It’s clear Primaris are the future, and GW would be wise to cut the old marines loose moving forward.
A Big Book
Have you taken a close look at the 8th Space Marine codex? Because it’s massive. It is 208 pages, over double the size of some of the smaller books, and contains a staggering 84 units. Why so large? Well, the monster Astartes tome just keeps getting more and more things shoehorned into it.
Once upon a time, this codex represented the Ultramarines (or pure Codex Astartes chapters) only. Then several codexes ago, GW began to put more and more of the first founding chapters into it who didn’t have their own codexes. White Scars, Iron Hands, Salamanders and more arrived and made the game richer. Hooray! Then this edition the Primaris arrived as the big stars and got added as well.
But like the old Undead Army book from Warhammer Fantasy, that was split into Vampire Counts and Tomb Kings I think GW may want to split the Primaris off in the future.
A Modest Proposal
Think about this. At the very start of 8th Edition, the Primaris Marines were the stars. But with around 15 units, and only 2 vehicles they just aren’t an easy fielded stand alone force. So it makes perfect sense for GW to write up a giant unified codex with this “first wave” Primaris reinforcements, and put out the background of Guilliman ordering their integration into existing chapters.
But orders can easily be rescinded.
We all know that GW usually updates the Space Marine codex every 2-3 years and to be honest I would not be surprised to see a new one in 2019. But with about half a dozen carefully designed new kits, GW could easily make the Primaris range a standalone army. In that case there could be a very easy solution…
ONLY UPDATE THE PRIMARIS CODEX
Fluffwise, the reasoning would be simple. As Cawl makes more and more refinements and technological breakthroughs, Guilliman decides to concentrate them into Primaris only chapters. The existing chapters just soldier on with their initial Primaris reinforcements and get no further new units. I’m sure they could add some stuff in about friction between the old and new Astartes to add some further angst to the Grimdark. In fact I think GW has already given us some subtle hints in the rules about the schism, such as the draconian limitations on which marines can go into which transports. Rules that are kind of odd if the real goal is a “we’re all one big happy family”, but which make more sense if the eventual goal is to split up the ranges.
Making a new Primaris only codex would let the existing players continue to use their armies, while allowing for the designers to move the Primaris only chapters in new directions. They could get cool new strategems and relics that don’t make sense for the old marines. GW can make new exciting chapter rules for a handful of the new Primaris chapters. The could even be moved in directions the fluff and the player community wouldn’t accept for the old classic chapters. If you’ve seen where GW is taking the Primaris’ counterparts – the Stormcast Eternals – there are some interesting possibilities out there.
Splitting the codex may be one easy way to break new ground and move the narrative of the Grimdark forward, while keeping the status quo intact for the “old school” chapters. Surely, the best of both worlds.
~How would you handle a growing Primaris range in the future?