more dead in a turn.
    -AP changes: maybe bad for marines, but hordes basic weapons do not have any AP modifier.
    -Morale- hordes negated morale before. Orks got boss pole, nids got synaps, IG had the exact same comissars and back then they could use Officers leadership too (which was higher than now.)

    Which is true:
    -Sv 5+ got a lot better. thats right.

    And the two most important:
    -no stupid save rerolls-f*ing superfriends now. When you had rerollable inv+rerollable FNP, it was simply not worth to take a horde. A 3++ with a reroll made a unit 3 times tougher, while I did not have the chance to take a horde 3* cheaper or 3* bigger. These type of armies were the ones a horde was really bad against, but everyone and their mother played them which made the wrong impression that hordes generally s*ck.
    -back before 7th, codex creep really favoured the elite armies- IG got the lame Cadian supplement (too few too late), nids and orks did not even get that while others got bonus upon bonus every month..

    • Fredddy

      Well, plus one: big weapons actually damage multiwound models. Back the you had a battle cannon and it made 1 wound on a Carnifex or on any T5 model, which was laughable both from game balance and from fluff point of view. Now, a big guns kill big guys and IG has a lots of big guns.

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        That is an improvement. S8 and above guns should always have done d3 wounds to MCs.

        • Fredddy

          Yes, but they did not, and GW made it even worse when they deliberately exploited their own loophole by making some vehicle units MCs. This too is gone now in 8th ed.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            The problem was MCs had no damage table and vehicles had no armour save and were prone to being one shotted.

            They could have made vehicles tougher by having a 2d6 damage chart with Explodes being a 13+. They could have fixed MCs by giving them a damage chart reflecting their chance of being blinded, wounded in a leg or arm etc or brought in the current cumulative damage system.

            Would have preserved the feel of the units but made them better balanced.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            Making Tanks and Monstrous Creatures use the same damage system was the correct fix.

            Making each individual tank/monster degrade at different rates, and having each be affected differently was also the correct fix.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            Makes them all feel the same. Makes the game predictable and boring. Not what I’d call the correct fix.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            Predictable is good because it is easier to balance.

            There was no way to really balance tanks in the previous editions because they could either survive the whole game or die to the first thing that hit them.

            This is why GW started making lots of monstrous and gargantuan creatures because the rules were superior in every way.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            the possibility of explodes results is good in several ways:

            its dramatic, exciting and moves the narrative forward

            it means that risky manoeuvres, like running a squad with a single meltagun forward or deepstriking close behind a tank are worthwhile and need to be considered since they can potentially pay off highly

            adds a layer to target priority as not all weapons can cause an explodes result

            punishes hordes as they tend to die when their transports explode or vehicles explode around them

            helps to differentiate open topped vehicles from others

            helps to differentiate weapons with different AP from each other

          • Tiernoc

            As someone who was finally able to run my Defiler for more than 1 turn in a game, I disagree heavily that vehicle explosions were “dramatic” or “exciting”. Paying good points for a fun looking model, and not getting to reliably use said model was beyond frustrating.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            The defiler is radically overpriced/underarmoured, which is not the fault of the core rules. Should be 150 points or front and sides AV13.

    • No-one Special

      Sorry Feddy, but your counter arguments are flawed.

      -You can’t trivialise how good the new damage chart was to S3 – now wounding T5 on 5’s instead of 6’s is a 100% increase statistically. And when shooting tougher stuff, yes it may be 6’s but it’s still extra shots that do sneak wounds through – and when combined with split fire actually the gives lasguns something to do now. Often they would not even fire because the target the better weapons in the unit fired at couldn’t be hurt by them. It’s a definite improvement, no two ways about it.
      -The extra wound gained by T5 models was more than offset by many weapons now doing multiple wounds: Plasma weapons, Autocannons, Missile Launchers, even Grenade Launchers.
      -I fail to see how you can say nobody used them. That is pure assumption that can only be false. Templates were very common and were very effective against large units.
      -Lack of horde weapon AP is irrelevant here, the changes to AP benefit them with increased survivability as explained in the article.
      -Regardless of how you feel Morale could be circumvented in 7th, it doesn’t change the fact that losing models based on a dice roll will naturally punish smaller units more through standard percentages.

      Your last two points are based on codex’s which aren’t valid anymore – we may as well bring leafblower into it.

      And the one on bigger weapons, you are again forgetting the balance between wounds and damage – those big models only had 3 or 4 wounds before, they now have many many more. It’s a relative value.

      • Fredddy

        I dont say that hordes are not better now, I only do not accept most of the arguments.
        -You are right about that split fire got better, but it got better for everyone- marines have troop squad lascannons and special weapons too.
        -Big guns got better, that is right too, as I wrote in an other comment, this might be the biggest lose for heavy infantry.
        -Morale changes do not hurt small units only, but big units of weaker models too: they have a bigger casualty, so they got more extra wounds.
        -Templates: this is not an assumption but my experience. Maybe the biggest apparent vantage of a horde was that no one really prepared for it: the meta was about elite armies, so even if everyone had the tool against hordes, barely anyone actually put them onto the table. My friends always teased me with their ultimate horde killer theory-combos, and I always answered that see you on the tournament, and they never actually fielded them because there were 3 horde armies and 27 elite ones. Well, this may depend on the community ofc.
        -As for the points based on the codex: codex balance is a part of the game too, and hordes were on the back end of it and it did not help them, thats all. Of course this is not a part of the basic rules, but it is part of the answer for the question of why there are more hordes in 8th than were in 5-7th. Yes, there were things like Leafblower, but they reigned for some 3-4 months while we are talking about half a decade.

    • Richard Mitchell

      Until guys bow out of tournaments because they didn’t get to go first.

      • Puppet Soul

        Alpha-strike lists can’t beat other alpha-strike lists if they go second.

        At Nova Invitational, that last game would’ve lasted less than a minute: most of the chaos units would be in deepstrike, his foothold units (cultists and berserkers) would get shot off the field, and the game ends before he takes a turn.

    • LankTank

      Good points. That is why my only recommendation is a change to template weapons as we have anti infantry weapons being used solely on large models.
      Look at Biovores at how useless they are at killing infantry now

  • Devourer

    I think your point “Removing Comparative Weapon Skill” is not correct. In the past the “weaker” unit (like hordes) nearly always needed a 4+ to hit elites because you only needed a 5+ if the enemy had double WS! That only happened with extremes like Eldar Avatars or Broodlords who had WS 7-10. The normal situation was that your hordes needed 4+ and the CC elites needed 3+ to hit in a fight like it is now.

    • petrow84

      Well, I can only talk for Orks, but their fix 3+ hit, and constant S4 now yields 50% more wounds against marines, than before. All that for 6 pts apiece.

      • Fredddy

        Conscripts hit now on fix 5+, they had a 4+ to hit against most things before. But things like this are really hard to judge since now initiative depends on who assaulted, you can fire before the assault and the bonus of +1A is gone.

        • petrow84

          De hogy pontban egyik se ment feljebb, az tuti 🙂

    • LankTank

      Also Mad combat characters could only hit on 3+ as well which was boooooo

  • HansKehr

    Having said that, a deepstriking unit of 10 Grey knights with SB and falchions (the weaker unit of one of the most elite armies) will on average despatch 20 guardspeople (if they charge). That’s the best part of a conscript unit or 2 guard squads.
    I’d agree that 8th ed has made horde armies playable again. Which is good. Hasn’t made them unbeatable.

    • Mr.Gold

      compare the cost of those two units… it is not just the amount of damage, it is damage per model cost.

      • Puppet Soul

        hopefully the GK player remembered that he’s also allowed to field more than one unit.

        I run Sissies, and charging conscript, cultist, or horror blobs with Arcos+Priest usually ends with me threatening 60+ attack rolls, and them just removing the unit.

        Yes, they’re going to get shot up in the next round, but that’s fine: all my units are in your deployment zone alongside them, pick the one you want to get rid of while the rest murder you.

        The only things that makes the new AM codex absurd are Overlapping Fields of Fire, and the Bullgryn 2+/2++ exploit.

  • Sage

    Wow! Yeah I don’t agree with the heavy bolter example. A HB should effortlessly kill a guardsman and struggle to kill a marine. These rules make them almost as easy to hurt.

    Pulse rifles are another example.

  • Shadowstrife

    Why do Ogryns look like Bane now?

    “You merely adopted the grim-dark; I was born in it, moulded by it.”

    • Erich Schoenholtz

      Do they have different head options in that kit?

      • Fredddy

        Yes, masked for Bullgryn, without mask Ogryn.

  • Nathan king

    Elites just don’t feel elite any more. Death guard do the elite thing far better than space marines now which leaves the marines in the middle of the pack without a particular strength. (Discounting guilleman).
    Space marines are just expensive now and you don’t get anything for the extra points…

    Thought this edition was supposed to be the most play tested and balanced edition. I’m just not seeing the balance here,

  • petrow84

    One more thing: terrain.
    Now that all the rules for difficult and/or dangerous terrain were thrown out of the window, and 99% of the terrain features do jack diddley for movement distances (except for charging), you can basically measure the net distance between your blob and the enemy, and will reliably reach them.

  • Defenestratus

    On top of that, 8th edition rules are just bland and boring.

    It’s like grilled chicken with no spices added. Nothing really to complain about other than the fact it could have been much better if they just spiced it up a little more.

    Out of all the idiocies in 8th edition, the static roll to hit in close combat is perhaps the most offensive one.

    An Avatar or a Bloodthirster should be able to wade into a flock of guardsmen and walk out the other side without a scratch. 8th edition took away damage avoidance and replaced it with blanket damage absorption in order to stupify the game – and it sucks.

    But yet again I’m reminded of how much I was lectured to by people who hadn’t even seen the ruleset – about how much better 8th was going to be and how it was going to usher in an era of fun, balanced 40k.

    For me, its neither fun nor balanced. It’s perhaps why I’ve played so little of it since 8th dropped. I just don’t find it that much fun anymore. (Never really cared much about balance)

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      You are rolling against your own suck v rolling against another model

    • LankTank

      That’s a shame. I am loving 8th but some things just felt a little flat (terrain and blast weapons for example). For example, how many editions do you have to go back to see Kharn and berserkers actually awesome, carving through a 30 man unit, barreling into the next and doing the same. Seeing it makes me weep bloody tears of joy/rage

  • LunaWolf

    Not to mention that horde armies like Guard or K
    Orks generally have a much easier time filling out Detachment charts, and quickly get a ton of extra CP. My CSM lists tend to have maybe 7, my Ork lists end up with 15, a friend’s Guard lists can often have 21 at 2000 points…

  • Dragon2928

    It seems to me that the biggest single issue how easy it is for hordes to ignore leadership. It’s more likely for a Tactical marine to flee from combat than a guardsmen – this is a serious problem, both on the table and in the lore.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      Not when a Commissar is present.

      • LankTank

        True. Pretty sure even Leman Russ sh@t himself when a Commissar gave him… *The Look*

  • Talos2

    I’m not so sure that’s going to be long term. Looking at the guard codex, there’s a huge amount of stuff that deals massive amounts of shots, those mobs will be getting mowed down in good order soon.

  • Dusty

    I know this edition is still in its infancy, but so far I love most of changes to game play and army construction. Perhaps it’s my love of historical war games, but I’ve always felt that standard “troops” should make up the bulk of any army and I welcome the meta shift to hordes.

    • Karru

      Standard troops making up the bulk of the army?

      > Looks at the assassin list
      > Looks at the non-AM lists

      Yes… Standard troops totally make up the bulk of the army.

      • Dusty

        You can probably guess that I don’t play lists like assassins.

        Orks, AM, SM, DE, Khorne… I build my lists like chess pieces; I usually take a troop choice for every other type of unit in my army. It’s just the way I like to play.

        I imagine that players with elite lists now feel like I did 4th – 7th.

  • spamthulhu

    The reason I quit playing 40k is the company has no desire to build a balanced playtested rule set. They build rules to give them as much money as they can squeeze out of people and leave the game in limbo.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      They have shown a great willingness to address clearly broken units or tactics thus far.

      • Tiernoc

        To a certain extent we have seen this to be true (Flyer spam) but look at some of the other changes they’ve introduced: Massively buffed Death Guard, Massively **MASSIVELY** buffed Astra Militarum, slight mix of nerfs/buffs for AdMech, and minor bumps for Vanilla Marines.

        Magnus is still a stupidly overpowered model, while Morty (being less survivable) at least has a drawback to counter all the awesome he brings.

        I’m not saying that GW isn’t doing *better* than in previous editions, but their “play tested balance” leaves a lot to be desired, while at the same time throwing a lot of suspicion that the models getting massive buffs are the ones that GW has warehouses of unsold sprues for (Electropriests anyone?)…

    • LankTank

      Nah. Game still fun with fun people. I for example have lost a tonne of games during 8th ruining my 23 win streak so there must be some balance.

  • Chad Underdonk

    You’ve seen Herohammer…

    now experience Hordehammer!!!

  • Leviticus Stroud

    There are two other significant benefits of horde armies.

    Their sheer number means that they tend to get far more Command Points than elite armies.
    To me this seems to be the opposite of what CPs were supposed to represent.

    Then there’s the ability to weather incoming Mortal Wounds.
    If a unit gets hit by 2 mortal wounds, well a Terminator squad has lost around 40 points. Most horde squads though have lost closer to just 10 points- a quarter of the impact.
    When combined with the fact the MWs can’t be stopped by any of the expensive wargear an elite army is often paying for (like Storm Shields and Phase Shifters), this is a significant benefit to the cheap units.

    • John Henry III

      Disgustingly resilience cares not for your mortal wound shenanigans.

      • memitchell

        The last game I played was against CSM. ONE squad of Nurgle CSM’s, three squads of Cultists, and a bunch of vehicles. The squad of Nurgle Marines (with Disgusting Relisiance) was the one squad I killed to a man (thank you Smite). Hell, even a 10 Genestealer unit could not finish off a Cultists squad. Too many bodies. But, it makes a serious dent in a marine squad.

        • John Henry III

          10 gene stealers should make mince meat out of cultists.

  • memitchell

    “Guardsperson” is funny. Once. it’s not a word, and please, please do not make it routine. Besides, what the hell does it accomplish? It is inclusive for fictional female soldiers of the 40th Millennium? C’mon.

    My Genestealer Cult is almost a horde, except I’m not going to take out a second mortgage to field hundreds of hybrids. But, it’s a weak army. Neophytes are slightly more expensive, with none of the easy to get and use orders, strategems, auras, and Morale mitigation that make Guardsmen play like elites. Neophytes play like Guardsmen should play. Poorly. Acolytes are twice the cost of Orks, but not quite as good. Want to reign in hordes? Try that formula: Double the cost and reduce the effectiveness.

    And, not to be contrarian,but isn’t the real problem elites aren’t so elite? They don’t deal out enough damage. They can’t take the damage. Close combat is nerfed. And Mortal Wound abound. BTW, Mortal Wounds really favor hordes. Killing D3 Guard is nearly insignificant. But, bypassing that which makes elites elite, Toughness and Armor, to kill D3 Marines is very significant.

    The issues described in the article show the inherent deficiencies of playtesting. Playtesting is great. It can find and fix a lot of potential problems. But, it is not a panacea. The basic design of a game system is usually above the playtester’s pay grade. The basics of moving and shooting and the newer hit/wound/save sequence were probably presented to playtesters as established mechanics. From there, playtesters would see how the various weapons, units and armies perform. If elites under-perform, and hordes over-perform, a playtester wont be able to say, “Throw out the entire game system, and start again.”

    • mgdavey

      It’s not “inclusive”, it’s “accurate”. The idea that “man” is intended to apply to both men and women is indefensible. Your point of view is funny. Once.

      • Puppet Soul

        “The native English term man can refer to the species generally (a synonym for humanity) as well as to human males, or individuals of either sex (though this latter form is less common in contemporary English).”


        • Rob brown

          That’s a very male answer.

          • Puppet Soul

            Why thank you.

          • Rob brown

            It wasn’t a compliment. lol.

            “Please get out of the new one, If you can’t lend your hand, For the times they are a-changin'”

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        Sorry but that’s not the way English works.

        Same thing with Pronouns, default is always male.

        That is until ne/nem/nir/nirs/nemself catches on.

      • Damian

        I “think” you need to “go back” to “school” and learn some basic English.

  • Richard Mitchell

    A really write up on the core rules and how everything comes together. It is something that cannot be fixed in this edition since these are the core rules. And a poster on BoLS was calling this out in the comments when the indexs came out and everyone thought he was crazy. Wasn’t me (no sarcasm here, it really wasn’t) but I wish I did remember his name.

    So rather than fighting the stream I say go where the stream takes you. Play horde lists and focus on ways to build a variety of horde lists with all the factions of the game. Just as Warmachine is a game of big stompy robo/beasts and Wyrd/Dark Age/Infinity is a small crew, maybe this is the intention of GW designers. To bring the game to large, sweeping, 28mm scale battles with many models on the field. And if that is the style of game they designed, is that a bad thing? Every game can be some things but not one game can be all things.

    • LankTank

      And that is why I now take a Leman Russ Punisher in my Death Guard list =)

  • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

    Disagree on comparative WS, because up until 8th, 9 times out of 10, you hit on 4s, because the relative difference between WS was meaningless.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      You hit on 3’s, 4’s or 5’s 95% of the time.

      • Puppet Soul

        But I don’t have to know your list to hit on 3s, 4s or 5s now.

  • BroxusMaximus

    Interesting article, but “Guardsperson” never heard that term before? I think fixing hordes is simple. If they just give hordes a small price bump in points it solves the problem. Especially Astra Militarum infantry squads should be at a minimum of 5 points per model.