Now, you might think that it’s no coincidence that I like the book for the two armies I play; in fact, you might assume that I play them because I like the books. Not so. I’ve actually been playing these two particular armies since the days of 3rd edition (or, in the case of Tyranids, 2nd), and just happen to like both of the books. But I digress…
I came to the realization that I really only like two codicies when visiting a post by Imperius Dominatus which compared Hive Tyrants & Primes. Really, I was struck by his opening sentence, which read:
“Like all monstrous creatures in the codex the Hive Tyrant is over priced in points.”
The sentence is humorous to me because it’s true. Yes, as a Tyranid player, it would seem that I should be appalled at the notion that so many of the units seem overpriced, but oddly enough I’m not upset about that, which made me wonder why.
Instantly, I was struck with the thought that the only reason those models are overpriced in the game is because last edition so many people ran nothing but MC’s which made the game unbalanced. They’re no arguing that in the days of 4th edition, Nidzilla lists were king (no, not over all of 40k, but certainly it was singularly the most powerful option available in the codex). So, I see the drastic price increase on Monstrous Creatures (and other general nerfs to include nothing over toughness 6 in the entire codex) as GW’s (or at least Robin
Cruddace’s) attempt to balance the force out. In my mind, they were sick of seeing the same list over and over and wanted to inject some variety into lists, and the latest book was a solution to that.
The other codex I enjoy is the Space Marines, which I think attempted to do the same thing. They looked at the dominate strategy of 4th edition (min/max squads) and changed the options to prevent that sort of abuse. For example, in 4th edition, everyone seemed to run 6 man tactical squads with lascannons & plasma guns, because they were statistically the superior option. It allowed you to maximize the number of heavy and special weapons and give you great long range options, while keeping your extra “unnecessary” purchases (tactical marines) to a minimum, but also allowed your squad to stay at half size or above for a longer period of time than 5 man units.
GW’s answer was to restrict special and heavy weapons to 10 man squads only. While I wasn’t thrilled with the rule when it came out (I thought the special should be allowed at 5 and the heavy at 10), I understood why they did it. Changes like this made the 5th edition codex for marines different than the 4th edition variant—not better (as in “more powerful”) per se, just different. It seemed pretty clear to me that 5th edition was going to be one of balanced units.
Then they released the travesty that is the Imperial Guard. Honestly, I feel this game will be better in 6th edition when the Imperial Guard get a new codex that tones them down (though I feel the same way about many armies). With that book, GW instantly introduced the idea of the “IG Bump,” or “codex creep” (which was really just rehashed from previous editions). And 5th edition got pretty chaotic.
By the time the ‘Nid dex was released, I had thought GW had seen the error of their ways and was again trying to balance books out. Since then, they’ve proven me wrong.
Now, I have a reputation in my local gaming group of being the person that thinks everything is “overpowered.” Every time GW releases a new army, I’m the one that sighs in the ridiculousness of it all. Perhaps that’s because the books that I play? Common perception is that the current Nid codex is far from competitive, and that the marine list has only a couple of variants that make it “viable.” So maybe I’m just upset that my books aren’t as powerful as others?
But I really don’t want them to bump up the powerlevel of either codex. I’d rather them reduce the power level of others to be commensurate with those books that I feel are already balanced. Yes, I know that’s too much to ask, but there is still a shred of hope in me that prays that GW presses the reset button in 6th edition (as they did in 3rd) and will start everyone over with a clean slate.
Now that I’ve gone through this whole tirade, let me state that this was a whimsical thought that just snowballed into this post. Do I really think there are only two good ‘dexes currently? Well, I honestly have never played with (or against) Dark Eldar, and I haven’t given their book a good read. It seemed a little over-the-top, but it really could be a good book. Likewise, I think some of the 4th edition books are quite good (Chaos Daemons comes to mind, which I think is very powerful, but has big downsides as well, and CSM isn’t bad, balance wise—when considering the 3rd edition comparison, but it seems really bland and uninteresting to me. I hope they get some cool new stuff in their next book).
Anywho, thanks for listening to me blather on about nothing. If you’d care to see some of my other ideas for 6th edition (which is super trendy to do now), please check out my post on the subject: Fixes for 6th Edition Warhammer 40k.
Image Credit: “RIP” image from Kristen Nicole (unknown if she created it or just used it without posting where she got it from). “Two Finger” image taken from another blog that didnt’ credit the source…