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40K Op-Ed: Say Hello to “Mini-Codexes”

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Jan 22 2018
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Adeptus Custodes is an examples of something we’re seeing more and more – teensy “mini-codexes” dropped out of the blue by GW.

Codex Adeptus Custodes is causing quite a buzz in the community. It’s been a while since we had an all new army drop out of the sky to populate the Grimdark. But the phenomenon isn’t unique.  I think GW is honing a technique and we will see more of these in the future.

What is a “Mini-codex”

In general I’m defining these as any codex that arrives as a totally playable army with a very small number of either army model count,and/or units offered for sale.

The current example is

Adeptus Custodes, with 4 new kits.

Before then it was:

Imperial Knights with 1 kit.

Before that was :


Harlequins with 5 kits .

Arguably Grey Knights arrived in a similar way with 4-5 kits – that built atop the existing Space Marine vehicle range.

Why Mini-codexes?

Mini-codexes have a lot of advantages from GW’s point of view:

  • A small number of units makes them easy to produce and work into the schedule.
  • A small codex is easy for a player to pick up as a new faction with a low model-count.
  • The price-point tends to be lower than a full sized “mature” codex for players to star collecting.

In fact these codexes are almost “impulse buy codexes”. They arrive out of nowhere, build up lots of hype and are so easy to build, folks can jump right in before the community even knows if the army is actually viable or balanced.  The track record of these armies is uneven.

Harlequins are pretty much ignored these days


Imperial Knights have lost their novelty, but still show up in Imperial Soups lists.

Grey Knights are out there doing their thing – a bit miffed at all the love chaos got!

It’s too early to tell how Adeptus Custodes will fare. Time will tell.

The Future of Mini-Codexes?

In any case, many, many folks collect purely based on the appearance of the models – and GW’s models don’t disappoint.  I think the format is a winner and GW will continue to use it.  There are a lot of little forces out there GW could use it on to drop some mini-factions on us.  Just think of how easy Nottingham could develop these:

Kroot Mercs – 2-3 kits on top of the existing T’au range.

Adeptus Arbites – 2-3 kits on top of existing Imperial transports.

Dark Mechanicus – 2-3 HQs/Troops on top of all the Daemon Engines.


There are no doubt many many more examples, but you get the gist.

~How do you feel about these thin-codex armies and what should GW make next?

Author: Larry Vela
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