Games Workshop: Mine the Past before creating the Future

by | Apr 7, 2021

A few weeks ago we were treated to another Saturday preview and buried towards the end was a new Warhammer 40k faction, called the Beast Snaggas, while the initial model looked more Age of Sigmar than 40k the trailer showed us animated examples of what we can expect from this new Ork model line. The model we did see is fantastic, because who doesn’t want Orks riding giant Squigs?!? Still, there is something a little off about the new Ork release; while Age of Sigmar players have gotten accustomed to seeing reimagined versions of various armies, Warhammer 40k players have not. Beyond Primaris, Games workshop has mostly kept to pulling from old IP firmly or expanding what was already been established. Even the release of the new Necron didn’t break much from the past; building on what was already around or updating the units that needed updating.

The Beast Snaggas though seem a bit different, they are referred to as new clan (subkultur) within the Orks, described as such…

Their appreciation for ‘da old ways’, and their disregard for more complex Orky technology, leads many of the Snakebite clan to become Beast Snaggas, although their ilk can be found across the entire spectrum of Ork society. Even a no-nonsense Goff can look at a squighog’s shockingly large teeth and figure out how best to apply them to some poor git’s face.

Basically any Ork army can add Beast Snaggas, but why go through the trouble of making them that distinctive from other Orks, why not just add the models and leave out all the special naming. Instead it feels like GW is avoiding giving a unique bone to specific Ork clans like the Snakebite’s which they obviously are.

So why didn’t Games Workshop not just make them Snakebites?

Well, part is making more new “IPable” stuff and not pigeonholing them to one Ork clan, also maybe GW wants to avoid confusion between AoS and 40k. 40k Orks are the squig guys and AoS Orks are the boar guys, though the low hanging fruit of  releasing a cyboar model seems too easy. As it is Games Workshop, is adding a whole new Ork something no one really asked for, when the Ork line does need some much needed model updates. So unless this is part of a broader model line update for Orks, the Beast Snaggas are supercilious. 

Games Workshop has always done best when they combine nostalgia with new stuff. The Imperial Knights, Custodes, and Ad-Mech being the most successful examples. Why shouldn’t they apply this to every range? Ork players would have gone crazy if things like the Pulsa Rokkits or Giblet Grinder were a thing again. The Beast Snaggas just don’t fit that mold and most likely won’t be as successful because of it, especially with the majority of Ork players knowing how to stretch a conversion buck if these new models are outrageously priced.

Then we have the potential for the Beast Snaggas to set a bad precedent. Imagine for a second Eldar got new Aspect Warriors, but they were completely new and not the established ones Aspects. The amount of hate towards Games Workshop would be incalculable, as much of the Eldar range is still stuck at the turn of the century. 

Of course, this is all about what Games Workshop thinks will sell the most models. Instead, Games Workshop could reach both new and old players by simply mining the past they already have and not create something totally new. Games Workshop could also find a happy balance (like Necrons) and release both new and old at the same time, while keeping consistent with the established lore, besides who wouldn’t like nothing better than seeing a Squig catapult make its triumphant return?

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