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40K: We Have Enough Codexes to See GW’s Plan

5 Minute Read
Sep 21 2017

GW is cranking out the Codexes like a machine gun – but we’ve gotten enough to understand what 8th is.

Let’s start back at the beginning.

In the Beginning…

We got the initial five index books 3 months back to get us playing and reset the game:


The indexes were a grand reset and covered everything GW had minis of, from the basics like Rhinos, to true exotics like the Chaos Lord on a Palanquin and the unfortunately named Rhino Primaris.

Then the codexes started hitting the shelves fast:

Space Marines

Here we saw the first inklings of what GW was planning on putting into the individual codexes. We saw that some units were removed that were in the indexes. The codexes focused only on models available NOW from GW. Some new units appeared, some with unique models (Hellblasters) and some simply reused existing models in new roles (non-primaris Lieutenants). Sub-faction rules appeared. Finally GW re-costed and tweaked points for key units.

Overall the codex was quite strong, with notable potential within the chapter traits and of course Bobby G. The jury is still out on Primaris Marines as a whole.


Chaos Marines & Grey Knights

Chaos Marines and Grey Knights showed up on top of each other and gave us the first look at what the 8th Edition re-dos of “existing” armies with no new models would look like.  Again we saw rare Index units removed, points tweaks, the normal expansions to relics, psychic powers and stratagems. We also saw the Exalted Champion and Grand Master in a Dreadknight – the philosophy of adding a single unit to a codex that reuses an existing model.

While Grey Knights were a sleeper, the Chaos Codex was potent and it’s potential is still being mined.

Death Guard

BOOM, 8th’s first all new codex hit like influenza and it did not disappoint. The Death Guard codex includes 9 entirely new units on top of the 5 units introduced in the 8th Edition boxed set.  The codex lost a large number of units available to codex CSMs giving it a very different playstyle. Even more of a new codex than Codex Space Marines – GW crafted an entirely new army with incredible strengths, and weaknesses – and Morty.

I’m loving the challenge of playing it unsupported, but it looks to be an incredible fusion book when combined with codex CSMs.  SOOOO Many Combos!

Adeptus Mechanicus

Here we see another take on updating existing codexes from 7th. While we get no new models, this codex effectively combines Skitarii, Cult Mechanicus and Imperial Knights under the authority of Mars.


The Forge World dogmas, canticles and strategems pile upon an already complex army of specialists with non-standard wargear. This is not an army for beginners. The Ad-mech are pricy, have a small to medium model count and feel each casualty dearly. Luckily for Mars, they are tough to mow down and can really dish out the pain both in the shooting and fight phase.

What Have We Learned

We know that Astra Militarum, Tyranids and Craftworld Eldar are next.  I would expect more books along the lines of the Grey Knights, CSMs and Adeptus Mechanicus veins.

I fully expect to see subfaction rules for: Astra Militarum regiments (come on Praetorians!), Craftworlds (come on Alaitoc Pathfinders!) and maybe just maybe Hivefleets.  I would expect 1-2 new units for each codex that use existing models for new uses (like Eldar Pathfinders for example), and the removal of any units from the Index series that are not currently available. You know who they are…

Next year promises to continue the codex train, but I think at this point outside of entirely new armies we have a solid handle on what format each codex will follow.

What 8th Is

8th Edition is still very young, but it looks like GW is planning on sticking to the very simple core rules and keep adding more and more combos, auras, and dice modifiers to keep us busy for years.

In 7th the skill was army construction – trying to get as many free abilities and models out of the allies and formations available. In 8th, it is shaping up to be about constructing the perfect special rules, auras, strategems, relics, subfaction combos to all sit atop each other – IF – you can keep it all straight in your head. That looks like what defines victory in the new order.  I’m not going to say it’s better or worse – that’s your job – but it sure is easier on newcomers and is different from what came before.


~What do you think of the books so far and how do you think of 8th’s overall rules philosophy 3 months in?

Author: Larry Vela
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