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40K: In Defense of Weak Characters

3 Minute Read
May 10 2017

8th Edition is taking Characters down a notch – and that’s a good thing.

The big news today was the loss of Characters joining units. Sure they got some protection against being shot unless they are the closest unit, but overall this is kick in the groin for ICs.


40K has had a long dance with the power level of characters across editions. Some editions they were useless sitting ducks and some they turned the game into “Herohammer”

7th Edition was way way over towards the Herohammer side of things. Just look at the ways of protecting characters in 7th:

  • You hid them inside of units.
  • Casualties are pulled for the closest, so you can position ICs to put plenty of suckers in front of them to die first.
  • Look Out Sir – last ditch protections when you do finally get a shot at them.

Add this up with the amazing abilities IC have and their effectiveness in the assault / psychic phases and you can see why the “herohammer” label returned in 7th.

What’s the Problem?

Many ask exactly what’s the problem with super powerful ICs. The issue is the imbalance it causes to the rest of your forces as well as the bigger picture of why we are even playing a company level game.

Imagine a company level game with average powered ICs. You have 50-100 models per side and half a dozen ICs on the board. Sure they are powerful and will help their side in localized areas – but the game ISN’T ABOUT JUST THEM. Those 95% other models you lovingly bought, assembled, painted and deployed get a voice. It will be a game of maneuver, tactics, luck and drama. Some of those ICs will make a difference, some will be out of position, and some will make the ultimate plastic dudesmen sacrifice.  It’s that tabletop drama I really enjoy.


Now imagine the a game where those half a dozen ICs are what matters. They dominate lesser units all around them and are really only balanced versus each other – or ridiculous amounts of firepower from non ICs.  As an aside, how may of you have thrown more than half of your “normal army” at a single IC in a turn and had them walk out unscathed – that’s frustrating, un-fun a BIG DESIGN PROBLEM. Because where that leads to is a game where you star to wonder – “Why aren’t I playing a Skirmish Game”  If you want a game where 4-5 badasses face off versus 4-5 badasses – go play Shadow War Armageddon.

I want to play a company level game. The little guys should matter.

Should an IC be worried if he’s surrounded by these guys out in the open?

So, at the end of the day I’m happy.  I want ICs to be heroes. I want ICs to make a difference. I want ICs to add drama and flavor to a battle.


I also have ZERO issues with any IC getting caught out of position and gunned down by a Predator who lit them up with some heavy weapon fire.



~ I have very high hopes for 8th Edition!  What do you think the power level of ICs should be?

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