Being equal in units isn’t the same as being able to win.
As we are winding down the initial series of 40K codexes, there are starting to be the inevitable calls of inequality in the treatment the various armies got.
I”m sure you’re familiar; after 30 years and 8 editions of 40K I am. It usually goes something like this:
“Dark Eldar suck and GW hates them because the Space Marines have twice as many units and I don’t even have a Lord of War”
As I’m sure you can tell, most of these laments are not really about any specific army’s shortcoming. It’s the player’s shortcomings that drive most of these woeful remarks. We have seen this for decades and it comes and goes as the various armies wane and wax in power.
But I’m here with a basic concept:
Faction Inequality is Just Fine
The Armies SHOULD NOT BE EQUAL in the unit and even unit category department. I am not a believer in the philosophy that every army should have an equal number or proportion of each type of units from HQs, to ELITES, TROOPS, all the way to the exotic LORDS OF WAR. You see I have always believed that Warhammer 40,000’s real strength is it’s incredibly exhaustive background and lore. And in the lore, the factions are NOT in any way equal.
The Astra Militarum are effectively infinite in resources and can call on the full weight of humanity to overcome any problem. The Harlequins are the polar opposite, and are semi legendary. It is said that an Imperial citizen can live an entire life and never see a Space Marine in person. How many of the fighters of the Grimdark have only heard rumors of the Harlequins, or something like the Legion of the Damned. The vast majority of the galaxy probably believe that many of our beloved codex armies like Grey Knights are only myths.
So I want GW to feel free of the shackles of unit parity. If an army’s background warrants zero LORDS OF WAR, or heck perhaps even HEAVY SUPPORT so be it. Outside of the ubiquitous HQ and TROOPS, I say let the lore guide the army’s design.
But Everyone Should be Able to Win
However, army unit composition is not anything the same as the ability to win games. Just I think GW should be cranking out ever more exotic and cool armies – each of those armies NEEDS to be able to win – ALONE. If their codex is to be viable, GW needs to make each army viable for those collectors and fans who are so smitten by the faction that want to make a pure army out of it. Sure allied soup is always valid and available, but I think “allies-only” codexes are an issue and should be avoided whenever possible.
I’m already theorizing about what some of the exotic xenos out there in the lore might look like in a non-traditional codex and how far a codex could be designed with non-traditional unit assignments yet still be badass on the tabletop.
~How would you handle battlefield exotics like the Inquisition, or Enslavers, or the Hrud?