This is a two-part discussion about the release of Warhammer 40k Escalation. Part 1 is a defense of the expansion and Part 2 is a deconstruction of the real problems

I am sure you been told, but did you know Games Workshop just laid a giant golden turd on competitive gamers in time for Christmas. Codex: Escalation, the supplement that allows one Super-Heavy unit in your basic 40k games. If you read forums and blog posts you would have discovered GW now feeds puppies to a perpetual puppy blood machine once a week and twice on Sundays.

The amazing over reaction to this expansion is something I have never seen in all my time playing Warhammer 40k. To give you an idea about just how bat shit crazy the “competitive” universe is going, here is a list of links that have spewed forth over the last couple of days.

I am sure your corner of the Internet has felt the tidal shit waves crashing against your computer screen.

Now for my part, I have gone back and forth. In response to the official word from GW digital, I posted this a few days ago on the Blood of Kittens Facebook page

“I’d hope no-one is going to force you to play a game you don’t want to.”

How about this for a change. Instead of trotting out the same old GW rules cop-out, the design team should make rules where any two players can bring whatever models they want and not feel like they have to ask for permission to use them. Why should anyone buy a model then travel to play a game only to be told that no one wants to play against them because of said model? The fault is not with the player the fault is with rules, rules should be thought out and play-tested to maximize fun FOR ALL types of players. I shouldn’t have to convene a UN conference anytime I want to stop by my local game store for a pick-up game.

I will talk about this more in part two of my Codex: Escalation thought gymnasium.

First, back to the over-reaction.

After seeing one Battle Report posted by Frontline Gaming the internet blew up. The river of tears haven’t stopped, since now the competitive oligarchy is once again exposed. Now, I admit I am making this sound more dramatic than it really it is, but follow me down the rabbit hole for a bit.

Since the dawn of 40k tournaments the “best players” have always taken the most broken combinations every edition has offered. Always relying on finding the best synergies to maximize the four major tenants of list building: redundancy, force multipliers, point efficiency, and statistical weight of dice. Only a small of segment of competitive gamers designed creative lists based in-game tactical elements, the so call all-comers list. Their has always been a tension between these two competitive forces, with one commonality; they both believe their skill determined victory. For the creative list builders this is true, but for most “competitive players” they’re not skilled, their wins came from the casualness of their opponents or the list itself, with true tests coming only in mirror matches and against the best creative players.

The rage we see against Codex: Escalation and whatever other GW boogeyman bubbles up from personal insecurities. Now the skill-less competitive player is equal to the any player. That is the liberation of 6th and the undeniable design theory behind this edition. It is about letting go, something the skill-less competitive player cannot handle. The Eldar Revenant is the shining symbol of this player, before they could hide behind, their CSM 3.5, their Dakka Fexes, their Leaf Blowers, their Long Wolf spam, their Drago Wing, their Necron Air Force, their Heldrakes, their Screamer Star, their Seer Council. They could hide behind the “combos” necessary to make their soulless lists work, when the truth had always been the list played itself. So, now when GW gives them a weapon they always wanted its shunned. Eldar Revenant does everything just without the façade. The dark truth is the average player can now walk up to the skill-less competitive player and his meticulous crafted net-list and be blow them away. Balance has been achieved, but in the way the skill-less never could have imagined.

So, now the next step is to complete the circle: COMP. Remember, the days when the competitive player hated comp? Tournament organizers are already feeling the pressure and will surely concede and as you can see, it has only taken a few days for it to happen.

It won’t stop with Super-Heavies, in a classic throw the primarchs out with gene vaults, everything is now on the chopping block. Allies, detachments, formations, fortifications, supplements, you name it; expect tournaments to overreact from now on. All the while, GW will continue pumping out codexes, leaving tournaments with massive loop-holes; as future power builds bypass any comp enacted, but the whining skill-less competitive player will wrap his blanket tightly, knowing tournament organizers will coddle and protect them from the average player, as they exploit and point fingers the other direction. This deep-seeded hypocrisy isn’t new, besides its easy to complain about a single $320 model doing the same  amount of damage the $500 you spent on other models last week.

Part two will explore the real problems with Codex: Escalation and the deep design flaw 6th is currently encountering.


GW Apologist is rated Fanboy. These articles are dedicated to a blind faith that GW is above criticism and all the choices they make are infallible. If only you embrace Games Workshop will you understand the brilliance of there perfectly marketed products.