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Goatboy’s 40k: Badboys of the Meta

9 Minute Read
Aug 28 2017

Welcome to another 40k chat with the Goatboy.  Today I want to look at the current state of 40K’s meta as we stand today.

We have a bit of a lull in 40k releases right now with some AOS love coming down the pipeline.  This creates an excellent time to talk a bit about the current nature of the Grim Dark universe and maybe where it will shift towards with a rumored “big faq” coming down the pipeline.  The biggest shake up currently is a case of the haves and have nots with only 3 released books dominating the “we got more rules then you” playground.

Strategems & Relics

The biggest benefit these new books have beyond point tweaks is a plethora of Stratagems at their disposal.  After a few test games with the new CSM book, I can see how these abilities are very powerful and force a different build mentality when trying to use them.  I played a quick game with the Lord of Skulls and let me tell you that Daemonforge Stratagem is pretty dang sweet.  I expect most of the new books will have similar rules with either a ton of modifiers, old battalion abilities, and fluffy standbys coming.  It still makes you feel like you can’t really plan your army until you actually get the new, “improved” and bulked up army book.  Overall I just hope we don’t see a specifically spammed Stratagem dominating the table top.

The new Relics are also a big help towards the newer lists with most of them being more in the interesting department.  I think they are all pretty good – with the better ones locking you into a Legion/Chapter that might not be considered the best.  The lack of point cost on top of them beyond some specific “wargear” needed to hot swap the relic is an interesting set up.  I again don’t think any are beyond broken like we had before so I just hope they continue on this trend.  Using these relics to create characters instead of having a tiny piece of wargear dominate a player turn.

Meta Bad Boys

Looking at the top lists from a few events we can start to see some of the “problem” areas.  There are still a few units that probably need to be looked at – whether a change in their point costs, abilities, or how they interact with specific units.  I know a few are most likely on the discussion block with GW and this rumored “big faq” coming down the pipe.  Let’s look at some and see if we can guess how they might change.  I was pretty spot on with the Brim change as while I think they could probably use more tweaks I don’t expect anything else coming for them.

Issues – Interactions with specific AM rules – i.e. Commissars and orders.

I think the ability to mitigate the Morale phase by only losing a single 3 point model is probably the bigger issue at hand.  We have a unit of “criminals” who somehow do ok when a member of their “gang” gets shot.  I suspect a change to how the Commissar works or a removal of his ability to mitigate the Conscripts morale check would most likely fix them.  Sure you can have blobs of dudes, but as soon as you take wounds swaths of them start to get scared, run away, and plan on getting arrested again in the future.  The order system should be reworked a bit to only allow certain orders on these guys.  These are not disciplined warriors so why would they even know how to follow an order correctly, let alone do it so well to be an issue.  I don’t think they need a point cost change as a few other tweaks make them into what the unit should be – really cheap bubble wrap that just blows up when attention is paid to them.


Exalted Flamers
Issues – Cheap Character with Decent shooting and in a “force org” slot that is under used in the Daemon Codex

I think the big issue with these guys is that they are an elite choice.  Thus they can be activated with a detachment that gives a single command point, a few extra HQ units (best thing from Daemons beyond Brims), and just being a character forces weird shooting interactions.  I think the biggest fix for them is probably just move them to an HQ choice like a Herald and these 12+ Exalted Flamer armies start to go away as they don’t have enough “jelly” to make them work.  They need the Battalions and locking them at HQ forces players to make choices of these guys or the next unit I will talk about – the Malefic Lord.  I do agree if these guys get nerfed heavily you start to see Daemon armies without a ton of stuff to do on the Tzeentch side of things.  I think the simplest thing would just to move them out of Elites and onto the HQ landscape – where they have to fight with other options beyond just being an Auto Take if you have the models to use.

Malefic Lord
Issues – Cheap HQ Smite choice that even in a perils they get better.

These guys are going to get a nerf for sure.  They are 30 points, can cast a smite, and have a decent set of rules/powers.  If they perils and don’t die their stats jump up to a Daemon Prince level and this little tiny turd of a model becomes a threat to anyone getting close.  Smite spam is one of the few things the Daemon/CSM/Renegade soup mix does well and this guy is part of the problem.  I expect his point cost to go up and maybe some other tweaks to how his rule works.  I would think he would take more damage from Perils as well as he isn’t exactly a trained psyker.  Plus he works way to closely with Daemons so he has to be easy to corrupt, possessed, and finally explode.  Maybe if he took d6 wounds from a Perils he would be more fair as any perils could kill him and his friends that surround him.


Tau Commander
Issues – Cheaper choice then Suits with better weapons, interaction with Drones, and abilities.

Right now there are some issues with “Commander” spam hitting the table tops.  You got a ton of commanders (most likely old suits instead of the much bigger commander model), a ton of weapons, and drones covering the table top.  The army shoots a lot, has some crazy movement abilities, and shoots a lot.  I don’t think the issue is with the Commander itself as the model seems costs appropriately.  It might not need as many guns but that is the Tau sort of thing.  I think the issue is that the other suit options in the book are just not that good.  When a single model is cheaper, has better damage output, and does more for your army then a 3 man Suit unit there is an issue here.  I think if they up the abilities of the other things in the Tau army the Commander spam will go away.  This isn’t something that needs to be nerfed more so the army just needs an overhaul.  I haven’t heard any chatter on when they might get a book so maybe will see a tweak.  Oh and how much do you want to bet will get a Commander in a Riptide?

Soup Character Heavy Armies
Issues – Imperial Keyword mixed with HQ/Character Detachments

It is crazy how many dang Saints you see on the table top.  Mix that with a ton of other “heroes” all working together in an army filled with other heroes as well.  This causes all kinds of weird interactions with targeting issues, bubble effects, and how good the keyword Imperium actually is.  I think this sort of soup build will start to get limited as people learn to use Objective secured in their games more.  I think also as events get more LOS blocking terrain some of the Soup armies with massive shooting will find themselves less effective as well – thus needing locked in faction detachments and their troops.  This all could be wishful thinking on my part as well as we don’t have enough books to see if just “souping” up your army with all the best choices the Imperium has to offer is the best choice.

Cheap Wargear
Issues – Other armies have to play double the cost on a gun/weapon when both units hit on the “same” Ballistic Skill

We all know the Powerfist is going down to 12 points for all the Marine type armies.  I wish we would just see a blanket change in an FAQ for the other Marine chapters as it would seem like a simple change.  We also know that Plasma is way to cheap for a Guardsmen to have that hits on a 3+.  I know that an AM army can have more then just a 3+ hitting guy in there – but you know and I know that any player would instantly see how powerful a half cost gun is on a guy that costs less then half the amount of a Marine, hits as well as a marine, and you don’t care as much when losing him to an overcharge.  Any of the same named guns should all be the same cost.  Sure you can put the Plasma gun on a 4+ hitting guy – but he costs less then half of a marine.  The gun itself should just have a flat cost amongst all the armies that can take it.


Lack of FW Marine Chapter tactics
Issues – Some armies don’t have a founding chapter so do we just pick whichever one we want?

Does it feel like the Marine FW book wasn’t finished properly?  There are things that feel very fleshed out and then all of a sudden we are missing some things.  I was hoping we would see a “free” chapter tactic update for the FW marines as you can reuse the Warlord traits but just create some interesting tactic rules.  Sure some of them make sense to utilize some of the book ones but what do we do about the Minotaurs.  Or the Exorcists?  I am sure I can sit down, figure out some rules, and quickly spit out a list that at least feels pretty solid for these guys.  It just feels like something that could be easy, make a bunch of people happy, and maybe sell some non 30k FW stuff.


I am sure there are other things that are causing game problems locally.  I feel like the biggest thing is that will have a big case of the haves and have nots with armies having book releases and other ones waiting for the day they get their moment to shine.  Overall I am still very happy with 8th and while I see a lot of this as a game that needs to grow it is still worth my time to invest in thinking, playing, and building armies for it.  I am just lucky that my main army – Chaos Space Marines – got a full release so I can really officially start to work on new ideas.

~What do you guys think needs to get worked on?  Is there anything specific that needs a look at and hopefully a decent refresh?

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