Top 5 Nightmares from Warhammer 40k 5th Edition

Hello all,

Phat J here to talk about the top 5 units, weapons, and wargear that kept you up at night during the reign of 5th edition 40k.

Let’s face it.  Most of us spent the majority of 2010-2014 sitting at our computers and whining about the the overpowered stuff in Warhammer 40,000 on sites such as Yes, the Truth Hurts, Bell of Lost Souls, and Dakka Dakka.   The sound of furious typing could be heard from space, and as we tilted up our trilby hats to wipe the sweat from our brow, we collectively let the world know that ‘WE DON’T LIKE THING!’, and they shouldn’t either.  Yes, 5th edition was plagued by some of the most over powering things the community had ever seen.  We need to come together and remember them lest Games Workshop ever decides to try and increase the power level even further. Here are my top 5 nightmares from Warhammer 40,000 5th edition!


After a GIS of ‘Party Wolf’

Split-Firing Long Fangs – So you are telling me that the Space Wolves had a unit that could fire   S8 AP 3 missiles at TWO different targets?  What’s next, you’re going to allow giant monstrous creatures that look like vehicles to fire all of their 10 weapons at different targets with each weapon more devastating than the next?! HUH? That would be the day.  When this was a thing, people were really fuckin pissed that these dudes were knocking off a couple vehicles a turn, mostly Blood Angel players who were running beardy shit themselves.  This was when the split fire rule allowed them to actually split the unit down the middle and fire multiple weapons at different targets, not the single shot split fire we see now that the Space Wolves codex got hit with the nerf bat during the time before the Necron decurion became a thing.


Psyflemen Dreadnoughts – Just whose idea was it to give ANYTHING 4 twin-linked S8 AP4 shots?  That volume of shots, especially twin-linked, has no business being anywhere near my tabletop.  My buddy Todd once played against someone who had 3 of these, if you can believe it.  Those things almost took a couple wounds off of his Daemon Prince. What kind of shit is that?  Below the belt, Games Workshop.  That was literally the most terrifying thing around back in 5th edition. It’s laughable now that we have single shot and remove entire units and 60 s6 twin linked units but there was a time when 4 twin linked S8 AP 4 shots made you ‘that guy’.


Nob Bikers –  Remember this shit?  These guys were multi-wound models with a 4+/5+ and of course you had a Painboy in there for some sweet Feel No Pain action.  The frosting on this sundae?  No wound allocation rules! YEAAAH!  I remember people having laminated spreadsheets so they could keep track of which models had taken wounds.  You know what would be really bad for a unit like this? Something that could remove entire models with a single die roll. Thank god no one at GW would ever think to do something like that!  Can you imagine that? Not me!


Grey Knight Paladins –  Holy crap, are you telling me there were models with a 2 + armor save that had 2 wounds AND WS5?  Who came up with that ridiculousness? These bad boys not only had the ability to strike at initiative 6 with AP2 power weapons (sigh) but get this, they also were able to fire like 20 S5 Stormbolter shots as well.  Did I forget to mention they also had a Psycannon in their squad? Talk about over powered!  Usually someone had like 6 Acolyte squads in Razorbacks with a melta gun or something else devastating so you couldn’t even handle their shit.  Like the Nob Bikers you could use the wound allocation shenanigans in 5th edition to make sure the wounds got shuffled around so you didn’t kill off any one model in a single round of shooting.


IG Leafblower –  Bear with me, but there was a time when mass S8 AP 3 blasts were so terrifying that the rustling of jimmies could be heard throughout the Warhammer 40,000 community.  The IG Leafblower for those of you who were not around during 5th edition, was essentially an Imperial Guard army consisting of a mix of codex and Forgeworld artillery tanks with Veteran squads mixed in to pick up objectives.  It had Hydras when they were good and was called the Leafblower because it would literally wipe most armies off the table by turn 2 or 3.  I myself took an army like this to Adepticon in 2012 and only lost to Albert Fennel and only because he brought his Necrons and made it Night Fight the entire game (yes that was also a thing in 5th) and rained lightning bolts down that smashed most of my tanks turn 1.

So there you have it, the top 5 things that kept me up at night during Warhammer 40,000 5th edition. What were some of the builds, wargear items, or units that gave you the most trouble during this edition? Let us know in the comment section!

And as always, Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off of retail, every day!

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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.

23 Responses to “Top 5 Nightmares from Warhammer 40k 5th Edition”

  1. Michael Corr November 7, 2016 4:17 am #

    Great article! It’s amazing how much can change in just a couple of editions.

    For me, I remember my Dark Angels codex being absolutely awful, apart from the Standard of Devastation (or Bolter Banner). I think it was 5th edition where it granted Bolters Salvo 4/2. With careful positioning, three 10-man tactical squads could put out 120 bolter shots. It surprised a lot of people the first time they played it.

    I look forward to 9th edition where people are reminiscent about the good old days of the Gladius Strike Force and underpowered D weapons we had in 7th.

    • Beoron November 7, 2016 7:43 am #

      I think “Salvo” was not part of 5th so that must have been later.

    • AbusePuppy November 7, 2016 8:37 am #

      That was early 6th edition, not 5th. The army did okay for a while until SM got released and White Scars totally obviated them.

      5th Edition Dark Angels were all about the FAQ update that gave them the same universal 3++ save from a Storm Shield that other codices got (since prior to that Storm Shield were a 4++ that only worked in close combat.) Since their Terminators could take TH/SS as a free swap at that time, you would see armies that were basically just 5-6 squads of guys with 2+/3++ saves and a gun here or there dropping in and giving the enemy a bad time.

  2. Vankraken November 7, 2016 5:47 am #

    I didn’t play in 5th but apparently Killa Kan walls must of been a real terror considering they needed the shit out of them in the 7th edition codex. How could anybody survive that many AV11 walkers? There basically immune to bolter fire for crying out loud.

    • Coblen November 7, 2016 9:27 am #

      I’m not saying they deserved what they got but they where pretty scary back in the day. Something like 35 points with strength 10 attacks in close combat. 15 points gave them a strength 6 blast so they had answers to pretty much everything. And the lack of hull points, and overwatch in 5th made them way tankier. Guaranteed charge ranges as well. I remember being downright terrified of them.

      Then they took away literally everything that made them good, and increased their cost.

      • Michael Corr November 7, 2016 1:14 pm #

        Plus, having a Big Mek with a Kustom Force Field gave them a 4+ cover save in 5th. My Big Mek and 3 Killa Kans won me so many games with my Orks in 5th edition.

  3. Beoron November 7, 2016 8:00 am #

    I played mostly against my brother’s Eldar with my SM. I got beaten badly a lot! The Avatar of Khaine buffed with rerolls on his 4++ save given by some Farseer always seemed soooo OP to me! He took a whole squad of Hammer-Terminators as breakfast! The War Walkers with those S6 Lasers pumped out a lot of shots, also with rerolls given by some psypower. They popped my Rhinos and the troops got killed by Fire Prisms. So unfair! 😉 Aaah, the good ol’ days!

    The real powersurge began with 5th Edition GK and Necrons later.

    • AbusePuppy November 7, 2016 8:44 am #

      >The real powersurge began with 5th Edition GK and Necrons later.

      No, people were whining right from the very beginning of 5th. Initially it was Space Marines (OH MY GOD THEY GET 35pt RHINOS AND BIKES AS TROOPS) and then it was Imperial Guard (VENDETTAS ARE BULLSHIT CHIMERAS ARE BULLSHIT ARTILLERY IS BULLSHIT) and then Space Wolves/Blood Angels (THEY’RE JUST A BETTER VERSION OF SPACE MARINES WTF) and then Tyranids (FIVE TERVIGONS OMG) and Dark Eldar (TWELVE VENOMS?!?!?!?) and Necrons (HOW CAN I KILL AV13 WITH ONLY TEN MELTAGUNS IN MY LIST) and culminating in Grey Knights (20pts FOR A 3+ SAVE MODEL BLARGH UNBEATABLE).

      Eldar were awful all through 5th Edition. They were occasionally a spoiler army for specific factions, but their expensive vehicles with weak firepower generally meant that they were just spending the whole game zipping around delaying and then desperately hoping that things ended on turn 5 when they Tank Shocked onto objectives.

      • Reecius November 7, 2016 12:10 pm #

        While I agree with your assessment in general terms, Eldar were good in 5th if you invested the time into mastering them. I did extremely well with Eldar back then, but in general, yeah, they were a huge drop in power from 4th.

      • WestRider November 7, 2016 12:43 pm #

        IIRC, it began even before any 5th Ed Dexes dropped, with people complaining about how Land Raiders and Monoliths would be absolutely impossible to destroy with the new Vehicle Damage Table and would just totally dominate everything.

      • Beoron November 7, 2016 1:18 pm #

        “No, people were whining right from the very beginning of 5th.”

        I was not talking about when people started whining – I guess they always did. In my humble opinion if you look back and ask yourself: when did things started to get out of hand? I think of GK and Neuron Codexes of that time.

        The rest of my post was more written out of my perspective of that time and place. I did not go to tournaments etc etc. I know that Eldar were not a super competitive army at that time but to me as a rookie at that time it seemed so. Not very interesting for other people, maybe… But on the other hand I think everybody has similiar memories like going to the store and get beaten badly by “that guy” with an army you are laughing about now.

        • abusepuppy November 8, 2016 7:40 am #

          The GK and Necron books never had tournament wins out of keeping with their popularity- they did indeed take some victories towards the end of the edition in big tournaments, but when you have 25-35% of players using the codex, that should be no surprise. Most armies easily had the tools to deal with both of them when played correctly, though not all- Dark Eldar, Tyranids, and Orks all struggled mightily with GK.

          Basically, the two books were popular but not exceptionally powerful. As implied by my above post, ALL of the 5th Edition books had a lot of people complain about them when they were released and had a period of time (varying in length) where the Latest Greatest Thing was all anyone talked about and made constant appearances at tournaments. The GK book in particular suffered from poor internal balance (Psybolt is 5pts on vehicles?!), but but fought on pretty even ground with most other books of the time.

  4. Chandler November 7, 2016 8:42 am #

    Very funny and accurate article. I remember playing against these lists/armies myself in 5th. Grey Knights in particular were annoying and yes, Psydreads were a thing. Mech was huge back in those days in general and I don’t miss that aspect of 40k. Tanks were in general just harder to kill back then.

    It’s funny to look back and think about how much the game has evolved in just a few short years. Now there are D weapons aplenty, super heavies capable of obliterating armies and firing multiple weapons and all different units, STR 6 is the new STR 4, etc. I do miss the days of 5th and early 6th edition though.

    • Threllen November 7, 2016 11:51 am #

      Mech was unbearable back in the day. Eldar weren’t a great all-around codex but with their vehicles having the “roll two results, take the lowest” when you rolled to penetrate armor… it was almost impossible to kill them. I’d find myself shooting them over and over again every turn just to keep applying crew shaken or stunned but never really being able to kill them because hull points didn’t exist.

      • abusepuppy November 8, 2016 7:43 am #

        Only the Falcon could take Holofields back then, thankfully. It certainly made it annoying to deal with, but since the damage table was a lot more innately deadly it was actually pretty doable to bring one down- 2/3 of the penetrating damage table (Stunned, Immobilized, Wrecked, Exploded) would freeze it in place and deny it its 4+ cover save or kill it outright.

  5. Threllen November 7, 2016 11:49 am #

    I remember hating Grey Knights so much in 5th edition. Paladins were amazing, psybolt ammo, everything could cast spells with no warp charge concept. It was hard to remove that many 2+ saves back in the day. Could really only do it with power weapons in close combat since they ignored all armor but that was an issue when Paladins struck at I6…

    • Reecius November 7, 2016 12:11 pm #

      I was King Hater of Grey Knights back in 5th, lol. Such a stupidly out of balance codex, it was absurd.

      • Beoron November 7, 2016 1:28 pm #

        They were called Gay-Knights for a reason. And then there came the necrons and were even more absurd. I said before: With these two codexes began the spiral of things getting more and more op – at least for some factions. I think these two codexes were written by the same guy or am I wrong here?

  6. Dakkath November 7, 2016 12:32 pm #

    Ah, 5th edition. When my tau couldn’t take 2 of the same weapons, AdvSS broadsides were where you started your list, and all the enemy armies loaded with antitank weapons made me cry. Before the coming of ridptide-centric formations that get slotted in to the cheese lists and make everyone call the entire codex overpowered.

  7. Rob November 7, 2016 2:14 pm #

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned Salamander armies from 5th with master-crafted hammerators on top of all the twin linked meltagun and flamers goodness that was so effective then.

  8. Alex R November 7, 2016 6:21 pm #

    Deep striking paladins with easy gate turn 1. stunning or destroying your melta squads. At least and with 2 troops you lost easily

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