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Editorial: Can 40k Be Balanced?

4 Minute Read
May 20 2016

You probably already know the answer – no. Only GW can truly the balance the game – but it looks like they are starting to try.


If you’ve been playing for several editions you probably realize the game has never been externally balanced – there has always been a top tier. So looking back we can see GW doesn’t intend there to be external balance between armies. Currently the top three armies in my opinion are Eldar, Space Marines and Tau… Tau being in the third position. Each of these races lost nothing with the exception of the nerf to the wave serpent and actually gained a lot with the release of their 7th edition codices and new supplements.

Note that external balance in a perfect world would mean every army is equal which is much the case for 30k… This is not only true because most of the armies in the Horus Heresy are Space Marine legions but also due to the time and effort put into creating these rules. For example Alan Bligh whom is the chief developer for 30k has an extremely detailed time line for the heresy era which is used as a reference and tool to create these rules. GW on the other hand often changes the background of 40k to support changes they make to their armies and rules for whatever reason. Never was this more evident than when Mat Ward was involved in development starting back in fifth edition. 30k also has a lot of internal balance which means each army has many good units to choose from and we don’t tend to see lots of spammed internet lists such is so often the case for 40k. What 40k needs is a major overhaul now.


How to Achieve True Balance

I think most players really want external balance now more than ever before and only GW can really make it happen. The good news as you’ve probably heard is soon an official updated set of errata and FAQs will be released that will cover not only the rules but codices and supplements as well. Personally I like what I have seen so far even though they are only rough drafts that have been released. GW asked players which rules they have questions about and these are the main ones being addressed – I think that’s great too… Just think about it, this is exactly what we all wanted.

Outside of GW, TOs can and do create their own FAQs which is certainly a lofty goal requiring their own time and effort. Based upon what I’ve seen though the end result always shows some bias and if you think about it the three armies I mentioned in the opening paragraph are still the top dogs so the meta really hasn’t changed much at all. I understand it’s a tough job and we all have own bias whether we realize it or not. I’m not saying Lets stick it to the man! by any means and I truly appreciate all the effort. That’s why I’m very excited about GW finally taking the proverbial bull by the horns and making a real effort to properly address their own rules. I hope that TOs across the country will embrace the new errata and FAQs – let’s give it a real chance rather than quick reactions that may not be well thought out upon any new release. A lot of use want to be able to play the game as intended rather than resorting to some facsimile of the rules.

So there’s going to be some change that will impact the current meta… We want to know how this will affect us. From what I’ve seen so far GW is addressing some abuse of the current rules and providing guidelines how they are intended to actually be played. There is also some changes to how existing rules work – one good example is possibly battle brothers will no longer be able to share transports which is actually how 30k currently works. This change would impact Imperial armies such as Admech and assassins.


In Closing

To me the game is currently dominated by Death Stars and super shooty alpha striking armies. True balance would lessen both of these types to a strong degree. No one wants to be assaulted the first turn but then again there’s never been any restrictions on shooting the first turn either. True balance would put assault and shooting on equal levels.

Can GW achieve this goal? To be honest I don’t really know but I’m going to give the new errata and FAQs a fair chance… Just maybe this will be a good thing too.

~You’ve seen the FAQs – Do you think GW can really balance the game this time?


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