tl;dr – It’s basically what I was expecting.
At our tournament on Saturday (new codexes aren’t legal the day they come out in my tourneys), I played my old Steel Rain Vulkan list under 5th edition for the last time. I went 1-3, but I was having a monster of a time with my scatter dice and Drop Pods arriving 3-4 inches off of the table. When I got home, I re-wrote the list I used using the new point values. The point totals are almost identical, but my list is now 1507 points instead of 1500. Two of my three tactical squads are 5 points cheaper, one remains the same, and my Sternguard got 17 points more expensive. However, I can definitely suffer the loss of a combi-weapon on the Sternguard to bring the list back under 1500, because as a Salamanders player, the same list is a lot beefier. I don’t loose any effectiveness (flamers and meltaguns are still twin-linked), they get a buff vs. flamers, and now all of my sergeants have master-crafted close combat weapons. So for that, I am pleased.
CON I’m not entirely pleased over the impact it will have on some of my other lists, though. No more master-crafted Hammernator spam (not to say that Hammernators are bad now, but they are a bit more expensive for – in my case – less). I can no longer take Telion without also taking Ultramarines chapter tactics. In fact, 6 of the 13 named characters in the book require Ultramarines Chapter Tactics.
PRO That being said, some of my other lists are going to be cheaper and have more room for other goodies.
CON(fusion) I’m also confused a bit over the proper procedures for taking certain characters or chapter tactics:
- Chronus is an Ultramarines Tank Commander, which tells me to “see the army list.” However, the army list doesn’t explain what exactly an Ultramarines Tank is. I’m assuming that means a tank taken as part of a detachment that uses the Ultramarines chapter tactics, but it’s not very clear.
- Can I field both Pedro and Lysander together in the same detachment? The note about successor chapters seems to indicate that I can, but I’m not 100% positive there.
- The wording about chapter tactics really make it sound like GW is overly concerned with people playing exactly the rules that coincide with the colors they’ve painted their models. The book’s language makes it seem like my custom-built Tu’shan (which I’ve used as Lysander) or my custom-build Pedro (which I’ve used as Doc’tyr) are useless, because green marines with dragon-head symbols absolutely cannot be fielded as Imperial Fists. To which I say SUCK IT, GW.
I’m not really confused, but I can see how a lot of people will be.
CON The artwork inside the book is a bit disappointing in that there’s little new. Most of the unit entries are using the color versions from the 5th Ed codex, and by most, I mean nearly every single one. Of the units that did get new pictures, Cassius, Tigirus and Lysander’s pictures are cooler. Legion of the Damned and Pedro are worse. Vulkan’s new picture is actually the same picture retouched to look more like the model (compare the backgrounds). And there are so many good pictures of Shrike out there, it’s a wonder that GW keeps choosing the worst ones to put in the codex.
Additionally, there is no new fluff for anything from the 5th Ed codex. Copy/paste for every unit. That’s pure laziness right there.
PRO Legion of the Damned are super useful now. For only 15 points more than they used to be, you can get a deep-striking, scatter re-rolling, relentless, 3++, 5-man team with a plasma pistol, plasmagun and plasma cannon THAT IGNORES COVER. Kiss your Deathwing goodbye. Now we know why GW put out 17 models for them.
CON Black Templars make no sense being in this codex. They really don’t. It’s obvious that they’re going to put out a supplement (or, could if they so chose), so why bother clogging up the main one with their rules? The rules tweaks for a supplement would be insanely minimal, considering exactly what the BT get:
- Add three characters (who already have models).
- Add chapter tactics.
- Add crusader squads.
It would actually reduce confusion as a separate supplement, because there wouldn’t be the “This is now Codex: Black Templars!” blurb, or the “We said every successor chapter uses their parent chapter’s tactics… except Black Templars!” line. Toss everything into its own book and let it go.
PRO Chapter tactics are really cool, especially for being free. They add flavor without being tied to/restricted by a specific character.
HILARIOUS CON Whoever was in charge of the Centurions should probably punch up their resume. The rules are crap, the points are way too high, the models are hideous, and they’re way too expensive. There is absolutely no incentive for anyone to buy them. They’re not even bitz farms.
PRO Vanguards are now sanely priced with Jump Packs. A base 5-man squad now essentially gets their jump packs for free. What’s even more interesting is that they move to Elites. Not fighting for a Fast Attack slot, but then again, not scoring in The Scouring.
CON Seriously, WHY CAN I NOT TAKE A DOZER BLADE FOR A LAND RAIDER?! 5-point piece of wargear keeps my Rhinos from throwing a track on a tree, Land Raider gets caught on the same tree, can’t get unstuck. Tech Marines stand around like a government education blue-ribbon commission trying to figure out how to fix it. Chaos wins. THANKS OBAMA.
PRO Points costs as a whole are pretty much what I expected.
- Sternguard go down in price, but their toys go up.
- Tacticals go down in price, but to keep them the same, they pretty much stay the same price.
- Dreadnoughts go down in most configurations. Venerable Dreads got a huge price cut.
- Librarians got a huge discount
- Just about everything got a little price tweaking, typically for the better. We can stop complaining that BLOOD ANGELS AND DARK ANGELS ARE SOOOOO MUCH CHEAPER.
- Black Templar players can stop complaining about everything they’ve been complaining about since forever. They have new things to complain about now!
So, on the whole, a mixed bag that does very little to change the status quo, freaks out every other codex player, and will be complained about bitterly in a year despite being rather competitive.