As you’re probably aware, GW did an unprecidented thing this week and released PDF copies of “current” codices. Both the Daemonhunters and the Witchhunters books have been digitized and are now avaialable from GW’s site (click on their names for the appropriate links).
So now, anyone can download the codices for free from GW’s website with a couple of caveats:
- You need to sign in to the GW account (well, to get informed of their release through GW, or to find and download them on their website, but not to use direct links to download them).
- You do not receive the exact same codex as you would buy in the store.
The first is a minor inconvenience, but the second has other ramifications (that is, assuming it was intentional and not some fat-fingered slip up). Not only does it mean that everyone can own a copy of the codex (for free), it also means that the official rules for each of the armies succumbs to the new books. So, it’s important to note the changes in them.
The big change that’s buzzing around the internet is that both books lost their rules concerning Allies & Inducting other Imperial forces in them. For those tournament players out there, it means that you will no longer see IGuard or Marine variants with Psychic hoods, or Mystics running around. For casuals, it’s sort of a kick in the pants, as any sort of allies are removed from viability. The good news there is that true casual gamers shouldn’t mind allying in units from other codices by means of house-rules.
If you’re interested in the debate on the changes to allies, there are plenty of sites talking about just that. The Back 40k and Whiskey & 40k have some good posts about them, and internet forums everywhere are crawling with rumors and analysis. Figuring they’ve got things under control, I figured I’d look at the other changes to the books.
Grey Knights are No Longer Psykers & Daemons Take a Holiday
Page #20 of the previous ‘dex was a general overview of the Daemonhunters Army List, including some basic descriptions of how Force Organization Charts work, and how to read unit entries. It also contained a section called “Special Daemonhunters Notes.” This page is now missing from the current codex (though curiously enough, the equivalent page from the Witch Hunters book is still there).
Beneath this section there are a couple of outdated rules regarding Sentries and Experience. There is also a rule that states that GK’s are psykers. Specifically that rule read:
“Each squad of Grey Knights is able to manifest a gestalt psychic consciousness far more powerful than the sum of its parts. The squad leader (Justicar or Brother-Captain) counts as the focus for this psychic energy and is therefore used to determine range and source of psychic powers, and will count as a psyker in all instances (determining shots from an Animus Speculum, being affected by a Crucible of Malediction, and so on).”
Now that that rule doesn’t exist anymore, GK’s have lost their psyker status (despite the fact that Terminators can still take a psychic power). It does make some effect on the game, but since they never really had psychic abilities, I don’t think it will be huge. It is something to keep in mind when you use your Culexus Assassins though… (yeah right).
Also in this section is a definition of what it means to be a “Grey Knight” or a “Daemon.” Now, RAW has already nullified what it means to be a daemon in many instances, since virtually everything in the Chaos Demons codex have different names than what are mentioned here. There were a few hold-outs though, including Nurglings, Eldar Avatars, and several selections from the CSM book.
Rules as written means that, since this page is removed, these are no longer counted as Daemons for the purposes of this army, and so it (almost?) completely negates the rules that affect them. As for removing the definition of what it means to be a Grey Knight, that seems a little nitpicky, as all of the defined units already have the word “Grey Knight” in their title, but I could see people dredging this up.
Ultimately, if the goal of releasing these codices was to remove the ally rules, it would seem removal of this page in the DH book was just an oversight. The page would help explain to new players how to use the book, and how to make an army, and includes some relatively minor rules clarifications. However, unless GW updates the PDF, Inquisition players will have to live without psychic Grey Knights, or anti-Daemons…
Both books are almost completely devoid of fluff (not that 4th Edition codices were noted for having a tremendous amount in the first place), but the total size of the books were brought down from about 70 pages to about 25. Most of these pages were fluff related, giving us back stories about why they’d fight against specific armies, or just general tales of the 40k universe.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say this isn’t an attempt to defluff future codices. On the contrary, 5th edition has seen larger books as a whole, and the re-emergence of fluff (as well as an overall increase in codex prices). While the removal of these “superfluous” pages could also be a chance for GW to re-write “history,” I suspect it has more to do with decreasing the overall file sizes to reduce the strain on their network from worldwide downloads.
One of the really under-used sections of these books was the rules for Adversaries. Both books contained the ability to include renegade psykers, possessed daemons, mutants, and other rabble in armies which played against them. This was perhaps the only way to reasonably field a proper Lost & the Damned force (short of “counts as”).
The reason they weren’t used was because you essentially had to engineer a force against your opponent. The rules weren’t valid unless you were explicitly playing against one of these two armies, so you had to know ahead of time that you’d play against them, as well as own a copy of the codex yourself. Since you can’t tell who you’re going to play with ahead of time in a tournament (or in many gaming clubs), they didn’t get much use.
I do find it a little discouraging though, as I intended to use them in an upcoming Apocalypse game, but can’t do so without an opponent’s permission now. It’s a laid back game though, so I don’t forsee anyone having a problem with it, but it will lose a certain amount of shock and awe…
Both books had unique missions that were tailored to their back stories. Whether you were defending a shrine, stopping rituals, or ferreting out tainted “Daemonvessels,” they really set a story for you to play by. Granted, most players didn’t play them regularly, and they’d still be perfectly valid to play today, but I figured it was important to note that they’d been removed from the new books.
So, in addition to the removal of allies/inductees, there is a distinct lack of fluff (including missions, and the adversarial rules). There’s also a couple of changes to Grey Knights and to Daemons. Other than that, I could find no rules changes. I didn’t go through the books with a fine toothed comb, but it would appear they only removed pages, but did not alter any text.
So, is it intentional? Who knows? I think that the community would do best to just make some basic assumptions (such as Daemonhunters are still bound by a FoC). By and large, the internet community will likely skip that entirely, and GW will be forced to slip page #20 back into the book (at least). But we’ll see if people can act civilized…
As to whether this actually means anything to the rumors of an upcoming Inquisition codex, it’s anyone’s guess. The only other time I remember them releasing a PDF codex was the Blood Angels in 3rd edition (or was it 4th?), which was their official book for several years. Based upon that previous experience, and the fact that rumors of Dark Eldar are also circling around (plus the renewed focus on WHFB), I think it’s pretty safe to say that we won’t see an Inquisition ‘dex anytime soon.
What do you think?