The Ork Codex is almost upon us. GW has one change to get the Greenskins right – where the Necrons and Tau have fallen before them.
There’s a funny thing about 40K – it’s a perpetual motion machine, 8th Edition especially. The rapid-fire pace of codex releases, alongside steady FAQs, have kept the meta in motion for a while. If anything we have seen the meta hamster-wheel in overdrive the last year and a half.
But the same patterns repeat over time. A codex comes out at the peak of its power, which is then slowly eroded over time as the game expands. While it is not unheard of for a “sleeper codex” to increase in power level long after it’s release – it is quite rare indeed.
The Sad Plight of the Standalones
And this cycle is especially harsh for the standalone codexes. The handful of races which can take no Allies and have to go it alone. You know, these guys:
Looking back on the first two – they haven’t fared so well in 8th Edition.
Necrons sure seemed exciting when their codex first hit. They had some strong dynasty rules, and overall their rules seemed solid. But alas within months folks figured out that the points were just too high, and the army couldn’t compete with the top dogs. You don’t see many Dynasties out there on top tables these days.
Tau fared a little better, but have one of those “right way to play” codexes that offers an effective but very narrow choice of army builds around a spine of the handful of effective units being spammed to high heaven. They can compete, but it’s a rote wash, rinse, repeat playstyle that all about the shooting phase.
Enter the Orks
Now it is the Orks’ time. So far the buggies look solid, and the clan rules seem very solid. This appears to be an army that can move fast and reach out and grab ‘ya. It needs to be. At this point in their release cycle, folks thought the same thing about the Necrons.
The reason it is so critical to get things right with these standalone armies – is there is no backup. If the Astra Militarum codex sucks (it doesn’t), you can still cherrypick units from it to ally with Imperial Soup lists. There are enough Chaos and Aeldari codexes to give them some backup, and hell, even Genestearer Cults, and Tyranids can help each other out. But with standalone codexes, if the army isn’t up to snuff – it’s dead on arrival and will be shunned from the game until their codex is next updated.
So I am tentatively super excited about the Greenskins. They SHOULD be one of the game’s solid armies and a force to be feared on the tabletop. I want them to be able to field hordes, or buggy swarms, or battlewagon, lootas, & mek gun shooty lists. In short, I want one of the game’s classic foes to be on the tabletop again – in force – and respected.
That is why I would be perfectly happy with GW erring on the overpowered side of things out of the gate. It’s much safer to give a standalone codex too much power and let the game’s evolution wear down their power level, or errata their points in Chapter Approved. You only get one change to build up player enthusiasm around an army’s release window. Let’s not squander it.
~Come on GW – don’t let a Warboss down!