40K Deep Thought: Index Extinction
White Dwarf has the Index Books in it’s sights and is primed to put them out of their misery.
When Games Workshop changed the game of Warhammer 40,000 and dropped 8th Edition with all of the Indexes, it was quite the feat! That move helped everyone to shift from 7th to 8th and just about every army felt viable, new, and exciting to play at the time. However, we’re now sitting on the other side of the Index Era – most armies now have new and updated Codexes. Heck, even the Sister of Battle have an updated codex (well, it’s a Beta…for now). With the Assassins coming out with the next White Dwarf, that really only leaves the Ynnari and a handful of other units that need a new home. And that’s where the White Dwarf comes in…
White Dwarf – Big Game Hunter
Now, I’ve said my piece about having rules in White Dwarf. Basically – I’m excited to get new rules, but I’m worried about everyone getting access to those rules later (ie, what happens in the White Dwarf sells out). Maybe it’s not that big of a deal, and maybe GW will release those rules at a later date so it will probably work out in the long run anyhow. Regardless, Games Workshop is moving forward with the new White Dwarf format and that’s just the way of things now.
It’s easy to see Games Workshop releasing an update to the Ynnari in the future – either with a new Codex or even new rules in the White Dwarf. And frankly, because the Ynnari don’t have a ton of unique units, an 8-page mini-dex inside of the White Dwarf makes sense. They did include that Temporal Distort which featured a battle report that was 16 pages long. So it’s entirely possible for them to do the same for new rules.
Printing out these smaller “mini-dexes” would be an easy way for GW to replace the rules/units leftover from the Indexes. If the Assassin’s rules come in a similar format, I can see the Ynarri getting one and then one more that is the rest of the Talons of the Emperor rules. Then again, maybe GW has plans for those units for the future.
The current format of White Dwarf has the ideal tool to put an end to the Indexes. Honestly, I’d like to see them get retired, too. Because we have new Codexes for pretty much every army at this point, the Indexes feel redundant in a lot of ways. It’s hard enough to build an army as it is and the indexes allow for some pretty dumb things to occur – like being able to take two units with the same name that have different rules. Frankly – that just shouldn’t happen in matched play.
Because of the state of the game now, Indexes are being used in abusive ways that are unhealthy for the future of the game. They were great when they came out but they aren’t needed moving forward. Yes, there are units from the past that are probably going to get caught-up in the back-blast. That is unfortunately the price that will have to be paid so that the game can continue to move in the direction it’s heading.
No More Index Units?
Index use in Matched Play will need to end at some point – there will either be a new edition, codex, or mini-codex that basically ends their use. But that doesn’t mean those units stop existing completely. Hey – if you own the models and you have the indexes, you can still use them – you’ll just be relegated to Open and/or Narrative play and probably have to use Power Level points. That’s also not a bad thing!
The silver lining is that if GW does “kill” the leftover unit rules for Matched Play, that gives them the opportunity to redo them later. And maybe, just MAYBE, they might even create NEW models for the updated rules down the line. Personally, I’d gladly like to see some of those older units (and their models) go so that we get updated models AND rules. But the first step in the process is that the Index rules need to become invalidated at some point. So, White Dwarf, flip the switch and end the Index Era!
What do you think? Should Indexes be retired? Should White Dwarf be used to end the Index Era? How would you smooth that transition?