September was the much awaited release of the new Space Marine codex. And holy crap, did it rock. New tactical squad, centurions, stalker/hunter, and a plastic librarian. Personally I liked them all except the assault centurions. The codex was now no longer ultramarine focused, presenting rules to play ultramarines, iron hands, imperial fist, white scars, raven guard, salamanders, and black templar. Fluff sections also supported this.
Overall I think this was a very balanced codex. It presents many options in terms of list builds within each chapter. There are dominant builds and some weaker chapter tactics, but overall no one list seems to be the predominant list. It is definitely below the tau and eldar on the power curve, but it is by no means a weak codex.
The codex was received with much joy by shoereaper as his space sharks received their own chapter tactics through a forgeworld update. The lord primarch also rejoiced at the rejuvenation of his beloved ultramarines. Even I was inspired by the codex to finally start a space marine army (Iron Hands). We have seen many space marine armies on the table in our local group.
More codex supplements followed the release of the space marines. Black legion for the chaos space marines sentinels of terra and clan raukaan for space marines. Once again, great fluff sections from these new supplements. I have only read the clan raukaan supplement, and it was a fantastic read. The rules for these supplements were good, not earth shattering or broken as far as we can tell. There are even about half a dozen mission in the back that one day I want to run through.
Next up was a digital release, the Inquisitor supplement. This supplement didn’t really introduce new rules to play with the inquisitors available in the grey knight codex. What it did introduce was a new ally slot, the inquisitorial ally. These units can be taken without using up the allied detachment slot. So, in theory, three separate armies can be taken in the same list. And thus the first change in the force organization chart since 6th edition began. I haven’t seen this codex in action yet.
Then December rolled in. The change it brought we are still sorting out. First came the two books that should be one in my mind, Stronghold Assault and Escalation. Stronghold assault brought in tons of fortifications including void shields. The rules for it have some areas that need cleared up, but nothing to broken out of that book.
Escalation on the other hand is hotly debated as the most unbalanced rule set out there. The introduction of super heavies and D weapons are extremely powerful. The worst offender seems to be the eldar revenant titan. More worrying to most gamers was the statement by GW that this rule set was not an optional expansion but a part of regular 40k. Fear of lords of war running around the gaming tables prevailed. But so far those fears have not materialized. I would like to play a game or two of escalation before passing judgment on it. Interesting side note, since then the great Jervis “Do It For Your Fucking Self” Johnson has said in a recent white dwarf that the 40k rule set is like a buffet, pick and choose which rules you want to follow.
December also brought us the advent calendar. Daily digital releases from GW. The biggest splash of which was data slates. Essentially allowing yet another way to bring a separate codex’s troops without using the allied detachment slot. This time though, the formation presented was very specific in the units you could take. The possibilities presented now seemed nearly endless.
Along with data slates, new missions and a new versions of kill teams was released. I hadn’t had a chance to play the new missions. I have had a chance to play the kill team rules. They seem pretty simple and balanced. Units preform differently in kill teams than in regular 40k. Definitely worth a try.
Finally, in January we get the release of the tyranid codex. Initial impressions on the internet were very bad. Complaints ran rampant over the loss of the spore pod, worse outcome of the instinctive behavior table, and the loss of access to biomancy. There was much screaming and internet rage to be found.
As it plays out though, I feel like the codex does have some strengths though. Large hordes of cheap bugs soak up fire really well. Swarm lord is still tough as nails (he ate 3 warbosses in a single game and lived to tell the tail). I have heard good reports about the exocrine and hive crone, but have not seen them in play. The flying hive tyrant can deal out a tone of damage. I think as time goes on, we will see this codex turn out to be stronger than initial thought.
And there you have it. The end of our review. We already have articles up on the knights by Ralshenik and myself. I think Ralshenik is also working on a review of the Crimson Slaughters, a book I know he likes. Now that we are finished looking back, it is time to look forward (to guard/Astra Militara and hopefully some orks and blood angels eventually)