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40K: Mind the Gap – Indexes Armies vs Codex Armies

4 Minute Read
Oct 31 2017

The Gap between the Haves and the Have-nots is growing with the release of another codex. How long can they hold out?

After the preview we saw of the Tyranids earlier today it’s getting really hard to argue that Index armies are going to stand a chance against an army with a Codex. This year we’re supposed to see 10 codexes and with the 8th on the horizon the gap between armies that have a Codex and the armies that don’t is starting to get stretched pretty far. Think about it – every army that has a Codex has the follow advantages over the Index armies:


  • Unique Army Attributes/Tactics/Traits/etc.
  • Unique Stratagems
  • Relics/Artifacts
  • Warlord Traits
  • Additional Psychic Powers
  • Any Other Army Specific Special Rules

“Oh that’s not that bad – the new codexes are on the way…” Sure. Time will fix it. But in the interim it IS that big of a deal. The Stratagems alone give the Codex armies a MASSIVE advantage. Having a toolbox with (in most cases) 20+ options to use creates a massive disparity between the armies. And let’s not downplay the Army Traits which can make one versions of the same army list play like a completely different army altogether.

What’s an Index To Do?

Should players with Index armies just shelve their armies until they get a codex? In all honesty…maybe. It’s rough! Then again, maybe you can take pride in knowing you’re basically playing on Hard Mode until your army gets a Codex. And there are quite a few that need one:

  • Orks
  • T’au
  • Genestealer Cult
  • Dark Eldar (Drukhari)
  • Ynnari
  • Harlequins
  • Necrons
  • Imperial Knights
  • Imperial Agents
  • Talons of the Emperor
  • Blood Angels
  • Dark Angels
  • Space Wolves
  • Deathwatch
  • Legion of the Damned (hey, they got their own Index section…)
  • Chaos Daemons (All Four of them – Tzeentch, Nugle, Khorne, Slaanesh)
  • Thousand Sons
  • Sisters of Battle

Depending on if you’re counting Chaos Daemons as 1 book or 4 (and if you’re including Legion of the Damned), that’s somewhere between 18-22 codexes. At the rate of 10 per year, that means it’s two years until all the Armies get a codex. “But GW only started putting books out for 8th in July!” True – that’s a very good point. At that rate we’re expecting 20 books in a year? But GW has been moving at a pretty breakneck pace – so you have to ask if that’s sustainable. And you also need to ask if that’s even healthy for the game.

If books come out too quick, you really have to wonder if they even got to play test them. Without the proper testing things like the Ogryn Hyperloop slip through have have to be quickly fixed. “But they are dropping FAQs quickly to fix those things!” Very true again! And it’s been fantastic. But I’d like them to pump the breaks just enough to make sure everything is where it should be before it get’s to the printers.



Realistically, all the armies in that list probably don’t need a codex – but the big ones certainly do. So what do you do if you’re on the waiting list while everyone around you starts to get awesome codexes? That’s a tough call. What is a Tournament Organizer supposed to do as well? Do they just roll with the stuff that’s out and say “sorry Index armies, you’re just playing at a disadvantage.” Do they try to artificially balance them vs Codex armies? Maybe you just spot them some Command Points and call it a day. I don’t have a good answer, but this is something that’s going to need to be talked about for next year.


If you don’t have a book, my only words of encouragement are to be patient. Don’t sell your army off unless you just really want to – if you hang on to it long enough, it might just be king of the hill on the next go around.



What do you think of the every growing gap between the Codex armies and the Index armies? Would you allow house rules to keep them “balanced” or are you a “by-the-book” person? What about Index only Tournaments? Let us know in the comments!

Author: Adam Harrison
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