Adam here once again to talk about a potent 40K trend that may just be getting started – Aura Nullification.
With the announcement of another codex being available for pre-order soon we are starting to see some previews for the new Dark Angels codex. Some of the stuff actually looks pretty good and I can’t wait to see how it all fits together and the different army builds that could be made from the new codex. One thing that stuck out to me was one of the psychic powers that Games Workshop previewed. It was similar to another unit’s ability in the new Death Guard codex. This has me asking myself if this is something we will be seeing in future codexes going forward or is this a one or two time thing. That being said, let’s take a look at Aura nullification and what they could mean for the game.
“LIVING PLAGUE (AURA): While an enemy unit is within 3″ of this Warlord, that unit cannot be affected by the aura abilities (excepting those that are psychic powers) of units from your opponent’s army.” ~Codex Death Guard p.49
The rule I am talking about is the ability to turn off a unit’s ability or aura. The new Death Guard codex has a trait that shuts off the aura of an enemy unit. It is called “Living Plague” and affects any enemy unit with 3″ of the model. The result is that the enemy unit cannot be affected by aura abilities. With the short range, this seems to be useful against close combat oriented units as many of them rely on buffs in order to make them more effective. The Dark Angel version is a psychic power called “Mind Wipe”. It has a range of 18″ and has a warp charge value of seven. This power allows you to select an aura ability of one enemy unit and essentially shut it off until your next psychic phase. Since we already have 2 instances of being able to shut off a unit’s aura abilities, I am wondering if this is something that will become the norm or will this be something that only these 2 codexes will have access to and they just happen to have been released one after the other. There are pros and cons to something like this being released into the meta.
I didn’t think it could happen but it seems like this new edition is even deadlier than the previous edition. Don’t get me wrong, there are many ways to mitigate the damage that you can take but there are times that it seems like even with the new ways to protect your units, they will still get removed from the game fairly quickly. A lot of times the extra deadliness comes from those extra abilities that get given to them by nearby HQ units, terrain pieces, or even other units.
Being able to shut these auras down may help in keeping units alive longer and hopefully making the game more enjoyable for players. There have been plenty of times that games ended early either because the army was basically destroyed or one of the players just doesn’t see a reason to continue. By being able to deny a potent ability, or combination of abilities, a player could plan on sticking around longer and hopefully making it a closer and more enjoyable game for both players.
The other way to see this is something players, especially tournament players, are wary of whenever a new codex is released: codex creep. For those that may not be aware, codex creep is where each subsequent codex that is released is better than the previous one. This used to result in the latest codex being much more powerful than the first codex released and put many armies at a disadvantage as an edition progressed. It is hard to say with this edition as it seems like some codexes were developed around the same time, hence the ability to announce the release of a bunch of codexes at once.
Even so, there can be something said for this as this new way of affecting auras is something we haven’t seen before and even those the Dark Angel codex version may seem weaker than the Death Guard version, I don’t think it is weaker, just different. It is really hard to say if we are already seeing codex creep as we are just a few codexes in. Right now I really don’t see one codex really dominating the meta the way Iron Hands did back in the previous edition. I think after the next couple of codexes we will have a better idea if this is a progression of codex creep or just a neat ability that Games Workshop wanted to give these two armies.
~That’s all for this week. I hope you enjoyed the article. Let me know what you think, and if you think we are on our way to codex creep, in the comment section below.