The Power Creep is real my friends, and the casualties are many.
9th Edition has been with us for nearly a year at this point and we have a pretty good idea of what it is. We’ve gotten a number of books for the game out now. In addition with restrictions starting to lift in parts of the world, tournaments are back on we now have some real data to see how the meta is fairing. After taking a look at it, one thing is clear, though perhaps not surprising, 8th Edition codexes kinda suck right now. Let’s take a look.
Right now the meta is dominated by a small handful of armies. The Drukhari are without any argument the current meta queens. They’ve won about one in three major events since their book came out, more than twice as many as any other faction. Not only are they winning events, but they dominate the top 4. It’s not uncommon to see not only 1st, but 2nd and sometimes 3rd place all take by Drukhari armies. They did get some major nerfs in an FAQ, and with some events delaying it coming into effect we might still see them take a hit in the standings, but that remains up in the air.
After Drukhari, Space Marines are the second most successful faction on the block. They are a bit of an odd duck as they are not only a core codex but a large number of supplemental books, so saying that they are second place combines all various types of Marines. Of the subfactions, Dark Angels are probably the most successful in the top 4s, but Ultramarines, White Scars, and Space Wolves have all seen success. Of these Dark Angels and Space Wolves have both a 9th Edition Codex and Supplement, while Ultramarines and White Scars have a 9th Codex, but an 8th Edition Supplement. If Dark Eldar do start declining thanks to their FAQ, Space Marines might be positioned to do even better in the meta, though new books could unseat them.
Droning Death Guard
Somewhat of a sleeper hit has been the Death Guard. Though they haven’t won a whole ton of events they are regulars in the top 4s. This less flashy army has seen a lot of success and looks to be the 3rd top meta army right now. Though they are mostly run on their own, they also show up in some soup lists. Overall, like the other above Codexes this is another strong 9th Codex.
The Armies That Aren’t Doing Well
While most other armies have made it into the top 4s or won events, none of them are doing particularly well compared to the top lists. Orks, Custodes and AdMech (who have just been reset – with their new book) have done ok, but not great over the past year. Most other armies with older books are been in huge trouble. Astra Militarum have been almost entirely shut out of the top fours for a year. Nids, T’au, and Knights are all very poorly performing. It’s clear that a lot of armies struggle.
A Clear Divide
Looking at the meta rankings you can see a very clear divide in them. All three of the top meta lists, which really dominate the meta, are new 9th Edition books. With the exception of Necrons (the first book) which have been somewhat a dud, 9th Edition books are clearly out-performing 8th Ed books. Not only do 8th Ed books lag behind but a number of them have fallen into the straight-up non-competitive category. This shouldn’t really be a huge shocker. On top of the fact that the new 9th Edition books just tend to have more, with things like secondary objectives, command upgrades, buffed stats, and more army-wide rules.
It’s not really a shocker that newer books are better, this is often the case. What is shocking is just how much better they are and how much more they have than the old books. And sure, all the books will get updated at some point, but it is pretty disheartening for someone playing an army that might not see an update for 1 or 2 more years, to see just how much their codex sucks right now. The power level creep between editions is usually much less steep than the 8th to 9th handoff has been.
Lets us know how you think 8th Edition books are doing right now, down in the comments!