Lets talk about why Warhammer 40,000 needs a new Index book.
The Index books were a great idea. At the dawn of 8th Edition they allowed GW to reset all the factions to a base level and release new Codecs. Rather than having straggler books from prior editions, or forcing people to wait to play until a book could be released for their army they allowed everyone to hit the ground running. However with almost every army having gotten their books now, the Indexs are starting to show their age and cause some problems. Maybe people have raised calls to get rid of them. However I feel its not that we need to do away with Indexes, we just need a need index to replace the current ones. Lets talk about why that is.
It’s come to the point where the Index books are causing problems. The main issue arises from how they interact with the released version of their Codex. One would think that a current Codex would be the final version of the army, and superseded prior versions. This however is not the case. Even when a Codex has been released the Index list for that army is still valid in two ways. The first is that not all Index units made it in to the Codex. It’s not always entirely clear why a unit wouldn’t get added to the Codex, though it normally is due to lack of a current model. Through the Index they can however stilled be played. In some cases this allows for old fluffy units to get a 2nd life, like Rough Riders. In other it allows people to cheese out lists.
The second way is with equipment options. In some cases units did make the transition to the Codex, however their Index versions had different wargear or equipment options. Due to how GW has ruled it, in these cases players can pick and choose from both options as they see. The most famous case of this is the Eldar Autarchs getting to pick a ton of weapons. This leads to a strange situation where a unit in effect has two current datasheets. It’s confusing and easily exploited.
Still A Need For the Index Books
We want our own Creed!
The various Index books are however not totally obsolete. There is still a need for them. Even if we discount Sisters of Battle and Genestealer Cult, which both should have a new book soon, there are units in the books that don’t haven’t gotten updates (or rejections) yet. This includes things like Ynarri, Sisters of Silence, Fortifications, and a number of other minor faction groups. In addition some of the units that didn’t make it into the Codex could still have a place in the game. It’s not clear when these units will get new books, so getting rid of the Index books entirely wouldn’t be fair to players who uses these options. So what are we to do.
A New Index Rises
I think the obvious answer is to get ride all the current Index books and replace them with a new Index. Call it Index 2019 if you want. The vast majority of the current Index books has been obsoleted and isn’t needed any more. A new single volume Index could contain all the datasheets from the other books that GW wants to be legal. This could include the mini-factions, like the Assassins that don’t have books, as well as any “orphan” units like the Land Raider Terminus Ultra that GW wants us to be able to use. It would clear out the chaff, be more convenient and get rid of any unintended hold overs and interactions.
It would also serve as a place to put any new units that have been added to the game independent of Codex releases. This includes units like the Bonesinger and Sly Marbo, as well as the Renegade Knight Rules. These units really belong in an Index and putting them in one place would be convenient.
It’s clear the Index books have to go at some point. I say rather than letting them linger on indefinitely getting more and more arcane and vulnerable to exploitation let’s get rid of them now. With most pretty much all the main armies replaced now is the perfect time to replace them with an up to date current version of the Index. A new Index would not only clear up loopholes and allow some units to be updated as needed, but also act as a home to new units that come out without a larger release. Overall I think such a move wouldn’t benefit the game, and help clean up the sometimes messy rules and interactions. Hopefully its something we will see in the coming year.
Let Us Know If You Think It’s Time For A New Index, Down In The Comments!