The Drukhari book is out, and after reading and playing with it, it feels like the first book to really “get” 8th Editon.
We are about ten months and 17 books into 8th Edition now. Given that, it is pretty safe to say the edition is well and truly underway, and we’ve got a decent handle on it. So good of a handle in fact that it might almost be feeling stale to some people. Book after the book has come out, following a predictable pattern, updating old rules for the new game and throwing in an occasional new thing here and there. We could see where everything was going pretty well. And then came the Drukhari. Bursting with all the shattering surprise of a web-way assault they’ve shaken up not just the meta but how a Codex works in new and innovative ways. Let’s take a look at just what they’ve done.
In the heady young days of 8th Edition, anything seemed possible. We had only the barest bones of Indexes to play with and waited with beating hearts to see what our first real Codex would bring. We all know of course that that Codex would be Space Marines, the golden, until Custodes, boys of GW. We even had some broad idea of what the Codex would have, Relics, sub-faction rules, warlord trains, stratagems. But we had few inklings of what the reality of those things was. Then the Codex came out.
While it’s not currently regarded as a power Codex or popular among the top tears of competitive lists (it’s still the overall most popular army of course), it was a real game changer when it came out. This was power and flexibility. This was an amazing blend of special rules and abilities that gave you undreamt of options. It set the tone for books and gave us an idea of how future books would work, an army list, with a few generic army rules. Sub-factions that encouraged you building you army, or at least large chunks of your army from the same faction in order to unlock powerful abilities. Relics, warlord, traits, all that jazz, that build towards the idea of a unified list. This was what a Codex was, this was the template for the future. Ask yourself – what could be more appropriate than a Codex showcasing Roboute Guilliman, writer of the Codex Astartes, being the new standard?
In the wake of this first Codex, we began getting a rapid slew of books, roughly one every two weeks. As always with this kind of release, popularity and power level varied from book to book. What didn’t change much was the format, the basis of each book. Book after the book they resembled in structure and idea the Space Marine Codex. Each book contained roughly the same thing, with the exception being the few books that don’t have sub-factions. The books generally focused on wanting players to take unified forces and clearly wanted to push for the use of Battalion detachments to unlock CPs. While each book and army did stuff differently, none played much with the basic ideas of 8th in a new way.
In retrospect, it’s pretty obvious that if anyone was going to shake things up is was the drugged-out-over-sexed-tortuous-murder-Elves. Sorry, Aelfs, I mean Aeldari. The Drew Carey Show? Wow, these name changes are more and more confusing. Anyway, now the Drukhari have come along and changed everything. While their book may appear on the surface to be more of the same with its sub-faction rules, warlord traits, relics, and stratagems. It’s the way the codex is presented and how it wants you to play that is anything but.
The Drukhari book wants you to fundamentally think about building and playing armies differently. It feels like the first built in 8th Edition. For the first time, we have a Codex that pushes the system and takes advantage of it.
Here are few ways the Drukhari Codex works differently from others.
The Drukhari are a new and exciting book. While they share the same base structure as other books, they have, like in the fluff, gone a different, more radical way from their sister books. Fundamentally they feel like the first book really at home in 8th and able to start messing and twisting some of the rules and concepts the edition was based on. They may not be perfect, but I hope they are a harbinger of things to come.
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