So I’ve had a solid afternoon with my couch, my dog, and the new Blood Angels codex to devour the latest offering into the grim dark future we all know and… up until recently… have loved.
This may be one of the best codecies GW has produced in the 4th-5th edition era.
Options abound. Those options are seemingly priced fairly, and make an army, that while still a meq, should play very differently from anything else we’ve ever seen wearing power armor. I particularly like the nod the designers gave to the “close combat” themes of the army. The different units that can be taken all seem to have a roll both fluff wise and game play wise. The special characters are awesome, but very expensive. My verdict is still out on the Saguinor, but I think its inclusion can be taken as a nod to the fact that the end times are coming for the Imperium. I like the whole “we’re pretty much ‘effed, so lets make sure we go out as heroes” vibe that the Blood Angels, and even more so the Flesh Tearers, seem to carry. The flying thingy (stormraven, mini thudnerhawk, bloodplane, whatever the hell it’s called) is a cool addition. I also think we’ll start to see each army having something like this as an answer to the prevalence of valkyries post IG. A few noticeable things that are NOT in the codex: A) land speeder storms. These fit the fluff behind the chapter and have a fancy new model, yet are not there… curious. B) Land Raiders as heavy support. The only way to get a land raider is to buy it as a dedicated transport.
In reading it though, it does strike me that GW’s target demographic has dropped either in age or intelligence. The writing of the book was tough for the English teacher in me to read. Maybe it’s just that I’ve been getting used to Privateer Press’ style of writing, but I found the fluff sections to be a little hackneyed even for GW.
So where does this put 40k? I’ve been taking a break from 40k recently to pursue Warmachine. This book has at least re-lit my 40k fire a little bit. Not that I want to make a Blood Angels army, but simply in interest to the fluff again. Looking at the books right now here’s my “State of the Imperium.”
TOP NOTCH CODECIES: Imperial Guard, Blood Angels, Orks, Vanilla Marines
These four books really hit the nail on the head for 40k right now. They seem balanced, and give many choices for making an interesting army. I think my favorite of the four is still the Imperial Guard followed closely by the new BA.
SECOND TIER CODECIES: Space Wolves, Chaos Marines, Tau
These three books really work well. They seem to have fun army builds in them. I think the Wolves are the top of this tier, but are just a little too silly for my tastes. Giant rideable space wolves? C’mon… I really look forward to the Chaos Legions getting a taste of Blood Angel codex style writing.
THIRD TIER CODECIES: Chaos Daemons, Eldar, Tyranids, Dark Angels, Black Templars
These are the faulted books. Chaos Daemons is a glorious mess that has no idea what it’s trying to do. In my opinion, the daemons need to go back to the Chaos Marines book, and their release schedule given to a “Hordes of Chaos” style book that brings back the Lost and the Damned. The Eldar are just showing their age. Everything is too weak in the new edition or too expensive. I hope to see the Eldar updated soon and given something truly scary in the newly emerging “super psychic phase of doom.” My Dark Angels are crap. Utter and total crap. The Black Templars suffer from the same problems. Which brings me to the Tyranids, or “The Army that Almost Ruined 40k.” The book is crap. I’m not a bug player, so my judgment comes from a fanboy perspective. The book just doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t capture the nids, it doesn’t even seem to fit into the whole 40k universe. Of all the current books, this is the one that I find the least enjoyable to read or even play against. It’s not overpowered, maybe far from it, but it’s just not a “fun” book.
I leave the other armies off my list. GW better get its act together and update the DE, Inquisition, and Necrons soon. It’s a real shame to have such great ideas just sitting in game design limbo for the better part of a decade.
So the State of the Imperium? Stronger than it was before I read the BA book. I actually have an itch to play 40k again. Still, my horny pirate ladies will be getting most of my attention for the forseeable future… maybe it’s the great rack?