Games Workshop’s First Big 8th Edition Test

by | Jul 20, 2017

As the 8th edition love hype fades, Games Workshop is faced with the first big test of 8th edition: the Space Marine codex. Less than two weeks away, with advance copies already out in the field the Space Marine codex big leaks should start shortly. At this moment though, we need to talk about a balancing act Games Workshop needs to play. The basic rules for 8th edition are easily the best version of the game in a long time, but cracks in the simple elegance are widening, as army composition is creating terribly uncreative spam armies.

Spam has always been in the game, but typically spam never got you to the top, as the best players were always able to counter it with creative lists and amazing game play. Even in the Spam death throws of 7th edition, Formations and the Force Organization made sure you at least had some unit variety in list construction. 8th edition in contrast has simplified things so much, that all you have to do is take one unit, and at most few characters to break the game.

The chorus of letting the edition play out are quickly evaporating, as the devolution of the game is becoming more apparent and things are quickly getting out of control. So enter the new Space Marine codex, with hopes the new Games Workshop will swoop in and save us from ourselves. The assumption they can fix army composition disaster, is an assumption they were aware of the problem with enough time to make changes before sending the codex to print. It is asking a lot to think Games Workshop adjusted points or changed unit rules to limit the abuses Space Marines are already have, all without creating new ones.

Games Workshop is more likely to introduce even more spamable units, as the main goal is clearly for the codex to sell us on Primaris models. The possibility of the codex being dead on arrival is high, with our best hope being the Games Workshop response after the codex; an FAQ should come out a few weeks after the release, listening to the community, an errata for unit point costs, and rule problems if any arise.

Then there is also a small hope Games Workshop is up to the challenge and foresaw all the problems. The easiest solution is have any new Detachments in the Space Marine codex completely replace the ones in the big rule book, going as far to say you can’t play the rule book detachments in Match play, but must used the ones in the Codex. If Games Workshop does that, it will set the precedent for future codex by instituting a simple self correcting mechanism for each army. Of course there is no reason to believe the new Datachments are balanced themselves. It also still doesn’t help with other army spam, it will force players to self-regulate by limiting the Detachments in the rule book, and adjusting the units back to a manageable spam level.

The game at its core is fantastic, just horribly it could all be undone by what appears to be a missed play tested hole the size of a Stormraven.

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