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40K: Codex Lessons and Legends

4 Minute Read
Aug 13
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A look at 8th Edition’so first three codexes, and onto the future.

40K’s seen three codexes released now, with a fourth soon to follow (I wouldn’t be surprised to see Deathguard in early September), and each one’s given us an idea of how the game is expanding. The Grey Knights codex did a lot of record keeping: only really added 4 “new” units and brought the faction in line with the expectations of ‘this faction has a codex’. Whereas the Space Marines and Chaos Marines codices gave a lot more flavor to the factions. Space Marines, especially, but even Chaos feels different after the codex.

This all goes to illustrate a few different ways the next factions might expand. So here’s a look at what we’ve learned from the extant ones, as well as what we’re hoping to see come out of the next few codex releases for 8th Edition.

Deathguard

Let’s start with the next one coming out. This one’s pretty exciting because of what it could represent for the game. It’s the addition of a new (sort of) subfaction. Nurgle’s embrace is far reaching, so it seems fitting. But what we’re really excited to see is how GW updates and adds to this list.

Sculpts have come a long long way since the last time GW messed with these guys, and whether it’s the plague terminators, or big Morty himself, the new models we’ve seen look gorgeous.

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And with these new models is a chance for new rules. I feel like we’ll get an idea of what “getting new units” looks like in 8th. That’s where the game has a chance to really distinguish itself. We know GW intends to do a deeper dive on sub factions this edition, so this first one is going to be a great litmus test for future releases. From what we’ve seen, it feels like the Deathguard will probably fall between the Space and Chaos Marines codexes–I think they’ll have more of an update than the Grey Knights, including new weapons and models etc. But I don’t think it’ll be a sweeping as Space Marines was. I imagine we’ll see things a little more gradually from here on out. But, there’s still plenty of room to change the way the game plays even without tons and tons of new stuff.

Faction Rules, Schmaction Rules

Let’s talk about the sweet dance of mechanics and low for a second. The intersection of lore and mechanics is at its best in this edition. Flipping through the codices, there are points where we’d stop and say, oh man, that rule definitely feels cool. Whether it’s Noise Marines’ music of the apocalypse, or Alpha Legion’s ability to secretly have been a different warlord the whole time, the game really seems to have a handle on how these units should feel to play.

And the more we see, the more this proves true. So far though, Stratagems are the unsung hero of the subfactions. Here’s where it feels like the rules step into their own, as far as representing segments of the lore goes. They’re an easy way to show (instead of telling) how a sub faction plays differently from the rest. Sure, there’s some overlap, but,  playing out Infiltrators or having a Chaos Mutation hit your character makes them feel distinct. No one can hope to match the Salamanders mastery of fire or the Night Lords’ terror.

As we see more factions get their own codex, I imagine that the Stratagems will continue to define their associated subfactions. Especially since that seems to be a stealth way of working formations back into the game, with stuff like Killshot or Linebreaker providing extra functionality to units or groups of units.

Roll Models

The other big thing to hope for, is, of course sweet new plastic kits to add to the game. New units and new models for old favorites. We’re seeing a little bit of both these days. Again, I think Deathguard is gonna give us a good look at how that’ll play out. But. In the meantime, I feel safe saying we can all hope for more plastic dudes.

What do you hope to see in the next few codexes? What would make this edition the most successful?

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