The Future of the Codex

In Warhammer Community news, Games Workshop came out with an update to their FAQ fairly quickly with a rather important update.

If at the end of any turn after the first battle round, one player has no models on the battlefield, the game ends immediately and their opponent automatically wins a crushing victory. When determining if a player has any units on the battlefield, do not include any units with the Flyer Battlefield Role – these units cannot operate within a combat airspace indefinitely and they cannot hold territory without ground support. Furthermore, do not include any units with the Fortification Battlefield Role unless they have a unit embarked inside – even the most formidable bastion requires a garrison if it is to pose a threat.
— Warhammer FAQ change to Sudden Death

There are a couple of things to keep in mind with this change. It was reported on a few days ago from an article on Bell of Lost Souls that in Matched Play, competitive players would be spamming Storm Ravens that were not only difficult to kill but also could clear out whole infantry units. Universally, it was accepted as pretty overpowered and people were building lists to specifically counter this tactic in highly competitive tournaments to prepare for that possibility. Usually, Games Workshop takes quite a bit of time in order to come down on stuff like this in the past. But that's no longer the case. This change came at a shockingly quick rate! 

The reason I wanted to bring this up is to address a potential problem with the future Codex releases coming over the next few months: Power Creep.

One of the major problems with previous Codex and Edition releases is the fact that Power Creep is never addressed by Games Workshop. And when it is addressed, it is done at a snails pace. This caused the competitive scene to be pretty chaotic, with new Codex releases being favored quickly over the previous Codex release very quickly. Rules loopholes, Death Star Units that made no sense, and Psychic Powers being so good not to take and so difficult to get rid of, were the chief among these problems based on the system itself. However, with the foundation of 8th Edition being as good as it is, it seems like the problems that could potentially be an issue can be solved relatively quickly. And with the future Codex books having a similar layout as Space Marines, it may have been addressed very early on in the development stage.

Codex: Space Marines is going to focus on Chapter Tactics, Relics, and Strategms unique for their Chapters.

Chapter Tactics will only apply for those in a Detachment with that specific Chapter so long as everyone has that Chapter Keyword in their Detachment. For example, if you made an Ultramarines army and took a Vindicare Assassin in that Detachment, you can't benefit from the Ultramarines Chapter Tactic. However, it doesn't stop you from taking an Elite Auxilliary slot as a separate Detachment at the cost of -1 Command Point in order to take that Vindicare Assassin should you want him in your list. This does somewhat address one of the biggest concerns right now for the Faction Keyword Imperium. The Keyword "Imperium" seems to have a huge advantage over other Faction Keywords in that it has a ton more variety of units to pick and choose from to add in specific detachments by just saying your army is going to comprise of Imperium units. Chaos does have the Daemons and Aledari can mix Eldar, Dark Eldar, and Harlequin units together using the Ynnari, but that still leaves Tau, Orks, Necrons, and Tyranids left hanging in the wind in comparison. By making the Codex focus specifically on an actual army instead of allowing the mixture of Imperium units in detachments, it forces players to commit to one faction when building their army to gain all the cool new features in the Codex. This limits their options available to them in said Detachment.

Relics are pretty much what most people would expect them to be, special pieces of wargear that only the Warlord can take if they are not a named character. The only hint of concern came from a banner mentioned in the Forge the Narrative podcast. Nothing was specifically mentioned in regards to what this does, but we will soon find out this week. The Relics will give a bit of customization for armies to make their force stand out a bit more and give a little bit more hitting power for the basic Warlords out there in the future.

Strategms are the biggest change and addition that will affect each army as Codex releases apply to everyone. There are universal Strategms that affect forces with the Adeptus Astartes Keyword and even some that focus on specific Chapters, like the Imperial Fist's Bolter Drill. This requires players to build their armies with Detachments if they want to utilize some of these Strategms more effectively. Armies like the Astra Militarum (IMPERIAL GUARD!) will have an insane amount of Command Points to utilize once their Codex comes out, giving them quite a few options for Infantry Squad focused armies. Imagine Orks having a Strategm that allows them to throw Asteroids on the Battlefield but it can also hit their units as well. Or Tyranids being able to adapt to the enemy's weaponry on the battlefield like in the lore. It allows for some pretty creative ideas to be tested out in the future.

If Games Workshop keeps up with this constant community feedback with updates and changes as quickly as the Flyer change happened, I think Power Creep will not be as big of a problem as it was in previous editions.