40k Meta & Chapter Approved’s Impact

BBF here again to discuss the current state of the 40k meta and the sudden impact of the newly releasing Chapter Approved.

I am currently playing a very tactical Ultramarines army heavily featuring Primaris Space Marines and it’s been quite good for me… none of the units I play are going up in points while many are actually going down. I should be able to add more bulk and shore up some weaknesses. I know for some there is a sting. GW giveth with one hand and takes away with the other. Contrary to what you might hear or read nothing is random and to be honest it happens, it just that the change is a lot faster now.

Chapter Approved focuses on open play, narrative and matched play. Apocalypse has been shifted to open play and rightly so in my honest opinion. A good percentage is dedicated to matched play such as changes to existing rules, for example how to target characters and the new restrictions on the use of command points.

If you look at any of the already released codices you’ll see that the manner in which points are laid out it seamlessly integrates with the changes to point values for certain units. The developers have a system which can and has been rebalanced across the spectrum. There are winners and losers, part of this is nothing more than your attitude and how you choose to play. Imperial Soup sees an overall shrink to existing builds while the overall effect is less extensive to Chaos Soup with certain exceptions such as the increase in points for Malefic Lords. Some are forced to go back to the drawing board and overhaul their existing army lists.

I don’t really have anything bad to say about the new Chapter Approved and accept the change. The meta will change to an extent. In my opinion we cannot truly judge eighth edition until all of the codices have been released, only then should we ask is the game better balanced.

The inclusion of new Warlord Traits and Stratagems for Index armies is a win for players who run these armies… something is better than nothing. Sure some of the Index armies made out better but there are some subtle things that will become more apparent over time. So I say give it a chance and maybe it’s time to put away those Malefic Lords – heh !

~Which faction you think gained the most and lost the most in Chapter Approved?

Will summon daemons for food – hey where did everybody go?

  • Karru

    Out of the non-FW factions, I really don’t know which faction gained the most, but to me it is clearly Imperial Guard that lost the most, considering that now they have been reduced to only one Troop Choice for regular Guard Army, which does limit their options on that front. Conscripts have no place in the Imperial Guard army any more, so that’s something.

    As for the FW factions that lost the most, I guess that would be R&H from what I gathered from people, but that is kinda thanks to GW as it seems they wanted to remove FW from Matched Play. Other factor was the Malefic Lord of course.

    I might guess that Tau might have gained a lot in this book as now hiding Drones behind LoS blocking terrain while your Commander Suits go unhindered thanks to the new Character Rules, I believe that they will have some fun for a week or so before GW completely rewords the rule again.

    • Jeremy Larson

      No, conscripts still have a place. A big squad still offers a stupid amount of board control, and can still be affected by a single order or a single psychic power or a single strategem. 20-30 guys moving 12 + 2d6 still offers a stupid amount of utility.

      And you forgot about Scions. Even the regular troop versions are absurdly versatile and punch outside their point-value.

      • ellobouk

        respectfully disagree, for an army that can function as a potent CP battery, repeatedly combining squads is probably better. Less points required to fill out your troop slots, better quality men, and still only requires one order or power to affect your big ball of army men.

      • Karru

        I said “Regular Guard Army”, so no Scions there.

        Also, what if I told you that for cheaper I could get a much better unit for board control? Not only can you avoid taking the mandatory Commissar tax for your Conscripts, you can have more CP by taking Battalions. Remember, 20 Conscripts is the minimum unit size, but they are also Ld 4, so you need to take a commissar with them. For the same price, you can take almost 30 Ld 7 guys with better BS and WS. 3 10-man squads can spread around the board much better than one 20-30-man squad and on top of that, can’t be concentrated upon, as they are three different targets instead of one.

        Finally, for 1 CP, I can combine those Infantry Squads if I need large units for some reason. I’d much rather take 30 Infantrymen for 120pts instead of 20 Conscripts and a Commissar for 111pts.

        • Bakvrad

          Your main key point is the must-have commissar that is ought to accompany each and every conscript unit.
          But the Codex doesn’t say you need to.

          In that case it’s just your tactical opinion. And you maybe right. But maybe others play differently. One could use the bubble of an anyway integrated commissar to keep the conscripts from running away, as well as other troops.
          Maybe they use them in the backfield, where they don’t get shot, but keep enemies away from infiltrating and/or holding objectives.
          They got more expensive and the normal trooper is now the better choice (which they should have been in the beginning) – but they aren’t an obsolete choice.

          • bossdakka

            Why would you take conscripts when they cost the same as infantry squad models now? At 3 points there was some merit to them despite the nerfs. Commisars got nerfed to the point of not being used for matched play. That’s not tactical it’s mathematical analysis which GW sucks at.

          • Bakvrad

            Quite easy: you want to take a unit that can be big. Without spending CP
            Otherwise use guardsman (or guardsman and CP for large units)

          • Karru

            But they are. What can the Conscripts do better than the Infantry can? 2 10-man Squads can spread farther in the backfield and don’t lose D6 models after 4 casualties automatically.

          • Bakvrad

            They can obviously be taken in larger squads without using CP. So, although having a lower moral, they are essentially harder to kill at once.
            I am not saying at any point that Gw problem solving is any good, I am not saying the unit is any good (or bad as well) – I am saying guardsman should be number one in Astra Militarum armies and conscripts have their reason in an army. You can work around their limited abilities or simply don’t take them.
            But don’t say you HAVE to take a commissar along them because that’s not true.

          • Karru

            You don’t have to take the Commissar, but one fact remains about the Conscripts that no one can deny. They have low morale that needs to be somehow improved or gotten rid off. There are ways to do so, but the most efficient way of doing that is to take a Commissar as it increases their Ld to 9. You can take a 30pts Astropath at the cheapest after which you need to take the Mental Fortitude which you then need to successfully cast to the unit instead of doing it on a unit that might matter a lot more.

            You can also spend CP to ignore it for one unit, something that once more you could spent on something more important. So once again, the Commissar is the most optimal solution to the issue for them unless you happen to play Valhallans who can reduce it a little.

          • GWELLS

            Exactly, everyone has this obsession that Commisionars are required to bring conscripts, but its not true, there are something in the range of 5 other ways to help with Morale in the army that does not require a commissioner.

            Actually me theory is they may get some kind of rules change in the next FAQ to help balance them out again, maybe change that rule that limits orders.

          • Karru

            So, pick between taking a 30pts Astropath and using a Psychic Power or 31pts Commissar. Which one sounds more reliable? Remember, the Astropaths got upped in points just like the Primaris Psyker. No matter which one you pick, you need to pay the extra points to utilise the Conscripts, otherwise they will die to morale.

            So again, why not just take Infantry Squads that don’t need any of this?

          • GWELLS

            Better objective holding, better bubble-wrapping of vehicles. If you are going tank heavy they are much better for protecting your vehicles than Infantry Squads that often have expensive weapons and cost CP to make bigger, and you can use the auto-pass strategem (guard are great at recycling them), the special Mordian Warlord trait, or Valhallan Relic as well, plenty of ways to make them alleviate morale. Heck a bunch of Valhallan ones with the relic will be just like old Commisionar tactics.

            All squads can split fire now so multiple small squads aren’t auto-take anymore and are much easier to wipe off an objective, and sure you can hide them better, but that isn’t always possible or even tactically wise in all circumstances. And if your opponent is savvy he can try to clip your squads before they can combine properly if they go first.

            Not saying they are better but they do have a use in AM. They just aren’t the auto-take infantry anymore. And here’s hoping they get an FAQ upgrade to compensate.

          • Karru

            Not really, the Conscripts still don’t have a role in my books. Again, all the things you listed, the Infantry can still do better. You don’t have to upgrade your Infantry Squads as nothing in their sheet says “Must be upgraded with…” just bring that 40pts Infantry Squad with no upgrades with Ld 7 so they won’t be running away as badly.

            Also, as you said, the extra CP that Combine Squads costs can be recycled as well and will be more useful as they can now be ordered normally.

            Remember the core problem with the Conscripts right now is Morale. A smart opponent split fires amongst multiple Conscripts units to force you waste CP to keep them on the table or make you use your Psychic Powers on them instead on units that would actually use it.

            They just have no place in an Imperial Guard army from what I see, everything they can do, Infantry Squads can do better without anything extra needed for the same price as the Conscripts. They need to remove most of the debuffs they gave them in order to make them have a place again.

          • GWELLS

            Yes i agree they need some debuffs removed which I believe they will do in the next FAQ (probably in the range of increasing their max unit size or removing that order restriction rule for example), but you are saying they are useless and I simply do not agree. I feel we will still be seeing conscripts. There inherent larger unit size does still have uses as I have already listed. And I simply do not agree that combining squads is reliable enough in every game to completely phase them out. And I have mentioned their are other ways to stop morale then just those two obvious ones.

            They have uses for now, following an FAQ they should be back to normal hopefully (though I think the Commisionar needs as much FAQ love as them).

        • generalchaos34

          Conscripts with their true masters, the Valhallans still have a place in the game. They WILL hold objectives, but they are no longer the end all be all. Which I appreciate because I don’t want some tournament a-holes poaching my units to make everyone hate my army (and resulting in a nerf tornado)

          • Neil Burns

            I still say it was a kneejerk reaction, and some units should be entirely locked into you having 2-3 primary detachments of one army. (Conscripts, Maggy, Bobby, Celestine)

          • Karru

            But… Again, why would I take them even in a Valhallan army when the Infantry Squads still gain the benefit and you can combine them into bigger squads using the CP from the extra Battalions you can get from taking Infantry Squads and Company Commanders.

          • GWELLS

            Those small squads could be minced before they get a chance to combine. Save on command points since their already a big squad. Mental Fortitude and the special relic can do the rest with Conscipts.

    • Strategery.

      8e drops: oh snap, i should probably get some more conscripts

      AM codex drops: oh, well, maybe i’ll get some more conscripts at some point

      chapter approved drops: 24 conscripts is just fine.


    • Dennis J. Pechavar

      This is part of why I am going on a one year buying freeze with GW. I don’t want to nerd rage and jump to conclusions but at the same time I can’t afford to buy a unit that will just end up sitting on the shelf. I have five or six commissars that I’ve had since 3rd edition(DKK ones are more recent) that I was looking forward to using but they aren’t useful now in a non conscript army. Once the game settles down we will see. I am happy as(lemons to lemonade) that one of the positive outcomes from the community anger is that I’ve been playing far more 30k as people are not happy with the current situation of 8th.

      • Neil Burns

        That’s a pretty smart move IMO. A lot of my friends are getting into 30k too, thankfully you can just run IG as Imperial Cults and Militias. Also, Commissars aren’t useful in a conscript army either, they actually make you lose MORE people to morale.

        • Nameless

          that’s not quite true:

          whilst the reroll aura from the commissar is on average worse than being outside its range, this is institutionally counteracted by the increase in Leadership that the commissar gives out.

          for low leadership units a commissar is still a big help, for ld7 and above units there are better options.

    • GWELLS

      Conscripts are still usable, and you do not “NEED” a Commisionar to run them either, we need to get that out of our heads. You could cast Mental Fortitude on objective holding squads. Pay the command points to auto-pass morale (but wait that cost command points?) true but remember your guard you can recycle them and you would have been spending CP anyway to combine Infantry Squads. You could go with Valhallans (Especially with relic) or Mordians (especially with WT) to help with battle shock, the list goes on.

      I actually also have a theory that they will get some kind of FAQ change in the future, perhaps a small upgrade to their rules. Maybe something like changing their limitation with orders.

      • Karru

        But again, why not just take Infantry Squads instead? The Infantry Squad is superior in every single way for the same price. I don’t see the reason to take one unit of 20 guys, when I have the option of taking 2 units of 10, which makes it harder for my opponent to focus fire on them and I can spread them out much better to block the enemy from closing in on me.

  • Strategery.

    as someone that just airbrushed a gauss pylon and haven’t used it yet, i have to say i really enjoyed that 75 point kick in the nuts. meanwhile top tier armies are barely nerfed. WELL DONE GW!

    • Domenico Malavisi

      75?? Reaver titan went up by 1600 points! (which i just bought for apoc games) and plenty of other forge world units doubled in points -surely you’re trolling.

      • Neil Burns

        This was to put those kind of units in Apoc games, where they belong. Units that absolutely did not need it were forced into higher point costs (looking at you, Cyclops Demo Vehicle!)

      • memitchell

        A 1600 point increase! Dude, that’s epic! You’ll be telling your grandkids about it one day.


        • Domenico Malavisi


    • Philip Estabrook

      My lovely Kill Tank went from 300 points kitted out to 450 points…

    • Drpx

      You must have missed where Guard rose to the top and has been getting nerfed every other week. Also Ynnari are dead.

  • euansmith

    “Chapter Approved focuses on open play, narrative and matched play…”

    That’s a pretty broad focus; they’ve only missed out Wet Play, and, I guess, people can make up their own rules for that.

  • Abe Killian

    So let me get this straight – the new Chapter Approved Meta is better for Primaris Ultramarines players – WELL THERE’S A SURPRISE!
    Also looks like there was no other reading done in the Chapter Approved apart from those sections, so we’ve really not been told much about the Meta really…
    I feel this article is lacking soemthing, unless you play Primaris Ultramarines!

    • Fraser1191

      This article is missing a great deal of things. Which is why I’m going to get the book myself and make my own opinion, like an adult. I’m not going to spew nonsense over something so trivial

      • marxlives

        Ya, and you really won’t know the meta impact until 2 months down the road anyway.

        • euansmith

          When the Chapter Approved Errata is released? 😉

          • Nameless

            you’re kidding right. the ‘FaQ’ will be out in a fortnight to errata the book

          • Fraser1191

            I expect sooner as if you’ve seen the point adjustments, hellblasters are also down 2 pts for everything but vanilla space marines lol

      • Booty hoo

    • Neil Burns

      Abe, I kinda feel like this is a left hand not speaking to the right hand style deal. I don’t know if the Social team, Playtest team, and FAQ team all speak to the rule writers.

      • Abe Killian

        That’s actually a very good point.
        Is that a sign the game had lost cohesion?

  • fenrisful2

    Space marines gained the most as always.
    Conscripts and malefic lords were double nerfed, while Bobby.G was only half nerfed.
    If he would have been non-SM a flat +100 would be a given.

    How I would have fixed these:
    Conscripts get +1ppm but the orders and commissar nerfs would be taken back.
    Malefic lords +30 ppm, not +50.
    Bobby.G +40 not +25.

    Giving armies that don’t yet have a codex some goodies is great though.
    I still miss 2nd ed codex army lists and the wargear book 🙁

    • Fraser1191

      In that survey I mentioned how my codex felt like it was built around Guilliman. I play Ultramarines. I want other things to be viable and then have guilliman on top, not having to take guilliman to be viable

    • KombatWombat

      Yup, the super meta-dominating Space Marine ForgeWorld Lords of War gained 200 points each!

      …wait, did I misunderstand your point?

      • generalchaos34

        I think they wanted to make it so if you play LOWs like the big stuff its in Apoc only, which I assume will be power level for simplicity sake (and its apoc, so who cares about points, right?) Keeping the crazy stuff out of regular play really makes it much easier to balance

        • KombatWombat

          My real problem with it is that things like the Baneblade are encouraged to be played in every game, but the Marine version of the Baneblade – the Fellblade – gets a soft ban. It’s also a horrible idea since when you actually have a game big enough to field a Fellblade, they’re crazily overcosted (a lot of us still use points no matter the game size). For the cost of a Fellblade you can have a Baneblade… and a Shadowsword!

    • Spacefrisian

      No change to Noise marines, as it should be. Now bring those conscripts of 50, they should go down faster than those poxwalkers i made ready for cleaning them from the table back in the opponents bag.

  • Yves Ewen

    Oh thank god this BoLS article has been written by someone with a brain between the ears. Minimal but good writeup!

  • David Clift

    GW did say early on (pre 8th edition release) there would be adjustments both in points and abilities. Whilst the speed of these has taken many by surprise the end results shouldn’t be too unexpected.