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40k Editorial — Mission Impossible: Game Balance

4 Minute Read
May 1 2014

Warhammer 40k is not balanced right now.  Here’s another one for you – it never was.

Move or cause to move into a sloping position.

Internal balance is something that never existed in 40k for as long as I’ve played. Even though some are reluctant to acknowledge it there was actually a briefly fleeting period at the beginning of 6th edition when it appeared to be balanced. It seemed like with the release of Dark Angels followed by Chaos Space Marines everything would be okay but eventually we realized their points per unit are bloated compared to what followed in other codices. Tau followed by Eldar were then released and there went the proverbial farm.

I must have missed the memo from GW stating they will fix 40k with the rumored soon to release new edition — four weeks and counting now. Games like chess and backgammon are inherently balanced since you must field the exact same setup as your opponent. There is no secret solution that can make everyone happy when it comes to 40k and don’t fool yourself when GW has developers such as Phil Kelly and Mat Ward. I think the intent is to push the game towards a higher level in terms of how many points are fielded. Obviously the meta will shift. I see Tau as taking a hit since they are so one-dimensional… Shoot, shoot, shoot then shoot some more. Eldar on the other hand can do lots of things well. Most likely we will see some new army lists which could be exciting. I can see Space Marines climbing back up on top again but it’s anyone’s guess at this point in time.

Maybe I’m just jaded though and the impossible will occur — until such a time remember that the truly great players can compete with any army. If you are a true student of the game and strategy it will always serve you well. Remember that 40k is a dice game and the luck can go either way. Some great advice I was given is as follows… You have no control over your dice and it’s not worth getting upset because you lost a game due to bad dice mojo. I remember watching the final round at one of the larger GTs on the top table. One of the players who is considered one of the best had an uber assault unit perfectly positioned to multi assault his opponent’s deathstar plus several other units which would have assured a successful sweeping advance. He then failed a morale check along with the re roll, pinning his assault unit… Game over. Hey it happens to everybody.

Coming back full circle never take anything said at face value – think for yourself — always question the so called authorities. I have seen some of the same people complaining how broken is sixth edition playing Jetseer Council and ScreamerStar, which is quite ironic to say the least. Tactically designed balanced armies coupled with sound strategy wins games time and time again. Sure you’ll always be able to find a shoulder to cry on but it won’t win you any games either.

Remember it’s not all peaches and cream — appreciate the good things you have. Instead of fixing all of the broken aspects of sixth edition to produce a truly balanced set of rules it’s quite possible the game could devolve even more, which makes a lot of sense from a pessimistic point of view and experience. I don’t want to come across as a sad sack though, I’m simply presenting the other side of the coin.

I find sixth edition to be quite complicated and I don’t think it’s going to change much at all in that regard. The new edition will force us all to adjust — some more than others. Hopefully this will entice more people to play and bring back some of the veterans.

If you think about it there are lots of changes how the game is played compared to fifth edition right down to some of the most fundamental aspects and basic mechanics. For example I’ve observed that many players new to the game don’t really have a firm grasp on the assault phase. Melee is still a very powerful aspect of the game (even those it’s obviously been nerfed) though and it’s not something you can always avoid. Monstrous creatures can serve as a deterrent, which is what I see most xenos armies rely upon to buffer their squishy troops. It’s hard to say what the new rules will bring — it could be a complete overhaul or simply a few tweaks here and there… Personally I think it will fall somewhere between these two extremes.


Mostly what I’ve seen suggested on the Internet is typical wish listing pure and simple. I don’t think allies are going away but maybe it’ll be toned down a bit with some changes to the matrix. For example why should Space Marines ally as battle brothers with Tau — it doesn’t make any sense to me and I think the same can be said in regards to Dark Eldar and Eldar too.

Ave Imperator

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