Is That a Three Codex Formation In your Pocket, Or are you Just Happy to See Me?

Hello all, Rawdogger here to talk about the new cross codex formation GW is introducing and what it means for the hobby.

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A couple days ago the news broke that the upcoming Codex Adeptus Mechanicus  will include a never before seen cross codex formation which includes detachments  from Codex Skitarii, Codex Adeptus Mechanicus, and Codex Imperial Knights.   The detachments included in the formation are

  • Cult Mechanicus Battle Congregation Detachment (Unknown)
  • Skitarii Battle Maniple (1 unit Vanguard, 1 unit Rangers, 1 unit Ruststalkers, 1 unit Infiltrators, 1 unit Sydonian Dragoons, 1unit Iron Strider Ballistarii, 1 unit of Onager Dunecrawlers.
  • Imperial Knight Oathsworn (1-3 Knights)

So depending on whom you believe or who has a leaked codex the formation looks to run you between 1500-2000 points.  Without the Adeptus Mechanicus codex being released we really don’t have a way of knowing.  As per the new normal, taking these detachments in this formation unlocks some amazing abilities.

  • All units have the Canticles of the Omnissiah special rule (Unknown)
  • If a  Tech Priest Dominus is your Warlord you can re-roll on the Warlord Trait Table (the usual benefit but cool nonetheless)
  • All weapon and wargear items taken in this formation, including Relics from both the Codex Skitarii and Codex Adeptus Mechanicus are free.  All weapons also ignore the gets hot special rule. (OH MY FACE)

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Ok, so the last benefit here obviously has caused a lot of heads to turn and for some good reasons.  Players who take this formation will be essentially playing with more points than their opponent since all the upgrades will be free of charge.  This will be the first time that we see a formation in which the units get ‘free’ items just for being taken together.  Now, there are some serious drawbacks from taking this formation in the form of the Skitarii Battle Maniple.  You can only take a single unit of all the units listed in the detachment, so we won’t be seeing mass Vanguard spam with Plasma in this formation.  You also are taxed with taking units like the Rangers and Infiltrators, which are not as great as taking the Vanguard or Vanguard (yes that’s right).  We also have no idea what the units included in the Cult Mechanicus Battle Congregation will be.  They could be Terminators for all we know!  Wouldn’t that be funny?  Here you go guys, a 40 point 1W T4 model.  BUT THEY LOOK SO COOL!

So what does this mean for future releases?

Look, Games Workshop has seen the financial success from the creation of formations within codices.  I mean, they ran out of Eldar Vypers the same week Codex Eldar was released.  ELDAR VYPERS?  They probably didn’t sell a single one of those kits in the years leading up to the new release.  It was only a matter of time before the boys in the accounting department caught on to the idea that if they expand the formations to include units from OTHER codices, the players would then likely purchase other codices as well as models from those factions.  I’ve said it, your mom has said it, hell even GW themselves have said it.  They are a company in the business of SELLING MODELS.  This really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.  The fact that these formations have major purchase incentives in the form of powerful special rules is just icing on the cake.  I would be majorly impressed in their business model if I didn’t feel so dirty every time a make a purchase to follow their tune.

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Ultimately, no matter how much wailing and gnashing of teeth occurs over this formation it will increase the sales of the models and GW will do the same for future releases.  With the Space Marine codex rumored to be coming out soon (right before their fiscal end of year, eh?) we can expect to see formations which include Astra Militarum and Ultramarines that ignore cover or something.

So what do you think?  Are you ok with GW financial dictating the way the game is played?  Do you love all of these new options?  Am I just an old cynical bastard?


About Jason

Raw Dogger, aka, Phat J Sleaze (formerly of the Booty Boyzzz) is a highly opinionated, questionably skilled 40k enthusiast. When not working at Frontline Gaming, he can be found down on Jabroni Avenue.

61 Responses to “Is That a Three Codex Formation In your Pocket, Or are you Just Happy to See Me?”

  1. Hotsauceman1 May 21, 2015 8:23 am

    I don’t fear it, mainly because the free cost is going to be offset by expensive bloated units.

    • D-ManA May 21, 2015 8:30 am

      I agree the infiltrators and ruststalker units alone are 345 points to for the two units, which are sub-par. So basically the free upgrade points are going into units I wouldn’t normatlly take. It will be fun nun the less to see how it works as soon as we find out what the cult mechanicus formation requires.

      • Reecius
        Reecius May 21, 2015 2:31 pm

        I don’t know, fellas. I thought the same thing about Infiltrators and Ruststalkers until I tried them in a few games. They’re actually quite good! The 1 unit that has really under-performed for me so far, has been the Rangers.

        • Ghost Valley May 21, 2015 2:43 pm

          I’m ruststalkers for life. 10 men strong. The infiltrators have been surprising enough that I just can’t take them out. If you can get perfect timing with the rangers arquebus’ it can be effective but I agree.

        • Hotsauceman1 May 21, 2015 9:05 pm

          They are assault based units in a shooting meta. with no transports.

        • novaStar May 21, 2015 9:43 pm

          add in free equipment, and invulnerable save on the srgs and relics of mars on each srg just because and its gonna be awesome

  2. Davis Centis May 21, 2015 8:26 am

    My reptilian brain is saying “No! That’s so stupid! It’ll ruin the game!”

    My rational human brain is saying “You’ll probably never play anyone with this, so quit worrying.”

  3. fluger May 21, 2015 8:30 am

    Uhhh, the Blood Angels had a crazy formation that gave Sternguard and Vanguard free upgrades. So, this isn’t the first time.

    • fluger May 21, 2015 8:31 am

      Here it is: Requirements: 2 Vanguard Veteran Squads, 1 Sternguard Veteran Squad, 1 Stormraven Gunship
      Restrictions: All units of Vanguard Veteran and Sternguard Veterans must include 10 models. Vanguard Veterans must be equipped with jump packs.
      Special Rules:
      Surgical Strike Force: This Formation’s unit of Sternguard Veterans begins the game embarked upon the Formation’s Stormraven Gunship. The Formation’s Vanguard Veterans must be placed in Deep Strike Reserve. When making Reserve Rolls, make a single roll for the entire Formation, which you can choose to re-roll. On a successful Reserves Roll, all of the units in this Formation arrive from Reserve.
      1st Company Armoury: Vanguard Veteran Squads from this Formation can take a single power weapon or lightning claw per model as a free upgrade. Sternguard Veteran Squads from this Formation can take a single storm bolter or combi-weapon per model as a free upgrade.
      Source: Campaign: Shield of Baal: Exterminatus

      It’s 400 pts of free stuff.

      • Reecius
        Reecius May 21, 2015 2:32 pm

        Good point, that seemed so crazy but no one uses it, lol. Might have to actually try it out, but then, it is still Vanguard whom even with free power weapons, still under-perform as they are stuck on a sub-par marine chassis, and best case scenario, they are charging turn 3.

        • fluger May 22, 2015 7:55 am

          Couple things, BA Vanguard are significantly better than regular SM by dint of Furious Charge. Having S6 Axes or S7 Mauls with the potential of being at I5 is pretty stellar.

          Run the numbers on them, they deal DEATH when they have their power weapons, but the price was never worth it, until now with this formation.

          Combo that formation with a spam of combat-oriented scouts and you have a nasty list.

  4. brent (nimrod451) May 21, 2015 8:31 am

    Cant it be both? ()a Three Codex Formation In your Pocket, Or are you Just Happy to See Me?) sounds pretty amazing, but yeah.. very bloated. I think Uber Formations (like the Decurion and the Aspect host- eldar are about mobility right?) are the wave of the future..

    I think Space Marines will either will be like, “its beautiful..” then its glory will melt your eyes like your a Nazi in a Indiana Jones Film.

  5. Sam May 21, 2015 8:50 am

    I’m actually pretty excited to see this since people were clamouring for a combined codex in the first place.
    The good news is you get to see more units you rarely saw before.
    And you get to hopefully see more mixed army lists like genestealer cults etc.

  6. WrentheFaceless May 21, 2015 9:02 am

    Slight correction to the Battle Mantiple, its one unit of Dragoons OR Basllistarii

    • Jason
      Raw Dogger May 21, 2015 9:36 am

      That’s what happens with no coffee! AAAAARRRGHHH

      • WrentheFaceless May 21, 2015 10:00 am

        Its ok Dogger, just got my coffee too.

        Depending on the Cult Detatchment (rurmor is that its 1 hq 2 troops) I have the models to run this lol

  7. iNcontroL May 21, 2015 9:03 am

    MY what gorgeous pictures of Ad Mech you have there…

    And surely nobody would own ALL those models to make up that formation right? MUAHAHAH

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 21, 2015 2:48 pm

      Damn, your army is looking so sick!

    • TinBane May 21, 2015 10:21 pm

      They look amazing.

      That castigator, is insane.

  8. iNcontroL May 21, 2015 9:04 am

    Also jason it is EITHER balistarii or dragoons not both.

    • Jason
      Raw Dogger May 21, 2015 9:34 am

      Geez THAT is what people focus on? I didn’t put enough snark in this one!

  9. Requizen
    Requizen May 21, 2015 9:04 am

    I’m not worried about it. Good lists are about redundancy, and things like this that require you to take one of everything for a nice bonus aren’t particularly scary. Especially since, if you want to run it at a reasonable points level, you have to take minimum squads of things and one of the cheaper Knight versions.

    People are going to freak out, bring one to a serious game, and then realize that the free stuff is not worth the bloat. Just my opinion.

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 21, 2015 2:42 pm

      I play these types of lists already, so, for me this is actually very appealing, lol.

  10. Sockhands May 21, 2015 9:05 am

    What’s great is that it’s clear that GW has realized rules push model sales and that people who are in this for the competitive aspects of the game give GW the most money. What sucks is that instead of employing more rules writers to fix what’s broken and make every model viable both on the table and in the shopping cart, they instead slap everything in the face with a D and a shitty unit tax. It’s definitely the cheaper way to get things done, sure, but transparently underhanded and lazy.

    GW isn’t a model company or a game company, but a money company. Surprise!

    • fluger May 21, 2015 9:24 am

      I’m not sold on the idea that competitive gamers make GW the most money. I know several people that drop absolutely reckless amounts of money into models that they never field. One guy I know hasn’t played 6th or 7th edition, but owns 11 Knights and is planning on buying that Warlord Titan!!!!! That’s just the tip of his insane iceberg.

  11. Kartr May 21, 2015 9:12 am

    I think it’s cool because, as others have pointed out, you’re paying for stuff that isn’t great so the free upgrades balance that out. Plus cross codex formations let you start building more diverse armies like you read in the fluff. The special rules tie it all together and make balanced fluff style lists viable in hardcore waac environments.

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 21, 2015 2:44 pm

      Although I really dislike the term WAAC when applied to competitive gaming due to the negative connotations associated with it, I agree with you that I am happy with these really diverse formations, too. I don’t think free bonus points on them will be game breaking, a lot of stuff in the game creates more points, anyway, such as Daemon Summoning, Nids, etc.

      • abusepuppy May 21, 2015 4:03 pm

        Formations as a device to encourage the use of “subpar” units (such as the Helbrute formations) or to open up new uses for units (like the Covenite formations) are neat.

        Formations that take a really good unit and give it extra bonuses and let you dodge the HQ/Troop tax are stupid- and I say that as someone who regularly fields the Firebase Cadre.

      • Kartr May 21, 2015 5:54 pm

        I understand your dislike of the term “waac” but “highly tuned tournament lists that are designed solely to give the player the best chance to win in an extremely competitive environment” was too long 😛

  12. elphilo May 21, 2015 9:56 am

    Technically the Guardian Stormhost was the first formation that gave free weapon upgrades. It was just missed because it was, arguably, one of the weaker formations in the Eldar book ;P

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 21, 2015 2:45 pm

      Actually, the Blood ANgels were first, as has been pointed out, above. But, I agree with you. The Guardian Host detachments are too big, IMO. I think you could build some solid lists around them for sure, just not my cup of tea, personally.

      • abusepuppy May 21, 2015 4:03 pm

        Yeah, I don’t think the Guardian hosts are that bad. All of the units in them are at least decent and Support Batteries are actually really good even if you ignore the D-Cannon.

      • elphilo May 22, 2015 8:32 am

        What really? Maybe I shouldn’t be ignoring BA so much lol

  13. Ghost Valley May 21, 2015 9:57 am

    My only issue with it is there is no motivating game design factor other than buy all the units we just released and we’ll make it worth your while. I like it when they at least pretend that there is some sort of fluff motivation or game design reason to run certain units together as a formation.

    • bogalubov May 21, 2015 10:22 am

      You can also look at it from the other perspective. Some people bought all those models because they looked cool and they wanted a new army. Now GW is giving them the opportunity to throw all the units together that they built and painted.

      • Ghost Valley May 21, 2015 11:40 am

        That sounds like glass half full propaganda 😉

        Half Empty for Life

        • jeff May 22, 2015 4:40 am

          i am with you…
          marketing majors make terrible game designers.
          typically, they make terrible people, too, but this is beside the point.

    • Kartr May 21, 2015 10:31 am

      Your own mini-titan army? Titan scout forces/auxiliary?

      • Ghost Valley May 21, 2015 11:45 am

        There is some good fluff we gamers can come up with for sure, but there is something about these one of everything formations that I dont like.
        Personally I like the smaller more focused formations. Something not so “here’s your whole army list laid out for you”. But as long as they are giving out lots to choose from, I’ll not complain too loudly.

        • Kartr Kana May 21, 2015 12:47 pm

          On one hand I kind of agree since “this is your army,” but on the other hand I like it because its actually creating more balanced and realistic detachments rather than “2 Sicarans, 1 Fire Raptor and as many bikes as possible” lists that have no balance or “realism.” Plus it allows (requires) players to bring units we wouldn’t normally see because they’re “sub-optimal” and it boosts those “sub-optimal” units to usability. More diversity is good!

          • Ghost Valley May 21, 2015 1:51 pm

            I’ve never minded the tax unit. Get a buff, take a nerf, field something you never would

          • abusepuppy May 21, 2015 4:01 pm

            >lists that have no balance or “realism.”

            Yes, I also find this game of Aryan supermonks using their space chainswords to punch fungus men from another dimension to be unrealistic.

          • Kartr May 21, 2015 5:56 pm

            You know what I mean by realism AP. Armies designed to follow a military structure with all the elements of combined arms

          • abusepuppy May 22, 2015 5:28 am

            But that term has no meaning within the context of 40K. NO 40K army follows a military structure reasonably like that of a modern-day military (how many armies send a squad of eight chumps, one support weapon, and a sergeant into battle and make them all stand next to each other?) nor any kind of plausible extrapolation of what we might think future combat might look like. 40K is inherently and intentionally unrealistic- and that’s fine.

          • Kartr May 22, 2015 9:37 am

            Yet all armies employ armour, infantry, artillery and air in mutually supporting combined arms tactics. All armies have specialists and elites, etc. All of which are represented in 40k codics/factions and should all be employed in a balanced combined arms strategy. Not the silly super unit nonsense that is more common.

  14. winterman May 21, 2015 10:32 am

    Free items from a formation is not new at all.

    Fluger mentioned BA formation. That one gets a ton.
    Eldar get free weapons on their guardians.
    On a 4+ many formations get free units back that just died. Way more free points here.

    There’s also summoning so 7ed already came with this idea of free points built in to the core rules.

    Also I think everyone lost their poop about this Admechtariiknight formation (I did) but it seems like they at least limited the skitarii units which would have abused the hell out of the benefits. Still a very powerful benefit but atleast there aren’t 8 units of no overheat plasma vanguard units running around.

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 21, 2015 2:48 pm

      I agree. I think this Formation looks like a lot of fun, actually!

    • vonvilkee May 28, 2015 9:59 am

      In the text above I see reference to free relics. That means the super fancy restricted items. I’m away from my books but I believe the oath sworn knights Lanka model to make use of the freebies, and each item would be limited to one and there are usually only like 6 of them anyway. The items are also cool but typically over costed. Just some realistic thoughts I had.

  15. Warmaster_GIR May 21, 2015 10:49 am

    These free upgrade formations remind me a bit of the 3.5 chaos codex, When you got free Champion upgrades if the unit was a multiple of their god’s chosen number.

    Wonder if the inevitable Space Marine “Battle Company” formation with get this treatment as well. Or perhaps I’m just dreaming…

    • fluger May 21, 2015 12:59 pm

      Considering that Red Scorpions get free nartheciums and certain chapter tactics were so good all for free, I don’t think it’s too far fetched.

  16. Archon-Kalafex May 21, 2015 11:27 am

    Sisters,Guard, and Knight Acheron? Oh hell yes. On a side track thought I hope if a cop ever asked you if you had any aliases, that you looked them dead in the eyes and said “they call me Rawdogger”.

    • Adam
      Adam ( May 21, 2015 4:20 pm

      You could already do that with 2 formations. 🙂

      • Archon-Kalafex May 21, 2015 11:45 pm

        You know ai thought so, but I don’t play imperial so I wasn’t for sure. Sisters, guard, knight, culexus it is!

  17. Adam
    Adam ( May 21, 2015 4:19 pm

    Does this work like a Decurion so I can add Coteaz and a Vindicare to the list?

  18. Narfwak May 21, 2015 5:05 pm

    Playing around with the upgrade math on a Skitarii Battle Maniple with a unit of two Dunecrawlers and three Dragoons, with full upgrades on everything in the formation, comes out to a savings of 535 points (no relic purchased). Granted, some of this is stuff you wouldn’t normally buy like the Conversion Fields on unit sergeants, but if it’s free, why not?

    As previously stated the troops are the most obvious beneficiaries since Plasma Calivers + Omnispex literally doubles the cost of a Vanguard unit, but it’s a huge savings for Dunecrawlers, too. A stock walker is only 90 points, but with Icarus and Claw alone they go up 60 points (and you can take the Mindscanner Probe and Smoke Launcher you’d normally skip for another free 15 points of gear). That’s a whopping 80 points of free gear on a 90 point AV 12 walker – seems like a good deal to me!

    How useful this ends up being is going to depend a lot of whether or not there’s tax units in the Cult Mechanicus part of the formation or not. I saw the English translation leak earlier and it seemed to indicate it was a detachment, rather than a formation, which would imply fewer compulsory units…

    • Trentat May 24, 2015 11:35 am

      Word just out that the Cult Mechanicus Battle Congregation detachment can be a minimum of a single Tech-priest Dominus HQ and 2 x units of Kataphron – not the cheapest block (coming in between 405-435 depending on the Kataphron variant chosen) but not bad.

      There might even be points left to ally in another formation/allied detachment?

      • WrentheFaceless May 24, 2015 12:39 pm

        Yea so this formation is a minimum 1330 points

        Very doable at 1850

        • Trentat May 24, 2015 2:23 pm

          Sweet! Pods for the Vanguard & Rangers it is!

          Now the question is what source for the Drop Pods: Space Wolves, Blood Angels…or Flesh Tearers?

          Really 2 pods ought to be enough.

          • Narfwak May 24, 2015 6:56 pm

            Flesh Tearers (technically still Blood Angels) are nice because you only have one troop requirement, and you can make that a tac squad in a pod to force out the other two on turn one. Alternatively, take only one pod, scouts as the troops, and stick the sanguinary priest in with the rangers (w/ arqs) to give them ATSKNF. Second option feels like you’re not leveraging the formation as much though… if you’re given free plasma guns that don’t get hot it seems silly not to buy them even on rangers you wouldn’t normally buy them on.

            Just remember that you probably are going to want to fill out the walker squads at least a bit in the Skitarii Battle Maniple and that does start to eat up some of your spare points quickly. You’re forced to take them, so you may as well make them a part of the composition rather than dead weight. It’s actually a bit tough to fit in any Kastelans if you fill out any of the Skitarii units other than the infantry.

    • vonvilkee May 28, 2015 10:05 am

      I want to see the book cuz I’m doubting all upgrades free across the formation but free relics (those super expensive super limited upgrades) I totally see.

      The blood angels and the eldar free upgrade ones have heavy taxes and the free weapons go towards making that up. Who knows tho

  19. Gryphon May 28, 2015 8:50 am

    Not sure if anyone noticed this, or mentioned it before, but bot codices are Adeptus Mechanicus: Adeptus Mechanicus: Skitarii, Adeptus Mechanicus: Cult Mechanicus. A friend and I have been discussing this. We think GW is creating multiple codices under the same faction, so that you buy more than one book and the models for each. Think on this for a moment, if you will. The skitarii have no HQ, and both are Imperial forces under the same faction. I could simply add a Tech-priest Dominus to my Skitarri and suddenly I have a force I can ally with my space marines. I can also mix and match all the units anyway I want and still have a CAD because it’s all Adeptus Mechanicus. Now I haven’t had a chance to peek into the codices for Eldar, but both Craftworld and Harliquinns say Codex: Eldar on the top, which suggests, that you can do the same with Eldar and Harliquinns. Aslo, by calling it Codex X, Subfaction. They can continue to pump out books under the same Codex X, without having to revamp an entire book. Just make a new one and keep people buying them.