Warhammer 40k: The Game is Dead Long Live the Game

I have seen the rules.  All of them. Probably like many of you reading this article right now. I've read through all the rules that leaked, and every index relevant to the armies I own (and many I don't.)  It's official; the Warhammer 40k game you and I all know is officially dead.

Chances are you opened this article expecting a salt diatribe.  The river of tears online has been monumental thus far and it's only going to get worse.  This is not one of those entries.  I want to take a look at some things that are good and bad about the new 8th edition ruleset as a whole.  Where your armies might be effected or impacted, and what the next step is as we handle the fallout.

First, there will be salt. Epic mountains of it over the next few weeks.  Maybe even to the degree of 2015's summer of Sigmar level.  Some of it is warranted, some of it is just bitching and moaning.  Let's look at the pros and cons of the edition.


Let's start with the good stuff first, and believe me there is plenty of it.  The game as a whole has changed.  This is probably the biggest change of the rules since 2nd-3rd edition.  The mechanics of the game have always, at their core, been the same.  Not this time.  This game plays much more like Age of Sigmar than 7th edition 40k.  For those who have been playing AoS, congratulations you have a jump on people in terms of picking up the mechanics.  For those who haven't, well expect a learning curve.

Nothing is unkillable. Part of what made 7th edition such a royal pain in the ass to play, especially in the competitive environment, was the abuse of allies and psychic powers to create indestructible units. The meta had become stale. While there was some fantastic flexibility to 7th edition, that same flexibility led to mechanic abuse.  I dare use that word, as the rules were there. You can't fault the players for using them.  In 8th edition, nothing is unkillable.  In fact, things are going to die a lot in this game.

List building is flexible yet more simple.  If you were a TO, or even a judge at an event, checking over lists for point values, being battle forged, etc, was an impossible task.  There were so many detachments and formations that it became overwhelming, and often times confusing.  Now, we are presented with a handful of detachments that allow you to build your armies thematically much in the same manner as you did before, but without all the excess bloat. There are sure to be more detachments coming as codices are released.

Allies, for the most part, are gone. Things are keyword based now. What that means is that you are less likely to see crazy combinations of armies, but there will still be some mixture, which is a good thing.  Want to build a Chaos army that features elements from Daemons and Chaos Space Marines? You can do that. Want to build an Imperial army that features assassins along with your marines? You can do that. All in a single detachment, or multiple detachments if you want. The only thing your army must share is a faction keyword across the board. This will be difficult initially to grasp for many players, but again, I reflect back on my previous statement about those who have been playing Age of Sigmar. This will be an easy mechanic for them to pick up.

The psychic phase is no longer the overpowered beast it was before. There are still some really awesome powers out there, don't get me wrong. But gone are powers that can completely shape the outcome of a game.  What we have is a psychic phase, again, largely based on the Age of Sigmar model for magic, that will not take an hour of a turn to complete. There are less powers, and a more simplified method of casting. This is better for the game. If you've been running death stars you probably disagree.

Games will be faster. Much faster in fact as things are dying in droves. There aren't mechanical complexities that will slow game play down. Sure, at first as people learn the rules, games will be slower. Once we have them down, however it will be easy. No longer do you have to spend 5 minutes arguing over a cover save. Is the model completely in the terrain feature? Congrats you get a +1 to your save.

Vehicles are relevant again. In 7th vehicles, especially expensive ones such as Land Raiders, hardly saw play. This was due largely to Grav weaponry (as what's the point of an immobilized assault vehicle that cost you 250 points right?) Vehicles are tough, have saves, and are capable of being big difference makers in the game. AM for example can field mechanized forces that lay out some heavy damage, without having to worry about a lucky meltagun from a pod blowing them up.

Less restrictions on assault. The game is already heavily favored for shooty armies, and that isn't really changing in 8th edition. Shooty armies will still be very, very good. But assault based units now don't face restrictions like being unable to charge when they arrive from deep strike, or when they get out of a rhino. Units also have their own movement values which make units like Genestealers, for example, much scarier than they were before.  Combine this with the "all charging models swing first" rule, and it makes assault a relevant factor in the game again, which is fantastic!

So, there are some great things ahead for 40k. But along with those come some drawbacks. And these are likely the ones people will focus on in the coming weeks.


Your army build might change...drastically.  I'll give you an example. When Traitor Legions dropped, a buddy of mine spent a lot of time painting up Havocs, Obliterators, and Chaos Bikes to run with his nurgle Death Guard army.  Havocs moving up the field and firing autocannons without having to snap fire, toughness 6 bikes, it was great. Now, in 8th, none of those units are available to Death Guard. In order for him to use them, he has to run a generic Chaos (keyword) army.  It's not unplayable by any stretch, but it changes how the army is played.  Another example, a LOT of players out there fielded Drop Pod lists (Blackmanes I'm looking at you.)  The change to the reserves rule requiring you to keep half your army in reserve, along with the insane point increase of Drop Pods, as well as having to keep the pod AND the unit that was embarked more than 9" away from any enemy units, makes them very difficult to use.  It will be hard to squeeze one pod into your game much less an army of them now. And it is quite likely that as you look over the indexes and the rules you will find that the armies you may have built won't function the same anymore. Considering the time, money, and effort we put into this hobby that is not a good thing, and it is absolutely something worth being salty about.

More books to pay for. It is annoying. GW stands to make a ton off of this, and while they are offering the core rules for free, much of the info people really want will be in the form of Matched Play rules, which you will have to pay for. $60 As a matter of fact, for the rulebook.  Then you're forking over another $25 for flimsy paperbound indexes that are sure to fall apart. That is just to get you started in 8th. Codices will drop, as they always have, and you'll then need to buy those as well.  In the month of June alone I am looking at paying nearly $200 just to play my armies for books alone. No models. Sure, you can get Dark Imperium, which is a great way to get into the game, but if you're like me and don't care for the two armies inside, you just want your relevant rules to play. Expect to fork over some cash. That is always frustrating to the community and rightfully so.

Primaris Marines. How is this a con you say? Sure they look cool, and while this might be just a little too subjective on my part for this article, it is quite obvious that this is a cash grab for GW. Obviously the Primaris marines have better rules than their standard Marine counterparts (because that's how you sell models), and you will also be able to make entire forces of Primaris marines!  The jury is still out on if this idea will flop or not. And as we all know, based on the information they gave us on the Ultima Founding, they are shifting towards making Primaris Marines the new standard for Space Marines. It would not surprise me to see them drop all support for the current marine line and instead look to be selling only Primaris items as their standard Marine line in 2 years. This does not bode well for the bulk of their customers who have spent the last 10+ years building and painting space marine armies that will soon become more or less obsolete both aesthetically and in terms of game play. This is a bad move GW. Shame on you.

There is a lot to be excited for about 8th edition. I want to see the overall positive things the new edition will bring, but the fact is some people will be salty about the changes, and some of that is understandable.  My advice, just give it a try and go into it with an open mind. This is not the same game you've been playing for 10+ or even 20+ years. It is completely different. And hopefully that change will be for the better.

Warhammer 40k: The Game is Dead Long Live the Game Warhammer 40k: The Game is Dead Long Live the Game Reviewed by Robert Chandler on 7:22:00 AM Rating: 5

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