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Warhammer 40K: The Best Moments of 2020

5 Minute Read
Dec 28 2020
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It’s been one heck of a year; let’s take a look back at a few moments from the year that really stood out.

2020 has been some ride, alright. It’s had its up and downs and through it all, the little game we call Warhammer 40,000 has kept chugging along. Indeed it’s been a pretty jam-packed year for the game, with a ton of changes, upheaval, and releases. As the year comes to a close, let’s take a look back at some of the best moments (used very loosely, events or developments might work as well) from the last year.

5. Sisters of Battle Get Their Full Release

The Sisters of Battle are a fan favorite army, but they’ve unfairly languished, lost in the update warp, with old rules and even older models. Yet halfway into 8th, we got the announcement that the rules and line were getting a full rework. This was a unique announcement both in that it came well ahead of the release and that GW promised to show us updates as the army developed. This lead to the most unique army rework in 40K history, culminating in a ton of new models and players starting new armies. While Sisters technically had a release in 2019, it was a limited one, and the full release happened in 2020. For long-time players, even non-Sisters players, this was a big deal and also gave hope that other older armies (cough, Eldar, cough) might get updates. Of course, it was well known that Sisters’ release could only mean that something else would soon end…

4. The Silent King Returns

The Silent King has been a bit of a slow-burning background character in 40K for a bit now. He’s a major player on the galactic stage, but he wasn’t around like Guilliman before him. First lost, and then just off doing his thing. Well, now he’s back, ready to wreck shop and lead the Necrons to newer heights of glory. This was a major lore development on its own. But his return also helped mark the change from 8th to 9th Edition, serving as sort of the end event of the old Edition (much as Guilliman’s return was one of the ending events of 7th). It also came as part of a major Necron rework, the only love Xenos have gotten since February 2019.

3. 9th Edition is Announced

The updating of Sisters of Battle had foreshadowed it. The announcement of a new Edition of 40K roughly halfway through the year was a huge deal, and in most other years would have been the singular moment that stood out. This was an exciting moment in 40K history and signaled the end of the tempestuous and transformative era of 8th Edition. We got the unforgettable trailer and hints at a huge release and amazing box set along with it. This was a real stand out, and people got hyped. Like really hyped. Like, leading to the best selling GW box of all time hyped. It was good times.

2. The New Marine Codex Is Announced

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What could top the announcement of a new edition? Why the announcement of a new Space Marine Codex.  Many people laughed at me when I suggested that 9th Edition would be accompanied by the release of a new Marine Codex. After all, it was less than a year since the last Codex had come out, which was itself the 2nd (3rd if you count Index) book they had gotten in 8th Edition. But then the news came. Marines WERE indeed getting a new book. This was a major, but mixed, bit of news. On the good end, it meant that a lot of loose ends, such as a host of new units, would get rolled right into a Codex. It also meant that the most popular army in the game would be fully tuned for the 9th Edition changes. On top of that, it’s widely seen as a balancing move, toning down some Marine strategies that had dominated the game too much in late 8th Edition.

On the other hand, it meant that a book that many players had had for less than a year was now invalid and that a huge swath of players would have to rework their armies. Indeed not only was the Marine Codex invalidated, but the even newer Psychic Awakening books also got nixed so that players could find themselves with two books now obsolete after less than a year. If that and fixing the game’s balance aren’t indicative of modern 40K, I don’t know what is.

1. The Community Adapts

2020 has been a long hard decade year, with trials and tribulations throughout. However, one of the most amazing things I’ve seen is just how amazing and resilient the Warhammer community can be and how much it’s adapted to the changing world. 40K is by its nature a social game, normally played face to face in groups from two to two thousand. In basements, but also largely at stores and events. For most of us, this year saw our traditional ways of playing disrupted. But rather than letting the game die or the community fall apart, people adapted. We found new ways to play, through online simulacrums, within our close-knit bubbles, and even at social distancing events.

And for those that haven’t been able to play, they’ve also found new ways to keep engaged, by getting more involved in the hobby or lore side, by finalize clearing out their backlog or starting a new army. People adapted and kept the torch burning so that we can all come together and play again one day. Even outside of playing, I’ve seen the community come together in amazing ways, from providing friendly faces and an outlet online to newly constrained lives to helping out members in need.  This isn’t so much one moment, as a billion spread over a tumultuous year that shows just how good we as a community can be and helps highlight that even in a Grimdark hobby, there is still a lot of light.

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Let us know what your favorite moment of the last year has been down in the comments!

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