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Warhammer 40K: We Need to Talk About CORE Units

3 Minute Read
Jun 7 2021

The new Sororitas Codex is out, and players are scratching their heads about what is up with CORE units.

When 9th Edition was rolled out, people were really excited about the CORE mechanic. It gave the designers a new tool to limit special rules and tailor an army to work a little more closely to their vision. It meant that some units could be subtly limited or given more utility.  But since the Edition came out, CORE has been handed out quite unevenly. Take a look at these comparisons:

Space Marine CORE

  • Intercessors
  • Assault Intercessors
  • Heavy Intercessors
  • Infiltrators
  • Incursors
  • Tacticals
  • Scouts
  • Veteran Intercessors
  • Bladeguard Veterans
  • Company Veterans
  • Vanguard Veterans
  • Sternguard Veterans
  • Reivers
  • Aggressors
  • Terminators
  • Assault Terminators
  • Relic Terminators
  • Dreadnought
  • Contemptor Dreadnought
  • Venerable Dreadnought
  • Ironclad Dreadnought
  • Redemptor Dreadnought
  • Assault Squad
  • Outriders
  • Bikes
  • Scout Bikes
  • Attack bikes
  • Suppressors
  • Inceptors
  • Hellblasters
  • Eliminators
  • Eradicators
  • Devastators

Necron CORE

  • Necron Warriors
  • Immortals
  • Lychguard
  • Deathmarks
  • Tombblades

Death Guard CORE

  • Plague Marines
  • Blightlord Terminators
  • Deathshroud Terminators
  • Helbrute
  • Death Guard Possessed

Drukhari CORE

  • Kabalite Warriors
  • Wyches
  • Wracks
  • Court of the Archon
  • Incubi
  • Grotesques
  • Reavers
  • Hellions
  • Scourges
  • Talos
  • Cronos

Adeptus Mechanicus CORE

  • Skitarii Rangers
  • Skitarii Vanguard
  • Fulgurite Electro-priests
  • Corpuscarii Electro-priests
  • Sicarian Infiltrators
  • Sicarian Ruststalkers
  • Serberys Raiders
  • Serberys Sulphurhounds
  • Pteraxii Sterylizors
  • Pteraxii Skystalkers
  • Ironstrider Ballistarii
  • Sydonian Dragoons

Sororitas CORE

  • Battle Sisters Squad
  • Celestian Squad
  • Celestian Sacresants
  • Paragon Warsuits
  • Sisters Repentia
  • Crusaders
  • Arco Flagellants
  • Death Cult Assassins
  • Dominion Squad
  • Seraphim Squad
  • Zephyrim Squad
  • Retributor Squad

What’s Going On?

It’s tough even to define what defines a CORE unit. In general, there are no characters and vehicles, but then again, you get things like all the Marine Dreadnoughts and Court of the Archon as quasi-exceptions. You have no hard and fast rules. Like why are things like Invictor Warsuits excluded, while things like Sisters Repentia or Arco Flagellants are included?  In some codexes, rare elite troops are often core, while in others, they are excluded. You get codexes like the Sororitas who hand out CORE like candy making their armies very synergistic, while others like Necrons and Death Guard have almost none.

It’s difficult to wrap your head around exactly what rules of thumb GW uses to define it. However, a case can be made that the newest codexes seem to have more than the earlier ones – but just barely, and marines mess up the averages just based on their enormous roster size.

Perhaps each codex is designed somewhat in a vacuum. Or perhaps some armies are supposed to be more or less about combos – which 9th Edition seems to be embracing with abandon. But one thing’s for sure. Someone doesn’t like those Necrons and Death Guard.

~Do you think CORE should be handed out more evenly? What do you think GW is using to select who gets it and who doesn’t?

Author: Larry Vela
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