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40K: Units With The Biggest Impact On The Game – 2017

5 Minute Read
Dec 21 2017
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With the year drawing to a close it time to look at the units that really impacted 40K in 2017.

2017 was a big year for Warhammer 40,000. Along with a whole new edition, we got unprecedented amounts of new releases – 10 Codecs,  9 Indexes (counting Forge World) and Chapter Approved. And all that was just in the 2nd half of the year. Looking back it’s hard to really even think of what came out before 8th. With all that coming out there been so many massive shake ups that it’s hard to keep track of them all. Despite that certain units have shone brighter than the rest. Throughout 8th Edtion, there have been a number of units that really got people talking. Maybe it was because how they dominated the meta, or maybe it was just their potential. So for better or worse, here are the units that had the biggest impact on the game this year.

Note: Just to be clear, by this year I mean post 8th edition, since that is what is really relevant. 

5. Conscripts

Possibly one of the most talked about units in 8th edition that never really did much. Conscripts had TONS of people worried about their potential for several months after 8th Edition came out. People were majorly worried about some of the worst troops in the game used en masse and backed up by Commissars. Despite pages of theory hammer, which I myself was not immune to, they never really materialized as key parts of major event winning lists. Even though they failed to dominate the meta much, the worry about them was great enough that GW nerfed them three times. First by making them harder to give orders to, second by changing Commissars, and thirdly by increasing their points cost. I can’t think of a recent unit that has undergone so many nerfs in such a short time. For all their failings they sure did dominate a lot of discussion this year and earned a place on this list.

4. Brimstone Horrors

One of the major staples of Chaos lists all year long, these tiny horrors have drawn many comments. Early on under the Index they ran amok as cheap troops with smite abilities. They’ve slowly been dialed back with various changes. Despite some nerfs, they remain a common sight on tables, serving as a very cheap troop choice that gets a nice invulnerable save and can deal out mortal wounds. They’ve often found themselves on the leading edge of smite spam, and just spam, debates. Many people hate them, but just as many use them.

3. Leman Russ Battle Tank



The Leman Russ probably should get a trophy for being the most improved unit of the year. For years, and editions, Leman Russes, a supposed mainstay of the Astra Miliatrum, have been an under-powered and under-used unit. While this was true at the start of 8th, the AM Codex changed everything. The combination of getting to shoot main weapons twice, cost reductions and new army wide abilities significantly increased the viabliity of this unit.  A useless unit has now become a high useful one. However the change has also had a profound effect on the Astra Miliatrum as a whole, returning them to an army built around big battle tanks.

2. Intercessors

In general Primaris Marines were the biggest event of the new Edition, and the most polarizing. While the models themselves have generally been favorably received, the rules and fluff is a different story.  Many, many, fans have resisted the inclusion of them into the fluff and background. Others resent perceived attempts to replace old marines. Still others have attacked their rules, simply arguing they are over costed, under powered, and just weak. At the forefront of this has been the Intercessors. As the posterboys of the Primaris they have gotten the most flak. It doesn’t help that many deem them to have the worst rules out of the new units, and feel they are pretty redundant. While units like Hellblasters have found a place, many players still struggle with using Intercessors, and argue that they don’t really work.

For such a big new unit they’ve have only minor effect on the meta and how people play. Yet few units have ever effected the lore and background of 40K as much, nor been as divisive among the community. In many ways 8th Edition is the edition of the Intercessors.


1. Primarches

Yes this is a bit of a cop out, but no units or models have dominated the game like the three brother Primarches. If I didn’t combine them into one entry they would still be 1, 2 and 3 on this list. So lets save time and space and put them together. From dominating the meta to looming over the fluff, they have been running the show all year. A huge number of top tier lists run one or two of these guys, and its not uncommon to go to events where the majority of armies have one. For the massive role these guys have had on shaping not just the present state of the game and universe, but peoples hopes for the future they are truly the unit(s) that have had the most impact on the game this year.

Alright folks, let us know what we missed, and units you think had the biggest impact this year, down in the comments! 

Author: Abe Apfel
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