40K Op-ed: Oh Look, The Year of the Xenos Is Here At Last

Xenos, xenos everywhere. – and not an Imperial to see!

This past week at the Las Vegas Open GW announced a number of upcoming releases, including the next three codexes. The good news that that three books were all going to be xenos was greeted with a lot of rejoicing. Dark Eldar Drukhari, T’au and Necron players have a lot to look forward too in coming weeks. Here a few of my hopes and thoughts on these lists.

Books Not Models

Like most of the new codex releases it looks like we’ll be getting books but few if any new models. While we are getting a hot new Cryptek model its the only new model announced so far from those 3 codexes.

Likely it will be the only new for all three books. While this is sad, it does follow the pattern we’ve seen, and allows them to put out a lot of new books quickly.


This is one of the armies that really needs some help. I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw an army that was only Drukhari being played. In particular they have one of the worst selections of HQ choices in the game. Luckly that kind of problem can be fixed in the move to Codex. With a core army that is still fairly solid, and a newer line of models, it shouldn’t take much to being them back to life. The additional challenge will be giving them a compelling reason to NOT have Ynnari mixed in their army. So far GW has failed with Craftworld (or didn’t want too) and there is no reason not to take some Ynnari.

Fluff wise it will also be interesting to get some updates on the Drukhari. We’ve haven’t really seen how they have reacted to the rise of the Ynnari. It’s a good place to move the story along, and develop some stuff. I’m also hoping we get more hints at Ahriman’s plans to attack Commorragh. Given GW’s history of ignoring the Drukhari for edtions, its nice to see they are getting a new book early on.


Just make a plastic Manta and put it in the book. There, fixed. 🙂

The T’au are another book that really needs some help. Unlike the Drukhari I feel like they have a more underlying issue. GW has often really struggled with the T’au. Pure gunline lists  are hard to make fun, both to play and to play against. In addition they’ve often struggled to make them really stand apart from the Imperial Guard.  While their battlesuits are cool, and mostly good, the rest of the army really struggles.

If GW wants to make the T’au a viable force, they are going to have to really look at some of the core concepts of the army. Both markerlights and seeker missiles need a rework. The Greater Good rule also needs a new look. While it’s good it tends to really bog games down, for little effect.

So far we’ve heard little about the changes. They say they will address Commander spam, which is good, as long as they give the rest of the T’au better options. Currently Commander spam is the best thing the army has got going for it, and it’s still not winning much. We’ve also heard the book emphasize T’au not Kroot. This seems like an odd comment to make, since the books have never emphasized kroot, they’ve sucked the whole time. I can only hope this means that a later book WILL emphasize them. Maybe some kind of T’au allies book or a 40K Mercenaries book.


Of the three xenos factions getting redone Necrons are the strongest to me. They’ve still got some very solid units, and one of the best army rules in the game. Because of this I am surprised that GW said they are going to be major changes coming for them. It seems like there might be some major reworks being done to them. I don’t know if they just mentioned Necrons to mean the entire codex is going to get an overhaul, or just the “Necron” units such as Warriors, Immortals, etc.  I’m intrigued.

One of the reports was that the new list will be a lot more mobile then the current one. Overall though I think Necrons are a pretty mobile list, they’ve got some fast units, a transport and can teleport people all over so we shall have to see.

Final Thoughts

As well as all the above I’m excited to see all the new stratagems, traits and sub factions rules the books are going to get. Given how powerful Pyskic abilities are getting I also hope both T’au and Necrons are given some way to help protect against these powers. Overall all I am very pleased with the fact that these three books are coming out next. It’s finally starting to feel like the year of the Xenos. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Let us know what you want out of the new books, down in the comments! 

  • tl;dr: Nothing to see here except a little rant on Ynnari.

  • J Mad

    DE asked for Vect for years, got a codex in 6/7th, no Vect, ask for Vect again for a couple years… still no Vect.

    But Imperial gets a new army and a new character…. w/e

    • they also lost a ton of characters from the 5th ed book

      • Nightshade878

        We did. It’s been a rough ride if you’re a long time DE player. Honestly I’ve gotten used to GW burning us, so I have no expectations that the new Codex will be good. Quite the opposite after how we were in 7th.

        • Blues

          Yeah real rough ride, getting an amazing revamp with what was basically the best model line they’ve ever made. But oh, we lost a Cruella de Vil parody and other similarly uninteresting special characters, woe is us.

          • Blackfel

            More like, “we lost Baron Sathonyx, Lady Malys, Kheradruakh, Duke Sliscus, and Asdrubael Vect, but in exchange we gained nothing whatsoever.”

          • Spacefrisian

            Dont forget Kruellagh the Vile and the Decapitator.

          • Coltcabunny


          • Tshiva keln

            Those “uninteresting” characters allowed you to build themed armies. I never play my dark eldar anymore as despite having some of the best looking models it feels like you can only do one build. oddly enough it doesn’t help that they are so cheap. You either have lots of spam or you just include everything.

        • piglette

          Pain is pleasure.

      • Manouel Tiger

        poor little thing… imperium is for losers…

    • Kevin Maloney

      Shameless plug:
      I wàn to see them bring back our characters (especially FREAKING VECT), but I know they won’t, because GW is GW.

    • Spacefrisian

      Remember when Nurgle got the bibbelbable bilepiper…Yeah gw had time for that, not the year of the xenos.

  • Crevab

    Oh, were you the one peddling that Year of the Xenos codswallop? It’s hard to go back through BoLS and find individual bad rumors

  • Jack

    Prefer Orks.

  • zeno666

    Finally something interesting

  • Rob brown

    The good reason not to take Ynnari is that you’re not doing an ynnari army. It’s the same reason I don’t play salamanders, eldar or tau. If I wanted to play them, I’d get those armies.

    • SYSTem050

      It’s a hard concept for some. I like dark elder I don’t like ynnari. Therefore I play dark elder.

      • Solvagon

        There are just different types of players. Most of the people commenting here have a casual mindset – they want to play whats cool, pretty much whatever the rules are and hate “cheap” strategies. Then there are players who play the game for the strategic challenge element, who play what they think is good and wins. (Of course it is a continuum, but these are the extremes.)

        Think of a MtG tournament player and someone who plays their themed EDH deck around some badass general they like. Technically they play the same game, but in practice not really.

        • SYSTem050

          Exactly. I also though don’t feel that’s it’s anyone’s place to tell anyone how they should play (not saying you are).

          It’s a fun activity the problems arise when two people gave differing ideas as to what is a fun way to play.

          Ohh and I would love to get some spec characters back. Even though I never seem to use them in my other armies 🙂

          • Rob brown

            The problem is also when the Vox populi portrays the game as one thing only or down plays one element as inherently better or worse. That is an unavoidable side effect of the internet.

            Incidentally some might argue that using one Codex is more of a challenge than mixing up. Playing to an armies strengths and weaknesses is more strategically challenging than just filling that weakness with a 300 point guard battalion. IMHO

      • Gamecock13

        This. I play Dark Eldar and DE alone. No interest in anyone else. If/when GW screws us over again, I’ll simply shelve it all. Not buying another army. I have my army…put the time and effort into them that you do your poster children the Space Marines.

    • ZeeLobby

      It’s honestly one of the reasons I shelved my DE in 6th/7th. They we’re pretty lacklustre and everyone’s suggestion was to put some Eldar

  • Justin Divers

    Odd you find Necrons fine when they are sharing the worst performing army with deathwatch…

    • Solvagon


      • Kendo Russ

        Frontline gaming analysed performances at tournaments, its on one of their podcasts.

        • Ben Raven

          The big problem with the Necrons is they are good until your opponent realizes what the tricks are. Then they are very easy to deal with.
          1. Don’t attack large groups of Necrons until you are sure to wipe them out.
          2. Stay outside of 24 inches and there is not much to hurt you.
          3. Volume of Str 5 or 6, Dam 1 or 2 shooting works very well to take out their vehicles.

          They have the worst record by far in our gaming group!(though nobody plays Deathwatch)
          I know from experience….

    • Justin Pettett

      Immortals with Tesla backed by a cryptek and an overlord to give them MWBD, nuff said. They tesla on 5’s. Got a friend that runs 40 of them and he routinely stomps people. Necrons r still very strong.

      • Kendo Russ

        That’s great until you run into vehicles, need long range firing or get into close combat

        • The day that vehicles became the counter to necrons is a sad one indeed.

        • EnTyme

          Or you enter the Psychic Phase.

      • Dan Brugman

        Unless, you know, half the armies you play have -1 to hit so tesla does either nothing or only it’s base effectiveness on the unit you use MWBD on…

        • Marcus Clark

          Exactly, Also Telsa usless against anyone with lots of armour, invuls, or modifiers to shooting attacks.

  • sephseph

    Interestingly, a fair amount of tau are sold out in the UK Games Workshop store

    • Sniddy

      …must be newbs the models are amazing still, the rules a steaming pile of squiggoth droppings

    • Chris Hilliard

      Its my fault. Anytime I build a faction GW runs out of key parts. Still waiting on some stuff for my Lizardmen…

  • Arykaas

    Necrons ? Big changes ?

    They need to give us back the different “schools” of crypteks ….. that was fluffy and cool. Also nice mini, I already see some conversion potential 😀

    Also, Hope the Dynastic Traits will be interresting and not just “generic rewording of -1 to hit at 12inch+” …..

    But GW …Why are you so mean to my wallet ?
    I just put my “black and orange” dynasty on hold to start a “green and ochre” Hive fleet !
    (I need to find names for these …)

    • Tshiva keln

      What about blarange dynasty and hive fleet grochre?

      • petrow84

        Mark my word, Gorechre will be a new ink name pretty soon!

  • Christie Bryden

    my theory is once the new books are done, we will move back to warzones and its through them we will get new models.

    • Carey_Mahoney

      Probably. Sadly…

  • GrogDaTyrant

    After a relentless parade of marines and not-marine humans, and super-dooper marines, GW finally says “HERE’S YOUR CEREAL BOX TOY!”

    • HeadHunter

      Well, what more do you need, since clearly you already have your crystal ball and advance copies of all three books.
      Whine when xenos don’t get attention, whine that it’s taking to long for xenos books, then whine when it’s rushed.

  • euansmith

    I wonder how the Tau would fair with a “Fall Back!” rule, allowing them to make a move instead of overwatching? It would certainly give them something different, and could allow them to maybe squeeze in another turn or so of shooting.

    • Sir Postalot

      would you really want to play against an army of all warp spiders?

      • euansmith

        Charge further!!!! 😉

        • SYSTem050

          I like it, it’s OK but not to powerful and it’s fluffy. Take some like 🙂

    • Chris Hilliard

      I’m not a fan of falling back until I’m pinned against terrain or a table edge. I have enough trouble spacing myself to avoid a deepstrike charge as it is.

  • Luca Lacchini

    Honestly don’t expect much from the DE Codex. Though the army would need some characters and a bunch of new models.
    I’ve been lucky and found a 3rd ed. DE army box heavily discounted, and along a Voidraven it got my force up to a nice 2K points.

    To be completely honest, a better equipment list for the Succubus, some points tuning, and the option to take a DE Wraithknight as a sorely needed LoW unit, would be enough. In this order.
    Anything else, while justified, I consider just gravy. Kabal and Wych Cult tactics/doctrines would also be nice, thank you.

    • Spacefrisian

      Dunno about a DE wrathknight i rather have a big though skimmer the size of a Baneblade, with build in webportals.

      • Luca Lacchini

        Oh I’d be salivating over a skimmer battle barge, maybe a double kit that could be built as a slave barge too or a haemonculus mobile torture-laboratory.
        But new models are a dream, while a re-usable unit from the softer side of the race is a bit more…feasible.

      • eMtoN

        You mean like a Tantalus only with decent rules?

  • Wingnutz

    Dont want anything out of these books.. Just want them out as its 3 m9re m9nths closer to an ork codex. Year of the non green xenos til the autumn i fear….

    • Ben Raven

      I hope they are saving the best for last. If there is any codex that could be really great, it is the orks. Just hope they find great special rules for the klans and not rehash the Space Marine Chapter tactics again…

  • mhtsaropinigitakis

    omg again Xenos codexes? its been ages since we got a decent space marines codex…at least can we get any new minis for space marines? it been more than a month!!

    • mhtsaropinigitakis

      in all seriousness now i really hope they nerf that dark eldar vehicle flyer spam its annoying playing against it.

      • Spacefrisian

        DE invented spam for 40k, so why change that?

        Good times when i had 36 darklances in 1500 points lists.

        • mhtsaropinigitakis

          my friend has about 18 dlances but i play him with mass tactical squads heheheh

  • pokemastercube .

    supprised no mention of what could get the use old model but with a new role treatment that GW have been doing for the other codex’s (like the dreadknight now also having a HQ version).
    so my theorys
    dark eldar: elite scourges
    tau: command ghostkeel (fluff has shadowsun at minimum useing one)
    necrons: command canoptic spyder
    again those are theorys if GW keeps the trend of takeing a oldkit and giving it another entery in the codex

    • Carey_Mahoney

      You can basically bet on GW doing exactly that.

      • Spacefrisian

        I dont see Vect and Kruellagh rules, and both have models.

        • Carey_Mahoney

          So what? That wasn’t quite what he was talking about.

  • Carey_Mahoney

    Wow, now that article is really bad.

    “In addition they’ve often struggled to make them [ ->Tau] stand apart from the Imperial Guard.”
    Sure, except for lots of mobile, heavily armed battlesuits. *facepalm*

    • EnTyme

      The line about Necrons being fine made my eyes roll so hard that my eyelids have friction burn.

  • Justin Pettett

    Everyone who seems to think Dark Eldar suck need to go watch Steve at Miniwargaming. He routinely brutalizes people with them.

    • Orblivion

      Yeah, I’ve seen a few transport heavy lists completely tear through people.

  • James Regan

    Thing is, ‘crons only lack psychic defence so badly, because they ret-conned the entirety of their otherwise quite effective phsychic defence out. So i’m somewhat confused what they can do about it. Put pariahs back (but maybe with a name that is both more IP freindly and is more sell-able worldwide)?

  • Defenestratus

    and there is no reason not to take some Ynnari.

    Other than the fact that fluff wise ynnari are really really dumb?

    • But they give you sweet sweet wins.

  • orionburn III

    Here’s hoping that Genestealer Cults & Orks are coming up soon too. Not that I have a single model built for my Cults yet, but still want the book 😀

  • m3g4tr0n

    Fake news. We all know it’s the year of the ork. No one wants to admit it.

  • Spacefrisian

    GW having trouble with T’au? Why not continue using its 39 year old source material, raise that flag and unleash the XVX Barbatos

  • Randy Randalman

    Given that these are the three non-psychic armies, it makes sense that they needed the most retooling to bring them up to competitive with the others.

    Also: “So far GW has failed with Craftworld (or didn’t want too) and there is no reason not to take some Ynnari.”

    Well, the UK GT was won by an Ulthwe (not Alaitoc) list that had no Ynnari. It isn’t the Ynnari that are too good, however; it’s Yvraine with Dark Reapers. Literally one unit that needs tweaked.

  • Gamecock13

    How do you specifically call out that you hope Necron and Tau have a way to protect against psychic powers? Did Drukhari somehow figure this issue out and not let me know?

    • Kabal1te

      Of course not, if your dark eldar want psychic defence ally craftworlds or ynarri. I think that’s going to be their solution. Meanwhile pure DE lists really have no viable options other than dark lance spam or loose badly.

      • Gamecock13

        Ah yes, my nightmare…force me to ally with the other eldar. Nope. Prefer not to play!

        • Kabal1te

          I don’t mind allying harlequins but that’s as far as I am willing to go.

          • Gamecock13

            At least harlys are OK by lore standards. I personally do not like using other armies and only want to play DE. I shouldn’t be penalized because of that. GW simply will go in whatever direction is easiest for them with no consideration for the players.

  • Kendo Russ

    I can only assume you have never played using Necron nor against them. Hideously overpriced, no mobility and no ability to reach out and touch reliably. They desperately needed this codex.

    • Gamecock13

      I think all three of these armies do. I’m a DE player, I feel your pain. I think we have all been victims of GW’s imperium bias.

      • Kendo Russ

        Agreed, I play DE as well so got truly stuffed!

        • Gamecock13

          Dag yo. That is rough :/

  • Monkeybrains

    I just hope they raise the raiders transport capacity to 11 or 12. Been trying to get my wife into the game, and she wants to play DE, but she is less than enthused with having to take under strength squads just so her HQ choices can thumb a ride.

    • Gamecock13

      It’s completely obnoxious. We cannot utilize heamonc aura abilities on raiders/venoms unless they run along side the vehicle, we have no fast HQs (we have no decent HQs period). No access to or defense from the psychic phase….

      GW needs to do this right.

  • Kabal1te

    Let’s be honest it isn’t will dark eldar see improvements in their codex, it is what else is GW going to take away from them? I am convinced at this point GW wants to drive their sales of dark eldar into the ground to justify squatting the line.

    • Kabal1te

      Right now my bet is scourges get moved to elites and true borns and blood brides go away since you don’t get the bits to make them visually distinct from their troop versions nor enough of the special/heavy weapons in one kit for them and that’s the kind of thing GW would do. As it stands they have already this edition taken a lot away from DE in the index with compared to the 7th ed codex. Hell not one of my succubus models has a loadout that is legal this edition. Not to mention several of my archons are in the same boat as are a few of my haemonculus. On top of that we lost splinter racks and grizzly trophies. The latter is not such a problem the former really is. On a more meta level the dark eldar also lost their speed edge. Now a days space marines on bikes keep up with raiders and scout bikes out pace them. That’s stupid.

      • Gamecock13

        Much this. When everyone is fast, no one is. What made us distinct (which, btw, we we’re still on the slow end of the spectrum with other eldar factions…) Was our speed.

        At the end of this all is the question: is GW willing to give Dark Eldar the facelift necessary to make us competitive? I believe the answer is no, but the codex will tell.

        Oh if only we were treated like space Marines.

        • Kabal1te

          Well on a certain level dark eldar have always lagged a touch in speed compared to craftworlds eldar. Shining spears, viper, windriders, they have always been as fast or faster than dark eldar things (debatably unless you include athersails which I never spent points on) and then there are hornets which last edition were stupid fast. Even eldar flyers with their vector dance can turn more than one 90° pivot made them out class dark eldar flyers last edition (don’t know if that has changed, haven’t looked). Dark eldar was just always cheaper point wise and while more fragile also usually packed more of a punch than eldar. Then D weapons became main stream for eldar and lords of war became common place on the tabletop. Ever since, dark eldar have been the shortest end of GWs short stick.

  • Erich Schoenholtz

    Bring back Archons on a bike and I’ll be happy. I also think the crucible of malediction should be more powerful…like 2D6 mortal wounds to the closest enemy psyker. That would give the DE something to counter daemon primarchs with. It also will eliminate most mid/ low level psykers which makes sense fluff wise. I also think that they could make a special HQ Raider transport with better stats. No new kit, but just a better stat line choice for the HQ ride.

    • Gamecock13

      We need access to attacks or at the very least defense in the psychic phase period. It’s too powerful in this edition. Not saying we need psychic abilities…totally against the lore, but our weaponry is suppose to border on ”magical’ play to that and let us access the phase.

      Our HQ situation is abhorent.

  • eMtoN

    If they aren’t fixing the Drukhari HQ problems then I’d rather they not even bother to release a codex. I know I’ll be disappointed and I’d rather have hope than the truth.

    • Kabal1te

      I agree with you so much

  • V0iddrgn

    Umm… Necrons are not in a good place at the moment. Yeah, Tesla Immortals with MWBD support is “good”, it’s also the only thing we have that’s considered “good”. DArks are barely viable and require Stalker support to be decent and the Doom Scythe is likely to completely whiff before getting blown out of the sky. Destroyers are stupid overpriced as is the iconic Monolith, which brings me to Tomb World deployment AKA “total waste of time deployment”.

  • tau4eva

    I will continue to keep my expectations low

  • Huntard

    T’au honestly would likely be best served as a devastating but highly mobile close range shooting force. It’s a niche not often used but one that their units and model line are ripe to take advantage of; with breacher squads piling out of devilfish, commanders and battlesuits swooping in, ghostkeels appearing from nowhere and long range support from afar via broadsides and stormsurges. They just need to make the effort to actually make them good at taking advantage of their naturally high mobility, rather than just castled up IG with gundams doing same work for double the points.

  • Nathaniel Wright

    Guess we’re just going to ignore the whole Khaine’s Gate thing and the attacks by Lady Malys, aren’t we Abe? And Vect’s opinion about the Ynnari isn’t exactly a secret (protip: He’s not happy)

    at least research the factions you’re writing about.

    • Kabal1te

      You say that like any of it is actually going to matter in the codex. If anything it will be an excuse to write more things out rather than in. I mean they retconned the guard codex enough to still have a cadian regiment in spite of no cadia. The narrative doesn’t clearly mean anything unless it can be used to give space marines new toys.

      • Nathaniel Wright

        Is it super hard to believe that a Cadian regiment was off planet at the time? Or hell, if it was off planet a hundred years before and just came out of the warp?

        • eMtoN

          After 200 years I’d think there wouldn’t be any actual Cadians left.

          • Kabal1te

            Yea but time holds no meaning in 40k. I mean look at most of your guard characters and even like that one named priest dude for Eclisiarchy, Jacobus or whatever it is. These folks should have died of old age long ago and yet they continue to hang around. Once again the narrative is meaningless to the actual codices and rules. Hell in the stories Wyches and their absurd agility is superior to death cult assassins and yet the dodge invul save of a wych or blood brides only works in melee and the death cult assassin gets hers against shooting and melee and it’s a 3+ instead of the Wyches 4+. Narrative, stories, what happens even in the campaigns, it is meaningless when it comes to these codices outside of maybe a page or two of side fluff and then the remainder carries on as things were before.

          • Nathaniel Wright

            The Warp is pretty fickle about when you pop out.

          • eMtoN

            No doubt but guard casualties are so high that all it would take is a couple years out of warp and the Cadian regiments would have to be rolled into others in order to maintain combat effectiveness. It wouldn’t take very long for all the cadians to finally die.

  • Severius_Tolluck

    Just in time for Inquisitor Eisenhorn to slay them, you know, cause hes from Ordos Xenos… Also This means Death Watch next after that!

  • PullsyJr

    “Xenos, xenos everywhere. – and not an Imperial to see!”
    Except for the new mini-Knight Titan. Because if GW announces anything, they have to make sure the bigger news is another Imperium model or rule.

    • Kabal1te

      Indeed. And if not imperium they will settle for storm cast eternals news or in a real pinch chaos news.

  • AmorousBadger

    Wasn’t the ‘year of the Xenos’ purely a BOLS invention in the first place?

    • Kabal1te

      Allegedly it was an idea leaked to them…. where from no one knows. A year of Xenos is clearly against GWs marketing and design policies.